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Author Topic: Buying a new computer. need advice  (Read 9416 times)
K1PJR
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Posts: 123




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« on: May 24, 2013, 04:57:15 AM »

I need a computer for the shack.  I was thinking of the Dell Inspiron.  Here are the specs:

PROCESSORS   Intel® Pentium® processor G2020 (3M Cache, 2.9 GHz)   
OPERATING SYSTEM   Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English   
MEMORY   4GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 1 DIMMs   
OPTICAL DRIVE   DVD+/-RW Tray Load Drive, 16X, SATA   
HARD DRIVE   1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive   
VIDEO CARD   Intel® HD Integrated Graphics   
SPEAKERS   No Speaker Requested   
WIRELESS   Dell DW1506 (802.11 b/g/n) WLAN half mini-Card   
SOUND CARD   Integrated 5.1 audio   
USB 3.0   Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet   

I'm only using this for ham radio functions only e.g. logging, internet access, LOTW etc.  No gaming.  Are these specs sufficient?
The total cost is about $480.

Thanks,

Phil
K1PJR
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12769




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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 07:20:30 AM »

That should be plenty for what you want to do. Assuming a desktop, you might want to consider adding a second hard drive so you can use back up software to keep an image of the main drive on the second drive. That way if the main drive every fails you can just replace it and re-install the image from the backup drive and your back in business without loosing any of your log data or anything else. Backups run a lot faster to an internal drive than they do to an external USB or network drive.

My Dell Inspiron came will Dell backup software.
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W8JX
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2013, 08:06:38 AM »

I would stay far away from Dell. The founder is in the process of going private and dropping desktop and laptop computers so support will be going from questionable to even worse soon. Simple get 64bit Win7 or 8 (which will soon be upgraded to 8.1 for free) and at least 6 gig or ram not 4. A AMD processor with quad core or Intel I-3 core third generation. The I-3 is entry level for the I core series but is twice as fast as dual core G series Pentiums. They are both dual core but "I" series also supports hyper threading which gives you 4 virtual cores in task manager. It also has better built in Video as the G series is a cheap entry level CPU. AMD does not support Hyper threading and why you want four core model and AMD owns ATI and has good built in video options. While a bit slower than Intel you will not miss it with quad core one. As far as off the shelve brands check out HP as they build a quality and excellent tech support.
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K1PJR
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2013, 09:32:10 AM »

Thanks for the advice.  I'm not worried about support.  Our office has 25 Dell desktops and I can get support from our IT guy. 

Thanks
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W8JX
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2013, 05:56:33 PM »

Thanks for the advice.  I'm not worried about support.  Our office has 25 Dell desktops and I can get support from our IT guy. 

Thanks

Well still would advise against a soon to be orphaned PC brand. Dell was never on the cutting edge of technology and the pentium G is a new CPU it is inferior to I-3 in CPU and built in GPU. 4 gig is marginal too for 64 bit as it really start to sing with 6 gig and more and believe it or not win8 uses less memory the 7 too. As far as IT support that was not my concern, warranty and driver/software updates are a far bigger concern
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KB1NXE
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2013, 08:28:01 PM »

Phil,

   Your selections I am sure meet your current criteria.  You can check my qualifications on QRZ at my bio page to see if I am offering good advice.

   Future proofing your system so that it lasts a minimum of 3 years is important.  I personally do not know your needs and specifications.  So, I would ask you to ask yourself, what you intend to do with this new PC.  If rig control and logging is important, consider your rig control interface.  Will it be USB or RS-232?  Select hardware accessories accordingly.  Will you want to include the use of digi modes?  Again, choose well.   

   To be honest, your office IT guy would rather have a vasectomy performed orally than help you with your personal PC.  Take that from and IT guy!

   Some of the advise here is valid.  I can recommend Newegg.com for parts and pre-configured systems that will blow the doors off a Dell!  And just think, putting your own system together to be a killer system, while not necessarily cheaper, will look cooler that a Dell.

   Just my $.25 worth.  But then, I've been doing this since 1987!  That's why it cost more....

   
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W9GB
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2013, 07:29:56 AM »

Intel® Pentium® Processor G2020 (3M Cache, 2.90 GHz), 55 W TDP
It is Dual Core, and supports 2 threads.
This is not Intel's fastest or feature rich processor available: i3, i5, or i7

Intel product page for your selected Intel Ivy Bridge (22 nm) LGA1155 processor.
http://ark.intel.com/products/71070

Your specifications do not list the Intel Express (or other) chipset (Platform Controller Hub, on motherboard).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform_Controller_Hub

I assume that Dell is using a Panther Point, series 7 PCH or equivalent in this computer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_chipsets#5.2F6.2F7_Series_chipsets

You do realize that Intel's Haswell CPU (LGA1150) and Lynx Point series 8 PCH will be released by end of June?

Prices have DROPPED below $400, and will continue as launch date approaches
of next CPU and chipset generation (and 2H 2012/1H 2013 desktop inventory has not moved quickly).

