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  • So I'm looking to buy a new computer...

    The last time I bought one was 6 years ago, so I can afford to make a few steps towards the high end. I also need all the peripherals.

    What I need is a computer that will allow smooth work without upgrades for at least 2-3 years, a lot of storage space and good ergonomics. And by work I mean the usual internet/office work and some heavy duty MATLAB and other engineering software work (the latter is not as important).

    So I'm willing to spend on a big and reliable hard drive, a high quality monitor, a lot of RAM and a good mouse&keyboard setup.

    I can compromise on the video card and if necessary on the processor as well.

    What do you recommend?
    "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master" - Commissioner Pravin Lal.

  • #2
    ZX spectrum
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    • #3
      Originally posted by TheStinger
      ZX spectrum
      It looks gay.
      "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master" - Commissioner Pravin Lal.

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      • #4
        If you are doing MATLAB you probably want a good CPU ...

        If you're talking about building your own computer, Aeson will chime in with the best of the current market at some point, but in general my suggestions are:
        Video Card - ATI HD 4850 (around $200 for a very good card)
        CPU - Intel, don't remember what's the perfect one right now but something around $150 usually is
        MB - one that fits your needs in terms of connectivity and is from a reliable manufacturer
        HDD - 2xWD Caviar 500GB (RAID) since reliability is important; most MB's have SATA RAID built in nowadays. You can also get a separate (or pair of separate) HDD that's in the 10000 RPM range if you want for your windows install itself.
        RAM - 4GB from one of the reliable manufacturers of DDR3 (if your MB supports it), or DDR2 if not, best available speed.
        Monitor - Samsung widescreen, pick your size based on what size you want. 22" is pretty big if you're used to 17" regular monitors, 24" is very big.
        You need Vista 64 bit to fully take advantage of the 4GB RAM, but that's a personal choice...
        <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
        I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by snoopy369
          If you are doing MATLAB you probably want a good CPU ...

          If you're talking about building your own computer, Aeson will chime in with the best of the current market at some point, but in general my suggestions are:
          Video Card - ATI HD 4850 (around $200 for a very good card)
          CPU - Intel, don't remember what's the perfect one right now but something around $150 usually is
          MB - one that fits your needs in terms of connectivity and is from a reliable manufacturer
          HDD - 2xWD Caviar 500GB (RAID) since reliability is important; most MB's have SATA RAID built in nowadays. You can also get a separate (or pair of separate) HDD that's in the 10000 RPM range if you want for your windows install itself.
          RAM - 4GB from one of the reliable manufacturers of DDR3 (if your MB supports it), or DDR2 if not, best available speed.
          Monitor - Samsung widescreen, pick your size based on what size you want. 22" is pretty big if you're used to 17" regular monitors, 24" is very big.
          You need Vista 64 bit to fully take advantage of the 4GB RAM, but that's a personal choice...
          Thanks, I'll check those out.

          Concerning the hard drive, I'm not sure I need reliability enough to go the RAID road. I've been thinking about the WD or Hitachi 1TB drives, for large capacity and a good manufacturer.

          Monitor - Why do you recommend Samsung over other companies?

          RAM - Can you point me towards some of those reliable manufacturers?
          "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master" - Commissioner Pravin Lal.

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          • #6
            A simple RAID is nice because you just plug two drives in and they back eachother up (ie, no work on your end). Hitachi is the 'new up and coming' drive manufacturer, but I'm not sure their reliability is long-term prove yet. You might as well go with 2 500GB (RAID or not) at this point, less failure chance of the whole thing and probably cheaper.

            Samsung is generally considered the best consumer monitor brand ... best colors, best black level, and very solid reliability.

            RAM - most reliable are generally OCZ, Corsair, Crucial, Mushkin, Geil from what I've seen, but pay attention to reviews - RAM chips are usually made by another company (TI, Fujitsu, Samsung, several others) and any given 'brand' might use any given company's chip in a particular model, and often the actual maker of the chip matters just as much. Usually newegg reviews are useful to weed out the worse ones.
            <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
            I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

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            • #7
              You might as well go with 2 500GB (RAID or not) at this point, less failure chance of the whole thing and probably cheaper.


