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Kyobanim
08-07-2004, 12:26
CommoGeek made a good suggestion, lets pass on what to look for when purchasing/upgrading your PC.

But I have to go cut the yard so he can start.:D

Para
08-07-2004, 13:36
Ok...I have a question. Let's talk memory. What is the 3200 in the PC3200 DDR 256 and how does it differ from PC2700 DDR 256? My theory is that it relates to the processing speed of the CPU, but in reality, I really don't know.

Kyobanim
08-07-2004, 14:21
It's a type of DDR SDRAM running at 200MHz double-pumped to an effective speed of 400MHz. It is called PC3200 because its maximum data transfer rate is 3.2GB/second in a single 64-bit channel. Similar to having a turbo charger on your vette. PC3200 is just faster than 2700.

The processing speed on your PC is whatever the speed of the processor says it is. The BUS speed is the speed of the data transfer between the RAM, processor and MB.

Think about this, if you have PC3200 memory in a system with a 266mhz front side bus, you've wasted the money you spent on RAM. The PC will only run as fast as the slowest part. If the MB is a 266 FSB then you shouldn't spend the extra money on 400mhz RAM because it won't make it run any faster.

CommoGeek
08-07-2004, 16:14
Most people buy something that they don't need: video, sound, processor, etc. So, what will you do with it?
Most users today will have 3-5 years of service EASILY with a P-4 2.6 Ghz processor, 512 mb DDR ram, and a 40 GB hard drive. What if you will use it for more then internet and a home office?

File Sharing: Get a big hard drive +80GB. Also consider an external USB drive.

Gaming: A big HD isn't a must, but a 128mb (minimum) video card IS. What games do you play? Go to their homepage(s) and see what video cards are supported. get a consensus and go buy it. Sound? Upgrade it and get some mongosso speakers. Memory? At least 1 GB.

Video/ Audio: A good video card is a must, but not on a level with gamers. Look for video outputs like S-video. I'm weak on current audio gear, but I think that Dolby 5.1 is still good. Con someone confirm or correct this? 1 GB of memory and at least an 80 GB HD.

CommoGeek
08-07-2004, 16:20
Basic hardware for a home PC:

4 USB ports.
1 1394 Firewire for Audio/ Video freaks
DVD-ROM +RW
At least 1 expansion slot for additional CD/DVD drives.
Expansion slots for video, sound, and additonal cards (Firewire, more USB, etc.)

Home users will not need SCSI, so an IDE interface is fine. Most will probably never see this but if you do, stick with IDE.

If you are buying and it comes with a wireless card, get it. You may want to make a wireless network someday.

The DVD +RW is used for burning CD's and DVD's. Go buy Symantec/ Norton Ghost and use it to make a backup of your PC. DVD's are more expensive but take less room (The average PC Ghost is 7 disks. DVD would be 1 or 2.) Keep those disk with your PC. They will save you one day.

More later. I think this is a good start.

Pandora
08-07-2004, 19:26
If you have them handy, would you also provide basic laptop specs?

Thanks.

CommoGeek
08-07-2004, 20:33
Originally posted by Pandora
If you have them handy, would you also provide basic laptop specs?

Thanks.

On the list... I'm not done here.

Kyobanim
08-07-2004, 20:42
Originally posted by Pandora
If you have them handy, would you also provide basic laptop specs?

Thanks.

That would depend on what you're going to use it for. As a basic system for word processing, internet, etc. I would go with the following: note, these are minimum specs.

Basic price around $1000 depending on mfg
P4 2 GHz minimum processor
266mhz bus
256 RAM
40 Gig HD
standard video - 32meg video ram
14.1 in screen
built in - modem, network card, sound
CDRW

I've got a Dell Latitude M600 laptop from work that I use for everything from internet to graphic production to network control.
For $2200 - I'd consider it fairly high end
Centrino processor @ 1600 Mhz
512 RAM
80 gig HD
64 meg ATI mobility video
CDRW-DVD +R
14.1 screen
built in network, wireless, modem, sound
4 USB ports
toys, toys, toys.

If your're limited to what you can spend, remember this; you can upgrade the RAM, HD and CDR drive at a later day. Go with your minimum specs for those and get higher specs on the video, wireless, etc.

CommoGeek
08-07-2004, 23:11
Kyo,

My IBM Xsomething has a P4 while my boss' IBM Tsomething has a Centino processor.

