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Question to you computery types...

I'm thinking about breaking down and getting a new computer with some Christmas Club money, since mine's horribly horribly limping along and various connections are trying to give up the ghost. But since as much as I hate to buy into the whole "death of PC gaming" thing, I'm starting to see it as inevitable, I want something fairly cheap and, if not bare-bones, then at least not totally high-specced.

But since I'm really bad with specs, I'm at least wondering how some of these compare with my current computer (which is going to be dead probably soon anyhow, which may make it a moot point, but... I'd at least like to know.)

Processor:

Current: dual-core Intel Pentium 4 CPU 2.8 Gz
New (well, prospective): Intel® Pentium® Dual Core T4200 (2.0GHz/800Mhz FSB/1MB cache)

Video:

Current: Radeon X1650 Series
New: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD

Also, pretty much any wireless card will just work with a wireless network, right? I mean, it's only about speed, yes? I know, dumb question, just want to check everything because I KNOW I suck at this. The prospective one would be: Dell Wireless 1397 802.11g Half Mini-Card [Included in Price] ... anything I should know about that?

Also, is there someplace other than Dell y'all would recommend to go for computers of this type? (Apple, hahah, no, just kidding.) Or any particular computers at Dell I should look at given what I've said so far? Any other suggestions? (Believe me, I'm totally okay with unsolicited advice.)

Edit: Also, how would this compare with the stats I posted? Any huge drawbacks (other than the lack of monitor, and I have a newer one of those anyhow)? I'd like to go with a laptop for portability, but might just get a new desktop instead if it's a) good and b) cheap.

Edit2: Bah, forgot the link I was referring to in my first edit.

Comments

( 32 Notes — Write a Footnote )
donaithnen
Oct. 24th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
I haven't actually bought a computer from them yet, but a friend recommended PCs For Everyone, and i'm thinking about getting my next computer from them.

They do have a pretty good system for comparing components on any given setup. If you want a cheap computer i'd recommend going for the lowest spec computer and upgrading the bits do what you want. I tried configuring three different models to effectively the same stuff, and the low end model came out to $1000 while the high end one came out to $1500. Perhaps the high end one had a much better motherboard or something, but i don't know enough about hardware to say.
stormfeather
Oct. 24th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
I probably should have mentioned I'm specifically looking at laptops... I guess I could replace my desktop, and should look at that in case it's cheaper (though the low-end ones you're mentioning there certainly aren't!), but in theory having it portable would be nice.
donaithnen
Oct. 24th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
Musings - stormfeather - Oct. 24th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC) - Expand
stagehand007
Oct. 24th, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
One thing that will drive up the price of a laptop is the size of the screen. If you don't require a 17 inch or larger screen you should be able to get something decent in the $600 - $800 range. I've had very good luck with HP's and very bad luck with Dell's.

If your current computer is more than a couple of years old, anything you get today is likely to be significantly better, usually meaning faster.

Even though I began my career programming on a Mac, you couldn't drag me kicking and screaming to buy one these days. They are way over priced and it really sucks every time that you want some new software to find out it doesn't run on your machine.
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stormfeather
Oct. 24th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
Hrm, well, my current IS a dual-core processor, unless that dual-core I typed up there means something else other than the obvious? You are confusing me! :p

The other points stand, looking through techbargains now.
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rgovrebo
Oct. 24th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
1. Buy from Dell.

Have they started delivering them with functional power supplies?

Have they started giving a fuck about updated video card drivers?
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drothgery
Oct. 24th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
You actually have one, but at least in theory I'm not a big fan of cheap quad-cores (at least on the Intel side of things). You're basically paying $100+ to lose 500 MHz and gain two cores (a Q8xxx being pretty much two Pentium 5xxx parts bolted together; a Pentium 6xxx has more cache per core than a Q8xxx), which I don't think is worth it for most people who are buying a cheap box.

Though this really only applies when you're putting things together yourself; Dell's CPU upgrade pricing has little relation to Intel's list price for CPUs (or what you actually see at NewEgg and co.), and sometimes coupons only kick in with more expensive base systems.
dakhran
Oct. 24th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC)
Ohgods, do *not* go with an integrated Intel graphics card, if you can avoid it, especially if you plan on doing any PC gaming. And most laptops are poor for gaming to begin with.

For under $600, you could have a pretty decent gaming rig with a processsor faster than I've currently got (and I spent over $600 on my CPU, a couple years back). I'm sure you can tweak options or do some searching on that site to get a decent gaming rig for even cheaper.

Oh, and PC gaming will never die, not until they can get a full MMO keyboard-and-mouse-and-macro-pad setup on a console. Which, if they do, that just makes the console into a PC for all gaming purposes anyway. Not to mention that the highest end processors and graphics cards still outperform anything available on the console.

Hell, I have a spare video card just for physics acceleration, and let me tell you, alot of recent games show the love. I'm itching to get Batman: Arkham Asylum, and the selling point for me? If you have full PhysX, when a stack of paper gets hit, individual sheets will fly around realistically...OMG awesome...

Yes, I'm a geek. :)
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Musings - stormfeather - Oct. 24th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
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stormfeather
Oct. 24th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
Well, the integrated intel card is the only one offered for that laptop except for a 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD4330... for an extra hundred bucks! Blah.

How horribly bad is the integrated Intel card compared to the one I've got now?
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