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I'm a newbie to this, but I know I want a PC to run Word and internet very quickly, plus capacity to play a few games (not necessarily state of the art)/ (audio) CDs and, if I can get it for under £700, (film) DVDs. I also definitely want a flat-screen monitor for space-saving and aesthetic reasons.
The sort of specs I'm currently looking at (based on Aug 2003 edition of PCA and advice from a couple of friends' advice) are:
Processor type: AMD Athlon XP 2400+
Processor speed: 2Ghz
Memory: 512MB DDR RAM
CD-RW drive - 40/16 speed
Flat-panel monitor: Can anyone recommed a good, budget 15" display model? Also, am I likely to notice the difference between Class 3 and Class 1?
Graphics Card: ATI Radeon 9500 Pro, 128MB
Sound: onboard + Creative Inspire 5300 or Videologic ZXR 500 speakers.
What I really want to know is which of the above specs can I trim down / slash to the floor to reduce the overall cost bearing in mind my requirements, and which should I be upping (if any)?
At the end of the day the PC is for me to write on (as in Word) and carry out related internet research. To that end I need Word and the internet to operate quickly - certainly quicker than the age-old (10 years?) PC I'm currently using. Games would be a bonus, but not something I'm going to play every day, although the ability to play CDs whilst I work would be good. I am worried I'm being tempted by all the technology and will actually end up paying a lot more for a great system which actually has far more potential / power / capacity than I'm ever going to need.
The advice still is really to buy the best you can afford though thats becoming less true as time goes on.
You could perhaps go for a lower spec processor (though your unlikely to find one!) and you could reduce the size of the hard drive. Unless you are creating some massive word documents it will take you a long time to fill a hard drive that size with what you have said you will do.
The graphics card could also be downgraded, as you could the speakers if you really want to save money.
Class 3 monitors may have dead pixles up to a certain number. This may or may not bother you.
Word does not work noticeably faster on my present P4 1.7 laptop with Windows XP and Office XP, than it did on my P150.
If you using it primarily for writing there will be little noticeable benefit, as even a P150 works faster than you do.
On the internet, you will need to move to Broadband or something along those lines, if you wish to surf at speed. However, unless you are able to take in a page at a glance, a 56K modem is really probably sufficient.
Games are a different matter!
Really, all you need is a TFT that can be rotated, a CDRW and a DVD. The rest of the goodies are all fluff but fun to tell the boys about.
my advice would to go for an nforce2 motherboard abit nf7-s is a good one and a good power supply like the 550watt qtec model from ebuyer and a 1700+ chip. the soundstorm 5.1 sound chipset is one of the best audio solutions on the market, that saves you from buying a sound card.
the abit motherboard automatically unlocks the athlonxp tbred/barton processors to all multiplier ranges from 5 to 22 that alows you to clock your processor to whatever speed you like though you can go straight for the 2400+ multiplier that you were going to buy but i would suggest you do what i did and just buy some pc2700/3200 memory and run the processor at 2700+ speed
oops didnt see that you were planning on onboard sound anyway
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