Buying a new PC - advice needed - Questions Part 1

  cactusjack 21:47 22 Nov 06
Locked

I am buying a new PC early next year (probably in January). The budget is £1500 - £2000.

I have a few questions below (and in another post), so any responses would be appreciated.


1) Choice of supplier and support

I have had a look at past posts in the forums regarding Dell, Evesham and Mesh. In terms of choosing a supplier (I don't wish to build my own machine), Dell or Evesham seem to be the two that I have my eye on. I have read good things about Evesham's support and some good and bad things about Dell's support. Can anyone offer a fresh perspective on support from either company? Dell's support worried me initially, given they sell so many PCs, is this likely to mean they will have trouble offering support to those that need it, given they sell to so many customers?


2) Christmas / New Year offers

Dell always seem to have some form of offer on their site - is it best to wait till January, does this seem to be the best time for offers?

3) Fans/noise

My Evesham machine is very noisy (loud fans). It is something that I have put up with. I remember reading a post on how cool a Dell machine was. Can any Dell customers on this forum vouch for quiet Dell machines? - and likewise, can any Evesham customers vouch for owning quiet Evesham machines?


4) Power supply / cooling

Given that the latest graphics cards and other such components use up a lot of power and give off a lot of heat, is it safe to assume that PC manufacturers provide the right type of cooling systems and fans? It just worries me sometimes in regards to the levels of heat that get produced from my current Evesham machine and the noise made by the fans.

Does the type of casing make an option - for example on the Evesham site, I see the regular mini tower case option and also the "Cool master" case...


5) Graphics cards

If I am aiming to buy a machine that is reasonably future proof for gaming for at least 3 years, would I be correct in assuming that the latest cards are ideal? I looked at some evesham machines, and saw the Geforce 8800 gtx and 7900 gtx. Am I correct in assuming that the 8800 is far better and essential for keeping ahead with gaming for at least 3 years?


6) Graphics cards - what types of card

Also what is the difference between gtx and gts?
Finally, could someone recommend what current cards are not worth getting or don't do the job well... - lots of different options available, all so confusing. I see 256MB cards, 512MB, 768Mb and 1GB cards! I presume 1GB doesn't always mean better...

There is also the option to get two cards - e.g. 2 * 512MB - does this provide a huge boost in performance that is worthy of the high asking price?

I need a card to last me the next 3 years or so. If anyone could recommend a very good card to get with a new PC from the latest bunch that are available.


7) A monitor for my poor eyes

Dell's monitor options appear limited to Dell branded monitors. Evesham seem to offer a range of options all at different costs - Viewsonic, Philips and Iiyama. I have heard good things about Viewsonic and Iiyama. Is there a particular brand of monitor that is known to be better for spending long hours using a PC?


8) Vista

Given Vista is coming out and issues that will probably arise over compatibility with hardware and software, is it safer to buy a PC with Windows XP on it, wait 6 months to a year till updates are brought out to patch stability issues or compatibility issues, and then upgrade to Vista?

I would assume that any PC manufacturer will test hardware with Vista thoroughly before releasing PCs with Vista. Or will it take a long time for manufacturers (e.g. graphics card manufacturers) to release drivers to allow hardware to perform properly with Vista? The last thing I want is to buy a new PC with Vista, only to find over time that the hardware doesn't work properly as it should or that there are crashes or conflicts, since the original installed drivers don't work well enough with Vista.

I am also concerned about software not working - the anti-virus companies have complained about not being able to create AV programs in time since Microsoft was not so forth-coming with code for Vista.


Sorry for all of these long questions. I just thought it would be best to be thorough when researching for buying a new PC.

Any replies to any of the above questions would be much appreciated. I have a few more questions in another post.

Thank you.

  Ashrich 22:01 22 Nov 06

With that much money to play with I would steer clear of Dell , don't get me wrong , good solid machines but always under specified for the price , and unless you have a degree in Hindi getting past first tier support can be a nightmare . One antivirus company that have a fully working product is Nod32 .


Ashley

  cactusjack 22:41 23 Nov 06

Am I correct in assuming that Dell's phone support centres are based mostly abroad? - but I have heard that their support technicians are very obliging once on the phone...

  Jackcoms 10:32 24 Nov 06

Correct.

  WallyD 10:42 24 Nov 06

Check with Aldi in the next few days
They have just announced a Mediom Intel Dual corebut as yet no specs or price but you can bet it will be as good as the previous models AND a three year Guarantee

  Enoch 10:46 24 Nov 06

I have had a Dell laptop now for over 4 years. I bought a three year on site warranty and extended it last year for a further 2 years.

I can only praise the support. Over the period I haave had my hard drive changed, early enough to transfer all the data from one hard drive to the other with their help. I have also had my CD-RW drive replaced. Both these actions were after a short time on the phone with tech support (no charge)

Really, I can only say that I WILL be buying a new Dell laptop once Vista is available, which tell you how much I rate Dell.

By the way, I do not know where the support is based, but there never was an "understanding each other" problem

  Aargh 10:48 24 Nov 06

I'm on my second Evesham system and can't fault either.

In terms of support both online and by phone, the very few times I've used it it has been good.

On the subject of noise & cooling my msi board/2.66 processor seem perfectly normal, to the point I don't notice it as an issue. My monitoring software shows temperatures well within spec for the system.

As for monitors, I have a Philips - the first one stopped working within 12 months due to a circuit fault. One phone call to Evesham connected me to Philips and a replacement was sent by courier 24hrs later. £ years down the road and all is fine.

Having buit PC's from x286 on, these were the first factory built systems I owned and will not hesitate in recommending them.

The choice is down to what you want to spend.

  Aargh 10:51 24 Nov 06

PS, I wouldn't rush into a new system just to get Vista - you may find several teething problems with software & drivers that take the gloss off the ownership of a new system.

  TC 11:08 24 Nov 06

when you come to buying a system if vista is not out, you may well be offered it as a free upgrade.

The budget you have means you can get almost anything you want.
dual core of some sort.

If you really need support then make this a priority, I don't, so I would get the best processor and a system with two graphics cards, crossfire or sli, but I may wait for DX10, this may be more importnat than Vista.

As your graphics card will run Vista, but may not be optimised for DX10.

TC

  keef66 11:36 24 Nov 06

Id go for Evesham; good build / components and good reports of tech support from friends and family.

8800 graphics are DX10 so it's probably as future proof as you can get at the moment. Check that the stock cooler speed is controlled by GPU workload / temperature, otherwise it might make a racket all the time.

Intel core 2 Duo processors are fast and cool so you should find the stock CPU cooler isn't too noisy.

Go for a full size case with big case fans controlled by the motherboard and you won't hear them, and you're unlikely to overheat.

If it does prove too noisy for your taste, near silent aftermarket coolers are available for very little money for both the cpu and the graphics card, and are very easy to fit.

It's hard to choose a bad TFT monitor nowadays as long as you get one with DVI input and a response time. Read the reviews. I'd go for a 20" screen because of the higher resolution (17 and 19" have the same resolution)

No good or bad time to buy a pc; there's always a better spec available for less money in 2 months time. That said, you might want to wait for a wider range of DX10 graphics cards from both Nvidia and ATI, and you could wait for the inevitable service pack 1 for Windows Vista.

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