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Old 03-09-2007, 09:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help Choosing a PC

Hi there

My first and only PC that I've been using for quite some time now is a Pentium III 1Gig with 512Mb of ram and a really dodgy Fastfame mainboard. I'm not a hardcore gamer but I would like to be able to play a decent game now and then (but that's not essential). I work with Photoshop and Illustrator a lot and I also use the PC for video capture and copying DVD's.

I'm finally getting round to upgrading and at the moment I've got 2 choices (Unfortunately, since I live in Southern Africa choice is not a commodity in large supply). Both are at the top end of my budget (which is not much). The main differences are:

PC1: Has an ASUS P5B-vm mainboard with 512Mb of DDR2-800 ram and a Core 2 Duo E4300 PCU, and
PC2: Has an ASUS P5LD2-vm mainboard with 512Mb of DDR2-667 ram and a Core 2 Duo E6300 PCU

Everything else is the same for each machine. I was hoping for a bit of advice from people who know a bit more (probably a lot more) about these sorts of things than I do, so what do you reckon? Which one should I go for? - and why?

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Old 03-09-2007, 11:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There probably will not be a noticable difference in either one, but I would personally go with the slightly faster processor if I had to choose one.

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Old 03-09-2007, 04:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Mantis-X, PC2 is a bit cheaper despite the better CPU so I was wondering how the different mainboard and slower ram would affect overall performance. If there isn't a huge difference then that's ok, given that I'm upgrading from a Pentium III I'd imagine the jump will be huge regardless of which option I decide to go for.
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The mainboard and RAM will be almost no difference. Especially since you're coming off a P3.

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Old 03-10-2007, 04:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks M733mhz
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Old 03-10-2007, 12:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with M733mhz that the performance you'd see between the two speeds of memory would be negligible. That said, if you are moving up from Windows 2000 (or Windows SE or 98) to Windows XP, you may want to consider going to 1 GB of RAM. Windows XP will take up a sizable portion of that 512 MB. Since 667 MHz DDR2 RAM is slightly cheaper than 800 MHz DDR2 RAM, maybe you can swing it.

512 MB of RAM would probably be enough if you were just doing email, browsing the web, and word processing. However, the two apps you want to use - Photoshop and Illustrator - can be incredible memory hogs in their own right. However much RAM you buy, they'll be glad to use it all.

The differences I know of between the E4300 and the E6300 are the the E6300 has Intel Virtualization Technology and a slightly faster front side bus (FSB). Intel Virtualization Technology would most likely never be of concern for you. The faster FSB does give the E6300 a slight edge in benchmarks I've seen. Given that the two prices are similar at least in this case, I'd take the E6300.

Video editing requires a decent CPU and fairly fast disk. Either of those CPUs is up to the task. I would guess that you're looking at a 3.0 Mb/sec SATA hard disk in the new machine, so that should work well. (Especially true given the machine you have now.)
Case: Enermax CS-A106USB
Motherboard: ASUS P5N32-E SLI
CPU: Intel E6300(idle 35C/load 39C)
RAM: OCZ Platinum Rev 2 DDR2 800 MHz (4 x 1GB) 4-4-4-15-T1 (2.1v)
Hard Disk: Seagate 2x250GB SATA ST3250620AS in RAID1
Monitor: Mitsubishi DP900u
Graphics: BFG GeForce 8800GT PCI-E
Sound: SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatal1ty
Speakers: Klipsch ProMedia v.2-400 4.1 speakers
Optical: LiteOn 16X DVD-ROM; Sony DRU-710A DVD-RW
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Old 03-11-2007, 04:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks Capricorn, I'm using Windows XP now, and you are right, Photoshop and Illustrator do run a bit slow. A couple of friends have also suggested more ram, maybe I'll sell the cat...

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