Second opinion on getting a new comp (in Off-topic)

SimplyNic May 23 2010 8:12 PM EDT

Okay so over the past few weeks I've noticed that there have been several things going wrong with my computer. Whenever I close an internet browser (i.e firefox or chrome) the program itself is still running and pretty much flooding my cpu and ram (60% cpu consumption and ~70% ram) until I control alt delete it. But even then with few programs running, probably between 35-50% of my ram is still in use. Ran anti-viruses and the sort to see if there's some underlining problem but I get nothing.

The cost to get that looked at and diagnosed properly; $149.99 excluding taxes (so probably $150+)

The cooling fan isn't running as well as I would like it to (I've cleaned it out but its still lacking). Its a cheap fix, but finding one that will fit the tower could take some time (slim model pcs are awesome!).

The integrated card is starting to not run so well either. I think that about says enough there. Only graphics cards that will fit my computer are low profile ones. I have recommendations on cards, but I don't really take those recommendations so much anymore as I bought 3 different cards that people have suggested, but were too big to fit the tower.

price there range between 50 and 150 doll hairs. In addition to that I'd also have to get a new power supply to support both the card and the fan.

So all in all, we're looking at a minimal $300 fix up, with the assumption that there are no serious undermining problems. If that be the case, that probably would have been a waste of ~$300.

Or I can spend $500 on a pc that's actually designed to handle gaming and pretty much everything else this computer does. Any second opinion would be greatly appreciated.

SundariZelia [The Knighthood] May 23 2010 8:20 PM EDT

Get a new one.

TheHatchetman May 23 2010 8:29 PM EDT

get a new computer.

TheHatchetman May 23 2010 8:34 PM EDT

For a more in depth diagnosis. Repairs never cost what they should, the $300 you're guessing is more like $400, and that's if you did your research. Spend the $500, have something new and problem-free, and odds are you know somebody that would love to take your computer for $100 (assuming it is decent, which I am forced to do by the fact that you're even considering repair), and fix it up for either personal use, sale for profit, or a geek hobby...

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 23 2010 8:59 PM EDT

1) backup all data and locate all applications you wish to have
2) reformat and reinstall windows
3) profit!

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] May 23 2010 10:16 PM EDT

what is the age of the computer in question?

Demigod May 23 2010 10:16 PM EDT

If your PC has really gotten slow, it's probably due to Windows beloved registry system and browser add-ons. You might as well back up and reformat like Novice said.

However, it does sound like you want a new toy. Once you reformat and reinstall Windows, you might as well just give it away and buy a new one with a faster processor and newer motherboard that won't bottleneck a modern video card. You know, not a slim PC. :)

InebriatedArsonist May 23 2010 10:52 PM EDT

I'm with Novice on the plan of backing up your saved files are reformatting the hard drive. Replacing the fan might be easier than you think if you can find the model information and such.

As to Demigod's suggestion of buying a new computer and giving the old one away, I have to disagree. Never let a used hard drive out of your possession unless it's in many, many pieces.

Demigod May 23 2010 10:57 PM EDT

IA, what have you been putting on your computer? Do I need to alert the feds?

And Nic, if you are worried about security, there are free programs that will repeatedly write over your HD to ensure all "deleted" data is actually gone.

Sickone May 23 2010 11:10 PM EDT

I've noticed that there have been several things going wrong

Sounds like a software problem, not a hardware one.

The cost to get that looked at and diagnosed properly - 150$+

Seriously, 150$ for a "checkup" ?

It should cost you absolutely nothing (except some of your time... ok, probably a lot of your time, depending on how many things you had installed) to move all your data to a secondary partition (or an external drive, or DVDs), wipe the system partition and reinstall Windows from scratch (you still have all the needed software, I trust, even OEM installs should come with a CD/DVD), in which case, your system should run pretty much the same way it used to when you purchased it new.

spend $500 on a pc that's actually designed to handle gaming

What exactly IS your current system anyway ?
Easiest way to tell would be to do a start -> run -> dxdiag and look there at CPU, RAM and video card. The HDD, that one you should be able to tell what it is (and that's probably the only part of your PC you should keep).
Also, I would have to ask, what games exactly would you hope to run on it ?

TL;DR : if you're happy with how your system used to run when you first got it, save yourself the money and just wipe/reinstall ; if you want a stronger machine to play some games you never could on your current machine, buy a new one.

Sickone May 23 2010 11:23 PM EDT

P.S. Alternatively, why spend over 500 when little over 400 (399+shipping+taxes) will do too ?

You can get yourself something like this:
That's a little over 400$ for a _LAPTOP_ with a 15.6" screen that handles 1366 x 768, an Athlon64 1.6GHz CPU, a ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated card, 3GB of DDR2, 160GB HDD, DVD writer, all with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit pre-installed.

