mirrodie
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Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 3:25 am

I have tried cnet.com and that is some help.

Well, I received a Dell computer last week as a gift. But you know, buying a computer for someone else is like buying them lingerie. It's so personal.


So I am looking to exchange the computer that I received. It is a desk top and I am now considering a laptop just to save space.

My goals in getting the computer are: I need to conserve space (so a laptop is good). But what I want to do is take my videos on VHS-C and convert and edit them to CD/DVD. Being that I have no true experience with this, perhaps I should just have them professionally done? Naw, I want to do them.

As I tried to configure laptops to buy on the Dell site, it showed that none of them were offered with a DVD burner. Are DVD burners nonexistent on laptops? Should I just stick to the desktop?

I just want a fast computer so I am sticking to 512 Ram and a 60 Gig hard drive.

Have you any other suggestions for me?


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aa61hvy
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 4:05 am

sorry mirrodie i cant resisit: "dude you're getting a dell"
Go big or go home
 
Tbird
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 4:23 am

Greetings:

Now I'm sure I'll get ripped apart by someone for suggesting this, but I would look at a Mac. Everything you want to do you can do on a Mac with the software already included. All of the new Mac's come with iDVD, an easy yet powerful software package allowing you to produce your own custom DVD's. Combine iDVD with iMovie and you can create professional quality movies. A year and a half ago many of the iMac TV spots were done using a Sony digital camcorder and iMovie, nothing more. Although since you are using VHS-C you will need to purchase a video capture system, but once you download the video to the Mac, it's smooth sailing. BTW Certain Powerbooks come with a DVD-R/CD-RW called a Superdrive. I still use a P.C but I also use a Mac just for iMovie and iDVD. Video editing on a P.C is a joke! I haven't seen one program that does everything iMovie and iDVD does. iMovie is ton's of fun to use!

If you can't look at another brand I would stay with the desktop. If your concerned about space get a flat panel. Laptops are to restrictive in my opinion. Also if your looking at Dell check out their small business refurb section. You can get a fantastic deal on an extremely powerful computer. All their refurbs come with 1 year warranty's. Funny thing about their small business referb section compared to their personal computer refurb section, same computers but small biz is $50 cheaper!

Regards
Tom
 
Hepkat
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 4:28 am

Mirrodie, DVD-burners are almost non-existent on laptops, which is why you'd have a very difficult time finding such an offer. Right now I'd advise against buying a DVD-burner as the technology is still in its infancy and they're way too many formats. Give it another year or two until the market sorts out which standard survives and which ones fall by the wayside.

My suggestion to you is this:

1) If you'd like to save space and are interested in portability, then a laptop might be a good choice for you.
2) If you're interested in converting your VHS tapes to digital format, then you'd probably need to get a desktop. Converting analog (VHS) to digital requires a video capture card, which requires an empty slot, which is only available on desktops. I really doubt any laptop would come with a built in video capturing card.
3) Make sure your desktop comes with a CD-burner. This shouldn't be very difficult as this is pretty much standard today.
4) Capturing video, making AVI/MPEG files and burning them to CD can be fairly tricky and requires some know-how, but it certainly won't be beyond your reach. It's another chapter though, so we'll cross that bridge AFTER you get the desktop fully equipped and running.
 
Tbird
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 4:36 am

Just to address Hepkat's 4th comment, he's right.......Get a Mac  Big grin

Tom
 
mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 5:47 am

My naive impression of macs were that they were real pains in the butt. Are they any better or worse then other computers? Or is it all relative?

peace, mirrodie
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
Tbird
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 6:51 am

Well as Hepkat stated digital video is a little tricky when it comes to a PC. Why you ask? Well for starters you need a video capture device, software to manage the videos, more software for special effects and rending, and even more software to convert it to MPEG format. That's four applications and if you lucky all those applications will work together. With the Mac's iMovie and iDVD software you can do all of that in one easy to use software package. The only reason I still use a PC is that FS2002 isn't made for the Mac, otherwise I'd switch in a heart beat!

Hey you want to play Sony Playstation 1 and 2 games on a Mac? Guess what you can, can't do that on a PC!

