Advice on a PC

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by mactastic, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #1
    Ok, I hate to have to do this here, but I need some advice about buying from Gateway. I just got a new job designing high-end custom homes for a builder, and we will be using Autocad. Thus I can't even bother trying to talk him into a G5;). Anyway he, like many people, is loyal to the Gateway brand that provided the rest of his office computers. He is wanting me to get a workstation for CAD design, basically what I need is a good, although not cutting edge processor, a nice video card for 3D renderings, 1024Mb RAM, and the a CD burner. Oh and the biggest monitor I can get. He would like to spend around $1500 for it. It doesn't need anything fancy at all, I have my TiBook with AutoCad running under VPC for presentation and in-the-field updating, and I'll probably use the TiBook as my primary computer for everything other than CAD work.

    Sorry for forcing you all to help me with Gateway, but I hope some of you have had some experience with them, I have none. I know plenty about Apple and their products, but my knowledge of PC purchasing is very limited, particularly when it comes to Gateway machines. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    After looking, I don't think he's going to find one in the $1500 range. More like $2000.
     
  3. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #3
    Ouch. For one thing, it's plain stupid to try to put together a CAD workstation from Gateway--they're a consumer company, for heaven's sake! I don't think you can even get a workstation-class graphics card from Gateway.

    Forced to buy a PC, which I in fact recently was, I'd turn to Dell. If your'e careful, you can price a somewhat stripped workstation with a QuadroFX 500 and an 18" flat panel monitor from them for about $1500. I ended up spending a little over $3K, but that's because I was trying to build a decent computer.

    Sure not what I'd use at home, but it should get the job done.
     
  4. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #4
    Yeah I wasn't too happy about it but it wasn't my decision unfortunately. Perhaps if I can present a convincing case for a Dell he will listen... I just don't know enough about PC configurations. Yet.
     
  5. ITR 81 macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Get a IBM because atleast they put some work into the PC they build.
     
  6. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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  7. illumin8 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    If you want to know how to buy Dell computers for cheap, go to this site: http://www.gotapex.com.

    I got a top of the line Pentium IV 2.6 for about $600 (without a monitor).
     
  8. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #8
    I'd say go for Dell, too, if you can convince him. You can get more for less money with them and have a lot more options than with Gateway, especially with specialized items like workstation class graphics cards.
     
  9. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a

    manitoubalck

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    #9
    RUN LIKE HELL FROM GATEWAY!!!

    If you want a PC BUILD YOUR OWN and notice the savings, therebuy you get better parts for the same money.
    Go the Atholn 64 3200+ if you can stretch his budget.
     
  10. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #10
    Build your own machine it's very easy and you can have a lot more machine for the dollar.
     
  11. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #11
    If it was my own machine I would love to build it myself. However, I dont' have the expertise to get parts that won't fight with each other, and I can't guarantee that everything will work smoothly out of the box. This is mission-critical kind of stuff, I've got three lots that need designs ready to break ground in mid-January. Right now I'm doing the work on my TiBook via VPC, so I need this computer ASAP.
     
  12. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #12
  13. sonofslim macrumors 6502a

    sonofslim

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    #13
    if nothing else, a lot of people (myself being one of them) rank dell's customer service far above gateway's. i've bought a lot of PCs for various offices i've been in, and guided my parents through multiple PC purchases over the years. dell has always been the best as far as support goes.

    of course, i don't know if they make a system that will fit your needs and your budget... but all else being equal, they get my vote.
     
  14. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #14
    Thanks for all the advice so far...

    I'm looking at a Precision 360 workstation that seems to be in the ballpark for price. It's got a P4 2.26Ghz processor, 1024Mb 333DDR RAM, 19" monitor, ATI, FIRE GL™ X1,128Mb graphics card, 80Gb HD, and a DVD-ROM/CDRW drive. Total cost = $1,777.

    I know the processor isn't that great, but I don't expect it to be strained too much. The graphics card should be doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to rendering, correct? Everything else sounds good to me (I'm afraid of NVIDIA cards) but then again I'm used to the slow clock speeds of macs. Is the P4 a reasonable choice? I don't need a Xeon do I?
     
  15. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #15
    Looks good. I went on there and went through the same process that you must have and came up with the same machine and similar specs.
     
  16. Apple //e macrumors 6502

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    Jun 21, 2003
    #16
    get a faster processor and make sure its a 800mhz bus, not 533. the video card does not render. the cpu does it. get the fastest one you can afford.
     
  17. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #17
    Oy veh... Why can't this be as easy as Apple?
     
  18. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #18
    Actually the workstation graphics cards such as the FireGL he has listed do render.

    Also to keep the price down the difference between the 800MHz and 533MHz FSB is not all that significant for what he is doing and especially for the price difference.
     
  19. Apple //e macrumors 6502

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    #19
    you mean you hit render on max and the video card renders and saves the images to the hard drive?

    or do you mean they implement hardware shaders to create more realistic realtime onscreen previews?

    or both?

    a faster processor will prolong the life of your system, but then you could always upgrade later
     
  20. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #20
    I mean the video card will do a lot of the actual rendering to disk. You can read about the workstation class video cards from ATI here.

    http://www.ati.com/products/workstation.html

    CPU power is not all the necessary when doing CAD it's a matter of having a workstation class video card. Yes, the cpu can also always be upgraded but get real the 2.2GHz is plenty fast especially if the video card is offloading a lot of the work.
     
  21. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #21
    It's not as easy as buying an Apple since you have so many more options with the PC world. ;)
     
  22. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a

    manitoubalck

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    #22
    And you ask why I use a PC?

    I just don't like prebuilt machines;)
     
  23. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #23
    Pre-built machines generally aren't that great. I had a few thoughts in the back of my mind to get an Athlon 64 laptop before I got my new PowerBook, but in the end, I just couldn't bring myself to deal with Windows, another PC, or figuring out how to use Linux when I was busy with school.
     
  24. rjrufo macrumors regular

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    Boston
    #24
    Without reading the rest of this thread, I just want to warn you about Gateway. I had a very bad experience with them, and will recommend to anyone who will listen to avoid Gateway. I still say that they owe me a new computer, but I don't want it. The first computer I had was bad enough, I wouldn't want to go through that twice.

    To make a long story short, they replaced just about every component in the machine at least once, and a couple as many as four times. They finally gave up, and said there was nothing else they could do for me. I had bought the extended warranty for three years. They gave up on me just under two years, so they left me with one year to go on the warranty, and wouldn't do anything else.

    I could have taken them to court, but at that point, I decided that it wasn't worth my time and energy.

    Stay away from Gateway if you value your sanity.
     
  25. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a

    manitoubalck

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    #25
    you say "Pre-built machines generally aren't that great" yet you plug and buy apple? (laptops don't count in this regard, since you really can't build your own)

    Atleast you considered other options PBG5, and that's all I ask, that you look at each option and decide which best suits your needs, for the price your willing to pay.
     

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