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Old 07-18-2009, 11:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

Hi everyone. I've always owned laptops (always needed the portability) but now I'm at a point where I need (and want) a desktop computer. I know that, optimally, building a computer is the way to go, but at the moment I think my main option is to buy a pre-built system. I've done some research but have a few questions.

1. Is an HDMI connection necessary? I know that many widescreen monitors have DVI connections, and I'd prefer a digital connection, but is HDMI a "must buy?" Or is HDMI mainly for watching true hi-def movies on a computer?

2. This might seem like an elementary question, but is it safe to assume that the principle you-get-what-you-pay-for holds true with desktops? In other words, if I buy a sub-$1000 computer, will I run a much greater risk of faulty components, even if the specs are impressive (e.g., brand name video card)? Or have PCs reached a point where you really do get decent components for reasonable prices?

3. How much RAM should I consider to run Windows Vista 64-bit and either Photoshop CS3 or CS4?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

- no an hdmi connection isnt necessary. you'll be fine with a dvi or vga connection.

- many times, that is the case. sometimes companies like dell, offer a so called "gaming" pc, and while they sometimes throw in an almost decent gfx card, the rest of the parts are probably cheap. some sites like ibuypower.com or cyberpowerpc.com allow you to customize the components that go into the pc, which gives more control of what goes in, but building it yourself would always tell you exactly what you have.

- probably around 6-8 gigs
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

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Originally Posted by Muffin Man View Post
- no an hdmi connection isnt necessary. you'll be fine with a dvi or vga connection.

- many times, that is the case. sometimes companies like dell, offer a so called "gaming" pc, and while they sometimes throw in an almost decent gfx card, the rest of the parts are probably cheap.

- probably around 6-8 gigs
Agree with some of this. A lot of companies do offer gaming computers, but overpriced for what they are. You can get a "customized" gaming computer from many places, and they do have the option for decent name brand hardware. Depending on how much multitasking you're doing, you could get away with 3-4GB, but I agree and recommened 6-8GB of ram so you can be somewhat future proof.
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

4gb and a phenom 2 940 runs cs4 great. Only time it's slowed down for me was when I was messing around with some .nef pictures. 4288 x 2848 RAW picture file, smudging it actually caused a noticeable lagg. But realistically you're never going to use anything that large so its not a big deal.

Edit: On second though, falcon is way over priced, not worth it. Heard gateway isn't too bad, stay away from dell though.
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

Thanks for the replies and all the helpful feedback. I'm trying to be budget-conscious but also find a system that will last a while -- so that means something that isn't dirt cheap and that has enough processor speed, RAM, etc. to handle future applications. I probably won't be gaming with it much -- the main purpose would be photo-editing with Photoshop, and so I'd need to be able to handle a lot of JPGs (which run anywhere from 4-7MB or so) and some RAW files, which of course can be quite large. I may or may not do some basic video editing at some point in the future.

For my purposes, I'm assuming that the chip manufacturer doesn't matter -- that is, Intel or AMD would be fine, provided the chip is the "right" speed?
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

For a basic workstation either Intel or AMD will provide you with plenty of power. But if your going to be working in a memory intensive enviroment then you'll want to pay more and go with an Intel Core i7 cpu and at least 6 GB of ram.
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

Slaymate, thanks for the recommendation. I just looked up the i7 online -- I don't know much about CPUs, but that thing seems pretty impressive.
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

Impressive it is And it's a Monster at creating Memory Bandwidth which it sounds like you'll need. The i7 920 is the one to look at. You can't beat the price compared to the other i7's.
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Old 07-19-2009, 05:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

Out of curiosity, would the i7 chip be overkill in a way -- in other words, could I save cash by getting a dual or "basic" quad core chip if my main goal is photo-editing and still get more than satisfactory performance?
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Old 07-19-2009, 05:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying First Desktop and Have Some Questions

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Out of curiosity, would the i7 chip be overkill in a way -- in other words, could I save cash by getting a dual or "basic" quad core chip if my main goal is photo-editing and still get more than satisfactory performance?
You could definitely get satisfactory performance by going with, say, an AMD phenom II quad core. Plus you would save a good wad of cash. But if you want the fastest there is, it's gonna be the i7.
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