I come from a lower-middle income family, raised by a single mother who has worked the same part-time job for all of my life. For most of my life, I relied on Uncle, a computer programmer, for his hand-me-down computers. I have a couple thousand dollars* left from last semester's scholarships and am ready to get a new computer.
I have an excellent monitor, sound system, keyboard, mouse, etc. What I need is a new CPU.
Unfortunately, I spent all of that time getting hand-me-downs and never learned the proper lingo. I know what I need the computer to be able to do, but I don't know what I need to be able to do it.
Here's the set-up: I do small-print independent publishing and other graphic design. I need a workhorse CPU that will allow me to work on high-res images and large files without lag.
I would be working with photoshop, quark express, and dreamweaver, with a good C++ compiler for fun. And, of course, my old faifthful; KnP. Aside from that, I would keep the CPU as clean as possible.
I'm looking for a computer that I can work on, not a computer that's tweaked for gaming.
When I'm comparing prices, what do I need to look for? What can I skimp on? I'm pretty lost and find all of the technical information confusing. Any help would be appreciated...
*(This money is also supposed to pay rent, buy food, and cover emergency expenses, so I want to spend as little of it as I can.)
"All of my life, I had wanted to be a comic book artist. It had been my one dream, my one goal."
-The Disgruntled Artist, Second Story
available at www.geocities.com/magnetmanga
Rule #1: Unless your a porno movie maniac, YOU WILL NEVER EVER need a dvd writer, most of the time its a combo drive, so it costs more, and the speed of your CD writing will go down massively.
Rule #2: AMD isn't as bad as you think, it usually needs a little time to warm up, and needs alot of fans, but its overclocking potential for their processors show incredible rates of speed multiplication.
Rule #3: Unless your only playing click games, or making them, you won't need over 512mb ram, but some newer games, farcry, Unreal 2, imperium galactica 3, usually run better with more then 512mb ram, unreal tournament 2004 is near unplayable without it. Ram is also important for graphic editing, as most GFX progs take alot of memory.
Rule #4: Even though it sounds nice, a harddrive over 80gb is nearly pointless unless your using your computer on the side as a server, or you download alot of illegal movies. But I have a 120gb HD and never break the 75gb remaining point.
Rule #5: Ask the company your buying your computer from, ask them to send restore/format discs, believe me, you'll need them.
Thats the advice I have, many of you may disagree with some of the points I have, but instead of starting a flamewar, sincerely me, send me some hatemail at email@example.com
"Everytime you use Kazaa, a metallica band member dies a little."
Quote Jonathon Smeby.
Ya Im running a brand new "Kenley Built" computer...lol
Acually Im not a computer dude or anything but instead of buying a prebuilt computer I thought I would build one although I never have before...
Anywayz, I bought 512 or whatever mb of RAM and a 2600+ AMD CPU and the motherboard since my old one wouldn't handle the new CPU... Oh and a graphics card...128 GeFOrce FX 5200 or somthing. Also a new case cause my old one was too small..lol
Anywayz it all came to a pirce of only $350 to 400 bucks canadian!
Anywayz, I build it as per the instructions right and it freakin won't turn on!!! So I was like what did I do wrong...I recheck and recheck and recheck until I finally took the case back and got a new case. I guess the problem was the power box wasn't working right..haha
So I build it and it is working awesome..I am really happy with it. I LOVE AMDs although they are a little nmore expensive.
But ya I like to play games on mine so that was the reason for my graphics card..wasn't the best but all I could afford. I also like to do graphic intinsive editing etc.
Hope it helps... What ever you do don't settal right away or you could be rooked..ask lots of questions. My bro got a bad deal on his computer and he spent more for less...
"I have dreamed a dream... But now that dream is gone from me."
I have an 80GB hard disc, and I've been down to 3GB free. It fills up faster than you'd think.
Here's what you need...
CPU: At least 2 GHz (3Ghz if you're a serious gamer). Make sure it's either a Pentium 4 or an Athlon -- Celerons are little more than a really fast crapped out Pentium III.
RAM: At least 512MB (It's hella cheap). I'd personally reccomend 1024 MB if you're doing any serious graphics work.
Hard Disk: The bigger the better, especially if you do a lot of graphics work (I've had photoshop files hit 250 megs), lots of gaming, or work with/download video. 120GB is a reasonable size, but get the biggest that you can. You may not think you'll ever fill it up, but I remember thinking the same thing way back in the day when 230 MEGAbytes was a shit-load of space.
Video Card: This is where it really depends on what you're doing. If you're not a gamer, just get an el cheapo card and don't worry about it. If you're a gamer, spend about $200 -- this will get you a nice middle-end card that will run all your current games but won't bankrupt you either. Considering how fast video card technology evolves, staying on the cutting edge is a waste of time. Most of the videogames that will truly utilize the newest cards are at least a year off -- so wait and buy the card cheap then instead of flushing money down the toilet now.
CD-Burner: The faster the better
DVD Burner: Give it some thought... will you ever use it? To me, it's just a bragging right that could be eliminated in favor of more ram or a faster processor
DVD Drive: Get this if you're into movies, otherwise stick with CD.
