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  1. #1

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    Question Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    Ok, my home computer finally pushed up the daisies last month, and instead of investing more money to bring it back to life and up-to-date, I've decided to treat myself to a brand-spanking-new out-of-the-box system in January. I've been checking out the systems at Costco and they are really nice and affordable! I refuse to build one, as I'm tired of constantly swapping out parts in this last one over the last 3-4 years. I just want something that will last me a few good years and will perform as I need it, and I can just plug it all in and go.

    So, my biggest concern is the processor. Costco has "media center" systems with either the Pentium 4 or the Athlon 64 3500+. Which is better?

    Here are my main computer uses:
    • High-graphics games like RCT3, etc.
    • Video compression, editing, and effects (Premiere & AfterEffects)
    • Graphics and photo editing (Photoshop, CorelDraw)
    • Database Design (Access)
    • VB and SQL Programming (Visual Studio.Net)
    Basically, I need good performance with the best resolution possible. (And sorry, I don't compute with fruit/MACs. )

    Also, do any of you have experience with HP Pavilions? That is the model I'm leaning towards, as it has a removable media drive and various video inputs, etc. It also comes with a 250G SATA harddrive, 1G expandable RAM, and other fun high-tech bling-bling, like a "LightScribe" CD/DVD burner that "silkscreens" the label as it writes.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

  2. #2

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    How many Ghz is the Pentium 4 clocked at? For the purposes you've mentioned, I think either choice at Costco will work well for you. RCT3, while highly graphical, runs fairly well on some older systems. If you said you wanted to run a game like Half Life 2, World of Warcraft or something comperable, I'd suggest upgrading the videocard.

    All things considered, I'd reccomend getting what you perceive as being a better deal. I'd also make sure that you had 1GB of RAM, but some people get by fine with 512MB.

    I'll defer a more technical AMD vs. P4 comparison to someone else here...

  3. #3

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    While I personally prefer P4 either will do your tasks pretty well. The only thing I would upgrade is the video card, which is an EZ do it yourself thing. I do know some people love their HP's and it sounds like they have gotten better since the merge with Compaq. I haven't experienced them after the merge but I have always had fabulous luck with Compaq's.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    Not sure whether the processors would make that much difference. I've only ever had Pentium 4's and have been happy with them.

    I would definitely look at what vid cards each comes with. A good ATI or nVidia would be a major plus. I'd stay away from anything that has "Intel Integrated Graphics" or "Shared Video Memory". You're going to be doing quite RAM and graphics intensive work (and play), so like fastpassmountain said, a gig of RAM and a decent vid card are essential.

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    Yeah, the model I'm looking at comes with an ATI graphics card.

    It's a pretty good deal. I looked the computer up directly through HP, and without a monitor, it's priced at $2,200. At Costco - it's $1399, with a flatscreen 19" monitor.

  6. #6

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    The gigahertz game doesn't work when comparing AMD and Intel. First of all, a AMD processor at only 2.4 gigs, compares to the same as a P$ running at almost 3GHz. Both platforms use their inforamtion differently, and using just the numbers to determine which platform to use isn't always the best.

    I have been an AMD guy for a long time, and will always love their processors. Especially condiering that the new Athlons are 64bit, so when Windows Vista 64bit comes out late next year, you can use the latest and greatest version (as more and more prgrams are creating a 64-bit version, and then you'll get full support, 64). At this current time, no Intel home processor supports 64-bit. As well, many of the Media Center Tasks (TV DVR and such) runs much better on the Athlon 64, IMHO.

    As for the intergrated Video Card, even on a high-end machine, they are still crap. I've been using a GeFroce 6600 GT, and can run RCT3/HL2/WoW at full, generally with 8x Anti-Aliasing. This is all on a $129 card.

    I'm mixed about HP. The only 2 products I own (a Compaq laptop, and a rx3115 Pocket PC) have been very mixed for me (only bought the laptop because it was $299 after rebate, and got the PPC for $212). Still, when it comes down to it, it's the same parts inside, and the same India tech. support.
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  7. #7

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    This is a good time for both Intel and AMD, but although I own a P4 2.8Ghz - I agree with MM.

    See about getting anything with a newer AMD processor in it. They do tend to outperform comparable Intel chips. And sometimes for cheaper!
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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    MM - I knew you'd chime in.

    I just want something that will last me awhile (2-3 years) without having to open it up every 4-6 months to upgrade stuff. I'll have another look at the included video card. I can't remember exactly which model it is, but that I'm willing to swap out right away for a better one if needed. I'm even excited about the included wireless mouse and keyboard. NICE!!

    Sounds like the AMD might be the way to go.

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyphile
    I just want something that will last me awhile (2-3 years) without having to open it up every 4-6 months to upgrade stuff.
    Generally, most of the AMD come with ATI's new XPRESS 200 chipset. It's a wonderful chipset, and handles quite nicely. However, the Intergrated Graphics (IGP) are compareable to an ATI X300. In easy terms, you run RCT3 on about the medium settings, with no AA, and still get some lag. Also, one big advantage of the higher end systems, and Athlons, is that they come with the new uber-fast PCI Express slot. This delivers faster graphics, and is quickly becoming the standard. Plus, with the new Dual Channel RAM, you'll be smokin'.
    -Monorail Man

  10. #10

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    Not a big fan of the HP line. Usually the cases are hard to work in, or at least have been in the past. I'm a tinkerer (is that a word?), and I need room to play . I think you will be happy with either processor, although I lean towards the P4.

    Have you checked out Dell? I kinda do computer support on the side, and have had very good luck with their hardware and customer support. Their cases are easy to work in, and it is a snap to get drivers, BIOS upgrades, and patches. Free they are, says Yoda, and not many hardware vendors do that for free anymore.

    I know you don't like fruit , but the new Apples are gonna be using Intel chips, and I am VERY interested in seeing how that plays out.....
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  11. #11

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    My new PC has an Athlon 64 2.2ghz processor and it is lightyears faster than the old AMD 400 I used to run on my old system.

    YOu might want to look into the e-Machines brand. That's what my new PC is and I am totally loving it. It's a media center PC too which is ecaxtly what I need for my digital photography and art. They're pretty well built and affordable.

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyphile
    Is there anything I should upgrade?
    Only the graphics card. With a solid system, I'd recommend someing a bit more powerful, such as a PCIe ATI X800 Pro, or a GeForce 6800. Overall, that's a fairly kickass machine.
    -Monorail Man

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    On a simple and non-technical note; I use an HP Pavillion which I bought very affordably at CostCo, and I've had no problems with it, from graphic design to 3D modelling to web surfing. It also came with a very nice 19" monitor which everything looks great on.













  15. #15

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    Re: Attention Computer Geeks - Need Advice Please! (Processors)

    Performance-wise, AMD beats the Intels in gaming, but Intel is superior at nearly all other tasks. That's the traditional rule, and sometimes it may vary depending on what new technology either manufacturer has out and how well it's supported.

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