Help buying a Wintel-based PC (Gasp)

Discussion in 'Community' started by iBook, May 6, 2004.

  1. iBook macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hope it's ok that I'm posting here, but....

    Need to buy a Wintel-based PC to complement my Mac for multimedia cd projects I develop. Can anyone give me their from-actual-experience perspective on Dell's 8300? Also, do I really need the "professional" edition of Windows XP or should the "home" edition meet my needs?

    For less than $1 K, the 8300 has a 3 Ghz P4 processor, 800 Mhz fsb, 512 mb ram, 17-inch CRT, a dual CD-RW, DVD-ROM drive and a wireless mouse and keyboard. Windows XP "professional" is included in that price but I'd rather put the money toward sales tax, if I can.
     
  2. tpjunkie macrumors 65816

    tpjunkie

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    #2
    if you're going to be running XP, and trying to do any sort of constructive multimedia work, stick with professional.
     
  3. dopefiend macrumors 6502

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    May 6, 2004
    #3

    Why would it matter? only difference between pro and home are networking and internal things that have nothing to do with multimedia.
     
  4. pinto32 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 19, 2003
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    PA
    #4
    AS far as I know, dopefiend is correct about the differences between pro and home....MS and the OEMs have just done a good job of creating the myth that pro is better for everything....

    Also, while Dell makes fine (but after the experiances with my Demension 4100, overrated) PCs, I would suggest checking out something with an AMD chip in it. While the Athlon 64s are the latest and greatest, the Athlon XPs are extremely good chips at extremely low prices! They have consistantly benchmarked higher than the P4s in a variety of tests, and are the top pick among PC gamers (people who really know hardware).

    Hewlet Packard has been putting out a lot of systems with Athlon XPs in them, for very good prices. I would check one of them out.

    (also, I take it that you are new to PCs, so I will mention the unfortunate fact that most PCs that seem to cheap to be true have "integrated graphics" which, in short, use the system processor and memory in lue of an actual video card....its fine for checking email, but if you are doing much more than that, you will be hurtin....its worth the extra 50 bucks to get a "real" card...)
     
  5. rhpenguin macrumors 6502a

    rhpenguin

    Joined:
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    London, Ontario
    #5
    Compaq makes a nice machine at a decent price. The SR1010Z Model is a good machine to get some work done. It ships with XP Home which should do you fine unless your connecting to a domain or need to remote access your machine. Also its based on an ASUS mainboard and NVIDIA grapics card.

    The fit and finish on these machines are quite nice too.. They are simple to work on and the Gobi chassis provides excelent cooling to the internal components. Also Compaq doesnt ship a whole lot of extra stupid crap on there. Yes there is some stuff that needs to be removed out of the box such as their crappy cd recording software Record Now and the spyware loaded piece of **** Compaq Connections. But other than that, its ready to work out of the box. Also if you need to reinstall Windows XP on the fly, you can restore the machine right off the hard drive and be up and running in like about 15 minutes.

    And as far as support on the machine, its pretty decent. I do support for HP/Compaq and their pretty good about getting things done if needed. Most agents are more than happy just to send out new parts instead of troubleshooting the machine.

    But if the Compaq machines dont float yout boat, you can check out the Pavillion offerings as well. They are basically the same machines inside with different pack in software. But HP/Compaq is overall a decent route to go.
     
  6. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I've had personal experience with that Dell system you mentioned, and I'd say it's as good as you're going to get with a Wintel (For that amount of money.) My dell usually runs pretty well, pretty fast, doesn't crash very often. Overall I've been satisfied with it even though it's not a Mac. I use it for Photoshop and Dreamweaver, burning CDs, stuff like that.

    Hope this helps
    Britt
     
  7. iBook thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Thanks for the comments

    Thanks for the response. I'm now using a Dell OptiPlex GX270 @ work, and it runs great. Very fast. Quiet. Doesn't crash. Running Windows 2000, so I'm not sure how it's performance would stack-up against the same box running XP.

    The Dell 8300 looks like a good performer for the money. Any other hands-on feedback you can provide is appreciated because going to the Dell "store" (kiosk) just doesn't seem as attractive as a journey to the Apple store.
     
  8. radhak macrumors regular

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    Aug 28, 2003
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #8

    Just for comparison, you might want to check out ABS computers at ABS PC. They are just around $100 more than Dell (or maybe not even that), but they build blazingly fast PCs. Saw one at a friend's, and it boggled my mind. And they have some pretty cool exterior.
    Now I am rethinking my imminent Dell...
     
  9. Dippo macrumors 65816

    Dippo

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #9
    That system looks like it would be good enough for whatever you need to do.
    Don't get Windows Pro. It would be a waste of your $70.

    You might want to send that $70 you save on an extra year warranty.

    Also, since you are going to be doing media type work, you might want to look at upgrading the sound and video cards. At the very least upgrade the sound, because I doubt the on board sound would be that great.

    Good Luck.
     
  10. iBook thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Dude... I bought a Dell

    Feel a bit guilty, actually. :eek:

    But here's what I got. Thanks for the input so far, but I do have a question.

    Dell Dimension 8300

    • 3 Ghz P4 with HT and 800 Mhz fsb
    • 512 mb ram
    • 17-inch CRT monitor
    • 128MB DDR GeForce FX 5200 Graphics Card with TV-Out and DVI
    • Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 (D) Card with Dolby® Digital 5.1 capability
    • Speakers w/Subwoofer
    • 48 x CD-RW & 16 x DVD-ROM
    • 80 gb hard drive
    • 802.11 a/g usb adapter
    • Windows XP Home :(

    Total: $1,033, including tax & shipping, and Consumer Reports ranks this PC as one of the best PCs on the market. :)

    Now, my question: Is hyperthreading anything like Apple's Velocity Engine?
     
  11. dopefiend macrumors 6502

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    May 6, 2004
    #11
    Wow, looking at those prices makes me happy I know how to build a computer, lol.
     
  12. iBook thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    I thought about building my own but my procrastination skills far outweigh my BMO skills. :)
     
  13. IndyGopher macrumors 6502a

    IndyGopher

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    Nov 3, 2001
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #13
    One of those "internal things that have nothing to do with multimedia" is support for dual CPU's. In Windows XP Pro, Hyperthreading CPU's show up as dual CPU's. Kind of silly to have an HT Pentium 4 (which the 8300 has) and not have XP Pro.. unless there is undocumented support for HyperThreading in XP Home.

    (Editted for clarity)
     
  14. dopefiend macrumors 6502

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    May 6, 2004
    #14

    Wrong: http://www.intel.com/support/platform/ht/os.htm

     
  15. IndyGopher macrumors 6502a

    IndyGopher

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    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN

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