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Monte Carlo

I prostrate myself before you, IT gurus

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Hello.

 

Apologies for not posting for so long, I was abducted by pirates and have only recently escaped. I am now covered in tattoos and speak in an unconvincing West Country accent.

 

I digress. My trusty Dell XPS is now 3.5 years old and struggling to keep up with simple functions like not crashing on the hour, every hour. Don't get me wrong, I've had good service out of it but it is time to upgrade. My rationale is that I like to spend a bit on a new rig to future proof it.

 

I am a busy person with kids - I do not have the time to tinker with computers when I could be gaming. I have only a cursory knowledge of IT so I am looking for a pretty vanilla, off-the-shelf product in the region of UK

Edited by Monte Carlo

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I you are getting a premade system, I would go with Alienware myself.


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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I've bought from them before, as have several people I know, and know that the quality and customer service is good - and they are not that much more expensive than other makers.


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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SPECIFICATIONS:

2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 2GB 800MHz RAM; Dell OPP150 motherboard; 2 x 500GB hard disks; 2 x 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT graphics cards; 24in Dell Ultrasharp 2408WFP TFT; Toshiba TS-H653B DVD writer; SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer sound card; gigabit ethernet; 19-in-1 card reader; 6 x USB; 2 x FireWire; Windows Vista Home Premium; 1yr RTB warranty; 195 x 519 x 489mm (WDH).

 

Cheers

MC

Hi there, man of no computer building skillzzzz!

 

One major drawback of getting a pre-built computer is that even though you know the rough specs of the machine, you have no control of what brands are used on the inside. But there is a neat compromise!

 

On Komplett's Online Computer Builder, I experimented with building a system equal to or greater than the one Dell is selling you. I don't know what Dell wants for their machine but I saw the limit of


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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DN, although I of course covet an Alienware rig, I have to ask myself am I really getting more bangs for my buck compared to these other machines? My experience of Dell customer service has been positive, no problems there.

 

Also, Vista? 32 or 64 bit. Discuss.

 

MC


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Well, Dell is ok and, if you like them, you might want to get another one. As for Vista, I use both 32-bit (86x) Vista and 32-bit (86x) XP and have not had problems with either one.


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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Alienware is a bit like buying a mac. It's all very slick and quality, and also very bad value for money, compared to what you could buy and stick together yourself. Although you would have to spend a whole lot of time researching. Not all home builds come off that well.

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Of course you could build it cheaper, but if you, or I for that matter, were to buy a pre-built gaming PC, Alienware would the company that I would buy from - and, unlike macs, their PCs can be upgraded. >_<


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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You can change the elements on a mac just as easily as on a PC.

 

Not quite - you have to buy things, like graphics cards, that are Mac compatible as they do not use BIOs- and these cost more than the PC variants. You can use regular parts in a PC - even an Alienware. >_<


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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DN, although I of course covet an Alienware rig, I have to ask myself am I really getting more bangs for my buck compared to these other machines? My experience of Dell customer service has been positive, no problems there.

 

Also, Vista? 32 or 64 bit. Discuss.

 

MC

 

Don't get Vista unless you specifically need dual-core functionality (here's a hint: you don't yet, even if you have two cores). Reformat with XP. (Or even Kubuntu/XP dual boot!)

 

Gorgon: No way. Macs have a Darwin UNIX core, similar to linux. They're better for poking around in than Windows is, arguably. Especially NT-based OS'es like 2000, XP, and Vista. On the software side, at least.

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Vista is not that bad - you just need a better system than you would for XP.


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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But if one were getting a new PC, I would suggest that they might want to consider going with Vista.


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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The Vista issue is interesting - almost all off-the-shelf top end machines come with Vista Premium, except for one of the very expensive Dells which is still running on XP which seems to validate Krezack's point.

 

Does anybody have a view on either of the two systems I linked to? I would appreciate a view. Hint - will be playing Fallout 3 with everything maxed out and want it to run as smooth as a smooth thing covered in olive oil.

 

As for Apples - hmmm that's a religion, not a piece of IT hardware. I'll stick to PCs.

 

Many thanks for the replies,

 

MC


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Either one looks good - although I do not know what the system specifications of Fallout 3 are. Oblivion pushed even very powerful systems, and its engine is what is being used for Fallout 3.


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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*shrug* tbh I think the criticisms aimed at Vista, while some have been alleviated with patches and service packs, generally still hold and are valid reasons to hold off on upgrading.

 

I believe Vista has about a 10% market share as of Feb 2008. That's an absolutely appalling figure considering it is one year old. XP reached 30% in the first year after its release. It has forced Microsoft to step back and unlock XP sales again.

