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Looking for a New PC

Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 2:13pm

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japan1

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Does anyone know where i can get a new pc, mainly for video editing but i don't know of any good retailers. I don't need a monitor and i really don't trust buying a PC of ebay etc..
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 2:31pm

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Mellifluous

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Where are you located?
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 2:33pm

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japan1

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East Yorskhire smile
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 2:46pm

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Joshua Davies

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Dell make some of the best PCs around.

We tend to make our own (because its cheaper and we like to think we're knowing what we're doing wink) but all the most mechanically reliable PCs I've ever used are Dells (there is a reason why businesses, even those with massive IT resources, still buy branded PCs). Once you remove some of the annoying preinstalled software they come with they are fantastic machines.

If you want to visit a shop then PCWorld stores are all over the UK. They are a massive company and you will pay over the odds but they do sell some great computers (go for a known brand) and you also have a real point of contact for when things go wrong.

A word of warning - don't listen too much to the sales guys in PCWorld. I've never met one that really has more than a basic knowledge about PCs but they do try and talk the talk.

Many members on here on FXhome (for instance "A Pickle" or any member of the FXhome team) would run rings around them. They even make stuff up sometimes just to get a sale. Just go and check out the systems (don't buy) and come back here with the information and ask some people on FXhome what is best to get if you do need some help.

Good luck! biggrin
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 2:57pm

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Mellifluous

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Do you have any local small pc shops? I personally recommend getting a pc built for you by a small shop to a spec that you come up with. A good reason for this is that you don't have to rely on dodgy retailers' warranties (e.g. PC World), and also ensuring you're building a pc round a motherboard that'll proof you for any future parts you may want to add on.

I recently helped out a member on here, mattio, getting his pc built in such a way and I think it worked out ok. Ask him if you decide to consider this route.

Otherwise, you could try Dell, as they have a good rep and allow you to customise your parts to a certain extent. Avoid PC World if possible, but if you get one from there, only buy a good brand, not Hewlett Packard, eMachines etc.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 3:01pm

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japan1

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Theres a few local PC shops near me that would build me a PC but they are extremely expensive, thats why i'm considering a Dell PC from their website.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 3:03pm

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Mellifluous

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I asked the shop who built me mine if I could send off for all the parts from various online companies (like Dabs.com, Komplett) so I could get the parts for the cheapest possible prices. They were fine with that and just slapped on a building charge. Could ask if they'd do the same.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 3:05pm

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pdrg

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Also consider www.novatech.co.uk - I've admittedly only bought peripheries from them, but the pre-sales and after-sale support have both been excellent.

Evesham.com are another independent option.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 3:14pm

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Joshua Davies

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The problem I've found with small shops is that they are so hit and miss - in fact I've never had a hit, only about 20 misses in the last 15 years.

Many are made up of people with little idea about PCs (a GNVQ qualification or similar in IT) and therefore offer no real advantage over you making the PC yourself (which is quite easy, hence these people start companies).

For this method to be at all reliable you would have to exactly spec the machine yourself anyway, doing all the research required for not only the motherboard, cpu, gpu and ram, but also the case, the psu etc.

Then if you cost it on a website like Scan or Dabs you'll see how much the company is charging for sticking it together. It takes them 10-30mins work to put the machine together and about 2 hours to install the software (although they can do other machines while they wait).The warranty you get is often worth nothing as well. Dell warranties on the other hand are utterly fantastic!

Because local shops margins are so small (and they sell so few computers compared to the bigger chains) they often just sell you what is cheap to them at the time so you really do need to make sure you get the bits and brands you ask for.

Buying from small local PC shops, in my experience, has always offered terrible dated computers, terrible warranties and bad service. But maybe that is just the companies I've used around Norfolk and London.

Evesham and other larger companies (but not PCWorld big) could be a good option if you can find one local to you. Evesham used to do some very good editing machines.

Make sure its a Core 2 Duo (or better) processor (NOT an AMD!) and you can't go far wrong wink

Last edited Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 3:16pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 3:14pm

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Mellifluous

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Edit: Schwar, that's what I'm recommending - if japan1 can't put it together himself, then my recommendation is to research each and every part and send off for them all. I helped mattio do exactly that. I agree about small pc shops not having much knowledge, just as PC World etc. So buying parts and building yourself/getting shop to stick them together is the only way you can get more savvy and not be screwed over.

Since I got my pc built to exactly my spec 4 years ago, I've upgraded my pc myself, transferred to a different case, added new graphics, added new drives, memory etc. And had very little problems.

I was going to recommend Evesham too, as they had a good rep when I was buying mine 4 years ago. Last year, PC Pro magazine also praised them for customer service.

However, I hear they're going through financial problems and are on the verge of a) going bankrupt or b) being bought by Time.

Either way, I don't think it's a good time to buy from them. My parents bought a pc from Tiny Computers (now owned by Time) in around 2002 and shortly after, Tiny went bankrupt. The pc had severe problems - its design meant you couldn't access the floppy drive unless you had fingers as thin as a pencil; its motherboard was screwed; its installation of Windows XP was screwed; the floppy drive didn't work, etc etc. And none of those problems ever got fixed, despite sending the machine back to them three times.

