All rounder for £500 ish

  pcfool 09:03 15 Apr 2009

Hi all out there - you all seem to know what you are talking about so I thought I would put you through your paces.
I've got around £500 to buy a PC (no need for monitor, keyboard and mouse) for all round use - some photo-editing, games (I know this will not be at high resolution for £500), and general work stuff ie MS office activity, plus the internet.
Whilst I am happy using PCs if anything goes wrong all I can do is press off and on (which seems to work for some reason) so tech support is quite important.
I've been tempted by MESH because they do seem to offer great value for money eg MESH Nero Premier or Matrix ii920 Nero but looking at comments here and visit their shambolic sales room has not filled me with confidence. At the other extreme is Dell who have generally positive reviews for product and service but I cant see to get the spec I want for at least £700.
Any suggestions for a machine and manufacturer to provide some comfort to a novice.

  gardener 14:18 15 Apr 2009

Cougar do some excellent base units, many people on this forum, myself included, recommend them for their build quality and after-sales support.

click here

  pcfool 14:36 15 Apr 2009

Thanks - thats a start! What are they like with IT idiots?

Any specific suggestions?

  gardener 15:51 15 Apr 2009

In my experience they are very helpful and they respond to email inquiries very promptly, unlike a lot of companies.

  gardener 15:55 15 Apr 2009

Here's some comments from the forum:

click here

  pcfool 17:14 15 Apr 2009

My local Computer store has offered to build me this for £529 inc VAT:
Real Comp Zoo Storm Base Unit
Enlight Case + 5000Wt Power Supply
Intel Quad Core Q8200
4Gb DDR2 Ram
640Gb 7200RPM Drive
Nvidia 9800GT 512Mb Pci X Graphics
Internal Card Reader
On Board Sound
Vista Home Premium
3 Year Return to Store Warranty

Do you guys think this represents good value for money. A couple of people of work have said they are good guys and its 5 minutes in the car with a poorly PC id it goes pear shaped.

  MAJ 18:50 15 Apr 2009

I'm guessing it's a 500Watt PSU (rather than 5000Watt). Personally I wouldn't go for such a large main hard drive, maybe half that size and use the money saved to help buy a large external drive for backup purposes, essential if you're going to be working on a lot of important photos and Word documents, think of the mayhem if the 640GB drive failed with all your work on it. You could also invest in a copy of "Acronis True Image" click here to image your main drive for easier reinstall in case of failure. Sorry, I can't advise on the graphics card, it's not my area, but it should be okay. Make sure you get the Vista DVD from the supplier, or at least, some way of reinstalling the operating system.

  gardener 21:29 15 Apr 2009

I agree with MAJ, Acronis is essential.

  pcfool 08:53 16 Apr 2009

I had always been led to believe that you should go for the largest of everything you can afford. Are you suggesting that a 300isg GB Hard Drive and an external hard drive is an better option?
I had a look at the Acronis thing - could you explain (very simply please!) what it actually does, and is it idiot proof!

  MAJ 09:30 16 Apr 2009

Yes it's usually good to go for as much as you can afford, but (and it's only my opinion) not when it's such a huge main hard drive. Personally I wouldn't have a main drive any larger than 160GB, used for the OS and programs installation only, some like a 320GB depending on which programs they install. Then a larger second internal drive for my data files (pictures, videos, etc.) and for the belt and braces approach, a large external drive for backups of the data drive and images of the main drive (C:) for easy reinstallation if the OS gets corrupted and wont boot.

Acronis, lets you (among other things)take an "image" (an exact copy) of a drive, the C: drive in my example above and save that image to another drive (usually an external drive) so that, in the case of a failure of your drive to boot, you can quickly and easily install that image back to your C: drive.

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