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  • It's almost christmass time!

    So it is almost time for my yearly computer upgrade.

    I usually spend 500-800 dollars and I don't get the latest technology. I shoot for the barely old tech.

    So I guess what is new now is what I will get in myself in Jan 09.

    Right now I have a core 2 duo, 2 gig memory, good MB and radeon 3850 (i think 3850, it was the low of the new radeon line a bit back).

    I am actually pretty happy with what I have. Everything works and plays real nice.

    Would $500 get me a spiffy new monitor, a new huge HD and updated video card? (I have come to really like Windows Media Center.)

    Maybe buy me a windows home server box?

    A new router? Mine is a couple years old.

    Any suggestions?
    I知 not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

  • #2
    Re: It's almost christmass time!

    You might have to go and spend $800 depending on how big of a monitor you want, how big of a HDD, and how high-end of a graphics card you want.

    24" LCDs are pretty nice now, most prices I've seen for a nice Samsung goes for $300 or more.

    You can get a 1000GB (1TB) HDD from NewEgg for about $130 now: List Here.

    The HD4870 is what everyone seems to want now: List Here. They're going for about $255 or so.

    So going off of those prices, you're looking at $600+ now. So you could get some nice stuff in 2009 for $500.
    |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
    TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
    Former 9th & 13th

    Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
    Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





    SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

    TG Primer and Rules

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: It's almost christmass time!

      You could probably spend $300 on a 22" monitor (maybe a 24"), $200 on a video card, and maybe squeeze in a HD to hit around the $500 mark.

      I think $600-650 would get you a great upgrade.

      - It's who you game with.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: It's almost christmass time!

        I was thinking 22" myself. I think, but am not sure, I could get a pretty good step up in quality if I stuck to 22" in my price range.

        How much better is the 4870 than 3850? I really don't have any problems with the 3850. All my games are old and run fast on it. I am not against the idea but...

        What I was thinking was to get a TV tuner card capable of pulling in over the air HD. Like I said I am getting to like Window Media Center and many of the football games would be available. But it on a nice 22" LCD and I would have my little corner of heaven.

        Anybody know anything about TV Tuner Cards?
        I知 not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
        - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
        - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
        - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
        - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
        - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
        - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: It's almost christmass time!

          Another question.

          Would a 5400 rpm drive be better for video?

          I seems like it would be quiter and produce less heat.
          I知 not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
          - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
          - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
          - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
          - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
          - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
          - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: It's almost christmass time!

            Try to stay away from 5400 rpm drives. The only good thing about them is power consumption. May reason they are only found on laptops/ notebooks.

            I would agree with Sarc on this. Get a decent 22/ 24" monitor, upgrade the vid card for a couple of hundred dollars, maybe a some extra HDD space or get another gig or two of RAM. What OS are you running right now or plan to be running soon?

            If your not already on Vista, wait until 2010 for Windows 7 to come out.

            |TG-IRR|

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: It's almost christmass time!

              Originally posted by Beinseth View Post
              Try to stay away from 5400 rpm drives. The only good thing about them is power consumption. May reason they are only found on laptops/ notebooks.

              I would agree with Sarc on this. Get a decent 22/ 24" monitor, upgrade the vid card for a couple of hundred dollars, maybe a some extra HDD space or get another gig or two of RAM. What OS are you running right now or plan to be running soon?

              If your not already on Vista, wait until 2010 for Windows 7 to come out.
              But why stay away from 5400 rpm drives? What is the reason? If it is only going to be a dvr/video/music/picture storage the speed will be more than enough. And if it is a dvr/video/music playback then it would be quieter as well.

              Is there another disadvantage I haven't thought about?
              I知 not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
              - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
              - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
              - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
              - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
              - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
              - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: It's almost christmass time!

                Regular 7200 rpm drives are pretty quiet too. I remember when they first came out like 10 years ago and they were really loud. These days I don't really notice it and it's likely a PC's case fans would be a more noticeable hum (not necessarily louder).

                A 7200 rpm drive would be useful for watching HD video. The files are huge so it'll need to read the files. I don't think it would be a huge difference but it's something to consider. Plus, searching through a lot of media files would be better on a faster drive.

                - It's who you game with.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: It's almost christmass time!

