Need advice configuring PC for teenager...

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Frank_S, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Hi, I'm buying my 18 year old son a Desktop PC in a couple of weeks so that he can familiarize himself with it and/or get all the bugs worked out before he leaves for college in September.
    I'm going to use Dell as a source, I've used them before and although it was a p.i.t.a. I still think they offer good deals.

    Anyway, he says gaming is not a primary concern. He has Playstation 2.

    I know he'll be watching DVD's so a nice option would be a video card that has an output that goes to a TV monitor so he can view and listen to the movie on his TV set. I saw one advertised but I can't remember the exact model.

    Downloading music would be priority I'm sure so is there anything I need to know about what's offered to aid or make downloads quicker and/or easier? Hard drive capacity preferred, etc.

    Also, what size Desktop PC screen would be a minimum requirement if you were going to be stuck in a tiny dorm room?

    Thanks in advance for your help! [​IMG]
     
  2. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Well, for video viewing etc you really want a card that can handle gaming too. So, look at something in the ATI Radeon 9x00 lineup for graphics (they come with video out on most of them), 120GB hard drive or more, at least 512 MB memory but get 1 GB - not all that expensive an upgrade and there is no such thing as too much memory.

    Another possibility might be an ATI All-in-wonder card. Haven't used one myself but they should work well both for games as well as video. They feature built-in TV tuners as well, so you can use the PC as a TV or record TV to it. Something like this.

    Personally I'd suggest a 17 inch LCD flatscreen. Uses surprisingly little desktop real estate but gives you a decent sized image at (usually) 1280x1024 pixels of resolution.
     
  3. Mark Shannon

    Mark Shannon Screenwriter

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    I don't think downloading music on a college connection is possible..I think they have certain blocks for those...

    if it were tho, I'd stay away from it...
     
  4. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Good point Mark!

    Thanks Kimmo for the video card info, ATI is what I was looking at. If the card has a TV tuner, do you use a terrestrial antenna for reception?
     
  5. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  6. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Flat panel monitor if you feel like spending the extra cost, since gaming isn't an issue, although the newer ones are much better for that as well. Size-wise, I would go for a 17". Get the largest hard drive you can so you can stave off the eventual, unavoidable need to upgrade due to lack of space. If you're just viewing dvds, the video card isn't so important. A popular option instead of having a tv and computer monitor, though, is getting one of those all in wonder cards so that you can watch tv on the computer. It even has software that lets you record stuff kind of like a tivo. You can just plug the card into cable if available, or some sort of antenna. And if you have a tv as well and want to watch the stuff that you record or a dvd or whatever on the tv instead, you can do that. You could also use the tv as extra monitor space, although it's fairly ugly on most televisions.
     
  7. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    What kind of cost are you looking at? I think there are some mobo's that have video out and reasonable (but not audiophile quality) sound. You could get away with $600 for a fairly adequate system, to a gazillion for a preemo system. Give us a budget...!
     
  8. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    I would try to spend a little extra on an LCD screen, even just a 15" one is adequate for a college student. Will save mucho desk space for him in the coming years.

    Also get the largest harddrive you can afford, even 200 GB will get chewed through. Between the ripped music, p0rn, and (in the next few years) movies your son will d/l to it, he's going to need space.

    Graphics card you can skimp on, sound go integrated, don't bother with a modem (just make sure it has ethernet integrated or a card.) If he is happy with PS2, that saves a lot of money that would get dumped into a gaming PC.
     
  9. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Before you buy anything, you may want to check with the school. Most universities have recommended system guidelines, so that your son's computer will last for his education.
     
  10. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Thank you all for making some excellent points and recommendations.[​IMG] Keep them coming, I appreciate it.

    Budget wise, I'm looking at spending up to $1,200.
    I will check with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for any computer
    guidlines, iff any.
    A 17" flat panel screen will suffice.
    An all in wonder card looks like a winner too.
    An ethernet card is a necessity, it appears.
     

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