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DMcA
July 4th, 2010, 11:22 AM
At the moment I have an old laptop that I bought for going away to university but it's starting to struggle and I'd like to buy myself a new computer. However, I really have no idea where to start, so some advice would be greatly appreciated.

I figured I'd buy a desktop since laptops appear to have more issues with overheating and compatibility and the like. It seems though, that the laptop market is much larger these days and that you can often get equivalently spec'ed laptops cheaper. Basically I'd just like the most computing power per pound. Also, I'd need a monitor if I got a desktop. What I'm really clueless about is processors and video cars. I've no idea what a reasonable cpu would be these days, whether I should go AMD or Intel, number of cores, 32/64 bit etc. I've had a look around but I'm slightly dazed by the number of options available.

Usage will likely include the usual web-browsing, web TV/media, bit of gaming (nothing too hardcore) running virtual machines, occasional compiling and so on. Obviously linux compatibility is important but I figure most components modern these days will have good support. My budget is flexible, ideally I'd buy something cheapish but I have no issue spending a fair bit if it's a good deal and going to last. I'd be happy to build something myself but then I'd need to have some idea about what to put in it and I've a feeling that might cost more than an off the shelf package. I'm UK based if that makes a difference.

Khakilang
July 4th, 2010, 11:58 AM
Nowadays you can have a computer for a reasonable price. First of all depend on your budget and depend what you want to do with it. Shop around and go for branded if you like. Brand like Lenovo, Compaq and Dell.

Processor can be from Core2Duo, i3, i5 or i7 quad core. 2GB RAM is sufficient and if you got spare change you can go for 4GB or higher. For graphics card I would recommend nVidia. For monitor will definitely be LCD or LED monitor and the size can be from 19" to 24". Your choice. Good luck!

cchhrriiss121212
July 4th, 2010, 01:24 PM
If you are prepared to build yourself you would save about 10-20% depending on the parts. You could put together a good system for around 200 if you check eBay for some good deals, then you can choose your monitor on top of that which can range widely in price.
This (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/AMD-Bundle-X2-245-AM3-2-9ghz-Motherboard-4gb-Fan-/260628939147?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_Motherboards_CPUs&hash=item3caeb2018b) is a good choice and I would also recommend an Nvidia GPU, the gt220 is a good one. Avoid cheaper PSUs, as they are noisy and are often innacurately power valued, 400w should be enough power. The majority of cpus support 64bit, but older ones (> 5years) will not.

sxmaxchine
July 4th, 2010, 01:33 PM
Nowadays you can have a computer for a reasonable price. First of all depend on your budget and depend what you want to do with it. Shop around and go for branded if you like. Brand like Lenovo, Compaq and Dell.

Processor can be from Core2Duo, i3, i5 or i7 quad core. 2GB RAM is sufficient and if you got spare change you can go for 4GB or higher. For graphics card I would recommend nVidia. For monitor will definitely be LCD or LED monitor and the size can be from 19" to 24". Your choice. Good luck!

agree with this however i would recomend ati instead of nvidia

DMcA
July 4th, 2010, 02:16 PM
If you are prepared to build yourself you would save about 10-20% depending on the parts. You could put together a good system for around 200 if you check eBay for some good deals, then you can choose your monitor on top of that which can range widely in price.
This (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/AMD-Bundle-X2-245-AM3-2-9ghz-Motherboard-4gb-Fan-/260628939147?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_Motherboards_CPUs&hash=item3caeb2018b) is a good choice and I would also recommend an Nvidia GPU, the gt220 is a good one. Avoid cheaper PSUs, as they are noisy and are often innacurately power valued, 400w should be enough power. The majority of cpus support 64bit, but older ones (> 5years) will not.

I am prepared to build but slightly less prepared to spend time researching all the different parts I'd need, and then trying to get the best possible deals on each one, as it's potentially a never ending task. I'd have thought there'd be little to be saved financially (and the advantage be more that you can select parts for compatibility etc) but I'm sure you know more me. My budget can expand for more than that, a good system for a few hundred would be nice but I'm to go to 6-700 or even more. Just don't want to spend money unnecessarily.

@Koh Kook Loon: Thanks for the advise. I'm sure more than 2GB RAM would be important for running virtual machines though. I have 1.2GB at the moment and that's really not enough.

As for ATI vs Nvidia, I'm quite unsure. I have an old ATI mobility x700 at the moment and it wasn't the best of experiences. The fglrx driver gave decent enough performance but caused all sorts of system stability issues and no longer works with the latest ubuntus. The free driver has become ok but the performance isn't as good. I hear ATI have got much better but nvidia used to be what everyone recommended. Also, most package deals seem to come with ATI if they have a dedicated graphics card at all. Presumably I could buy a graphics card and stick in in a PCIe slot of a packaged pc, any particular models that give good cost/performance ratios?

smellyman
July 4th, 2010, 02:18 PM
building is so 1998...:)

Bachstelze
July 4th, 2010, 05:28 PM
building is so 1998...:)

I would agree, but most of the time it's just much cheaper to build your computer yourself. But yes, building your computer just so you can say "I built it myself!" is indeed very old. It's something you do when you're 12. :p

philinux
July 4th, 2010, 05:55 PM
http://ubuntuforums.org/search.php?searchid=74338706

From what I've seen on the forums I'd go nVidia for linux.