Desktop recommendations

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After four years of running on only my vaio laptop, I'm considering getting a new desktop to use while keeping my laptop
I've never really compared desktops at different companies however, and I haven't kept up with recent desktop news...
so I was wondering if people have recommendations about specific companies or models to look at.
I'm not interesting in shelling out for a top-of-the-line desktop but I would like an average and dependable desktop with decent storage and media capabilities

Also, any monitor (flat-screen) recommendations would also be welcome

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I believe it's better to build your own, but if you still want
to buy one prebuilt, then these are the parts that you
should look for in a desktop. As for model recommendation
look into the brand you trust, and most important of all, how well
is their support and how long is the warranty.

Processor (CPU): These days multi-tasking is the way to go,
therefore get a desktop that uses a dual core processor.
Either a Pentium D or AMD Athlon X2. Dual Core is the future of computing.

This is a quote from a mag, which I previous posted in
another topic. It'a mag editor that went from a single core to a dual core.

Quote by Mr. NoremI decided to play Quake 4 at 1600x1200 with 8x AA while copying 80gb of data from my hard drive to a external USB Drive. Amazingly the game was smooth as silk. Impressed, I fired up...DVD Shrink.While it takes 45 minutes to rip a DVD, with my dually...it took only 21 minutes. Hell Yeah!

I've got a dual core myself and what the editor say is definately not a lie.*

Memory interface: Intel: DDR2 667
amd: DDR 400

Storage Interface: Either the old school IDE is fine, but if you want
faster speed get a system that uses SATA 3G (more on SATA 3G at the end)

Graphic Interface: A desktop must have a PCI Express x16 slot for
a add in graphic card, if the integrated one on is not good.
Since you want a decent desktop, then I'll not go into detail
with SLI or CrossFire (more on these technologies at the end also).
If a desktop doesn't not have a PCI Express x16 solt then don't even bother
to look into or consider buying it.

Graphic cards: If you want good graphics get a Nvidia 6 series or the ATi X1000 series, both of these cards support the newest technology Shader Model 3.0

As for flat screen, what do you mean flat screen?
There are two type of flat-screens.

One is the regular CRT (which looks like those old TVs with but their
screen are flat, the other is the LCD, those flat panel displays).

Well that's it I hope this helps. :)

SATA 3G- The SATA 2 gen specs, runs at 300Mb/s while IDE runs at 133MB/s
SLI- Nvidia's dual graphic solution.
CrossFire-Ati's dual graphic setup.

To learn more about dual core,
just click on link below.
link
On the right-hand side you should see a demo.

For monitors look at Samsung.

Both processor support hardware antivirus protection.
Watch these demo to get a better understanding about these
new technologies in desktops.

Intel demo
AMD demo

For Intel you should see a demo on the right.
For AMD it's on the bottom of the page.

Note: You should still install a anti-virus program because
it's always good to have more than one type of protection.

*The time it takes to complete depends on the system specs. Completion may vary from one to the other.

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  • Jan 17, 2006
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I wouldn't mind building my own, but I have close to zip experience with hardware and I'm not the best with electrical stuff...not sure I would trust something I built myself

That said...I was hoping for more company recommendations (ie Sony, Dell, etc.)
I'm definitely willing to look at non-name brand companies with good reputations...but I've only kept up with laptop news and not desktop

Thanks tiki for all the detailed specs advice
I meant lcd flatscreen panels in my original question...I will definitely check out samsung
I'm not a gamer at all though so the graphics card stuff is less vital to me
I am interesting in good processor speed and memory though cause I do multitask a lot

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It's really difficult for me to recommend prebuilts because
most prebuilt always use proprietary parts.
In other words if a part breaks down, you can't just take it
to a local PC shop to replace or fix it, You must send it back to
the company which can take weeks.

Since you still want a prebuilt and you want to do multi-tasking.
I'll check out some for you and ask this other forum here
for some opinions.

Then I repost it here.
It will take some time, please be patient.


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  • Jan 19, 2006
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Wow...thanks for taking the time tiki
I'm in no hurry at all :)

LigerZSchnider

LigerZSchnider

Litterbox Trained........

