Buying a new computer this year, please advise

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by ejr, Mar 13, 2007.

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  1. ejr

    ejr Registered Member

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    I will be buying a new PC later this year. When I do, I will implement a disc imaging backup strategy. I have received a ton of good advice on backup practices. Now, I want to be proactive in buying my PC. I don't just want to buy whatever is on sale. I want to know what I should buy, then look for a good deal on that. My specific questions are:

    1. Do you suggest buying a computer with 2 hard drives? One for the OS and one for your data? Can this create any difficulties for your average PC user?

    2. If I go with 2 hard drives, should I still partition them?

    3. Any features on a PC that you just can't live without or that make life so much more convenient?

    4. I will also buy an external hard drive to backup this PC. Any suggestions as to the manufacturer?

    I don't plan on buying this until November unless I spot a deal that I can't pass up. In general, I like to buy a PC right after Thanksgiving (good deals then). I figured it would be good to start getting input now so that I can have plenty of time to spot a good deal and to know what I want.
     
  2. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    1. buy two hard drives yes you could have a faster drive for the system and a slower second drive for documents and backups.
    or all on hard drive 1 and have the second drive for images and backup of documents.
    2. yes you should definatly still partistion

    3. i would say a decent sound card i cant really live without. so i might forget my faster boot drive idea on my thread and get a decent sound card instead.

    4. Seagate or western digital Mybook.
    get a mobo with esata and buy a esata external drive since esata is faster than firewire and usb2.0
    lodore
     
  3. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

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    Depends on your preference. I use 2nd HD for backups / images only.
    Might I suggest a portable USB HD?
    Reason: portability. I'm a strong believer in off-site storage (fire/theft potentially wiping out years worth of stuff). I backup a couple times a week, throw HD in my truck's glovebox.
    Have had no problems with a Western Digital:
    http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=199
     
  4. Thankful

    Thankful Savings Monitor

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  5. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

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    there are just way too many advantages to having multiple HDDs
    performance being one of them, even though the HDD is rarely a bottleneck these days you really cant beat concurrent reads\writes

    features
    1. gigabit NIC (network interface card) ideally on the mobo

    2. good mobo thermal solution (ducts air past the VRM (voltage regulation modules) and exhausts them out the back, as CPUs have gotten more and more powerful these little DC to DC converters have started to be a major secondary heatsource.

    3. TV capture card, there is no point buying multiple computers even if they are packaged as "entertainment" devices, get a vidcard that will run a TV and or monitors, get a capture card. Ditch redundant Tivo, DVD decks, Stereo systems ect. There really arent that many reasons to buy a next gen processor\memory unless your going to really use it. Anything a few generations back is fine for surf, communication and 2D graphics, the only real reasons to get a new processor is heavy number crunching. And of course gaming.

    How much horsepower you adopt is really a matter of what exactly you plan on. The bleeding edge hurts financially, and there is rarely a real reason to buy at the cutting edge. And OEM computers even at the cutting edge generally suck, too little memory, pre-stuffed with a bloatware OS and bloatware software bundle.
     
  6. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi EJR

    If you can wait till the second half of the year, Intel should have it's code name 'Penryn' chip available. This will be the first chip on the 45nm platfrom, they will use a special metal & something called hafnium, for the transistors. It will be an improvement of the quad core duo. AMD is way behind & still at 65nm platform (I believe). Anyway the buzz is much less heat and cranking them to 4GHz or more. Don't look for 4GHz in 2007, more modest speed. Anyway my plan is to purchase later in the year, & get the code named Intel Penryn. Moores law still as several more years, before hitting wall.

    Take Care
    Rico
     
  7. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    General recommendations from a heavy PC user:
    - Get a dual-core CPU. This is the best thing since sliced bread for us multitaskers.
    - Buy at least 1 GB (2 GB recommended) of RAM. More RAM means less use of swap file, better multitasking, faster VMs, etc. Also, 2 GB allows you to upgrade to Vista (not recommended) without hassles.
    - Get a solid mobo with a reliable chipset, high quality VRM, decent layout, some tweaking headroom and lots of connectivity (eSATA, USB, Firewire, Gigabit LAN).
    - Get a discrete DX9 VGA. A 7600 GT (or X1650 XT) is good enough for most games.
    - 2 HDDs is a good idea: concurrent reads\writes, dual-boot, first stage of backup (don´t forget to backup to offline media too), RAID 1, etc.
    - For external storage, I prefer mobile (2.5 inch) hard disks. They have less capacity and less performance than desktop (3.5 inch) hard disks, but they have better reliability.
    - Buy a PSU with some headroom (i.e. more than required W and specially A in the 12V line) from a quality manufacturer (I recommend Seasonic and specially the S12 series).
    - Get a quality UPS.
    - Get a quality router.
    - Buy a quality keyboard/mice combo.
     
  8. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    Assuming he'll be upgrading to Vista, and assuming he plays video games, wouldn't a DX10 graphics card be recommended?
     
  9. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    There aren´t any midrange DX10 VGAs at this time. Also, there are no games that require DX10.
    So, a DX9 card will run Aero and all current games (and most of the future games) without troubles.
     
  10. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

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    Im not sure there is such an animal anymore :p
    Ive got to the point I think I need a Stainless Steel Kiosk Keyboard
    Ive many antiques that work flawlessly, but all the USB and or wireless boards go tits up and have the letters wear off in 6 months :rolleyes:
     
  11. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    To answer you questions - always go with 2 of each.

    2 or more chips of memory.
    2 hard disks (yes, partition them).
    2 fans (120mm one front, one rear).
    2 DVDs (one burner, one ROM).
    UPS is a good investment as well.

    Mrk
     
  12. ejr

    ejr Registered Member

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    This is all great feedback...thank you!

    I probably should have given more info on my intended use.

    1. Email...I send lots in the order of hundreds per day

    2. Surfing...I'm on the web quite a bit

    3. Storing files...I have over 1400 MS Word documents

    4. I also have a MS Access database that is rather large (it contains copies of all 1400 MS Word documents). Phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, etc.

    5. I frequently have the Access datatbase open while surfing the web and sending emails.

    6. I don't play video games. Not many pictures. Not many videos. Not much music either.
     
  13. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    I really enjoy typing on my Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (yes, Microsoft´s hardware is better than their software :rolleyes:)
    :eek: :D
    Sad but true :( Perhaps, we need to start typing with gloves in our hands :rolleyes:
    Better yet, 2 DVD burners from different manufactures. This way, you get broader compatibility with recordable media and extra features: quality scanning, ripping of copy-protected disks, etc.
     
  14. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    ive had my wireless microsoft desktop which is keyboard and mouse for over two years and no letters have worn off and no problems
    i dont think i would trade it for another make
    lodore
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2007
  15. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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  16. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    way to expensive thou IMO
    lodore
     
  17. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    Yes, it´s really expensive.
     
  18. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Its proven to me to be very useful.

    I did'nt with XP, when I was running 3 drives, I used one for OS and 2 for data. Its all down to personal preference IMHO.

    What about having 2 machines ?

    Keep your old machine, use it for slow stuff like downloading and maybe use it as a file server for your movies and music, attach printers to it, experiment with OS's keep your main machine leaner and meaner :cool:

    I am a cheapscate and bought a cheap case off ebay and used one of my old laptop HDDs, had it over a year without a single problem, gets used once a week on average.
     
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