Or, if you insist on a desktop, at around the same price, this:
That's a Athlon II X2 2.7GHz dual core CPU, NVIDIA GeForce 9200 integrated card, 4GB DDR2, 750GB HDD, DVD writer and the same Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

SimplyNic May 24 2010 12:40 AM EDT

Model: HP slimline s3400f 2.7 gig processor 3.5 gig ram 32 bit os graphics card I fear to bring up (integrated nvidia geforce 6150). Got it in 2008. Its kind of one of those you'd have to have owned and run it to get it really.

The games I have that it won't run very well would be wow, day of defeat, counter-strike (it used to anyway...), tfc, perfect world, Blood Feud Rohan, and silent hunter 2 and 3.

Thanks for the link tho Sick. I think I may invest in that one. If I could drop the graphics card and mouse then it'd be awesome. I kept the last graphics card I got.

Sickone May 24 2010 1:49 AM EDT

For both (but I suppose you're talking about the desktop), sorry, that's an integrated graphics card too, not a standalone.
Noticeably cheaper that way, but can't move it around sadly.
Also, not THAT great, to be honest, but at that total pricetag, you can't really afford to be picky.

Hmm, also, that's weird... it's almost same processor your machine has (2.7GHz Athlon dual core 64 bit), just a slightly newer generation (your machine has the 65nm version from early 2007, this one has the 45nm version out in 2009)... so you won't get that much extra performance from the processor (but it will almost certainly eat less power and have less cooling problems).
The graphics card though (integrated 6-series vs integrated 9-series), that's a significant improvement, and you should really see a big gaming performance increase.
Everything else though, it will probably work exactly the same way it does now, not one bit better.

Anyway, how come you don't have a 64-bit OS version installed, why the 32-bit version ? All 32-bit apps should run just fine on a 64-bit OS, with minimal or next to no degradation.
Also, that could be the reason you only "see" 3.5 GB of RAM, otherwise you would _probably_ see 4 GB (unless that's 512 MB of shared video memory out of the total 4 GB installed, but with a 6-series, I find that a bit odd, 256 MB or even just 128 MB would be much more common).

Now, you COULD splurge a bit extra and get something like this:
True, it's 550$ (at least no shipping charge), but for that you get (compared to the one listed for 400$+shipping):
* AMD Athlon II X2 dual core 2.9GHz - the newer 45nm version, so at least you get a bit more oomph for everything and less heating issues
* 4 GB of DDR3 of non-shared memory (as opposed to 4 GB of DDR2 that shares memory with the integrated card), and you will feel the difference here too
* a MUCH better video card compared to any of those integrated ones, a NVIDIA GeForce GT220 with 1GB of standalone RAM (the card itself is also a standalone card, so you can move it to the next machine) - it's not an awesome graphics card (it's actually quite low end), but it still beats those integrated ones performance-wise hands down
* a slightly smaller HDD (500 instead of 750 GB, but really, it's not like you even need 500)

However, if you really want to even begin to future-proof your machine for gaming, I seriously doubt you could go lower than 600$, preferably even more.
For instance, at the time being, I'd call this one as being pretty good as far as price/performance goes:
Sure, it's 610+25(shipping)=635$ vs the one above at 550, but what you get improved (RAM and HDD is the same) is this:
* AMD Athlon II X4 630(2.8GHz) - that's a QUAD core processor, those extra cores really help in newer games, so, really, it's worth spending some extra
* ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB video card - true, it has "only" half as much RAM... however, it completely obliterates the Geforce GT220 performance-wise, it's more than twice as fast... so, yeah, you won't be playing with ultra-high texture details (you'll have to "settle" for regular high), but you'd be getting a so much better FPS that you won't regret it (and BTW, the retail price difference between those cards is around 50$ higher for the HD5670 compared to the GT220)

Sure, it's "a bit" above your budget, but I'll bet it will be really, really worth it in the long run.

Sickone May 24 2010 2:02 AM EDT

P.S. On that last machine, I can bet you could not only play just about any game you used to barely play on your old machine, but you will play it flawlessly at a higher graphic detail and resolution, while also recording a video of your gameplay and compressing it in real time in the background.
Me, I'd call that a 635$ very well spent :)

QBJohnnywas May 24 2010 5:19 AM EDT

There's a good reason why I went console for gaming and standalone hardware for music recording. Top of the range one day is obsolete another. I got fed up with lookign at the next generation of games and realising I needed the next generation of computer.

Although I did have fun going through a crate of old computer games recently. Actually not that old, between 5 and 10 years old. I was given them when they were almost new and my piece of junk comp at that time couldn't play half of them.

Now my cheapie cheapie laptop plays them at their highest quality without getting out of breath.

Keeping up with tech is hard work.

Meanwhile, it really is cheaper to replace than repair, unless you can do the work yourself.

TheHatchetman May 24 2010 5:24 AM EDT

Although I did have fun going through a crate of old computer games recently.

The word "crate" negates

Actually not that old,

QBJohnnywas May 24 2010 5:31 AM EDT

In tech terms they're ancient. In my terms they're not that old.

But then again I was around when Space Invaders was new....

AdminNightStrike May 24 2010 8:04 AM EDT

You should get this:

and put 256GB of RAM in it.

