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Buying ALIENWARE. Big PENTIUM decision...please help!

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ronald Epstein, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    About to buy my first ALIENWARE system.

    Here are my specs. Big question to follow....
    ("?" replaces REGISTERED TRADEMARK LOGOS)


    [1] Area-51 5550

    Warranty: 3-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support with Onsite Service Bundle with AlienAutopsy and Respawn
    Operating System: Microsoft TM
    Windows TM XP Professional with Service Pack 2
    Chassis: Alienware TM Full-Tower Case (480-Watt PS) - Saucer Black
    Cable Management: Alienwareï TM Cable Management System
    Power Supply: Alienware TM 480 Watt Power Supply
    Processor: Intel TM Pentium TM 4 Processor 660 w/ HT Technology 3.6GHz 2MB Cache
    Motherboard: Alienware TM PCI Express Motherboard with Intel TM 925XE Chipset 1066/800MHz FSB
    Memory: 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz - 2 x 1024MB
    Graphics Processor: ATI RADEON TM X850 XT PCI Express 256MB DDR3 w/ Dual Digital and TV Out
    Chassis Upgrades: AlienIce TM 2.0 Video Cooling System - Astral Blue
    System Drive: High Performance - Serial ATA - 250GB Serial ATA 7,200 RPM w/8MB Cache
    Optical Drive One: Lite-On TM 16x DVD / 52x32x52x CD-RW Drive
    Optical Drive Two: NEC TM ND-3520 16x Dual Layer DVD TM R/W Drive
    Floppy Drive: 3.5" 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive - Black
    Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster TM Audigy TM 2 ZS High Definition 7.1 Surround Firewire (IEEE TM 1394)
    Network Connection: Integrated High Performance Gigabit Ethernet
    Portable Storage : Alienware TM 10-in-1 Digital Media Reader / Writer
    Display One: No Monitor
    Display Two: No Monitor
    Free Alienware T-Shirt: Free Alienware TM T-Shirt - Black
    Free Alienware Mousepad: Free Alienware TM Mousepad
    AlienInspection: AlienInspection - Exclusive Integration and Inspection - $99.99 Value - FREE!


    $2987 shipped


    Now....

    For an extra $555 is it worth going from a
    Intel TM Pentium TM 4 Processor 660 w/ HT Technology
    3.6GHz 2MB Cache
    to a Intel TM Pentium TM 4 Processor
    w/ HT Technology Extreme Edition 3.73GHz 1066MHz
    FSB 2MB Cache
    ?

    Will I see that much difference in processing
    with the chip upgrade?

    Appreciate the advice.
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    There's some tests between these two processors over at tomshardware.com. The EE definitely wins all the benchmarks, but I don't think it's by enough to justify a $555 difference between the two. The main advantage is the 1066MHz bus, but I personally don't see that as being worth $500+. If you really want the extra speed, buy a nice heatsink and some good thermal paste and overclock it (which shouldn't be a problem because the 600-series is supposed to run cooler than the previous Prescott's).
     
  3. RichP

    RichP Well-Known Member

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    Uh, what happened to the Mac Ron?

    Are you a super hardcore gamer? If not, then this PC quite honestly will be massive overkill.

    For that kind of money you can get a dual proc G5 PowerMac that will last you at least 5 years.

    Just my 2¢
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Rich,

    I am sure this is overkill for what
    I want -- but I want processing speed,
    plain and simple, because I run a lot
    of high-memory programs and load my
    computer with startup apps.

    I'm not sure I want to go Mac. I am
    not convinced it would be the better
    choice mostly because I have hundreds
    of dollars worth of software that won't
    even run on it.
     
  5. Glenise

    Glenise Well-Known Member

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    LOL.
    I was wondering what happened to the mac too.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Glenise,

    I can't take the chance.

    I havde too much PC software here that
    will not run on the Mac.
     
  7. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Well-Known Member

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    Well, let me be another voice of reason then. Didn't you originally state that you wanted to buy a new system at the end of the year? If yes, then there is no point at looking at specs right now.

