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Windows 7: Noobish Question about Hardware Parts


19 Jul 2009   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 
Noobish Question about Hardware Parts

Hi guys,

I'm looking to get a new desktop PC relatively soon. I'm just wondering about these Intel Core i7 processors and the Intel Core 2 Quad processors. What exactly is the difference between these? Which do you think Windows 7 will work more efficiently with? In terms of RAM, how significant is the difference between DDR2 and DDR3? For example, am I better off with say 8GB of DDR2 or 4gb of DDR3? And will a NVIDIA or ATI graphics card with 1gb of memory be sufficient for maxing out the graphics on most modern games? I really want a top of the line computer, but I don't want to spend extra money on better hardware if it will only give me marginal benefits compared to the next best thing. Feedback appreciated!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Jul 2009   #2

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by yaco78 View Post
I don't want to spend extra money on better hardware if it will only give me marginal benefits compared to the next best thing.
How long do you plan to own this system? You see, you are really asking if you should buy a current generation motherboard (I7, DDR3) or a previous generation board. The i7 @ 266 with 4GB of DDR3 will make you happy with plenty of room for RAM expansion. On a board with 6 RAM slots, I would get 3 2GB sticks of RAM.

Your 1GB video card will require the system to allocate 1GB of system RAM for the video - this is not the same as shared memory.

The system that I have barely outlined will not cost very much, as long as you do the build yourself. Building a pC is a relatively simple process, providing that you do your homework and purchase compatible components.

Don't skimp on the power supply.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2009   #3

W7 Pro 64
 
 

i7 is the fastest CPU available and migth be over-board unless money is not an issue. 775 socket is old and won't get newer CPUs anymore. Bad for upgrades. AMD AM3 platform is relatively inexpensive and will be around for a while. Not as powerful as i7, but definitely enough and likely will get more powerful CPUs for later upgrades.
So i7 if you really need the power and have the $, AM3 if not.

RAM: go with DDR3. Barely any price difference to DDR2. 8 GB definitely, especially since you sound like playing newer games.

I don't know much about games, but besides memory the GPU itself is important for graphic cards.

hope this helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Jul 2009   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

I would probably plan on using the computer for 4-5 years, or until I deem it obsolete compared to the latest technology to the point where it would be financially reasonable to replace. Although I wouldn't mind upgrading it by adding more RAM or getting a new graphics card or hard drive down the line in order to keep it more current, which is why I'm thinking the i7 would be more suitable for long-run sustainability. Anyways, here was a computer I put together pretty quickly at HP's website, and I thought it seemed like a fair price (opinions?)

HP Pavilion Elite e9150t customizable Desktop PC
NY810AV#ABA
  • Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-920 processor (2.66GHz, 1MB L2 + 8MB shared L3 cache with QPI Technology)
  • 8GB DDR3-1066MHz SDRAM [4 DIMMs]
  • 640GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
  • 1GB ATI Radeon HD 4650 [DVI, HDMI, VGA]
  • LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) Ethernet, No wireless LAN
  • 15-in-1 memory card reader, 1 USB, 1394, audio
  • No TV Tuner w/remote control
  • Integrated 7.1 channel sound with front audio ports
  • No speakers
  • HP multimedia keyboard and HP optical mouse
  • Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
  • Norton Internet Security(TM) 2009 - 15 month
  • HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope
Total: $979.99

I'm not saying I'm going to get it, but that looks like one option as of right now. Can anyone verify if this is a good buy? I'd be very interested in constructing a machine from the ground up, as you mentioned, but I really don't know too much about hardware as you can probably already tell. Do you have any websites that you recommend I look at for making my own PC with good prices?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2009   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

As far as upgrades go...I usually don't factor this into my decision too much. The reason is that the technology changes so fast and so do all the other parts that go into an upgrade.

For example, about 2 years ago friends bought Core 2 Duo's with the possibility of upgrading to Core 2 Quads down the road. However, now that they are thinking about upgrading, the Core 2 Quad isn't the best out there..it's the Core i7. And this requires a new motherboard with a new socket and new RAM (DDR3).

Personally, I feel that if you buy a Core i7 now hoping to potentially upgrade down the road, you might just find that the socket again for the CPU has changed and possibly the video card standard or the RAM standard...which means you are upgrading more computer parts.

In my experience, the difference between DDR3 and DDR2 isn't much. With DDR2 you can get lower latencies, which can offset the performance difference of the DDR3 RAM.

I just built a machine a few weeks ago, and went with an Intel Core 2 Quad...as I planned for the machine to be a "hackintosh" and the EFI-x module that I need wasn't compatible with the Core i7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2009   #6

 

I shy away from labeled PCs. Too often, the mobo has been "de-engineered" or reduced in functionality in some manner. HP and the like sell whole systems, not upgrades. This is not universally true, but you do pay a premium for the name tag. The biggest "plus" in the HP offer is the bundled OS. Verify that you qualify for a free or reduced cost upgrade to Windows 7

Take the specs to a local computer shop and see what the total cost for the components would be. Often, a small shop will do the build for a nominal fee, maybe $75.

At HP, you get the HP warranty. At the shop, you will likely get 30-90 days plus the manufacturer's warranty on the components. An adage is - if it is going to fail, it will fail out of the box.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2009   #7

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
As far as upgrades go...I usually don't factor this into my decision too much. The reason is that the technology changes so fast and so do all the other parts that go into an upgrade.

For example, about 2 years ago friends bought Core 2 Duo's with the possibility of upgrading to Core 2 Quads down the road. However, now that they are thinking about upgrading, the Core 2 Quad isn't the best out there..it's the Core i7. And this requires a new motherboard with a new socket and new RAM (DDR3)...
So VERY true. My question re: how long do you plan to own it, is based on its potential resale value, not on its worthiness for an upgrade
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2009   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Gotcha. I don't ever resell my computers. I just take the newest one and make it mine and then upgrade everything else down the line. Usually, the computer that pops out the end becomes scrap or if it's got useful life left, it's donated to a good cause.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2009   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Yeah I never resell computers either. I usually keep them around to serve as backups or just for the added convenience of being able to have extra computers around for friends or family to use if I'm on the main one. Anyways, does anyone have any recommendations for a good place to custom build a PC online? Or any specific stores?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2009   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I get my stuff usually from Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!. I've been very happy with their selection, prices and customer service. Let me know if you have any specific questions...I'd be more than happy to help you out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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