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It be desktop buying time again. What's new?

Old 08-03-04, 06:02 PM
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It be desktop buying time again. What's new?

Need me a good deal on a desktop. The only things I needs to get me is the media center OS. The rest is up in the air, but naturally I want it cheap.

Anyone else looking and see what the good deals are?
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Old 08-04-04, 08:51 PM
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Well, on the AMD front it's really in-between time right now.

You can get a "budget" nforce2 mobo and barton 2500+ or mobile 2500+ for better overclocking and it will be the bang for the buck for sure.

Still a good way to go if you want to hold off the 64 bit computing bleeding-edge tech.

Or you could go socket 745/939 with an a64 2800+ (major price drops last week) and be set for quite a while but be warned that the near future will be 939 and most likely you won't get to access new tech like pci-express and ddr2 (or whatever they are saying).

Something like that anyways. I usually check the Anandtech forums for this kind of info. Nothing like getting it from the source - teenagers with no money configuring systems.
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Old 08-04-04, 11:11 PM
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I just bought one last weekend. I am by no means tech savvy, so take what I say with a grain of salt...

If your looking to buy from some of the national retail stores there are some great deals on some pretty decent computers. I actually ended up getting a nicer monitor and settled for a little less of a computer based on my user needs. I got an HP with an AMD 2800, 80 GB Hard drive, 512 Ram, with a 17 inch flat panel monitor for just over a grand if you count the rebates.

I settled on this based on the cool monitor, but there were some better deals that didn't fit my needs. (I am not sure if we are allowed to name stores here, but since I don't work for any of them, here we go...)

Bestbuy had a nice HP comp with a 160GB, 512Ram, 3000 AMD, DVDburner and CDburner, plus a 15 inch flat panel monitor for 899 (instant rebates, so that is the out the door price, w/o the tax).

The best value deal I saw was actuallly at office depot, it was another HP boxed with the 17 inch monitor. I forget the actual specs, but it was a pretty nice computer, especially considering the whole package was 499.00 out the door (instant rebates again).

I hope this info was helpful...good luck!
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Old 08-04-04, 11:30 PM
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Thanks to both. The monitor doesn't matter at all. In fact, if I buy from Dell, the monitor will just go on Ebay.
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Old 08-05-04, 12:48 AM
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Originally posted by dave-o


Bestbuy had a nice HP comp with a 160GB, 512Ram, 3000 AMD, DVDburner and CDburner, plus a 15 inch flat panel monitor for 899 (instant rebates, so that is the out the door price, w/o the tax).

I hope this info was helpful...good luck!
I bought a very similar PC. Same Specs, but mine was a 3200+ AMD and I got the 17inch CRT. Final price after rebates was $750.

I'm pretty happy with it and it is faster than my old 1.2 Ghz Athlon that I paid $1500 for 3 years ago or so.

Intel does seem the way to go right now processor wise if you are looking for a lot of power. The 3.2 and up Pentium 4s blow away the Athlons. The 64bit AMD processors might fair better, but I'm not to up on the whole 64bit thing.
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Old 08-05-04, 07:31 AM
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Re: It be desktop buying time again. What's new?

Originally posted by kvrdave
Need me a good deal on a desktop. The only things I needs to get me is the media center OS. The rest is up in the air, but naturally I want it cheap.

Anyone else looking and see what the good deals are?
I you want a media center OS then good deals are more difficult to find. However I did see an E-machine with media center at best buy about a month ago right at $1000. I'm personally looking at the new Sony Vaio R-Series, they are SWEET. But not a bargain at around $2000. Anyways worth looking at because the are very nice:
Sony Vaio R Series
I have looked at the lower 710 model at Best Buy I think the other two are only available direct from Sony. They have some decent deals right now with free shipping, free financing, and a $200 digital coupon back after purchase. I was going to buy the computer by itself and then use the coupon after to buy the monitor. These computers are packed with the lateste and greatest, dual layer DVD burner, SATA hard drives, and PCI Express video on the upper level models.

Last edited by cseyer; 08-05-04 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 08-05-04, 07:42 AM
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Re: It be desktop buying time again. What's new?

Originally posted by kvrdave
Need me a good deal on a desktop. The only things I needs to get me is the media center OS. The rest is up in the air, but naturally I want it cheap.