                  Sarc is completly correct. If you are going to do HD and it be really nice, you are going to want a fast HD. And the noise difference and heat are going to be about the same. In fact there are probably hardly any 3.5 in. HD that run 5400rpm new.
                  In fact, newegg only has 7, and they are expensive.
                  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...lue=355%3A7777

                  Also, if you are looking I am pretty sure a drive with a good high Cache like 16 or 32mb will keep the data streaming better, which would be important. Most good drives have that, but some older ones only have 8mb. Also, is your hd connections SATA?

                  The think about HD, a 22" LCD isn't going to give you true HD, as their rez is 1680x1050, which is less than HD 1080p. Most 24" run 1920 x 1200, which is above 1080p.

                  The thing is, to run that rez good you are going to really want at least an ATI 4870 or Nvidia 260 to run it good with HD. Those are both as low at $240 and up to $300 or so. But both are really good cards, and would play any game you are thinking of buying this year. There are lots of reviews that don't cover just game FPS, but also go into video quality.

                  If you do go with a 22" LCD, an ATI 4850 or Nvidia 9800GTX would be good to go, with both about $150-$200.

                  What I would suggest you do if you do get a new LCD is run a dual monitor setup like I and a bunch of the other guys here do. Once you try it, you will never go back, and about freak out when you try to use a friends computer with just a single. I spend most of my day with my main task like firefox or something on my main LCD, and my 2nd monitor has like Hulu.com or Netflix at home or something like that running. You could do the same with Media Center.

                  The thing is, if you are really going to watch movies on your computer, or stream them to a TV even, but are buying an LCD computer monitor, it might be worth while to get one of the just about to release 120mhz refresh rate monitors. I am sure they will have a bunch more out by Jan. because they are just now hitting the market. And make sure it has HDCP Support and is Vista Certified, just for any future upgrade you might do.

                  On to PC tv tuners. I have looked at them often, and just get really turned off on the reviews. So many people with problems it just doesn't seem worth it. My own try with an ATI TV wonder PRO went really bad, and I don't even think I watched a whole TV show with it before it went back in the box and into the closet.

                  But, things are getting better. ASUS just released this one about a month ago:
                  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815293002
                  And so far the reviews look good-ish. I am waiting to find a real hard core tech review on a site, other than just buyer comments, but newegg's are decent. But you will always be fighting the cable companies who don't want you using the cards, and make it hard for you to do.

                  Windows media center is supposed to be good, and even a lot better on Vista. I posted a bunch of links a couple months ago on how to add on and tweak it to make it even better. Do a forum search for it. But this program is also very well liked, and their forums can be VERY helpful:
                  http://www.snapstream.com/products/beyondtv/

                  FYI. If you do get a tuner, MAKE SURE it has it's own separate "Hardware MPEG2 encoder built-in". If you don't, you might end up with one that has a software encoder, which means it will run off your CPU, and can make it very hard to do anything else on your computer while it is running.

                  Edit: Forgot to mention considering how cheap RAM is, go ahead and throw $30 on a good 2 gig kit of ram so you can make sure you have no bottleneck possible on that.
                  Last edited by Bamboo; 09-20-2008, 11:29 PM.

                  LINKS

                  * *


                  Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

                  -Carlos A. Urbizo-

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: It's almost christmass time!

                    After some research it seems the 5400 rpm drive is kinda moot. They just are not widely available as bamboo pointed out. I might try the western digital variable speed. Might reduce power/heat and noise just a bit and since this in the bedroom wouldn't hurt.

                    My current video card is fine, as far as raw performance goes, for all video demands I would come across. Might pick me up another cheap 3850 and go crossfire. Is there a way to disable one? Again for the power/heat/noise issue. Just curious.

                    The question I have is about video scaling. Bamboo, you pointed out the native resolutions of 22" and 24" is not the resolution of any of the video standards.

                    I will be receiving, I am guessing, 720i or 720p from broadcast signals. DVD is something like 720x480.

                    What does the upscaling? The video card? The Monitor? The DVD player? What should I do to get best video?

                    If the monitor does it then it would seem like that some monitors would be better than others.
                    I知 not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: It's almost christmass time!

                      They had their heyday back a few years ago when Sony started marketing that the 5400 rpm drives last 50% longer than 7200 rpm drives. They may improve the life of the drive overall, but performance is much slower then a traditional hard disk.