Regards
Tom

 
Arrow
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 7:27 am

Get the Mac. I've worked on both platforms for years, and experienced ten times the difficulty with PC-Windows than with Mac. Crash ratio alone is worth the extra money you'll spend on the Mac (and it's not that much extra any more).

Also, for any graphics at all, the mac can't be beat.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:12 am

OK, new thought. I figure I had 10-15 VHS-C vids that I want to burn and edit. I am wondering if I should just say screw it and have them professionally done.

I just got back from the library and it seems that MACs got great reviews, just behind Dell.

But it seems that aside from my editing videos, the mac wouldn't be ideal for me.

Then again, the vid editing is not an overnight concern so it can wait.

let's say I didn;t want to do the editing, then do you all say steer clear from Mac?

Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
174thfwff
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:20 am

Get a Mac.

-174thfwff
Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten, Uptown, what now? Lets make it happen.
 
vafi88
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:42 am

Whatever you do...DON'T get a Mac...any mac for that instance (Imac, Emac, Amack) They are unprofessional and very slow. I'd suggest a flat monitor desk tops if you want to conserve space...try looking at Dells and Compaqs, they are professional and easy to use (yes easy , doesn't comply with the apple commercials, but macs are just stupid (opinion)

Try going to dell and seeing their flat screen monitors.
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Dasa
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 11:03 am

Vafi88, what are you talking about, Macs being unprofessional and slow? Mirrodie, I recommend a Mac as well.

-Dasa
 
Tbird
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 11:30 am

Vafi88 you have no idea what your talking about. More and more professionals everyday are switching to Macs. Slow??? Mac's are the fastest PC's on the market. As far as ease of use, Mac's couldn't be any easy to use. The above mentioned software I was talking about is so simple to use anyone with even basic computer experience could master the programs.

Mario what are you looking to do with the computer? You mentioned video editing so the Mac came to mind first. Are you just surfing the web and doing basic computing tasks? Even basic tasks are easier with a Mac. I also forgot to mention that the iPod and the Mac's work great together. I seriously think you should look at a Mac. I know sometimes its hard to change after using a platform for so long but its always worth a look. As I stated before if FS2002 was out for Mac I'd throw my Compaq out the window.

Regards
Tom
 
dinker225
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 12:01 pm

If your getting a laptop don't forget that the Hard Drive RPM's have an influence on the speed at which things are retrieved from the hard drive. No matter how fast your processor is you are still limited by the HD RPM's. The fastest laptop HD RPM I have seen is 5200.

Dinker
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Mark2102
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 12:08 pm

You don't need to get a MAC for a DVD burner. My dad got a Toshiba Satellite 5205-S703, which does have a DVD burner. There is also a Sony that has a DVD burner I know of. I would go with Toshiba. They are very reliable and helpful. They are also cheap. I think the computer goes for around $2,400-$2,600. I know it is in that range.

Mark
 
174thfwff
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 2:17 pm

"any Mac for that instance (Imac, Emac, Amack) They are unprofessional and very slow."
Could you be any more ignorant? I highly doubt you have used a recent Mac for more then 30 minutes yet you still made a comment because you or one of your friends has a personal vendetta on Mac's.

We use Macs for all digital and video editing in school. We have a computer lab called the "digital lab" with Power Mac G4's.
100's of digital design companies use Macs.

Mario,
If you have a local Mac store, please stop in and see them. I can bet that the staff there will go one on one with you for hours to show you all about the mac.
If you don't have a Mac store around, check out Comp USA.

If you're completely anti-Mac, then please build your own computer. I will walk you threw it!
Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten, Uptown, what now? Lets make it happen.
 
Hepkat
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 3:00 pm

I haven't used a Mac in a long time, but I see no reason why they should be considered inferior machines. Like PCs, I'm sure the Mac has evolved. In my opinion, the line between the two platforms are pretty much blurred in regards to performance and abilities.

I would however avoid a Mac for the simple reason that they're not easily expandable or upgradeable. If you buy a Mac, you're basically committing yourself to Mac designed and PRICED products. The beauty of the PC architecture is that there are competing products available which ensures a variety of standards, quality and price.

My next purchase will most likely be a new graphics card as I'm not terribly impressed with my NVIDEA MX440. I have a very wide range of products available at my disposal and can pick and choose according to price, performance and features. I don't believe this is the case with Mac products.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 3:09 pm

OK, I did want to save space but I love how a desktop is capable of 1G of Ram and over 120 Gigs of hard drive space.