Anyone else looking and see what the good deals are?
I would wait a few years for the media center OS thing. It's new and may just go the way of the tablet PC. If you are going to buy one get a Dell or HP. I would get an AMD based system if they come with media center. Otherwise just find the best price for the config you want. it's not like anyone selling consumer PC's has exceptional support these days.
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Old 08-05-04, 08:37 AM
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Re: Re: It be desktop buying time again. What's new?

Originally posted by al_bundy
I would wait a few years for the media center OS thing. It's new and may just go the way of the tablet PC. If you are going to buy one get a Dell or HP. I would get an AMD based system if they come with media center. Otherwise just find the best price for the config you want. it's not like anyone selling consumer PC's has exceptional support these days.
Where has the tablet PC gone?? I am using one right now. Media Center is awesome and is gaining market share as more and more manufacturers offer systems with the software. The emachine I mentioned was apparently at the right price point because my best buy sold out of them the day after the ad ran in the sunday paper. Besides its really nothing more than Windows XP with user friendly media functions available via remote control.
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Old 08-05-04, 08:43 AM
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Re: It be desktop buying time again. What's new?

Originally posted by kvrdave
Need me a good deal on a desktop. The only things I needs to get me is the media center OS. The rest is up in the air, but naturally I want it cheap.

Anyone else looking and see what the good deals are?
I recently bought a Gateway Media Center PC with 17" LCD, 7-in-1 media reader, DVD-RW & DVD-ROM drives with an Audigy 2 and some nVidia card. It's great!

But ran $2600.
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Old 08-05-04, 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by kvrdave
Thanks to both. The monitor doesn't matter at all. In fact, if I buy from Dell, the monitor will just go on Ebay.
If you order online from either Dell or Gateway (and maybe others), you can delete the monitor. About a year ago, my wife's computer died and we had just bought it a nice new monitor. I just ordered processor box, keyboard and mouse from Gateway, but Dell offered the same option.
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Old 08-05-04, 10:48 AM
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Tell me what you think of this

Dimension 8400 Media Center Pentium® 4 Processor 530 with HT Technology (3GHz, 800 FSB)
Operating System Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition
Memory 512MB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 400MHz (2x256M)
Keyboard Dell ® Quietkey ® Keyboard QK [310-1582] 4
Video Card 128MB PCI Express™ x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon™ X300 SE
Hard Drive 80GB Ultra ATA/100 7200RPM Hard Drive
No Floppy Drive Included
Mouse Dell® 2-button scroll mouse
Network Interface Integrated Gigabit Ethernet
CD ROM/DVD ROM Single Drive: 16X DVD-ROM Drive 16DVD
Sound Card Sound Blaster Audigy™2 (D) Card w/Dolby 5.1, and IEEE 1394 capability
Speakers No Speaker Option
Productivity Software Microsoft® Works Suite
Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options 1 Yr Basic Plan
TV Tuner Card ATI E-Home Wonder™ TV Tuner
TOTAL: $1,043.80
The upgrades I am wondering about are going with the 533 mhz ram, and the 128MB PCI Express™ x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon™ X800 SE (but honestly don't know what the difference is.

I have a dvd burner to switch out, but may get a better one and also have an 80 gb drive I will put in this.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-05-04, 10:53 AM
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That system you configured looks great! You could probably play some Doom3 on that easily!
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Old 08-05-04, 11:43 AM
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Dave, I would probably go ahead and add the floppy drive, you never know when you might need that and on the Dimensions it isn't an easy or elegant add-on post purchase.

How much more is it to upgrade that video card to 256MB?

You don't have the ability to burn media, you might want to consider that, although, newegg has a dual layer DVD burner for $75 shipped.

I would consider bumping up to 1GB of RAM for a media center PC.

Good to see you getting the DDR2 memory and the PCI-X video card. These are the latest/greatest.
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Old 08-05-04, 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by Tsar Chasm
Dave, I would probably go ahead and add the floppy drive, you never know when you might need that and on the Dimensions it isn't an easy or elegant add-on post purchase.

How much more is it to upgrade that video card to 256MB?

You don't have the ability to burn media, you might want to consider that, although, newegg has a dual layer DVD burner for $75 shipped.

