General Discussion

Calling all computer nerds, calling all computer nerds.
HybridLemonade at 8:55AM, July 31, 2009
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okay, so basicly, I've been shoping around for an new pc for myself, but the thing is I know very little about computers, and I need one cheap but still decent. so far, I've been looking at this baby.
computer deal

It's not “top” of the line or all that, but I think it'd do for what I need. (it's got XP, I Like XP)

basicly, my needs are simple, casual computer use.

IMing, Email, music, browsing the web, with little to no problem.
But, Since Im a total artfag, I need it to at LEAST run photoshop 7, (what I'm currently using) manga studio debute, and paint tool sai.

from my basic knowledge, this looks like a good deal. But, I really need some second opinions.


Halp!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM
ozoneocean at 9:21AM, July 31, 2009
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It'll just do the job. The processor is one 1gig, it's only got 512 meg of ram and the hard drive is only 40 gig.
I'd say that'd manage Photoshop 7 etc, but it might be frustratingly slow at doing a lot of things with it and limit what you can do with your art.

You'd be better off with this one:

LINK

You're paying an extra $200 or so but the thing is about 3 times as good. :)
With that one running XP with Photoshop or whatever you'll be able to do whatever you want. No limitations. Even doing photoshop, listening to music and web browsing at the same time on the other one will start to slow it down.

The other thing you'll have to worry about is how well the comp has been refurbished. I image they're both probably fairly good in that respect though.

But that HP one only comes with Vista though. :(
Vista is a lot better than people say. It's pretty great really, but if you want XP instead the only way to do it would be to install another copy of it. Installing an OS is always a pain in the bum. :(
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
zaymac at 10:35AM, July 31, 2009
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Wow. That first link is definitely not worth the price me thinks. I purchased a Compaq (Which I actually have had good experience with) that's about 4x as good as the one you're looking at brand new for about 100 dollars less.

Granted I already had a good monitor and speakers so I only had to purchase the tower which saved me money, but I would look around a bit more.

Ozone is right, Vista isn't that bad. Most people complain because it uses 512mb of ram just to run it. But most new computers come with at least 2gb so that's not really an issue.

512mb of ram is almost the bare bones minimum and will really make your computer drag. I'd look to get at least 2gb if I were you.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:55PM
lefarce at 10:39AM, July 31, 2009
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Admitidly my eyes are sore and everything looks a blur right now, so if whats I'm assuming is correct and it's a refurb, I wouldnt go for it.

If not then suuuuuure, but I would seeif theres a way to get a little more ram in there than 512mb to speed up things a bit. About a gig-2gigs total should make it run fine, and 512 sticks can be fairly cheap.

again, sore eyes so I didnt read most the specs :V

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:33PM
HybridLemonade at 10:48AM, July 31, 2009
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actually I like the one Ozone posted a whole lot more, and I think Ill go for it here soon, granted more money, but it seems like a safer bet overall.


But I think the refurb won't be too bad as long as Im careful right? I just really want my own pc and a tablet pc is so nice. ; ; maybe I'm being too greedy?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM
lefarce at 11:41AM, July 31, 2009
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I've never had a refurb of anything that didnt break down long before a brand new model would. You simply dont know what kind of wear and tear it was put through before, or how extensive the refurb process was.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:33PM
HippieVan at 11:46AM, July 31, 2009
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I don't know much about computers, but I can tell you that my experience with reburbished computers hasn't been good. If you're going to get one, make sure you get a good deal.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:49PM
HybridLemonade at 12:01PM, July 31, 2009
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well actually, my friend has told me to stay away from the refurbs and back off on a tablet pc, as much as I'd like one, prolly not a wise idea at this point.

but instead I was thinking of maybe just building one from scratch? I was looking at some barebone kits on newegg.com. I think that'd be an awesome idea, but I really have no idea were to start, any one have any suggestions?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM
lefarce at 12:03PM, July 31, 2009
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I built a PC from a kit and I got this:



Craziest thing vOv

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:33PM
da_kasha at 12:11PM, July 31, 2009
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I immediately distrust tablet PCs! I think you'll probably be better off buying a good PC with at LEAST 1gig of RAM (I had one with 512meg, it wasn't pretty) and since you want to use it for art you'd want one with a big and pretty a screen as possible. Then get a wacom tablet - since I doubt the sensitivity of a tablet PC would be on par with a wacom.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
Croi Dhubh at 12:14PM, July 31, 2009
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I build my own computers now and the price for doing it is much less than anything you can find online, unless it's a bargain bin of basically outdated parts.

If you're only looking for light type work, aren't looking to game, and just want to do artistic stuff, look into a decent tablet or a Mac. However, both are going to be relatively expensive in comparison to other systems.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:55AM
HybridLemonade at 12:18PM, July 31, 2009
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looking at this kit right now. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119012


I already have a tablet, and a monitor. not a huge nice one, but it fits my needs just fine. and a mac is waaaaaaaaaaay out of my budget. If I could get a barebones and a few parts to get me running, I'd be a happy happy lady.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM
Sea_Cow at 12:18PM, July 31, 2009
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How I interpret this thread:
I am so happy to finally be back home
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
HybridLemonade at 12:20PM, July 31, 2009
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oh god that made me laugh so hard.

