: Ultimate Home Computer?
2008-01-16, 05:26 PM
I'm in the market for a new home computer. My current system is a Pentium III with a gig of RAM and an 80GB hard drive.
If money was no object what would you buy to put together a top end home computer?
Assume Windows XP with an eventual upgrade to Vista once they work the bugs out. Assume it needs to handle all gaming, graphics and web work that might exist over the next 2 years.
I'm kind of looking to build a dream machine. Something that will not be obsolete 10 minutes after I buy it. Something at the front end of the curve.
2008-01-16, 05:45 PM
Without going into specifics, just go to your favourite e-store for computer parts and select the following:
1. Newest most expensive CPU
2. Newest most expensive Video card
3. Latest, greatest motherboard.
4. 4G of the fastest RAM you can get.
5. A couple of super fast SATA disks.
6. Fastest DVD burner you can find + the LG BD/HD-DVD combo drive.
Should last you a couple of years.
jvincent basically said it and that will cost you about $3,500. If you buy the premise that computing power doubles every 2 years then even the most powerful computer today will be a mid-range in 2 years and a dog in 4.
My advice, spend $1,500 or so and get an excellent system with near top of the line performance that can handle pretty much anything you throw at it today and save $2,000 over the Ultimate rig.
The new HP 9060 and 9080 look like great off the shelf computers. The 9080 has nvidia 8800 GTS graphics and all the bells for about $1,600. Other 9000 series HP computers start at about $1,200
You could build your own for less if you shop around.
2008-01-16, 06:49 PM
Yeah I've got a place that builds my machines for me. I've never bought an off the rack one so I can construct it to my specs. In the past I've usually be able to go 3 years before finding I'm lagging a bit and by the beginning of the 4th year it's replacement time. Which is now.
Any feelings about dual core vs quad core processors?
And what about backing up? I'd like a way to do a very fast back up of my entire hard drive in as little time and with as little effort as possible. Any ideas there? Should I invest in a second drive?
How about monitor size? Is bigger always better or is there a maximum beyond which the quality begins to fade?
i hate tv
2008-01-16, 07:16 PM
Should I invest in a second drive?
I don't know what your going to do with your new puter, but with HD files, your hard drive fills up QUICK!
I thought I had a monster when I got my new puter, and the 500gb HD
I have about 50 GB free now, and I'm seriously considering another 500gb, with prices being around $120'ish....
I still have old hard drives in the old p3, and p4, all "smaller" drives (13gb, 40gb, 80gb) but have yet to set up the router/cat5....
So yes, I would get a 500gb HD to start, and add when it starts to fill up
2008-01-16, 07:32 PM
Don't forget the 27" or 30" Widescreen LCD Monitor...
2008-01-16, 10:05 PM
Don't you mean two 30" widescreen monitors?
2008-01-17, 08:17 PM
Every computer on earth will be obsolete in 10 years
I agree with Hugh.
Unless you are a heavy overclocker or gamer, just spend $1500.
Heres your components for you:
Intel Quad Core
Asus P38 Board
4 Gigs Ram
2x500 Gig Raid 0
Antec Sonata III
Thats about it.
Years ago when I was single, I often spend over $5000 on gaming computers at a time. I'd sell the components when something new came along. Always.
I went through 40 aluminum cases, power supplies, every AMD FX chip, thousands of gigs of rams, ..... every ATI and nvidia card........
What a waste!
a 1500 buck PC will keep you ahead for a good 2 years. Spending 3500 might keep you halfway current for 3.
2008-01-17, 11:42 PM
The main problem with "ultimate" hardware is that today's ultimate is next year's mainstream. It also costs 4 times as much as it will next year. That is especially true of things like CPUs, RAM, video cards, sound cards, monitors and very large hard drives. The prices on these things falls so fast now you can practically hear the thud when they hit bottom. I always buy best value for money. For example, when buying hard drives, look at cost per GB in addition to size, speed and reliability. When buying CPUs, look at performance vs price. There is usually a sweet spot where prices start to rise dramatically but performance does not. The same thing goes for RAM. Beyond a certain size or speed, prices rise dramatically but performance does not.
Another option is to overclock. Some motherboards, CPUs, RAM and video cards can be overclocked more than others. Sometimes, a cheaper CPU combined with the right motherboard and RAM can be run at speeds rivaling much more expensive parts. The same goes for video cards. Special attention must be paid to things like cooling and power but that doesn't need to cost a lot either.
