Buying new computer, want HD playback, confused!

  ady888s 21:45 13 Jul 2010
Locked

Hi there,

I’m in the market for a new computer. I’m pretty much decided on a monitor (PACKARD BELL Viseo 200 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor) at £110. (Before I continue, I’m not a gamer, I use it for work, general stuff and I like watching movies and would be interested in getting a system which can provide HDef playback.)

That leaves me about £400 for the base unit.
To be honest, I’m shopping at PC World. I’ve had 2 computers from them before: an emachine (Windows ME) which was clearly my own mistake (!) and a Packard Bell Imedia (Win XP) which has been fine and should continue to be for my dad when I hand it over.

Now that I’ve made my excuses, here are what I consider to be my options (unless I can be convinced otherwise and I am open to suggestion in the non euphemistic sense.)

The two options are Packard Bell iXtreme I5622UK and an Acer Aspire X3900.

Both are £400 (w/mouse and Kboard), both have the same CPU (Intel core i3-530, 2.93Ghz), HD audio sound and Win7H.Premium Edition.

Other differences are marginal but which the Packard shades (more HD space (140 GB more), faster RAM (3072 of 1066Mhz, not 800mhz), a lovely docking space for USB related gadgets on top of the machine and the PB also has built in Bluetooth which I’ll probably turn off within a week through inuse.

The Acer (a generally better make as I’m aware) has Firewire connectivity (I’m not sure how valuable this will be in years to come but could be swayed by it, though I don't need it now), HDMI connectivity (though the monitor is VGA only anyway – again, how valuable will this connectivity be in years to come?)

On the downside, the Acer has a vertical DVD drive which is how the unit is so small. I’m not keen on this but could live with it. Even more on the downside, the Packard Bell has a series of USB & memory card ports at the top-front of the machine which are angled upwards. These are already collecting dust in the store and are clearly a hideous design fault.

The big question for me however is this: On the PC World website, it says the Acer has Intel graphics Media Accelerator HD. I can’t work out if this is a separate graphics card or if it’s part of the CPU inbuilt capability which is suggested elsewhere. The PC World spec for the Packard Bell specifies integrated graphics. Again, is this integrated in the CPU (the same Intel core i3-530, 2.93Ghz) or in the motherboard?

As such, do they have the same or different graphics packages and would the Acer enable me to watch movies in HD?

Thanks in advance for any replies,

Ad

  qbie 22:04 13 Jul 2010

Both would be fine for watching HD movies - the Intel cards, either on the CPU or the Motherboard, will accelerate the video, and the CPUs are more than capable. From what I can tell, both are using the Core i3 graphics - if it just says "Intel HD" thats usually the case, the ones on the motherboard are usually called "GMA 4500" or "X3100". But for your use, I'm not really sure it'll make much difference either way. They're designed for general use - they wouldn't really cope with any modern games but that doesn't seem to be an issue!

Also, Packard Bell are now owned by Acer, so I wouldn't worry too much about the brand difference of the two machines.

Most manufacturers are phasing out Firewire support - these days its only useful for some types of External HDD and older DV Camcorders. Most new HD camcorders which record to a HDD or Memory Card use USB 2.0. HDMI may come in useful if you will ever want to connect to a HD TV.

  Woolwell 22:12 13 Jul 2010

The monitor isn't full HD spec see click here.
You may want to consider a system with a blu-ray player.
Both have integrated graphics.

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