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So it might finally be time for a new PC. I inherited a HP Pavilion a few years ago, and in the last several months I've lost a video card, power supply, usb ports, & dvd drive. Now I hear another fan ratteling, could be the cpu fan, not real sure, but tired of sinking money into it; so I may buy myself an after Christmas PC. We've had a Dell about a yr longer than this HP, and it's running fine, so thinking of going with Dell again. No major complaints for the Dell's we had over the years. Gateway's wern't bad either. Not so much good luck with HP's tho.

Sadly tho I have 2 good (hopefully for a long time) sata drives in the HP, a new lightscribe dvd-r, and new 650W (I think) powersupply. 2G ram (what ever this thing uses, and decent sound card.

Just playing around, nothing serious, I can get a Dell configured, with windows 7, no monitor, average specs (all I need) for about $800. Suprisingly the cpu speed hasn't increased since these last 2 PC's I have (2.8Ghz each, one a 'fake' dual core [Pent D I thinnk] in the dell, and a real dual core in the HP).

I'm just an avg user, mostly surfing now, some video editing ie rip a mini DV or the new Flip HD, video's to DVD, some light gaming, no serious games, Age of Empires is about as graphic intense I get.

Should I look into something like a barebones system, has case, mobo, cpu, (I do want a good video card this time), an mem, and just swap my parts into it? If so suggestions on what/where (I priced Tiger, about $3-400) and that's w/o a new ver of windows (I do have a real copy of Vista if I need to, but so far happy with XP, just not sure it'd swap hardware w/o telling it's mommy in redman that a OEM copy of XP was transfered from an Hp to a generic system.)

Hopefully it'll last until tax return time, might even put a fan on the cpu jic, but if the wifey things it's fried, i can get a whole new PC :yahoo:
I definatly want to stay sub $1k, probably in the $5-800 range w/ or w/o a monitor (her's could use a replacement if the price is right on one)

What do ya'all think?

I used to build PC's when I was in high school, but that was 386/486 sx/dx days, not many choices, slots, compability issues then. All ISA slots, IDE drives, 1 type mem chip...
 

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Well, I'm not gonna be much help here. Nothing but HP in this house; 2 desktops and 3 laptops. We swayed and bought a Gateway one time and two years later the motherboard fried. :cuss: No complaints on HP here. We would not own anything but HP.

Good luck! Let us know what you decide to purchase. :)
 

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If you're happy with XP, here's what I'd do:

* InWin EM013 MicroATX case with 350W power supply (good case and a good, reliable power supply)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811108184 (49.99)

* Asus M4A785TD-M EVO Socket AM3 MicroATX board with Radeon HD4200 video (runs cool and very fast)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131406 (94.99)

* AMD Athlon II X2 Regor 3.0GHz dual-core processor (best bang-for-the-buck on the market)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103681 (67.00)

* G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333 memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231180 (94.99)

* Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 32MB SATA 3.0 hard drive (5 year warranty, best drive series on the market)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822136320 (69.99)

* LiteOn iHAS424-98 24X DVD/CD SATA burner with LightScribe (includes starter version of Nero and a cable)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827106335 (33.99)

* Scythe 92mm "GentleTyphoon" silent case fan (for the front of the InWin case)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835185085 (14.99)

* Scythe 120mm "GentleTyphoon" silent case fan (to replace the generic fan on the back of the InWin case)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835185089 (17.99)

* Acer 23" Widescreen HDMI monitor (I've had too many Acers to count, and no dead pixels on any of them)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6824009179 (169.99)

That's $642.06, including shipping, as of this morning. This is a solid, fast computer that will even play almost all games, although not with blinding frame rates. You also have a DVD burner with LightScribe, a 500GB hard drive (you could go with 750GB or 1TB if you need it, but the 500GB has only two internal platters and is probably more reliable).