Sound Card: If you're a big-time gamer or movie-fantatic, make sure you get a card with at least 5.1 support. The SoundBlaster Live is what I use and it kicks ass. Otherwise, just go with on-board audio and don't worry about it.
Never underestimate the importance of a floppy drive.
If you have broadband, make sure you get an ethernet card.
Beyond that I really don't have a whole lot of advice.
RAM is used for all your graphical/memmory opperations. You'll need atleast 512mb, but unless you play games you won't need more than that.
You don't need nearly as fast of a video card if you don't plan on playing games. Relic sold me one of their old GeForce 2's(64mb card) for $2.
AntiVirus/Firewall use up 100mb RAM, each.
Windows 98 has a RAM CAP of 512mb. If you exceed that windows 98 will not boot.
Windows XP uses 128mb ram. You need 512 - 1024mb ram for winXP.
CPU Speed: I have a 1.7ghz 333mhz processor. The "333mhz" is the pipeline speed. Bigger/Faster Pipeline = faster data transfer. Bigger/Faster Processor speed = faster data processing(good for servers).
The lower speed of the two is commonly referred to as "FSB" in newer processors. P4's and AMD Athlons have higher FSB's. P3's and lower have the FSB capped at 100-133 mhz.(That means you need a P4 or AMD Athlon)
AMD Athlons average extremely high temporatures. Mine averages 70ºC, or 158.00ºF. Newer processors melt at 90ºC, but most likely you'll get the BSOD(blue-screen-of-death) at 80ºC or higher, and your processor will shutdown at 85ºC.
P3's and before melt at as little as 70ºC.
Processor life is directly tied to your CPU's average temperature.
I have Win98 SE, 1.7ghz AMD Athlon 2000+ 333mhz FSB, 512mb ram, and a GeForce2 MX 400(64 mb).
It runs PSP,Dreamweaver, Antivirus, Flash, and netscape at once. It's gets significantly slower each new program after that though.
Edit: I have a C: 9gb, D: 9gb, E: 4gb, and F: 9gb, harddrives.
I have 4gb,2gb,2gb,3gb free on them, correspondingly.
I have 16 games installed. Half of the games are over 1gb in size.
Download Me(my downloads folder) is over 3gb in size. It was much larger until I deleted a copy of Linux I had downloaded.
If you want a good comp but don't want to spend a lot of cash, go to Ubid.com
NOW WAIT, DONT GO YET! You aren’t bidding on some used crap from some guy in Waco, you bid on actual merchandise in the Ubid warehouse, brand new. Ubid is a well known and reputable company.
As for computers, I bought mines from Ubid, here are the specs:
1 Gig ram
120 GB hard drive
HOW MUCH DID IT COST??
About $700 AFTER shipping to Hawaii.
RAM is (also called memory) is how much memory a program can use. If you want to run a whole bunch of programs without your comp crashing, get 512. The minimum you should consider is 256.
GHZ (Gigahertz) is the processor speed. 1.5 GHZ is acceptable but is kind of slow. 3.2 is cutting edge.
Hard Drive and GB (Gigabyte) That is where you save your documents and stuff. GB is the unit of measurement of how much the hard drive can hold. 80 GB is enough, and you can always add more by getting an external hard drive. I just bought a 120 GB Maxtor external hard drive for my movie editing.
Make sure that the hard drive is 7200 RPM and has an 8mb cache buffer, or at least 2mb.
good luck with life, I hope you take my advice.
Steve Zissou: Anne-Marie, do all the interns get Glocks?
Well id go for a computer with a *good* motherboard, i ended up replacing my stupid HP motherboard with a new one for $99(very cheap) and it turned out to be one kick ass motherboard, plus i got a new case and 128mb Radeon.
i have a 2.6ghz Pentium 4 processor and i never have speed issues, only really ram issues sometimes (ive only got 256mb RAM) but 256mb ram isnt too bad, i use Dreamweaver and photoshop and they both run exceptionally well.
overall if all you need is a good Processor id recommend a pentium 4, 2.2Ghz+.
Well, you should probably get at least 1024 megs of RAM since you work on high res images. A fast video card is not needed if you don't play 3D games on it. Since you work on large files you should probably get a large hard drive. 200 gigabytes or higher. As for the CPU, I would get an AMD 64. An AMD 64 2800 should be plenty fast for you.
Edited by the Author.
99 percent chance that the above post is 100 percent correct.
Let's see... running Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and KNP at the same time... you need only about 64 or so MB RAM to run it at full speed. WinXP uses 128 RAM and with Norton Antivirus, add another 64 MB RAM to that. So, you'll need about 256 MB RAM (or less if you use Win 98 and F-Prot Antivirus, which is far better than Norton and downloadable).
With all that, you DON'T need a lot of memory. I've got 80 GB on mine, and after installing *ALL* of my favorite games, I've got about 60 GB left. You only need a lot for storing movies and sound, and unless you're trying to create one of your own, you can always delete an old one. Those who whine about it not being enough probably have some broadband connection and access to a lot of porn sites.
