Looking to buy new comp. Need some advice

  skippy75 19:05 01 Jul 2003

Hi folks,
I'm looking to buy a new desktop PC and having not brought one for years now I'm a bit out of date with all the new technolgies out there so I would love to hear your thoughts on what parts I should get in my new comp.
For starters I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy from Evesham as I brought from them years ago and they seem to have a good rep. So my questions will be based around the systems and parts they provide.
Also the comp will be mainly for home and business use, mainly to access the net, word processing, bit of video editing, also to be used to set up Linux and for programming exercises.

I suppose I want to be more informed when I finally approach Evesham instead of relying on a sales man to tell me whats the best for me. So any of the following questions you can give me your thoughts on would be much appreciated.....

Thanks in advance......

1) Athlon or Intel?? Is there a big performance diff between the two.
2) Thinking of a high end processor like a Athlon 2800 or higher. I've heard some things bout Barton chips etc etc can anyone explain what these are in relation to Athlon chips and what advantage they give. Also what processor would you recommend?
3)Hard Disk - thinking of going for a 120gb disk. On some systems it says it has 8mb Buffer. Is this an important feature. Should I ensure it has a 8mb Buffer?
4)Memory - 528mb or 1gb?? Some systems say they have PC2700, some say PC3200, whats the performance diff and is it worth going for PC3200 DDR RAM?
5) Video Cards - most systems from Evesham have ATI Radeon cards but so many different ones. Whats the best choice for Video editing and is it worth it to go for the highest...whats the diff between 9700 and 9700 Pro...Any other tips to look out for when choosing a video card.....
6) Sound Card - Whats the difference between Soundblaster Audigy 2 and Audigy 2 Platinum......
7) OS - Is there a big difference between XP Home and XP Pro??

Skippy out........

  Aspman 13:51 02 Jul 2003

Your uses are at both ends of the PC scale. For a bit of word processing/surfing plus a bit of coding you could use a smelly old P1 / P2 system quite happily, wouldn't be worth buying a new pc if you still have one.

Video editing, differnt kettle of fish. One of the most power hungry things you could ever ask you PC to do. You could have a dual 3GHz p4 with 2 Gig of memory and you'd still think it was too slow.

Basically you're going to have to compromise unless money is no object. An AMD based system is almost always going to be a bit cheaper just due to the cost of thh chips. But for Video work, Intel are probably the best by a nose, but the AMD will do it too. But you might be able to affors a faster AMD chip than and Intel chip so that might level the playing field.

Get as much memory as you can afford. DDR3200 matches well with the newer AMD chips. Without going into the nitty gritty the Barton chips are an improvement on the existing XP chips, I have an XP Barton 3000+, I can only state that it is faster than the P4 1.7GHz and 2.0GHz machines I use at work. DDR3200 is only a little more expensive than DDR2700, I doubt there is a huge difference. If you can't afford 1G of memory get 512 you can always add more later, make sure what you get is on one stick so it doesn't use up all your slots.

Video cards, we use a Radeon 9700 here on a machine for video work and it works well, I'm told. You will have to think what software you want to edit with. XP come with a basic package for editing video but you would probably outgrow that quickly. Adobe Premier is one of the bes products but is very expensive. What about one of the Pinnacle cards, these are specific digital video capture cards and come with (I'm told) good software bundled. The prices for the basic models are not bad.

XP/XPpro, pro is enable for proper networking for larger offices. If this is a home PC stick to home version not worthe the extra. It will still network to other machines in a p2p network.

  pj123 16:10 04 Jul 2003

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