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Build your own........ it is easier than you think! manufactured computer such as the ones you named above are limited to what you want: for example they can build you a computer that is geared for gaming but isn't suited for the digital media. They can build you a computer geared for digital media, but isn't suited for programing. So on and so forth, but I hope you get the picture. If you REALLY, REALLY want a manufacturer to build you a computer that suits your needs, then try Alienware. They are good, but beware, they are expensive! Tell us want you want to do with one and we can guide you to what to get. Could even walk you through in building one!

"In the absence of orders, find something and kill it" - Erwin Rommel

  • Jan 19, 2006
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Update

Hmm so far there is only one reply. >_>
But's very helpful though and that replier has the same
first choice as I have for a prebuilt.

To better understand your needs, instead of asking
what do want to do with your desktop?

As yourself what do want your desktop to do for you?

BTW: LigerZSchnider, I believe you have been pulled
into the Alienware vortex portal. Their price are so ridiculous high
that is just insane. And their parts is nothing special than what you can get in a PC shop. I believe you can build one with the with almost
the some specs for a lot cheaper and maybe even beat it in some benchmarks. ;)

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  • Jan 20, 2006
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Really, I'm not looking for a lot in a desktop besides stability and quality
I'd mostly use it for internet/work stuff (college-y basics) plus graphic design work
I'd want ok media quality but no gaming so I don't need an amazing graphic card

For myself I'd like it to be at least midrange fast for processor speed and memory capacity...but then again I've been using my laptop for several years now so any improvements bound to be nice :)

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Alright more feedbacks, 6 total, but I'll wait for more
until I post here for some choices.

Do you want desktop that is space saving like a small factor
or is space not a issue?

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  • Jan 21, 2006
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I would prefer as space saving as possible...well...at least not a gigantic desk hogging monster :)
Somewhat stylish and not too much of a pain to move basically

LigerZSchnider

LigerZSchnider

Litterbox Trained........

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Quote by tiki223
BTW: LigerZSchnider, I believe you have been pulled
into the Alienware vortex portal. Their price are so ridiculous high
that is just insane. And their parts is nothing special than what you can get in a PC shop. I believe you can build one with the with almost
the some specs for a lot cheaper and maybe even beat it in some benchmarks. ;)


I am not a fan of Alienware and you are right, they are too expensive! However, if you want the power speed and performance without building it yourself than you should go for Alienware. Simply because other computer manufacturers build their systems with severe limitations. In order to upgrade those computers, you have to return your system to them for either a expensive upgrade or buy a new system altogether. I built my desktop and when I first got it operational, it cost me a little over 300 bucks! Now If I sold it, it would be for 3 times as much, because of all the additional upgrades I have added to it throughout the years, keep in range of the latest hardware releases. But like I said before, if you want a powerful desktop but don't want to build it yourself, then I would recommend Alienware, if you have the money. If you want a powerful computer AND save money, build it yourself.

merged: 01-21-2006 ~ 02:51pm

Quote by tiki223
Do you want desktop that is space saving like a small factor
or is space not a issue?

Space isn't a issue for me, thats why I chose a full tower case to have enough room for more harddrives, and future upgrades for a more efficient system, as if it isn't now. :D
Once I reach 1 terabyte of storage space and have an extremely fast processing speed (something I have to find and buy), I'll stop upgrading my system.

"In the absence of orders, find something and kill it" - Erwin Rommel

  • Jan 21, 2006
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Liger,
How long did it take you to build your desktop? (getting parts/putting together)

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Quote by LigerZSchniderI built my desktop and when I first got it operational, it cost me a little over 300 bucks! Now If I sold it, it would be for 3 times as much, because of all the additional upgrades I have added to it throughout the years

No, your PC will not be worth a lot more because
new technology comes out so fast, it make
a few month old stuff obselete.

cyd84:
building a destkop does not take too long.
From the ground up with software installation/updates takes about 3 hours.


