Help Choose Parts for New Computer

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Rob
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Help Choose Parts for New Computer

Post by Rob » Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:37 pm

my dad is looking for a desktop from which he will run a small business and play world of warcraft. we're looking for something around 5-800$ which will last for a few years and be upgradable well beyond that.
i've been selecting options from http://configure.us.dell.com/dellsto...=DDCWDE2&s=dhs
but am a little hazy about what some of it means
can ya'll go over the choices i've made with me and help with some of it?
any help at all would be greatly appreciated. i'm especially wondering about 1, 4, 7, 8, and 12
the total cost on the computer i've designed with the italic choices, after tax, is $825

1. PROCESSOR
a. intel pentium dulal-core E2160 1MB
b. intel pentium dual-core E2180 1MB----+20
c. intel core Dduo processor E6550 4MB--------+120
d. intel core 2 quad processor Q6600 8MB-------+170

they have bigger options. i am very unsure about this, i don't know the difference between them. i am leaning towards option B

2. OPERATING SYSTEM
a. Windows Vista Premium
b. Windows Vista Premium+Belkin Easy Transfer---+39
c. Windows Vista Business------------------------------+100
d. Windows Vista Ultimate--------------------------------+120

i'm leaning with option A here. i'd rather have XP but it's not an option

3. MONITOR
a. No Monitor
b. 17 Inch Flat------------+140
c. 19 Inch Flat--------------------+190
d. 19 Inch Flat with Truelife--------+190
e. 20 Inch Flat-----------------------+240
f. 20 Inch Flat with Webcam and Mic----+290

i think B would be good here, unless maybe A and getting one somewhere else

4. MEMORY
a. 1 gig 667MHz 2DIMMS
b. 2 gig 667MHz 2DIMMS----+50
c. 3 gig 667MHz 4DIMMS------+100
d. 4 gig 667MHz 4DIMMS--------+150
e. 2 gig 880MHz 2DIMMS-----+70
f. 3 gig 800MHz 4DIMMS-------+120
g 4 gig 800MHz 4DIMMS----------+180

here i'm thinking of B, but i don't know the difference between 667 and 800. what are MHz?

5. HARD DRIVE
a. 250 GB with Data Burst Cache
b. 250 GB with Secured Storage and Data Recovery Solution---+140

i'm thinking option A because of how much more option B costs. there will be financial records on this computer so it's important not to lose it, but we have routine back ups

6. OPTICAL DRIVE
a. 16x DVD+/- RW Drive
b. Dual Drives: 48X CDRW/DVD Combo Drive + 16X DVD +/=RW Drive--+40

i'm thinking A. is there any reason we'd need B?

7. VIDEO CARD
a. Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100
b. nVidia GeForce 8300GS 128MB--------+60
c. nVidia GeForce 8600GT-DDR3 256 MB-------+150
d. ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro 128 MB-------+60
e. Radeon ATI HD 2600 XT 256 MB-------------+150

i could really use some help here. i believe warcraft has a minimum of 64MB video cards so maybe 128 is plenty?. but then what's the difference between ATI and nVidia?

8. SOUND
a. Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
b. Ingegrated Sound Blaster--------------+25
c. Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Sound Card------+100

i don't know much about this. thinking A.

9. KEYBOARD AND MOUSE
a. dell keyboard and optical mouse
b. dell keyboard and premium optical mouse---------+10
c. dell multimedia keyboard and optical mouse------------+25
d. dell multimedia keyboard and premium optical mouse-----+35
e. microsoft silver multimedia keyboard and optical mouse-----+50
f. logitech cordless desktop keyboard and mouse --------------+50

i'm leaning towards B. what is the difference between optical and premium optical? and what's a multimedia keyboard compared to a regular one?

10. BLUETOOTH OPTIONS
a. None
b. Dell Bluetooth Wireless Media Hub---------------------+40
c. Dell Bluetoth Wireless Media Hub+VOIP Stereo Headset------+90
d. b. Dell Bluetooth Wireless Media Hub +Keyboard/Mouse----------+100
e. c. Dell Bluetoth Wireless Media Hub+VOIP Stereo Headset +Keyboard/Mouse---+150

I don't know what a bluetooth media hub would do

11. MEDIA READER
a. None
b. Dell 19 in 1 Media Card Reader----+20
c. 3.5in Floppy Drive-------------------+3.5

i'm thinking A.

