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June 2nd, 2006


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01:08 pm - pimp my puter
I've decided that this week has shown me that Ye Crummy Cameraphone is perfectly decent for the time being, and that I'm actually having fun seeing what I can get it to do. So I won't be running out to get the Powershot S3 any time soon, as beautiful as it looks.

So perhaps it's time to Frankenstein up a new computer. The PC that Ben so kindly sent my way last fall is capable of doing what I like, only it's showing its age. When I try to play a new game and I hear cooling fans inside start to whirr up -- cooling fans I've never heard whirr up before. Also, the power supply is so feeble that I can't have the CD burner and the 200GB drive online at the same time.

So the time has come to take some money set aside from the last quarterly bonus and put it towards a new machine. I seem to recall someone in the old Schwa guild offering to help price me up some options, but for the life of me I can't remember who that was, and that was last fall.

This is what I need:
  • AMD Athlon proc, 2GHz or greater
  • At least a gig of RAM
  • Another nice 200G drive would be keen
  • Decent graphics card with enough memory onboard to kill an elephant
  • A case to throw it all into, a power supply that provides power, and lyrics that won't embarrass you in front of your children
I already have speakers, a CD burner that's probably giving up the ghost as we speak, a mouse, keyboard, wireless network card, speakers, the rudimentary stuff. Unfortunately the stuff I have doesn't nick a price down considerably when omitted from a build.

And then there's the prebuilt option. Surprisingly, Microcenter's got some nice prebuilt options online in my price range -- in fact, I can get exactly what I want in the $600 neighborhood -- and I like shopping at Microcenter because it's where the neckbeards shop. But the prebuilt options there are mostly HP and Gateway systems and since I've been using barebones systems since 1999, I can't remember which PC brands are reliable and which ones stink on ice.

Where else shall I look, O Intar Web?
(platform-specific zealotry will be met with pictures of anne geddes babies)

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:bismuthobsidian
Date:June 2nd, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
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It is going to have purple and black zebra marks with a large purple hat, right?

Seriously, ask Matt before you buy stuff because he has to upgrade all the time for work. We are trying to get rid of all are stuff.
[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:June 2nd, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
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I can't speak for the desktops, but my hp/compaq laptop gets all hot-n-bothered when I try to run graphics-intensive applications, or hard-drive intensive applications, or typing intensive applications, and then it shuts down. I can fix the problem by setting it in a big bowl of ice when I work, but that causes other problems.
[User Picture]
From:skypizza
Date:June 2nd, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)

Unrelated to your post...

(Link)
...but something you must see (if you haven't).

http://filmcow.com/spatulamadness.html
[User Picture]
From:johnnycanuck
Date:June 2nd, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
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If you're at all comfortable with the whole online-ordering thing, I'd recommend www.newegg.com. Excellent pricing, and fairly quick delivery time. Pretty sure they've started to offer pre-builts as well.

Otherwise, I could point you toward some very nice shops here in Ottawa, but I think that option is less helpful.
[User Picture]
From:ooshiny
Date:June 2nd, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
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I'm looking for a similar machine myself, but I don't really have any advice to offer. I just want to see what kinds of Anne Geddes baby pictures you can dredge up.
[User Picture]
From:darkmage13
Date:June 2nd, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
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I threw this together in a few minutes but then couldn't get it to display it publicly so here's a screenshot.
http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/9403/computer4kj.jpg

There's nothing especially terrible in the quality of big name prebuilt PCs but the major downfall is everything inside the case is retarded, backwards, and/or proprietary so if you want to fix something or upgrade on your own, you're SOL.

If you want to run around newegg on your own for a while then use http://shsc.info/PCPartsPickingGuide and http://shsc.info/budgetpcpartsguide as guides.
[User Picture]
From:pecosy
Date:June 2nd, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
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That list of options was pretty near what my list was, and I got my system as an impulse buy at Costco (do you have those in parts east? it's like Sam's Club). I went in for things like trail mix and paper towels and came out with a sweet little system. That was cool.

Anyway, if you don't have one near you or the off-the-shelf-model-next-to-the-40-pack-of-tube-socks isn't quite what you need, you can customize and order online. The prices look fairly decent and they have a rebate going on. Not sure it's the kind of advice you're after, but if they happen to have what you need, it's nearly always the cheapest option


[User Picture]
From:clawdia
Date:June 2nd, 2006 09:34 pm (UTC)
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Jeremy bought my Christmas PC here http://store.sysbuilder.com/ and it's a very nice little machine. You don't have to pay the Windows tax if you already have a copy and the black case has an amusing little face punched out of it and a cool nerdy display.

The whole process was pretty idiot proof and the machine came in a hurry for a good price.
[User Picture]
From:giantfightbot
Date:June 2nd, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
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Every once in a while I will window shop at the PCs that Ars Technica specs out. Never gone through to buying parts and assembling one, though.

There was a bunch of stuff about shopping for parts on Steven Gilliard's blog a while ago but I'll be darned if I can find it. ibuypower.com springs to mind.
[User Picture]
From:giantfightbot
Date:June 2nd, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:June 2nd, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Oh, that's nice. Using the ArsTechnica "Budget Box" specs, I was able to mock up a nice system on SysBuilder for about 700 bux. Seeing as how that was my high end on the budget, I'll have to think it over and drool some more.
[User Picture]
From:darkmage13
Date:June 3rd, 2006 03:57 am (UTC)
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One thing to remember about socket 754 is that it doesn't support dual channel memory.
[User Picture]
From:lpsmith
Date:June 2nd, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
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The Rice Linux Users Group recommended www.jncs.com to me, and I've now bought two computers from them and have been happy. I also recommended it to katre, who, I believe, has also had good luck with them.
[User Picture]
From:grumqa
Date:June 3rd, 2006 12:36 am (UTC)
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hmm

*ahem*


GET A MAC OR YOU ARE A DOUBLE WEENIE
From:ungratefulninja
Date:June 3rd, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
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What the Lion Bloody Lion said.
[User Picture]
From:duchez
Date:June 3rd, 2006 01:52 am (UTC)
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I tend to go with eMachines nowadays, because it's pretty cheap, comparatively. We saw a couple eMachines at BestBuy where they have major rebates. For example, we got about 2/3 of the cost of the computer back in various rebates.
[User Picture]
From:eeka13
Date:June 3rd, 2006 12:34 pm (UTC)
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GET A MAC AND THANK ME LATER
[User Picture]
From:neddiheht
Date:June 5th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
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I'm all for macs, but you give up some cool things (city of heroes/villians comes to mind). I have a mac laptop (for reliability) and a PC desktop. Mine is a gateway and wasn't horrifically expensive. It hasn't caused me any of the problems the compaq and hp did. I've also heard some good things lately about e-machines, and some bad ones about Dell, which used to be one of the best ways to go.

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