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A New Machine (or "A Little Help from My Friends")


Pain_Man
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I realize this LOOKS long, but PLEASE take a look: most of it taken up by a product quote at the bottom. So pls take a gander even if you normally skip long posts on site. Thx.

 

I'm finally going to be getting a new machine. (Please forgive the goddamned dyslexia; I only wish I were kidding.)

 

I have a US$3000 to $3500 budget.

 

I'm looking for a machine that can handle demanding FPS games (e.g. Quake IV, Halo, Doom3 etc) as well as handling DVD editing, processing (all of home movies, of course). As well as handling music (tho, I know one doesn't need a super high end machine to process music files, unless, I supposed, you're actually mixing new tracks; which I won't be doing).

 

I've always been a "Pentium Man" (I know it's kind of the like the Ford vs. Chevy thing) but I don't have anything against AMD. They've come a long way.

 

I very much would appreciate any suggestions or PC-makers I have not heard of. I know I have the skills to do the grunt work of building a PC myself, pop this in here, snap this in here, screw this screw there, etc). It's not really technical, but it it is time consuming--the labor of assembling everything.

 

I don't have anything against it. And it would have the advantage, a DIY PC that is, of NOT being stuffed with a bunch of bullshit software I don't want and NOT have to deal with a bloody Recovery disk instead of a regular XP CD (on the other hand, Vista comes free when it's released, IF it's released next yr.

 

If anyone knows of a site that's helpful for people building PC's themselves, pls let me know. PC makers the Forum Gods think I should consider, should be US based (or have facilities in the US; shipping from UK or AUS is rather preventitive). Sites for help with DIY, I don't suppose the location of those really matter. We're all basically using the same components whether we're in Nevada--me--, UK, Australia or Lapland.

 

I know I'm one of the less knowledgeable people in "The Firm" (if I've got my Brit slang correct); but given the high level of knowledge of people like Lightning, Minter, Shamus, lfcrule and everyone else I don't have room to mention, I know I'll get some good advice.

 

To give an example of what I'm looking for, here's a quote I created on Gateway's site:

 

I'm going to be hitting one of the best stocked PC component retailers in the area tomorrow, so I'd appreciate as much help as possible. Got to get to bed. Kid has school tomorrow.

 

Suggestions about particular components are very welcome. Obviously I'll be buying a new DVD burner, a SATA Plextor (yee-haw!). And I haven't chosen an LCD monitor. Not sure about what I should be looking for in a monitor. I'm gather that the lower the response time in milliseconds, the better the monitor. And with contrast, the high the number, e.g. 1000:1 is better than 700:1. Since I love FPS I won't be buying a widescreen.

 

The specs: (it's a bit of a mess to read, but I can't get text to copy over with the format screwing up the look).

 

 

 

System Name: Gateway FX530XG

 

 

Unit Price:* $2499.99

 

 

Config Price:* $3089.96

 

 

Quantity: 1

 

 

Total Price:* $3089.96

 

 

Operating System: Genuine Microsoft? Windows? XP Media Center Edition 2005

(Update Rollup 2) w/ XP Media Center Backup

 

 

Processor: Intel? Core?2 Duo E6700 (2.66GHz 1066MHz FSB 4MB cache, non-HT)

 

 

Memory: 4096MB PC5300 dual-channel DDR2 667MHz SDRAM (4-1024MB modules) ........[ +US$220.00]

 

 

Video: Dual ATI Radeon? X1950 CrossFire" Edition with 512MB DDR3 (per card), Dual DVI, Video out, and VGA Support

 

 

Application Software: Microsoft? Office Basic Edition 2003 (Includes Word, Excel and Outlook) ........[ +US$129.99]

 

 

Hard Drive: 300GB 10,000RPM Serial ATA hard drive w/ Raid 0 16MB Cache (2-150GB hard drives)

 

 

Optical Drive: 16x Double-Layer Multi-Format DVD Writer (DVD?/R?RW/CD-R/RW) and 48x/32x/48x CD-RW/DVD combo drive

