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Thread: New computer and opinion/Alienware questions

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Memphis, TN
    Originally posted here by CXGJarrod

    Not to hyjack the thread or anything, but I am embarrassed to be a Californian today because of this happening.
    Same here, not wanting to hijack thread, Now I don't live in California, but I feel that this is a great move for that state. It was kinda funny watching how the LA times trick backfired.


  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Gore- The thing that you are paying for when you buy a manufacturer PC is the support and the warranty. As you seem like you can handle yourself with pc repair I would probably go the route of building a machine. Or find a vendor that will build a bare-bone package for you. Usually you can get a case, processor, memory, mobo all together for a steal. Then you have to search around for the best price on all of the other equipment. It is more work, but you can easily save a ton of cash. I built my current system which is a p4 1.8 with 512mb pc 2100 RAMBUS RIMMs right when the RAMBUS memory was costing a lot of money for 1200$. Top of the line sound card(m-audio), with a then 90$ graphics card(radeon 7200 I think)...

    If I were to have bought the same system from a manufacturer I would have paid atleast 2100, I would not have been able to get the m-audio studio card that I have, and more than likely I would not have gotten the ASUS P4TE mobo that I have.

    Biggest mistake most people make when buying a computer is to get the fastest processor and then skimp on the mobo and memory. I would actually recommend not getting the latest and greatest processor, and get a high end mobo with the fastest memory possible. Alienware seems to build their machines this way, using all high end components, and it is reflected in the price. With Dell or Gateway, you normally get a mediocre mobo unless you get one of their high end workstations.

    No matter if you choose to build or buy I would recommend the following-
    Latest/greatest chipset on the mobo, whether intel or AMD.
    The fastest memory the processor and mobo will allow
    Make sure the mobo is a good one. Putting a 75$ mobo with a 400$ chip makes no sense. Right now most of the good intel mobo's are selling for atleast 150$. This is for the 875 chipset.

    If you do build your own system. I would recommend paying the extra for the retail box components. You usually get a much longer warranty. For instance, an OEM intel processor will normally come with a 3month warranty. A boxed retail one will be like a year or two warranty.

    Just re-read that you are looking for people's opinion.. I like Intel chips. I have no experience with AMD chips though. However my brother, who is not an overclocker, just burnt up his AMD mobo and chip. His PC is also pretty loud as it has a lot of cooling. I have a good power supply(two fans) with only 1 case fan and my computer never overheats with two 7200RPM hardrives in it.

    I like intel and Asus motherboards. They are usually at the top in terms of quality and speed. You do have to pay for it though.

    For sound cards... If you are into serious sound reproduction do not buy anything creative makes. They try to put out the audigy cards as being for home studios, but they just suck. M-audio or motu make much better sound cards in the same price range.

    I'm not a gamer.. so I will leave the graphic card debate to those that know more than I do.

  3. #13
    AO Decepticon CXGJarrod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    I personally am an AMD fan. (Even though Intel chips are a bit faster at the moment) I currently have a AMD 2500 on a ASUS board at it runs great.
    N00b> STFU i r teh 1337 (english: You must be mistaken, good sir or madam. I believe myself to be quite a good player. On an unrelated matter, I also apparently enjoy math.)

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Personally, I got lazy a couple years ago and bought an alienware instead of putting together my own machine. I was pretty disappointed. My system that was supposed to be 'optimized and tweaked for gaming and maximum performance' had been vanilla installed. (Athlon 2100+ XP with Corsair 150mhz memory was running a 100 mhz fsb). Also the hardware they sold me as a package off their site didn't actually work together. I had to yank out my hardware mpeg decoder to get my machine to run at 133 mhz fsb at all, after sending it back once to have them 'tweak' the system.

    Spend the cash on parts and build it. You can't go wrong with that.

  5. #15
    Senior since the 3 dot era
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    I have to agree with most if not all that replied: built the box yourself.

    To answer your question about Celeron... with that amount of money to spent stay away from celeron boxes, if you want some box to do some office work a celeron is ok, but Celeron's lack decent cache memory and that's why the other proc's are a lot faster. Intel Celeron's and AMD Duron's are the low budget line.

    I agree that spending lot's of money on the latest newest CPU is useless, better get a good mobo and mem. RIMM Rambus is extremly expensive. A good alternative is DDR Corsair TwinX memory (Also expensive but less than RIMM).

    About cooling: an important feature that people tend to forget is the case itself. You better go with an aluminium case. For CPU cooling: Swiftech has recently released a very very good AMD heatsink. Otherwise go with the Thermalright SLK800 or the Alpha PAL.

    When purchasing a harddisk make sure you get a 8MB buffer edition, those are a lot faster than their 2MB competition. Serial ATA or normal ATA is your choose...
    Western Digital has a Raptor 36.8GB, 10000rpm, SATA150 disk available, that's probably the fastest IDE disk you can get for the moment. YOu can take that one as boot disk and another, bigger one for data (like a seagate barracuda or a maxtor diamond plus9). Another possibility is raid stripping. Such a hardware RAID also speeds things up.

    Some mobo's allow to do RAID 0 + 1, stripping and mirroring, this makes your pc not only fast, it also makes your data being mirrored. And then we come back to the motherboard, if you want to do RAID and use SATA you are probably going to spend some more on a decent mobo.