I really don't care for portability of laptops but it can come in handy. I don't see myself loggin that thing around on plane trips b/c thats a bigger pain in the ass.

My big goals (most recently re-worked)  Big thumbs up :

hard drive space- at least 40gig
speed - at least 512 RAM
Flight Sim-(I only have Fly and am dying to get FS on my own computer finally)

I think I may avoid MAC b/c my goal to convert those vids/editing is a small goal. It may actually be cheaper to just have it professionally done later on. Or as the technology gets better in the years to come, we'll see how I handle that.

I went the library and pulled the Consumers Reports and Dell and Apple are both right up there. Apple has come a long way.

A minor problem on my end is that my folks already brought me a Dell 2350 and its sitting in a box in my room. My brother has a Dimension 8100 and dad's got the Dim 2350 (yep, we are a Dell family but I can be a black sheep), so in essense, I have a unopened trade-in for another Dell.

nontheless, I think I may go to Apple tomorrow in Roosevelt field and take a look. But considering that I see myself converting those vids (maybe 15 vhs-C movies) as only a limited goal, perhaps mac is out.

decisions , decisions. But your input is really helping me greatly!

Actually, take a look @ a dell product for editing and let me know your thoughts on it. It is from their website:

Dell Movie Studio Essentials turns your laptop into a state of the art movie making machine. With Dell Movie Studio Essentials you can:

Capture video (digital camera, webcam, digital video camcorder) and audio (MP3, WMA or audio CD clips) data that can be used to create custom movies
Create your own movies w/ special effects like voice-overs, transition screens, scrolling titles and music.
Produce Hollywood style DVD discs that can be shared with family and friends by through online posting or by copying your movie to CD (with a CD burner)

Dell Movie Studio Essentials

Designed to be everything you need to produce professional quality video discs. Some examples of ways to use Dell Movie Studio Essentials include:

Create a family video to share with family members who are far away.
Create training videos for your business.
Capture a video of household furnishings to track household inventories.
Customizing video clips to your favorite music.
Memorialize a special event by capturing the video, and adding music to create a special CD.
Utilize the Internet to share video clips with family and friends.
Dell Movie Studio Essentials allows users of all experience levels to create powerful video presentations quickly and easily. It is designed for use with digital camcorders, and provides fast and easy transfer of digital video to your computer. Roxio Movie CreatorTM movie editing software is included. The Roxio Movie Creator software features gives you the ability to:
Capture video directly from your DV Camcorder or webcam. Roxio Movie Creator previews your video while you capture and automatically detects individual scenes.
Extract audio directly from CD, or use your WAV, MP3 or WMA audio tracks.
Edit with CinemagicTM . Simply select the video and music clips you want to edit and the style of video you would like to create - Roxio Movie Creator does the rest!
Create polished, professional looking video productions using the integrated StorybuilderTM technology and included content.
Powerful StoryboardTM based editing lets you manually edit your video. Trim scenes, add special effects, add/remove audio and much more!
Burn your videos to VCD, cDVD and DVD discs and play them back on your set top player or computer.
Upload your videos to the Internet so you can share them with family and friends.


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mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 3:15 pm

OUCH! And not for nothing, but those macs seems a bit more expensive for the same value, no? Or was that just quick glance?
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gotAirbus
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 3:53 pm

My naive impression of macs were that they were real pains in the butt. Are they any better or worse then other computers? Or is it all relative?

peace, mirrodie


Umm...just go with the platform and PC you're famaliar with. I once fell "too-much" in love with Macs and wanted to have one...only to find out that the only thing to drool about is its exterior style.

I still use the PC because I have used it frequently than the Mac and it is internationally known, esp. Windows.



Hey you want to play Sony Playstation 1 and 2 games on a Mac? Guess what you can, can't do that on a PC!

Regards
Tom


Just by downloading a program and installing it, you can insert PS1 CD-ROMs into your PC and off you go.

ePSX Playstation 1 Emulator: http://www.epsxe.com
Playstation 2: Not yet...search Google.


