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June 25, 2018, 01:29:48 AM
599264 Posts in 46224 Topics by 6142 Members
Latest Member: darkchocolatevoodoo Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  StoreBought, Mongrel or Mac? « previous next »
Question: What Type of Computer do You Have?
Name-Brand PC - AMD - 1 (9.1%)
Name-Brand PC - Intel - 2 (18.2%)
Mongrel PC - Amd - 8 (72.7%)
Mongrel PC - Intel - 0 (0%)
Mac - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 8

Pages: [1]
Author Topic: StoreBought, Mongrel or Mac?  (Read 3924 times)
A Very Bad Person, overweight bald guy with a missing tooth, and
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« on: January 13, 2007, 03:35:50 AM »

For the past several months, my machine has been rapidly deteriorating, so I've been considering replacing it.

My moral dilemma is what to replace it with. Question

Not quite sure where to Begin here, but my last two machines were Athlon based mongrels with Asus m-boards, and I really didn't do that much research when I built them. The first one, built in September 2001, lasted a couple of years, but was fairly unreliable. The second one, built in December 2003, was like a dream, until it died about a year later. At that point, I had to pull out the parts from my old machine & rebuild it. Trouble is, the older parts on my old board broke down, so I replaced them with the parts off the newer board, which of course resulted in compatability issues. Hatred

So anyway, on a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I noticed how cheap some fairly decent looking machines have gotten & found myself wondering if I should consider buying a new machine, vice building one. Question

Considering I want to use it for a media machine, some of the younger people I've spoken with suggest I get a Mac, whereas the 30+ crowd & hardcore PC Pros who've tried Macs say they hate them, but neither ever really wants to talk about it. Lookingup

So, I figured I'd Try to get a feel for which direction to go in by seeing what's popular with all y'all first, before I get into the really stupid questions. Twirling

"Science Fiction & Nostalgia have become the same thing!" - T Bone Burnett
Normal is what people are until you get to know them.
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18 Year Veteran

« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2007, 04:16:28 AM »

I haven't used a Mac since high school in 1992 so I couldn't tell you how the newer ones run.

My computer is a mongrel with an AMD processor.
My friend & I originally built it in late 2000.
We purposely bought a tower that could be seriously upgraded if needed.

Last year I swapped out my old motherboard for a new Asus.
(no problems with the Asus yet....knocks on wood)
I purchased a used AMD Athlon 1.8 GHZ processor from marketplace and it's worked like a charm so far.
I also took out all of the old RAM, sold it on eBay and put in 3 new sticks of 512 MB each.
My old 20 gig hard drive kicked the bucket so we replaced it with a new 80 gig one.
A brand new DVD drive/burner was also added.  (I'd had a regular ol' CD drive for years)
I ditched my old crappy monitor and bought a new Hyundai flat screen LCD monitor. 
I also upgraded my video card to a GeForce FX 5500. 
(crappy by today's standards, but still good back then)

The only downside was that the power supply and power switch both went out on me but were easily replaceable and inexpensive.
The original power supply was just too old and underpowered to handle all the new stuff I had installed.
I bought this Diablo power supply for $40 from
The replacement power switch cost me $5 at a local mom & pop computer shop.

I've never had anything but a WHITE BOX when it comes to computers.
It's the wisest and most economical route to go in my opinion.   Thumbup

« Last Edit: January 13, 2007, 04:51:46 AM by Ashthecat » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2007, 09:20:07 AM »

It's really a question of money...2 years ago I bought a Dell through work (they have a small business account) that was a 2.4 GHZ Pentium IV and the machine was great...well, until I wanted to play some better games on it. It had an integrated graphics card and unfortunately, I discovered the lower end Dell's seem to use left over mother boards as this one only had PCI slots and I couldn't update to a better card realistically.
A few weeks ago I bought another Dell through work but researched this one more. I spent twice what I had spent on the previous machine. I got an E521 and upgraded things on it when I ordered it. It has AMD dual processors, 1 GB ram, 160 GB hard drive, and an ATI Radeon x1300 Pro graphics card...with PCI-e slots...I love it and would marry this machine if I could. I can now play any games I have ever wanted to play (Yes! My year long quest to play F.E.A.R. has been realized!), watch any videos, play with photos and if I need to down the road, I can update this thing.
I would recommend Dell but just stay away from the base models that they advertise cheap. Do a little research and you'll see that for not much more money, you can get a great, updateable system from them.