/end rant.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 3:21pm

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Joshua Davies

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Good points buddy.

More reasons to love Dell if you ask me smile
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 5:32pm

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japan1

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Thanks a lot all this info has helped. Just wondring intel core 2 duo over amd? is it because they're faster?
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 6:52pm

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Pooky

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Definitely get a Core 2 Duo, at the moment AMD is lagging really far behind Intel.

Get 1GB of RAM minimum, 2GB if you can, and at the very least 250GB of hard drive space. If you're into gaming, the 8600 GT is pretty good.

Also there's the inevitable recommendation of getting a Mac, although there aren't any budget models of those.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 7:47pm

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03ruby

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i am also looking or a new pc as mine has decided to pack up. im looking at www.meshcomputers.com. Its cheap and they have many good reviews. But im stuck too, ask a silly question but whats better for video rendering? core 2 duo or core quad?
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 8:49pm

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Pooky

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Core 2 is more than enough: mot programs can't use a Core Quad yet, but it does allow you to run twice as many programs at once, if you're into that.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 9:01pm

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Thrawn

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Pooky wrote:

Get 1GB of RAM minimum, 2GB if you can, and at the very least 250GB of hard drive space.
This is great advice to follow. With Dell you could get something with the minimum requirments for pretty cheap, but I would sudgest gettting more then just the minimum. Since your doing video editing , I would go with what everyone else is saying about Core 2 Duo.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 11:17pm

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japan1

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Well i'm looking at building a PC my self, it seems a lot cheaper. My only problem is that i wouldn't have a clue how to do it, is it hard? thats the only thing thats putting me off.
Posted: Sun, 29th Jul 2007, 11:30pm

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Mellifluous

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It's not that hard. If you ever played with lego, then you should seriously be ok with it. You just need to get a case, pop in the PSU (power supply), screw in the motherboard, then fit everything into the motherboard. There's a couple of pins you need to make sure are positioned right for BIOS and your drives, but it's not that complicated. There are plenty of websites that have picture guides about building PCs, and you can always ask here.

You could also open up your current PC when you've bought all the parts, and use it as a reference when you put your new PC together.

The most complex business is choosing your parts and ensuring they're all compatible.
Posted: Mon, 30th Jul 2007, 4:31am

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Pooky

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Yeah as Mel said, the hard part is making sure everything is compatible. Main things to look out for would be something like:

-CPU Socket has to be the same on the Motherboard and CPU
-RAM type (DDR or DDR2) and speed (333mhz, 400mhz, 667mhz, 800mhz...) have to be supported by the motherboard and CPU
-get SATA2 hard drives and make sure the motherboard supports it
-graphics card slot has to be PCI-Express (AGP is outdated)
-power supply has to have enough power for everything... use an online power supply calculator

Then, when putting it all together, the installation of the CPU is touchy, and plugging in all the power supply cables is rather complex (you have to remember all of them), and you have to be sure to plug the power, reset, etc buttons correctly which requires a manual.

I recommend finding the PC Gamer PC Bible special they had a while back, it had pictures for everything with detailed instructions... the hardware is slightly outdated by now, but the process is the same.

As for choosing the actual parts, search around the web and on forums.
Posted: Mon, 30th Jul 2007, 9:09am

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Simon K Jones

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I used to have a Mesh computer. It was pretty good, though I've heard dubious things about Mesh's customer support. I never had to test it myself. I've also heard that Evesham aren't as good as they used to be, so be wary there too.

As for building your own machine - I did that for the first time a couple of years ago. It's actually pretty easy once you know what you're doing, but the first time can be a bit intimidating. Just take your time, read the instructions and it should all slot together nicely. And if you hit any stumbling blocks you can always ask for help on here - well, presuming you still have access to your old computer. wink
Posted: Mon, 30th Jul 2007, 2:06pm

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japan1

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Well building a computer seems like the cheapest option so thats what i'm probably going to do, i've been looking on websites like dabs.com and novatech.com, are there any other good cheap pc parts websites?
Posted: Mon, 30th Jul 2007, 2:25pm

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Simon K Jones

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I tend to use a combo of Scan.co.uk and dabs.com.
Posted: Mon, 30th Jul 2007, 3:34pm

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Mellifluous

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I use dabs.com and komplett.co.uk. Sometimes Komplett have decent offers in the Kits and Bundles section, where you can buy a motherboard, processor and memory for a couple hundred pounds.

Google parts like the motherboard and graphics to see the reviews they've had, as well as posting them up here if you like to run them by people.
Posted: Mon, 30th Jul 2007, 3:56pm

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Simon K Jones

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I also tend to check out sites like anandtech.com, tomshardware and Tweakguides.com for useful info.
Posted: Mon, 30th Jul 2007, 9:44pm

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japan1

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I've been looking at some processors and i was wondering if anyone could tell me which of these 2 intel processors is better:

Intel Pentium D920 Dual Core (2x2.8 GHz)

or

Intel E6320 Core2Duo (2x1.86Ghz)
Posted: Tue, 31st Jul 2007, 6:23am

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A Pickle

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Uh... wow. That Core 2 Duo will eat that Pentium D 920 like a Lays potato chip. You've got to keep in mind a little-known fact, GHz isn't everything. While the Pentium D has a higher clock frequency than the Core 2 Duo, the Core 2 Duo does MUCH more work per clock frequency than the Pentium D (and consumes considerably less power while doing it). It's really rather incredible how fast processors are getting -- still! The Core 2 Duo is faster all the while saving power compared to the Pentium D.