12. MODEM AND WIRELESS
a. Internal PCI 802.11g WIreless Network Card
b. Data/Fax Modem plus 802.11b/g wireless PCI card
c. Dell 1505 Wireless-N PCle Card-----------------------------+40

this is an area i'd really like help as well. he will be keeping the old computer so this would be the second computer in the house and probably not near a phone line. i'm not sure what the difference is between the options though.

13. OPTIONAL PORTS
a. None
b. IEEE 1394a Adapter------+30

does anyone know what that does?


it also comes with this list of software, accessories and service

no speakers
30 day virus protection
microsoft works (not word)
1 Year in-home service, Parts+Labor
3GB datasafe online backup for 1 year (i don't know what that is)
Integrated 10/100 Ethernet (don't know what that is either)

they are also offering to sell me
Netgear WGR61454 Mbps, Standard G, Firewall Wireless Router for $45. should i get it?

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ekeown
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Post by ekeown » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:59 pm

1) Choice D is overkill, but it is the newest processor and is a good value over C, since it's faster and has 4 processing cores instead of 2 like all the overs listed. A processing core handles the brunt of the processor's work, so having 4 cores is almost the equivalent of having 4 separate processors. If you are looking to use this machine for a long time, I'd go with C or D, but if you just looking to save money, and do basic office work, like running Microsoft Office, internet usage, etc you can get away with A or B. If you are truly looking to save money, go with A because you will not be able to see the 200MHz speed difference between A & B.

2) If the machine is going to be put on a network domain you'll need to get Vista Business, if not Vista Home Premium will be fine. Vista Ultimate combines all the features of both the Home versions and Business versions, in case you are wondering. Ignore option B, and the easy transfer is not needed.

3) a 17 inch wide screen is about as tall as a 15 inch 4:3 aspect, so it will be small by today's standards. Deal isn't the absolute cheapest, but they are competitively priced. You could probably find a deal that is a little cheaper, but in my opinion it's not worth the extra trouble and waiting to find a deal.

4) MHz are Megahertz and are basically a measure of speed. The higher the number the faster it is. Ram is the cheapest and MOST important upgrade you can do to a machine. If you are running Vista with all the features,you need at least 2 gigs. Remember you can always add more, and in this case, Dell isn't as competitively priced as others like Newegg.com. B will be fine, but if you are going to spurge in one category, this would be it.

5) A is fine

6) You'd want 2 drives to speed up data copy directly from discs when burning, and as a matter of convenience. However, A is fine.

7) The difference between ATI and nVidia is just the brand, it's just preference. The more you spend here the better WoW will look and run smoother. A will work fine, B/D will look better, C/D will look best and more likely let you play future computer games. If you care, you can google for comparisons between B/D and C/D to find out which is the better of each pair. For the business needs, A is enough though.

8) It's just the sound option. If you are going to have some high end speaker set up, than C, otherwise A.

9) Premium has extra buttons. A Multimedia keyboard has extra buttons to control things like volume, play/pause, stop, etc... that a normal keyboard does not.

10) If you don't know you probably won't use it, so forget it.

11) If you don't need quick access to media cards, or a floppy drive, then A is fine.

12) A is a standard wireless card, B is a standard wireless card AND an old fashion dial up/fax modem, C is the newest type of wireless card, to even get the full use out of it, you'd probably need to replace your existing wireless hardware. I'd say go with A or B depending on the fax needs

13) IEEE 1394 is also known as firewire, it's a rival formate to USB and not as widely used anymore. If you don't have a firewire/IEEE 1394 device don't get it

I wouldn't buy anything else at they are offering.
Eric
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http://www.hungryandhollow.com

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Rob
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Post by Rob » Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:33 pm

thanks a lot for those answers.

i've since realized that after 2 year warrenty, $25 speakers and 3 years of virus protection it will come to $1,140. quite a bit more than he wanted to pay.

in the next couple days we will go to best buy to look at them and to a local computer shop to see how much they would make one for.
we will probably give them the list of the choices that sounded good off of the list here

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Post by ekeown » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:02 pm