Since your current machine is an OEM copy of XP, moving a copy of it to the new computer is simple, and, if you have your original XP OEM CD, it's legal:
1) Get the freeware, Linux-based, bootable CD program called GParted (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/) and burn it to a CD.
2) Build the new computer.
3) Connect your old hard drive to the IDE or SATA port on the new computer.
4) Boot from the GParted CD, then find the clone option to copy the old drive to the new one. Make sure you have the correct drives set for the source and destination drives, or you'll wipe out your old drive. I'm guessing that the new drive is larger than your old one. The cloning process will also give you a perfectly defragged new drive.
5) When the clone to the new drive is complete, expand the partition on the new drive to the size of the new drive.
6) Remove the old drive. Nothing has changed on it, so you can use it to make a copy again if something goes wrong, or if you ever need files from it again.
7) Boot from your OEM Windows XP CD. Let it run through the setup, then ask it to perform a REPAIR INSTALL. This will search for a valid copy of XP on the hard drive, and if it IS valid, it will remove the old HP hardware device layer, and adapt XP to your new motherboard and hardware.
8) Install the motherboard drivers for the new motherboard. This will also set up your LAN port.
9) Run Windows Update on your XP installation. You'll probably be doing this for a while, with several reboots.
10) Download and run Glary Utilities (http://download.cnet.com/Glary-Utilitie ... tag=button) and run a complete fix to clean up the registry, orphaned program files, and other junk.

You're done. Since this PC has 4GB of memory, and you have a 32-bit version (I'm guessing) of XP, XP will only "see" about 2-2.5GB of memory (unless you add the /3GB switch to the boot.ini file), but you'll have 4GB in case you decide to upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7 later. And you have two more memory slots to add another dual-channel set of DDR3 1333 memory. This board supports up to 16GB of memory.

If you have any questions, just ask!

That's my .02.
 

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Processor "speed" isn't really measured by the GHz rating, unless you are comparing two processors of the same design (e.g., Core2Duo vs. Core2Duo). Intel did a good job at marketing the Megahertz Myth, but even they couldn't keep it going after the Pentium 4, which was nearing 4 GHz. Too much heat at those clock speeds. You can find benchmark results for different types of processors and compare them that way.

Building your own computer is usually the best way to get what you want at the best price. I like what JP has chosen, though I would wait until the generic fans wore out before replacing them. You can probably shift your old equipment over, including the power supply. Get as much RAM as you can and the best bang-for-the-buck processor. I have a 300 MHz Pentium II with 768 MB of RAM (monster for that time) and it still runs Windows XP smoothly. Most of the time, when an old computer gets "too slow," it is because new programs and spyware have used up all available RAM and all your activities are done in swap. You will see the HDD light on more than usual. One thing though - Windows XP will only handle 3 GB of RAM (it will use 4 but will not allow you to access all of it). Windows XP 64-bit has poor support and for most purposes can be considered "abandoned". If you want 4 GB, you will have to go with Vista64, Windows 7 64-bit, or abandon Windows altogether.
 

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My machine right now is just okay. If I were having your issues, I'd certainly be thinking replacment PC. What JPark has recommended is pretty cool, imo :thumb: . That the equipment is in your price range is even better. :yes:

Being a tech, I am looking at building a new PC, just not yet. I do know that buying an off the shelf PC isn't what it used to be. Too many short cuts in the manufactured PC today. Dell is like everyone else, Made in China. Their reliability is suspect now as well. Same for Gateway, and HP. Aren't they both owned by eMachines :confused: ? Need to check that. You may as well buy the eMachine if that's true. Either way, it's within your price range. I'd just sooner build my own box at the moment if I needed a new machine. Just my $.02. ;)
 

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Squishy said:
Processor "speed" isn't really measured by the GHz rating, unless you are comparing two processors of the same design (e.g., Core2Duo vs. Core2Duo). Intel did a good job at marketing the Megahertz Myth, but even they couldn't keep it going after the Pentium 4, which was nearing 4 GHz. Too much heat at those clock speeds. You can find benchmark results for different types of processors and compare them that way.
Exactly.

Squishy said:
Building your own computer is usually the best way to get what you want at the best price. I like what JP has chosen, though I would wait until the generic fans wore out before replacing them. You can probably shift your old equipment over, including the power supply.
Er, this may not be true. Most new boards require a 24-pin power connector and an additional 4-/6-/8-pin CPU connector, and many older power supplies don't have one or both of these. Also, many HP machines use proprietary power supplies with as little as 150W, which is a bit too low for this setup. While this is a very low power CPU (and still very powerful), the entire setup may draw over 220W. The parts I listed above are plug and play, guaranteed, although you will need an extra (included) SATA adapter for the DVD burner. SeaSonic makes a 350W 80Plus Bronze certified power supply with 4 SATA connectors for around $44 if you'd like a different power supply, and Rosewill has a very good MicroATX case without a power supply for $29.

