Which of these two PC's would you buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by cr2sh, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. cr2sh macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    #1
    I know this is a Mac forums, but christ.. you guys should be willing to help me out on this decision. Please no "get her an iMac" posts... frankly, out of the question.

    My Mom is trying to learn how to "use the web." For the past few weeks she's been frustrated with an old celeron 400, I've decided to purchase her and my dad a new Dell desktop for their anniversary. Currently Dell is running two great deals on a desktop server and a standard desktop.

    So here's the options:

    Now the thing is, overall I think the Dimension desktop is the better deal.. but my parent's aren't going to burn cds..
    the money would be better spent on a faster fsb and RAM from some other online vendor. I've got a copy of XP Pro and all the other software I'd need.. so really, the question is one of a 533fsb compared to a 800fsb. How much difference are the going to see on startup times and such... is it even worth the $99 for the surfing, typing, "mom and dad" uses? Is the rotational speed of the drives something to be concerned with?

    Am I better off just ordering the 2.26GHz and adding some ram?

    Much thanks.

    Here's the links incase anyone else is interested:

    http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/category.aspx/enterprise?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

    http://www1.us.dell.com/content/default.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd
     
  2. Engagebot macrumors regular

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    #2
    they wont see any difference in those FSBs. 533 is more than enough for regular desktop tasks. unless you've got a fat 3d card you gotta feed, or you render a lot of video, you'll be perfectly cool with 533.

    you probably wont be able to tell the difference in the ghz speed either. if you had a 2.26 and a 2.6 side by side, you probably couldnt decide which was which unless you gave it something substantial to do, in which case they would be slightly different. winxp (or any current os for that matter) isnt efficient enough to really see a drastic difference.

    use the cash and get a gig of memory, they'll be more thankful for that. a lot of memory at the fastest speed allowed by the motherboard will be most beneficial for your money.
     
  3. cubist macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Re: Which of these two PC's would you buy?

    Well, if she's stuck with Windows XP, no wonder. :p

    Those prices are incredible, though. If I were you I'd probably go with the desktop, because it's more likely to be reliable; Dell's laptops have more problems historically. It's true that laptops keep resale value better, but at those prices it won't matter.

    You might consider putting Lindows on it...
     
  4. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #4
    It looks as though the Dimension is using plain SDRAM, which I would avoid. If it were my money, it would be the PowerEdge.
     
  5. cr2sh thread starter macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    #5
    Re: Re: Which of these two PC's would you buy?

    A laptop wasn't one of the options. :)

    You guys might be right, spending $99 to get a slightly faster fsb and clock speed might not be the best choice.. putting a 512 of DDR 333 would provide a bigger boost.
    Any other thoughts?
     
  6. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #6
    I know this is of no help to you, but its amazing what those desk tops are selling for 2.66 P4s, 533 fsb, 17 inch lcd screens and still less then half of what a Imac costs and it blows the imac away in everything except software. No wonder Imac is out of the question. Really hits home how macs consumer line sucks and is overpriced at the same time. makes me almost want a Pc just for games since Macs hardware is so lacking. thanks for the links cr2sh.
     
  7. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #7
    low end dells are garbage... I would recommend getting a used sony desktop (which are just as good quality as macs) and reformating the harddrive and installing xandros linux (easy to use) or Lindows (also easy to use)... or just stay with windows xp home ...although my roomate has a WXP Home running on a dell -its a P4 2.4ghz on a intel chipset and for the life of him he can't access the dorm's Ethernet network because so some networking quirk/error. stupid msft, stupid intel. If i were you i'd buy a old g4 powermac from ebay and cally it a day... invest in a spare copy of panther and you're good to go... if the default video card is too crappy for you, by a better one, they're cheap now anyways.
     
  8. Opteron macrumors 6502

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    #8
    While the 2.6P4 is the most over-cloclable CPU on the market (3.2GHz with standard HSF,) If you really want to get them a computer, your best bet is to build one yourself. And don't forget AMD in this little equation:p.

    The problems with building your own machine are that you dona't get free tech support while the parts are under warrenty, however the big advantage is that you can completly customise the machine to suit your parents needs.

    He's what I'd go, AMD 2500+ 333FSB, 512MB of DDR333, a mother board from a reputable company (Gigabyte, MSI, Asus, Abit...) with the features you feel your parents would require, a CD burner, R9200 Graphics card, and maybe 40-60GB HDD.

    First work out how much you have to spend, then find out what the best computer is for that money, then go from there.
    Happy Hunting
     
  9. Engagebot macrumors regular

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    #9
    www.pricewatch.com and a calculator is what you need. go for an athlon machine.

    dell, sony, whatever. no manufacturer is any better/wose than another. just look at the specs. the only exception to this rule is HP/compaq, because sometimes they use proprietary stuff in the BIOS of their boards.

    other than that, most companies are just pc's built from other companies parts. the dell and the sony probably have asus or abit motherboards and probably maxtor or seagate drives, ect.
     
  10. cr2sh thread starter macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    #10
    As for building my own pc, I don't have time to do that (I'm flying to Sacramento on Saturday for one week, then I'm going to San Bernadino for a week on business). I'd prefer to buy it from Dell, get the customer service, spend $300 and be done with it.
     
