Vista PC recommendations?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by NeilO, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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    I have been using my current PC for about 7 years. It has WindowsME, but I find more and more that I am going to need a new PC. The new version of TaxCut is not supported. Firefox 2.0 completely bogged down and stopped working well under ME so I had to revert back.

    So, I think I'll probably go out and get a new PC, probably Dell like the rest we have in our house. The question is what hardware specs I should really get for this PC. I mainly use it for internet, wavesplitting some radio shows and making CDs from those to listen to in the car, Excel, Word, and mIRC. We have a router physically connected to another PC and a netgear wireless card which I use to connect to that. Since I'll probably want to keep the next PC for at least as long as I've been using this one, I should go with Vista.

    So, any ideas of what minimum specs I should be looking at? I have an extra 80 GB drive on this PC that I'd probably want to just install in the new PC as an extra drive there and to have easy access to all the data on it.

    Thanks,

    Neil
     
  2. Kean-Hock Yeap

    Kean-Hock Yeap Stunt Coordinator

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    Probably want a PC with a dual-core CPU, with at least 2 GB of memory. A few things to keep in mind: applications you are currently using Win ME are very likely to NOT work with Vista so you will have to upgrade them too. Also, if you are planning on reusing some of your existing peripherals (e.g. printer, scanner, and even router), check to make sure they are Vista compatible first. That will save you a lot of headache down the road.
     
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I agree on the dual-core processor and I would say that 2GB is the minimum amount of memory. I would also make sure you have a video card that can fully take advantage of the aero interface. With a desktop computer this will be simple and checp -- with a laptop it can be pricey to get a good video card and may not be worth the price to you.

    Also, definitely get Vista Home Premium. It is well worth the price over Vista Basic.
     
  4. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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    It would definitely be a desktop. What video card specs would be recommended?

    Thanks,

    Neil
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Just about any video card in a desktop will do these days -- just make sure it has an actual video card and not "integrated" video. Most video cards these days are PCI-e (PCI Express) which is the fastest connection type available. As a very high-level recommendation, just look for any PCI-e video card that has at least 256MB of memory.
     
  6. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    I agree with "SethH" above.

    EXCEPT ... I would start out with at least 3GB of RAM. (3GB of RAM seems to be the "sweet spot" for Windows Vista Home Premium.)

    Vista is actually a pretty smooth OS when loaded up on a properly equipped Desktop PC.

    These days, "properly equipped" means:
    * Dual core processor
    * 3GB RAM
    * Graphics Accelerator card (certified for DirectX 10) with at least 256MB of dedicated memory.
    * 250GB Hard Drive (minimum).

    That said, you need to be aware that in all probability *none* of the DOS games you were running on Windows ME will run under Vista. The Vista "DOS Box" (invoked by launching "cmd") doesn't even support "fullscreen" mode.
     
  7. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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    Thanks for the info. I don't think I've run a DOS game on this WindowsME machine. I think the last time I played any such games was on a Windows95 machine.

    Neil
     
  8. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Another suggestion on the RAM. Configure the computer with the least RAM possible (probably 1GB total in in 2x512MB configuration). Then order additional RAM from Newegg. This will almost always be cheaper. Currently Newegg is selling 2GB of Corsair in a 2x1GB configuration for $41. I'd be willing to bet Dell is charging well over $100 for that.
     
  9. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Neil:

    I know that Gateway has really gone down in the eyes of its users over the years but they just came out with a new series they sell at retail stores. It is the model GM 5664. I just picked up a couple of these.

    They include the new AMD Phenom Quad Core CPU, with 3G of 667MHz dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM, 1 Terabyte of storage (2 500G 7200 SATA drives) and a Blu-ray/HD DVD combo drive. The OS is Windows Vista Home Premium. The video is an ATI Radeon™ HD 2400XT with 256MB.

    I have one set up in my bedroom and I am going to set the other up in my HT so I can stream the content between the two.

    The best part is that a complete system including a 19 inch monitor and Canon printer goes for $1249. The PC by itself is only $1099.

    Parker
     
  10. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I recently purchased a Dell XPS laptop for ~$1400 with Core2, 2 GB of Ram and Vista Premium. Overall, the laptop works quite well and there isn't a lot of lag. Dell also sells Windows XP solutions and you could always get a cheaper machine and run Linux on it (Ubuntu, etc.). If you decide to go with Vista, the critical hardware elements are 2+ cores, 2+ GB of RAM, and a video card (anything with DirectX capabilities). The Aero desktop (in Vista) uses DirectX acceleration ... if you don't have a video card it will bog down your processor. Alternatively you can turn off all the pretty features and Vista will zip along.

