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The First Ever Computer Talk Prove-You're-the-most-knowledgable-here Contest!

Fifty

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joined
Sep 3, 2004
Messages
10,649
Location
an ecovillage in madagascar
I know that computer nerds kinda like to out-nerd eachother in their knowledge of computers and such... well I've devised a way for us to figure out who is the most computer savvy person in Computer Talk!

You have a "budget" of $600 MAX, including all upgrades, moniter, shipping and handling, etc.

Build the *best desktop computer you can* with this amount of money!

Here's the crazy catch... you can't just shop for parts on newegg so that the PC can be built from scratch! You have to start with a base model system (such as a Dell Inspiron or something) and then go from there!!!!! This will be the TRUE test as anyone can go onto a parts site and find deals... the TRUE computer expert will be able to start from a base system!!!

LET THE GAMES BEGIN
 

Genocidicbunny

Bug squasher
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
5,473
Location
Orange Town
I know that computer nerds kinda like to out-nerd eachother in their knowledge of computers and such... well I've devised a way for us to figure out who is the most computer savvy person in Computer Talk!

You have a "budget" of $600 MAX, including all upgrades, moniter, shipping and handling, etc.

Build the *best desktop computer you can* with this amount of money!

Here's the crazy catch... you can't just shop for parts on newegg so that the PC can be built from scratch! You have to start with a base model system (such as a Dell Inspiron or something) and then go from there!!!!! This will be the TRUE test as anyone can go onto a parts site and find deals... the TRUE computer expert will be able to start from a base system!!!

LET THE GAMES BEGIN
False. Thats making it easier. Or rather, its a test of who can find the best 'Dell' ( I put it in quotes because it can be another prebuilt system ). In essence then, you're going to be looking for the system with the least RAM and the smallest HDD so that you can upgrade those. Possibly the GPu as well. No CPU changes at that price point though. There is also no such thing as a 'best desktop'. best for what? Games? Watching movies? Occasional browsing?
I can make a scratch system for a little over 400$ for those last two, and you need more than 600$ to make a mean gaming machine.
By having the monitor included in the price you're also severely crippling the budget. Most monitors start at 100$ and only go up from there. Therefore your budget becomes 500 USD inc S&H. If you discount the S&H + tax in CA from this as well, you're left with 450 USD. Sure you can build a system for that, but it will be very basic. At that price, to get the most performance, you would simply have to buy your own parts, especially making sure you find items on sale.

But lets pretend this is actually something worthwhile to do.
First, grab a dell Inspiron 530.
Make the configuration as such:
  • Intel® Pentium® dual-core processor E5200 (2MB L2, 2.5GHz, 800FSB)
  • Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic Service Pack 1
  • No Monitor
  • 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz- 2DIMMs
  • 320GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™
  • 16X DVD+/-RW Drive
  • Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100
  • Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
  • Dell USB Keyboard and Dell Optical USB Mouse
  • No Floppy Drive Included
  • No Modem Option
--Total = 359 USD --
Now then, the GPU on it sucks, and since its a modern pc, we can assume it has one PCIe slot, so lets throw in a BioStar nVidia 8500 GT
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814141066
Thats another 40$.
Next we should probably get ourselves a monitor.
For that we get an Acer V173b 17" monitor. Its a bit small, but beggars cant be choosers.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009136
Thats another 130$.
Now we're up to 530 USD without S&H or taxes. Calculate those in, and we're at 590 USD. Since there's nothing worthwhile that we can get for 5$, thats it.

Instead of the Inspiron you can also choose an HP a6600z with the following specs:
  • Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic with Service Pack 1 (32-bit)
  • AMD Athlon(TM) 64 X2 4450e dual-core (2.3GHz)
  • 2GB DDR2-800MHz dual channel SDRAM (2x1024)
  • Integrated NVIDIA GeForce 6150 SE [VGA]
  • 250GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
  • LAN port on system board (10/100Base-T), no wireles LAN
  • LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
  • 2 USB, front audio ports
  • Integrated 5.1 channel sound with front audio ports
  • No speakers
  • HP keyboard and HP optical mouse
This one is 340 USD, and as it states, has no speakers. So it would be a good idea to pick up a cheap 15$ 2.0 pair. And yet again, there's your entire budget.
Interestingly enough, 200 USD more will get you quite a bit more power.
 