So, in your experience, what P4 is comparable a Centrino/ Pentium M processor? How do they stack up? A programmer at work is saying a Centrino 1300 is roughly the same as a P4 2.6. I haven't done any testing to say what is what in this area.

One thing I'd add to Kyo's basic laptop list is a wireless card. Alot of places have wireless capability now: hotels, airports, even cities. I wouldn't buy one without it.

Kyobanim
08-07-2004, 23:21
The one I have is a M1600 and, IMO, it runs as fast as my desktop at work which is a P4 3.2 Ghz with half gig memory. I'd say the programmer is probably pretty close to the mark. I've never seen any technical comparisons as far as speed is concerned.

CommoGeek
08-07-2004, 23:32
One thing that is overlooked is that your computer gets old. Like any mechanical device, your PC's performance degrades with age. I'd estimate my P3 1.0 GHz at 3 years is more like a P3 800MHz. SO, not only is it old but the performance has degraded.

I cautioned earlier about buying too much. After reading this you probably think I've lost it. Well, until the Docs and the courts can agree I wouldn't worry about it.

What to do?

The average home user will not need a P4 3.2 GHz with Hyperthreading (HT). HT allows one processor to be used as two processors. It utilizes the down time in the processing cycle to run as a separate logical device. Don't worry about this unless you're a gamer or media hound.

So, today's P4 2.6 may a bit of overkill; in a few years it will not, nor will it seriously lag for most of you. You just do not need some super bad P4 3.0 with HT right now. If you buy it, chances are that you've just helped your salesman reach his quota a little easier this month.

My parents just bought a PC and I think it is very representative of what most folks will need for the next few years:
P4 2.6 GHz
512 mb RAM
80 GB HD (A little overkill, but they'll also never need another drive)
On board video, NIC, sound
5 USB Ports (1 front, 4 rear)
DVD +R
48X CD-ROM

With the exception of your processor and motherboard, the above components are easily upgradeable by the user with little outside assistance.

If you know a computer guy and trust him to build you a system, he can do it for cheap. If not, I recommend Dell, HP, and IBM (pricey for a home consumer though).

Laptops, Dell, IBM, and HP. Stay far away from Toshiba. Panasonic Toughbooks are pretty good I'm told.

Based on recent experiences with Gateway I cannot and will NEVER recommend them again. That company is messed up like a football bat. That rant would require a whole post to itself.

What's next? How we doing?

CommoGeek
08-07-2004, 23:35
Originally posted by Kyobanim
The one I have is a M1600 and, IMO, it runs as fast as my desktop at work which is a P4 3.2 Ghz with half gig memory. I'd say the programmer is probably pretty close to the mark. I've never seen any technical comparisons as far as speed is concerned.

Nice. Thank you for that. I've had my head in Veritas, DR testing, and new servers and haven't given much thought to some of the newer hardware.

ghuinness
08-08-2004, 09:49
Originally posted by CommoGeek

Home users will not need SCSI, so an IDE interface is fine. Most will probably never see this but if you do, stick with IDE.



Strongly disagree on that one.

I wanted my workstation to last more than 2 years and support upgrades on OS and external peripherals.

Most users don't need a high speed CPU (game players excluded). What you need is fast peripheral access and the ability to upgrade memory, cache and disk.

All my devices are SCSI. Most users don't need half the CPU power available. The average user is not going to be CPU bound with the Apps they run.

IDE is convenient and accessible at your local store. USB and Firewire - they have benefits but still don't compare to SCSI.

Bought a dell refurb (1998) for $2500 when it was running $6K new. I *might* consider upgrading the motherboard next year.

Team Sergeant
08-08-2004, 11:18
I have one of those Dell 8250 P4 3.06GHz HT 512 Ram and 110 GB HD and a few other bells and whistles.

How I saved a few bucks was to purchase just the CPU and stick with the old Gateway VX900 21 inch monitor! Just an idea.

I also like the refurb idea...

TS

Pandora
08-08-2004, 11:43
My laptop is almost identical, Kyobanim (40 gig hd).

Are you referring to the Intel(R) PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 3A Mini PCI Adapter for your internal wireless? That is what my D600 shipped with. I have a lot of trouble with mine - very spotty performance with frequent disconnects and normally disable it and rely on my cisco 340 series card instead.

I really appreciate the time you gentlemen are taking to educate us. I hate hardware - having knowledgeable experts offer guidance is very much welcomed.