              Hmm... Haven't thought of that. I might start with RAID and move to two separate drives when space runs out. I can get two 640GB WD drives for 10% less than I can get a 1TB one. And 640GB ought to be enough for at least one year. Although the 1TB outperforms the 640GB ones, I'm not sure how important that gap in performance is.
              "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master" - Commissioner Pravin Lal.

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              • #8
                If MATLAB is mutlicore, consider a Q9550 if you can get one for a good price...
                You just wasted six ... no, seven ... seconds of your life reading this sentence.

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                • #9
                  You could just start out on RAID and buy a new drive when space runs out... it will be cheap by then anyway I imagine, unless you're downloading the entire internet.

                  The performance gap is negligible I think, and it's not entirely a true gap - you have some variance in what it does better and what it does worse.
                  <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
                  I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

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                  • #10
                    But I like the concept of having more than 1TB of disk space...

                    Is there a specific Samsung model to look for? I'll probably got for 22" wide screen.
                    "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master" - Commissioner Pravin Lal.

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                    • #11
                      There used to be, it was the 225CW ... but now there are like six or seven at that size. I think they have different advantages in terms of colors or something (and also, visual appearance). Get one that has a high brightness level and high contrast, I think ... and don't get the 225BW, as it has a higher failure rate (last I checked anyway).
                      <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
                      I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Every monitor I see has a 300cd/m^2 brightness level and ludicrously high contrast levels (8k:1,10k:1, even 50k:1). And they all have have the usual 5ms response time, or 2ms if you measure GTG. So what's the big difference between monitors anyway?
                        "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master" - Commissioner Pravin Lal.

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                        • #13
                          If you're not doing any gaming, you could probably go with a much cheaper video card. Will save on power usage and noise too. If you do some gaming though, now is a good time to grab a card, since it's one of the few times where ATI and nVidia are both competitive across the full range of cards. Prices have dropped quite a bit, and you can get a pretty good mid-range card for ~$100, instead of ~$300 like was the case a year ago.

                          http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...rd,2033-2.html

                          E8400 or E8500 dual cores are still (generally) better CPUs than similarly priced quad cores IMO. Most of the quad cores are too low speed (unless you're overclocking) or too high priced still. Q9550 is a good value though at it's price range. It will be slower in some applications due to slightly lower clock speed, but it's more future proof and will give a significant boost in programs which can take advantage of those multi-cores or when doing a lot of multitasking. Generally I suggest going with dual cores and putting the money into the graphics card, but that's for gaming.

                          As for RAM, just go with standard voltage/timings. I always use the cheapest standard voltage/timings RAM and have never had a compatibility problem. And the difference in performance in real world applications is negligible. All that really matters with RAM is capacity and compatibility with your system. 4GB is enough for most people, but 8GB is fast becoming a good option these days too. (Either way get a 64bit OS)
                          "tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Eli
                            Every monitor I see has a 300cd/m^2 brightness level and ludicrously high contrast levels (8k:1,10k:1, even 50k:1). And they all have have the usual 5ms response time, or 2ms if you measure GTG. So what's the big difference between monitors anyway?
                            How well they report their numbers? In reviews most of those numbers end up being shown as rather... made up...

                            Color accuracy, bleedthrough, they all vary slightly even though most of the panels used are from the same couple sources.

                            Generally it's best to walk around some tech shops and look at the displays. What looks best is probably best for you. (Though the store lighting can screw even that up.) Then go online and find the lowest price on the model(s) you like.
                            "tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner"

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                            • #15

                              E8400 or E8500 dual cores are still (generally) better CPUs than similarly priced quad cores IMO. Most of the quad cores are too low speed (unless you're overclocking) or too high priced still. Q9550 is a good value though at it's price range. It will be slower in some applications due to slightly lower clock speed, but it's more future proof and will give a significant boost in programs which can take advantage of those multi-cores or when doing a lot of multitasking. Generally I suggest going with dual cores and putting the money into the graphics card, but that's for gaming.


                              Interesting. I'll look into these models. Thanks.

                              As for RAM, just go with standard voltage/timings. I always use the cheapest standard voltage/timings RAM and have never had a compatibility problem. And the difference in performance in real world applications is negligible. All that really matters with RAM is capacity and compatibility with your system. 4GB is enough for most people, but 8GB is fast becoming a good option these days too. (Either way get a 64bit OS)


                              What's this voltage/timing thingie?
                              "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master" - Commissioner Pravin Lal.

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