Advice needed on a new pc or laptop

Thursday, January 10, 2008 by teddybearcholla | Discussion: Personal Computing


I am looking to purchase a new pc. I have an HP Pavilion, WindowsXP Home SP2. Intel Celeron CPU 2.ooGHz , 1.99 GHz, 504MB of RAM , Intel Extreme Graphics, which I am still very happy with. But I would like to create images that can be printed at 300dpi...and poster size, say 30"x40"...although my son wants one as long as his sofa...
Some of the programs I use are Apophysis, photoshop6, psp7, Artrage, Artrage2, twistedbrush, coreldraw9 and photopaint, dogwaffle, deep paint, Inkscape, Terragen, Contextfree, ArtWeaver...and a few more. I have a Maxtor One Touch external hard drive for back up and an Epson stylus photo 1280. From what I have been reading, many of these programs are not compatible with Vista. I have found a few XP's at Dell. I do not need Microsoft Word, and I do not play games on my pc. I'm not sure about a flat screen, I like the regular monitor...although I have used my friends laptop and I do not have the glare, I sometimes have with the monitor.
Any advice, thoughts....would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Barbara
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starkers
Reply #1 Friday, January 11, 2008 11:12 PM
I don't live in the US so I'm not too sure about shopping there, but here in Oz it's often cheaper to have a PC built by one of the smaller stores, rather than go with a propriety brand with features you neither want or need. Not only that, besides getting exactly what you want in your PC, it's better in that you also avoid the bloatware big manufacturers all too often load on their systems.

Also, Shaunna (mrs starkers) uses a few of those programs (Apophysis, PSP8, Artrage2, CorelDraw and others) on Vista without issues. Your printer will most likely have driver support for Vista also. I can not say for sure if your Maxtor OneTouch would be compatible, but I imaging that it would be if it's a 'plug and play'. However, if you'd feel more comfortable with XP, then the smaller stores would install that for you, I'm sure.

As for the LCD flat screen monitors, while they take up less desktop space, it's a matter of personal preference. Some people swear by the old CRT monitors, especially for graphics work, while others prefer an flat screen for sharpness & clarity. If you are not too sure, I would suggest that you shop around where you can actually see the monitors in action, and can compare/even trial them in-store, and go with one which most suits your needs, rather than have to buy 'blind'.

I have no experience with laptops whatsoever, and it's just my opinion for the desktop, but I'd be inclined to go for a non-branded PC, if it were me... if that helps at all.

Oh, and beware of technically inexperienced sales-persons with the gift of the gab, who may try to palm you off with something you might/could regret later... also, be certain you're happy with your purchase before leaving the store, etc, etc.

All the best with it, then, and happy shopping.... starkers.

ALMonty
Reply #2 Saturday, January 12, 2008 12:59 AM
It depends on your budget. I recently purchased a customized pc from HP with Vista Ultimate installed. I have no problem running those programs. I would suggest 32bit, max ram and a large vid card. That's if you decide on Vista.

I use an HP 9800 wideformat printer that's prints at 13x19 with 1200x1200dpi res. I had to install XP drivers to get it to print at high resolution.

As for the monitor I have an HP 22" and a 24" lcd's and the nice thing about them is can turn the screen 90 degrees so you can work on pictures that are vertical.

My experience....Good Luck
teddybearcholla
Reply #3 Thursday, January 17, 2008 8:03 AM


Thank you both very much....sorry for this late reply, but I am trying to quit smoking and sometimes just being on the pc is not enough to take my mind off my habit. Anyway, I will look into having my pc guy build me one...I have found him to be honest in his business.
starkers
Reply #4 Thursday, January 17, 2008 10:01 PM
Thank you both very much....sorry for this late reply, but I am trying to quit smoking and sometimes just being on the pc is not enough to take my mind off my habit. Anyway, I will look into having my pc guy build me one...I have found him to be honest in his business.


Not to worry about the late reply, Barb... you've got a very good reason to be a little tardy. Good on you for quitting the smokes... mrs starkers and I did it 9 months ago now, and I can safely say that you won't be sorry.

Oh, and it does get easier as time goes on, so keep up the good work and don't quit quitting.

As for getting your PC built, rather than pre-built, if you trust the guy to do a good job at a reasonable price, it'd be a good idea to discuss your want and needs with him and take it from there. So long as you're happy that's what's important.
teddybearcholla
Reply #5 Saturday, March 15, 2008 4:18 PM


I had my pc guy build my new pc... I have, 160 gig 7200rpm hard drive, AMD
Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3500 2.21GHz 960MB Ram........... Windows XP, but it can be upgraded to basic Vista if I choose. And I bought a 20" Samsung
flat panel monitor...someone had ordered it, decided they didn't want it, so my pc guy gave me a deal...I was going to buy a new CRT, but I couldn't pass on the flatpanel. I have not decided if I like it or not...I am used to working on a "square" screen ( well kind of). And the colors on the new one are so much brighter. I have been rendering fractals, and I just finished a digital painting...when I moved them ( by one of those tiny flash drives) and saw them on my hp crt monitor, what a difference...so much darker, the fractals I can hardly see on this monitor, but on the new one they are brilliant color. I was told by a friend of mine that visited last summer, that my crt monitor showed much darker than her laptop screen. Today I adjusted the crt to 100% contrast and bright...not much difference.
Do crt monitors need driver updates?