    In terms of software and hardware compatibility, I have been running Vista on 2 machines at home and compatibility has never been -better-. With XP I had to hunt down all kinds of drivers... when I installed Vista it found everything (same hardware) and installed everything automatically. People also complain about the increased security in Vista (lots of pop-ups when you are performing administrator functions). IMO the extra security is worth the inconvenience.

    Finally, 32b Vista will only take advantage of 3GB worth of memory (so don't get 4GB). Stay away from 64b Vista... there is no reason for you to get it given your needs.
     
  11. Highlander_821

    Highlander_821 Auditioning

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    I am running Vista HP on my Dell HTPC (Quad core CPU, 4 G Ram, nVidia 8600 GT) and it is GREAT! As the other person stated, it handles hardware very well. I only had one program not work and that was a disk imaging solution that was readily replaced by the Norton imaging program that came with the new PC.

    Also, all those annoying popups can be disabled by turning user account control off.
     
  12. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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    Thanks for all the great suggestions.

    Neil
     
  13. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    I'm going to disagree with everyone here and recommend you go with a PC that comes with a Windows XP "upgrade". There's no need to touch Vista if you can avoid it, and you won't need as much machine to run it.

    And there's no guarantee Vista will get better with SP1. In fact, it includes a kernel overhaul which could introduce a whole slew of new instabilities and vulnerabilities.
     
  14. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    I wouldn't be afraid to go Vista. I think Vista has undeservedly gotten a very bad rap. Most people I hear ripping on Vista have never even used it (not pointing at you nolesrule). Often the only reason they have anything against Vista is because 'they heard' it was bad. I'm sure a lot of that comes from Apple's funny and effective, however, misleading ads.

    I've been running Vista since the Beta and currently have two desktops and a laptop running Vista at home. I would NOT go back to XP. Vista has consistently been more stable and secure than XP.

    When I upgraded to Vista, the only 'issues' I had were with a few older programs not working and the free firewall program I was running not working. Other than that I have had no issues with Vista.

    As others have said, get a good dual core processor. As for RAM, 3GB is nice (it's what I have on this desktop), but my other desktop has 2GB and it runs perfectly fine too. In fact, my wife's laptop only has 1GB and runs fine, but she only uses it to surf the web, email, and word processing. Unless that's all you're doing I wouldn't recommend 1GB.
     
  15. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Bryan:

    I agree with you about Vista. I have Vista HP on my bedroom HTPC and love it. Since they removed the right click on the desktop to set the desktop image, image resolution, etc. how do you go about changing that?


    Parker
     
  16. Steve_Pannell

    Steve_Pannell Supporting Actor

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    I'm not Bryan but I'll try to answer your question.

    Right click on the desktop and click "personalize". That should give you a control panel to set sounds, resolution, display settings, etc.
     
  17. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    I can't stand Apple's ads. As a person who makes a living dealing with people's messed up and fubared computers, I was just making a recommendation.

    And to all of you that are running Vista, I hope that when you do the SP1 upgrade, I hope it goes better than this.
     
  18. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    Regarding the desktop background, Steve beat me to it-- Right click on Desktop and then choose Personalize.

    As for just changing the background image, you can still just right click on the image and choose to set it as the background.

    Nolesrule, regarding the link you posted: If you notice, the users were having problems installing SP1 RC (Release Candidate). That is not the final public release. It's a pre-release code that Microsoft explicity states "is provided for testing purposes only. Microsoft does not recommend installing this software on primary or mission-critical systems." If the users in that thread are going to play with Beta releases they have to be expecting these sort of issues.

    I must say it is tempting to install these pre-release codes if you can get a hold of them. I installed both Vista RC1 and Vista RC2 on my main PC at home. [​IMG] Fortunately I didn't run into any problems like these poor folks.
     
  19. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Well, I do agree that pre-release code is caveat emptor. However, anything that's been bumped up to an RC should only require minor debugging, not trashing whole systems.

    And, of course, Microsoft, like any other smart company, will put the CYA statement on any non-final release software. Some products (and not just those from MS, should put that on their production releases of software too (unfortunately).
     
  20. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    Too true!
     

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