View Full Version : buying a new PC

Claire Elligett
12-03-2009, 01:40 PM
I need to buy a new PC but I'm not sure where to start or what to look for, any help would be great :thanks

Claire Elligett
12-03-2009, 01:44 PM
I'll mainly be using it for the internet, word processing, music, photo and movie editing and games

12-03-2009, 01:50 PM
What do you need to do with this PC?
Do you need a Desktop or a Laptop?
Do you need a CD player - does this CD player need to be able to burn CDs - does it need to be CD/DVD?

Do you like to play games, or is it for the office?
Do you need programs like Microsoft Word? Can you use OpenOffice so you do not have to pay for Microsoft Word?

What software do you already have, and what software do you need to have with the computer?
Is Windows Vista needed? Can you buy second hand and still get a decent PC/Laptop?

If you want a standard computer places like department store generally have good buys. If you want a special computer generally companies that make custom builds are better for you.

I would think that your best place to start looking is looking at places like.... Adverts. Bond and Bond last week (promotion finished) had computers, laptops and printers for a mega saving deal. A printer and camera combo would cost you as little as 60 bucks.

Find out what stores you have in your region and find out if they have online catalogs. If they do, find out what you like, and within your price range, and see if other people with more knowledge than me can help you. I know how to get basic info - but not what is better over something else lol.

Speedy Gonzales
12-03-2009, 02:14 PM
Know anyone who can build one for you??

Probably be better, and cheaper. And you wont get all of the rubbish companies like Dell, HP, Acer put it on theirs

Only thing you would have to get is windows / whatever operating system. Maybe a printer

How much would you spend ?? Any limit?

Claire Elligett
12-03-2009, 02:17 PM
Laptop would probably be better but I'm not fussy about that.
I would need a CD/DVD burner as I use it quite often.
My brother often uses my computer for his games like warcraft and things like that.
Microsoft Office is a must have.
I'd probably rather get a new computer as I want something that will last quite a while without having to fix or update alot.
My old printer/scanner isn't compatible with Vista so I'll need to get a new one of those too.

Thanks for your help

Claire Elligett
12-03-2009, 02:19 PM
I'd say probably about a $1500 limit.
I don't really know anyone who could built one for me and I would have no idea where to start so I'm probably looking at buying a new one

Speedy Gonzales
12-03-2009, 02:24 PM
Laptops arent really made for games

Altho, some of the dearer laptops will probably handle games

If youre in NZ, DSE have a few around $1500 (http://search.dse.co.nz/search?p=Q&lbc=dse&uid=210025559&ts=dse&w=laptop&af=pb:06&isort=score&method=and&view=grid&sessionid=49b863ff01a0f3cc2740c0a87f3b0725)

12-03-2009, 03:01 PM
Monsieur -> http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/showthread.php?t=98069

12-03-2009, 03:45 PM
Laptop would probably be better
Microsoft Office is a must have.
I want something that will last quite a while without having to fix or update alot.

Laptops aren't designed for gaming. You could find something to cope but it wouldn't be cheap. Think $4000.

Whats wrong with OpenOffice? Its free and compatible with MS Office.

Ok, then DO NOT buy a computer from a chainstore. The parts the use is totally random and thats what counts for reliabilty/quality.

Buying from a chain store
The drawbacks are many, but mainly stem from the fact that the salespeople will end up confusing you by talking about such thing as the screen and CPU, which is far less important than things like RAM and motherboard speed and what sort of graphics card is included, if any.
Most “brand” computers do not make a big deal of which components they use. They will, of course, tell you the basic specs of the system, but often do not elaborate on the brands of the equipment they use. Most lower to average priced pre-built PCs use more or less generic hardware. And hardware that is often obsolete or about to become obsolete. It gets the job done, but what you get is what you get. Upgrading can be a problem for this reason.
Most chain stores do not conduct repairs themselves. Your computer will be sent to a 3rd party service department, which is likely to take a week or more, and it is difficult to assess the skill of the service people when you can’t see or talk to them.
I suggest that if you are going to spend money on a PC at a chain store, that you go to a real computer store and see what they can offer you.
Buying from a computer shop
This is the best option - you will get helpful, professional people who are good at explaining technical information in an understandable fashion.
They will be able to assist you in making the right choice in computer selection and will conduct repairs either on-site or at their own shop.
• Do a bit more research and get sorted in your mind exactly what you want. Salesmen love customers who don't know what they want, who often end up with exactly that, what they don't want.

