Computer Buying Advice, Please!

OK, fellow Wooters…time for me to buy a new computer…and I need some input as I am not up to date on computers…I’ll be doing moderate websurfing, home office word processing, and email. Plus I want for the first time to play some online games (Star Trek–though I hear it isn’t very good-- & some of the social games like Second Life, etc.). And perhaps be able to sample some of the other online games which I understand are more popular. It is the gaming aspect that is complicating my research as it just isn’t something I know about…

I do not anticipate doing any work with video which I understand is particularly demanding.

What kind of processor do I need? I was looking at an i5 or i7 but of course if I can use something less expensive which will do the job I’d certainly prefer that.

How much RAM? The systems I have been looking at have 8 or 9 but can I get by with 6 ?

What video card specifications? This is the particularly confusing part it seems that integrated graphics are not Indicated. And I have been looking at an ATI 4650 but is that more than I need or less? Also, are the ATI or nVidia cards to be preferred? How does one differentiate among the various levels of cards?

Is integrated sound ok? Or do I need some kind of SoundBlaster card or similar? If so, what is recommended? I will be listening to music on the computer but I’m hardly an audiophile.

As to brands, I’ve always had Dells and they have been generally dependable. I was looking at HPs but have come across a lot of criticism of HP’s quality.
If I expand my search beyond those two brands, what is recommended? My brother has a largish (25) monitor he’s going to give me so no need to buy that. But I’d like to wind up under $1000, and if I am overbudgeting and don’t need as “much computer” as I’ve been thinking about, of course I’d prefer to come in much lower.

I’d prefer new to refurbed. And in some inexpensive way, I need he security of decent tech help by phone and in-home service if repairs are needed.

Your answers and suggestions regarding specifications, brands, and best sources for buying other than the obvious (Best Buy, MicroCenter, CompUSA, Dell & HP company stores, etc.) are greatly appreciated!

i have this discussion almost once a day
it sickens me

but i digress…

unfort since ive said this so many times recently, you get the uber condensed version

Acer Aspire AS5740-6491 LX.PM902.130 Notebook PC - Intel Core i5-430M 2.26GHz, 4GB DDR3, 500GB HDD, DVDRW, 15.6" Display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, Blue (Open Box)

  1. there is the i5-420m and the 430m…might as well get the slightly upgraded model for slightly better benchmarks

  2. it comes with 4gb, but has a preinstalled 64bit OS. The mobo can support 8gb. Upgrade this puppy and you’ll be OVERLY good to go

  3. from tiger, can trust. open box, cheaper, tiger, all gravey (any issues just send back and they’ll make good)

  4. since everyone needs to have a new i3/5/7 proc comp, fine there’s a i5 for ya for cheap that does decent for games and technically more than needed for an average user

  5. i dont have shit else to say sooooo yea. enjoy, read specs and do sideline comparisons, taking notes in Notepad if need be


See DJ Nikon


i reread the topic real quick and realize desktops…

do the same thing, look at benchmark comparrisons or the hard data (what ghz, how many cores, whats its cache size)
Mhz, Ghz, Front Side Bus(FSB) is also important to how fast the board can use the processor and ram (brain and functioning memory)

do the same for everything
know the details of your machine
start with your cpu
then the mobo
then the video
then the ram
and w/e after that

but make sure everything is compatible with eachother (they will obviously mention in their desc if hw supports nVidia or ATI)

on that note, i hate ATI cause not everything is happy with it
cats n dogs
do not put an ATI in an nVidia mother board (mobo)

imo if u arent planning on doing any heavy gaming or audio/video processing, 6gb will be plenty to run everything you would need (I would suggest 4 really as a set would be easy to find, but whynot get 3 sticks+ and max it for fun…then ull never need to worry about it!)

read read read
just pay attention to the hard numbers and make sure everything is the same
video is same as mobo
i also remember reading somewhere (this is a side note) that if gaming or trying to run a smooth system, the user must have x3 the system ram that their video card comes with

high numbers = high results


See DJ Nikon

Basically, you want:

An i-something processor
at least 4 GB of memory
at least 500gb hard drive
Gigabit network card
DVD burner minimum, blu-ray if you can afford it

While I like Dells, you get what you pay for- weak power supplies and limited upgradeability. Look on for other makers since the little guys tend to be a bit more money, but higher quality parts.