Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:43 AM   #1
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Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)

Well guys, its that time again. I feel like sometime soon I'm going to have to pull the trigger on a new laptop.

Thing is, however, tech has changed a lot in the last five years. Anything I knew back then is more or less irrelevant. I mean, sure, I understand RAM, screens, hard drives, operating system, but just how much have things changed in the amount needed to actually make things WORK? AMD, I-3/5/7 processors, etc.......Man, I grew up in the day where you had Intel/Pentium or you didn't, and that was that. Like I'm running medium-slow on one gig of RAM with some virtual memory thrown in, but I'm seeing the standard with notebooks today around 4. Processors of today I know nothing about.

My current laptop is a 06/07 Toshiba Satellite notebook. 120 gig hard drive, 1.83 gigs Centrino Duo processor, 0.99 gigs RAM. My current opinion of it? ........it works. Its good for net browsing. Can run very few games. The last one I was actually able to run was Postal 2 (2003), which keeps up decently provided I don't get creative or anything. Any game from 2004 on (such as, I don't know.....The Sims 2, Half-life 2).

That being said, aside from gaming, I'm also looking to do some computing in the way of working with DAW's (for all who don't know, the abbreviation is Digital Audio Work-stations) as well as working in video. I can run something basic, like FL Studio, for instance, but Pro-tools, Ableton, etc...She no go . Then again I happen to LIKE FL studio, so there ya go .

I'm looking to find more creative ways of marketing myself than just working my 8-6, and what I'm using, which can now be considered a ghetto-machine, is holding me back. But I don't know how much will really be enough now, what the good brands really are, etc. My folks have a few other Toshibas that run pretty well, but I'm having trouble doing "my homework" as far as the hunt for the next PC.

My budget I'm looking to not really go above 600 unless I really am just asking for a lot.

Any suggestions?

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Old 10-09-2011, 07:31 AM   #2
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Re: Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)

what are your thoughts on getting a desktop pc instead of a laptop?

some say they are more expandable and i find this to be true usually.... but what do you think?
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Old 10-09-2011, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)

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Originally Posted by astroidmist View Post
what are your thoughts on getting a desktop pc instead of a laptop?

some say they are more expandable and i find this to be true usually.... but what do you think?
wellllll. For the past five years I've been stuck around my family. And they are.........KIND OF annoying. I've always tried to sort of make my own space computing around and then someone moves in, I move out, etc. So I've gotten use to having no place of my own other than my room. So facing the facts that I want mobility (for cafes, gigs, etc) I don't want to stick with a desktop setup. There's just too much hell in my house to deal with.
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:22 PM   #4
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Re: Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)

Ok, so I spend my days selling PCs in the UK and I've noticed that quality is actually effected by the country you're in, although its more about different countries having different ranges and specs than them differing in where they're manufactured.

HP have declared that they are stopping the hardware side of their business so I can see their laptops coming down in price soon, if you're patient there should be some clearance sales in the next 6 months.

In terms of quality (if you aren't looking to build your own) Sony and Apple sit up top of the pile.
HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Acer are all pretty good brands, seem to be more about particular models having issues rather than brands. Packard Bell are trying to change their budget image and have some interesting models coming out (also come with Adobe elements installed).


In terms of spec (sorry but I'm going to be working in UK sterling, sorry if I'm out at all), for you're money you can get an i3/i5 (you'll only get the dual core versions in laptops, there is a quad core version of the i5).
3-4Gb RAM (DDR3 is the norm).
Hard drive go as big as you think you need. (You should get a 500Gb HD around your budget).

Then peripheral to your hearts content.

This is obviously a ruff guide. Let me know if you want any more info.

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Old 10-09-2011, 08:56 PM   #5
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Re: Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)

Quote:
My budget I'm looking to not really go above 600 unless I really am just asking for a lot.
my feeling is that you get what you pay for. to do what you want i'd say atleast 1000, imo.
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:01 AM   #6
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Re: Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeuralPunk View Post
Ok, so I spend my days selling PCs in the UK and I've noticed that quality is actually effected by the country you're in, although its more about different countries having different ranges and specs than them differing in where they're manufactured.

HP have declared that they are stopping the hardware side of their business so I can see their laptops coming down in price soon, if you're patient there should be some clearance sales in the next 6 months.

In terms of quality (if you aren't looking to build your own) Sony and Apple sit up top of the pile.
HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Acer are all pretty good brands, seem to be more about particular models having issues rather than brands. Packard Bell are trying to change their budget image and have some interesting models coming out (also come with Adobe elements installed).


