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Old 10-11-2004, 10:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Buying computer

Hi All,

I have a friend who seeks to buy a computer for her son for Xmas. Her son is 14 and says he will be using it for Internet, School Work, and he claims, only a little games. He plays the war game SoCom, and I'm sure he'll be playing more as he gets older.

What kind of specs should they be looking for???

They don't want to spend too much money, and, don't want to buy a computer that will be obsolete in a year. He's not a big gamer, so he doesn't need top of the line, but the capability should be there for a game here and there for the next few years.

Also, should they go with a name brand like DELL, or get a no-name from a computer Expo. Your advice would be appreciated.
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Old 10-11-2004, 10:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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How much is the budget? That would help. Other wise go for something in the AMD area.
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Old 10-11-2004, 10:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Under $1000US for a computer and flat screen monitor. The less expensive the better. Oh, and he wants a CD Burner, which you have inlcuded in your suggestion. How much would your suggestion run?
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Old 10-11-2004, 10:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You can go 64-bit for under 1000$ I've built one for my friend. Just go on Newegg.com and configure one.
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Old 10-11-2004, 10:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Personally, no one here will recommend a dell or anything of the sort. Worst case we'd tell you to goto a local company if you don't want to buy online. But!...

I've found that sometimes it's just better to have computer illiterate people or families buy a computer that it fully warrentied in case of anything, which would mean going with dell or something. Really it's gonna be up to you. Dell's really aren't bad, except that their hardware is generic, made for them. You won't see the same kind of results as if you have bought a computer peice by peice or even from a local store. Dells come with the whole kit'n'kabootle though...

Someone else will ellaborate on that topic, anyways...

You'll wanna be looking for something like this:

CPU:
Intel 3.0C Ghz 800FSB (Core: NW) - $190
Intel 2.6C Ghz 800FSB (Core: NW) - $162

Motherboard:
Asus P4P800-VM - $91
Asus P4P800S - $70

Memory:
Kingston Hyper-X
PC3200 2x256 - $135
PC3200 2x512 - $255

Video:
ATI 9800 PRO - $260
ATI 9600 PRO - $110

Hard drive:
Western Digi 120G 8MB Cache - $85

CD-Rom:
$30

Case:
$40

LCD Monitor:
ViewSonic 17"
$360-380

Total: (The Lowest prices per category)
$992

At this, the computer will be great for a couple of years considering what he's using it for, but if he decides to buy a really big game in the coming years, he'll be looking for an upgrade. Hope this helped, good luck
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Old 10-11-2004, 11:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Companies such as Dell, HP, emachines, etc. target families and people who no nothing about computers. The main problem with these systems is they make them so you cannot upgrade them intentionally. The logic is that computer illiterate people will return to companies like Dell for a new computer when the old one goes outdated, when really all they would need to do is get a new graphics card or a RAM upgrade or something if that option was available. If you do get one of these systems, you will want to spend at least $1000 on it. Getting one of those cheap $400 models is not advised because it will be a nightmare for any type of gaming and they usually include Celeron processors which suck at about everything. I would advise however that you get your system custom built at a local computer store. That way, you would not have to build yourself but your system would still have quality parts and be upgradable.
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Old 10-11-2004, 12:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Would you be able to build it your self, or dont you want to? That would change things.
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Old 10-11-2004, 12:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Despite what many would say, I wouldn't suggest a self-build to the non tech-savvy. It is very easy if you know what you're doing, but if you've never even messed with computers, it can be a little intimidating. If you want to build yourself, read up on hardware, etc, before attempting it. There are many critical things in the process and mistakes can be expensive.
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Old 10-11-2004, 03:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've never built a computer from scratch, though I've made upgrades many times. I have enough knowledge to know how to modify computers, but I'm about 3 years behind on what today's standards are for computers. I remember in the past companies would try to sell the minimum required memory card with a graphics card that would be top of the line for the next 3 years. This is why I stay away from mainstream computer names, as well as padding the price for the name and the "technical support".

So, I've played with hardware before, but as it stands today, far from computer savvy. I find it easier to replace a cd player with another cd player than try to install one without seeing where it belongs in the first place. What I typically do is go to a computer expo and have them build a computer for me for about $400.

Since this is a request for someone's son, it's specifications differ from mine and I have no clue what's needed for a computer that may play an intense graphic/sound/internet bandwith game like SoCom and Counter Strike, etc. Throw in the limited budget, and I'm at a loss of what to tell them. Hope that makes sense.
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Old 10-13-2004, 02:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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those games really aren't that graphic intense.. the 9600 pro would do great for those games, but more than likely he'll want to play some kind of new game in the upcoming years and that card will be outdated by the end of this year. The motherboards I picked have on board sound, as most do now a days and that will do find for what he needs it for. If ever he wants surround sound he'll have to upgrade to a 5.1 sound card.
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