In the market for new hardware

By hestaman ยท 4 replies
Feb 17, 2007
  1. I'm in the market for new hardware and would like to know what you all would recommend. I'd like to spend about $4000 and have a few requirements:

    1 PC workstation. Will use a/v editing and photo editing software
    1 lentry level' 14" laptop - mostly for mobile computing - does not need to be a workhorse. I'd like a long warranty on the notebook as it will be exposed to travel and possible damage that is typically expensive to repair.
    1 19" - 20" LCD

    Is there a particular brand that you 'like' and feel is built well? What about networking? I have an old 'B' router - should I get 'G'? What about 'N'? I hear conflicting information about wether or not standards have been set for N. I'm also looking into a NAS server - possibly 500GB (separate purchase from $4000 above) I mostly want it so I can access personal data on both laptop and workstation. I'd also like to stream multimedia with it and access it as an ftp server. It would be nice if it had a print server as I'd like to network a USB photo printer. (My LaserJet 4Plus has it's own print server) I've been saving for years and my current PC is 'GULP' 8 1/2 years old! I need a big upgrade! Please let me know what some of your thoughts are. Look forward to hearing from you!

    edited to add:
    If you were to buy from one company, would you go with Dell, HP, Sony, Gateway or would you opt for a private company? Keep in mind I'd like a solid warranty for the notebook. Thanks again for your feedback!
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Photo editing requires a lot of memory, preferably fast as well, with a high speed front side bus.
    Our experience has made us very reluctant to recommend Sony anything. The upper half of the line for Dell, HP, and Gateway are all good. You might want to go for a private company only if you are a gamer. Get at least 1 GB of memory, but we recommend 2 GB or more. We like the computers that have Seagate drives, as reliability of Western Digital, Maxtor, and Hitachi have dropped dramatically. We also like drives from Samsung, Fujitsu, and Toshiba.
    Spend a lot of time shopping for the graphics card, and the network interface, as they can be trouble.
    Printers are one of the greatest mysteries nowadays... failure rates have gone sky high... Laser printers are much more reliable than photo printers, but the photo quality is less good. We suggest you do not buy the printer online, but rather from a store in your area which has techs very familiar with their printer line... and which ones fail early. Do not buy a new model... get something tried and true known to last... to avoid the early failures of many Canon, Lexmark, Dell, and HP Officejets...
    We like the Konica Minolta, Fujica, Samsung, and Brother... and some of the HP printers... but we do not trust any printer that is a multifunction unit with a scanner... the problem with these units is the ink availability.
    In our area and in Tucson, Office Max seems the best choice for printers as they have solid experience.
    We service a great many computers, and believe you can be happy with HP, Dell, or Gateway, as long as you do not get a low priced budget or home model. We cannot recommend Sony, eMachines, Compaq, Alienware, Systemax...
    It is perhaps too early to report on VISTA. If it were my decision, I would wait three to six months to learn what problems have come with the VISTA releases.
  3. hestaman

    hestaman TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply... I believe I know what I want - looking for the following:

    Mid-Level High end (example - Dell XPS410 system) with 2GB RAM, 1.86GHz Duo processor, 400GB hard drive, 20" Flat panel

    14" laptop (example - Dell E1405) with 1GB RAM, 1GB RAM, 1.6GHz Duo processor, 120GB hard drive, 4 year warranty

    Now - given comparable models from 'The big guys' (Dell, HP, Gateway, etc) are there any brands that currently outshine the others?

    Also - what are your feelings about 802.11n? I hear conflicting information and even though the salesboy:) was pushing it at BestBuy, I have a hard time believing all the hype they were trying to tell me...

    Does anybody have information on the current generation of NAS servers? Seems like they're doing more and more these days. In addition to the networked storage, the print server sounds appealing to me.

    I am not in the market for a printer - we're more than happy with our used LaserJet 4Plus and Epson R600 - perfect combination of laser black-and-white for text and quality photo for color/pictures. The only thing I'd like to do is network the R600.

    I feel this is a big purchase for us and I really want to make a wise decision. I certainly appreciate all of your input!
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    802.11 n is still in draft stage. Until it is ratified, I would not buy any router or card as they will be proprietary.

    If you're going to do video and photo editing you'll need a multi-core CPU. Intel Core duo or quad.
    Forget the warranty with the laptop. Get insurance that covers your laptop. What laptop warranties won't cover is mishandling, dropping, and theft.
  5. hestaman

    hestaman TS Rookie Topic Starter


    So - I assume when you speak of insurance, you're talking about a rider policy from an insurance company - such as our homeowners (USAA). I think I recall that they have a special computer rider. Do you think that is more valuable than anything that the manufacturers will try to sell you?
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