    If no, then you might not really see a huge shift in performance, as IIRC you're machine wasn't exactly a slouch (specs-wise). Maybe just some optimizing/reformatting is in order?

    -Christian
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Christian,

    I probably did originally say that, Christian.

    I have the opportunity to purchase it now --
    that is why I am looking at systems.

    My current Dell is indeed no slouch, but this
    my normal 2-year upgrade that becomes part of
    a business write-off.
     
  9. Glenise

    Glenise Well-Known Member

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    Ron,

    I always wanted a mac but they cost too much for me.
    I just love the osx gui.
    I've always only bought windows stuff.
    Why doesn't Jobs just release OSX for Intel?
     
  10. DanielKim

    DanielKim Well-Known Member

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    If there is an option for an AMD Athlon 64 processor, I would jump over that any time of day over the Intel processors. Although there isn't much support for the 64 bit processor, the architecture is much better and advanced compared to the Pentium. You would also shave a LARGE chunk on the cost, but seeing your HT cost is probably not an issue =p. The AMD also has a 2000 mhz front side bus and runs much cooler as well. They even have a few AMD boards with PCI express. That's my 2 cents....


    Dan
     
  11. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    Dan:

    Are you familiar with the chips in question? They are actually 64-bit also and run significantly cooler than the other recent intel chips.

    For gaming AMD is still boss, and possibly always will be. However, Ron has indicated that he has no real interest in gaming. Therefore, other than perhaps price, the AMD would offer little, if any, advantage over the intel.
     
  12. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    1. Part of its reliability is due to the fact that Apple doesn't support every combination of junk-quality parts that someone might throw together.

    2. Part of what makes Macintoshes appealing is that Apple is willing and able to design systems that are more than the sum of their hardware and software parts.

    3. Moving to generic Intel/AMD clones would mean giving up influence over hardware direction. Apple was able to force transitions to the PowerPC, and to MacOS X. But even with Microsoft providing the operating system, IBM wasn't able to force a transition to Windows/PowerPC.

    4. Apple makes most of their revenue from hardware. Take that away, and they'd need to raise the price of Mac OS X, possibly by more than PC users are willing to pay.

    5. You'd still need to buy some variation of Windows from Microsoft if you wanted to run off-the-shelf Wintel apps.

    6. Developers who were inclined to be cheap or lazy would write off the Mac OS X on PowerPC market and release just Wintel binaries. (Reasoning: A Mac OS X on x86 customer can run them, and will run them if desperate enough.)

    If #6 started happening with any frequency, then the game would become "Who has a better Windows than Windows?" As I recall, when IBM played a similar game (with OS/2), the cost of the game was prohibitive, and IBM lost. Apple is probably in no hurry to repeat that IBM experience. [​IMG]
     
  13. Scott L

    Scott L Well-Known Member

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    lol if that's true I think his graphics card thread is a sham! [​IMG] Deciding between a 6800 Ultra and X800 and he doesn't even game!? May be best to stick with a 6600/X600 to save on power and heat.
     
  14. DanielKim

    DanielKim Well-Known Member

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    Now, why would the AMD be preferred in gaming? Because it's a superior cpu in all aspects. FPU (floating point calculations crucial in 3D modeling) and SIMD (simple instructions and math) performance is better on the AMD processor than the Intel processors. Did you also see that the AMD has a 2000mhz front side bus? There are many more things than price to be offered and you might want to do research on your own before you categorize processors for gaming/non-gaming. And as someone mentioned before, Ron would be ok with a $50 dollar card if he is not going to be gaming.

    Dan
     
  15. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    Unless you're running applications that take a number of minutes or hours to complete a task, I'm not sure if you will notice the difference between a 3.6 GHz CPU and the 3.0 GHz CPU you have now. Rule of thumb: in the absence of such a workload, there needs to be a 50%+ speedup for most people to notice.

    But let us say you do have such an application. Perhaps it would make more sense to replace the CPU, motherboard, and RAM in your Dell than to toss out your Dell entirely. (If you have an application that is hard-disk-bound, the appropriate upgrade might be to get some extra HDs and a RAID controller and treat the new HDs as a striped set.)

