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Thread: If you had to spend 3.5K on a desktop...

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    If you had to spend 3.5K on a desktop...

    Hi folks - if you had to spend 3.5 K on a desktop within the next 12 weeks, what would you get? It must be from a legitimate supplier (i.e. not self built), future proofed for several years (no budget allowance for many years after this spend), relaible (I have very limited computer knowledge), and very very fast as I'm rather impatient

    The machine will be used for general office applications, video editing (just home movies etc.), and gaming.

    I've waited a while for the new generation of GPU's (specifically ATI's X800XT), the changeover from socket 940 to 939 (it wll likely be an AMD based system), but probably can't wait until PCI-express filters out into the mainstream as the system must be bought within three to four months.

    I was looking at several machines, the Evesham FX-53 Pro with several of the components upgraded to hit the 3.5 K price, the Poweroid 9301 also with a few upgrades, the Alienware Aurora Extreme (not much scope for upgrades here as they are already so bloody expensive lol), and the new Dell Dimension XPS again with increased spec.

    I would really appreciate peoples opinions as I know so little about this field but have to make the decision soon.

    To use the allotted budget I have primarily upgraded memory to at least 1GB, processors where possible, flat panel size etc. Am I spending the money correctly? Should I be looking at other manufacturers?

    All of the companies mentioned stress their customer service standards but all had damning reports on net forums (most especially Poweroid - and as they have twice failed to respond to my calls when I have left messages for their sales team, they may be out of the running already lol).

    Evesham reckon they'll be shipping socket 939 based systems next month, and I presume Alienware will be on a similar timeframe.

    Any thought and advice folks?

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Nox
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    • Nox's system
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    you looked at savrow stuff? damn expensive, but looks like you have the cash for it

    Nox

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    Theoretical Element Spud1's Avatar
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    i would just get an alienware, they may be overpriced but meh they are good

  4. #4
    IBM
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    I've recommended several people to Holly Computers since I had one built. Give them a ring and tell them what you want, and they'll build you a cracking rig....I'd set about a grand aside for a really really nice TFT monitor (or if you've got the desk space and want to save some cash, a Iiyama 514 CRT), but I doubt that any system you build now will be future proof for more than two years (two years is pushing it).

    I'd hang around for the PCI-Express boards if I were you...they should be out mainstream before your 3/4 month timescale expires - http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=16835 no timescales, but big numbers over a 12 month period, so assuming something will be available before Q4 this year - (correct me if you've heard otherwise). If you're going for an Athlon 64 system, be aware of the rumors surrounding Windows XP 64 only being released OEM http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=16836 .

    Aside from that, you'll want a nice RAID array like mine, at least 1GB of RAM (I'd hold off getting more until the price of RAM comes down, a gig should hold you for the moment, although you never can tell with video editing - which, on a side note, would mean that you might be better with a Pentium, which a superior to Athlons when it comes to pure number crunching.).
    That X800XT is top notch, well worth the money if you've got it. If you're going for a 915/925 board be aware they have a built in 7.1 sound system, so get yourself a nice set of speakers (my Logitechs are sweet, but the purists in here will recommend rigging your 'puter up to your stereo system.
    It might be worth keeping an eye on SharkyExtreme for their High End Gaming Buyer's guide (http://www.sharkyextreme.com/guides/...le.php/3373781) which might give you pointers on what to get, although their budget is less than yours.
    Aside from that, be warned that the general opinion of these forums seem to be that Alienware are system for people with no technical experience and too much money. But that's a big niche market and they've done well supplying to it. They build tweaked, solid, nice looking machines, and have a great turnaround time (I seem to recall two weeks for some of their systems, but imagine it's a lot longer if you start specifying it yourself).
    As for Savrow, unless you're interested in watercooled systems (unless you're interested in overclocking the cr*p out of your rig), you're better off saving your money and going for something more conventional - and smaller.

    Keep us posted on what you get. Having built myself a dream machine less than six months ago, I'd love to see what a good budget will get you...
    sig removed by Zak33

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    Thanks for the replies guys. Yep I looked at SavRow but they seem even more excessive than Alienware I'd prefer the money to be spent on something that will add speed, future proofing, etc. rather than merely looking pretty (the bloody thing will just be under a desk anyway )

    Quote Originally Posted by ibm
    Aside from that, be warned that the general opinion of these forums seem to be that Alienware are system for people with no technical experience and too much money. .
    ibm you know me so well Seriously, I do fall into that category, but merely due to a fluke grant thang and insufficient time to gain a good education in this field. If all goes to plan I'll have this budget to spend. However, as an agnostic caucasion heterosexual male I may well not get the cash after all - it does state that minority groups will receive preferential treatment. If there's no grant then the budget will halve, as it will then be self funded and £1500 is all I can afford.

    I'll check out the links you posted and contact Holly as suggested. Thanks for your informative reply mate - much appreciated.

    And any additional input/advice from you good folks is more than welcome
    Last edited by BigLad; 26-06-2004 at 07:01 PM.

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    Cable Guy Jonny M's Avatar
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    Worth looking at the Dell XPS systems, they have pretty good support and specs, and cost too much. Seems to be what you're after

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    Id go for an alienware, Id love one. If only i had that much cash. lol

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    You want to future proof yourself, here's what I would do, go to the bank open a savings account, put 1.5k in it then spend 2k on a very nice rig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daniel_owen_uk
    You want to future proof yourself, here's what I would do, go to the bank open a savings account, put 1.5k in it then spend 2k on a very nice rig.
    That can't be done I'm afraid. If the funds become available they must all be spent on specific equipment and within a designated timeframe. If I just had the cash I'd more than likely buy a cheap computer and take a nice holiday somewhere (haven't had one for the last four years, bless me).