2008-01-19, 12:02 AM
I'm currently in the process of building a decent home system that should last me for years. I'm not a gamer.. but I do video encoding/transcoding, photo editing, and possibly HD playback / burning.
This is what I'm putting together:
*Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R (Can go with a more expensive ASUS, but this one is great dollar value for what you get. Also good for OC'ing.)
*4GB OCZ Gold XTC Memory kit
*Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 CPU HSF
*ATI Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB GDDR3 (great for HD playback and moderate for games)
*Zalman VF700CU VGA Cooler
*WD 500GB 16MB
*Antec Sonata III
*Pioneer Sata DVD-RW
*Vista Home Premium 64-bit OEM
Total w/taxes = $1195.00
I think that system should last me quite a long time, considering I've had a P4 2GHz Dell system for almost 5 years.
If I need to upgrade the memory or CPU down the road I can with this Mobo since it supports 45nm cpu's. It also supports upto 1333 DDR3 Memory.
If you want more heavier gaming power, i'd get an Nvidia 8800GT at a decent price which I'm sure you can find.
Just one way of going. If you have the money and want to blow it on a crazy system like the others were saying, it's up to you.. but it will only be mainstream in 2 to 3 years and outdated after that.
My 0.02 cents.
2008-01-19, 02:02 AM
I just built an almost identical system. I picked up most of the parts on sale Christmas week and saved a few extra dollars. The main differences are an ASUS P5K-E and a GeForce 8600GTS. You will like your new system. Gamers will want a faster video card.
2008-01-19, 05:47 PM
Thanks for the replies all. Extremely helpful!!
I've been looking at the following:
Intel dual core 3.0 GHZ
Asus P5K motherboard (with HD sound and LAN onboard)
2 GB RAM
250GB hard drive
Cooler Master Centurion case
with DVD drive, speakers with subwoofer, and an additional 7 port USB hub
Samsung 19" LCD monitor
Also including an additional external HD so I can completely copy my drive using Norton Ghost.
Based on your advice I'm thinking the 250 GB hard drive is too small. And I can't go any bigger on the Monitor or I'll need to renovate my house! Or at least my office in my house.
Is a dual core processor the way to go? Or should I go to quad core?
Is 2 GM Ram enough?
Does the external hard drive sound like the best way to do easy - EASY - complete backups?
2008-01-20, 12:50 PM
Quad core (2.4GHz)is better if you do a lot of things at once or have applications that can take advantage of quad core. Dual core (3.0GHz) will be a bit faster for things like games, especially older games that use only one processor. Games might take advantage of quad core in future but most currently do not.
2 GB of RAM is plenty. If you experience paging, which is unlikely, add 2GB more. (The P5K is capable of using 4 GB.)
500GB drives are the best buy right now (~$90-$100). A 250GB won't save much. Get an external 500GB drive as well for backups and off line storage.
I would go for a GF8600GT minimum. The GF8500GT is significantly lower in horsepower.
The P5K has lots of USB ports. I wouldn't add more unless you know they are needed. Two of the internal ports could be added to the back with a simple bracket for a total of 8 out the back.
I would get a 21" monitor minimum, especially if it is wide screen.
2008-01-21, 06:31 PM
Thanks for the info, especially about the GF8600. That's something I hadn't done a lot of research on so your feedback is very valuable.
I'm adding the extra USB ports because I do use a lot all the time. I've got 8 in use right now. In addition to the usual stuff I also have a digital voice recorder and at least one microphone plugged in at all times.
One member of my family is disabled and uses voice recognition software to work on the computer. This adds to the USB port requirements but also to the processing power and RAM requirements.
And I'd LOVE to get a 21" monitor. Bigger, actually. But the computer is set up on an older table/hutch combo. There is a specific amount of space for the monitor and a 19" one will just about fill it.
I'd dump the whole unit but it's been specially designed to accomodate a disability so the 19" screen will just have to do. At least for now.
2008-01-21, 09:50 PM
Hmm.. after reading a review about the new C2D E8xxxx Wolfedale CPU's based on 45nm technology, I may change my mind and go for one of these instead.
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Dual Core Processor LGA775 3.0GHZ Wolfdale 1333FSB 6MB Retail
Equivalent in performance to the E6850 and almost beats out the AMD Phenom's.. kinda scary... and cheaper which is key.
Sorry if this is a repost, but I'm impressed.
2008-01-22, 10:28 AM
Not bad for around $220 to $240. The 8500 avail also for around $300 - both avail in Canada. Pretty good price IMO.
(Just checked and though they are both avail on line, no-one seems to have stock of the E8500 as yet, E8400 in stock at several places)