• Look for quality components, especially the more expensive ones Motherboard, Hard Drive, Monitor, Graphics. Don't compare donkeys with racehorses.

• Not all dealers are competent/competitive, so, deal with a good company. Location is not as important as dealing with a good company.
You can ensure you get good, name brand hardware which will have proper manufacturer support and driver support. Most importantly, you can ensure you get hardware that will perform.
On pre-built PCs, there is typically only a 1 year warranty on the whole system, and in many instances, you are offered an extended service plan at the time of purchase. All component manufacturers offer their own warranty on parts and with quality components this is usually from 3 to 10 years.

Parts of the Computer
Essentially, a bus is a channel or path between the components in a computer. Its is controlled by the motherboard. Having a high-speed bus is as important as having a good transmission in a car. If you have a 700-horsepower engine combined with a cheap transmission, you can't get all that power to the road. There are many different types of buses.
A typical desktop PC today has two main buses:
• The first one, known as the system bus or local bus, connects the CPU (central processing unit) and the system memory. This is the fastest bus in the system.
• The second one is a slower bus for communicating with things like hard disks and add-on cards. One very common bus of this type is known as the PCI bus. These slower buses connect to the system bus through a bridge, which is a part of the computer's chipset and acts as a traffic cop, integrating the data from the other buses to the system bus.
The motherboard is the foundation. Everything attaches to the motherboard - the CPU, memory, hard drive, monitor, mouse, keyboard, add-on cards, even additional peripherals like printers, scanners, and speakers. The motherboard is like the nervous system and skeleton of the human body - it provides support for the internal components and also passes information between the computer parts.
If the motherboard is the nervous system, then the CPU is the brain. The clock rate of a CPU is not a good measure of its performance. This is known as the megahertz myth.
Performance is affected by many things, especially the design of the CPU's instruction pipelines (the number of instructions that can be executed in a unit of time), branch prediction (part of a processor that determines whether a conditional branch in the instruction flow of a program is likely to be taken or not), memory subsystem, and caches; the number of cores; and the ability of software to take advantage of a given CPU architecture's features.
Cache: A temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be stored for rapid access. Once the data is stored in the cache, future use can be made by accessing the cached copy rather than re-fetching or recomputing the original data, so that the average access time is lower.
Computer Memory
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the part of the computer that stores information the computer needs while it is operating. It is Random Access because the computer can get the data in any order, not necessarily the order in which it is stored. Generally speaking, the more RAM, the better. 512 to 1024 megabytes (1GB) is now entry level for Windows XP and 2048 megabytes (2GB) for Vista.
The most common type of RAM these days is DDR-SDRAM, which stands for double-data-rate synchronous dynamic random access memory. We already know what the RAM part means. DDR means that the data is accessed twice as fast as ordinary RAM.
The latest type of RAM is DDR3. It offers even faster access rates and is quickly becoming the standard for computer memory.
Hard Drive
All the data contained in RAM is lost when the computer is turned off, so there has to be a place to store it permanently. This is what the hard disk is for.
It holds the computer’s operating system. An operating system like Windows uses around four gigabytes of hard drive space. The extra space is used to install computer programs and to store your personal data.
80 gigabyte hard drives are entry level now, but much larger - up to 1500Gb (or 1.5 Terabytes), are available. Furthermore, you can install more than one in a decent ATX computer case for added security and convenience.
Graphics Card
Everything displayed on your screen is held in video RAM, An integrated video chipset uses the system RAM, not only limiting the amount of RAM that can be used for display purposes but taking resources away from the rest of the system.
A computer with a dedicated video card will perform better, display a better quality image and will not bottleneck the system. Also, you won’t find yourself kneecapped further down the line if you branch off into areas of interest that you hadn’t considered when purchasing the computer… such as animation, 3D modelling, photo manipulation, viewing your collection of 49000 items of clipart, etc…