Dell Inspiron 660 series, current pricing from Dell Internet store.
http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-660s/fs

Dell Inspiron 660S Desktop Computer - Intel Pentium processor G2020 (3M Cache, 2.9 GHz) $429
http://computerstore8.blogspot.com/2012/11/dell-inspiron-660s-desktop-computer_8086.html

SHOP AROUND, for best pricing and bargains.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 08:27:37 AM by W9GB » Logged
K5TED
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Posts: 702




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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2013, 09:22:37 PM »

Asus F2A85-V Pro Socket FM2 Motherboard - ATX, Socket FM2, AMD A85X FCH, DDR3 1866 MHz, SATA III (6Gb/s), RAID, 8-CH Audio, Gigabit LAN, USB 3.0, PCIe 2.0, CrossFireX Ready

AMD A8-Series AD560KWOHJBOX Quad-Core A8-5600K Black Edition APU - 4MB L2 Cache, 3.6GHz, Socket FM2, Radeon HD 7560D (256 Cores), Dual Graphics Ready, DirectX 11, Fan

Centon BB1333PC4096.01 4GB Desktop Memory Module - DDR3, 1333MHz, 240 Pin, DIMM, 1.5V, CL9

Seagate ST500DM002 Barracuda 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - 500GB, SATA-6G, 7200, 16MB

LG 24X DVD Burner - M-Disc Support, Silent, Jamless Play, SATA Interface, 24x DVD-ROM Transfer Rate, 48x CD-ROM Transfer Rate (GH24NS95B)

Thermaltake TR-500 TR2 ATX Power Supply - 500W, 120mm Fan, Active PFC

Thermaltake Versa II VO700A1N3N Mid Tower Case - ATX, 7 Expansion Slots, 3x5.25" Drive Bays, 1xUSB 2.0 Ports, 1xUSB 3.0 Ports, 2xAudio Ports, 120mm Fan

Kingwin CFBL-012LB LED Case Fan - 120mm, Blue


420 bucks. Add $90 for Win7 Home and you have a system that will smoke that Dell all day long.
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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 12:41:04 AM »

Also HP makes a laptop line called the ProBook 4540 that come with a I3, I5 or I7 core CPU and both WIN7 and WIN8 software. Even the I3 version which can be had for a little over 500 bucks would smoke that Dell too.
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K9PLG
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2013, 07:15:46 AM »

I work in IT (as a Unix Admin) and do not recommend Dell or HP or any other major name brand of desktop to anyone who asks... Most of them are mass produced for the consumer market and do not use industry standard components such as power-supplies, cases, mother boards, etc. which makes them hard to find and get parts for (Sony is the absolute worst, I avoid them at all costs). We're lucky to have a MicroCenter store here and I strongly like their PowerSpec store brand, usually same specs as a Dell for about $100 less.  Have bought a few in the past and have had my current one for over 3 years and love it, never a problem...(Core-4, 4GBmem, Win7 Pro 64bit). And MicroCenter will repair one in 24 hrs, try getting a Dell or HP or Acer fixed that fast !!
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AE4RV
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 07:10:15 AM »

All I'd say is you might want a decent dedicated sound card for your digital work, unless your rig already has a USB port (or you have a Signalink USB). The integrated sound might be good enough for digital work but it is nice having one just for digital modes and one for everything else.

As for the people arguing for getting a more powerful machine (for more $$$) I'd ask, why? He just wants to do radio logging and the like. I'm in to powerful latest gen CPUs and video cards but not everyone needs them. My wife loves her $500 laptop.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 07:18:36 AM by AE4RV » Logged
W8JX
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 11:17:27 AM »

As for the people arguing for getting a more powerful machine (for more $$$) I'd ask, why? He just wants to do radio logging and the like. I'm in to powerful latest gen CPUs and video cards but not everyone needs them. My wife loves her $500 laptop.

You need reasonable power to exploit new OSes. New DDR3 Ram is like 10 bucks or less a giga byte. No excuse to scrimp on RAM. A entry level  CPU today has power not even dreamed of in XP days but still need lots of ram to fully exploit it.
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KE4DRN
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2013, 04:09:11 PM »

IBM has off lease laptops great for the shack with Win 7, 4Gb ram, etc etc.
starting at $255 free UPS shipping, 7 day money back and they pay return shipping.

http://www-304.ibm.com/shop/americas/content/home/store_IBMPublicUSA/en_US/icpepcs.html

Sure you can spend more money on a new model but use that money for gear for the shack
and the antenna farm!

73 james
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W8JX
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Posts: 5591




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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2013, 08:14:25 PM »

IBM has off lease laptops great for the shack with Win 7, 4Gb ram, etc etc.
starting at $255 free UPS shipping, 7 day money back and they pay return shipping.

http://www-304.ibm.com/shop/americas/content/home/store_IBMPublicUSA/en_US/icpepcs.html

Sure you can spend more money on a new model but use that money for gear for the shack
and the antenna farm!
p


73 james

Very dated hardware. CPU was in its prime 6 years ago. Intel has not used warm running .065 dies in mobile CPU's since 2008 (current is cool running .022) and not used that CPU socket since 2008 either. Point was why spent good money for old hardware when a new 400 dollar laptop will blow it away in power and upgradeable and usable life span too.
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W9GB
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2013, 10:55:35 AM »

Intel is taking the wraps off Haswell-based chips,
five Core i7 laptop processors today and 12 quad-core Core i7 and Core i5 desktop chips today, June 1st.
These are LGA 1150 socket processors, will not fit into earlier LGA 1155 socket motherboards!

Graphics for the Haswell-based chips will be twice as good as the graphics for last year’s Ivy Bridge chips.

More information will be released by Intel on Tuesday, June 4th at the Computex trade show in Taiwan.
http://t.co/9RjSkNNM5n

These new quad-core desktop chips will have MSRP from $192 to $339.
They run from 3 gigahertz to 3.9 gigahertz, and consume between 35 to 84 watts of power.
The fastest chip is a $339 Core i7-4770K chip, which consumes 84 watts of power and runs at 3.6 gigahertz, and you can overclock that to 3.9 gigahertz.

Preliminary pricing for the Intel Lynx Point (series 8 PCH) motherboards will be virtually same as current Panther Point (series 7 PCH) motherboards.  STEP C2 of the Lynx Point PCH, that resolves a USB 3.0 issue, are expected to be seen in motherboards near end of summer/Labor Day.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 11:09:31 AM by W9GB » Logged
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