Mise

isle of lucy
Joined
Apr 13, 2004
Messages
28,623
Location
London, UK
Well, what things do you need? How big a monitor? What games do you want to play (and how fussed are you about gfx)? Do you have to buy software (e.g. MS Office) with the $600 as well? What about the OS? Vista or XP? How much hard disk space do you need? (I've never used more than 40gb, and I don't delete stuff...)

These sorts of questions are important. For example, if I were buying a PC, I could save ~$30 by going for a 80gb HDD instead of a 250mb HDD, which I could spend on a better gfx card.
 

Padma

the Absent Admin
Administrator
Supporter
Joined
Dec 10, 2001
Messages
14,466
Location
Omaha, Nebraska USA
Do you have to buy software (e.g. MS Office) with the $600 as well? What about the OS? Vista or XP?
I would like to add: What about Linux? You can buy a system from Dell (or whoever), and, if you push, you can send them back the unopened CDs, and get a refund of anywhere from $50 - $150 as the cost of MS Windows.

(If you do not open the software packaging, and click "I do NOT accept" on the EULA, they are required by law to refund you the cost of that software. They will fight about it, and it may take more time than it is worth, but eventually you *will* get something back. Because of MS 'incentives' to manufacturers, the OS may have only cost them ~$50, so that's all you would get back.)

And, the real kicker, as pointed out earlier, is 'the best computer' is a personal choice. I could build an absolutely fantastic machine for $600. It would do everything I would need, and then some. But it wouldn't play most Windows games. While it would be perfect for me, for someone else it would be a $600 paperweight.
 

Fifty

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joined
Sep 3, 2004
Messages
10,649
Location
an ecovillage in madagascar
For that we get an Acer V173b 17" monitor. Its a bit small, but beggars cant be choosers.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009136
Thats another 130$.

I found a 19in monitor for $120!

This one is 340 USD, and as it states, has no speakers. So it would be a good idea to pick up a cheap 15$ 2.0 pair. And yet again, there's your entire budget.

I should mention, in this "hypothetical" situation the hypothetical person who would hypothetically be getting this computer already has decent logitech speakers that will suffice.

Interestingly enough, 200 USD more will get you quite a bit more power.

How much more? This hypothetical person has, hypothetically, at least $1200 technically available to spend but he thought that more than $600 would be a waste of money since he doesn't really play modern video games all that much. Ideally he would like to be able to play some video games, but he doesn't need to be able to play (for instance) modern first person shooters on highest graphics settings.

Well, what things do you need? How big a monitor? What games do you want to play (and how fussed are you about gfx)? Do you have to buy software (e.g. MS Office) with the $600 as well? What about the OS? Vista or XP? How much hard disk space do you need? (I've never used more than 40gb, and I don't delete stuff...)

I don't need a big HD. I don't need to buy any software (I use Open Office)


@Padma: The problem with Linux is that I don't know how to use it and I don't really care to learn. Plus I'd like to theoretically be able to use Windows games.
 

aimeeandbeatles

watermelon
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
20,028
So this hypothetical person doesn't know how to build from scratch, but knows how to replace hardware (And doesn't feel like learning anything)?

In Linux, you can use Wine or something else to play Windows games, I think. You'd have to check the compatability.
 

Strider

In Retrospect
Joined
Jan 7, 2002
Messages
8,984
So this hypothetical person doesn't know how to build from scratch, but knows how to replace hardware (And doesn't feel like learning anything)?

In Linux, you can use Wine or something else to play Windows games, I think. You'd have to check the compatability.

Wine support has grown massively over the past few years. Chances are if Wine doesn't support it then Cedega will (which costs $5 every three months.. or $25 a year).
 

GoodGame

Red, White, & Blue, baby!
Joined
Dec 17, 2004
Messages
13,725
Basically considering that most pre-built makers strive to make a buck by keeping costs down, it's really who knows the in-and-outs of subcontracting of parts, most of which is done in Asia. Most hobbyists will know bang-for-buck but won't want the generic parts that a pre-built maker uses.

Better would be to get more power from a scratch-built computer than a Dell system for the same money down (including S&H). Probably more of a homework exercise than a contest.
 

Jazzmail

King
Joined
Jul 23, 2005
Messages
710
Location
Gelderland
Great bargains are a matter of location, opportunity and time. Any optimal find will be outdated almost immediately.

It's much more useful to compare parts than compare pre-built systems on offer.
 
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