Plus, you have the added benefit of being able to play games. Kids love games, especially Big Kids.
A run-of-the-mill comp with a built-in graphics chip or a low-end graphics card will run the majority of games but performance will suffer.
Graphics chip and board makers update their hardware every six months, sometimes sooner - mainly as a response to consumer demand for more complex, more realistic PC games. Those likely to need the heaviest performance cards are high-end gamers dedicated to getting the very best from their machine.
However if you don’t care and only want the PC to send emails and type letters then a built-in graphics chip will do.
Gaming and Graphics Cards
One thing I should caution budget buyers on: if you decide on too cheap a card, be aware that its usability as a gaming card will be considerably less. Expect 6 months to 1 years decent performance before you will be forced to upgrade again.
Spend more and you can expect 2 to possibly even 3 years excellent performance.
Many people believe that the video card is defined by the amount of RAM. While RAM is important, the RAM only dictates the size of the textures the video card can handle, and while a card with more RAM can theoretically handle larger textures it is always limited by the speed of the video chipset. 3D performance is defined by the speed at which information can get to the GPU (the dedicated graphics processor unit on a modern-day 3D card) and the memory bandwidth determines just how quickly the graphics processor can get data to and from the memory built onto the graphics card. The greater the bandwidth, the better. You may notice on graphics card specs that there are a couple of different memory types used on boards at the moment: GDDR5 and GDDR3. The former is the faster of the two.
Clock speed shows the raw grunt of the card. Naturally, as is the case with your PC as a whole, the performance of the graphics card isn't determined by this alone. So going for the fastest clock speed graphics card isn't likely to get you the faster all-round performer.
You'll probably see more than one clock speed quoted on graphics card specs. The core speed refers to the GPU itself, the memory clock speed is the rate at which data shifts between the card's RAM and the card's graphics processor, whilst the RAMDAC (random access memory digital to analogue converter) is the pace at which the card can take the information it's given and output it to the format of your screen.
DirectX support involves specific drivers produced by Microsoft to get the most out of gaming on a PC. The latest boards are designed to make the most out of the latest version of DirectX. As you would expect, older boards were designed to maximize older versions of DirectX, so while they will still work with the new version they won't give as much performance and won't be able to take advantage of the latest technologies built into DirectX.
While there are many companies selling graphics cards the vast majority of them license the technology of the leading manufacturers in this field: ATI and NVIDIA. Decide on a budget, consider the specs of the comp it’s going in, weigh that up against the desired performance (and probably adjust your budget) and pick the card that fits the bill. Low-end cards from either manufacturer are just that. High-end cards from either manufacturer will serve up buckets of eye candy and both have gems in the midrange.
Granted, the cards from different manufacturers have strong points and weak points. The reality is that they (largely) are invisible to the naked eye. The only way to compare is to benchmark them and compare the results, and it is a matter of personal preference unless you want maximum performance for a specific game.
A good resource for checking the rankings of both ATI and NVIDIA cards is http://www.tomshardware.com/site/vgacharts/index.html

12-03-2009, 04:49 PM
Where do you live. Someone might be able to put you onto a good store or help you in your area.

12-03-2009, 05:27 PM
Ok Claire, from above I saw that the games that would be played would be warcraft etc.

WOW and Warcraft etc are not very resource hungry so a laptop will be fine. What other games do you think will be played?

This would be a good laptop for around 1500:


And, I reckon a good option would be to get this small laptop(netbook), and also build a cheap desktop. You could play games on the desktop, and do web browsing, internet etc on your mini laptop.





12-03-2009, 05:33 PM
If in chch PM me, thats if you can, not sure how posts you need to have to pm?

definitely build a desktop if only wanting to spend $1500, it last alot longer and gives you more options

12-03-2009, 05:47 PM
HE/She needs 10 posts first.

If in Auckland Speedy/or I can do it