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Computer shopping - Queue
July 21st, 2005
12:49 pm

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Computer shopping
I think I'm going to upgrade my computer as soon as I move (I want to make sure I can afford it). It's going to be a PC because that's what I use at work.

It's been a while since I've shopped for a computer, though. The last one I think I got from some random place on the web that let me pick and choose the parts and then shipped me the assembled computer. I'd rather not deal with something like Best Buy or Circuit City, mainly because I think they'd be more expensive, and partly because I'd just rather not deal with a big company.

Any suggestions? Also, since my company puts out a number of graphics books and will soon be putting out a number of gaming books, I'd like this machine to be pretty kickass when it comes to graphics and games. Any specific hardware recommendations would be aprpeciated, as well.

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From:magid
Date:July 21st, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)

QP

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aprpeciated
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From:hrafn
Date:July 21st, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
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HP/Compaq let you customize your machines. I was able to find a laptop setup comparable to other vendors for less than the other vendors. I don't know how they stack up on the graphics and games end, though.
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From:majes
Date:July 21st, 2005 07:21 pm (UTC)
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How much money do you have to work with, if you don't mind my asking. That really is the factor in what you can do.
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From:queue
Date:July 21st, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC)
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I won't know a max I have to spend until after I buy my house, but I dno't imagine I'd want to spend much more than, say, $1500? But I'd be willing to spend more if it were necessary to ensure that I have ebough power. Basically, I want to have enough oomph to reasonably play any game that's out there now and likely to be out there in the near future. I'd also like to be able to have interesting graphics stuff happen in a reasonable amount of time, and having a GPU (I don't know if those are standard now) would probably be useful, seeing as we have a book on GPU programming.
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From:majes
Date:July 21st, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
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I just built out a beautiful Dell Dimension 9100 for $1486 which would handle everything you mentioned. Dell is having a 20% off sale right now.
From the standard, I moved the video card up to 256 PCI Express GeForce. I changed the monitor to the 19" ultrasharp flat panel. Otherwise, I left it as is. Go over to Dell and take a look-see.
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From:hrafn
Date:July 22nd, 2005 11:21 am (UTC)
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Ok. I've heard mostly horror stories about Dell. Since I am looking for a machine myself, are they really _that_ awful? Or do you have experience that suggests they're no worse than anyone else?
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From:majes
Date:July 22nd, 2005 12:04 pm (UTC)
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Meh. In my past two roles, I was buying over 300 Dells a year; they make good systems. Where I have heard most of the complaining has to do with the phone support. However, in my experience, there is little good in the way of phone support for anything out there now (my recent horrible experiences with Linksys and HP and Comcast stand as testament to that). The last 5 home systems that I've been involved in purchasing (for myself or others) have all been Dells, and they have all been great. So, no - nothing is wrong with the product. The customer service isn't what it once was though.
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From:hrafn
Date:July 22nd, 2005 01:25 pm (UTC)
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Ah, wonderful :P Ok, that will make me feel a bit better if I give in to pressure and get a Dell. Though the other concern I had was regarding their support software upgrade thing, which I've heard (I can't find the source! argh!) is a pretty big resource hog - some info here: http://www.gripe2ed.com/scoop/story/2005/7/5/02239/43747
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From:majes
Date:July 22nd, 2005 01:43 pm (UTC)
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My new Dell had this on it. It's not much different from the Microsoft OS update feature (which is, by and large, a good thing to have going). However, resource-wise, it's foot print in memory has been tiny, and I've not seen it causing the machine to churn. The virus protection software does, sometimes, but that is the nature of the beast.

IT departments don't like these kinds of things because they often times can't have certain things upgrade or changed due to specific requirements of their network clients or specialty apps. Home users, however, generally are better off being on the most recent version of the drivers and the most up to date system patches. It also pops up with messages that can confuse certain classes of users, which generate unnecessary support calls. However, I have not observed that this is some kind of lurking evil or any such thing.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind, you are getting tech advice from a person who doesn't think that the Microsoft headquarters should be stormed by torch-and-pitch-fork-bearing linux users, who will destroy the campus and cut the heads off of all the executives. There are plenty of other folks who can offer you advice who are from that camp.
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From:pinkfish
Date:July 22nd, 2005 02:08 am (UTC)
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My company often buys computers from Euclid computers. They have some degree of flexibility in their options, and are very reliable (I ordered next day shipping to replace my stolen machine, and they managed it next day. Ditto for all the machines my colleagues have ordered). They are having a sale on some IBM Thinkpads right now. Check it out.
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