Even AMD's processors, which are suffering something of a roundabout beating from Intel's Core 2 Duo chips, are much, much better choices than the Pentium D's. In today's computer market, I would avoid a Pentium D like the plague (though... they ARE cheap...).

Honestly, it really depends on what you want. Do you want a desktop or a laptop? Will you be playing any games with it? Will you go with Windows Vista? If you could answer those questions, I'd be much more able to directly aid your quest for a new computer-box with a specific brand/model, and probably a link.

As always, I'm happy to help when it comes to computers. I tend to think I'm better with them than I am with movies. biggrin
Posted: Tue, 31st Jul 2007, 5:20pm

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japan1

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Thanks, Ive narrowed it down to these processors:

Intel Core 2 Duo 6320

Intel Core 2 Duo 6420

AMD X2 AM2 Dual Core 4200

I'm thinking of the Duo6420 but i better get a few opinions before i buy anything.
Posted: Tue, 31st Jul 2007, 5:54pm

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ben3308

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I'd highly recommend building your own machine.

"Marathon"- which has 119 cuts, used multiple cameras, and HD footage, along with God knows how much grading- was captured, edited, and rendered in about 3 hours on a $400 dollar self-made computer that blew the crap out of my Dad's $1300 Dell Dimension.

Homemade computers can save you THOUSANDS of dollars if you know what you're doing.
Posted: Wed, 1st Aug 2007, 7:04pm

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A Pickle

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ben3308 wrote:

I'd highly recommend building your own machine.

"Marathon"- which has 119 cuts, used multiple cameras, and HD footage, along with God knows how much grading- was captured, edited, and rendered in about 3 hours on a $400 dollar self-made computer that blew the crap out of my Dad's $1300 Dell Dimension.

Homemade computers can save you THOUSANDS of dollars if you know what you're doing.
And yet, despite this fact, I would argue that there's still some merit to buying a computer. Centralized support, tested and stable hardware -- as well as generally good software bundled alongside.

Building computers is fun... and I *might* recommend it if you want a desktop... but if you don't know what you're doing, buy one. Building a computer means you have to put up with a lot of stuff, including frequent bouts with crappy Taiwanese software that comes with 50% of the hardware you put into your computer. Then consider the fact that, to have support of your components... you have to RMA directly to the manufacturer (which could be ten different places depending on your manufacturer)...

Yeah. Building is fun.
Posted: Wed, 1st Aug 2007, 7:47pm

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JornLavoll

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i've built two computers, and i will build a new quad core now in august. it's easy and fun smile
I'll go for a Shuttle (again), they are even easier to build. The PSU is already in place, and it comes with its own heat-pipe system.
Posted: Wed, 1st Aug 2007, 11:14pm

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japan1

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I think i've found the best way of building a PC, buy a barebones system from novatech which comes with motherboard, case, cpu and psu (built and tested) then add my own Hard drive, ram, DVDRW and graphics card.
Posted: Thu, 2nd Aug 2007, 1:29am

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Kid

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The only thing wrong with buying a Dell is that they use a lot of proprietary stuff which makes them hard to upgrade. I'd definately say get one if you are sticking to officy stuff or video editing with no special hardware cards. They are pretty decent quality and cheap and you do get good warranty cover.

On the other hand putting one together yourself is pretty easy nowadays. They tend to be reasonably priced and you can get exactly what you want without making compromises or paying for stuff you don't need. There can be conflicts though that experienced people will spot so best to run past someone what you plan on getting.

I wouldn't bother getting a barebones system because you are paying a premium for something you can do yourself and so ending up getting all the disadvantages of a premade system and a build it yourself one and not really any of the advantages. Unless you are getting something specialist like the shuttle.

Heres a nice combo of stuff which gives about the best performance for value you can get at the moment...

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, Socket 775, 2.4 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, Conroe Core, 4MB Cache, Retail £114.49
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro - P4 up to 4.4GHz - S775 Dual Core / Core2Duo Ready £13.49
Asus P5K-E/WIFI-AP, iP35, S 775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 1066/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX £87.99
2GB (2x1GB) CorsairTwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800), 240 Pins, Non-ECC Unbuffered, 4-4-4-12, DHX £77.64
500W Tagan TG-500-U26 iXeye II EPS12V Ver2.9 ATX Blue LED +80% PSU £60.49

You'd need a case, graphics and harddrive to finish it off. The board itself is crossfire, but I wouldn't reccomend using that. With 1 card you can ignore that and get nvidia cards if you like.
Posted: Thu, 2nd Aug 2007, 7:44pm

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Kid

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The other thing that I prolly should have mentioned is that the Core 2 Duo prices are due to drop any day now, so hold out for those and you may be able to afford a better cpu.