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  • Jan 21, 2006

LordTenchi

LordTenchi

The Ultimate Swordsman

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cyd ive build over 300 computers by parts from distributors, such as newegg.com, but anyways, tell me how much money you have for a desktop and ill send you in the right direction.
I own a, http://www.falcon-nw.com/flash/ computers dont get any better than them, alienware is a joke, im just showing off my computers, eventually ill post there specs, but anyways give me you price, i have coupons for many computer sites like dell, hp, sony/vaio, etc.

-I try to reply quickly, here if you have msn add me, Lord_TenchiMasaki@hotmail.com.

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"Death is only the beginning, because life cannot end, atleast not for me"
-You cant beat me at abstract/grunge anime even if you tried, I will spend 10 days on one project, and you will be speachless, thats being cocky! Bring it on!
-If only I could change my display name to Joshua....

LigerZSchnider

LigerZSchnider

Litterbox Trained........

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Quote by cyd84Liger,
How long did it take you to build your desktop? (getting parts/putting together)

From the time the parts were laying on the floor to full operational status (including websurfing): 3 hours. Thats with Pepsi breaks! :D

merged: 01-22-2006 ~ 11:54pm

Quote by LordTenchicyd ive build over 300 computers by parts from distributors, such as newegg.com, but anyways, tell me how much money you have for a desktop and ill send you in the right direction.
I own a, http://www.falcon-nw.com/flash/ computers dont get any better than them, alienware is a joke, im just showing off my computers, eventually ill post there specs, but anyways give me you price, i have coupons for many computer sites like dell, hp, sony/vaio, etc.

-I try to reply quickly, here if you have msn add me, Lord_TenchiMasaki@hotmail.com.

I have heard of Falcon Northwest, they are extremely great (and very good looking) systems, but they are more expensive than most Alienware platforms! I understand that you gotta pay to play, but I can almost assure you that anyone can build a system cheaper than their base model and it will still perform as well as their top end model. I even used their Mach V system builder and tried to lower the price of that system and still can't get it under 1,000 dollars. Even switched to the Talon system builder and I still get the same results. For 1,569.63 (the Talon System) I can build a platform that can play high quality games (Doom 3, Battlefield 2), have over 500Gb of storage (for anime, music and pics) and operate as fast as a Falcon or Alienware system.

I'll just stick to building computers myself, thank you. :)

"In the absence of orders, find something and kill it" - Erwin Rommel

  • Jan 22, 2006
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Yea I'm definitely looking for a system that's more around the $500 range, but thanks for the suggestion, LordTenchi

Liger and tiki, you're definitely making me more interested in building my own...but although I'm mostly software saavy...the only hardware thing I've done is put together an external hd (and I had to be walked through that by a friend :D )...so I guess what I'm wondering is how many separate parts do you have to buy and what tools would you need to put them together?

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After asking around, most people say to get a Dell, but with your tight
budget of getting a desktop PC around the $500 range these desktop PC configurations are very very limited. Are you sure you can't get any higher?


What I'm going to do now is a price comparison between Dell and a online reseller
to see if you should get a prebuilt Dell or built one of you own.

Dell $500 range Desktop PC
Specs:
Processor: Intel Celeron D 325 (2.53Ghz)
OS: Windows XP Home Edition
Memory: 512mb DDR400
Storage: 80gb harddrive
Optical: DVD/CD-RW combo drive (This lets you only write CDs not DVDs)
Legacy Media: No Floppy drive
Display: 15" LCD (flat panel)
Speakers: None
Input/Output devices: Dell USB keyboard and standard 2 button mouse
Office:None but Corel word perfect is included
Support: 1 year at home service and hardware support.
Total Price: $499*

*$499 is the price after mail-in-rebate of $50 from the
original price of $549

There is a possibility that this Dell system will not let you do future upgrades,
e.g. Add in a graphic card.

Dell's $500 desktop PC

-Parts from a online reseller, its price for each components and the product's
length of warranty.