So, a fairly comfortable computer would be...
256 MB RAM (with Windows 9
Pentium 4 with over 1.5 Ghz (yes, AMD is cheap, but Pentium 4's are 10X less likely to fry)
40 GB hard drive
A cheap gfx card like a Geforce 2 or 3 just so you could run almost any program
And all that other useful stuff, like a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.
You really don't need all that extra stuff the other guys say, unless you're playing something slow like Command & Conquer: Generals at max resolution and download a 30 minute long porn movie every day and don't uninstall stuff you never use.
Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in my posts will not be mentioned as that would ruin the purpose. It is assumed that the reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between what is sarcasm and what is not.
OK, I have to disagree with what some of the people have said here.
First of all, I would strongly recommend an Intel processor. Not that I have anything against AMD, but I think AMD is more geared towards gaming rather than work-orientated as it is faster, yet less reliable than Intel. Since you mentioned that you will be doing work with applications, and that you dont want it for games, I would strongly recommend an Intel processor.
Secondly, I have 160GB and I run out of memory quite quickly because I download constantly (hey, I have unlimited downloads and a broadband connection). HDD's are relitavely inexpensive so you can buy a small one, and if you run out, by a second larger HDD to put your files on.
Thirdly, DVD burners are useful (they're not just for movies, Echi). I use mine constantly for backing up data, and transferring files between systems (for example, home and university). But a DVD burner isnt for everyone, however I do recommend at least a CD burner. Just make sure it has buffer underrun protection, and at least a 2mb buffer (the buffer doesnt need to be massive, since you have underrun protection, but it still needs to be decent). It ABSOLUTELY needs to read DVDs though (i.e. CD Read/Write and DVD Read) since a lot of new applications come out on DVD now).
The type of ram you get will depend on the type of motherboard/processor. Speed is not nescessarily a substitute for the amount of RAM, and particularly if you'll be running Windows XP you'll want 512MB. If you're using Photoshop a lot, which you mentioned in your post, then I might even recommend more as graphics programs do use a lot of memory, and you definately dont want to have your system use virtual memory to cope with the load
The speed of the CPU wont make a lot of difference for you, since you'll only be using the system for applications and there is not a lot of difference in CPU speed since this isnt where most of the bottlenecks occur. Anything from 2GHz is a good place to start, and I'd recommend a P4 processor otherwise your computer might not be compatible with future hardware advancements (such as the new types of RAM).
Again, if you'll be doing a lot of graphics, then it's good to have a graphics card with a lot of onboard memory. It'll come with a lot of features you probably wont use, but if you dont have a lot of memory on the GFX card then you're going to be waiting for hours for the computer to do any graphics processing on any large project you may be working on (gfx cards have many optimisations for these sorts of operations). Check the specs here, GeForce cards are popular, and do have plenty of memory, but come with a lot of other features which are expensive. Since you're not a gamer, I cant really give you any advice on a good one to buy, so I suggest you research.
If you're completely confused, I suggest just buying a pre-built computer from a reputable company. Places like DELL often have some good deals, though I hear they have pretty dodgy customer support unless you're a large business.
One thing to remember: NEVER BUY A MOTHERBOARD WITH A BUILT-IN GFX CARD! If you listen to nothing else I've said, for the love of God, please remember that tip
Finally, you need to make sure everything is compatible. This sounds silly, but there are so many different types of everything that you buy one type of RAM, for example, and find it doesnt work with your system. When you decide on what you want, just ask the person at the shop if its all compatible and if they say yes, and it doesnt work, then it's their problem (I should know, I worked in retail for some time )
"Now I guess we're... 'Path-E-Tech Management'" -Dilbert
Ya I like to game and stuff but I don't see what you mean by AMDs being unreliable. I have found every computer that I have owned reliable with an AMD all the time. Maybe Im missing what you mean there thou...
DELLs??? Hahahahahaaaa.... My bro has a freakin DELL and he says its the "power house" ... lol... I don't like Dells
But ya I totally agree and all thou... can you please let me know about the AMD CPUs thou... I would like to know
"I have dreamed a dream... But now that dream is gone from me."
AMD's are faster, as I said, but are unreliable because they get extremely hot. If you want to use an AMD as an advanced gaming machine, I suggest people buy a mammoth fan to put in there or it'll probably melt And as was mentioned, higher temperatures can make the lifetime of the system decrease quite significantly. If you dont have at least 2 fans (one that came with the system and one that you bought seperate), Kenley, then I think you should invest in one
DELL was just an example of a company that sells pre-made computers. You wouldnt buy from DELL if you wanted a high-end gaming machine (you'd build your own), but for someone using it mainly for apps, which is the case here, they have quite good systems to choose from.
Dop: Basically it comes down to if you dont know a lot about computers, don't bother trying to work it all out, pre-built computers are quite good for most purposes. The only reason you'd really want to build your own is if you're a massive gamer and you want to play all the latest games at extreme quality.
"Now I guess we're... 'Path-E-Tech Management'" -Dilbert