New Base Unit - what to look for?

  Mickey 12345 20:39 04 Jan 2005

We're hoping to buy a new base unit and are getting totally confused by what's on the market. As a family we don't think we can be classed as "heavy PC" users. We use the PC mainly for:
Internet useage - (on Broadband,)
M/S Excel financial/accounting spreadsheets,
M/S Word for correspondence,
Digital Photography,
Games - just for 12 yr old daughter - got "Simms 2" for Xmas and we're worried that our existing machine isn't powerful enough so we haven't tried loading it yet. She currently has Simms 1 and this PC tends to "crash" when she's been playing it for 10-15 mins. She's also a fan of the Harry Potter games which seem to follow every film.

Apart from the Simms problem, this current PC can be a bit slow and sometimes seems to struggle with certain applications but on the whole works OK. However, we've been told by a friend that it's not really viable to upgrade it.

Our exisitng spec is as follows:
Intel Pentium 111 processor 730 MHz 152 MB RAM
Running M/S Windows XP Professional
9 GB Hard Drive

Also, a DVD RW would be nice.

We've been looking at the "Tiny Monster" but, although impressed by the spec, are a little worried that we could be spending money on something which we're not likely to fully utilise.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  Mickey 12345 21:25 04 Jan 2005

Is anybody out there? we feel a bit like the "nil points" losers!!

  billy_sw 21:40 04 Jan 2005

I am planning to purchase a new base unit for my daughter who is also a Sims fan. Have you looked at the JAL systems site? I'm planning to purchase the Jenny system (a budget system best buy) but without the monitor. It seems a well specced system. You can upgrade to a DVD-RW for £29. It might also be worthshile changing the graphics card to the GE Force FX550 for another £14. I believe that this is a better card than the one supplied. This would cost £362. Not sure if this is within your budget.

  Cook2 21:52 04 Jan 2005

click here and have a look.

  Mickey 12345 21:54 04 Jan 2005

Hi there billy!
Thank you very much for the reply - we were starting to get a bit paranoid at having no responses!
Yes the £362 would be within our budget but we've not heard of JAL - would you have website address please?

  Totally-braindead 21:55 04 Jan 2005

Have you had a look at the PC Advisor superbudget charts? Its hard to advise not knowing your budget. Do you wish to use your existing monitor? Also this months Computer Buyer Feb 2005 has a review of 3 PCs at the £399 mark 2 of which have DVD burners. These are complete systems monitor operating system everything. Also have a look at click here . Only advise I can offer is make sure whatever you buy has an AGP slot as sometime you will probably need a new graphics card (for games).

  Totally-braindead 21:57 04 Jan 2005
  Cook2 21:58 04 Jan 2005

Sorry clicked too soon. I was going to add. From the same site you could, if you feel confident, go for a barebones system click here and use your existing monitor, floppy, CD-Rom etc.

You could fit your existing 9Gig HD and not have to worry about re-installation. Purchase a larger HD from the same site and set it as 'slave' and use it when you install future programmes and for saved items etc.

  Totally-braindead 21:59 04 Jan 2005

By the way one of the PCs PC Buyer reviews is a Jenny from jal, it was the best of the 3 they reviewed.

  Mickey 12345 22:09 04 Jan 2005

Big thank you to all who've responded so far.

Just had a quick look on the JAL website and notice that the Jenny has an AMD 2800 processor.

We seem to remember reading in one of the PC magazines that something higher than an AMD 3000 was recommended for games - so would a AMD 2800 be suitable? However, we realise that maybe a 12 yr old occasionally playing on "Simms 2" probably doesn't come into the heavy gaming requirements!

  TomJerry 22:55 04 Jan 2005

go down to PC World or Comet. Any nice looking PC under £700 will do job nicely

Simms 2 is not very demanding game, my daughter (also 12) plays on one of my old machine nicely: AMD XP2400+ 512MB RAM, 120GB HDD, ATI9200SE card (very old card) and DVD writer (actually not used because the game is loaded on HDD). 15" LCD monitor (soon to get a 17").

a few examples in PC World:

COMPAQ INTEL PENTIUM 4 505 PC + 17" TFT £499 click here

COMPAQ AMD ATHLON 64 PROCESSOR 3000+ & 17" TFT £599 click here

If you think the graphics ard is good good enough, spend £56 to get a ATI9600 from Ebuyer click here

COMPAQ INTEL PENTIUM 4 505 PC + 17" TFT £599 click here

PACKARD BELL XP3000+ AMD ATHLON 2.17GHz PROCESSOR + 17"TFT £699 click here

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