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Thinking of a New PC....

Discussion in 'PC/Windows/Linux' started by NewBert, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. Once again, my thoughts are on getting a new desktop system, to be used almost exclusively for photo-editing/post-processing. I used to enjoy piecing together PC's from the best components I could find, but don't have the patience for it anymore.

    I don't mind doing things like adding hard drives and Ram, or swapping videocards, though. So, I'm looking for a complete system (less monitor) - but hopefully one with "upscalability" - that is able to accept more Ram, a second hard drive, perhaps a vidcard, etc.

    I've come across these two at Best Buy: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8886967&type=product&id=1212192194514, and http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8886976&type=product&id=1212192194580, and am seeking opinions as to their suitability for my needs. The differences between the two seem only to be a faster processor (1.8 vs 2.2) and 2 Gigs more Ram. Price difference is $100.

    Note that I use Capture NX2 and PSE5, as my main apps for post-processing, and Photomatix for the occassional HDR and ACDSEEPro2 for my DAM app. This system comes with 64-bit Vista SP1, which leads me to a few questions:

    1. How big an adjustment (ie - learning curve) is there in moving to Vista from WinXP?
    2. How difficult is it to find 64-bit drivers for existing hardware? - specifically, an Epson Photo750 printer? Does Vista come with a slew of (64-bit) drivers built-in, like XP does (with 32-bit drivers)?
    3. I've read of some having difficulty running NX2 on Vista64. How widespread are the problems and have they been worked out?

    Finally - how much faster would either of these systems be than my current system (an AthlonXP2600 which runs at a clockspeed of about about 2.133, and is maxed out at 1.5 Gigs of Ram).

    Any thoughts on either of these systems, plusses and minusses, would be appreciated.

  2. Just be carefull going through Best Buy. I just bought a new Dell XPS 630, which I love!! I bought it through Dell and got not only the Windows XP pro disk, but the Vista Ultimate Disk for when I want to go to Vista. But, I have heard if you buy a Dell through Best Buy you do not get the backup disks. I do not know if that is the case with HP or the other brands, but I would certainly check. As far as 64-bit, I would check all the items you want connected to the PC and see if there are drivers for the 64-bit. I know people bad mouth Dell, but over the years I have bought 4 PC's and 1 laptop from them and have been happy overall. In fact, I still have my 4 year old XPS machine running, with a KVM switch connecting the old with the new. The iogear KVM switch is the bomb,(wonderful) and the set up was really easy)!!!

    All the best
  3. john1970


    Feb 10, 2008
    Boston MA
    I recently purchased a Dell Inspiron 530 through Best Buy for $900 and I am very happy with its performance. The system included a 2.5 GHz Quad-core processor (Q9300), 6 GB memory, 750 MB Seagate harddrive. I added a second harddrive and a better video card for $150. It's performance is good and I hope to hang on to it for the next 4 to 5 years.

    The best upgrade I made to my computer was keeping my 19" Samsung LCD for a backup and switching to Samsung SyncMaster 245T. It was expensive at $650, but the picture is excellent and a huge improvement.


  4. John did you get the full backup disk for the OS?

  5. Just bought a PC clone with Vista for my wife. DON'T, DON'T, DON'T even think of using Vista. I don't know how Capture NX runs on it but Office 2000 is flakey and I couldn't even get Outlook 2000 to run. My HP printer won't run and HP won't be making a driver for it for Vista. I had to download a driver for my WiFi network.... I haven't even tried adding her floppy yet--she insists on backing up my accounts on a floppy. After I got Vista, I began hearing all the horror stories. DON'T, DON'T, DON'T even think of using Vista.

  6. Buying an off the shelf computer has its limitations.

    Things to look at are the size of the power supply (often limits the number of hard drives, video cards you can safely add), available slots for adding additional components and cooling, airflow through the case and number of cooling fans.

    It's not just a matter of adding things, but durability/life span of the system you create with add-ons.

    I'm using a 64bit Vista system now and the only difficulty I've really had is not being able to use Google Earth. Before you do anything you should check component/printer web sites for the drivers you may need. Download them and save them on a CD for later use.

    Have you thought about going with an Intel based system instead of AMD?
    Another thing to think about might be adding a Drobo system for backup.

    aka beaucamera

    P.S. I made the switch from XP Pro to Vista and couldn't be happier.
  7. I had to make my own back-up disc for my HP....Dell computers are shipped with all backup if you purchase from Dell. By the way, you only have one chance to make your own back up from HP.....screw it up and you are SCREWED.

  8. That is why I would not buy a computer from Best Buy.

  9. john1970


    Feb 10, 2008
    Boston MA
    Buying a Dell from Best Buy..request backup CDs directly through Dell!

    Dear Everyone,

    While it is true that a Dell computer from Best Buy does not come with back up software CDs; alteast my Inspiron 530 did not. You can request the back up CDs directly from Dell. The backup CDs contain the OS, drivers, and all preinstalled software.


    They pay for shipping. You pay nothing. I ordered these CDs on a Saturday on they were delivered on Wednesday.


  10. john1970


    Feb 10, 2008
    Boston MA
  11. pirahnah3


    Feb 22, 2008
    avoid VISTA it is evil at least for now. I have noticed it is getting better but XP is so much more stable and compatible with everything. Also check out dells website and look for the outlet section, they have alot of great stuff in there for short money and alot is loaded with XP as well. Or you can have them build to suit, either way you slice it i would go XP.

    Also you can do what i have done regularly in the past, go to a place that sells xp machine os order offline if you like, look for a computer wiht a good motherboard and chip and that is compatible iwht stuff you have. If you are not affraid of opening the side of a case and messing aroudn a bit you cna have a really nice machine for less money with some better parts. I always avoid onboard graphics, get a good card you will be happier. i usually dont get their cd rom upgrade either i have quite an array form other computers that still work just fine. Save some money and put it into your photography or software for it.

  12. Thanks for the tip about the Dell Outlet. Have you ever purchased one of their Refurbs?

    Because I want to maximize Ram, I'm locked into Vista over XP.
  13. NateD

    NateD Guest

    I was about to recommend the Dell Outlet...I buy all of my PC's from them and haven't had an issue with any of them
    they come with a 90-1 year warranty but you can get an extended warranty if you want
    The Inspiron Desktop I just got didn't come with the CD's but it had a recovery partition and instructions on how to make backup CD/DVD's

    some of the Desktops on the outlet still have XP available as well...
  14. pirahnah3


    Feb 22, 2008
    Yes i have used them, i havnt for my personal computer yet...

    but i have purchased several for the family and for work over the last few years both laptops and desktops. I have even purchased thier scratch and dent ones and have had absolutely no issues at all. Feel confident that they will stand behind thier product, they have for me and my fmaily as well as numerous friends before.
  15. AFA 32-bit is concerned this may be correct, but in case of the 64-bit versions it is the opposite - much better driver support for Vista than for XP.

    I have been running Ultimate 64 for quite a while now and haven't got any issues whatsoever (wish I could have said the same about XP).

    Anyway, I have never bought a new OS before SP1 has been out. Also XP was extremely buggy before SP1 was released.

  16. pirahnah3


    Feb 22, 2008
    I agree fully on the buggyness of XP when it was released as was Vista, however the support for older devices was not the problem in XP as it has been in vista, which has always been my complaint as i have alot of older equipment tht is not Vista compatible and i know alot of other people do not want to have to rebuy their equipment to use it.
  17. My oldest piece of equipment is my flatbed scanner (5 or 6 years old) but Epson provided drivers even for that.

    If I had equipent that would not run (like, e.g., the slide scanner in my office) I would install a virtual PC, so no problems there. My office, however, will stay with XP as long as possible because our museum has even older devices than my scanner and to change a whole intranet to Vista in one swoop would be a financial nightmare.

    Anyway, I still have my very first PC, a PII (10 years old) with a 4Gb HDD and 64 Mb of RAM, because my sequencer SW (CUBASE 3.5) would not even run on XP, but since I do not work with Audio files, that old PC still does a pretty good job. But, as mentioned above, I would still have the option of running a virtual PC.

    I am pretty happy with Vista especially with the better memory management, just the fact alone that PS can address fairly more than 3Gb of RAM makes it worth it for me. As I said, no glitches so far - knock on wood :smile:

  18. MBlue72


    May 30, 2007
    I purchased a HP d5000t desktop computer with Vista Home Premium (64-bit) about a month ago and have been very, very pleased. I went with the 64-bit Vista OS to allow me to have 8Gb of RAM for Capture NX2 and other graphics-intensive applications. I have spent the last month loading the machine with more than 65 applications and 8-10 peripherals. I have also networked it to our home network with two other (XP) computers and three shared printers. In addition to photography, I am very involved with Genealogy, Audio Technology and several other computer-centric hobbies. I am even using the Vista machine to drive my stereo system using a Squeezebox system.

    Through the installation process for all these programs, peripherals and networking setups, I have had only a tiny handful of problems, such as a ten-year old scanner that can be made to work generically with Vista-64 but whose software is no longer being updated by the manufacturer.

    I just thought I'd let you know I've been pretty thrilled with Vista and would never consider going back to Windows XP. And I'm really happy with 8Gb of RAM -- NX2 flies!

    OT ... I have been a satisfied user of Dells for more than 15 years (five computers) but decided to go with the HP d5000t rather than Dell's XPS 630 for two reasons ... 1) I read horror stories about the fan noise with the Dell (I have my new desktop in a very quiet library/home office where I listen to music, etc.). The HP is virtually silent. and 2) The HP allowed 64-bit Vista with 8 Gb RAM (the Dell 630 did not when I made my purchase).

    Hope this helps,

  19. Thanks for providing your experience with Vista and NX2, Dave. Now I'm convinced. Just waiting for the best deal on a new PC now.

    Thanks again.
  20. vinman


    Nov 15, 2006
    Upstate SC
    I have to say that all my Vista experiences with Vista 32 bit have been virtually flawless. I'm sorry to hear of the ones of you who have had issues, but it has NOT been my experience buying, setting up, and using computers since the OS was released. That includes 3 desktops (two of them are XPS 630s) and 6 laptops (three Lattitudes and three XPS). These are running all sorts of apps from CAD (on one desktop) to CS3. All sorts of wireless (home and office) with internet, printers, and external drives.

    Sorry, but no way would I want to go back to XP...
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