Page 33



by Ross  Hendry

Selecting and Buying a New PC

shelf" PCs  that   will   do   most   of  what  you   need,  they  may  benefit   from  the  addition  of  some  RAM  or  an  upgraded  Graphics  card.

In this   final   article  on   selecting  and   buying   a   new   system,  I  am   looking  at  the  more  powerful  end  of  the  PC  market.    The  type  of  PC   you   would   need   if   you   wish   to   use   it   for   resource-­‐hungry   applications  such  as  high   quality  Photo  or   Video   editing,  or   are   a   gaming  enthusiast.

Here are   some   examples   of   what   I   would   consider   entry   level   Power  User  Desktop  PCs  :-­‐ • Zoostorm  Desktop  PC  with  AMD  A8  5500  3.2GHz  APU  quad  core   processor,  8GB   RAM  and   2TB   hard   disk  drive,  DVD-­‐RW   multi-­‐ write  Drive  and   has  on-­‐board   AMD  Radeon  HD7560D   Graphics   and  no  operating  system.  Cost  inc  VAT  £269.99,  Incredible  value!   • Zoostorm   Desktop   PC   with   Intel   Core   i5   3330  3GHz  quad   core   processor,  8GB   RAM  and   2TB   hard   disk  drive,  DVD-­‐RW   multi-­‐ write  Drive  and  has   on-­‐board  graphics  and  no  operating  system.   Cost   inc   VAT   £329.99;  with   Microsoft   Windows   8,  64bit   home   premium  only  £396.99. • Zoostorm   Desktop  PC  with  Intel  Core  i7-­‐3770  3.4GHz  quad  core   processor,  16GB  RAM  and  2TB   hard  disk  drive,  DVD  Multi-­‐Write   drive,  has  on-­‐board   graphics   and  no  operating  system.   Cost  inc   VAT  £479.99,  this  one  is  available   from  Amazon  with  Windows  8   plus  a  keyboard  and  mouse  for  £587.99.

Part 4  -­‐  Power  User  Systems

Whether it   is   manipulating   the   vast   amounts   of   data   required  to   edit  high  quality  photographs  or   videos,  or  playing   the  latest  high   definition   games,  the  secret   of   success   is   processing   power   and   loads  of  memory. Modern  PCs  have  more  than  one  processor,  in  fact  most  entry  level   PCs   have   two   cores   (processing   modules).   The   main   processor   manufacturers,   namely  AMD   and   Intel,   both   produce   processors   with  2,3,4,  6  and  8  cores.    The  more  cores  the  processor   has,  the   more  expensive  the  motherboard  will  tend   to  be,  as  they  have  to   have   the   capability   of   delivering  the  data  to  be  processed   to   the   processor/s  as  fast  as  possible  for   them  to  work  at  their  maximum   rated  speed. It   is   also   likely   that   these   more   expensive   motherboards   will   support  more  RAM.  24GB  and  32GB  are  the  likely  maximum  values   here,  there  are  generally  2,  4   or   6  slots  available  for  RAM  and  the   largest  individual  RAM  chip  I  have  seen  is  8GB. AMD's  Phenom  II  range  are  the  affordable  ones,  running  x4  and  x6.   At  the  other   end  of  the  spectrum  are  Intel's  i7  range  of  processors   that  max  out  at  6  core  processors. The   final   element   in   a  Power   PC  is  the  Graphics  or  Video  Display   Card.    If  you  have  selected  the  best   CPU  you  can  afford  and  got  as   much   memory   as   the   CPU   and   Motherboard   can   support,   and   unless  you  are  into  high  quality  3D  computer  aided  design,  you  do   not  have  to  go   mad   spending   on   the  Graphics  Card.  A  reasonable   quality  one  will  suffice,  it  is  best   to  be  guided  on  this  aspect  by  the   application/s   you   intend   to   run,   if   you   have   not   purchased   the   software  yet,  just  check  it  out  on  the  manufacturer's  website. So   here   are  the  important   components  and  what  you   should  aim   for   -­‐   the   CPU   quad   core   or   better,   the   RAM  8GB   or   more,   the   Motherboard  able  to  support   the  quad  core  CPU  and  at  least   8GB   preferably  16GB   of  RAM,  the  Graphics  Card   recommended  by  the   software  author/manufacturer.     With  this  in  mind  you   can  see  why   gamers  tend  to   configure  and   build  their  own   PCs,  although  this  is   not  strictly  necessary  as  there  are  some  reasonably  priced  "off-­‐the-­‐

On the   more   powerful   laptop   front,   here   are   a   couple   of   competitive  models:-­‐ • Samsung  -­‐  AMD  Quad  Core  A8-­‐4500M  1.9GHz,  6GB   RAM  and   a   500GB  hard  disk  drive,  -­‐   15.6"   High  Definition  Screen  with  AMD   HD7640G   Graphics,   Webcam   +   Bluetooth   and   Microsoft   Windows  8,  64  bit.    Cost  £400.00. • In   the   same   range   the   Lenovo   IdeaPad   Z585   Laptop,  with   an   AMD  A8  4500M  Quad   Core   processor,  8GB  RAM  and  a  1TB  hard   disk  drive,  15.6"  TFT  screen,  AMD  Radeon   7640G  graphics,  with   HD   Webcam   +   Bluetooth   and   running   MS   Windows   8,   64bit.   Cost  £427.11. • True  Quad  Core  Intel  CPU  -­‐  The  Lenovo   IdeaPad  Z580  Laptop  has   an   Intel   Quad  Core  i7-­‐3520  2.9GHz  processor  with  8GB  RAM  and   a  1TB   hard  disk  drive  with  a  15.6"  TFT  screen,  HD  Webcam  and   Windows  8,  64bit.    Cost  £612.50. Clearly  there  are   far   more  expensive   high  powered  PCs  available   "off-­‐the   -­‐shelf",  I  have  merely  skimmed  the  web  for   systems   that   are  relevant   to  this  article.    One  site  I  visited  when  researching  had   gaming   PCs   for   over   £4,000.00   and   Gaming   laptops   costing   considerably  more. My  best  advice  is  to  get  some  professional  help  if   you  are  planning   on  spending  anything  over  £500.00  and  also  if  you  think  you   would   rather  have  a  laptop,  because  these  are  going  to  be  by  far  the  most   expensive  way  to  purchase  a  Power  PC. I  do  hope  that  you  have  found  this  article  of  some  help,  please  let   me  know  via  email  if  I  can  help  further.

Page 33


English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres