Sorry... sorry...sorry!

  noddy1 19:02 30 Dec 2010

I guess this question gets asked all the time, but with different criteria. So apologies in advance.

OK my 12 year old son has been saving for nearly two years to buy a good desktop PC. With the money he received this Christmas his budget is around £600. I say 'around' since we'll help him a little if the ideal PC is just out of his budget.

The problem is that I'm not really into PC hardware these days (although I have general intermediate knowledge) so I don't know where to start to advice him.

What I can tell you good folks is that he wants a PC that can handle complex graphics. Ironically it's not just because he likes video games, but because he wants to learn to programme and run reasonably complex animation.

So I’m guessing the key hardware we’ll need to prioritise is a good graphics card, a decent processor and plenty of RAM. Are those still the main criteria for graphics orientated PC’s or is the motherboard equally important?

He/we aren't so concerned about the quality of audio. We also have a few peripherals that we can bolt onto this new PC (although I'm not sure if they'll have drivers for Windows 7) including a printer, keyboard, speakers, mouse and x2 LCD monitors. On this note I think he could benefit from a dual monitor desktop.

So essentially most, if not all, of his money can be ploughed into the main unit.

He's not too bothered about the case itself as long as it has punchy hardware under the hood.

In terms of HDD size, he probably doesn't need anything too large to start with and presumably we can always add more internally/externally later if needed.

So what can people advise? We'll happily go for a custom build if someone can point us in the direction of a reliable individual/company whose reputation can be verified. Alternatively we might be better off with the likes of Dell, HP, Acer et al since I suspect their buying power can provide more high spec hardware for our budget… would that be true?

Thanks in advance for any feedback given, it's genuinely appreciated.

  timsmith259 19:32 30 Dec 2010

oh noddy have you been picking on PC plod and big ears

you can try click here

or click here

  tullie 19:56 30 Dec 2010

Hope you dont have to earn a living being a comedian?

  961 19:56 30 Dec 2010

A couple (well, 2 or 3 really) of thoughts to help along the way

Your guess about a good graphics card, a decent processor and plenty of RAM still does the business

Most motherboards provide stunning on board audio now. The days of buying a separate audio card are past unless you are after the very top notch

Windows 7, even 64 bit, can now sort drivers for all the stuff you mention unless it's a printer out of the ark

The sort of graphics card you are talking about will run several monitors

I wouldn't go custom build. It can create trouble if it doesn't work or you want to return it. Aim to buy standard to suit your spec and distance selling regs will see you right if it all goes pear shaped

The sort of computer you describe is often found in reviews in magazines such as PCAdvisor and PCPro. Fast and furious. Turn up their recent reviews on the web

click here

click here

Couple of other ideas.

The current Intel processor i3 i5 i7 range does the business and runs cooler than AMD

click here

for graphics and speed they are good, not necessarily the cheapest

Dell is good and reliable. They will deliver and most likely it will work when it arrives. You can also buy them retail at PCWorld etc. Not the cheapest, latest or fastest. But reliable. They do the business for me, but a graphics gaming man I am not

HP? Not quite sure for what you are looking for

Read the reviews. Don't buy ridiculously overclocked computers if you want it to work for the long term. A fast processor running at standard clock rates will work for far longer than a lower spec clocked to run faster than standard

Take your time, spend an afternoon in PCWorld

Before you order from a company you have not heard of, just google to see if there could be trouble round the corner

And, please, whatever you do, (it's spread all over this forum) make sure you pay by credit card so that you have financial protection for your purchase if it doesn't work or doesn't arrive

  spuds 11:01 31 Dec 2010

Perhaps going out on a limb here, but have you considered a local 'word of mouth' computer builder, who might have the expertise to make a deal with your son?.

After perhaps getting some information from the forum as to what you might require, then see if your local person can oblige.

At present I am looking a bare-bone bundles to complete computers in the basic mode, and with present advanced technology, I am beginning to find it a bit of a minefield. Having consulted 'the local chap', I am more at ease!!.

  HondaMan 11:32 31 Dec 2010

Don't skimp on the hard drive, see here click here

and if he's serious about creating animations a fast graphics card is advisable. Try ATI radeon based cards. Novatech certainly sell good systems, personally, I have a Mesh and it really is superb but, I wish I'd done even more research into the components and upgraded further.

Dell's after-care might not be all you would wish for, as with Mesh.

If you are confident about what you/he wants, Cougar Extreme have got very good reviews in this forum.

Do a search under "hardware reviews"

  phoenix198 16:41 31 Dec 2010

Given that you already have most if not all peripherals, this one from Novatech click here looks a good candidate

Outline spec:

Intel Core i5 760 CPU @ 2.8GHz
2 x 2GB DDR3 1333Mhz @ 1333Mhz
1TB 3.5" 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
Novatech ATX Gaming Case
22x SATA DVD Writer
ATI Radeon 5770 1024MB GDDR5
750w ATX Power Supply
Intel H55 Chipset Motherboard
7.1 channel HDA Audio
6 x USB 2.0 ports
Keyboard & Mouse (Corded)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Novatech have a good reputation for build quality and customer service, and you could do a lot worse for £620

  tigertop2 17:05 31 Dec 2010

Self build might be an option if you can help/teach him. It will save him a fortune in repairs and upgrades later in his life. PCs are really quite easy to build, lots of simple manuals and plenty of online help. And he will get more pleasure out of something he has built than something he has bought

  noddy1 11:45 06 Jan 2011

Thanks everyone, your comments have been very useful and sent me to a number of websites/suppliers that often led to other useful links.

OK, so after a reasonable bit of research we are thinking of purchasing this desktop from Dino PC:

click here

In the end our budget wouldn't stretch to an i7 without compromising other key components.

Incidentally we've looked at the generic reviews for Dino PC as a company. The Review Centre gives them 3.2 out of 5. That may not be perfect at first glance but a lot of their competitors (ie companies offering a similar balance between components and cost) score lower.

So before we go ahead with the purchase has anyone got any further advice about this company or this particular spec?

Thanks again for all the help, bless you all.

  Woolwell 12:50 06 Jan 2011

Very mixed views on Dino PC on this forum. Just do a search for Dino PC.

Have a chat with Cougar Extreme click here, Novatech click here or Chilliblast click here

  spuds 12:55 06 Jan 2011

Might pay to check a little further before making a final purchase?.

This thread click here as been running since 20/12/07, and is still running today?.

Whatever you decide, pay by credit card or computer only finance deal for more security and protection.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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