Processor: Retail Intel Celeron D 325 (2.53GHz)............$73.00
Warranty: 3 years
link to product

OS: Windows XP Home Editon with SP2 (OEM).......$93.95
Warranty:

Quote by siteRetail software may only be returned for refund within 30 days of the invoice date if the packaging is unopened and untampered with. Opened retail software cannot be returned for refund. If you have opened a retail software purchase to discover a damaged and/or defective disc, you may exchange the software for an identical replacement...


Link to product

Memory: Kingston 512mb DDR400 retail......40.99
Warranty: Lifetime from manufacture
link to product

Storage: Western Digital 80gb EIDE with 8mb cache (OEM).....$53.00
Warranty: 3 years from manufacture
link to product
Note: There is a diffence between a OEM and Retail version of this harddrive.
More on that at the end of this post.

Optical Drive: Instead of do a exact product comparison of a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. I've decided to put a few different DVD writers from different manufactures instead.
Sony DVD writer (retail)...................................(...) (weekend sale)
Original Price from Sony itself: $99.99 from the original price of $119.99
Warranty: 1 year from manufacture
link to product

Lite-On DVD writer (retail)...................................(...) (weekend sale)
Original Price: Unknown becaue Lite-On's U.S. site does not have this product.
Interesting is I've got just bought this DVD writer a few weeks ago and I
pay around aprox: $55-65 at my local computer shop.
Warranty: 1 year from manufacture
link to product

HP DVD writer (retail) with LightScribe technology...................$99.99
Warranty: 1 year from manufacture
link to product
More on LightScribe technology at the end of this post.

Legacy Media: None

Display: There are not that much people who still uses a 15" LCD.
These days 17" is minimum while 19" is what most people will consider on getting.

Samsung 19" LCD...........................$275.99
Warranty: 3 years from manufacture
link to product

Samsung 17" LCD.......................................$(...)
Warranty:3 years from manufacture
link to product

Dell's 15" LCD from Dell itself..................$279.00
Warranty: 3 years
link to product

More on what is dead pixel policy at the end of this post.

Speakers: None

Input/Output devices: For this you decide on what you want to get.
Either Wireless or Wired it's all up to you.
Look into Logitech or Microsoft

Office: None.
Corel WordPerect Office 12 HE (retail)......................$71.95
Warranty: Same as for the OS (Windows XP Home Editon)
link to product
For product comparions of Corel Version products, click here

Okay these are the parts that is similar to what Dell have in their $500 desktop PC, but there are a few things missing from the build you own list.
-A computer case with powersupply
-A motherboard

Case: Prices ranges
Warranty: Varies from manufacture
cases link

Motherboard: Asus P4P800-VM......................$88.00 graphic is integrated
Warranty: 3 years from maufacture
link to product

Total price for build your own: $769.28
This includes shipping and handling charges, but does not include tax
link to total price

Well as we can see, the build your own is a lot expensive than the Dell,
but there are some advantages over it.
-Most parts have a 3 year warranty as compare to 1 year from Dell
-Dell's 15" cost a lot more than Samsung's 17" and 19" models
-You get the parts that you want by brand name
-No proprietary parts, means you can be able to purchase
a part at your local retail computer store.

Since you say you want to multitask a lot that system configuration above
will not let you multitask, because of the processor.

*Western Digital OEM and Retail
OEM comes with a 3 year warranty
Retail only come with 1 year

*Samsung's Dead Pixel Policy.
If your LCD has no more than 8 dead pixels, then your monitor
is consider good.
To see if a monitor has a dead pixel, change the background to black
and see if there are any white or odd color dots. If the white or odd color dot can not be removed (sometimes it just a dust, not a dead pixel), then that white dot is a dead pixel.
Another way is to change the background to white and look for
black and or odd color dots.

Light Scribe is a technology where you can create a beautiful label
by using the DVD writer's laser.
This requires a lightscribe disk.

Here is a image of a lightscribe disk after label with lightscribe
notice the details.
http://h40054.www4.hp.com/printing_imaging/promotion/lightscribe/images/cd.gif

This post will be update...

Update: To put together a PC all you need have is
Knowledge, patience, and a philips screwdriver.