Now seeing the difference between my 2 monitors, this tells me that everyone sees, images differently. Obviously I have been viewing wallpapers, windowblinds, etc. darker than others. Is this the norm, or am I doing something wrong?

9 weeks smoke free...
Bebi Bulma
Reply #6 Saturday, March 15, 2008 4:44 PM
Do crt monitors need driver updates?

Not that I know of, they just can't display as brightly because of the different technologies of display (tube vs liquid crystal). LCD ftw, you'll never go back (same with widescreen, it's awesome).

You can adjust the contrast and brightness on your LCD though. My 24" Samsung was sooooo bright out of the box, I had to tweak it so I wouldn't go blind from looking at it.   
kona0197
Reply #7 Saturday, March 15, 2008 8:22 PM
I would suggest building your own. So much cheaper than paying for a name when you buy a Dell or HP...

Newegg.com is your friend...
teddybearcholla
Reply #8 Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:13 PM


Thank you Bebi, I will give that a try with my LCD!!

Thanks kona0197, I already had my computer guy build one for me. I am not that pc savvy to build one myself!!
yrag
Reply #9 Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:35 PM
960MB Ram


That's problematic. What memory array is in there?
teddybearcholla
Reply #10 Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:53 PM
That's problematic. What memory array is in there?


It is supposed to be 1 gig, but those numbers are what it says when I check on properties. I have no idea what a *memory array* is, yrag.
Nimbin
Reply #11 Saturday, March 15, 2008 11:14 PM
It is supposed to be 1 gig, but those numbers are what it says when I check on properties. I have no idea what a *memory array* is, yrag.




correct me if i am wrong, but it sounds like you have onboard graphics and it is stealing 64Mb from your system memory, this will be why properties only reports 960Mb of RAM.
teddybearcholla
Reply #12 Sunday, March 16, 2008 12:04 AM
correct me if i am wrong, but it sounds like you have onboard graphics and it is stealing 64Mb from your system memory, this will be why properties only reports 960Mb of RAM


What do you mean by "on board" graphics?
yrag
Reply #13 Sunday, March 16, 2008 12:27 AM
I have no idea what a *memory array*


What's in the memory slots. ie: 2 x 512 sticks, 4 x 256, etc

What do you mean by "on board" graphics?


The graphic processor is part of the motherboard (no graphic card).



If there is a graphic card installed, what is it?
teddybearcholla
Reply #14 Tuesday, March 18, 2008 10:46 PM
This is what it says I have for memory... PC3200-512megs

Graphics card...I don't see one listed...is this something that can be added on, and any particular kind?



Bebi Bulma
Reply #15 Tuesday, March 18, 2008 10:52 PM
I'd suggest adding another 512mb of RAM (if it really only is 512 instead of 1gb).

If it's a desktop pc then yes you can add a video card, just need to know what your mobo will allow (AGP, PCI-e 16x, etc). Would need to lookup the specifications for your motherboard or have someone (who knows what they're doing) crack open the case and take a looksie (for the RAM too).
whatwhere
Reply #16 Tuesday, March 18, 2008 11:05 PM
most onboard graphics cards will sometimes "borrow" physical memory if it runs out of it's own.
teddybearcholla
Reply #17 Tuesday, March 18, 2008 11:22 PM
I'd suggest adding another 512mb of RAM (if it really only is 512 instead of 1gb).


I'll talk with the guy that built it...supposed to be 1 gig..
If it's a desktop pc then yes you can add a video card, just need to know what your mobo will allow (AGP, PCI-e 16x, etc). Would need to lookup the specifications for your motherboard or have someone (who knows what they're doing) crack open the case and take a looksie (for the RAM too).


I would not be the one to do this, since I'm not that knowledgeable about the insides of the pc. Thank you bebi!!


most onboard graphics cards will sometimes "borrow" physical memory if it runs out of it's own.


Thank you, I didn't know that!!
yrag
Reply #18 Wednesday, March 19, 2008 1:03 AM
I PM'd you earlier....you have 1 GB of memory installed.
teddybearcholla
Reply #19 Wednesday, March 19, 2008 6:02 AM


Thank you yrag, I received your pm...much appreciated!!
teddybearcholla
Reply #20 Wednesday, March 19, 2008 6:04 AM

Thank you yrag, I received your pm...much appreciated!!

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