Laptop’s monitor is decomposing. I must rely on your collective <small>snicker</small> wisdom to point me towards a good new desktop. Do not suggest that I build my own - I will rip your nuts off, or, if you are female, rip someone else’s off and beat you about the head with them. I do not have the competency to put something together myself. My basic requirements are fairly simple -
-XP, not Vista.
-Good enough to make WoW look pretty and run SC2 when it comes out.
-Price range should be under $1500, I can go up to $2k if I’m not too fond of extra internal organs.
And that’s about it. What companies are good nowadays? I’ve been using a laptop for the past six years, and the last desktop we got before that was in '99. I played around with Dell’s build-a-computer-thing on their website, then stopped after realizing I had no real idea what I was doing.
You could at worse order a computer with vista from something like Dell and then format it , add a partition and install windows xp. Formating / adding the partition is really easy. You do it with a program called partition magic.
Except that I’ve had some really terrible dealings with Dell… York U has an exclusive contract with them, and they had all sorts of hardware problems, even on brand new computers. They supposedly have very good customer support, but from what I can tell that’s because they need it. -_-
And of course they’re still more expensive than something like eMachines (my previous computer was an eMachines, and worked just fine for five years).
I had a compaq desktop last me a really long time. It was a great little machine but I am firmly convinced that it was not representative of the norm because of the other people I know who’ve had problems with HP/Compaq. As Nulani said, you’re probably better off with Dell + decent warranty. My mac had to get repaired recently and I really had to fight for it despite Applecare. I was pissed. Apple lost my support because of that.
For 1500ish, you can probably get a really good machine. I know a friend of mine who’s going to get an XPS because a few other people we know bought them. They are very happy with their purchases and so he’s following along. The only thing he is waiting for is NVIDIA to start selling the new 512 mb video cards they announced in the fall. I think currently they are only offered on Alienware PCs. I think its safe to expect Dell to start changing its lineup in the near future.
Speaking of which, I’m curious, is Alienware any good?
I’ve owned several Dell computers over the years and never had a problem with any of them. I have a year-old XPS desktop at the moment, might be a little out of your price range but I’d at least check it out. I think the low-end XPS desktops go down below $1500.
I also had an Alienware laptop for about a year, was the biggest piece of shit computer I’ve ever had, I’d advise you to stay away from them. Wasn’t well put-together, had a lot of overheating issues. Had to replace the video card twice, the RAM once, the hard drive once, before I finally gave up and sold it for scrap on E-bay.
HP makes good midrange laptops. I’ve had two and never had serious issues with either. Not sure about their desktops though.
Everybody has different experiences with different companies but let me let you all in on a little secret. Most companies use the exact same parts (Apple, HP, Acer, Lenovo, Dell, Gateway, ect). I should know, between my co-workers and I we have supported every major computer company. They all have the exact same rate of failure too (one in 30 or so, as they have so many different parts, especially on the motherboard each with a 1 in 1000 chance of failure.). Heck, a Macintosh computer that costs 700 dollars more than an equal component Dell computer runs Mac OS just as well as that Dell (Just check out YouTube for Mac OS + Dell). I have heard some nightmares from people that used to support Apple computers complaining that they really couldn’t do much because of policy and the issues had to eventually after nearly a year of trying to get support, be escalated up to Steve Jobs (not to mention the false expectations set by Mac Commercials of “We’re better” and “It just works”).
But I Digress. It’s best to buy a machine that has XP already on it from Dell as if you purchase a computer from a company, they will only support the Operating System that is on it. You generally keep your hardware coverage but you need to be able to prove that the hardware is bad (using Memtest86 or failing an XP Install for RAM issues. Failing a CHKDSK /R for the hard drive. But Dell does have hardware diagnostics you can pull up by hitting F12 when starting the PC or by booting into the driver Disc).
If you do wish to just buy a PC with Vista (as Microsoft has made Vista fairly cheaper these days), I could probably help you obtain a copy of Windows XP legally and for free (I work somewhat closely with Microsoft). Also, it doesn’t seem you are Canadian by your profile, but if that’s wrong I may be able to get you a discount on certain things. So um… if you’re not Canadian I can at least get you a small discount on Belkin things (probably).
What are you planning on doing with the machine? Graphics? Modern PC Gaming?
“Modern” in the sense of nothing too recent other than Starcraft 2 and maybe the Warhammer MMORPG. Other than that…nothing fancy. WoW and Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War with graphics on high. Those games are years old already.
My basic requirements are listed above. Don’t comment much on software, I’ve got that covered (I get to buy Office 2007 for something like $5, whee). Comment on the innards. How’s the videocard? Sufficient for my needs or more suited to sucking monkey balls? Processor? Memory? These are the three things I know least about.
Overall that’s not too bad. You could always get the Intel Card and upgrade to another card later. My current system is pretty similar, but with a Geforce 8600GTS (and when I get a good power supply, a second one too). The Processor is more than enough for the games you want to play, the video card is what makes the biggest difference. Your amount of RAM is in the sweet spot. your choice of XP Home is IMHO better than XP Pro due to the fact that you’ll probably never be on a domain and should the domain service of XP Pro ever have the inkling of kicking in, you’ll never be able to share files over a network (trust me, I should know. I’ve experienced it).
Overall, a pretty good system. (But as I said, go with the Intel Graphics and just upgrade your card later)