Is this good enough?

Getting a New Computer Soon

By on April 14, 2008 11:11:19 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Xiandi

Join Date 07/2007
+839

I need some advice. I know next to nothing about computer specs, but I'm planning on getting a new computer soon. I realize that it will probably have Vista on it so it will need lots of RAM, but thats about all I know.

My son was looking up different computers and comparing prices, etc. This is one of the options he came up with.

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Hp s3400z Computer

Windows Vista Home Premium w/Service Pack 1
2.3 GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ dual-core processor
3GB DDR2-800MHz dual channel SDRAM
256 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400-HD, DVI, VGA adapter, HDMI video card
No Modem (not sure if important info)
320 GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive
LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/- R/RW SuperMulti drive
15-in-1 memory card reader, 2 USB, headphone port
Integrated 5.1 Capable Sound w/front audio ports sound card

price includes free shipping

$539.99

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Do you think this is a good deal? Is it going to be good enough for what I want to do? Would you change anything on it?

I have specs on a more expensive computer too but was wondering if this one would *do it* for me. Most of the time I use it for skinning and web surfing, but I would like to be able to play games and watch movies on it too (not something I can do with my current computer).

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April 14, 2008 11:42:34 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Xiandi I'm no expert either, but two things, some might say important, aren't mentioned. What is the motherboard and how big of a power supply. In reading other posts those two items seem to be important or could at least limit you expansion in future if you need to do it.

Price looks good. It appears to be a HP computer, right? Where are you buying it from? Because of some outlets or dealers (like Tiger Direct) are truning around refurbished computers be sure this is a new one. No modem, how are you connecting to the internet. Modem aren't expensive.
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April 14, 2008 12:35:37 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Pretty good machine. Mine is similar. NVIDIA 8400 will give good graphics for gaming. Plus the Home Premium version is designed for movies, music etc. One thing you'll need is the modem. Without it you won't get on the net. Check into USRobotics. They make a pretty decent modem and it isn't too expensive. The price with free shipping is a steal. I say go for it.
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April 14, 2008 12:37:16 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
You will be able to play normal games on it, but not too heavy ones. Video watching won't be a problem either, but for editing them you need a better system. Skinning (in photoshop i guess) will be possible.

Hope that helps
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April 14, 2008 12:45:24 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
You will need a modem only if you're still stuck on dial-up for internet access, or if you want to FAX directly out of the computer. Since the majority in the US these days have some sort of high-speed connection--typically DSL or cable--most new computers no longer come "standard" with modems.
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April 14, 2008 12:57:17 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Where are you buying it from? Because of some outlets or dealers (like Tiger Direct) are truning around refurbished computers be sure this is a new one. No modem, how are you connecting to the internet. Modem aren't expensive.


My son got the info directly from the HP website, I think. I have a Linksys wireless internet connection right now. I dont know if it will be compatible with the new computer or not. I didn't know that a modem needed to be *in* the computer, or does it? I'm totally clueless on that one.

What is the motherboard and how big of a power supply.

I'll have to find out that info. I'll let you know when I do.

Thanks guys, It's difficult making decisions on what to get when you have no idea what all this stuff is. I was worried that I'd be paying too much for something and then not being able to do what I wanted. You've eased my mind a bit.


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April 14, 2008 1:14:31 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
If it's pre-built, you probably don't need to worry too much about the power supply; the manufacturer is not likely going to put together a set of components that won't work with one another. However, it may be important if you choose to upgrade your video card. Jouketje is right: the 256MB 8400 will let you play most games out there on the market with no trouble, but for super-graphically intensive games like Crysis and other bleeding-edge titles, you may only be able to run at minimal settings. If you or your son anticipate doing a lot of gaming, you should look into a better video card. However, if you're just doing skinning, word processing, and light gaming, it should be fine.

Regarding modem: MPD is correct in that you won't need a conventional modem unless your internet access is via dial-up. You may not even need an ethernet card, as some DSL modems (routers) that come with your service will plug into a USB port, and I'm assuming cable modems can too--check with your service provider and/or check your current configuration.
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April 14, 2008 1:23:18 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Xiandi

Checking with a couple of my suppliers "I'll get back asap!
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April 14, 2008 1:26:42 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
XiandiChecking with a couple of my suppliers "I'll get back asap!


Thank you!! No hurry, I have to wait about a month for the money to be available to do this anyway.  
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April 14, 2008 1:35:45 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Hi Xiandi,

I'm real familiar with the HP brand through use at home and work. The biggest issue with their systems is the power supply is just adequate for the system as shipped. So, if you want to have a better graphics card than the system ships with, you will also likely need to upgrade the power supply, this voids the warranty.

