Please help long time Qt3er select computer model

Thanks to work, I get a deal at Dell, so I’m definitely going to take advantage of it. As it is the Holidays and all, I really need to make my dollars go as far as possible. I would like to spend around 1000 to 1100. My needs are 90% game driven. Ok, having said that, this looks like a good selection to my technology challenged brain:

REFURBISHED:

Dimension® 4550 Series: Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.53GHz w/ 533MHz system & 512K L2 Cache, Premium Sound, Int. NIC

Memory: 512 MB DDR SDRAM at 333 MHz
Video: 64MB DDR nVIDIA GEFORCE4 TI 4200 with TV Out
Hard Disk Drive: 60 GB EIDE Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
Sound Card: Sound Blaster Live! Digital Sound Card
CD ROM Drive: 48X Max Variable CD-ROM Drive
CD Read-Write Drive: 40X/10X/40X CDRW Drive
Windows XP

PRICE: $1,070.00
Shipping: free

Is this the direction I want to go? Should I dig deeper for the Radeon 9700? Is there some component I really should search harder for (different ram, etc.)?

I plan to keep my current monitor, keyboard, etc., so its really just the tower I’m after.

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys can give me.

Sounds similar to the refurbished one we just ordered from Dell.

Make sure all the screws are on in the back. Ours weren’t.

Troy

Certainly not a bad system at all.

Personally I’d stick with Nvidia for the graphics card. Unless you want to turn on 4x antialiasing and run at the highest resolutions, there’s not a game out there yet that won’t run fine on a GF4 Ti. Given the ATI driver discussions here, I don’t think I’d go for a 9700… Extra money for performance you don’t yet need and driver problems you won’t have with the GF4 Ti.

If you could find one with a GF4 Ti4600 or a 128MB Ti4200, that would be a bit better, but overall, that’s a killer system for the price.

Yeah, you can always upgrade the video card later. I wouldn’t worry about that. The 4200 is a great baseline card.

You might also enquire about dropping faster P4 chips in there. I have no idea how compatible existing P4 mobos will be with P4 chips > 3ghz, and the whole hyperthreading “gee, is hard-wired in the chip, or is it merely switched on in the bios?” gimmick.

That’s a pretty good system and not a horrible price considering it’s a Dell. It will work fine for this generation of games.

If you aren’t afraid to build your own you can probably do better than that ordering the parts from newegg. I built pretty much that same system with a 128 mb GF4 4200 and a WD 80GB hard drive for around the same price 3 months ago. I bet you could get a gf4 4600 and a bigger hard drive for under 1100 shipped if you build it yourself now.

However if you don’t want to deal with building it yourself then that is a good system for the price considering it is a Dell.

– Xaroc

I have found that building it yourself is not really a great way to save money. It allows you to pick exactly the parts you want (always a good thing), but it seems very difficult to beat the price of pre-built systems.

My current upgrade plans inlcude beefing up my current 1.2 Anthlon with a faster CPU and DDR RAM. My next machine, however, I am going to look carefully at the pre-built boxes to see if I can’t just spend an extra $100 and save myself the effort of putting all the parts together.

I have found that building it yourself is not really a great way to save money. It allows you to pick exactly the parts you want (always a good thing), but it seems very difficult to beat the price of pre-built systems.

My current upgrade plans inlcude beefing up my current 1.2 Anthlon with a faster CPU and DDR RAM. My next machine, however, I am going to look carefully at the pre-built boxes to see if I can’t just spend an extra $100 and save myself the effort of putting all the parts together.[/quote]

I can always build a machine cheaper and better than a pre-built. Especially, a brand name pre-built. Then again I managed a computer store for a few years and have my certification.

I have found that building it yourself is not really a great way to save money. It allows you to pick exactly the parts you want (always a good thing), but it seems very difficult to beat the price of pre-built systems.

My current upgrade plans inlcude beefing up my current 1.2 Anthlon with a faster CPU and DDR RAM. My next machine, however, I am going to look carefully at the pre-built boxes to see if I can’t just spend an extra $100 and save myself the effort of putting all the parts together.[/quote]

Along with picking your own parts, I derive great satisfaction from saying, “I built it.” Even if I run into problems with equipment/drivers/OS install/etc., I can usually fix them pretty fast as I did the installation myself. But if you want a box to can game with right away, that Dell system looks good.

I bought a brand new Gateway in Fall 1999. The only things left from that PC after several upgrades are the monitor, DVD, floppy and hard drive. Everything else has been replaced. I am looking to upgrade my 1.4 Athlon to the XP2100 as my wife is getting a DVD burner for Christmas and if she gets into making DVDs, the extra processing power may come in handy.