Kyobanim
08-08-2004, 12:20
Pandora, if you're having problems with the wireless you should evaluate the network you're connecting to and eliminate that as the problem. Then contact Dell and they'll probably end up replacing it. Your laptop came with a blue and white CD that has Latitude system files or something like that on it. If you boot the laptop with this CD you'll find the system diagnostics. Run these diagnostics and see what you come up with. If there's a problem with something contact dell and tell them the error code you have.

I've got the 1350 card, sitting here looking at all the wireless networks in the neighborhood. My Latitude 640 has the 2100 card and it isn't seeing anything. Might just be the type of card.

Pandora
08-08-2004, 20:21
Good memory, Kyobanim. Diagnostics found on blue & white drivers & utilities cd.

PM sent specific to running the diagnostics.

CommoGeek
08-10-2004, 08:12
Originally posted by ghuinness
Strongly disagree on that one.

I wanted my workstation to last more than 2 years and support upgrades on OS and external peripherals.

Most users don't need a high speed CPU (game players excluded). What you need is fast peripheral access and the ability to upgrade memory, cache and disk.

All my devices are SCSI. Most users don't need half the CPU power available. The average user is not going to be CPU bound with the Apps they run.

IDE is convenient and accessible at your local store. USB and Firewire - they have benefits but still don't compare to SCSI.

Bought a dell refurb (1998) for $2500 when it was running $6K new. I *might* consider upgrading the motherboard next year.

But the average user will not understand SCSI vs. IDE, drivers, etc. Now, if they have a support contract then it might not be a bad idea, but usually those that know enough to make that decision will support their own PC. I'm thinking of the average user that doesn't know the difference.

CommoGeek
08-10-2004, 08:15
One issue that I've seen with wireless cards is that by default Windows will try to manage your card. Don't do that, instead have your card manage itself through the software supplied with your wireless card.

QRQ 30
08-10-2004, 08:51
A short recommendation. Go state of the art. I bought a lot of equipment which went obsolete in short order. I paid a little more for what I now have had for five years. The Pentium 4 came out shortly aftyer I bought my P-3 machine but that hasn't bothered me. The only addition have I made was to upgrade to 512 MB memory - very inexpensive and a 10 minute operation.

Para
08-10-2004, 12:30
Originally posted by CommoGeek
One issue that I've seen with wireless cards is that by default Windows will try to manage your card. Don't do that, instead have your card manage itself through the software supplied with your wireless card.
How do you turn off the default?

CommoGeek
08-10-2004, 13:16
Originally posted by Para
How do you turn off the default?

You made me look it up, but I should have anyway....

Right-click on My Network Place and select "Properties". Now, right-click on your wireless card and select "Properties". A window should appear with 3 tabs. The middle tab should be "Wireless Networks". Click on this tab. Deselect "Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings" and then OK, OK, etc. until you are back to the "Network Connections" window (the one that lists your NICs).

hoepoe
08-11-2004, 04:21
Hi Gents/Ladies

Any opinions on RDRAM?

Google search didn't show many results for problems since 2001/2002.

Input will be appreciated.

Thanks

Hoepoe

lrd
04-25-2005, 07:27
Laptops, Dell, IBM, and HP. Stay far away from Toshiba. Panasonic Toughbooks are pretty good I'm told.

CG (or anyone else out there :) ),

Does this advice hold with handhelds as well? (Esp. the bit about Toshiba.)

Kyobanim
04-25-2005, 08:15
I would give as much weight to the warranty offered as I would to the technical specs. I've only used the Dell and HP PDAs, both work fine for what they are. Haven't seen a Toshiba but if they are built like their laptops I'd stay away from them.

CommoGeek
04-25-2005, 09:31
Toshiba is to reliability as the Pope is to Shinto.

Lrd, I posted something about laptops in my gear thead. Oh, I'm tired of "those" loud aircraft waking me up! :p

lrd
04-25-2005, 11:05
Toshiba is to reliability as the Pope is to Shinto.

Lrd, I posted something about laptops in my gear thead. Oh, I'm tired of "those" loud aircraft waking me up! :pHey - I LOVE the sound of "those" jets!!! Knowing they're up there should make you sleep like a baby! lol

I've been reading up...Toshiba is definately out. They are getting out of the handheld market, so there will literally be no support in the future. I need the "Toughbook" version of a PDA. (I did find out that the Dell X50v and 02 XDA are made by the same company -- HTC. For whatever that's worth.)