                      Standard monitor resolution is usually a 4:3 aspect ratio or 16:9 for widescreen monitors. Most 22" have a weird aspect which isn't 16:9 or 4:3. The most common resolution I see is 1440 x 900. Most games do not support that 14.4:9 aspect ratio resolution, so games will either scale it (shrink or stretch the picture) to fit your monitor's resolution.
                      |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                      TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                      Former 9th & 13th

                      Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                      Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                      SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                      TG Primer and Rules

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: It's almost christmass time!

                        I googled LCD Scaling and saw this

                        http://techreport.com/articles.x/6374

                        Resolution scaling - Because LCD panels have a fixed number of discrete pixels, they're really only designed to display a single resolution—the screen's native resolution. LCDs can't display resolutions above their native resolution, and can only display lower resolutions through interpolation, which stretches smaller display resolutions to fit an LCD's native resolution. Except in rare cases where a screen is stretching a resolution that's exactly half its native resolution (800x600 for a native 1600x1200 display, for example), interpolation is pretty ugly. Generally, scaling completely ruins the image clarity advantage LCDs usually enjoy.

                        Interpolation is really only an issue if you need to run a screen outside its native resolution, and that's pretty rare unless you play games. Gamers will have to live with interpolation unless their systems are capable of churning out reasonable frame rates at their LCD's native resolution. Doing so shouldn't be too hard for older games like Quake III Arena, but the hardware requirements for churning out reasonable frame rates in new games like Doom 3, even at medium resolutions like 1024x768, will probably be pretty steep.
                        But that article is from 2004, so try googling around and see how much better things are now.

                        And your 3850 is not going to do well with a 24" monitor and games unless they are really old. And even a crossfire set up of 3850's isn't going to be as good as a single 4870 or 260. Considering you are talking about christmas time, I have a feeling prices on those cards are going to be much lower, like under $200 for some models. Especially if Nvidia pulls off their die shrink like they are saying.

                        LINKS

                        * *


                        Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

                        -Carlos A. Urbizo-

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: It's almost christmass time!

                          Originally posted by Bamboo View Post
                          I googled LCD Scaling and saw this

                          http://techreport.com/articles.x/6374



                          But that article is from 2004, so try googling around and see how much better things are now.

                          And your 3850 is not going to do well with a 24" monitor and games unless they are really old. And even a crossfire set up of 3850's isn't going to be as good as a single 4870 or 260. Considering you are talking about christmas time, I have a feeling prices on those cards are going to be much lower, like under $200 for some models. Especially if Nvidia pulls off their die shrink like they are saying.
                          As far as games? I play warcraft about 3 hours a week. Maybe a bit of CIV4, occasional BF2 and some old games on gametap. That's it, nothing else. I see no games in the future that I want to play. Must be an age thing. The 3850 handles 1600x1200 of my 21" crt for all the games I play at highest settings just fine with no problems.

                          So please, and I know this is sacrilege, forget games. I could care less about games. Games take way more time than I have available. I am mroe concerned with making this a decent HD college football game watching and recording machine.

                          So my question about monitors is how computer monitors handle scaling the 720p and 720i signals or whatever signals I may get from DirectTV or a DVD player.
                          I知 not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                          - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                          - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                          - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                          - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                          - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                          - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: It's almost christmass time!

                            I would spend some time cruising forums to find the answer. Does DirectTV have their own forums? If not, there are a lot of HTPC forum out there that would be able to help.

                            LINKS

                            * *


                            Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

                            -Carlos A. Urbizo-

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: It's almost christmass time!

                              A 1280 x 1024 monitor (19") won't scale a 720p HD video. That's because, 720p is 1024 (w) x 720 (h).

                              If you can find a 22" that supports natively 1920 x (at least) 1080, then you won't see of any scaling when you make the video display full screen. Check the specs table in this Wikipedia article.

                              Most high-end LCD panels usually jump from 19" to 24" and support 1920 x 1440 (4:3 aspect ratio...aka "standard resolution") or greater.

                              If you want to watch full HD, get a monitor that can display something 1920 pixels wide. As for height, anything above 1080 px is fine. My own research tells me that one should look for a 24".
                              |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                              TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                              Former 9th & 13th

                              Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                              Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                              SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                              TG Primer and Rules

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