Advice on a new computer

  DIYgirl 19:13 04 Dec 2005

Sorry this is so long--I've kept it as short as I can.

I am about to buy myself a new computer (at last! my current machine is over 8 years old) and could do with some advice.

I'm looking at a Dell Dimension 9150 (but am open to advice if anyone knows of a better option). I have up to £1,200 to spend but would prefer to spend around £1,000.

I'm a writer so mostly use my computer for word processing, Excell, emailing and internet searches (for research). I live off the grid so this will be a wind-powered computer (our electricity works just like mains power, but we like to use minimal amounts of power for when the wind isn't blowing). We are too remote for broadband so sadly I'm stuck with dial-up for now. I do have problems with typing now (arthritis and RSI) so will be using Dragon Naturally Speaking v8, which requires a minimum of a Pent III/500MHz processor, 256MB RAM, and a good sound card.

Where I'm getting confused is with the processor (I think!). The 9150 comes with these options:

3.0GHz, 800FSB, 2X1MB Cache
3.2GHz, 800FSB, 2X1MB Cache
3.6GHz, 800FSB, 2MB Cache
3.8GHz, 800FSB, 2MB Cache

Which one is best? It's the cache options which are confusing me. Option 2 is confusingly more expensive than option 3, although it has a slower speed. I realise I'm missing something major here but am having trouble finding out what!

Many thanks in advance for your advice. Please try not to laugh at me for asking a question which is probably laughingly obvious!

  ade.h 19:33 04 Dec 2005

The first two may well be dual-core Pentium Ds.

  ade.h 19:35 04 Dec 2005

And regarding your power situation, is there any chance of a drop in supply? If so, you absolutely must invest in a UPS (and a decent one too). I would suggest something like this click here

  DIYgirl 19:40 04 Dec 2005

ade.h, there's far less chance of a drop in supply with our system than with mains power!

And back to your first point (brace yourself): what's a dual-core pentium? More importantly, is there a big advantage in having a dual-core than (I assume) a single-core?

  keewaa 19:40 04 Dec 2005

Just so you know, you could buy the cheapest Dell at £300 and have an easily powerfull enough machine for your needs.

Given your uses described above, and the fact you aren't wanting a bottom of the range, I would go with the slowest pentium 4 on offer for the 9150. Dell make their money from you as soon as you start to upgrade.

If you're not in a rush (sounds like it's for Christmas maybe?), and can wait untill January, you will find that you will save £200 for exactly the same machine, when Dell run their January sales.

You say £1,000 but £700 would be a very decent spec (Probably £550 in Jan sales)

  DIYgirl 19:46 04 Dec 2005


I've just started looking and have all ready decided to wait until after Christmas (after all, I won't get much chance to work through the holidays when the children are home).

I know I could get a much lower spec machine to do what I need: but I hate buying computers and make mine last as long as possible. This one's 8+ years old, the previous one was 12+ years when I scrapped it. I'd rather buy something a bit pricier now and keep it for longer.

Having said that, the idea of spending half my budget does appeal. I'm mean at heart.

Now, if someone could just explain what dual-core means I'll be happy...!

  keewaa 19:52 04 Dec 2005

Imagine it as meaning "2 processors".

Well it's your money but to give you an example of what you CAN get (knowing where to look) this offer is currently on ... be surprised !

click here

use evalue 1 - D12911

downgrade the warranty to 1 year ... and you have an amazing PC (9150) for .. not £1,000 .... not £700 ... not £500 , but £450 !

  DIYgirl 19:58 04 Dec 2005

Two processors? So are two 3.2s faster than one 3.8? Seems to me like that could happen. But what do I know?

I've tried to use the evalue code you gave but it doesn't give me anything... could be yet another example of my computer uselessness, obviously.

  keewaa 20:01 04 Dec 2005

put 1 in the first box d12911 in the second box and click the blue arrow beside.

As for dual core ... you're getting technical and beyond me so over to someone else.

  DIYgirl 20:09 04 Dec 2005

keewaa, I too put 1-D12911 in the two boxes, clicked the blue arrow to the right and... got taken right back to the screen with the empty boxes, where I was asked again for an e-value code. Could be my computer. I've tried a few times and it's always the same.

  keewaa 20:17 04 Dec 2005

Must be your computer, very strange ... just to check only the number 1 goes in the first box and only the number D12911 in the second.

Try going to the Dell home page click here , then the home section then shop by e-value code in the top right ... might be something to do with a cookie, if that doesn't work its a strange computer you're on.

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