Tbird

Greetings:

All of the new Mac's come with iDVD, an easy yet powerful software package allowing you to produce your own custom DVD's. Combine iDVD with iMovie and you can create professional quality movies...

...Video editing on a P.C is a joke! I haven't seen one program that does everything iMovie and iDVD does. iMovie is ton's of fun to use!


Do not forget that Windows XP series are battling against Mac OS X (or v10). Have a look:

Operating Systems
Windows XP vs Mac OS X

DVD creation engine
Roxio CD Creator (integrated within Windows File Explorer) vs iDVD

Movie Creations
Windows Movie Maker v2 vs iMovie

In a nutshell of the above points, I'd say both have features that attracts eye...except that Macintosh is advertising more than Microsoft based on video editing...wierd.

(Do not compare Windows 98's features with Mac OS X...they're unrelated; similar with comparing Windows XP with Mac OS 8.6)

(gotAirbus?)
(gotAIRBUS?) - (Got Commonality?) - (Have A Nice Flight!)
 
kearnet
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Tue Jan 07, 2003 7:20 pm

As someone who has an equal number of Macs and PCs (I own 12 computers!). And have used both for various things. I can make this really easy for you.

if you want to play games: get a Windows box.

if you want to do videos, and DVDs get a mac. Furthermore, if you need to run windows, plus you CAN run windows (full thing, with no cost of performance). To learn more go here: http://www.connectix.com/products/vpc6m.html

All other computer stuff they are equal on. Even though PCs have the ability to create DVDs and do video editing, the mac lets any one do it without being a rocket scientist, and still getting professional results. Furthermore you can get a DVD burner in a Laptop: http://www.apple.com/powerbook/

Also someone said that they weren't expandable (defiantly WRONG) see above link for proof.
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mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Wed Jan 08, 2003 2:27 am

I saw that withte powerbook last night but I didnt watnt ot spend so much.

Would I be able to make the videos on the PC then save them as files on CD, only to be burned later on DVD??

Just a thought. off to the apple store right now, mirrodie
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Hepkat
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Wed Jan 08, 2003 3:05 am

You don't need to buy an expensive to convert your VHS tapes Mirrodie. The PC does this just as well as the Mac.

You CAN make the videos on the PC, save them as files on CD and later remaster them to DVD. If you're going to do this however, I'd advise you to save them as very high quality files. The problem with doing this however is that very high quality files require very high storage space, which makes CDs useless.

One question, how long are these home videos? A typical 90 minute Hollywood film compressed with DivX (say about 900-1000 kbps), 96kbps 44100 stereo file fits perfectly on a 700MB disk and has very decent quality. If your home movies are 45 minutes, you could basically double the video to even 2000 kbps, which would end up being indistinguishable from DVD. Remember, your movies have already been recorded with analog quality. No matter how good your video editing tools, DVD files made from these movies will not look any better than the VHS movies themselves. Unless recorded digitally, you might be wasting your time.

My suggesting is this:

1) Get a decent desktop PC with a CD burner and video capturing card.
2) Capture and convert your VHS to AVI files with DivX. (Not difficult, contact me privately and I'll walk you through it).
3) Burn them to CD.
4) If you really insist on distributing them as DVD files to your family, friends, etc...then buy yourself a combo DVD/CD burner instead of a plain CD burner in step 1.
5) Instead of converting to AVI files, convert them to Mpeg 2 files which can be saved to a DVD. This process is a bit more involved and might necessitate the purchase of additional software (if not already included with your DVD burner).

Thoroughly confused yet?
 
srbmod
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Wed Jan 08, 2003 5:27 am

I have used a Mac several times to surf the net, and I actually liked it better. It was faster onloading pages, and ran IE a lot better than a PC (I'm sure Bill Gates would really love to hear that!), as did Netscape Navigator. The Mac O/S is more stable than the Windows O/S, but with Windows XP, the O/S got a little more stable, but not up there with the Mac. Macs are aimed more towards business and commercial use, while PC are aimed towards the home market and towards businesses that don't need or don't use complex design and editing programs. If there were more gaming titles available for the Mac, I might even consider switching to it as well.
 