Sickone May 24 2010 9:18 AM EDT

There's a good reason why I went console for gaming

Yeah, because they're not coming out with a new console every 2-3 years (with very few exceptions, about 2 years is the shelf life), the devs are reeeealy careful to not overtax the hardware (you'd think so, but sadly, that would be wrong, especially on consoles approaching their lifetime's end) and console games totally don't cost around 10$ more per piece compared to the exact same game for the PC (and they're a pain in the behind to mod). Oh, and you can totally expand your console's HDD cheaply (oh, wait, it's actually insanely expensive). Yeah, and console games are totally designed with a console that has USB keyboard+mouse in mind (ha, no, they aren't, so the controls are clunky at best, and that sadly bleeds through in the PC version, if the game has one). Did I mention they're oh so easy to repair (ha, good luck with that), and you can do so much more with a console other than gaming (I mean, sure, your console probably runs spreadsheets, photoshop, autocad, it encodes movies and... wait, no, it doesn't).

QBJohnnywas May 24 2010 9:31 AM EDT

PS2 had a pretty damn good life, yes it's the exception rather than the rule, but nearly a decade in the UK isn't bad going. Consoles suit me fine, I know the graphics aren't as good most of the time, but I prefer the interface on the games I do play, which after over twenty years of console play I find a lot more instinctive. Habit has a lot to do with it.

And I've only ever had one console go bad on me, which was solved by turning it upside down whilst playing. I've lost count of the amount of computers that have died without hope of repair.

Sickone May 24 2010 3:28 PM EDT

Yeah, well, gaming computers, you should usually try the ~800$ range, at least that's where I usually stand, should run most new stuff in an acceptable fashion even 3 years down the road. In a pinch, ~600$ will do, but not for very long, 2 years tops, and even then just barely.
For ~400$ you get a machine too weak to even run newer games (but relatively ok for office work and older games), and really expensive machines that run new titles smoothly go down in value way too fast.

Flamey May 25 2010 1:02 AM EDT

prices must be ridiculous over there.

Please reinstall your OS and format your hard drive before considering a new computer.

Sickone May 25 2010 10:14 AM EDT

A complete reinstall would probably solve quite a few of the problems, for some reason he doesn't seem to be willing to do that (or at least that's my impression).
However, nothing can really help with the ancient integrated video card (it's just too weak), and he had a lot of issues trying to buy a standalone video card that would actually fit in his "slim" case (probably he bought them online and realized they won't fit - why he doesn't go to the shop with the machine to actually buy what's needed, no idea, maybe he has no shops where he could do that nearby).

He could, for instance, also just buy a new miditower case (preferably 450W PSU, but 400W will probably also do fine - the last machine linked by me had a 600W PSU in a really roomy case full of ventilators), move everything in the new case (could get a bit tricky, and if he's inexperienced, he might actually manage to damage something - also, there might be a problem with that, "big guys" like HP and Dell occasionally use non-standard PSUs and motherboard power connectors, to make it harder to upgrade with retail parts), then use one of the video cards he said he got before (if he hasn't sold them all ; or buy a new one if he did sell'em all already - the case size should no longer be a problem, UNLESS he actually means the motherboard is weird), then reinstall everything (preferably with a 64-bit OS version this time), but I also have a feeling he wouldn't really want to do that (no idea why not, it should be easy even for a computer novice... granted, driver searches could take a while, but that's about it for the difficulty curve).

All things considered, in his particular case, I'd much rather splurge for the last machine linked, which among other things would be noticeably better than anything he could do with his old machine (by just changing the case and adding a vidcard), should be easily upgradeable later on if he so chooses, and has the added benefit of him not having to do much else except order it (no headaches with incompatible parts, no painstakingly careful assembly, no new OS install and no frantic driver searches and so on and so forth - all of which he seems more than willing to avoid if possible).

Flamey May 25 2010 6:04 PM EDT

Sickone's most recent link makes a bit of sense if you're doing some gaming. That videocard is also DX11 enabled.

Nehemiah May 25 2010 9:10 PM EDT

some programs keep running on your system even if you control alt delete them. a good program to really stop them would be : Daphne.

Also, get a ram freeing program, a freeware one should work combined witih Daphne, that should help your system out a lot. An example of one for XP would be FreeRamXP Pro.

God Bless you!

Jesus Loves you :)

Admiralkiller May 26 2010 11:57 PM EDT

Well don't throw your old computer out it's prolly your Guardian Autobot!

SimplyNic May 27 2010 3:53 AM EDT

So like, thanks for the advice guys, but this comp's about done for. The integrated card is about dead and the cpu is waaaaay over worked... Yeah that's the gist of the story.

Sickone May 27 2010 5:29 AM EDT

So how much will you eventually spend / what will you pick ? :D

SimplyNic May 27 2010 1:47 PM EDT

Well I read through some of the customer review's on one of the links you gave me and I'm probably gonna go with the one that was ~550. Read good reviews, read bad reviews and I'd rather be mostly safe than sorry.
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