If I remember correctly the 256 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400-HD, DVI, VGA adapter, HDMI video card is an OEM onboard graphics processor that relies on system memory for its 256MB. I'm not confident this will work well with graphics rendering programs. Slow... would be my expectation. If someone else who uses the same graphics programs that you use has experience with this set-up, they could confirm whether or not my guess is correct.
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April 14, 2008 1:46:25 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
If I remember correctly the 256 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400-HD, DVI, VGA adapter, HDMI video card is an OEM onboard graphics processor that relies on system memory for its 256MB. I'm not confident this will work well with graphics rendering programs. Slow... would be my expectation.

What would you recommend then? If I recall, when my son was checking out the options, he had some other choices.

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April 14, 2008 2:13:02 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
You would want a video card that has it's own memory on board. The 9600 seems to be the current industry standard.
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April 14, 2008 2:33:50 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Hm. Yep, If BDBF is right about that being an onboard adapter, it won't really do too many games or much intensive graphics-processing of any kind. So you'd definitely want to look into a discrete graphics card. Anyway, I'll be quiet and let some of the pros like AVMan fill up the rest of this thread.

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April 14, 2008 2:34:14 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Thank you Lantec.   
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April 14, 2008 2:34:58 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
What would you recommend then? If I recall, when my son was checking out the options, he had some other choices.


If graphics rendering is an important part of your use then you should be considering PCs that have the video card separate. You should also look for a system with a power supply of at least 450W to 600W depending on how many other peripherals you'll have. A duo-core system of at least 2.5ghz or better should be considered as well.

Ebay has White Box systems through their Ebay store which include a 3 year warranty and are highly configurable. I've never purchased one but, I think they may be a safe bet. Please note these are an online purchase through an Ebay store and not a bid sale through a private party, and are thus, safer.

My overall recommendation is keep looking.
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April 14, 2008 3:03:20 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Thanks for that info.
.My overall recommendation is keep looking.

That's why I'm talking to you guys...I dont know what I'm suppose to look for!  
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April 14, 2008 4:03:52 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
WOW !! that is a good one, for only $540 ?? I guess is a good deal, in Mexico that one cost $1000   
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April 14, 2008 8:04:45 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

It fails in only one way. Use XP. That's much better. Use WindowBlinds and you have a machine already totally superior to Vista.

My only warning is the HP software bundles are best avoided. They eat up hard drive space and generally just slow the PC down. I use an HP, though, and it is survivable. You can, however, with power-user skills (I recommend CCleaner) and Google clean all the HP crud off the startup launcher. See if you can get a competitor match, it's much easier. Also, ignore the second partition "recovery" disk. It'll fail if the HD fails, and just takes up space.

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April 14, 2008 8:40:14 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
It fails in only one way. Use XP. That's much better. Use WindowBlinds and you have a machine already totally superior to Vista.
My only warning is the HP software bundles are best avoided. They eat up hard drive space and generally just slow the PC down. I use an HP, though, and it is survivable. You can, however, with power-user skills (I recommend CCleaner) and Google clean all the HP crud off the startup launcher. See if you can get a competitor match, it's much easier. Also, ignore the second partition "recovery" disk. It'll fail if the HD fails, and just takes up space.

There's nothing wrong with Vista on that system. Good luck trying to get XP on a new system, in a few months it won't even be possible. You'll be fine with Home Premium.

I do agree with all the pre-bundled crap that comes with pre-built machines.
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April 14, 2008 9:22:10 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
The price probably doesn't include a monitor, or at least I didn't see one on the list. But that should be simple enough to fix, by using your current monitor.
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April 14, 2008 9:40:50 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
The price probably doesn't include a monitor, or at least I didn't see one on the list. But that should be simple enough to fix, by using your current monitor.


Nope, the price is just the computer, nothing else. The plan is to get a monitor too, but that's something I feel comfortable buying in a store around here.
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April 14, 2008 9:43:49 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Nope, the price is just the computer, nothing else. The plan is to get a monitor too, but that's something I feel comfortable buying in a store around here.

Get a widescreen LCD, that's the only thing I would recommend.
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April 14, 2008 9:50:31 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
That's the plan!   
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April 14, 2008 10:49:16 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
When it comes to monitors, try to get a 22 inch or better widescreen. I saw the HP w2207 on sale at tiger direct the other day for $249.00. That is a good price for an awesome monitor. I have yet to see a monitor with a display as good as it.
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April 15, 2008 12:16:45 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
No comment...
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April 15, 2008 12:41:30 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Xiandi,keep an eye on the Dell website around the time that you are buying as they occassionally have some outrageous deals   
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