Computer buying help... (in Off-topic)

SpikerDoo99 February 8 2007 12:20 PM EST

Okay guys/gals, my roommate is wanting to buy a computer and I haven't actually been keeping track of the technology game. So now I ask ya'll for help. He's looking to spend 1,000 USD max, but less is a plus. He's wanting this comp for music and movies, not really a gamer. A dvd-rw for sure, and a large hard-drive. I don't know anything about the new processors so any help would be nice on that fact. Thanks for your time, and if there is anymore information that we might need to consider, air it out.

AdminG Beee February 8 2007 12:23 PM EST

Laptop or Desktop ?

[RX3]Cotillion February 8 2007 12:31 PM EST

not sure which one is right for him but dont even look at an e-machines. I had 3 that crashed about a month apart from each other. I think it had something to do with the Celeron CPUs in all of them.

Unappreciated Misnomer February 8 2007 2:15 PM EST

ill jsut mention that if he wants vista at some point he will need a video card thats not intergrated

QBsutekh137 February 8 2007 3:17 PM EST

-- Don't skimp on memory. Usually, double what they list as a default in their configurators.
-- Don't worry about getting a lot of disk space. Disks are getting cheaper all the time, and are offered in a variety of busses, external, internal, etc. That being said, a 160 GB HD should be pretty standard on a desktop. In 6 months you will be able to by an external 250 GB HD for 100 bucks or less, by my reckoning.
-- For CPUs, use the configurator choices to your advantage. It is always easy to tell where the "sweet spot" in pricing is. For example, the latest and greatest will be a +450 in price, while the processor a couple levels down will be +50. Look for the biggest jumps in price, and take the processor right on the low side of the big gap. Big gaps mean the manufacturer is trying to wring more money out of cutting edge stuff, but you don't need cutting edge stuff.

Core Duo is the latest processor, not sure of the clock speeds, codenames, etc. Like I said, trust the configurator and look for price gaps.

Good luck!

SpikerDoo99 February 8 2007 5:36 PM EST

He is in fact looking for a Desktop, and his top price has skimped down to $700.
Anyone else have anything to say about e-machines? I know of a few cases where they haven't produced up to standard, however even my HP I got from Best Buy was a lemon...luckily we got it switched out, even if it took a year and around 15 visits from a tech to acknowledge it's "suckage"...
Anyone have any information on DVD-RW's cause I know even less about them.

bartjan February 8 2007 5:39 PM EST

Your main priority should be to get a good monitor...

[RX3]Cotillion February 8 2007 5:48 PM EST

The reason why I had gotten 3 e-machines in a row was because my mother went to best buy and got 'advice' on computers. The person helping her convinced her to buy the e-machines, and it was under warranty. So every time we took it back they said something like "Oh it would be cheaper for us to give you the same model, so we'll just have to swap it out, BUT we don't have that model anymore, so you'll have to pay $50 more for this one." I think it'd be cheaper to make your own, I made a decent machine for $500 without the OS. Doesn't take a genius to put a computer together either. Pricewatch is helpful. :)

Xenko February 8 2007 8:14 PM EST

Does your roommate need a monitor/speaker/keyboard/mouse etc... or does he already own these accessories and just needs the computer itself?

How long does he want this computer to last before he upgrades/buys a new one? A year, 3 years? Does he want the ability to upgrade the computer in the future or to just buy a new one?

SpikerDoo99 February 8 2007 8:31 PM EST

He doesn't have anything, this will be his first computer. He would want to keep this comp for awhile, but like I said he's not much of a computer savy person, so he doesn't need it for much. Upgrading isn't too much of an important thing, because he doesn't know anything about computers.

[RX3]Cotillion February 8 2007 8:53 PM EST

The specs of my machine that I made 3 years ago, cost a little over $500, had 512mb DDR 3200 ram, a 2.1ghz Athlon cpu, a motherboard with an integrated GeForce 3 vid card( i think), 60gb harddrive at 7200rpm, and a really cool case that had a blue neon light in it, :D... I know it wasn't a powerhouse, but it was good for playing Warcraft 3 ( which i did nonstop back then), so he'd be able to make one for pretty cheap to suit his needs. I also am looking at ebay and see a lot of Windows XP operating systems for around $90-100 'buy it now'.

PearsonTritonRaveshaw February 10 2007 2:10 PM EST

if you know someone who knows how to put a computer together, and is willing to do it, then i would highly recommend doing that. for $700, i think you could get a $50 motherboard with integrated sound card, $20 case, 3GHz Intel CPU (AMD is for gamers and overheat quickly), 1GB memory, nVidia GeForce 6th generation (6000's) graphics card, 200GB hard drive, and a 21 inch widescreen LCD monitor

all links are from

here is a link for computer cases, all between $10 and $25, make him choose what he likes best

DVD RW drive, $30 from

ATX motherboard with onboard geforce 7600GS graphics card $160

Intel 2.6GHz dual core processor $92

2 gigs (2x1024) DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) dual channel memory kit $163

350watt PSU $20

250gb hard drive, SATA 3GB/s 7200 RPMs $70

19" widescreen monitor $180

mice and keyboard are easy, so i left those out. total is $740 for those. just an idea of what you can get. but if you think 2 gigs memory is a little much, you can do well with one gig. as far as the OS goes, avoid vista like the plague. XP pro, or even media center will suit your needs. hope this helps! =)

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] February 10 2007 3:49 PM EST

If the guy wants a computer for music and movies and he ISN'T a gamer, then you don't necessarily need one of the latest and greatest core2duo machines. Just the motherboard and cpu for one of those things costs anywhere from $270 to $600, and that is with nothing else included.

I agree with what bartjan said spend more on the monitor so he can use the PC for movies. You also you have to consider, if this guy isn't a tech-person, and you aren't willing to be his "tech-person" then he should seriously buy from a big-box retailer so he can get tech-support. I was able to price a machine at Dell for about $769 with a 20" LCD. Not bad, I'm sure it would be cheaper if you had the option of turning off "Windows Vista" as the OS ;)

Gateway and eMachines also have some decent computers for this person.
This one works great, unfortunately you would still need to buy a monitor to use it with.

[RX3]Cotillion February 11 2007 10:43 AM EST

I'm telling you, e-machines are bad. :(. Like I said Bestbuy basically told me the PCs weren't worth fixing. The specs on them are nice and all but I'd rather have something more reliable. Its up to you though.
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