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I'm sure somebody here knows PC's


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JBethell

 
Member Since: May 29, 2008
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I'm in the market to buy a budget PC for the kids in the next few weeks. I got my imac, and as a result haven't kept up with ANYTHING to do with pc's for quite some time now. This is the only place I could think of to ask, so hopefully my questions can be answered.

The main reason I'm looking at PC's as opposed to a mac is cost, and a lot of the little gadgets they have, require a pc. (such as my daughter's FlyPen)

So I'm looking at these 2.

Newegg.com - Acer Aspire AM3201-EF8450A Phenom X3 8450(2.1GHz) 3GB DDR2 320GB ATI Radeon HD 3200 Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (English / French) - Desktop PCs

and
Newegg.com - Acer Aspire AL5100-UD4400A Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 3GB DDR2 320GB ATI Radeon X1250 IGP Windows Vista Home Premium - Desktop PCs

Personally, I like the fullsize triple-core machine, but my only concern is that it comes with 64bit vista. As far as I know 64 bit vista is better, but comes with some compatibility issues. Is that true? Or was that only in it's infancy?

What would be your personal choice??

The machine would basically be used for internet surfing, the flypen, 2 ipod shuffles, that kind of thing, and POSSIBLY may serve as a light duty media pc in the future.

Thanks so much for your insight.
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Mama Luigi

 
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I'd go for the one with the Phenom X3. 64-bit Vista isn't bad. Driver issues have pretty much been worked out. At this point, peripheral manufacturers know that 64-bit is here to stay and the adoption rate has improved significantly now that pretty much all new computers ship with 64-bit processors. So don't let that stop you.

One concern is that it doesn't have a DVI port, only a VGA and an HDMI. That means you can connect it directly to an HDTV, but if you have a DVI monitor you'll have to get an adapter for the HDMI.

If you ever feel like upgrading the video card (the current one is going to be pretty slow but it will work for anything other than gaming), it won't be hard to do that either since it has a PCIe x16 slot.
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cwa107

 
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Any particular reason you're considering Acer? Acer, in my opinon, is a second rate company. Their tech support is particularly awful, as is their driver availability and webpage. If you have some kind of loyalty to the company, I'd sooner point you to their Gateway subsidiary.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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JBethell

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Luigi View Post
I'd go for the one with the Phenom X3. 64-bit Vista isn't bad. Driver issues have pretty much been worked out. At this point, peripheral manufacturers know that 64-bit is here to stay and the adoption rate has improved significantly now that pretty much all new computers ship with 64-bit processors. So don't let that stop you.

One concern is that it doesn't have a DVI port, only a VGA and an HDMI. That means you can connect it directly to an HDTV, but if you have a DVI monitor you'll have to get an adapter for the HDMI.

If you ever feel like upgrading the video card (the current one is going to be pretty slow but it will work for anything other than gaming), it won't be hard to do that either since it has a PCIe x16 slot.
That is the one I was leaning towards. My other concern, is that the dual core machine won't really be upgradeable due to it's small size, am i correct on that?

Also, I don't see anything about wireless network equipment. Am I missing it? haha, i thought everything came with wireless now!! Dang Macs, they'll spoil ya.
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JBethell

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Any particular reason you're considering Acer? Acer, in my opinon, is a second rate company. Their tech support is particularly awful, as is their driver availability and webpage. If you have some kind of loyalty to the company, I'd sooner point you to their Gateway subsidiary.
Because those 2 just happened to look like two of the better deals on newegg, and they're in the price range I'm looking to spend.

That's the only reason.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBethell View Post
Because those 2 just happened to look like two of the better deals on newegg, and they're in the price range I'm looking to spend.

That's the only reason.
Personally, I'd sooner go with Dell or HP. Just my personal preference.

My company buys primarily Dell, but we also have a smattering of Acer and HP tablet PCs. The Acers are terrible. Our users use the word "Acer" as a derogatory term. Having serviced a few and also dealing with Acer tech support, I can tell you that they are perhaps one of the worst vendors I've ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Mama Luigi

 
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HP isn't bad. I've got one at work here.

Popped over to their website and configured their lowest-end desktop with an Athlon X2, Vista 64 Home Premium, 2 GB of RAM, 250 GB hard drive, and an 802.11g wireless card, for $430. The video card it ships with is crap, and the RAM and hard drive space is just a bit low, but that can all be remedied with aftermarket upgrades if you want. You probably don't even need more than that. Oh, and the stock video-out is VGA only. You'd need an aftermarket video card to get more outputs. You could use their BTO option for $30 to get DVI, but I'd personally rather spend $50 and get a Radeon HD4650 which will actually let you play games as well.

I'm sure Dell has a similar system. Again, if you configure it, I'd recommend getting the cheapest dual-core, 64-bit processor available (Core 2 Duo or Athlon X2; avoid "Celeron," "Pentium Dual Core," "Sempron," or "Athlon LE"). Stick with the base RAM, hard drive, and video card, and as always, feel free to configure a few extras like wireless-G if you need them. Just don't go overboard - they love it when you load up on accessories.
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JBethell

 
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Thanks guys, I'll check into those other options, I never knew Acer was that bad, haha.
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ideviouz

 
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Have you looked into building your own? When it comes to PCs, it's almost pointless to pay for machine from a company. You'd probably be able to save a lot more money/build a much better rig if you DIY.
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Mama Luigi

 
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Building is a good option if you have a fairly low budget but want to have more capabilities such as gaming. If you need absolutely the cheapest computer money can buy, sometimes prebuilt machines are better. Plus you have a unified warranty for prebuilt computers (instead of a separate warranty for each part) and you don't have to spend the time to put it together yourself.

What happens with pre-built boxes, and why they're bad for gaming, is that they don't come with good graphics cards and their power supplies are also quite weak and can't power a high-end video card. So you can still upgrade them, but you will either have to upgrade your power supply as well or just use a lower-power video card (like the Radeon HD4670).

If gaming is not a concern, I'd definitely go for a pre-built system. And you can always update your video card if you do feel like gaming - the HD4670 I mentioned is an easy drop-in upgrade for about $70, and the HD4830 is significantly more powerful and should still work on a pre-built desktop, for around $95.
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