Towers v HPTCs

  Shamrock Holmes 13:03 02 Jan 2010

I am thinking about getting a basic base unit - similar to click here - which I could then upgrade with more RAM, dedicated GPU etc, I was wondered if a) something like this worth getting for basic home use and DVD watching, and b) given space constraints whether it would be possible to use such a unit on its side (obviously with the CPU vents facing up) for prolonged periods.


Shamrock Holmes

  Batch 18:07 02 Jan 2010

I very much doubt if putting on its side would be a problem as long as the ventilation is not restricted in any way.

"In the old days" PC system units used to sit "lengthways" on the desk under their screens. Then people got fed up with the space they took up (plus the fact the the screens were too high) and asked the question "would it be OK if I put the system unit on its side on the floor". Loads of people did and I never heard of a problem arising (other than that the units got kicked and sometimes screwed the hard disk - I have to own up to doing that myself). Back then the concerns were not only ventilation but also floppy drives and hard disc drives working in a different plane. But such worries have long since been forgotten.

  OTT_Buzzard 21:06 02 Jan 2010

I suspect you may find that the Celeron CPU in unit you've linked to may be a little weak. But that does of course depend on what you mean by "basic home use".

My advice, for what it's worth, is that for a desktop PC don't get anything less that a Core 2 Duo (or AMD equivelant).

  Shamrock Holmes 11:19 03 Jan 2010

The processor is my other primary concern other than cooling i'll admit.

As far as what constitutes 'basic home use' I'm currently running an old Pentium M (1.6GHz 400MHz FSB) in a laptop with 1GB of DDR-266 RAM) and Intel Extreme Graphics 2 (which is a bit of a misnomer now!) which does most of what I need it to as far as use goes (at time of writing I have 2 FF windows (total 8 tabs) running, plus 2 Yahoo IM windows, and one or two other programmes and performance is mostly what I'd like.

I mainly what to upgrade to get better video decoding (Youtube SD runs alright, as does BBC iPlayer, but DVDs are a struggle unless I close pretty everything down and anything more than a brief clip of 720p is choppy at best). I also want to install Win 7 and both PCAs own test and the MS Upgrade Advisor suggest that possibly the processor and definately the graphics are a no-no for the Pentium M/Intel EG 2 combo. There's also the fact that it's only got a 40GB HDD which strains under the much lower space requirements of XP Pro.

If you have any other suggestions for similar mobo-CPU-case-PSU combos that fit a £120-160 budget I would be interested in having a look. Likewise any complete base units in the £250-300 pound range (need to have dual VGA or DVI-A/DVI-I ports as I am intending to run a pair of 17" Dell monitors that I'm reusing for the project.

Given that I'm likely not to be undertaking the project til April at the earliest, do you think a Socket 1156 or AM3 rig might drop within my price band, or at worst a budget C2D or AM2+ rig (likely a newer Athlon or 1st Gen Phenom).

Thanks for your input,

Shamrock Holmes

  OTT_Buzzard 15:09 03 Jan 2010

click here for a few examples of what's available (other suppliers are available!). This one (click here) looks promising.

You'll need extra budget for a graphics card to run dual monitors.

A budget dual core is already within range. I can't see any of the Core i range falling that much by April, but then its mass overkill for your usage anyway.

  Shamrock Holmes 15:42 03 Jan 2010

Thanks for the link to Novatech, they do seem to be better value for Barebones than Aria. Looked at your recommendation, I agree it looks tempting but I think it might actually be a bit overkill. Given the need to buy a DVD-RW & HDD (present in the Aria bundle but not the Novatech bundle) I'd be inclined to go for either the BB-2402G or the BB-322G. Leaning towards the later for price reasons, but wondering which might give me the better performance in the short term? (Likely going but be using the IGP at least for a few weeks, maybe a month or three), also IIRC the Athlon is a more update to date chip?

Thanks again,

Shamrock Holmes

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