  11. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #11
    i dunno dude, lon second thought, get your 'rents a Shuttle... they're cheap and really really really qute... and theylook like those old mac cubes!!! hell yeah do that def! Shuttle IGP Radeon Device

    GET THIS OMG, its perfect...if my parents used computers, I'd get this for them too!!! ...actually, I got them a ebay 500mhz g4 on panther with max ram and a nice used 15 inch apple lcd for cheap. they are now mac converts ...HAHAHA I RULE
     
  12. cr2sh thread starter macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    #12
    I gave my brother my old g4 cube for his birthday. Most overrated Mac... EVER.

    Desktop 'coolness' is not a factor my parents consider. :)
     
  13. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #13
    um.... I guesss

    well if compactness is not an issue, they dell no.1 is good as any other pc you can get for that price... I assume your 'rents like windows too? well make sure you get norton ghost and ghost a copy of their harddrive and have they save all the word documents and etc on to floppy or usb key or a secondary harddrive.... that way when XP fu cks up like it always does after prolonged usage you can just ghost the harddrive back to original shape without having to go through reformating and registering windows xp online again or worse using having to reinstall all the family apps like office xp or photoshop or AIM and other software and dealing with the registration on those apps....so i my humble opinion a ghost of your hd is a must for pcs........
     
  14. MoparShaha macrumors 68000

    MoparShaha

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    #14
    I think many of us are looking at this purchase from our own perspective. I've seen my parents use their computers, and I can guarantee they wouldn't notice the difference between either of those machines. Heck, you could give them a 4 year old machine running Windows 98 and they wouldn't notice. All they do is web browsing, email, and the occasional Word document. RAM, however, is important. Whatever you end up getting them, make sure it has lots of RAM. So, cr2sh, in summary, just get the cheapest machine, and load it up on memory.
     
  15. cr2sh thread starter macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    #15
    Agreed, I'm going to place the order shortly. Thanks guys.
     
  16. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #16
    lol, but not a bargin basement machine like emachines.... the organization that i volenteer for as a computer literacy instructor has a lab full of emachines and at least 30% has had hardware problems ranging from doa 10/100 card
    to a fried CPU after 3 month of usage.... you just can't expect to stick a cheap foxconn fan on a p4 and expect it hold up all the time... and probably save extra money by using cheap child labor (south korean company) so that doesnt add to the build quality (and is morally repungent...but thats for another forum).... anyways, dells are much better in quality and yes, LOAD IT UP is RAM like 512mb is a must!!! also Ghost it! seriously Norton ghost will save you alot of headaches later on... it will span 5 cds, but a ghost of your harddrive will restore the original condition of your computers (registry etc...) along with all the software you have installed at the point of restoration and restoring the actually computer takes less time then installing Window XP from a reformatted disk..... so its definately worth the investment , sides, its cheap if you lift a copy from ebay.
     
  17. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #17
    Not sure if anyone pointed this out, but the server doesn't come with an OS. If you have one already, no biggie.

    With a larger HD, more RAM, included XP Pro and the burner, it seems to me the Dimension 2400 wins hands down.
     
  18. cr2sh thread starter macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    #18
    Rower comes in and casts doubt.. just as I was rethinking it.

    The dimension is the better deal (if it were for me), but the harddrive is a 5400 which I don't like... both harddrives though are 40GB. The dimension has a CDRW, but my parent's won't use it. Ram is cheap..

    The Ram in the Server is ECC.. so I'd have to chuck that and stick and bigger stick of non-ECC (ecc is pricey and my 'rents don't need it). The server has everything onboard. Doesn't get much simpler. It's a better motherboard...

    I prefer the idea of installing my own copy of XP Pro, cuz there'd be less clutter (compared to a Dell install) and it'd be less confussing for my parents.
     
  19. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #19
    I didn't see the HDD speed spec. For the kinds of things your folks will be doing I don't think it makes a difference, though.

    I was basically looking at the prices and what comes with the machine as opposed to what would have to be added later.

    And don't discount the burner. Even if you don't think they'll use it, they are indispensable when it comes time for backups.

    I agree on installing XP from scratch, too.
     
  20. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #20
    I dunno for what your parents will be doing, clutter or not clutter, itll end up feeling the same.
     
  21. cr2sh thread starter macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    #21
    Done.

    Pentium 4 @ 2.66GHz, 48x CDR, 40GB (7200), 256 DDR 333, onboard everything, XP Pro, $359.
     
  22. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    #22
    Just remember...you get what you pay for :)
     
  23. Engagebot macrumors regular

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    #23
    thats not necessarily true. just look at napster (just kidding)

    hardly any of the parts if at all in the dell will be no-namers. just because a tired G4 in an imac can cost you $1500+ doesnt mean that all computers these days cost that. i'm not a mac nay-sayer by any stretch, but you can build an awesome PC for almost nothing.
     
  24. fartheststar macrumors 6502a

    fartheststar

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    #24
    yeah, the burner would have been good.
     
  25. cr2sh thread starter macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

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    #25
    Oh.. I forgot to say... yes, I got the burner too. Rower's comment about backing up data was a good idea. Plus, there's always the chance that someone else will use it... (see edit above)

    I agree. I know these are cheap parts. I know its MS XP. I know this stuff... I am well aware of the fact that this is a $300 solution... I think of it as a Pro.. you guys seem to see it as a Con.

    Its a dell computer.. say what you will but I have faith in it. (As much as $300 will buy). I'll let you guys know how it works out though! :)
     

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