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Old 04-19-2006, 07:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Advice on buying a computer for college

I'm going off to college this fall and I'm beginning to look for a computer. Right now I am looking at dells (please dont hit me). Ive noticed that a lot of people here dont seem to like dells, but my family has owned two of them (brother's college computer and our family computer) and they have been great for us...

Anyway, ontop of general collegework, this computer will be used for a good deal of multimedia (movies, tv, music, video/music/photo editing) Dell seems to be offering the best values for my pricerange ( <2000 )

Dell Dimension e510
dual core 2.8ghz pentium d 820
xp media center 2005
tv tuner / remote
1 GB dual channel ddr2 sdram
250GB hard drive
16x dvd rom
16x dvd +/- rw w/ dbl layer write
flopy drive
19 in. ultrasharp flatpannel
256MB PCI Express™ x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon X600 SE HyperMemory
Sound Blaster Audigy™2 ZS (D) Card w/Dolby 5.1, and IEEE 1394
5.1 100 Watt Surround Sound Speaker System with Subwoofer
multimedia keybpard / optical mouse
4 year warranty
4 year accidental damage coverage

for 1561 dollars (currently on sale)
good deal?

I prefer PC over mac and i'm not keen on building my own computer... And this thing has to last me 4 years...

any advice?

Ps should i buy as soon as possible or wait until september... when will i likely get the best deal?

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Old 04-19-2006, 07:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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for that type of cash you could have a killer set up, but im afraid that im one of the nicer people on this forum so you might get hit anyways. would you be interested in having someone build it for you? With that bank roll you could put all your dorm mates computers to shame. If you are going to get dual core get amd, they dont have to communicate throught the northbrigde chipset (so ive heard) which means pentiums dual core isnt as efficient as amd's, but if you would rather spend 1500$ on a premade dell, sigh, thats not an awful deal. you will probably want to look into some more ram, 2 gig for video editing would be better

edit: you are getting a good deal of peripherils (sorry i cant spell) like the printer, and the tv tuner and things of that nature but when you buy a premade computer its easy to think things cost more than they do (ie printer/scanner/copier) meaning an all in one printer runs for about 65$ depending on how nice, and that dual core processor (intel) is just over 200$ but you would assume its much more exspensive the only thing you are getting from dell that you couldnt from someone who would build it for you is a warranty... and i think we can all aggree dells warranty/help services are less than par

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Old 04-19-2006, 08:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That would be a nice system for your needs, but you could save a bunch of money buy building it yourself. Id guess maybe 400 bucks saved. If you want dual core at a cheap price that intel CPU is fine, but if you dish a bit more for AMD it would be much better. Id suggest the AMD 3800 X2 for 295 dollars.
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I might be interested in having someone build me a computer... the biggest issue would be dependability, i guess id rather buy from a well known company... 2 gigs RAM from dell would run me $160 more which is doable.

Does anyone have any advice on the video card (256MB PCI Express™ x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon X600 SE HyperMemory) i know its not the greatest ever made, but is it decent?

With out the warranty the above computer would cost me $1300
without all of the peripherals it would be $900
how much less would a comparable system cost me if i had someone build it for me? I do know some tech heads, so i might not have to pay them much for "labor"...

EDIT... i guess slick_tech15 kind of answered that question while i typed it...
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally posted by triskit
I might be interested in having someone build me a computer... the biggest issue would be dependability
Dependibility=Dell? I learn something new everyday...

Seriously, why not build it YOURSELF? I tell people this all the time (they never believe me but it's true); I've had more trouble screwing lightbulbs into lamps than building computers.

And no, that video card isn't even what I would consider decent anymore...

Debian Support Forums!
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That video cards is considered "expired" so it will definately not last you 4 years.

Dell are good computers for people who know just the basics, and just need something to surf the net and use word. Once you get into more professional usage of a pc, you will need to look at higher end hardware.

With your price range, you are looking at:
opteron 165
939 mobo (your choice)
2x1gb ddr400 ram
2x160gb hard drives
My current specs:
i7 920
Biostar TPower x58
3x2GB g.skill
XFI GTX260 Black Edition
640 WD Caviar Black
Vista Home Premium x64
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i am good with tech in general... i can put stuff together
that being said ive never put a computer together myself and i have no idea what is involved...

my brother built his own a few years ago, but it only lasted a couple years before the motherboard fried. Is this common amoung "amateurs" or did he probly just buy a crappy motherboard.. er what?

in any case, if i did decide to build it myself, where should i look to find everything?

video card
hard drive
optical drive
operating system
i dont know much about any of these things, so any suggestions for my pricerange and where i can find then would be appreciated
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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it could have been a faulty motherboard, or it could have been he was overclocking and messed something up, either way SAY that u build your computer (oh by the way dell uses generic memory so u could probably buy the same sh*t and install it yourself for maaaaybe 60$) but if the only problem he had was a fried motherboard after a few years, thats only like a 100$ replacement

oh and your last question
NEWEGG.COM cheapest and fastest place to buy from... shipping is a little much sometimes but eh cant win em all.. other than cables and fans thats where i buy (and probably most people on TF) buy all their stuff... i get my fans from companies that charge pennies for shipping, saves a couple bucks

you can either ask peolpe on TF how to put on together which i recomend and/or have your brother help. once you start getting into games/editinig things like that you will be extremely happy you have the fastest cpu and a kick a$$ comp

mostly everything in a computer is plug n play (once os is installed) its impossible to mess up wireing and if you looked at the inside of a computer for 5 minutes you could figure out how to plug things in... scariest part is the heatsink and cpu installation but its no biggy once you do it!
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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NEWEGG.COM cheapest and fastest place to buy from
Fastest, yes. Cheapest... not always.

If you are headed off to college, you may want to consider a laptop. I just bought my daughter a Toshibe Satellite M65-S9092. It has a 2.0GHz P-M, 1 gig RAM, 100 gig hard drive, ATI X600 graphics card, and a 17" widescreen (it is friggin' HUGE)... and I got it for $1249.99 plus shipping (which was like $20).

Go to (just a price comparison site), click Computers, click Computer Systems, click Notebooks, then start choosing options on the left. Be sure to check to see if the notebook you are intersted in has a discreet graphics card by clicking on the Product Details tab when viewing the prices of the notebook... scroll down the Video Chipset listing, which is the eighth line down in the Quick Glance section (second section).

Antec 300 Illusion / Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W / EVGA GTX 760 2GB
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Trotter
[B]Fastest, yes. Cheapest... not always.

i was really just talking about a desktop but i understand what you mean. thats a pretty nice laptop for 1200

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