Don't worry if you have not done it yourself, just ask
and I'll be glad to help. :)

Intel Celron D is not great for multi-tasking.
You should invest in a dual core processor.

Dual core lets you do a virus scan and work on your
digital imaging program or video encoding without any type
of lag.

Prebuilt Dell desktop that you should consider
link

A build your own desktop pc
These items are based on personal picks, you may have a different selection.
Items are only used for building a PC, no display, input devices, and software are included.
link


Don't rush when you are purchasing items that requires a large
investment of money.

There is no support for Windows XP OEM version products.
Retail version of XP home cost around $99.00 (Upgrade)
$199.99 (Full)

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  • Jan 23, 2006
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I actually meant $500 without monitor...which gives more leeway for additional stuff...I definitely would only consider a pc with pro edition not home

Thanks for all the specific links tiki, I will check those out slowly :)

Also, any specific reason why people recommended Dell? quality...price...size...style...etc.?

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One reason, it's a prebuilt desktop.
They do have a good support feature though
Such as their new tech connect feature when Michael Dell announce it
at the CES Keynote.

new support

Yes, pro is better because of a longer support extension, then home
That is what I heard though.


edit: the personal build link is not working
or the cart has been empty, I'll update it tomorrow, for
now it time for me to go to sleep. :D
Good nighty nighy cyd84-san
*bow*

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  • Jan 23, 2006

LigerZSchnider

LigerZSchnider

Litterbox Trained........

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Looks like I have to invest in a Lightscribe Burner! Curious though, do you really have to have a special burner?

merged: 01-24-2006 ~ 07:16am
Never mind....I can use my own burner!

"In the absence of orders, find something and kill it" - Erwin Rommel

  • Jan 23, 2006
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Quote by LigerZSchniderLooks like I have to invest in a Lightscribe Burner! Curious though, do you really have to have a special burner?


Unless if you are in a bussiness and you want to make your labels
a bit more professional, other wise no, you do not need to invest in a
special burner.

Besides it's just a waste of money, at the CES 2006 Sony show a prototype
Blu-ray writer. Blu-ray can write up 25gb single layer and 60gb dual-layer.

click here

Now back to the topic.

It seems as if the cookies for the total price and personal
picks links have been expired, therefore I just
tell you each individual parts that I would pick for a desktop PC of
course you may have a different configuration.

Processor: Intel Pentium D 920 2.8GHz (retail) $266.00
Reason: -It uses the newest 65nm process
-It runs cooler than it's Prescott cousin the Pentium D 820, where as
the prescott has a "well-deserved reputation as a mini nuclear reactors".
-Supports Intels VIIV
-Supports Virtualization Technology
-It's dual core great for multi-tasking (the 820 is also dual core)
-Supports EM64T for future computing (820 also has EM64T)
-Features NX disable bit (the prevention of malicious code
from executing. 820 has this feature also).
link

Note: The reason I did not pick AMD Athlon X2 is because their
cheapest one AMD Athlon X2 3800+ cost $313.00, which is not a major price
difference, but it's better to save some money on the necessary parts.

Motherboard: Asus P5LD2 Deluxe (retail) $158.00
Reason: -Asus has a reputation of making mainboards that are rock solid.
-It has the latest technologies such as PCI Express, DDR2, and SATA 3G
-Features HD Audio and is Dolby Master Studio certified.
*Dolby Master Studio is the highest audio specification set by Dolby Laborities
In order to be certified by Dolby Master Studio, these on board HD Audio must
pass Dolby's rigorous audio specifications testing.
-Supports Intel's GLI (Graphic Link Interface) allowing two PCI Express video cards to be installed for quad-display support
link

Memory: Since your desktop PC is not build mainly for gaming, then
just look into the memory manufacture by either Kingston or Crucial.
Get at least 1GB or 2 pieces of 512mb for dual channel mode.
Kingston
Crucial

Graphic card: Nvidia's 6600gt PCI Express
Reason: -Does not require additional power from the powersupply.
-Uses GDDR3
*GDDR3 produces less heat and higher speeds*
-Certified by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF)
*For a graphic card to be ISF cerfitied, it must "comply with the industry's strictest audio and video quality standards, ensuring the best entertainment experience."
link
Nsist
If you pick one, do not get refurbished and OEM cards.