And these fans are worth every penny. They're silent, fairly powerful, and they last forever. The standard InWin case fan is too fast and noisy for most desktop applications, and having the extra 92mm fan in front of the case will cool both the hard drive and the northbridge.

Squishy said:
One thing though - Windows XP will only handle 3 GB of RAM (it will use 4 but will not allow you to access all of it). Windows XP 64-bit has poor support and for most purposes can be considered "abandoned". If you want 4 GB, you will have to go with Vista64, Windows 7 64-bit, or abandon Windows altogether.
I mentioned that already.

:D

But boards like this one can also use extra system memory for video, so starting with 4GB will allow you to use a good portion of it while being ready for a 64-bit system out of the box. And Asus has all drivers for this board in both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, as well as Windows versions all the way back to 2000.
 

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Well he mentioned he has a new 650 W power supply. I think the only proprietary HP supplies are in the tiny PCs, full size ones get standard stuff. Either way, I think everyone has learned from Dell's mistake and proprietary supplies also come with proprietary connectors now. If it doesn't fit (or has less pins), then you'll need a new power supply.
 

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jonas1022 said:
Same for Gateway, and HP. Aren't they both owned by eMachines :confused: ? Need to check that.
HP is its own company as is Dell. Compaq is owned by HP. Gateway and eMachines are owned by Acer. I use Dell's at work. I also have a Dell laptop and a small Dell Desktop that I use as a Media PC. Over the last 10 years, we've had one clunker and a few problems here and there that were always taken care of under warranty. The worst was the motherboard on my laptop blowing out a year after I got it. I have the 3 year warranty and it was fixed 3 days later in my office.

Personally, I build most of my main computers so I can get exactly what I want in terms of parts and performance. I have 3 home built desktops currently running. If you are up for trying to build a PC, the system JP lists is a good one. I prefer the Intel Core 2 processors or the AMD Phenom II's which are more comparable to the Core 2's than the Athlons. Better for video editing than Athlons. The big issue with building your own is if you have a problem, you are basically on your own. Support from most parts manufacturers is sorely lacking. Newegg also has very limited return policies for many parts. I got stuck with a bad motherboard last year because of these issues.

If you are not into the idea of building a PC for various reasons and would like a comprehensive warranty, I would look at places like Staples or Office Depot after the holidays for Dell's they typically put on clearance. Last February, I got a Low Profile Dell Inspiron Desktop with a Core 2 Quad (great for video editing), 3 gig Ram, HDMI out, a DVD writer, a memory card reader, a 640 gb hard drive and Windows Vista Home Premium for $450 brand new. That price was $200 less than a comparable machine online. It's been about a year and it's worked great so far. I added a TV tuner to it and use it as a DVR in my bedroom. Works great. Just upgraded to Windows 7 and now get High Def TV thru Windows Media Center. (The only issue I have is an occasional video driver conflict in Windows 7 that creates a Blue Screen and reboots the computer. This happens every few days when waking from sleep mode.) Dell even uploaded the Windows 7 drivers to the support page for this machine.
 

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jpark said:
Squishy said:
One thing though - Windows XP will only handle 3 GB of RAM (it will use 4 but will not allow you to access all of it). Windows XP 64-bit has poor support and for most purposes can be considered "abandoned". If you want 4 GB, you will have to go with Vista64, Windows 7 64-bit, or abandon Windows altogether.
I mentioned that already.

:D

But boards like this one can also use extra system memory for video, so starting with 4GB will allow you to use a good portion of it while being ready for a 64-bit system out of the box. And Asus has all drivers for this board in both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, as well as Windows versions all the way back to 2000.
I alaways thought that Windows 32 bit could handle 4 gb memory total, including video cards, cache, etc. So a machine with 4 gig RAM and a video card with 1 gb memory would only show approx 3 gb memory. A machine with a 512 mb video card would show around 3.5 gb of available memory...
 