 

 

PCI Multimedia Card 1: ATI Theater? 550 Pro TV Tuner with Wireless Remote Control (Requires Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005) ........[ +US$20.99]

 

 

Color: FX Logo Accent Black Steel

 

 

Extended Service Plan Including Limited Warranty: Desktop Value Plus Service Plan -- 4 year parts/labor/on-site/4 year technical support ........[ +US$169.99]

 

 

Accidental Damage Plan: Four year accidental damage plan ........[ +US$49.00]

 

 

Monitors: No Monitor Selected

 

 

Keyboard and Mouse: Gateway Elite Multimedia Keyboard and Soft-touch USB optical wheel mouse

 

 

Speakers: Speakers not selected

 

 

Security Software: No Security Subscription Selected

 

 

Answers by Gateway Support Cards: Answers by Gateway Per Incident support card

 

 

Chipset: Intel? 975X chipset with DDR2 and Intel? Core? Duo support

 

 

Floppy Drive: 9-in-1 media card reader

 

 

Case: 7-bay BTX tower case

 

 

Controller: Integrated Serial ATA controller

 

 

Expansion Slots: (3) PCI expansion slots, (1) PCI-E x4 expansion slot, (1) PCI-E x16 expansion slot

 

 

External Ports: (6) USB 2.0 (2 front, 4 rear), (3) IEEE 1394 firewire (2 front, 1 rear), audio ports and (2) PS/2

 

 

Certification: Energy Star? compliant

 

 

Internet Service Provider: Six months America Online? Internet access

 

 

Part Number: 1009173

 

 

Additional Software: Adobe? Acrobat Reader? 7.0 and Google Toolbar

 

 

Network: Integrated Intel? 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) Ethernet

 

 

Desktop Technology: Intel? Viiv? Technology

 

 

Integrated Audio: Integrated Intel? 7.1 High Definition audio

 

 

Standard Software: Napster Trial Subscription

 

 

Personal Productivity: Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0

Edited by Pain_Man
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I know I'm one of the less knowledgeable people in "The Firm" (if I've got my Brit slang correct); but given the high level of knowledge of people like Lightning, Minter, Shamus, lfcrule and everyone else I don't have room to mention, I know I'll get some good advice.
:lol: Poor deluded bastard..... =))
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I do defen, I was ignoring the hdd/dvdrw part as that's not really important.

 

My box (well, one of them) has 4 10k scsi drives, 4 7.2k sata drives and 6 dvdrw!

 

 

Thanks, Lightning, for the tip on the memory.

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That spec looks good to me.... it's the same as mine! lol

 

(ok, that one has a better video card)

 

Get an upgrade to 800mhz DDR2 (from 667) and you're good to go.

 

 

The 800MHz memory is a serious bitch to find. In fact, nearly all the off the shelf machines had only 533MHz DDR2. I only found one machine that had even 667 and that was by a company I'd never heard of: Velocity. It was a nice machine. They had the extra memory and I could have picked up an X1900 512MB Video card, as well as a Plextor burner (I'm accumulating a lot of burners!).

 

But the machine was a demo--strike one. Plus it had a DIMM stolen out of it. And something called the Intel Image something or other had a yellow ! next to it. Sorry--I don't buy demos, especially ones that have been broken into and are missing drivers or have some kind of hard/software conflict.

 

I didn't find anything at either place I went (Fry's or BestBuy). There are almost no high end machines on the shelf. Two Sony VAIOs--one a demo, the other had a 200 CD/DVD player as part of the package(!).

 

Guess I'll be ordering on line. The warranties are better anyway (and cheaper).

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My box (well, one of them) has 4 10k scsi drives, 4 7.2k sata drives and 6 dvdrw!

 

Hmmm , thats some ipod you have there guv'ner :lol:

 

 

iPod? I got the 80Gigger for my birthday. "Great gear." I've already got almost 5000 songs (and pieces of art music, mistakenly called "classical" music by some).

