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#13283 by ccd
Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:09 pm
I am looking at getting a new PC without spending a fortune. I was wondering if anyone had any advise on chips and graphic cards? Would a single high speed chip with a 256 graphics card be faster than a dual chip and a 128 graphics card? Would a dual chip help at all or only in multitask situations? I am planning on getting at least 1G of ram. I typically do 2-D construction documents. Any advise, knowledge, or experience would be greatly appreciated.
#13285 by Neil Blanchard
Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:17 pm
Hello and welcome!

The 1GB of RAM is a good starting point; try and leave room for upgrading to 2GB or more. So depending on the number of RAM slots on the motherboard, you could get 2X 512MB, or you might need to get a single 1Gb stick.

If you get an Athlon 64 X2, or and Core 2 Duo, then you will be helped in multitasking situations (at the moment), but also possibly in the future, if DataCAD goes "multi-threaded". The trend is toward dual cores, as well as more RAM.

I would stay away from dual core Pentium 4 -- in fact, I wouldn't recommend any P4's at this point. They are just too hot, and are not as powerful as the Athlon 64, let alone the Core 2 Duo.

The speed of the video "GPU" is more important than the amount of RAM; though there are lots of cards with 256MB that don't cost too much. If you do larger 3D models, with lots of textures, then the 256MB might help some.

For minimum budget, I would go for an Athlon 64 single core, with a midline 256MB video card, and the 1GB of RAM. The premium for a dual core is ~$125 (and up), while the savings to go to a 128MB video card is much less. The other reason to go with the Athlon 64, is the cost of RAM: DDR is less money than DDR2.

Are you going to build it yourself, or have it built at a local shop?
#13286 by ccd
Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:01 pm
I was going to try to get one from Dell, HP, or Gateway. I know there are horror stories out there about all 3, but I have owned 2 Dells and 1 Gateway and never had a problem with any of them. Where as a friend had one built local, from a reputable dealer, and recieved no support or help at all. I want some Tech. support because I cannot afford to have downtime.
Dell only offers the Pentium chip and I was trying to shy away from Pentium. I've seen the tests and the Athlon chip always seems to run faster and cooler. I wanted to get a dual core with a 256 card but don't know if I could justify the cost. I wanted to stay around $1300 with a 17" flat panel.

Thanks for the reply,
#13288 by Neil Blanchard
Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:14 pm
Hello Clint,

I'd definitely get a 19" or a 20" LCD monitor -- or two 17"! :o

I'd look at HP; they have both the Core 2 Duo and the Athlon 64 X2 systems starting at $900:

The X2 systems have a 4200+ CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and you can add a 17" OR a 19" LCD monitor for $100 -- your choice! :P

You can even get a second monitor for just another $100, apparently!

If you use the Customize, you can get WinXP Pro, 256MB video, and 19" LCD for $1260. Or with a second 19" monitor for $1360!

For a tad less, you can even get a Core 2 Duo E6400 - which is going to be a faster machine, even than the 4200+ X2. For some reason, they only sell it with Media Edition XP, but that should be fine, too.
Last edited by Neil Blanchard on Mon Sep 25, 2006 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#13309 by Neil Blanchard
Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:06 am

I've been looking a bit more at these HP systems -- they look pretty darn good, with the only "weak" link being the stock video card. If you do any 3D and/or you want to use two monitors, I would consider upgrading the video card, at least to the next one up, if not the best one they offer.

These are very fast dual core CPU's -- the Intel Core 2 Duo's are very fast indeed. The Athlon 64 X2 was the fastest -- until the Core 2 Duo's came out, and they both are relatively cool running. The Athlons may have some advantages running with a 64bit version of Windows, like WinXP Pro x64 or Windows Vista.

Either CPU will be great, and these systems look to be an excellent value. Dell's Core 2 Duo systems are much more money, and they don't yet offer the Athlon 64; ditto for Gateway.

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