THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY
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.
Published on Jun 30, 2013