Is this Spec good for what I want?

  JAKK 16:28 22 Feb 2005

I am looking at replacing my existing 8 year old pc. I use it mainly for browsing the net, shopping, and my 6 year old wants to play with the kids websites. Currently it’s very frustrating having to wait minutes (yes minutes) for a page to be loaded or refreshed. (it’s a 1Gb Hard Drive with 32 Mb Ram, with no sound card, so I guess it’s time to buy new)

So onto looking for a new one. I’ve read various threads on this site on the theme of “which pc to buy”, and now I’m confused with all the advise given to others comparing to what I need a pc for.

Can anyone tell me what spec I should go for?

My Requirements:
1) Want to use the net for shopping, browsing etc
2) Kids want it to play with kids websites, eg nickjr cbeebies cbbc etc NOT to play teenage/adult games with
3) I want to be able to compile my own cd’s
4) Want to download music (occasionally)
5) I want a fairly fast machine as I’ll be using it to work from home via pcanywhere or similar package (what ever the company decide on).

I don’t do video editing and nor am I a gamer.

There is an Evesham shop very close to me, and from previous threads on “after sales service”, I am sure I want to buy from there – due to being physically close to me and their service reputation. My only problem is what spec.
The guy at Evesham suggested to configure the Quest A30 Plus on their click here site, so that I ADD a floppy drive with 7-in-1 card reader and take OFF the monitor (I can get a BenQ with 12ms response from click here for £176 and Evesham can’t match it) This box comes to £472, and is AMD 64 bit technology.

What confuses me is the speed of the hard drive – this one is 7200, but I have seen others at 5400 – will this make a difference for what I want?

Also, the Ram is at 333 Mhz, I’ve seen others at 400Mhz, is there a huge difference in the two?

The speed of this processor is approx 1.8 Ghz – Is this fast enough for my needs? And will I gain advantage if I go for 2.0Ghz or 2.4 Ghz?

Do I need a better sound card, if I am to watch dvd’s and listen to cd’s? if so which one?

Also, as I will be using it to log into work from home will the Quest A30 Plus be “upto scratch”?

I’m hoping the pc I buy will last approx 4 or 5 years, so am I wise going for 64 bit technology now or should I stick with the likes or AMD Sempron’s and Intel P4’s, which I know I can a lot cheaper, but the Ram and hard drives are less (eq 256 Ram and 80Gb Hard Drive)

Please do not mention pcworld to me, I went to them 3 (yes three) times over the past few weeks and their SALES service is pretty pathetic (personal opinion only), not had the “pleasure” of testing their AFTER sales service, and no intention of finding out after my last 3 visits.

Is there anything else I should look out for?

As you may have gathered, I am not very computer minded when it comes to buying one, so any help is much appreciated.


  961 17:26 22 Feb 2005

The computer you describe will do what you want easily

Everyone will give you their own preferences as to what to add or subtract but to try to answer the questions you ask...

The speed is all you need. Going up a notch or two will make little difference. The Athlon processor is better than Sempron and cheaper but just as good as P4

Most computers now have 7200rpm hard drives. The saving by going for 5400 is not worth considering

The sound card specified is fine unless you are going to spend big money on speakers

What I feel you do need is a separate video card instead of the on board graphics specified. I can't seem to find a graphics upgrade option on the A30+ although the A30 offers a PCI Express ATI 128Mb x300 at £47

Any modern computer of this sort of performance will be fine for logging in for work. You'll need to consider if you are going for broadband if it is available locally but most ISP's will fix you up with a free USB modem for that. In the meanwhile the dial up modem included will do

Take advice before signing up for broadband as service providers do vary both in cost and service standards. Incidentally, if the children are using the computer you'll find that Freenetname provide free web filtering to prevent accidental access to porn sites etc. Others may do the same

For all practical purposes 333 ram will do you just fine

One thing to mention is that, as I understand it, the Evesham computer may come from, and be serviced from, the factory. It may be worthwhile checking what happens if you need service and if it can be provided locally

Anything else just ask

  hugh-265156 18:00 22 Feb 2005

for your needs 'I use it mainly for browsing the net, shopping, and my 6 year old wants to play with the kids websites' an athlon 64 would be overkill in my opinion but if you can afford it go for one a few steps down from the top end model as these are just not worth the money. an athlon 64 3500+ for example would be a good buy if you really want an athlon 64 or even the socket 754 sempron 3100+ gets great reviews and should save you a tidy sum.

make sure you get lots of RAM 512MB is the bare minimum these days, get 1GB if you can of PC3200 DDR400 if you are going for an athlon 64 or sempron 3100+

120GB 7500rpm 8MB cache hard drive is also about the minimum expected these days and shouldnt cost much more than an 80gig drive anyway. most drives nowdays spin at 7500rpm and i doubt you will notice any difference in speed of use over that of a 5400rpm drive apart from in benchmarks. Some hard drives also only have 2MB of cache, you wont notice any difference in speed here either over one with 8MB of cache in everyday use so my advice is get as much storage space as you can and dont worry too much about the specs of the drive.

If you only play online games any cheap graphics card or onboard graphics will do you fine otherwise spend £150+ to get a decent graphics card.

my guess is you just need broadband maybe?

  gudgulf 22:50 22 Feb 2005

No problem with that spec. apart from the onboard graphics......I have already had to build pc for my kids because my 6yr old youngest son told me the pc he and his brother were using was "not very good and all the games ran very jerkily".When I say had to build I mean good excuse to upgrade my main pc and rebuild the one they were using with cast offs from mine.Anyway the point I am making is that it was onboard graphics that was the problem and adding a very basic seperate graphics card would be well worth the extra cost.Even games aimed at children can be quite taxing on your system these days.And they will want to play games on it!

  JAKK 08:41 23 Feb 2005

Sorry for the delay in responding, Just want to say thanks for the advice, I'll look at getting another graphics card as part of the build. As for service, I know that most pc's will work straight out of the box, but I will mention to Evesham about "If things go wrong", as we all need to cater for this as well.

Once again thanks.

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