I would consider bumping up to 1GB of RAM for a media center PC.

Good to see you getting the DDR2 memory and the PCI-X video card. These are the latest/greatest.
It's like you are in my head.

If I need the floppy, I have several computers around, so I will just put it in one of those and transfer it.

They don't have the upgrade option with the 8400 to get the 256 video card. I think that is only available with the "extreme" gamer machine.

Oddly, the upgrade from 512 to 1 gb ram was only about $100, where it is normally cheaper to upgrade later, but I will do this.

Also the upgrade to 160 gb hd is only $34 over the 80 gb, so I might do that as well.

It would end up closer to this

Dimension 8400 Media Center Pentium® 4 Processor 530 with HT Technology (3GHz, 800 FSB)
Operating System Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition
Memory 1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz (2x512M) 1GB5
Keyboard Dell™ Wireless Keyboard and Optical Mouse
Video Card 128MB PCI Express™ x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon™ X300 SE X300SE [320-3934] 6
Hard Drive 160GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
Mouse Mouse included in Dell Wireless Package N
Network Interface Integrated Gigabit Ethernet IN
CD ROM/DVD ROM Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+RW/+R) w/double layer write capability
Sound Card Sound Blaster Audigy™2 (D) Card w/Dolby 5.1, and IEEE 1394 capability
Productivity Software Microsoft® Works Suite Savings over retail price Up to 67%
Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options 1 Yr Basic Plan
TV Tuner Card ATI E-Home Wonder™ TV Tuner
This puts it at $1379

My guess is that there will be some coupon in the next few days to knock it down a little.
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Old 08-05-04, 12:15 PM
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Dave,

That system sounds sweet
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Old 08-05-04, 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by kvrdave
It's like you are in my head.

If I need the floppy, I have several computers around, so I will just put it in one of those and transfer it.

They don't have the upgrade option with the 8400 to get the 256 video card. I think that is only available with the "extreme" gamer machine.

Oddly, the upgrade from 512 to 1 gb ram was only about $100, where it is normally cheaper to upgrade later, but I will do this.

Also the upgrade to 160 gb hd is only $34 over the 80 gb, so I might do that as well.

It would end up closer to this



This puts it at $1379

My guess is that there will be some coupon in the next few days to knock it down a little.
When you get your coupon, give them a call, you can add anything to any system provided it will fit. If you need a number for a good salesrep, lemme know, I have beaucoup contacts there.

If you ever get a chance to tour the Dell facility in Round Rock, I highly recommend it. Mind blowing.
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Old 08-06-04, 06:42 AM
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Originally posted by darkside
I bought a very similar PC. Same Specs, but mine was a 3200+ AMD and I got the 17inch CRT. Final price after rebates was $750.

I'm pretty happy with it and it is faster than my old 1.2 Ghz Athlon that I paid $1500 for 3 years ago or so.

Intel does seem the way to go right now processor wise if you are looking for a lot of power. The 3.2 and up Pentium 4s blow away the Athlons. The 64bit AMD processors might fair better, but I'm not to up on the whole 64bit thing.
It's the other way around.

Anandtech's High-End system currently features an AMD A64 chip. Outperforms the Intel competition at less money last time I checked the prices. The only area where you may want an Intel in the high-end is if you need the HyperThreading technology for particular programs that will take advantage of it ... but other than that it's not an issue.

Anandtech's recommended high end system ... AMD cpu ....

Anandtech's recomended mid-range system ... AMD again ...

Anandtech's recommended entry-level system ... surprise! AMD again ...

Obviously, i'm quoting only one particular source ... but AT is the giant of the nerd world. If you look at hardocp or any other site the momentum has swung to the AMD side.

If you check the AT nerd forums (and I say nerd in a loving way ) it would seem to 60/40 or 65/35 or even 70/30 AMD last time I checked.

Of course, it's not my nickel ...
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Old 08-06-04, 07:15 PM
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Originally posted by bill_n_opus
It's the other way around.

Anandtech's High-End system currently features an AMD A64 chip. Outperforms the Intel competition at less money last time I checked the prices. The only area where you may want an Intel in the high-end is if you need the HyperThreading technology for particular programs that will take advantage of it ... but other than that it's not an issue.

Anandtech's recommended high end system ... AMD cpu ....

