Buying a New PC (I know, I know but please read!)

Discussion in 'Community' started by rtdgoldfish, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. rtdgoldfish macrumors 6502a

    rtdgoldfish

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #1
    I know how the feeling is around here about PCs and Windows but I thought I could get some sort of advice anyway. I currently have an iBook G3 and a HP Media Center PC. The HP is going to be replaced through CompUSA's TAP program. It's current specs are:

    2.53 gHz P4, 1 gig DDR 2100 RAM (2x512), 120 gig HD, 128 MB GeForce 4MX (4x AGP), DVD-R and CD-ROM

    The thing is going to be two years old in about 3 months. The motherboard and processor are dead and the hard drive is starting to fail. After two months of complaints to CompUSA, they have finally agreed to replace the thing. I will be getting my original purchase price back of about $1100 to buy a new machine. I would love to buy some sort of Mac with the money and it is very tempting but I must have a PC for school work. I am a Computer Engineering major and need a PC for compatability.

    A few questions since it has been a while since I have gone shopping for a PC:

    1) Has anyone used a Sony VAIO PC?? Are they any good?? I was looking into this one VAIO RA820G Mini-Tower It has all the Media Center stuff that my current HP has as well as PCI-Express, liquid cooling and a dual-layer DVD burner. It is about $1200 at CompUSA.

    2) Should I look into Athlon 64 processors?? I have used Intel in every PC I have owned and wasn't sure if the 64 bit in a PC really did anything. Windows 64 bit edition should be out soon and I think Intel is releasing a 64 bit Pentium around the same time. Might this be worth waiting??

    3) Anything else I should know about buying a PC?? I have been into Mac stuff for the past year or so and have fallen behind in the PC world. Anything I should avoid or any new things out there that I should look into getting??

    Thank you for reading this. I know I will get a lot of crap for buying a PC. I was going to post something like this in a Windows/PC forum but they are not nearly as nice and helpful as the Mac community. I hate to buy a PC and would love to get either a Mini or iMac G5 but I really need the PC for classes. I am a computer engineering major. The PC will be used for running MS Visual Basic, Adobe Photoshop and Premiere, and some gaming on the side. I know, I can get most of these applications for Mac but I have already purchased them for Windows and do not want to spend all the money on new software for Mac.

    Hope to get some feedback and suggestions.
    -Tim
     
  2. rhpenguin macrumors 6502a

    rhpenguin

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    #2
    Because your an engineer, go 64bit.. Theres more of a possibility of you actually needing it. The sony looks like a pretty cool rig, but i would sugest going the DIY route and building a machine on an MSI board with AMD processor and your choice of videocard.

    I slapped together a 3.2ghz p4 retail/ 512mb ddr400 ram / 16x DL DVD+/-RW / PSU+case / ATi Radeon 9800 Pro in the fall for about $800CAD
     
  3. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    The Alpha Quadrant
    #3
    Don't worry about asking for windows help...sometimes it's necessary, like you said, for engineering or school or whatever. It's not a sin. And yes, people here are generally a kinder(smarter) bunch.

    Personally, I think it would be cool to have a forum here on macrumors for windows help.
     
  4. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    visiting from downstream
    #4
    I have a Sony VGC-RA910G, the big brother to the machine you're looking at... it's VERY nice, and is the closest you're going to get to a Mac G5 tower in terms of performance, appearance, etc. The machine's deathly silent, solidly built, has all of the connectors you'll need/want, and the dual-layer DVD burner is a great feature... it's nice to burn 8.5 GB to a single disc (makes backups SO easy). One caveat: If you can, get the Windows XP MCE 2005 software, as opposed to the 2004... 2005 has extra features, such as HDTV support, dual tuner support, and Media Center Extender support. 2004 is nice, but 2005 is awesome.*

    In short, you won't be unhappy if you go with the Sony RA series machine. I'm extremely happy with mine.

    * Sony is making an upgrade available from MCE 2004 to MCE 2005 soon, but I don't know the cost of this.
     
  5. gco212 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #5
    I just built one, though if you read my thread in the gaming forum, it's not quite working yet, but Microcenter is having a great sale. 20% off all AMD 64 processors and motherboards. I got an AMD 64 3400+ and motherboard for $300, a cheap case for $25 with 400 Watt power supply, DVD dual layer burner and 120 GB hard drive for $100, and 512 RAM to add to another 256 MB chip for $40. Under $500, all I need is my video card. That would leave you with around $500 (possibly for a Mac Mini), and a great computer.
     
  6. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #6
    I like HP alot better than Sony myself... much more reasonable pricing, too.
     
  7. rtdgoldfish thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rtdgoldfish

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #7
    I was looking at building a PC myself a few months ago. The only problem with this is that I have to buy a system that is already to go. CompUSA should be mailing me some forms and a box to send my broken unit back and to get the new unit. As far as I know, I can't get a gift card for the amount of my old computer. That would be nice and I am thinking of calling CompUSA to ask if that is an option.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice everyone. Seems like the Sony VAIO will be what I end up with unless I can find a machine that uses an Athlon 64 and seems to have enough features for the money.
     