 

The thing is people are happy with XP. It works. It does what they want. They feel no need to replace it, and even when they get the option to, many opt for XP again because they know it's reliable. I am of this camp, and I'll stick with XP until Ubuntu overtakes it and Vista (which will probably be 2010 or so).

 

Microsoft will release Service Pack 3 for XP in 4 days.

 

Monte: 1 TB of HD space is always good. But check the HD speed. You want over 7000 RPM (I believe it's typically 7200). Two graphics cards so I'm guessing it is SLI? Nice RAM speed... 2.4 gHz for one core is fine (these days it's not CPU speed that matters so much, it is RAM speed, cache speed, HD speed, GPU speed, things like that).

Edited by Krezack

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I wonder about possibly going for a 64-bit version of Vista and extra memory? I don't know if they still swap your discs if you get the 32-bit one pre-installed. I don't think there are many games now that use more than 2GB of memory, but their day will come. Throughout my PC gaming life I've always tried to get generous amounts of RAM and save money in other areas, and I've never regretted it.

 

My experience of using Vista rather than XP has been mostly fine, no big difference in how games perform. The only major annoyance so far has been that my Oblivion DLC won't work with Vista and Bethesda doesn't seem to have any plans to update it, but I blame Bethesda rather than Microsoft.


"An electric puddle is not what I need right now." (Nina Kalenkov)

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You can install the content on another PC and cut-and-past it to your Vista PC - that worked for me with the one DLC I have (It was the one they gave away for free).


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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I personally wouldn't go SLI, as for now it only virtually improves performance, though I don't know whether there are any english articles out concerning the "micro-stuttering" (for the want of a better word) issues. Another thing is, are you sure you need a Quad-Core? Equally priced dual cores might still be the better options, until the majority of developers has figured out how to really use all four processors.


Citizen of a country with a racist, hypocritical majority - as shown yet again

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Oh, I didn't know that was a quad-core. Yeah, you might want to get a Core 2 Duo instead.


"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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I guess I can share my Vista 32-bit experience. Most of the problems that people complain about are either nonexistant with all updates installed or come from lazyness and stupidity. Two rules that in my experience are very important, especially with older games, is to never install anything to the program files folder (or equivalent) and to always start a program as the admin (right-click and start as admin), those two simple rules have saved me from 99% of all problems.

There have been bigger problems with Gothic 2 and Call of Duty4: Modern Warfare. The first couldn't install because it is simply incompatible with Vista and as such I had to install it on my laptop and move it over manually. CoD4:MW had problems starting in multiplayer which were sound related and all I had to do was to go into sound settings and turn on something called stereomix (probably has something to do with recording and COD4 thinking that I had a microphone.

 

Other than that there is the problem of slightly lower performance of non-directx10 games which are unnoticable on a modern system (like the one you'll end up buying).

 

The biggest problem with Vista is that while the problems with it aren't that large at the moment, neither are the gains, as most of the things you get as a gamer aren't needed or very small at the moment (directx 10 graphics).

 

Do note that I'm hardly tech-savvy and as such all of this is experience.

 

As an interesting piece of info the oldest game that I've tried to play on Vista is Knights and Merchants.

I believe Vista has about a 10% market share as of Feb 2008. That's an absolutely appalling figure considering it is one year old. XP reached 30% in the first year after its release. It has forced Microsoft to step back and unlock XP sales again.

I can't help but think that much of this is created by bad-hype by thousands of people who try to look tech-savvy (and fail) or have no foundation on the planet earth. By this I don't mean people like you Krezack since you did come with a well-reasoned post, but the people for whom it is a gut instinct and whom have no actual experience with it or even proper knowledge of it, there are a lot of these people in my experience and it irks me.

When I first switched to Vista, a friend of mine asked me if that version wasn't so horrible that eats babies. I tried to ask him where he had gained this brilliant piece of insightfull information and the only answer he gave me was "from a friend who knows a lot about tech", the only answer I could must was that he should show me that friend so that I could drive out his stupidity with my fist.

 

As to the 32 vs. 64 bit problem. I have 4GB of ram and only 32bit beacuse I could get that one much cheaper and as such opted for the safe choice (I didn't know at the time how many problems - if any 64-bit had). I have only heard positive things about 64-bit and as such can't imagine that it would be a horrendous experience.


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I seem to recall that at the time of XP's release, while it ran like ass on lower spec systems, it actually improved performance on higher end systems compared to Windows 98 by a nice margin. Also, it was a lot more stable than Win98 SE.

 

Vista, however, to the best of my knowledge offers no improvement in performance and is no more stable than XP. This makes it kind of pointless to me, as I'm not going to fork over 400


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