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You're not the Devil...You're practice.
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2007, 10:55:47 AM »

I say, if you really want a media machine, then build your own.  Apple computers are amazing, and I absolutely love them.  You would never, I repeat - NEVER - catch me buying one due to the insane price.  I love their OS, I love their equipment but they're too damned expensive.

I just built my parents a computer last weekend for $213.00 from  I bought them a 2.2GHz AMD64 proc, 512MB PC3200 RAM, Asus mobo and a Powmax case.  I gave them a 40GB Maxtor HDD and a Sony DVD-R/RW that I had laying around.  The computer is quite fast, even when playing games such as Unreal Tournament 2004 with the onboard video.  The motherboard does have PCI-e slots if they want to upgrade their video card.

Me, my computer is the following:

2.8P4 w/ Hyper Threading
P4800-X Asus Motherboard
1GB Corsair XMS PC3200
512MB Rosewill PC3200
XFX Geforce 6800XT video card (just installed about 2 weeks ago - sadly it's AGP  Bluesad)
200GB Maxtor HDD
80GB Hitatchi SATA HDD
Ultra X-Connect 500W power supply

I've had my computer for about 4 years now, but the only thing that is the same about it, is the case.  I have changed every other part since I bought it, but I'm a gadget freak and buy new parts all the time.

As for your question, build your own box if you want it for media.  You'll pay a high price for a namebrand machine built for video/music/etc, but it will be lacking RAM and enough Video memory.  You'll end up having to upgrade soon after buying.  Build your own, do plenty of research and don't be afraid to spend a good bit of money, that way you won't have to worry about upgrading for quite some time.

"The greatest medicine in the world is human laughter. And the worst medicine is zombie laughter." -- Jack Handey

A bald man named Savalas visited me last night in a dream.  I think it was a Telly vision.
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2007, 06:29:33 PM »

I can't tell you exactly what is going on inside my machine, but the cover says IBM and it has worked through the toughest situations without any problems. I do video and motion graphics and had at one time performed a day long video editing session with no troubles. Restart about once every hour to dump the memory and there are no problems. I can perform hour long rendering sessions almost every day and the computer stays sturdy as a rock. I don't play games so I don't know how it would work on that spectrum, but since gaming and me are like television or major political rallies and me, I don't bother.  As long as I have enough space to store all the files and films I make, I feel as though this computer will last as long as I do.

Macs are great, their OS is great and their file structure is great, but pretty much everything that can be done on a Mac can be done on a PC (with the exception of Apple's Final Cut Pro Suite). And Macs are very expensive. If I use one it's because my job has one.

___<br />Spongebob: What could be better than serving up smiles? <br />Squidward: Being Dead.
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We're all just victims of circumstance

« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2007, 06:42:20 PM »

I'm a strictly NO Intel Inside guy.

At work my boss lets me get the parts and build my own instead of getting the Gateways everyone else has to buy. I have a Shuttle XPC at work with an AMD 64 3800+ running two 80GB SATA drives in Raid 1 mode. I also have a 22" wide screen LCD monitor.

My computer at home is also home built and has been running for six years and is still fast enough (Athlon 1700+ with 1GB RAM) for what I do at home. When or if I ever get a broadband connection I'll look into upgrading.


And you thought Trek isn't cool.
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2007, 06:45:10 PM »

With the price of laptops falling, I recently purchased a Dell 1505 to use as a dedicated workstation for the website.  That change is one of the reasons I can keep up my present tempo of new content and updating the older stuff.  I take it with me to work and do email during lunch (when possible), work on updates while traveling, etc.