The people next to me in the library didnt think it was as funny though.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM
Croi Dhubh at 12:24PM, July 31, 2009
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Fanless? Do yourself a favor and get some aftermarket cooling fans.

Hmm…well…I guess it depends on what you're using it for… You can always get an external HDD for storage, too…

If you're going to use it for school, watching some YouTube, and working on your comics or Flash, then it should be alright.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:55AM
HybridLemonade at 12:27PM, July 31, 2009
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again, I have no idea what Im doing. I'm learning as i go.

You said you've built computers before, right my man? any good suggestions?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM
JoeL_CQB at 12:32PM, July 31, 2009
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i saw one of these at a Best Buys once, and they were selling the computer only for like $300. Not bad if you already have the mouse, keyboard, and monitor.

although it runs vista, which is a turn off for some people.

If you were going to run any art program, I wouldn't run it using a Intel Atom, since those are built for mini laptops like the Asus Eeie or however it is spelled. personal preference.



the one that you posted could work for casual use.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
Croi Dhubh at 12:38PM, July 31, 2009
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HybridLemonade
again, I have no idea what Im doing. I'm learning as i go.

You said you've built computers before, right my man? any good suggestions?
Well…yes and no. I build gaming PCs which run me between $800 and $3K depending on how much I'm replacing (usually everything except an HDD or two, DVD player, monitor, keyboard/mouse).

Basically this is what you'll want minimum:

Dual Core Processor (Intel or AMD and try to get at least 2.45GHrz)
2GB of Ram (type DDR2 at least)
40GB Harddrive (SATA is faster than IDE)
256MB Graphics Card (if you don't want to play a lot of games, then integrated is fine, otherwise get a separate graphics card)


Brands to stay away from: Acer, MSI
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:55AM
lastcall at 4:51PM, July 31, 2009
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My advice? Save your money and go for a Mac. I have become a Mac convert recently (after two PCs died in a week) and I will never go back to PCs. Ever.

Macs have many benefits over PCs (especially for artists & graphic designers) that are too numerous to explain here. I recommend visiting your local Apple store (or even Best Buy) and having a salesman talk to you. My husband and I did that and now we have two Macs, we love them so much.

A common misconception is you can't run a PC program or file on a Mac. They have recently created “parallel programs” to where you can run PC programs or files on a Mac. So if you switch from PC to Mac (like I did), it's not as much of a big deal as it used to be.

I see in your first post that you are looking at a laptop. You have to be leery of laptops–I had a laptop for a couple years until the AC port broke. I couldn't recharge my laptop and rushed like mad to get the information from it extracted before the battery died. Overheating is also a common issue with laptops. They're also not the best in the world for artists–if you are looking to do some serious art on Photoshop or something, then a laptop is not the way to go.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:28PM
Walrus at 6:36PM, July 31, 2009
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Don't ask me, I know nothing about computers. I'm lucky if I can figure out how to turn on one of those new Macs in under five minutes.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:45PM
bongotezz at 7:25PM, July 31, 2009
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HybridLemonade
refurb

refurb = previously broken
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:32AM
lefarce at 8:12PM, July 31, 2009
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bongotezz
HybridLemonade
refurb

refurb = previously broken

Actually refurbing and item can either mean it was broken previously, or just touching a product up before reselling it. It could just be a system restore and a good cleaning, that would count as a “refurb”.

The problem with this is that not a lot of sites will list just what was refurbed on an item. It could be a harmless system wipe and restore, or the previous owner could have dropped it repeatidly, jarring hardware loose and making other components prone to breakdown.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:33PM
ozoneocean at 9:47PM, July 31, 2009
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I wouldn't bother going into building the things unless you want lots of frustration and buggerising around. There's a reason building your own computer is cheap- it's because you're not paying for labour (and all the markups, but that's obvious).
The labour is expensive for a reason. Even experienced people who do it day in day out for a living still have moments when they're pulling their hair out in frustration trying to get something to work right, install correctly etc.

Now Apple computers are OK. They will break down like any other PC though, don't be fooled there. Reliability depends on the quality of the beast you're buying and how well it's put together. Apple does a reasonable job making their PCs, but so do many Windows PC builders. Some even do an exceptional job. There and bad ones too, but that choice is up the the consumer.
-The other issues with Apple that HybridLemonade will come across though are the cost (as she's said) as well as the fact that the programs she has won't run on it.
YES you can get versions that will, but you have to buy those again (or pirate them). The other way is to run them virtually through XP installed on Boot Camp (or whatever). That still means you need a valid copy of XP, you have to install it (pain in the arse), and the programs won't run as well and as fast as they would if they were running natively under OSX, so you're wasting the portential of the hardware a bit there.