-DavidCPA

I know I’ve over-pimped the site already, but do check out http://www.techbargains.com if you get a chance. The inevitably have great coupons for Dell and other sites, as well as tips of getting decent machines for approx. 1/2 of your price range. I haven’t bought a performance machine through them, but you should be able to get something pretty nice!

That said, the specs for your machine look great!

Aleck

Also, be aware that lately Dell’s been using custom power supplies, so upgrading the system later (if you can’t just drop in a new CPU) may involve not just a new motherboard, but also a new power supply and possibly a case.

To me, the advantages of building a system myself are (1) I have only quality components, instead of an almost-what-I-want video card and the CD-RW from Dell’s “supplier of the month,” and (2) I know I can easily upgrade individual components when the time comes.

I spent under $1100 on a new CPU, motherboard, and RAM to bring my system up to a P4 3.06GHz. Had I tried to purchase a comparably equipped complete system (sans monitor) from Dell, it would have cost $2997. That’s why the ability to upgrade components individually appeals to me.

I think this is the best deal I can get right now (my ealier choice is gone). I think this is about as good as the first choice, a little slower, but it has rdram rather than sdram. Any glaring weakness?

REFURBISHED price: $1,060

Dimension® 8200 Series, Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.4GHz w/ 533MHz system bus & 512K L2 Cache, Premium Sound

Memory: 512MB PC800 RDRAM (2 RIMMs)
Floppy Drive: 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive
Hard Disk Drive: 80 GB EIDE Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
Video: 64MB DDR nVIDIA GEFORCE4 TI 4200 with TV Out
Modem: 56K Telephony Modem for Windows-Sound Option
Sound Card: SB LIVE! Value Digital Sound Card
Network Interface Card: PCI Ethernet Card
CD Read-Write Drive: 40X/10X/40X CDRW Drive
DVD Drive: 16X DVD-ROM
Software: Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Rob,

I just checked Dell’s Small Business site. Definitely check that out before you order; I configured a machine similar to yours for about $100 less than you’re being quoted. Not a big deal, but DDR memory and brand new rather than refurb’d…

Aleck

Thanks Aleck!

The small business site seems to offer more in the way of customization. I got everything I wanted except the nvidia card. But, I’m going to call them and see if I can have them include that with the other things I picked. I am very glad I held off from ordering. Depending on how things go I may still buy refurbed, close to the specs I’ve already mentioned, but I don’t mind exploring my options. After house, car, engagement ring, the new computer falls into the nervewracking decision category.

Pricewatch:

$220, Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.4GHz/533MHz
$165, Memory: 512MB PC800 RDRAM (2 RIMMs)
$10, Floppy Drive: 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive
$90, Hard Disk Drive: 80 GB EIDE Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
$115, Video: 64MB DDR nVIDIA GEFORCE4 TI 4200 with TV Out
$10, Modem: 56K Telephony Modem for Windows-Sound Option
$25, Sound Card: SB LIVE! Value Digital Sound Card
$5, Network Interface Card: PCI Ethernet Card
$45, CD Read-Write Drive: 40X/10X/40X CDRW Drive
$35, DVD Drive: 16X DVD-ROM
$15, Software: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Total: $735

Extra stuff
$20, crappy case from some local store
$50, random crappy motherboard equivalent to what you’ll get from Dell
$50, shipping

I rounded to the nearest $5 for prices. You’re paying $200 for tech support and not having to assemble it yourself.

um, no. The license cost like around $100. If you want the CD, you have to spend even more. For Pro I bet it’s like $150 retail, even on pricewatch. I am too lazy to look.

It is very difficult to get half way decent parts and a better price than a vendor.

You see, that’s the trick: Dell doesn’t use decent parts. Oh, sure, there might be a 3com NIC in there, but the motherboard is always junk.

And you’re right about XP, that was some kooky thing. It’s really $85, which brings it up to a $130 price difference.

For everything he’s putting in there, I’d get at least a 400 watt power supply, and that’s going to add ~ $45 to the mix.

Plus a case is probably going to cost a bit more then $20.

Most mobos these days come with integrated NICs, so you can probably knock off $5 if you wanted to ;)

Is it worth the $50 extra to get tech support and a warranty? I dunno, that’s up to you. I like building my own machines, but it’s not a bad price overall.

edit:

Woah, hey, forgot about a mouse and keyboard. Plus speakers. You’ve probably got that $50 right there.

I got a nice case with a 400W power supply via Pricewatch just a month or so ago, and it cost me $29 before shipping. I’m very happy with it, too.

I guess I should mention here that my Dell discount is 50%. I really want to use it.