The 1505 is a 1.6 Ghz Core Duo, with 1 GB of RAM, 80 GB hard drive, and a DVD R/RW drive.  Of course, the week after I ordered it the 1501's became available (those have AMD processors).  Still, I am pretty happy with it.  I get about 4 hours out of a fully charged battery.  You should be able to get a 1501 for about $700 if you catch a sale.  The 1505's are now a bit more expensive.

Before I got the laptop, all of the site's work was done on a self-built Athlon 550 Mhz system I made about 6 years ago.

Whatever you get, I would suggest at 1 GB RAM or more.  The performance difference between 512 Mb RAM and 1 GB is something you will notice.  Also, I would suggest a DVD writable drive.  If you look for laptops, Best Buy often has some decent deals on Toshibas and you can get a good one for about $700 on sale.  A Dell would probably be my second choice in that range.

Nowdays, the only reason I would tell somebody to get a desktop is if they want a beast of a gaming machine.  Otherwise, the flexibility of a laptop should make it a much more attractive option.  It is just that powerful gaming laptops are much more expensive and cannot be as powerful as desktops.

If you are interested in a Mac, I would find a way to try out one first.

Andrew Borntreger
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2007, 06:51:43 PM »

Whatever you get, I would suggest at 1 GB RAM or more.  The performance difference between 512 Mb RAM and 1 GB is something you will notice. 

You're definitely right about that.
I had 512 MB of RAM for over a year and then added a second stick.
The difference was huge.
Funny thing is, when I added the third stick of 512 which put me up to 1.5 GB of RAM, I didn't notice much change at all from 1 GB to 1.5.
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2007, 06:55:20 PM »

I second the "build your own" comment, with the caveat that Dell(*) has some decent packages if, as Odinn said, you stay away from the cheaper stuff.  Glad to hear you build-em guys are using Asus - in researching the boards for my computational cluster nodes, they make the best performance/price board there is, imo - and I work my computers HARD.  Another good higher-end board manufacturer is ABIT.

Lots of good Laptops out there, too, as Andrew says.  In this regard, I was leanding toward Toshiba, but strayed from them because they refuse to sell without MS Windows.  My next laptop purchases (this month, probably) will be from LinuxCertified.

*  Disclaimer: though basically a build-from-scratch guy, I recently became a reseller of Dell High Performance Computing cluster equipment.  I don't sell consumer grade stuff, so giving them a plug in this thread is not, imo, self-serving.  If anyone disagrees and interprets this at all spammy, I won't be the least offended if the mods delete this post.


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Bodie:      I've been giving myself shock treatments.
Professor Hathaway: Up the voltage.

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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2007, 06:59:54 PM »

I always used ABIT motherboards.  When I didn't, it was usually ASUS.

Ash, the reason you saw a bid difference between 512 Mb and 1 GB is probably that you had enough RAM to stop using swap (when the computer starts using the hard drive as extra RAM).  Swap slows you down a lot.  You probably do not use anything that gets above that 1 GB of RAM you have.  Some people who like to have a lot of programs running (Firefox, Thunderbird, Office, Adobe, etc.) at the same time, might benefit from the extra RAM.  Some programs will also use it, games are a common culprit for using up RAM. is running on a server with Dual Opterons (AMD).

Andrew Borntreger
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2007, 07:04:02 PM »

Well, I did notice an improvement during gameplay when I upgraded to 1.5 GB.
I play a lot of Steam games such as
Day of Defeat Source Small | Large
and Counter Strike Source which both require somewhat high end systems to run.
There definitely was a noticeable difference in how smooth and much faster the games ran.
But for regular things other than gaming, I don't see any difference at all.

By the way, check out that link for Day of Defeat Source to see a cool video.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2007, 07:14:55 PM by Ashthecat » Logged
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