——
I would advise buying a pre-built thing that meets your needs. Preferably new. That way you don't have to ***k around getting it to work. And if you get a good warranty on it you can get the makers to fix it and make sure everything works ok, sort out any teething issues.
You want to look at:
-Cost.
-Quality, reputation, for reliability etc.
-And whether it meats your needs

-Cost:
Straight away that tends to rule out Apple. As well as expensive high end gaming machines, specialist machines, designer fashion PCs…
On the other end you don't want to go for ultra cheap things that will be badly made.
Home built kits are good and cheap, but the hidden cost is the labour and frustration. That'd be good though if you had someone you could charm or fool into taking on that work for you :)

-Quality:
Apple have this reputation for quality. There's a lot of hype there really, the reality is that they're fairly high quality. Not the actual top of the range, but still really very quite good.
For the rest of the PC market it depends on the reputation of the various manufacturers. Apple computers are made from the same components are you can get for any PC really. So you could see what's inside them and look for that in other PCs you buy.
Generally that's Intel coreDuo processors, Nvidia motherboards (I think) with Nvidia integrated graphics or separate cards. I can't remember who manufactures them but you can easily find out.
Anyway, there are big name manufacturers of all those parts with reputations to maintain so you can be fairly sure of knowing that if the bits in your computer are made by them that hey will be good enough quality.

This is getting longwinded….
Anyway, I was always very leery of Dell computers myself and preferred to have custom built machines. Over a year ago now though I bought two from Dell and they've run exceptionally. They were priced well and the support from the company was good. I could've made faster machines for less money, but for the reliability and the ease of support the cost trade off was worth it.
-That's another reason why people go for Apple, but it's not the only option if you know what you want.

-Finally there's the issue of meeting your needs:
Laptops, tablets and things will be nice and portable, if that's what you need. Easy to lose and steal though…
You don't need a gaming machine, so don't bother about expensive graphics cards.
Like Cori says; about 3 gig of DDR2 ram, a dual core processor by either Intel or AMD, and a good motherboard with integrated graphics and sound by Nvidia, Asus, Gigabit, Intel (and many other companies). Storage is cheap now so you should go for 120 gig minimum. And it's probably best to have an internal DVD drive.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
lastcall at 7:46AM, Aug. 1, 2009
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Whatever you do, don't buy an Alienware. They are basically expensive pieces of crap. My husband spent $4,000 on one and a year later, the motherboard fried. We shipped it back to Alienware to get it fixed, and half a year later, it fried again. Their customer support is as bad as Dell's….because they are owned by Dell. :)

If you are planning on running Photoshop CS2 or newer, a newer computer is needed (or at least one that can handle more than 1GB of RAM). Photoshop takes up a lot of RAM. We have refurbished ten-year-old computers at work that still run XP, with about 1 GB of RAM, and it takes about ten minutes just to open up a file on Photoshop. We can't add any more RAM to our computers because they are so old.

ozone
Apple have this reputation for quality. There's a lot of hype there really, the reality is that they're fairly high quality. Not the actual top of the range, but still really very quite good.

I think Apple has a good reputation because, in my opinion, the interface is a lot more intuitive and friendly than PCs. It just feels more streamlined and efficient. I guess that's why iPods & iTunes are so popular.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:28PM
ozoneocean at 9:50AM, Aug. 1, 2009
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lastcall
Their customer support is as bad as Dell's….because they are owned by Dell. :)
I've actually had good experiences with Dell.

In a lot of ways ALienware is in a situation a little like Apple- in that they built up extremely high expectations and created this aurora of quality, but for years (long before dell) there were stories about people having broken don Alienware computers and not being able to get them fixed. But even so the idea of them being fantastic computers with never a blemish continued.

I think the moral of the story is nothing is ever perfect. There are no rock solid guarantees of reliability and infallibility, especially in the computer industry, whoever the manufacturer is. Trust nothing completely and don't put too much store in reputation. Just make intelligent judgements as to what's right for you, what fits your needs, what you can afford.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
Croi Dhubh at 11:03AM, Aug. 5, 2009
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People, people people…for everyone sucking the teet of Apple there's something MAJOR you're forgetting…

Modern day Apple computers are only different from IBM compatible computers by the OPERATING SYSTEM! There is NO other difference!

So, to get a cheap Apple computer, get a bare bones PC with no OS and install Mac OSX. BOOM, you have an Apple for a lot less.

Also, if you don't want to play games, get a premade Apple with the OS installed already, paying out the ass for something as moronic as an OS change, and be happy that all you can really do is artwork.

Apple vs IBM isn't about quality or usability anymore. It's a personal choice. Mac OSX doesn't load up anything until you start a program, so it allows the computer to run less ram for the same program, but the programs themselves can take up to 3x the amount of space on the HDD because of how the programs are compiled.

If you want minimal “office” style work (plain text, word processing) and no game play, go OSX. If you want something that runs a wider variety of programs, but may load up a few programs slightly slower, then go PC.

iPods and iTunes are so popular because, unless you know what you're doing, you need iTunes in order to put songs on an iPod. iPods are popular because at the time they were really the only game in town and had the most storage available. Now iPods are popular because they have a lot of different options when buying one, but you still need iTunes, which takes over your computer and runs TERRIBLE unless you are using OSX
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:55AM

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