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Squishy said:
Well he mentioned he has a new 650 W power supply. I think the only proprietary HP supplies are in the tiny PCs, full size ones get standard stuff. Either way, I think everyone has learned from Dell's mistake and proprietary supplies also come with proprietary connectors now. If it doesn't fit (or has less pins), then you'll need a new power supply.
650W is insane overkill for most people's machines, even with a mid- to high-level video card. The setup I described draws about 65W from the processor, and AMD even makes a 3.0GHz quad-core with a Deneb core that draws only 95W.

The 350W SeaSonic power supply that I mentioned above can draw as little as 40W from the wall (120V), while providing plenty of power when it's needed. That's the purpose of 80 Plus certification.
 

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RobtRoma said:
jpark said:
Squishy said:
One thing though - Windows XP will only handle 3 GB of RAM (it will use 4 but will not allow you to access all of it). Windows XP 64-bit has poor support and for most purposes can be considered "abandoned". If you want 4 GB, you will have to go with Vista64, Windows 7 64-bit, or abandon Windows altogether.
I mentioned that already.

:D

But boards like this one can also use extra system memory for video, so starting with 4GB will allow you to use a good portion of it while being ready for a 64-bit system out of the box. And Asus has all drivers for this board in both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, as well as Windows versions all the way back to 2000.
I alaways thought that Windows 32 bit could handle 4 gb memory total, including video cards, cache, etc. So a machine with 4 gig RAM and a video card with 1 gb memory would only show approx 3 gb memory. A machine with a 512 mb video card would show around 3.5 gb of available memory...
That's usually only for integrated video. Separate video cards (especially high-end cards) usually have their own memory, although some cheaper cards do share system memory.

You can add the /3GB switch to the boot.ini file, but 32-bit versions of Windows can only address a little over 2GB (2147483648 bytes) without extra addressing.
 

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RobtRoma said:
I alaways thought that Windows 32 bit could handle 4 gb memory total, including video cards, cache, etc. So a machine with 4 gig RAM and a video card with 1 gb memory would only show approx 3 gb memory. A machine with a 512 mb video card would show around 3.5 gb of available memory...
Windows reserves the top memory address space for hardware stuff, so while it can "address" 4 GB worth of memory address space, you can't use it all for RAM. There were workarounds that allowed you to create something like a 38-bit memory address space, but Microsoft Error Reports showed too many crashes due to that and this feature was removed from consumer versions of Windows. I think some 32-bit versions of Windows Server can properly address more than 4 GB of RAM. Most of the time 4 GB will show up as something like 3.12 GB.

jpark said:
650W is insane overkill for most people's machines, even with a mid- to high-level video card. The setup I described draws about 65W from the processor, and AMD even makes a 3.0GHz quad-core with a Deneb core that draws only 95W.

The 350W SeaSonic power supply that I mentioned above can draw as little as 40W from the wall (120V), while providing plenty of power when it's needed. That's the purpose of 80 Plus certification.
Do 650 W power supplies draw 650 W even when not necessary? I thought it was just the maximum rating - if your system only requires 200 W, then that would be the draw.
 

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No. 650W refers to the wattage rating capacities of the different output voltages (3.3V, 5V, and 12V). From the wall, that 650W power supply (I'm guessing here) would draw around 200-300W.

And unless the power supply is 80 Plus certified, it usually is a constant-power type of supply. The cool thing about 80 Plus supplies is that there's no input voltage selector. You can plug one into either 120V or 240V, and those power supplies will vary their draw depending on their load.
 

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So assuming the one he has is a standard ATX (2.x now?) power supply, should he get a new lower-rated one or keep the one he has?
 

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For a setup like the one I listed, even a newer 650W power supply is a huge waste of electricity, especially if you leave it on for long periods of time. It also generates much more heat.
 

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Ah, okay. I didn't know the higher-rated supplies used more electricity that way. eBay the 650 W to pay for the 350 W. :yes:
 

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I like the Corsair Modular Power Supplies. They are very quiet and you only use the wires you need. Less Clutter in the case. They are also 80 Plus certified. Only Standard Certification though. The 520 Watt version is 84.4% efficient (typical).

http://www.corsair.com/products/hx/default.aspx

If you go with non-modular, the Corsair CMPSU-450HX is Bronze Certified @ 85.37% efficient (typical).

The Corsiar's are a bit more costly though @ $70-$80 for the 450w and $120-$140 for the modular model...
 

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Corsair makes some great stuff, that's for sure. I've used their memory on several builds...
 
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