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Thread: Computer ideas?

  1. #1
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    Computer ideas?

    I am convinced that work is going to pick up in a couple of months so I am going to speed a little money to upgrade my computer. I picked up three Guvment surplus Dells a while back. Got one running and about to tackle the others. My goal has been to piece two together and looks like I might get 3 of the 4 up and running.

    They are Dell office machine with 2.? Gigahertz processors. Plenty fast for what I do. My use is Office type stuff and photo editing. That's my biggest demands on a computer. No gaming or video editing or DVD playing. Lots of web surfiing and design software like sketchup and some Boat design software. Nothing really demanding.

    Here is what I am thinking about doing and just thought someone might have an idea for something I overlooked.

    • I will replace the on-board video card with one set up for dual monitors. Going with a lower end card. No need for a high end card. $50 +/-
    • Add one of my modems. I use answering machine software for my phone system.
    • Add a Gig of RAM
    • A couple of 250 to 300 Gig drives $150 +/-
    • Thinking seriously about adding a RAID card. I have to buy drives anyway since the Guvment pulls those before they are sold. With the proper RAID card ($40 +/-) I could run SATA drives since they are same price as IDE drives.
    • I want to buy new flat screens to replace my old dual CRT's. $300+ (That will will also enable me to replace the office furniture I have now with something smaller and better looking)


    Anything else I should consider? That is pushing my comfort zone price wise with two new monitors. I can use what I have now but after using a flat screen they are just so much sharper, I really want to do that if I can swing it. Not that is that much money, just my work has slowed dramatically and I am preserving cash so I don't get in trouble. So right now $500 is good bit. But it's a pretty cheap computer considering what it would have in it too.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  2. #2
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    It all sounds good to me.

    The raid array is money well spent, it has saved my bacon twice

    Make sure you get the fastest HDD you can, recently I found the difference in price between a 120Gb 5400 rpm and a 120Gb 7200 rpm disk was only about $10, why buy the slower disk?

    I agree with the flatscreen monitors, they are very nice.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Been thinking about RAID for a while now. I do serious backups now. My work requires I keep files 5 years minimum, it's the law. I now store everything digital, no more paper so back ups are critical. I partition my drives and put the data seperate from the OS so I can reformat and not loose my data files.

    I just had to reformat my computer due to a problem. All the data was safe, just annoying to have to spend a day rebuilding the software. That got me serious about RAID.

    And yes, I was surprised the cost of drives and minimal differences in prices between models. I would skip the flat screens and go with better drives.

    Just about to order a new Flat screen and keyboard for the first Dell I refurbished. It's going in the kitchen to replace my antique laptop. It's so old it barely can do anything anymore. It deserves a rest!
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  4. #4
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    Melbourne, FL
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    Windows

    Be careful of any op sys software supplied by Dell.

    Some of the Dell supplied windows systems are only good on a Dell motherboard.

    I tried to upgrade an old Dell and ran into lotza trouble with their version of Windows XP

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Simmons View Post
    Be careful of any op sys software supplied by Dell.

    Some of the Dell supplied windows systems are only good on a Dell motherboard.

    I tried to upgrade an old Dell and ran into lotza trouble with their version of Windows XP
    That's confusing. Wouldn't an MS OS, like XP or Vista be Microsoft supplied and used by Dell through a licensing agreement?

  6. #6
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    If you're using AGP video I've got a couple cards laying around I could pass on to you. PM me if you're interested.

  7. #7
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    Win XP and Dell

    Frank - You are correct it is confusing.

    "That's confusing. Wouldn't an MS OS, like XP or Vista be Microsoft supplied and used by Dell through a licensing agreement?"


    Just a warning that the copy of Win XP you have on your Dell is NOT the same as if you bought a real copy of Win XP from MS.

    The Dell version is coded such that if you try it on another motherbd you need to re register it. When you try to re register it with MS they tell you that copy of XP is only allowed to be run on a Dell. I was told that if I bought a Dell MB it would be OK to reregister it. I would not be surprised if this is the same for many of the popular computer box makers. That is how they can include Windows for very low cost.

    So because of this feature I have bought my last Dell. My recent upgrade is just a box of put together parts with a real copy of Windows.

    I learned all this when I was going to upgrade my old Dell by buying a new motherbd, cpu and some memory and be in business for maybe $200-$300. It ended up costing a lot more than that.

    Of course I was able to reuse the 4 rubber feet from the bottom of the Dell case. I checked with the manufacturer of the rubber feet. They said the rubber foot license was transferable to another box.

  8. #8
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    That is pretty much standard with all manufacturers now. Don't just point fingers at Dell. You can't grab a Gateway disk and install it on a Acer either.

    This may be changing but many manufacturers give you a Restore Disk. If you put it in and run it it RESTORES the computer to the exact state it was in from the factory. Deleting everything on the disk. Nice of them wasn't it?
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    810
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Horton View Post
    This may be changing but many manufacturers give you a Restore Disk. If you put it in and run it it RESTORES the computer to the exact state it was in from the factory. Deleting everything on the disk. Nice of them wasn't it?
    Having recently lost (to electro/mechanical failure) both my 8-1/2 year old Toshiba laptops within days of each other, I bought a Compaq (HP) laptop. There were no recovery discs, just instructions on how to create a set of discs, and ..... you can only create one set per install - how's that for cheap?

    That aside, it's a good machine so far. It took a few days to adjust from XP to Vista, but even that seems to have been conquered.

    cheers (sorry for the off thread topic detour Jeff)

    John

  10. #10
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    I am not discouraging you from building your own but for what you want to spend you could buy a new HP or Dell computer with RAID or a white-box from a VAR or Costco and have a lot less issues. BTW I love RAID and would never again go without it. Your prices seem off by about 2X high from what is available locally.

    Configuring RAID is still not trivial so be careful before you store something you care about.

    If you are running Vista make sure you have 2 gig, the few $ make a huge difference is usability.

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