  8. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #8
    Build one yourself. Athlon64 chips are great. They are quite powerful, fast, and if you build your own computer, you can customize it to however you want. 512MB of RAM isn't that hard to come by, just two 256MB sticks. A graphics card is on sale at Fry's for about $40 or less most every day.

    You won't be sorry. Plus you can upgrade your computer later-- add a DVD burner when you want. Up the hard drive space when you have an extra hour or so. Its addicting to play with it....:D
     
  9. EJBasile macrumors 65816

    EJBasile

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    #9
    I would buy an HP/Compaq, Sony, or maybe an IBM (although it seems no home users buy them). I would not buy a dell or a gateway because I don't like dell, and gateways in my experience have hardware issues.
     
  10. rtdgoldfish thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rtdgoldfish

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #10
    Yeah, not getting a Dell for sure and Gateway is out as well. Several friends have had bad experiences with them. I have an HP right now and it seems that since HP bought Compaq, they are using the Compaq as their lower end, home user models. Not really sure why but the only Compaq that I have seen that has decent specs is that outragous Compaq-X gaming rig. It costs more than an Alienware system but with half the features. Right now, I'm not to happy with my HP, having the motherboard, processor, power supply and possibly the hard drive crap out within 2 months just kinda turned me off to the brand. Right now it's looking like a Sony for me.
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #11
    I would go with the Sony.

    For all the people recommending that he build it himself, the replacement program probably calls for another computer to replace his current one, not PC parts to replace his current computer.

    And don't even recommend Dell. I don't live in the US, but I always thought that you could only buy their stuff online and not through stores, so.........
     
  12. madoka macrumors 6502

    madoka

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #12
    My latest PC build:

    $220 P4 3.2 w/ MB (Fry's specials)
    $130 ATI 9800 Pro (after coupon and trade in credit)
    $100 250gig HD
    $130 1gig memory
    $50 AR Antec Sonata case w/ 350 watt PS
    $70 NEC DL DVD burner

    So $700 gets you a fairly high end system in the PC DIY world and you can do even better if you go the AMD route.
     
  13. madoka macrumors 6502

    madoka

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #13
    Compusa does sell parts. He could try and ask if they'll give him store credit so he could get what he wants. If he's successful, he could build his own (see my post above) and still get a Mac mini with the money left over.
     
  14. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #14
    Or he could buy my Alienware Aurora! 3500+,socket 939,6800 GT,1 gig ddr1000,Combo drive,80 gig hardrive,logitech speakers and a few PC games.Doom3,HL2,Call of duty,Nortonantivirus :rolleyes: ,Ill be putting it on ebay in 2 weeks with starting bids at $1700. this same machine sells for about $2300 new. 5 months old,tranferable warranty etc. Then he doesnt have to build one.
     
  15. rtdgoldfish thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rtdgoldfish

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #15
    If you will take CompUSA credit, then sure :D I wouldn't wish CompUSA on anyone...

    And I called customer service today, I have to do the replacement over the phone/mail. I need to pick out exactly what I want and cannot buy parts. It has to be a system they can just stick in a box and ship to me. So that means no building one at the moment and I think I will be getting the Sony one that I posted above.
     
  16. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #16
    You might consider this here

    It is not attractive by any stretch of the imagination, but HP is pretty good and the price is decent. You would have almost enough left over for a mini or some other goodies...

    *edit* looking around, there are a number of decent PCs for around $500-650 which would leave enough for a mini. Also this and this are interesting-looking products to consider also.
     
  17. rtdgoldfish thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rtdgoldfish

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #17
    The HP that you posted is what I was going to get if I went with an HP. I have one of the first Media Center PCs from HP now and I like the features it has excect for it breaking so often. I looked into the Shuttle PCs too but I would like something that can be upgraded. Unless someone has experience with them and can tell me otherwise, Shuttle doesn't look like it has any internal expansion.
     
  18. wrc fan macrumors 65816

    wrc fan

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    In a world where LPs are made like pancakes
    #18
    The Shuttles have an AGP slot and a PCI slot. And depending on your model it will have space for 1 dvd/cd drive, and 2 hard drives. Plenty of space, IMHO. I've never put more than 1 PCI device in. The Shuttles also usually come with FireWire, USB 2, and SP/DIF out. And lastly it allows you to put your own processor in, so you can choose whatever your budget can afford, and then upgrade to a faster one later.

    My question though... why not trade it in for a Mac, and then build the PC yourself? You can get a PowerBook or G5 PowerMac for a couple hundred more than the Sony VAIO RA820G costs. For what your describing as your needs, I don't think you really need a Athlon 64. Probably a low-end P4 or AMD Sempron with a decent video card and 512mb of RAM would be more than adequate.
     
  19. rtdgoldfish thread starter macrumors 6502a

    rtdgoldfish

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #19
    Thanks for the info on the Shuttles. They seem to be a little more expandable then I thought. And I hadn't really thought of getting the Mac and then building a PC. That sounds like it could be a possibility. Thanks!
     

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