    Maybe you should be looking at a multi-processor machine with a bargain-basement video card. Seriously. If your application is one that can benefit from 2 to 4 x86 CPUs, and the cost of whatever version of Windows you need for such a system is not a problem, and you won't be gaming, why not preferentially allocate your budget to the parts of the system that are going to matter to you the most?

    Just some thoughts.
     
  16. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    Just for kicks, I went to Dell's small business section and configured a Dell Precision Workstation 670.

    Two Intel Xeon 3.60 GHz CPUs (2 MB L2 Cache each), 1 GB ECC SDRAM, 400 GB SATA HD, 16x DVD-ROM, 16x DVD burner, 128 MB graphics, Windows XP Pro, Office Pro, and sound card (Audigy 2). But only the cheap keyboard/mouse, no monitor, and no speakers.

    The total was over $4600, but dropping the CPU speed to 3.20 GHz (per CPU) lowered it to around $3500.

    I'm sure there must be other "multi-CPU" Wintel vendors; so take this just as a point of comparison.
     
  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Thomas,

    Stay with me here.....

    What is up with the Intel Xeon chips? I know so
    very little about them. How superior are they to
    the P4 chips?

    The above configuration looks great but I would
    go with 2GB ram just because of the amount of
    programs I run at once. Also, wouldn't a SCSI
    drive serve me better?

    Finally.....

    Just came across this article

    I am thinking perhaps it may be worth waiting
    another 6 months for this technology - don't
    you think?

    Yes, computer technology gets better every month
    but this looks like a MAJOR upgrade to the industry.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    I just priced the following for about $4200.
    Not sure if I configured it right as I never configured
    a SCSI or dual processor system before. It has no
    sound card, but I already have an external EXTIGY
    card which I love.


    Dell Precision Workstation 670:
    Intel® Xeon™ Processor 3.20GHz, 2MB L2 Cache

    2nd Processor (Must match speed selection above):
    Intel® Xeon™ Processor 3.20GHz, 2MB L2 cache

    Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional,
    SP2 with Media

    File System: NTFS File System
    Intel Hyper-Threading: "ON."

    Memory: 2GB, DDR2 SDRAM Memory, 400MHz, ECC (4 DIMMS)
    No Keyboard Option
    No Mouse OptionHard Drive Configuration

    All SCSI drives, Non-RAID, for 1 or 2 drive total configuration

    First Hard Drive: 300GB Ultra 320 SCSI, 1 inch (10,000 rpm)

    Hard Drive Internal Controller Options:
    U320 SCSI Integrated Controller - For Connecting Internal Hard Drives


    CD-ROM, DVD, and Read-Write Devices:
    48XCDRW AND 16XDVD+/-RW w/Sonic RecordNow! Deluxe,Sonic DVDit! SE,PowerDVD

    No Floppy Drive NFD

    Graphic Cards:
    128MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX 1400, Dual DVI
    or Dual VGA or DVI + VGA

    No Monitor Option
    No Speaker option
    No SOund Card Option


    Any changes you see should be made let me know.
    You may think I am better waiting for the new dual
    core chip as described in the link above.
     
  18. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to offend you, I really didn't mean to set you off.

    I posted a link to some benchmark tests in another of Ron's threads. The benchmarks clearly showed that the AMD won in games while the intels generally won in encoding.

    Ron, I read this article today that claims intel will be releasing the first dual-core processors in May. If this is true, it would certainly be to your benefit to wait for those.

    EDIT: Sorry Ron, I just saw that you already linked to this article. I think waiting for this technology is definitely a good idea.
     
  19. SethH

    SethH Well-Known Member

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    Here's the link to those benchmarks. It is clear that AMD does not win every benchmark, although it does win several. But this shows that AMD is NOT the perfect processor for EVERY application.
     
  20. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    It might be. You might be able to get a single-CPU system similar to one of today's dual-CPU ones; or a dual-CPU system equivalent to a quad-CPU one. Since CPU performance is your key metric, that's nothing to sneeze at.
     

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