    But like I said, sadly that's not an option...

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    • Stoo's system
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    I'd go and speak to http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/

    They should build you something exactly to your specs

    The Dell XPS look pretty good too
    Last edited by Stoo; 27-06-2004 at 03:04 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Difficult one this... It's very hard to future proof a PC... Especially over a significant amount of time (i.e. no incremental upgrades). Personally the things I tend to upgrade least often are the monitor and printer (and I'd lump things like a scanner into that category too if I had one) as well as less expensive items such as a keyboard and mouse. I would normally lump the case and PSU in that category too but to be honest with the way things are chaning you may not be able to future proof a case and PSU at the moment. Other than that your best attempt to future-proof a PC would be simply:

    Fastest CPU(s) you can afford
    Most memory you can afford
    Biggest (and fastest) hard drives you can afford

    For £3,500 you could quite easily buy (or get someone to put together) a dual CPU workstations (FX or Xeon with that kind of money) and drop a lot of memory in it. You could even set up a RAID 5 array - SATA at least with if not SCSI for that kind of cash...

    Though if you do go for an all out uber PC be prepared for it to eat a fair amount of juice and to be noisier than the average desktop.

    If it's not your cash and you can't in any way carry some of the budget over to subsequent years then it's tempting to spend it all. But if you don't really need as much kit as you can get for £3,500 do you really need to spend it all? I mean if it's coming from work someone might appreciate that you didn't take them for every penny you could get. And if it's some kind of gov' grant how about leaving some in the pot for someone else?

    Of course there's always the dodgy option of building up a really expensive PC and then selling it / some of the bits off when you get it. Slap a load of WD Raptors in there and then swap them for something less expensive and sell them on for example...

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    • malfunction's system
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    Also - might I ask why you can't do a home build? If the source of the cash just wants a single invoice then it's perfectly possible to buy all of the kit from one supplier.

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    Thanks Stoo - I'll check out the company in your link too.

    Thanks also to malfunction. You raise some good points mate.

    I can't home build because I know absolutely nothing about computers, and sadly, though I've enjoyed gaining a little bit of insight over the past two weeks I really can't devote the time it would take to gain and maintain a good education in this field. Frankly I don’t know how you guys keep track of it all

    I’ll take on board what you say about getting the best processor, memory and HD’s I can afford. Ditto the GPU.

    I don’t necessarily have to spend the lot, but as this is my only opportunity to get a grant (for anything, ever) I am tempted to do so. It’s essentially my one chance to buy a top rank computer at half price, and so I’m tempted to take full advantage.

    What little I've gleaned over the last fortnight is that I think I'll be looking for a machine with an AMD FX-53 (socket 939), hopefully a PCI Express motherboard if they are out in time, an ATI X800XT (PCI express version), a large flat panel, a couple of fast 10,000rpm hard drives (don't really need to be huge, just fast), and to be honest as long as it is fast and reliable I don't care too much what it looks like. All the other bits and bobs are still a bloody mystery to me frankly...(see why no self build now lol).

    I know I must sound like a spoiled fool trying to spend money but if the full spend is genuinely not going to be beneficial then I really won't make it. But like I said, as a white heterosexual agnostic male I'll likely be declined for the grant anyway. It did say minority groups would receive preference so my budget may well up being all self funded - in which case I'll suddenly become tight as a ducks butt

    Thanks for your input mate

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    dgr
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    if you have that much £££ to spend, spare a little to consider quietness. sound is massive on the annoyance factor (for me at least), so possibly consider a zalman fanless watercooling system, a massive cpu heatsink, replacement gpu fan, fanless northbridge, hdd silencers.

    go for a case where they've actually throught a little as to how to make it a little quieter - so no vibrating tinny steel crap.
    dothan 745 @ 2.4ghz | 2gb Corsair XMS (2-3-3-6) | dual raptors (raid0) | ATI 9700pro | CM201 | dual lg 1810

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    ERU
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    I did a similar thread to this pretty recently if you want a look -
    http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=16851

  16. #16
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    I have to admit that spening 3.5k on a PC is a bit pointless. Once you hit about £2000-£2500, the performance increases are very small per hundred pounds spent IMHO.

    Refrain from going Dual Xeon etc as the performance increases are low in 95% of the things you will be doing (it could help video editing, but totally depending on what video editing software you use). Dual CPU's dont give more than 5% performance increase generally (though they do seem to mnake the PC feel smoother and more responsive), they do not help office apps, they do not help 99% of games, all they help is certain Photo/Video editing and CAD packages (usually the very expensive ones). If you aint going to be doing much of the latter, then don't bother with dual CPU's.

    If you have to use up £3500 for whatever reason, i would spend £2500 on the actual PC (say a top spec Athlon 64, 1GB RAM, 3 x 74GB Raptors in Raid 5, 2 x 250GB Western Digital SE in Raid 1) and spend the extra £1000 on peripherals such as a nice scanner (£200) and a nice colour laser (£600) and maybe a digi cam (£200).

    Or something, thats all IMHO of course.

    Butuz

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