Help With a Base Unit

  heron1969 13:02 05 Jul 2009

Hi Guys

I hope you can be of some assistance . My current PC is about 7 years old and it is time for me to replace the Base unit . I will be using it for gaming and figure if it can run current games it will be suitable for my other needs i.e. watching movies , playing music and basic office apps. I do not need a monitor , speakers etc. And I also wish to purchase a pre built machine and have no intention of building my own. I have looked at a few machines online but I am starting to get confused over all the options duel core /quad core , crossfire / single graphics etc .
My budget is approx £500 what do you suggest

Thanks in advance


  jack 13:30 05 Jul 2009

by much Googling and reading.
Essentially you could be bamboozled into getting highspec latest multi core machines that will only empty your walled quicker with out much perceptible benefit.
Take a look at click here
a goodly selection there to ponder over.

  OTT_Buzzard 15:46 05 Jul 2009

To save you a little googling;

Intel processors in your price range fall in to 2 categories; core 2 duo and core 2 quad.

The Core 2 Duo is a two processor cores in a single package. Core 2 quad, not suprisingly is 4 processor cores in a single package.

Note: intel also do a Dual Core processor - this is not the same as Core 2 Duo and is old hat technology now. You shouldn't be looking at it for a gaming PC.

AMD have a range of Phenom processor, including dual core, tri(ple) core and quad core. IMO although the AMD processors are cheaper than their Intel counterparts they lack in overall performance.

To chose a processor, first think about how many applications are working at any one time. if you encode DVD's while writing a letter, researching on the internet and have a movie playing in the background then a quad core processor would be you weapon of choice.

If you only really do one or two things at a time then a Core 2 Duo may give better performance. For the same money as a quad core, the core 2 duo gives you higher running frequencies.

Other things to look at in a processor;

FSB (Front Side Bus) frequency - this is the frequency (and implying databandwidth) that information can be passed through the system from RAM to processor. You can have the fasetst processor in the world but if it can't get info in to it quickly it won't do you any good.

Cache: This is very very high speed access memory based in the processor package. It is used for storing regularly used instructions by the processor. More cache = faster, especially in repetitive processing tasks.

Over the course of the next few years more and more software will be released to properly utilise multi core technology. My feeling at the moment is that Core 2 Quads will give the better performance in the long term.

SLi / Crossfire

SLi = Scalable Link Interface. It is an Nvidia proprietory system for being able to run two or more graphics cards together to improve graphics processing power. It is almost exclusively only used by gamers. Crossfire is the ATI equivalent of it.
For the PC's you will be looking at there will be motherboard restrictions if you go for SLi or Crossfire. The company you buy it from will know about this.
You cannot mix SLi cards and Crossfire cards. SLi requires two or more identical cards to be used. Crossfire is a little more flexible, but in either case the graphics cards in question need to be Crossfire or SLi compatible.

Running SLi / crossfire requires a great deal more power from your PSU so ensure that whatever comapny supplies your new base unit supplies a branded, high power, 80+ certified PSU.

Hope this helps. Post back if you want more info.

  Stuartli 19:49 05 Jul 2009

BigPockets always offer a reasonable number of base models in various price ranges:

click here

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