In terms of spec (sorry but I'm going to be working in UK sterling, sorry if I'm out at all), for you're money you can get an i3/i5 (you'll only get the dual core versions in laptops, there is a quad core version of the i5).
3-4Gb RAM (DDR3 is the norm).
Hard drive go as big as you think you need. (You should get a 500Gb HD around your budget).

Then peripheral to your hearts content.

This is obviously a ruff guide. Let me know if you want any more info.
So..... ok. I've talked to a few salespersons around my local retail outlets and they're basically "well the I processors are multiple core. i3 has four cores, i5 has 6 cores, i7 has 8 cores. They're all around 2 gigs per each core". SO......is this right?? or not.

Clearly I really don't know wtf I know about computers this day in age. I can be completely honest about it. I forgot the whole chemistry that ties everything computer-related together. I don't know how much processing power is necessary (not superior, or "unbeatable", just doing "the job" of keeping a stable, solid system that can handle the majority of things I throw at it these days.), nor really the Ram, other than 4 gigs is the standard (usually), and the hard drive space (which I don't know if we're getting more these days simply because Windows 7 eats up a lot of resources, or if the technology is just getting cheaper).

Anyone who knows any resources I can hit to learn the "new order" of modern computing would totally be welcome.

Anyone who can also explain it themselves....bonus.
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:05 AM   #7
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Re: Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)

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Originally Posted by sgeemusic View Post
my feeling is that you get what you pay for. to do what you want i'd say atleast 1000, imo.
true, but I don't know what I'm buying anymore these days when it comes to computers. Thats why I'm here.

I look at it this way; if I made it five years doing some decent computer music, making a few vlogs, and playing a few games just on this computer, and didn't throw it out the window by now, it must've not pissed me off so badly that I couldn't make it on any other computer. But I'm seeing in the next ballparked 6 months that its going to be upgrade time.

lol I'm sick of hearing my brother ask "hey.....you can't play left for dead on your computer, even?" Right.......yea,I can play it....in my sleep.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:23 PM   #8
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Re: Computer shopping (and the accompanying confusion)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmusician View Post
So..... ok. I've talked to a few salespersons around my local retail outlets and they're basically "well the I processors are multiple core. i3 has four cores, i5 has 6 cores, i7 has 8 cores. They're all around 2 gigs per each core". SO......is this right?? or not.
Nope, unfortunately they are talking shit. i3 is a dual core, there's no quad version, i5 comes in a 2-4 core versions, i7 comes in 2-6 (although on the mobile chips none go as high as 6, in fact only the i7 has a mobile quad core version). Check out the Sandy Bridge page on wikipedia for tech specs of the i-chip range.

Quote:
I forgot the whole chemistry that ties everything computer-related together. I don't know how much processing power is necessary (not superior, or "unbeatable", just doing "the job" of keeping a stable, solid system that can handle the majority of things I throw at it these days.)
, nor really the Ram, other than 4 gigs is the standard (usually), and the hard drive space (which I don't know if we're getting more these days simply because Windows 7 eats up a lot of resources, or if the technology is just getting cheaper).
i5 is probably what you're looking for. Although as I mentioned before as you're looking for a laptop you will only get the dual core version, the more cores the less work each has to do at one time and some DAWs let you manage which core is doing what e.g. running the main program on one and VSTs on another.
The mobile i5 is similar to the mobile i3 in that they both have the same connections, amount of L3 cache (its like a little memory for the most used info) and power consumption.
The only difference are available clockspeeds and the additions stuff like the i5 having Turbo Boost (allows the clockspeed to be varied as required) and Advanced Vector extension support (useful for floating point and increasing the parallel usage).

Then get as much RAM as you need chucking 4-8Gb RAM (more the merrier, last thing you want is the HD being used as overflow and windows 7 is hungry). DAWs will often use as much as you can give them, especially if you like to go wild with effects or layering, games will also appreciate extra RAM.

For the hard drive, DAWs themselves don't use that much in the way of space but sample libraries and VSTs do! Also consider what else you are going to do. Keeps photos, music and videos on there as well? Go larger or get a second HD (harder with laptops).

I don't think you'll need to go much more in depth on the spec, other than considering sound and video cards (not in the same card of course), that will be harder to get to grips with I reckon than the base specs. Theres loads of choice and it can really get confusing.

Quote:
Anyone who knows any resources I can hit to learn the "new order" of modern computing would totally be welcome.
Tried Googling for such a thing and came up empty, which is weird, its seems like something that would have a reaaaaallly obvious audience, but, apparently not.[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Anyone who can also explain it themselves....bonus.
I can try, what more do you want to know?

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