Optical Drive: For that I've already mentioned it so, just look at
my previous post of the 3 DVD writer I've link to, of course
there are other companies. You could ask for your friends opinion
as to see which one they like best.

Storage: Space is never enough, The bigger the better, therfore
just look at the hard drives with the largest capacity your money can
buy. Size ranges from 40gb to 500GB.
Western Digital
Seagate
The mainboard mention above supports SATA 3G

Enclosure: Get a Case with plenty of air-flow in other words look for
cases that let's you install a lot of fans. Of couse most of these cases will be full
towers, but some mid-tower cases can space for lots of fans too.
CoolerMaster
Antec
*If you have decided to use the mainboard mentioned above, you must get a
mid-tower case, mini-cases will not fit that motherboard.
Look for ATX cases, BTX is a newer technology, that is not widely adopted yet.
*Some cases supports both ATX and BTX. For the cases that support BTX it may
require extra charge for BTX components add-ons.*

PowerSupply: This componment is the most important part for all desktop PCs.
For this you do get what you pay for. If you get a cheap powersupply then expect your desktop PC to become unstable or even worst, damages to hardware components.
Antec
PCPand C
Enermax

Well this is all that I can think of right now, if there is anything more, I'll
update it or make a new post.

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  • Jan 24, 2006
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Thanks again tiki...I'll go through your recs slowly and ask you if I have any more questions :)

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After checking out some compabilities with the processor and motherboard,
I've found out that in order for the board to recognize the Pentium D 920,
the board's bios version must be since 0415. If the mainboard's bios is lower than
the required version, then the Pentium D 920 will not work with the motherboard.

And if you are going to build one on your own, then make sure to look at the
bios version carefully before you actually purchase the motherboard and cpu.
To look at what version is on the board, On the board itself, find the model name,
and next to the model name there will be a revision number.
If the revision number is smaller than the required bios, then it indicated this board will not work with the 920 until the bios is updated.

This label tells you the bios version
http://img65.imageshack.us/img65/2249/e1js.jpg
The bios on that label is 1001

If you don't want to go with all this hassle, then just take a look at the
Pentium D 820, even though they have a well reputation as "mini nuclear reactors", if your case has some fans and proper air flow, then it should
be fine.

Pentium D 820

I've got 820 in my desktop PC and so far it has not cause
a desktop nuclear meltdown yet. :D

If you are going to build you own, I strongly suggest that you take
some friends with you who know on how to build a desktop PC and knows about almost all of the latest computer technologies (I'm
not saying you do not know how to build one yourself) This is just to
help you prevent from a sales person who is lying and/or ripping you off.

Always check their return policy and warranty. Before exiting the door,
take a careful look at all the parts, especially the motherboard and see
if it's kind of old or dirty with dust. If it is then that board has been used and demand for a new one. Check all boxes and see if it has been tampered with.
Especially the processor. The Intel Pentium D retail processor should have a cut out in the box to let you see the processor itself.

Eight things that need to match for a Intel Box processor. If any single one of them does not match, then it indicated this product has been tampered with and also demand for another one.

1. The brand name: Intel Pentium D
2. Model number: 820
3. Speed: 2.8Ghz
4. FSB: 800
5. Amount of cache: 2mb
6. Platform: 05a (depends on yours, this is just a example)
7. Serial number: SL88T (depends on yours, this will be located at the side of the box)
8. Place of manufacture (depends some box will not
label it)

http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/3764/2005729164332286628jy.jpg
Notice how all the specifications matches.


merged: 01-28-2006 ~ 10:07pm
According to a mag some Dell PC only come with a 90days limited warranty.
That's only 3 months as compare to 1 year of 365days.
Please read the fine print.
And it's better to build your own.

If you have any other picks, just let me know and I tell you if it's worth getting it or not.

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  • Jan 24, 2006

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