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Specification for new PC

waldron
Grafter
Posts: 348
Registered: 28-07-2007

Specification for new PC

I hope to buy an new desktop PC in the near future. I shall probably be running a dual-boot XP/Ubuntu system on it.
I'm a bit confused as to what I should be looking for. For example -
Dual core or quad core processor
Intel or AMD
Processor speed
Are onboard graphics, audio etc adequate
Which manufacturer of motherboard
Can anyone offer any advice please?
11 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Specification for new PC

Some clues as to what you will be using it for would be helpful.
Gaming, Video editing, just office applications and internet. For example.
waldron
Grafter
Posts: 348
Registered: 28-07-2007

Re: Specification for new PC

Mainly office applications, internet, email, banking, music, photos.
Rich
Grafter
Posts: 184
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Specification for new PC

Quote from: waldron
Mainly office applications, internet, email, banking, music, photos.

Any readily available model should do all this and more...  Only bang up to date games need top of the range hardware nowadays.
TartanTerminato
Dabbler
Posts: 19
Registered: 17-04-2008

Re: Specification for new PC

well to start with.
Dual core, AMD-2.5-3ghz
Intel (being better) I would say 2.2ghz dual core would be fine
Quad core, no real point,, unless you have £600 to spare on a processor. AMD's lesser chip is only £150 but isnt too good, at only 2ghz which is equivalent to the Intel 2ghz dual core chip.
Intel or AMD, doesnt matter for your needs. Asus make the mobo's for AMD chips, but really it makes no difference. Intel are better chips but are pricier.
If you intend to play games on your machine, do not settle for onboard video, it sucks. I would say buy an nvidia 8 series gpu, if you need one. Onboard audio is more than sufficint, unless you want surround sound, then you would need a pci card to handle it properly.
Motherboard, i would say Asus make the best ones around, with Ezflash for quick updating and reliable build quality, however you can only use AMD chips then, the decision is on your part there my friend.
The link will show you a usefulk chart to compare Intel vs AMD, but my Athlon 3500 suffices and is dirt cheap. http://www.hardcoreware.net/image.php?src=5551&ts=1196498237
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,030
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Specification for new PC

Assuming you are building your own, one thing to consider is the use of quiet components and good case ventilation.
TartanTerminato
Dabbler
Posts: 19
Registered: 17-04-2008

Re: Specification for new PC

yeh good point, its worth shelling out for decent quiet fans. Having basically no money my pc sounds like a 747 on takeoff
Plusnet Alumni (retired) orbrey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 10,540
Registered: 18-07-2007

Re: Specification for new PC

From what you've suggested it may be worth looking at laptops - they tend to be quieter and portable if need be, plus you can get a docking station, keyboard and monitor if you want to use it at a desk. Lenovo and Dell are both solid makes with good after sales care (I've not bought direct from either and have heard some bad things of Dell, but also a lot of good things too) - just a thought. Given what you've said you want it for I'd say onboard graphics and sound should be fine so even if you're buying new £400 should get you what you're after in a laptop (it'll be extra for the monitor and docking station if you want those, though).
waldron
Grafter
Posts: 348
Registered: 28-07-2007

Re: Specification for new PC

Many thanks for the advice guys. I am planning to go to Bowlers at Manchester on Saturday (snow permitting) and hope to get one of the traders there to make up the components for me. That’s what I did last time in 2004. I already have a Sony Vaio laptop, so I am looking for something to replace my creaking desktop. I take your point about quiet fans – my current pc is rather noisy.
Currently I have in mind something along the lines of Asus M3A, AMD Athlon X2 – not sure whether 4200, 5200 or maybe 6400 for future-proofing. Also looking at GeForce 8500GT or 8600GT rather than onboard graphics. It depends on the price I suppose. I’m hoping to spend no more than £500. My current pc has Asus, AMD and GeForce, so I know I have been happy with those.
One other point - I am currently running a dual-boot XP and Ubuntu system which I want to migrate to the new pc. I realise that it will probably have to be Vista and Ubuntu. I'm not sure whether that makes any difference to the spec?
Does that sound a reasonable choice, or do you have any suggestions for alternatives?
TartanTerminato
Dabbler
Posts: 19
Registered: 17-04-2008

Re: Specification for new PC

well i would highlym reccomend leadtek's, geforce 8600gt as a video card
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Specification for new PC

Vista shouldn't make a difference, but make sure you have plenty of memory. 512Mb is an absolute minimum. If you are building it yourself, check that each component and peripheral is Vista compatible. Newer hardware should be OK, but there is plenty that doesn't work. If you are buying it prebuilt it will almost certainly have Vista preinstalled, so you are OK.
Should be fine with Ubuntu as well. Of all the linux distributions it probably has the best reputation for hardware compatibility. Still best to check that as well <a href="https://wiki.ubuntu.com/HardwareSupport/">here</a>.
waldron
Grafter
Posts: 348
Registered: 28-07-2007

Re: Specification for new PC

@Denzil. I'm planning on 2Gb memory. Thanks for the hardware link. That should be very useful.