Don't forget to try outlet.dell.com, where Dell sells there refurbished machines. You don't get to configure the machines, but you get a pretty good deal.
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Rob
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Post by Rob » Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:56 am

we figured this would be good for a computer

-intel core Dduo processor E6550 4MB
-windows xp (Windows Vista Premium if not available)
-17 Inch Flat
-2 gig 667MHz 2DIMMS
-100 GB with Data Burst Cache (or smallest option larger than this)
-16x DVD+/- RW Drive
-ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro 128 MB
-Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
-dell keyboard and optical mouse
-no Bluetooth options
-no media reader
-Data/Fax Modem plus 802.11b/g wireless PCI card
-3 year virus protection
-2 year warrenty
-wireless router


yesterday in the mail however dell sent us a pamphlet for sales on computers.
maybe ekeown you are familiar wiht it? the Vostro 200 Slim Tower is looking like what we want. here are the listed specs

-intel Core 2 Duo Processor (what we wanted
-windows XP or windows vista
-2GB DDR2
-250 GB HD
-16x DVD+/- RW Drive
-Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100
-1 year limited warrenty
-20' widescreen flat

all this for just $500
i'm guessing i would then have to get 3 years of virus protection for an extra $150 or so and then an extra year of warrenty for $100 right?

also i was quite surprised they offered windows xp. i thought they were trying to force vista on us. would it be wise to go with xp?

we wanted the 128 MB video card, but this comes with the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100. would that be passable for wow?

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Post by ekeown » Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:46 pm

Vostro is just Dell's business oriented budget line. The choice between XP and Vista is up to you, XP can be more stable and is more commonly used. I've had no problems with Vista on my laptop, but I mainly use XP at work and at home. You can always get XP and later upgrade to Vista. The integrated video card is definitely not as good as a 128MB card, but it will run WoW (probably not at the highest settings though).
Eric
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Rob
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Post by Rob » Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:18 pm

ok, thanks.

as it turned out the one we were looking for was a slim tower and we would not be able to put in a video card at all, ever.

the next best option we found after that came to $960. they suckered us in with a price of $800 but there were so many great upgrade options that we went up to $960.

heh, i am now saying we in the sense that i am going to buy one for myself as well, so we are talking more like $1,900 at this point. i was going to get one in about 6 months. a couple months before my girlfriend moves out to college so she could take my old comp and play warcraft with me on it.
they have this sale thoug which takes like $450 off the price and i weighed that opportunity to be better than waiting for the better cheaper technology 6 months from now.

this computer has among other things,
an intel quad processor
2 gigs of ram
256 Video card
22' flat screen
dvd burner
250 gig HD
2 year warrenty

the only thing i'm holding off for now is xp or vista. i'm still up in the air but leaning xp.

ekeown, people tell me that to get more than 3 gigs ram to work on vista or xp you need to upgrade to a special version of vista.
that would include reformatting your computer and buying the new operating system right?

if that's the case, i would hvae to upgrade the ram in a couple years anyway and it wouldn't matter if i upgraded to the new vista from old vista or xp, so i might as well go with xp now and not worry about it being obsolete in a while?

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Post by ekeown » Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:02 pm

Rob wrote: ekeown, people tell me that to get more than 3 gigs ram to work on vista or xp you need to upgrade to a special version of vista.
that would include reformatting your computer and buying the new operating system right?

if that's the case, i would hvae to upgrade the ram in a couple years anyway and it wouldn't matter if i upgraded to the new vista from old vista or xp, so i might as well go with xp now and not worry about it being obsolete in a while?
XP supports a maximum of 4GB of RAM for Home, Media Center, and Professional. The lowest versions of Vista (Home Basic, and Home) support 8GB, then goes up to 16GB for Home Premium, while the higher end versions (Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate) take up to 128GB of RAM (though no system currently available can hold that much). So who ever told you 3GB is wrong. I'd like to point out that your computer probably will only support a maximum of 4GB, so anything beyond 4GB doesn't matter.

You can upgrade to a higher version of Vista, from a Vista machine without reformatting. You can also upgrade from XP to Vista without formating but i won't recommend it. In either case a fresh install is always the better thing to do.
Eric
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Post by EverclearGTFABA » Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:01 am

My face melted halfway through attempting to read this thread.

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