Please help me choose a new PC

  ross_mcculloch 18:47 15 Oct 2007

Hi all, hoping these forums will be handy in helping me make a few purchasing decisions and also in the future for all my PC needs.

I'm going to finally ditch my old 1.7Ghz PC and get something a bit faster.

I'm not going to be playing any games on it, it will really only be for working from home (so Word and Outlook), listening to MP3 files through my home separates hi-fi system, viewing DVDs on my monitor and watching downloaded and streaming video. Here's a few questions:

What processor should I go for? (I've been told to go Dual Core but not sure which make, don't need anything overly fast).

Do I need a good graphics card if I'm watching downloaded/streaming videos or DVDs? (I want to know what will really affect video playback as I don't have a TV through choice now!)

Will a good soundcard make much difference when listening to MP3s?

  Totally-braindead 19:06 15 Oct 2007

What dual core processor? Take your choice I've always been an AMD fan but Intel seem to be better value for money.
Do you need a good graphics card for playing DVDs and streaming videos? No, even onboard would do but I personally would go for one with a seperate graphics card even if its something like a lowely £40 GeForce 6200 as it stops you using the system memory for your display.
Regarding the soundcard, personally I would say no but decent speakers would. But a friend of mine is a musician and what I consider quite good he considers dreadful. Maybe I'm going a bit deaf but I can't hear the difference.
Assumming you get a Vista PC get dual core, preferably a seperate graphics card and 2 gig of memory. I personally think onboard sound is quite acceptable nowadays but perhaps you would disagree it depends how fussy you are.
And don't forget your monitor. If your monitor is poor and blurs the picture it makes no difference whatsoever how good the rest is.

  citadel 19:09 15 Oct 2007

any of the core 2 duo, a 8400 or 8500, graphics card and creative xfi music sound card, 2g of ram, for watching dvd win dvd software.

  ross_mcculloch 19:15 15 Oct 2007

Thanks for the advice guys. Something I've noticed on my current PC is that when I watch certain streaming videos the quality is really poor and with some of the downloaded stuff there's a problem with sound and video syncing.

As for Vista I've been advised to stay clear until it's less buggy, I'm fairly happy with XP...any thoughts?

My monitor is a 1yr old 19" Sony TFT.

Is it def worth opting for the 2GB of ram over 1GB?

What difference will the Creative xfi make?

Apologies for all the questions!

  citadel 19:27 15 Oct 2007

the xfi has a 24bit crystaliser to enhance sound quality on dvd, mp3 etc.

  Totally-braindead 19:28 15 Oct 2007

The streaming video problem could in part be down to the fact that streaming video is not that good quality anyway, it might also be partly due to your broadband connection not keeping up with it or indeed to the original video being out of sync anyway.
I must admit that personally I haven't really noticed the sync problem myself perhaps someone else could comment.
Your monitor will probably be fine then, is it worth the extra for the 2 gig? Yes definatly if its Vista, if its XP then I suppose its debatable but if you end up with onboard graphics remember it takes some of the system memory.
The Creative Labs cards are excellent but you did mention MP3s so what can I say. They are excellent cards and definatly give you better sound than any onboard sound setup, providing you have some reasonable speakers of course.
Onboard sound does me nicely but I'm not a music efficionado.

  ross_mcculloch 19:33 15 Oct 2007

As an example, this is something I've just had a peek at on eBay (I'm more than happy to buy refurbished/used):
click here

What do you guys think?

  Totally-braindead 19:52 15 Oct 2007

I'm a bit wary about buying a PC of Ebay. I buy a lot of stuff off Ebay but for some reason I don't like the idea of buying a PC. Perhaps its just that theres so much that can go wrong?
For second hand PCs Morgans sell them click here and big pockets sell a mix of new and used click here

Do bear in mind though that you can get a decent complete system from the likes of PC World BRAND NEW for £499 so you have to ask if its worth it.
And they do refurbished ones as well click here

Personally I would buy new and heres a place to start click here Novatech systems are available without OS if you wish and all come without monitor and they are brand new - one year guarantee and their after sales service is excellent.

  ross_mcculloch 20:03 15 Oct 2007

Novotech seems the best out of the ones listed.

This may seem a stupid question but...

when it says onboard graphics and onboard sound does this mean there's a bog standard graphics card and sound card in the system or does it mean that the sound/graphics is simply built into the motherboard/CPU?

  shynepo23 20:14 15 Oct 2007

stay away from cube 247....rubbish.

  ross_mcculloch 20:34 15 Oct 2007

Cheers for the Cube247 advice mate, can anyone answer my (possibly dumb) question...

when it says onboard graphics and onboard sound does this mean there's a bog standard graphics card and sound card in the system or does it mean that the sound/graphics is simply built into the motherboard/CPU?

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