 

Drawback: video. It doesn't work well with video not bought from the iTune store. I tried converting a couple of MPEG-1s of my kid and while the video converted, the sound did not. Apple tech support told me that this was "to be expected". for the above reason.

 

If you're going to buy the iPod, buy it from Apple direct. They'll engrave the back of it for you--which can help you get it back if stolen. And they warranty upgrade is excellent.

Edited by Pain_Man
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Drawback: video. It doesn't work well with video not bought from the iTune store. I tried converting a couple of MPEG-1s of my kid and while the video converted, the sound did not. Apple tech support told me that this was "to be expected". for the above reason.

I would put this remark by Apple down to delirium brought about by chronic and excessive masturbation. Try the CucuSoft package. They even have free trials.

 

http://www.cucusoft.com/

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Thanks for the tip Shamus. I'd also like to hear your opinion of the quote if you have the time.

 

I have several software packages, Intervideo's CopyDVD 4 &5, and an ImTOO product that say they can convert home videos into iPod-compliant format. H263 or H264? Can't remember exactly which.

 

On the other hand, I didn't really buy it for the video capability. I bought it for the music. Apple's lossless codec--hopefully they'll soon port it to other media players--is an excellent one. And MP4 is a much better lossy encoder than MP3. (To my ears, anyway.)

 

I don't understand why Apple hasn't ported OGG Vorbis to the iPod. It's absolutely free and it's a great codec. Since it costs nothing and the license isn't nearly as strict as that for Monkey's Audio or WavPack (both great codecs as well; for storing large quantities of music, Monkey's Audio work's great; with it, I was able to get 13 CDs onto 1 DVD5).

 

 

 

Drawback: video. It doesn't work well with video not bought from the iTune store. I tried converting a couple of MPEG-1s of my kid and while the video converted, the sound did not. Apple tech support told me that this was "to be expected". for the above reason.

I would put this remark by Apple down to delirium brought about by chronic and excessive masturbation. Try the CucuSoft package. They even have free trials.

 

http://www.cucusoft.com/

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I have several software packages, Intervideo's CopyDVD 4 &5, and an ImTOO product that say they can convert home videos into iPod-compliant format. H263 or H264? Can't remember exactly which.

The only one of the above I've tried is ImTOO which also seemed to have problems with audio/video sync when I was stuffing around with it. Dunno what the hell went wrong.

I don't understand why Apple hasn't ported OGG Vorbis to the iPod. It's absolutely free and it's a great codec. Since it costs nothing and the license isn't nearly as strict as that for Monkey's Audio or WavPack (both great codecs as well; for storing large quantities of music, Monkey's Audio work's great; with it, I was able to get 13 CDs onto 1 DVD5).

I think their reasoning is control. If you control the format used and don't license it out, your competition is going to be next to non-existant. I suppose that's why Micro$oft is going to be selling their own version soon.

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I would put this remark by Apple down to delirium brought about by chronic and excessive masturbation. Try the CucuSoft package. They even have free trials.

 

http://www.cucusoft.com/

 

 

 

Eh who said that ?? :geek: My vision is fading fast and I don't even work for Apple =))

 

 

 

Another great Shamus quote for the collection there :lol:

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I don't understand why Apple hasn't ported OGG Vorbis to the iPod. It's absolutely free and it's a great codec. Since it costs nothing and the license isn't nearly as strict as that for Monkey's Audio or WavPack (both great codecs as well; for storing large quantities of music, Monkey's Audio work's great; with it, I was able to get 13 CDs onto 1 DVD5).

 

Totally! Ogg Vorbis is a great codec. Apart from .wav for audio cd burning, I use this for all my music. I think it sounds better than mp3 (lame mp3 is close), and the files are slightly smaller. I just relised that my audio collection (mp3) is stored at 128 Kbs VBR, and that my ogg versions were encoded at 96 Kbs VBR. I couldn't tell the difference. I also use VorbisExt to edit the tags. Gotta love it :D. (the site is currently down at the moment :().

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