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Hi Forumites, I am currently shopping around for a second PC as backup or to make my current PC backup to. My budget is around US$1,200, give or take. Diablo 2 is my most run program and really the only game I play on the PC :wink3: . Probably the most resource intensive program I use is Macromedia's Dreamweaver. My current PC is built around a P4 2.8 Ghz processor w/512 MB RAM and a 9600 Radeon video card. I am asking you fine folks for advice since I haven't really followed PC development in the last few years and so am out of touch with the current marketplace. Even tips on decent displays would be appreciated. I am unsure whether I want to go the laptop route or just get another desktop machine. Thanks!


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I just recently bought a new PC from systemax (through I chose systemax because they give you the greatest capability for customization at the lowest price (mine was ~$200 cheaper than a similar dell machine). Because the customization is fairly detailed, you have to kind of know what you want, but you also don't end up paying for a bunch of crap you'll never use. AND the customer service is top notch. That's my pitch :grin:

edit: i bought a desktop. they also offer build to order laptops, but i haven't looked at them closely.


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Well, I'd advise you to build your own computer if you have the knowhow, otherwise customize a computer through Dell. Dell has very stable and reliable systems for the money, and since you dont need much (Dreamweaver and D2), you can get what you want for the budget you've set.

However, if you feel you have the knowhow (or know someone who's willing to help), has deals on many computer components, and that person can help you select the right stuff for you. Tom's Hardware Guide also can give you lots of information to help you out.

Good luck with whatever route you take!


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@mbrain: Thanks, I will check systemax out. Problem right now though is I am not up to date on the latest technology--I am trying to avoid the hours of research to figure what's what again, i.e. processors, memory, etc. I used to be into following that stuff, but now I don't want to bother figuring it out.

@Durf: Noooo . . .

@sawm: I am pretty much all thumbs, but I have managed in the past to put a PC together (with some help), but it's not worth the time and aggravation for me. Dell was one of the retailers I had been considering. I actually have Tom's Hardware Guide boomarked, but haven't clicked over there in a while.


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Well if you DO decide to eventually build your own, some things I've noticed over the past year or so in terms of computer hardware:

+ AMD processors are leading the pack right now, Intel seems to be catching up, but AMD is currently the king. PCI-Express is also the 'in thing', so when choosing motherboard/cpu/vga, make sure they're all compatible (IE dont buy a socket AM2 when the board supports socket 939, etc.)
+ ATi vs. nVidia: Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Both will get you good performance for the price, its just down to personal preference and/or budget.
+ Memory: 1GB minimum, 2GB for most of today's gaming products and high end developer software.
+ Power supply: READ THE REVIEWS from multiple sites...500W seems to be pretty common for higher end systems, but you may not need that much. Read around about stability issues and voltages, and then decide what fits your needs and budget best.

The rest is pretty much 'as you see fit', in terms of hard drive size, case style, etc. Good luck!

P.S.: Currently saving up for a new system, priced around $1,200 shipped from Trying to move away from my Dell and all the extra software that gets loaded on when I purchased it. ;)


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There's a thread on the PCGamer website forums that lists suggested setups based on your budget. You would have to build your own but once you have the parts it's simple to put together. Fortunately the setups listed work together so you don't have to worry about parts being compatible or not. Here's the $1,000 budget PC:

1K Budget (Conroe)
PSU: ENERMAX Whisper II EG565P-VE FMA(24P) ATX12V 535W $85

Mobo: ASUS P5B LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX $160

Vid Card: SAPPHIRE Radeon X1800XT 256MB PCI-E x16l $260
XFX Geforce 7900GT 256MB/256bit PCI-E x16 $279 - $40 rebate - $239

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe Processor 1.86GHz LGA775 $206

Ram: OCZ 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Kit $105

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar 250GB 7200 RPM SATA $77

Optical: LG Black Super-Multi DVD Burner $31

Sound: onboard

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home With SP2 – OEM $90

TOTAL: $1014 (ATI) $993 (Nvidia)

This does not include case or monitor so you'd have to come up with some extra maybe depending on what you're aiming to do. Any ATX case will fit the bill and just select monitor accordingly.


