Help Choosing a Computer

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by eric-holmes, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My wife and I are thinking about upgrading computers. We currently have a Gateway and we have never had a problem with it. But it seems like it is getting dated. We have had it for four years now. It doesn't have a whole lot of memory and is really starting to sslloooowww down. We currently have this Gateway Support - Specifications computer. We would mainly use the computer for internet usage. We like to download music and watch youtube videos also. I would also use this for picture storage and editing. I use photoshop.

    Any input would be great. We have about a $500-$600 budget. Do either of these look good? Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!
     
  2. clarinetJWD

    clarinetJWD The Naked Spammer Staff Member

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    Honestly, I have a tough time deciding between the two. The processors have minor performance differences, the i3 being the faster overall, but the Phenom being better at multithreaded applications. The Phenom system has more RAM, but the i3 has faster RAM. The Phenom has a better graphics card (albeit not particularly great)

    Here's what it boils down to:

    The i3 is a more modern system. The i3, the chipset, and the RAM are all from the current generation, but they are the low end of the current generation.

    The Phenom is all last generation parts, built to compete with Intel's Core line, not the 'i' line, however, it was upper/middle end from last generation.

    My bet is that the i3 system will be slightly faster at single tasks, while the Phenom will be better for many tasks at once. (Dual core vs. quad core). If it was my money, I would walk away with the Phenom system for a few reasons: The performance differences are negligible at worst, it's a quad-core, it has more commonly available and cheaper upgrade parts being a last gen system, and it will be more flexible.

    Really, I would take the $600 and build my own computer. Trust me, it would be out of this league, but I also know that most people are apprehensive of this.
     
  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Graphics card !!!
    You need a system with a good Graphics card, a current processor, and lots of memory.
     
  4. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes I would be extremely apprehensive about this. I would not even know where to begin. Thank you for your well thought out reply.

    would I really need that good of a graphics card? We do not do any gaming.
     
  5. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I play around with Adobe CS4 on my old system:

    Intel P4 2GHz (Hyperthreading)
    2GB RAM
    Nvidea GeForge 9500GT with 1GB memory
    Windows XP

    I would not use PhotoShop with an onboard graphics card.
     
  6. RancerDS

    RancerDS TPF Noob!

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    Guy who I had met on Craigslist sells me computer equipment on the cheap a lot of time. He offered a board with an Intel dual core for $180. So you just need to consider around $60-100 for power supply (PSU), $30-50 for 2Gb RAM or double that amount for 4Gb. Hard drive, you can get a terrabyte for around $100. That leaves the case and an extra CD-DVD RW drive and the video card. You can spend as little as $50 or as much as $300 on that aspect, but the card doesn't need to be over $100 if you aren't going to play high-end graphical games like Farcry 2 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Dual cores and socket 775 boards will continue to drop in price a bit while the DDR2 memory is going to continue to fluctuate up and down.

    That leaves you with having to choose an operating system. Windows 7 (OEM version) or something like PC-BSD for a free OS.
     
  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Another free choice ... Linux (Operating System) + GIMP (similar to Adobe Photoshop)

    I only paid $70.00 for my video card.
     
  8. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm sorry. I don't think I am u derstanding what you mean about having a good graphics card.
     
  9. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Those Gateway computers:

    Graphics GPU/VPU Type Intel GMA X4500HD Graphics Interface

    That is an integrated graphics card on the motherboard .... you should get a dedicated Graphics card with ample memory.
     
  10. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ok, I think I am understanding you. Can you upgrade to a better graphics card if need be? What would be the benefit of an upgraded graphics card if you're not a gamer?
     
  11. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Editing image files on a computer requires the usage of the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit).
    Gamers require a graphics card that can handle high resolution and frame rate cards ... imaging users gain the same benefits from a good graphics card.

    Most integrated graphics cards share memory of the system and generally have weak GPU's.

    A dedicated Graphics card will reduce processing time ... ie it used to take about 5 min to rotate a large image file in Photoshop.

    Most Desktop PC's will have either an AGP, PCI, or PCIe (Express) bus to insert a dedicated graphics card. New systems use PCIe.

    You could buy either of those Gateways ... and then purchase a dedicated Graphics card.
     
  12. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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