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Thread: Looking for a new desktop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    United States of America
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    45

    Looking for a new desktop

    Hello all,

    For the past few years, I've been using a Dell XPS M1530 laptop, but I'm now looking for a new computer. About a year and a half ago, I installed Ubuntu 12.04LTS (via Wubi) on my M1530 since I was quite unsatisfied with my Windows Vista install. Ubuntu really enhanced the laptop, but there are several hardware-related issues that are starting to bug me with the M1530. I've decided to switch to desktop, as I don't see the point of getting another laptop (I haven't really been taking the laptop anywhere - that's what my iPod Touch is for).

    First off, I'll spend no more than $2000 for a desktop, and preferably no more then $1500. I'd like it to have a decent amount of hard drive, since I'll more than likely be using this computer for many years. That said, I'd like a desktop that will be reliable and will last many years. I want to have Ubuntu installed on the desktop, though preferably I'd also like to dual-boot Windows.

    Here are some of the desktops I'm considering:

    System76 Wildebeest Performance (≈$1205.00)
    Ubuntu 11.10 64 bit
    2nd Generation Intel Core i7-2600 (3.40GHz/3.80GHz Turbo Mode - 8MB cache - 4 Cores with Hyperthreading)
    16 GB – 4 x 4 GB - DDR3 - 1333 MHz
    1 GB nVidia GeForce GT430
    1 TB SATA III 6 Gb/s 32 MB Cache
    CD-RW / DVD-RW Dual Layer (No Secondary Optical Drive)
    Internal SD, Memory Stick, Compact Flash Card Reader
    PCI Express Xtreme 802.11 bgn


    System76 Wild Dog Performance (≈$1667.00)
    Ubuntu 11.10 64 bit
    2nd Generation Intel Core i7-2600 (3.40GHz/3.80GHz Turbo Mode - 8MB cache - 4 Cores with Hyperthreading)
    16 GB – 4 x 4 GB - DDR3 - 1333 MHz
    1280 MB nVidia GeForce GTX 570 HD
    1 TB SATA III 6 Gb/s 32 MB Cache
    CD-RW / DVD-RW Dual Layer (No Secondary Optical Drive)
    Internal SD, Memory Stick, Compact Flash Card Reader
    PCI Express Xtreme 802.11 bgn


    Dell Vostro 460 Mini Tower (≈$1490.00)
    Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
    Intel Core i7-2600 w/VT (3.4GHz, 8MB Cache)
    16 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz – 4DIMMs
    1 GB Nvidia GeForce GT 530 (DVI, VGA, HDMI)
    1 TB Performance RAID 0 (2x 500GB SATA 3GB/s 7200 RPM HDDs)
    16x (DVD+/-RW) Burner (No Secondary Optical Drive)
    Dell 19-in-1 Media Card Reader
    Dell 1525 Wireless-N Network PCIe card


    One of the things I'm a bit unclear about is the difference in the Graphics Cards. Is the GTX 570 really worth the $400+ as compared to the GT430? On the Wild Dog, the two graphics cards between the GTX 570 and the GT430 are the GTS 550 and GTS 560 Ti; how do those two compare?

    Also, does anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Beans
    436

    Re: Looking for a new desktop

    Personally, I'd recommend against the Dell machine for two reasons:
    1. You're paying, needlessly, for a copy of Windows.
    2. More important, Dell uses quite a bit of proprietary hardware that becomes obsolete quickly and can be hard to acquire for replacement in case of problems. (My stepson has currently been trying for months to find a replacement for the failed motherboard in one of his desktops.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Beans
    Hidden!

    Re: Looking for a new desktop

    If you're not into demanding 3d games, the GT430 is more than adequate. It's a good card for accelerated video playback. Even if you want a more powerful video card, it would be cheaper to add one yourself given the price difference between the two System76 models.

    The Dell model is a bad idea because of the RAID 0 (twice the chance of data loss because if one disk fails, you lose everything). An SSD coupled with a high capacity mechanical drive is a better high-performance configuration.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    United States of America
    Beans
    45

    Re: Looking for a new desktop

    Thanks, rewyllys and MoreorLess!

    Quote Originally Posted by rewyllys View Post
    Personally, I'd recommend against the Dell machine for two reasons:
    1. You're paying, needlessly, for a copy of Windows.
    2. More important, Dell uses quite a bit of proprietary hardware that becomes obsolete quickly and can be hard to acquire for replacement in case of problems. (My stepson has currently been trying for months to find a replacement for the failed motherboard in one of his desktops.)
    Remember, though, that I'll probably end up dual-booting Windows and Ubuntu. I'd like to be able to use some of the programs I already have for Windows, and Wine won't quite cut it for me. The Dell build includes Windows 7 Professional for only an extra $285 (which is already included in the price tag), as compared to the Microsoft Store's price of ≈$300. Also, I should add that the Dell machine doesn't include Microsoft Office in its price tag. Thanks for the input!

    Quote Originally Posted by MoreOrLess View Post
    If you're not into demanding 3d games, the GT430 is more than adequate. It's a good card for accelerated video playback. Even if you want a more powerful video card, it would be cheaper to add one yourself given the price difference between the two System76 models.

    The Dell model is a bad idea because of the RAID 0 (twice the chance of data loss because if one disk fails, you lose everything). An SSD coupled with a high capacity mechanical drive is a better high-performance configuration.
    Thanks for sorting out that confusion about the graphics cards, and also thanks for confirming my suspicion about the RAID 0. I thought about going SSD instead of HDD, but the largest SSD System76 has as a selection is 600GB, and that's an extra $1024. If I heard correctly, there's plenty of space inside the Wildebeest, so I might be able to add a SSD sometime if I ever find the money/need to do so.

    Another question I have is how well does System76 compare to other companies in terms of computer quality? All I've ever used is Dell machines and a few old Gateway machines, so I have no experience with System76.

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