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Help with parameters for replacement PC.

  1. Sep 23, 2011 #1


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    Right now, my Achilles heel is a pokey DSL connection, but still, there is some software that I like to use that load quite slowly on my old PC. I have a Dell Dimension 8400 that must be 7-8 years old now, and I've been thinking about passing this one on to my neighbors' grand-daughters. They are getting a DSL connection and could probably get some use out of this old beast for years to come.

    What's in the "sweet spot" now or soon? By that I mean a well-equipped machine that is fast at handling large applications (think Photoshop CS, for instance), but not bleeding-edge $$$$. I'm not a gamer, so I don't need a graphics card that is super-fast with on-board processing, for instance. A couple of optical drives that can write to a variety of media would be nice, a fast HD, and fast RAM.

    I have poked around a bit on-line (decision is not imminent or pressing), and there are so many reviews and recommendations... At least, I have a reasonable expectation that none of you folks is biased (you don't work for Dell or HP, right?) so I can expect honest appraisals. Thanks if you can steer me the right way.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2011 #2
    Hi turbo,

    Not getting into too much details I suggest:

    CPU: Intel i5 [sandy bridge] series. [it has integrated gpu]
    Memory: If you will use Photoshop I think you need 6-8 GB.
    HD: only you know best here.

    If you plan buying complete computer in 1 piece you don't need more info, but you might need more if you buy it part by part.
  4. Sep 24, 2011 #3


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    Do you have a budget in mind?
  5. Sep 24, 2011 #4


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    My budget is quite flexible. I use computers a lot, so pro-rated, they are pretty cheap.
  6. Sep 24, 2011 #5


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    I haven't seen a computer with too much memory. Especially if you mention Photoshop.
  7. Sep 24, 2011 #6
  8. Sep 24, 2011 #7


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    I just bought a system about a month ago, Intel i7 2600K cpu, Intel DP67BG motherboard, 4GB ram (I'm still running Windows XP, 32 bit and 64 bit, but mostly 32 bit, so more than 4GB is a waste, although ram is fairly cheap). Note that Intel states that i7 cpus should only ram with max voltage of 1.5 volts (+/- 5%), so that meant 1333 mhz standard ddr3 cl 9-9-9-24 ram for my system. I went with a better video card for gaming, ATI HD6970, but you wouldn't need to do this.

    I bought by part from this shop:


    If there's a buy by part shop within driving distance of you, you can save on shipping costs by picking up the system yourself. A bundled system may be cheaper, but it's sometimes difficult to find out what specific components these have, although in your case the key component is the cpu, which is usually specified.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  9. Sep 24, 2011 #8


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    Thanks all. A new wrinkle has appeared, too. Dell has some desktops on their website that don't appear in their latest flyers. Too many choices!!
  10. Oct 4, 2011 #9
    I've attached a PDF file for a system i put together for you at newegg.com
    You are buying parts and will have to put it together yourself but its actually very straight forward and simple. The instructions included with the parts are easy to follow.

    The system will work out to be $329.92 after all the mail in rebates and stuff. Good system that will be able to do most everything. If you drop another 100 bucks for a good video card, it will be a really good budget gaming system.

    You will still need to purchase an operating system, i would recommend Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit. Make sure you DO NOT get the retail copy, get an OEM copy and you can save yourself a hundred bucks.

    Attached Files:

  11. Oct 15, 2011 #10


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    Thanks, all. I ordered a Dell XPS 9100. i7 processor with 8M cache, 12G RAM, 2Tb HD, etc. That ought to serve for a few years.
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