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Old 01-31-2007, 04:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Couple of questions (noob at computers)

1. What is the lifespan of a computer and how could I be able to prolong it?

2. Is it possible to build a computer within $600 with good gaming performance? If so, care to tell me or show me a link to a good build? If not possible, what should the price be?
(Because I want a computer that doesn't load up past the loading screen slowly, and doesn't have the so-called "lag" or bad frame per second)
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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1) I'd say there are two different definitions of lifespan for a computer. The first, I'd call "Useful Lifespan", or how long a computer can be expected to keep up with software in general. In this category I'd say the average computer has a useful lifespan of 2 to 4 years, depending on how good it was initially. If you don't game, add maybe 2 years.

The second definition of lifespan would be in the technical sense, ie: how long the components last until physical failure. Some components (such as the power supply or hard drive) are more prone to failure than others (processor or motherboard). You can expect a power supply to last around 2-3 years, a hard drive maybe 5, and processor, memory, motherboard etc perhaps 10 years and beyond.

I'm just speaking based on my personal experience here. Your mileage may vary.

2) Uhm. A budget of $600 seems too little for a gaming rig, but I like challenges. I'll try to make you a build.

I'm assuming you already have a monitor, mouse and keyboard.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86Ghz - $187
Motherboard: Asus P5L-MX Intel 945G Micro ATX - $75.99
Memory: Kingston ValueRam 1GB DDR2-667 - $85.49
Video Card: eVGA GeForce 7600GT 256MB - $119.99
Hard Drive: Western Digital 160GB Sata 3.0Gb/s - $52.99
DVD Drive: LG 18X Super-Multi DVD+/-RW - $29.99
Case: Raidmax Scorpio w/ 420W (20A on +12V) PSU - $45.99

Total: $597.44 + Shipping

Within budget! Whew, that took a lot of tweaking!
Now, pros and cons.

PROS
1) Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 processor - an excellent CPU (I have one).
2) The 7600GT video card should let you play most games in the market right now, with mid to high settings (I have one too, lol).
3) 160GB Hard Drive and 18X DVD burner.

CONS
1) Only 1GB of RAM. You can always add a second GB later when you save some money. I do alright with 1 GB of RAM.
2) Motherboard is a bit cheap and has a 2GB max memory capacity, which may be a problem in the future.
3) The power supply included with the case is of unknown quality and isn't very powerful (everyone around here will tell you case-included power supplies suck). Personally, I survive with a PSU very much like the one included in that case.

In my opinion that's the very minimum for a gaming build. Couldn't be any cheaper. My current computer is not too different from what I propose here, and I play most games (BF2, FEAR, etc) with high quality settings and good frame rate.
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
1) I'd say there are two different definitions of lifespan for a computer...
The physical lifespan...you can always renew the hard drive and power supply by just taking it out, buying and installing in a new one right? and there wouldn't be anything wrong with the computer?

Quote:
2) Uhm. A budget of $600 seems too little for a gaming rig, but I like challenges. I'll try to make you a build...
Heh, my computer is pretty crappy; I run a game with half performance/quality and I have a 256 MB of RAM..i just wished the game ran smoother and i could be able to load fast even with high quality settings...

as for the motherboard and the memory space...what exactly is that? is it very necessary? and what is the effects of having a "2GB max memory capacity" vs. a gaming one?

Thanks
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by turboxchaz
The physical lifespan...you can always renew the hard drive and power supply by just taking it out, buying and installing in a new one right? and there wouldn't be anything wrong with the computer?
Of course! What you have to realize is that a computer will become obsolete (too slow to run new programs, specially games) long before its components start to fail. So the really meaningful concept here is the "useful lifespan".

Quote:
as for the motherboard and the memory space...what exactly is that? is it very necessary? and what is the effects of having a "2GB max memory capacity" vs. a gaming one?
The motherboard is suggested is acceptable. It has all the features I'd consider "very necessary". The rest are luxuries. Having a 4GB memory capacity will make the motherboard last longer. But don't pay too much attention to this; 2GB of memory is enough, and the video card will be obsolete long before you start needing more than 2GB of RAM. (RAM = memory, by the way)

Here's a breakdown of the amount of memory and how it affects performance:

256MB..........Minimum for Windows XP; virtually no gaming capacity.
512MB..........Optimal for Windows XP; some gaming capacity.
1GB..............Enough for some very decent gaming.
2GB..............About maximum for gaming right now.
4GB..............Too much memory; games won't take advantage of it.

Essentially, having 1GB of RAM is enough to play games such as Battlefield 2 very well. People right now shoot for 2GB just to be "on the safe side", but in my opinion it's borderline overkill. More than 2GB at the moment is useless, since games do not require that much memory and won't take advantage of it.

For game performance, the video card is much more important. For instance, it's much, much better to have 1GB of RAM and a good video card than 2GB of RAM and a not-so-good video card.
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Old 01-31-2007, 03:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ahh...I'll be looking through the Build Your Computer guides and stuff, and saving up about $1K or so right now!

Thanks for your help.
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Old 01-31-2007, 03:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The lifespan of the computer highly depends on the quality of the components. If you buy a pre-built Emachines or Dell for $400, don't expect it to last you three years, probably 2-3 until it's outdated, or the power supply fails.

Better quality parts = Longer life!
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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turboxchaz, $1,000 would make an excellent gaming rig. I wish you luck with your project, and if you ever need assistance be sure to drop me a line (either here or via email).

Building yourself is the way to go. You'll have fun, learn and lot, and at the end of the day, you'll feel proud you did it by yourself.
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