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Hm, from what I gather from your post it does not seem like you really *need* a new computer. The one you have is way past recommended specs for D2 and I am pretty sure it handles the dreamweaver just fine, too.

So, personally, I would get a good laptop instead of another tower that you do not really need anyway. In fact, that is just what I did about a year ago (though I had multiple reasons for getting a laptop).

I've got a fujitsu siemens and I'm pretty happy with it. Funny that you mention displays. That is exactly why I returned my first laptop. Maybe this is just a quirk of mine, but I found that the regular 15'' display looks like crap. I can't exactly put a finger on it, but I hated it. So I returned it and got said fujitsu laptop with a widescreen (also it's huge. Size does matter. Yes, regardless of what yoda said. In your face, runt!) and it rocks.

Personally I looked at the following things when I picked my laptop:
- Display looks good (compare! widescreen!)
- plenty of USB ports
- RAM (lots of)
- Decent graphics card (games!)

On a sidenote, you probably already know this, but if you don't get the absolute latest in technology, but say, something that is 2 months old you will save a lot of money. I remember when I got my 2.4Ghz processor the best of the best was 2.8Ghz or maybe even straight 3Ghz but it was about twice as expensive as mine. Weighing costs vs gains here, I decided that it isn't really worth it to have the bestest pc possible right now, but rather something that does what I need now and by the time my 2.4Ghz pc is outdated, the 3Ghz would be almost as obsolete.

As for ready-made vs self-assembly... I've had both kinds and overall I prefer the do-it-yourself approach. Granted, I got a good friend who helps me with this **** but this way I am sure that I have a well balanced system and that all the parts are up to specs. My pal used to point out flaws in the run of the mill computers where companies just used some not-quite-so-great parts to get an overall cheaper product that would look just as impressive on the spec sheet. Maybe I'm an untrusting person but for me, building things myself (with help) worked bestest.

But yeah. Laptops rule. First I thought I don't need one but it's a really neat thing. Especially if your regular computer already does everything you want it to do. Being able to watch movies everywhere or get a few MF runs in at university... Sweeeet. It really depends on whether or not you would actually use the laptop as such. If you know that you will never ever want to carry your computer somewhere you probably don't need one. But if for whatever reasons you do move around (which, as a gamer, I cannot really condone in the first place, but that's besides the point) the laptop might be the way to go. I know I have seen the light (which, again, I cannot condone as a gamer. Night is our time, daylight being unnatural and all...).


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archons build looks good to me, although I'm not sure on the PSU (don't know about those)
If you're willing to spend a little more, the primary upgrade target would be the processor. the core duo's are awesome, but the 6300 isn't a very high end model.
Of course, there are other concerns, such as cases (but you should have one) and monitors (you may want a nicer one, idk)


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wilypueo said:
My current PC is built around a P4 2.8 Ghz processor w/512 MB RAM and a 9600 Radeon video card.

Upgrade to minimum 1 Gig Corsair RAM, and you're done. Sweet setup.



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Thanks all. I am trying to avoid putting my own machine together--again can do it but I suck it at and take about 10x as long as the average person. However, if I can lasso in one of my tech friends over here to help me out, I might go ahead and do a build, checking out the components/sites posted above (thanks RedArchon and sawm).

Nightfish is right that I don't need another PC, but when the nephews come over, then it's nice to play some networked games with them. A laptop is appealing, but I don't know if I leave the house enough (I work at home and usually take only 1 trip a year off the island) to justify the extra cost for the same features.

And, sawm, yeah, I hate all that extra crapware that gets installed at retailers like Dell.


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wilypueo said:
A laptop is appealing, but I don't know if I leave the house enough (I work at home and usually take only 1 trip a year off the island) to justify the extra cost for the same features.
It's not just about taking it out of the house. Just being able to move it easily from room to room is very nice, and that flexibility will be nice when you try to lan.