TechSpot's PC Buying Guide - A Major Revamp

By Julio Franco ยท 107 replies
Dec 21, 2009
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  1. Docnoq

    Docnoq TS Booster Posts: 143

    Great guides, gentlemen.

    That being said, I will now take time to see if anyone is experiencing a similar problem as me. When I attempt to click one of your links for a piece of hardware in Firefox, it says the page cannot be displayed. If I click the same link in IE, it works fine. This has been happening for awhile now on several different versions of Firefox. Anyone experiencing this as well?
  2. zyodei

    zyodei TS Rookie Posts: 30

    I find something humorous in the idea of a "budget" system having 4GB.

    My daily computer is an AMD64 laptop with 512MB. I run Gnome Mint with all the compiz settings on, hardly a lightweight distro. I usually have at least five programs open. While I am planning on upgrading to 1GB, and am not able to edit video or play games, it really works just fine for 95% of my tasks...
  3. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    I'm running Windows 7 and with what I perceive to be a standard amount of applications open, around 2GB is chewed up. 4GB is indeed excessive for very basic use, and the best alternative is a 2GB kit. This is mentioned in the article: "You may also find savings in opting for a 2GB kit, and for basic use, that's fine."
  4. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I ran win7 on an old P4 (3.2GHz) system with 1GB without any issue during any of the basic tasks etc for few weeks; just for testing purposes. I think the basic version may even get on alright with 512mb. So I will tend to agree there, 2GB will be good for having a very decently performing system. However, don't count the 1GB out yet from windows world yet ;)

    It will be ideal if you start a new thread about your issue. Regards
  5. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    The ASrock Mobo only has 2 memory slots. if you fill them both up with a 2 GB set, and then you want to upgrade to 4, you won't get to use the old memory. When you factor the extra cost of the memory over the extended lifetime of the computer with the extra memory, its probably a good deal.
  6. ToastOz

    ToastOz TS Rookie Posts: 59

    Theres room for another pc between Enthusiast and Luxury as it's to big a jump. The one in between would have a better GFX something like 2x 5770 and the option of raid 0 hdd's with an ssd.
  7. Concorde

    Concorde TS Rookie Posts: 37


    Great guides for all to keep up with the latest product news and what other computer
    users are up too building their rigs!
  8. UT66

    UT66 TS Rookie Posts: 143

    hey you know whats sad? that my trusty old 3.2ghz E6600 + 4770 (ocd) are probable faster at games that system 1 and 2. No reason to upgrade for me, yet. not when intel forces me to ditch my perfectly fine memory and perfectly fine Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme Heatsink to the garbage. ( stupid mounting holes, i cant get those brackets here btw)
  9. rskapadia2294

    rskapadia2294 TS Rookie Posts: 102

    i love techspot's pc buying guide! :p
  10. vegasrez

    vegasrez TS Rookie

    I don't know if I love it but it sure is useful
  11. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    Thanks for the update to the buying guide. I use this quite a bit when people ask me what to buy for their particular budget. It's nice to be able to point them to something they can use as a reference.
  12. TuesdayExpress

    TuesdayExpress TS Rookie Posts: 22

    In the past I've only worked with Asus and Gigabyte mainboards (it's been a couple years since I built a system). Does ASRock have a pretty good reputation?
  13. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    As far as I know, it's more or less the budget arm of Asus. I've used a few boards by ASRock and I've never been disappointed. They generally receive good reviews, and their products have a high performance to cost ratio, which (in my opinion) makes them ideal for the average system builder.

    You can read our recent 7-way P55 motherboard roundup for a comparison between products:
  14. Souljacker

    Souljacker TS Rookie Posts: 24

    You are aware that AMD make processors too, not just intel?!
  15. ansarimikail

    ansarimikail TS Rookie Posts: 40

    Thanks, just what I was looking for. Need to upgrade my PC because of a busted motherboard.
  16. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    AMD's offerings just don't compare at the moment, especially at the higher end of things, and the Budget Box mentions an AMD alternative.
  17. I like the guide its nice to see something up to date for a change. I just have a couple of questions on your setups.

    In the higer end systems why dont you use raid? I think the performance of 2 traditional drives raid 0 would be almost as fast as a solid state drive and when money is no object why not buy 2 drives raid 0 the solid state drives?

    I also wonder about your audio choices in the money no object build, I know there's not much around in the way of "computer speakers" thats not hopeless but if you think slightly outside the box what about a cheap home theater amp and some floor standing speakers? Even if you could only afford the amp and 2 speakers it would still make your "computer speaker" system sound like someone farting in church. (though again I agree this is a personal preference thing and might also be limited by space etc)

    I also have a question I really dont know the answer to, is there any reason not to use a full HD (1920 x 1080) LCD tv as a main monitor for a computer, I know its probably a bit hard to fit a 42" tv on your desk but is there any other reason not to?
  18. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    In many cases, RAID 0 has a minimal effect on overall performance. Factoring that with the added cost and potential of data loss, and it's really not something we can recommend to the average user.

    To scale the audio setups appropriately on each system we feel it's best to select a conventional set of 5.1 channel computer speakers on the Luxury build. There are certainly other worthy configurations and we might add some in the future.

    While it's possible to use a large screen 1080p TV as a PC monitor, it would be extremely uncomfortable to use on a desk. Because of the large screen and comparably low resolution, you would have to situate the display at a proper viewing distance (perhaps six feet or more). Note that 30-inch PC monitors generally have display a resolution of 2560x1600.
  19. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    RAID on SSD's would certainly come under the heading of "money is no object" considering that TRIM cannot be enabled on SSD's when in a RAID array.
  20. Thank you for the up-to-date guides and advice you provide here; it is much appreciated. I live in Canada and I was wondering if anyone could tell me why we seem to be charged more for our products despite our currency nearing equivalency. For example, at Newegg, search this exact model: (ASUS P50IJ-X2 NoteBook Intel Pentium T4400(2.20GHz) 15.6" 4GB Memory 320GB HDD 5400rpm DVD Super Multi Intel GMA 4500M) on both the canadian and american sites respectively, and you will find that the canadian site charges $565, while the american site charges $500. Can anyone explain this and offer some buying advice for canadians please? Thanks if ya can :)
  21. bump? replies?
  22. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,671   +988

    Well, the most logical explanation would seem to be import taxes and country regulations... but that's not our area of expertise, so we won't delve too deep on that.
  23. Great guide, very helpful, however after reading the reviews on Newegg I have come to the conclusion that all cases are bad, I am being caused great confusion.

    You have not included any extra cooling for the CPU or GPU - do you think the cooling that comes with the recommended items is sufficient?

    This may be a stupid question but on the Enthusiast's PC why install a 7.1 sound card and then buy 2.1 speakers?
  24. Pffft to the guest from Canadia ;) - you want to try the prices here in Oz. The AUD is very close to the USD at the moment but we are paying 33-50% more for almost everything. Very painful.
  25. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Not sure what you mean about the cases.

    Yes, in most situations, stock CPU and GPU cooling is fine.

    There are more specs to a sound card than the number of channels it supports, and 5.1 or 7.1 channels are pretty much standard. In fact, there are almost two times more 7.1 channel sound cards as there are all the others combined on Newegg.

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