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Old 02-20-2006, 03:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help choosing a new PC

Ok... well it's time to retire my trusty Dell L800r and pick up something that will better fit my needs... I am on a pretty tight budget, but will not consider wasting my money on something I won't be happy with (I'm currently considering a Dell in the $600 range, so I'd like to stay around there)... I don't play games on my computer, but I do download quite a bit - movies, music, programs, etc... I do a lot of movie conversions, ripping, and burning... I also hop around and have many programs and windows open at the same time... the only reason I'm upgrading is for speed... HD space isn't a big issue, as I can always add or upgrade the part... I can build one from scratch, as I have the technical knowledge to put one together, just not the product knowledge to pick out whats best for me... I'm wanting to use my PC as a media center, and use my monitor for a TV in my bedroom... any suggestions? Thanks in advance for the help...

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Old 02-20-2006, 04:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It sounds like you're looking for a PC that ought to cost more than $600. If you have the technical knowledge with the hdd's, then Im sure you can build your own, which allows better customization, satisfaction and is more fun. I would spend about $800 on building a AMD dual core setup, and $600 on a 26" LCD TV, great deals on

Let us know if this busget is ok, and I'm sure someone will list out some nice specs.

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Old 02-20-2006, 04:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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$800's a little high, but if I'm building it myself I guess I could spread the cost out over a bit of time... besides being able to enjoy my own work, what are the main benefits I'll get out of building my own? What parts should I use in building my own that I won't get out of a store-bought PC? I'm in no big hurry, so I'd like to do this right, since I plan on keeping it for quite awhile.
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Old 02-20-2006, 04:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Building your own will save you money over buying an equal machine made by dell or alienware, or any prebuilt. You also have a lot more options to choose from. Dell, emachines, gateway, etc, use a lot of proprietary and/or ****ty parts. If you build a $600 machine, then you will have a much more solid build (assuming you get good parts) than any Dell will make.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That's a good point... I guess I should begin with the motherboard... anyone got any suggestions on a low cost board that would fit my needs? Again, no games, but I'd like enough space to run a minimum of 4 HDs, 2 DVD+RW, and a standard floppy ( I know, I know, but I do use it sometimes )... And I definitely want a P4, no celeron...
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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First off, I think you'll be much more satisfied with an Athlon 64 instead of a Pentium 4. Next, why 4 HD's? You can get 4 small ones or 1 large one that has as much space as the 4 small ones.
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Old 02-22-2006, 12:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info on the Athlon... I'll have to find a comparison... as for the HDs, I'm considering two large HDs for movie storage... I may opt for an external source with a terabyte worth of space ( I know it's well out of the budget, but I may decide to go this route later)... as for the other two, that's simply for a RAID configuration for performance... so what's the deal with these "dual-core" processor chips? would this be money well spent in my case?

*edited to add*
That was a great call on the Athlon 64... I found a great site to do a few comparisons ( ) and it clearly showed that the Athlon 64 FX51 is the way for me to go... thank you very much... now where to find the best price on one?
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Old 02-22-2006, 12:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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austinbrtndr - What you described as your intended use does not require 64 bit system. The MSI mobo KT880 Delta is a completely adequate motherboard. AMD cpu 3200XP is perfect. These two items should cost no more than 50 and 75 respectively. The two items you should not skimp on is the power supply (450W min) and the video card. If you want TV capabilities, you need an ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 9800 Pro, or better. These two are where you will spend the most money. And last, with your downloading large files, I would go with a Western Digital 7200 rpm, 80 GB internal hard drive. For storing all your movies, I'd go with an external hd, at least 500GB. This way, as long as you only connect the exhd when you have something to add, any viruses or trojans or worms will not corrupt these files.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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well, it looks like I have my work cut out for me with researching what's available. I think I've actually scored a p/t job at a local computer store that can't really afford to pay me, so I've agreed to work in exchange for parts. That should make the job of building the perfect computer (for me) a little less painful, and also give me the chance to work with some other computers and see what will work best for me... Since I am in this situation, I think I should just build the best computer I can with the best parts I can get my hands on, as I don't think this job will actually last very long, and I really don't want to have to upgrade for quite some time...
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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since you're dealing with video encoding/decoding and not much games intel is definitely the choice for you. you're even good with integrated video, but if you need a DVI out, then a cheap video card will do. these are some recommendations...

mobo w/ integrated video. (and pci-express slot) $56

cpu dual-core 90nm 2.66ghz 805 smithfield $135

ram 1gb dual channel corsair value $67

WD 250gb HD $96

case w/ quality psu $90

sony dvd-burner $38

sony dvd-rom $21 (not really necessary)

and if you need a dvi out then you'll also need a cheap vid card.. like this: saphire x550 $59 ($49 after mail in rebate)

total: $561

if you take out vid card and a dvd-rom and add some $ then you can upgrade that cpu, or get a bigger (or another) hard drive.

good luck

"Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo! Virtue is at hand." -Confucius
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