  6. #16
    AO Part Timer
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Opinions huh? Depends on how creative, or lazy you wish to be. Follow the link CXGJarrod gave you to frozencpu and have a ball. Build a PC better than an Alienware box. Pick a theme. Blue you seem to like. So water cool the processor(s), use some nice blue LED's, put a LCD screen in it, use a Cold Cathode Kit or four, build/buy a case, don't forget to put some fins on your video card, find a controller to share the coolant system.

    So you've solved your cooling needs, you will have a pc YOU built, it will be crispy in the dark, the fins will keep your video cool when playing unreal. Also go and find some FM/wireless mouse keyboard combo. Be sure to get the infared mouse. Swap out the LED to blue. Why buy an Alienware PC anyway? Have you ever done your own MOD? If not I highly recommend it. It is however addictive. So buyer beware.

    If you are just wanting a quick PC buy an Alienware. You will have a warranty on it for sure. I have done a few mods myself. My latest PC I bought from Bestbuy however. $900.00. VPR Matrix from bestbuy. 2.0 gig processor, 256 ram, 100 gig IDE drive, dual 1.44 floppies, 32x12x40 CDR, DVD, Geforce 2, plus a NIC. Three year warranty, parts and labor. Plus, I can even open the case without voiding the warranty. It does the trick, I have no complaints.

    One tip, if you decide to do your own MOD, use KRYLON's new Fussion paint. Colors are kinda limited, but they work wonders on plastic. No sanding, no priming, no bull. Just wipe clean and spray on. I used it when I MODed my Nintendo and Sony Game Consoles. It hasn't worn off any of the controllers yet. Believe me they see some abuse.

    Flip a coin. Heads MOD, tails Alienware.

    Whatever you don't buy a Compaq. I wouldn't piss on a Compaq if it was on fire.
    Your heart was talking, not your mind.
    -Tiger Shark

  7. #17
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Actualy I wouldn't piss on an Acer if it was on fire on my pay cheque.. lousey monitors .. the quality is so good they changed the name of their peripherials to BenQ just to confuse consumers...

    Gore, Depending on your self confidence, Build your own it can be very rewarding.. and or a great learning experience.. if you are not sure of your skills or the desire for a possable learning experience.. your options are narrowed to custom systems.. or ibm, hp(compaq), dell, gateway and (yetch) acer..

    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me

  8. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    I really want me an AMD64 I hear those things run great and that they now run SSE2 instructions. Plus you'll have bragging rights to have one of the first 64-bit server in your house. :P
    downside is registered ram costs more.

    3. 64 bit is like multiple processors..........if the app. is not written for it you are wasting money.
    I only respond to this based on AMD PR so I guess take it with a grain of salt.
    One of the selling features of the AMD 64 was enhanced performance of 32 bit apps when run in 32 bit compatibility mode. As for the OS i was assuming he was going to use a 64bit linux which, the way i understand it, will show a performance increase in usage.

    hmmmm.... i wonder if gentoo will compile any faster with one of these?

    the Open Source model doesn\'t offer any great benefit in
    terms of reliability and security. -Bill Gates

  9. #19
    AntiOnline Senior Member souleman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Flint, MI
    For $3000 you can get a dual G5 and have a kick ass computer If you want to stay away from cheep, don't get wintel at all

    Oh yeah, and compaq really really sucks. Alienware is overpriced. And don't mess with celeron processors, its like running a P2 at 1/2 the clock speed.
    \"Ignorance is bliss....
    but only for your enemy\"
    -- souleman

  10. #20
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Hi Gore,

    I have not bought a "branded" machine for some years now (other than cheap used ones). You end up paying for the name IMHO. Sure there is a warranty, but if you build your own from boxed, retail components, they have individual warranties that add up to the same.

    Compaq are OK if you want a desktop workstation, or low end family PC. I have generally found them reliable, but unimpressive from a performance viewpoint. The same can be said of the celeron processor. I do not think that you would consider them value for money.

    I have tended to use AMD Athlon XP processors, and replaced the fan with a Coolermaster approved for the chip.

    As you like things cool, I imagine that you won't want to overclock, so watercooled peltiers would be a waste of money.

    Although AMDs are supposed to be hot, I have found that they will normally run at around 38C or 100F. I generally have a large exhaust fan at the bach. It takes up one of the PCI slots and exhausts about 42cfm. I generally add one of these to branded machines as well.

    I use cheapo cases that have a side fan, opposite the processor. I reverse this so that it sucks air in to the case. The aim is to bring in cool air and exhaust hot air. With an Athlon XP1900 this lowered the temperature by around 2.5C I get special mountings for the HDDs that have fans in front that blow cool air over the top of the drives....the big exhaust fan gets rid of it afterwards. I do not think that front mounted case fans are that effective...there is usually too much in the way, and they are down the bottom, where the air is cooler anyway?

    If you don't fancy building it yourself, you might check out some of your local stores and see what they would charge to build one to your specs. My local store does this, and gives a two year warranty, parts & labour.

    I would probably go Athlon XP3200, 1gb of the fastest memory the MoBo will support, and the best video card you can afford.

    BEWARE you need to check memory and graphics card compatibility with the MoBo, and the amount of memory he MoBo will support.....this is frequently different for different speeds, even though the slots are there!


    1. Build it yourself or have it custom built.
    2. For performance value for money go AMD, for security go P4 (pentiums don' fry like Athlons )
    3. 64 bit is like multiple processors..........if the app. is not written for it you are wasting money.
    4. For security go RAID 1 with your HDDs For speed go RAID0 (God help you if one crashes!)

    Just my personal views.

    EDIT: Someone said go for CRT not LCD or plasma.............I agree, they will not support the capabilities of your video card, a good CRT screen will.


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