Arrow
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Wed Jan 08, 2003 7:14 am

IE does run better on the Mac. And a couple of computer geeks I work with swear that windows also runs better on the Mac. Connectix puts out Virtual PC that lets you run Windows on the mac like a PC. I had to use it for a while because some %$^%^ systems people refused to reconfigure one of their servers to handle a Mac interconnect. Turns out they did me a favour, although they sure didn't intend that.

The latest ibooks run for $1600 Cdn -- probably under $1000 US -- and you've got some portability as well as a pretty quick machine. I just bought one myself.

MAC OSX is infinitely more stable than windows.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Wed Jan 08, 2003 7:47 am

-32MB DDR nVidia® GeForce4™ 440 Go AGP 4X Graphics

OR

-ATI MOBILITY™ RADEON™ 9000 64MB DDR 4X AGP Graphics (add $119)

Which is better? OR a better question is, is the second one worth the extra money?

-M
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Wed Jan 08, 2003 8:34 am

OK, I am sorry. I went to the see the Apples.
I appreciate all your great advice but I think I will stick to a PC. Only b/c the ONLY reason I would get the MAc is for the movie making ability.

As I said, converting those old videos might be easier to have someone else do. I mean, they ARE analog to begin with, so that's a negative right there.
So I may just pay someone off to do it later. Less stress on my life.

about the videos:
They are about 45 minutes to 90 minutes. on VHS-C.

I really want the desktop- I can get 640 MB of Ram, a 15" flat panel screen, cd/dvd burner and 120 GB hard drive for $2100.

For the laptop, I am looking at a 60 GB hard drive, 640 MB of RAM and cd burner for $2400.

but am being called to a laptop. Arghh!!! My gut and lack of space says laptop. I could only assume that as time goes on, laptops will have larger hard drives?



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Hepkat
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Wed Jan 08, 2003 8:34 am

Precisely the question I just asked myself Mirrodie!

I currently have the NVidia GEForce4 and am not very pleased with it. It's great for normal users who just want to play games and use the regular suite of applications, but I find the colors a bit too dark and the text fuzzy. I'm also not very impressed with its speed.

I'm looking to get an ATI graphics card as my second computer uses as ATI and the colors on that one are much more vivid and the text crystal clear. I've had good experiences with ATI in the past, and this is the second NVidia card that has disappointed me.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Wed Jan 08, 2003 8:54 am

Final reassessment of priorities:

I'll think my powerhouse computer should be the desk top then I'll concentrate on a small laptop later if the needs warrants it.
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Thu Jan 09, 2003 4:43 am

Update:

I spoke to the dudes at Dell. (with 3 other Dells in the family, and with the fact that, in 1993, Dell sponsored our crew team by giving us an $8000, I am partial to Dell  Wink/being sarcastic)

Here is what I am looking at and I am 98% sure of getting unless you give other advice guys.

-Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.40GHz w/533MHz front side bus/ 512K L2 Cache
-1GB PC1066 RDRAM
-Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
-New 120GB Ultra ATA/100 Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
-Altec Lansing® ADA745 4.1 Surround Sound Speake64MB DDR NVIDIA­
-17 in E171FP Flat Panel Display

Specifically, look at these graphics and sounds cards I chose.

-GeForce4 MX™ Graphics Card with TV-Outrs w/ Subwoofer
-Sound Blaster­ Audigy 2™ sound card with DVD Audio

Would these choices be sufficient for the person that want to do some flight simming, home movies and potentially run my practice from home? Also, I have held off installing a DVD burner right now til they get better.

I look forward to your help and thank you all abundantly for the help you gave already!
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
Hepkat
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:37 am

You could run a corporation with those specs. Nowadays, most new systems are way overkill for the average user. 2.4 Ghz, do you have any idea how fast that is? I'm not saying you should get anything less, just that you have absolutely nothing to worry about for those specs will more than adequately cover everything from compressing lenghty movies to playing FlightSim. As a matter of fact, you could probably have 7 FlightSims running at the same time!
 
174thfwff
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Thu Jan 09, 2003 2:01 pm

Stay away from the Geforce MX series...upgrade to the Ti, you won't regret it.
Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten, Uptown, what now? Lets make it happen.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Please Give Some Advice On Computer Purchase

Thu Jan 09, 2003 2:26 pm

Are you sure? But why? is the difference THAT substantial?

-M
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st

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