Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

New computer: recommendations?

So, I’ve been considering getting a new computer sometimes this year. (Stella just got a new laptop a couple of weeks ago to replace her previous computer.)

Most of the time, I use my computer to browse the web, so I don’t need too much horsepower, but some better graphics than I have now would be nice so that I can play The Sims 3 with a bit more graphical effects. Plus I definitely want more RAM; my current non-expandable 2 GB under Vista feels a bit little and I’m usually running around 65% with just my normal complement of windows open, even before starting, say, The Sims 3. Another factor is that the computer should last me at least two years, perhaps three, before our family’s Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance; Treasury Secretary) will OK funds for another computer.

So I’m currently considering an ATI Radeon HD 5750 or 5770 (which apparently have quite lower power consumption than comparable nVidia chips such as the GT 240, and decent power consumption under low load, which will be most of the time); an Intel i5-5xx; and 4 GB RAM (preferably 6 or even 8).

Unfortunately, I have no real idea where to look for computers; there are surely hundreds of places that offer pre-built computer systems for sale. A co-worker had said that there had been a test of some systems in a recent issue of c’t and that the Medion computer had looked decent; I looked it up at home and it did seem fairly good, perhaps even a bit over-powered. Unfortunately, I can’t find it on Medion’s web site. In the same issue of c’t, there was also a list of components for a recommended, quiet configuration, but I’m not sure I want to assemble a computer myself.

Also unfortunately, the machines I’ve found so far that match the specs I had above cost between 700 and 1000 euros (including Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; the high end when I look at 8 GB RAM as opposed to 4 GB and perhaps a couple of component upgrades such as better(?) fans compared to the base system or a second hard and/or optical drive); Stella had said I could look at spending on the order of 600.

Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations? Though I’m afraid that experiences from people in other countries might not be easily transferrable here, especially recommendations for online shops—for example, I’ve heard recommended occasionally for people shopping for parts, but I don’t know whether they’d ship to Germany or whether the postage would make it worthwhile even if they did. So I might well be on my own, unless one of my German readers has any thoughts?

Still, perhaps there could be recommendations for components to prefer or avoid. Or things to look out for in, say, CPU and case fans. I really have no idea what to look out for there. Ditto with motherboards.

Again, if I had to summarise my profile, it would probably be "office/Internet, some light gaming". So, I don’t need the latest and greatest graphics card and processor, but a pre-built machine with an nVidia GT 210 would probably not make me happy, either. Built-in flash card reader (at least SD and CF) would be nice, too. I should probably also add that I have a 19" TFT running at 1280×1024 which I shall probably keep, so that’s the kind of resolution I’ll be targetting. (Which will affect the graphics oomph I’ll need.)

Tags: computers
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