Anandtech's recomended mid-range system ... AMD again ...

Anandtech's recommended entry-level system ... surprise! AMD again ...

Obviously, i'm quoting only one particular source ... but AT is the giant of the nerd world. If you look at hardocp or any other site the momentum has swung to the AMD side.

If you check the AT nerd forums (and I say nerd in a loving way ) it would seem to 60/40 or 65/35 or even 70/30 AMD last time I checked.

Of course, it's not my nickel ...
Agreed, Intel's latest chip, Prescott is a disaster. It runs very hot. Intel just recently set back some of their road maps (in the past week).

About a year ago the Northwood with Hyperthreading was the way to go, now it is definitely an Athlon 64, atleast for the mid-high end.
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Old 08-07-04, 01:45 PM
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The problem is that I don't want to build my own, and most everyone seems to have the Intel chip. I don't think Dell even has an option to go the other way.
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Old 08-07-04, 03:57 PM
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So tell me...what is the benefit of going to the media center option? I'll be in the market of a new pc very soon and consider if I want to go bare bones or get something I can burn DVD's on, etc.
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Old 08-07-04, 11:19 PM
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It is basically like Tivo, etc. It is an OS built around entertainment, recording, playing, mixing, etc. I always use the computer at home next to my TV, and simply want to intergrate everythig.
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Old 08-09-04, 02:10 PM
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As with all things computer, I think I will spend a little more and end up with this.

Dimension 8400 Media Center Pentium® 4 Processor 530 with HT Technology (3GHz, 800 FSB)
Operating System Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition
Memory 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz (2x1gb)
Keyboard Dell™ Wireless Keyboard and Optical Mouse
Video Card 128MB PCI Express™ x16 (DVI/VGA/TV-out) ATI Radeon™ X300 SE X300SE [320-3934] 6
Hard Drive 160GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
Mouse Mouse included in Dell Wireless Package N
Network Interface Integrated Gigabit Ethernet IN
Dual Drives 48X CD-RW + 16x DVD+RW/+R w/ dual layer write
Sound Card Sound Blaster Audigy™2 (D) Card w/Dolby 5.1, and IEEE 1394 capability
Productivity Software Microsoft® Works Suite Savings over retail price Up to 67%
Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options 1 Yr Basic Plan
TV Tuner Card ATI E-Home Wonder™ TV Tuner

It comes to $1645

Figured I would upgrade to 2 gb ram so that I don't have an issue editing video, etc.

One question, the dvd writer shows RW and +R. I thought -R was the stuff you used for dvds to play in your player. Is that wrong?
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Old 08-09-04, 11:39 PM
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Both + and -R will play in DVD players. -R is slightly more compatible (90-95% vs 85%), but virtually all new players can play both fine.

Pricewise they are about the same. +R blank media use to be a bit more expensive, but now they are both dirt cheap.

Dual layer writing is a good future investment but as of now dual layer media is prohibitively expensive ($20+ per blank compared to $.50 for a single layer blank).

The ATI Radeon X300 SE is the budget version of ATI's latest lineup. SE is the ATI equivilent of nVidia's MX, ie low budget and peformance. It will play games like Doom3 that use the latest features, but not very fast. I'm sure it's more than suitable for 2-D stuff and it's IO options are probably very good, but if your looking for a decent game card for the future you might want to bump up to at least the X300.

While it's never wise to say you have too much memory, if it were me (and I planned on playing games) I would only get 1Gig of RAM and get a better card. 1 Gig may be plenty for you and you should be able to upgrade your memory very easily, but getting a new video card means Ebaying the old one (and a X300 SE won't fetch much in a few months).
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Old 08-09-04, 11:43 PM
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get a stripped dell (little memory, etc) - a lot of the extras can be added for cheaper than dell will sell it to you for.
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Old 08-10-04, 12:38 AM
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I don't play many games. Doom 3 will be played when it is $9.99 and then rarely, so that isn't a big deal. But I will be doing a fair amount of video editing, so I went with the 2 gb. I checked out upgrading when it comes from crucial, etc. and they were all more expensive. That suprised me quite a bit.

Anyway, I did make the purchase today, so the above is basically what I am getting.

The dual layer dvd writer was a little spendier, but only by about $50 so I decided to go for it.
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