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View Full Version : Mistake? New PC with ATI Card?



TimothyB
04-04-2009, 01:57 AM
The fan on my crappy video card just died, only a ATI 9600 Pro.

I'm wondering if I should buy a decent $150-$200 Nvidia card (260) for LW 9.6 and Core, or just buy a new system.

At Dell Outlet in my shopping cart is a Studio XPS $729, + tax, shipped free.
Intel i7 920 (2.66ghz)
Vista Home Premium 64bit
4GB DDR3 ( sadly 4 dimms )
512mb ATI HD 4850
And everything else.

My current system, built, is a Core 2 Duo e6400 (an original, 4 gigs of ram, but on 32 bit Vista. The motherboard has issues where it can't run with more than two sticks of ram. So I'm using x2 2gig sticks. Only way to ever get higher if I installed a 64bit system would be to use overpriced 4gig sticks. So my system has reached it's limit on upgrades due to ram limit.

The Intel i7 920 computer seems like a good price, seeing how it would be more to build. But is it worth getting stuck with a so so ATI card? On my searches here, nvidia is usually the first suggested.

AbnRanger
04-04-2009, 04:13 AM
The ATI 4850 is a pretty stout card (the ONLY difference between it and the 4870 is that it uses DDR3 memory and the 4870 uses DDR5). It will serve you well until you can buy a higher end.

I'm going to have to buy an NVidia card myself since Combustion doesn't seem like ATI cards and Vista 64.

TimothyB
04-10-2009, 03:31 PM
Thanks. I wish I could of got a nvidia card, but this will definitely work for now.

I just now bought this machine for $680 after tax and free shipping:

Studio XPS Desktop - 435 Mini Tower
1 Processor: Intel Core i7-920 Processor (8MB L3 Cache, 1MB L2 Cache, 2.66GHz)
1 640 GB SATA II Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
1 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz (4 DIMMs) (2 more slots free)
1 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850
1 Certified Refurbished (includes 1 year warranty)
1 16X DVD +/- RW w/dbl layer write capability
1 Resource DVD
1 Dell USB 6-Button Logitech Mouse
1 Software CD
1 64BIT Operating System CD
1 125V Power Cord
1 Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium
1 Thermal MiniTower
1 Microsoft Works 9.0
1 USB Multimedia Keyboard
1 Dell 19 in 1 Media Card Reader
1 64BIT Operating System DVD
1 Image Restore Software
1 Roxio Creator 10

The same dell machine at Best Buy is $999 before taxes. So this Dell Outlet deal is pretty good.

AbnRanger
04-10-2009, 09:58 PM
You bought that directly through DELL? Yeah, that's really good for the price, but the downside to that is you don't have much headroom for upgrading components and your DEFINITELY cannot overclock (OEM's BIOS's won't let you). If you wanted to get a one of those X2 cards, like the 4870X2 or Nvidia GTX295, you'd have to buy a power supply to replace the one in your system (they barely keep up with the components you have), and make it 600W or greater. They also have pretty lame ventilation, so went and bought a good CPU cooler for my Dell (Studio...one step down from yours) and jerry rigged a fan in the front to generate some airflow from the front to the back.

It's easy to get sucked into these things cause the price looks too good. Then later, you wish you would've just built one instead. One thing they are really good for, is as a render node for a render farm. Not so much for your everyday workstation.

TimothyB
04-11-2009, 02:27 AM
You bought that directly through DELL? Yeah, that's really good for the price, but the downside to that is you don't have much headroom for upgrading components and your DEFINITELY cannot overclock (OEM's BIOS's won't let you). If you wanted to get a one of those X2 cards, like the 4870X2 or Nvidia GTX295, you'd have to buy a power supply to replace the one in your system (they barely keep up with the components you have), and make it 600W or greater. They also have pretty lame ventilation, so went and bought a good CPU cooler for my Dell (Studio...one step down from yours) and jerry rigged a fan in the front to generate some airflow from the front to the back.

It's easy to get sucked into these things cause the price looks too good. Then later, you wish you would've just built one instead. One thing they are really good for, is as a render node for a render farm. Not so much for your everyday workstation.


Thanks for the tips. My last two PCs were custom built. Current case is the large, quiet Antec P180 with good components. Even got a huge heatsink and was able to bring my Core 2 Duo e6400 from 2.13ghz to 2.8ghz. But I mostly left it at stock speed to keep temps down in my room.

The reason this Dell seems so attractive is to just get it over with at a great price, new OS, and not have to salvage anything form my old machine. I just don't have the time to go through all the work to build one again. And sadly, built machines, often are only deals a the bottom, while a full workstation becomes outrages compared to building.

Only done it twice. First time, all parts ordered from newegg. Got the whole thing together, but wouldn't start up.. I tried everything, but turned out the motherboard bios was bad, what a pain, so it couldn't even give me a diagnostic beep correctly. As a first time builder, that was frustrating to test everything before coming to the conclusion it was the mobo.

Then this latest machine has ram issues. First, this darn Gigiabyte DS3 mobo has a low default ram voltage, 1.8v I think. The sticks I ordered required higher to work, which caused the mobo to beep and stop before the bios. I didn't have low voltage compatible ram around to use first to access the bios to up the voltage. Then recently I wanted to put 4 gigs in, even though a 32bit system. But for some reason the moment I put more than 2 sticks in the computer, it just doesn't start up anymore. For some time, even after removing the extra stick, back to the way it was the way before. I'd reseat them all day. When it got that picky, it would only work with one stick, in any slot. I finally just got two 2gig sticks and that worked.

Anyway. Yep, I heard PSU in the Studio 435 Mini is already below spec for the HD 4850. I don't plan to game, and I'm mostly learning 3D right, so I can't imagine I'd have a crazy scene that would bring this card to its knees in the viewport. I think this computer will act as good set of training wheels for now.

Someone through the Dell Outlet just got the gaming XPS 730x with that crazy $999 i7 Extreme 965, with 6 gigs, 9800 GT (toss it), Blu-ray burner, DVD, X-Fi, etc, for $1,521, darn thing cost $3000 when custom built. Bet that one had room to grow inside.

AbnRanger
04-11-2009, 06:29 AM
Where is this Dell outlet? I live in Riverside and haven't yet seen any around here.

TimothyB
04-11-2009, 11:17 AM
Sorry, I should of been more clear. Dell Outlet is just their online site that sells all their refurbished, scratch or dent, etc stock.

http://www.dell.com/outlet

Though, right now it is slim pickings due to the spring coupon sell. And you have a whole culture on the internet bent on snatching up good deals so they can resell on ebay.

Choose home or small business. Then choose the series you want, like Studio XPS, then the model, then check availability. That will take you to the advance search page configured to only show that tower. But from there you can change the parameters to any computer, or cpu, etc, or show lowest price first, etc. Also always check the specs of each machine, the reason a price might be slightly different from the last could be a tv tuner, or software. And sometimes it's not clear in the search results when one has a blu-ray burner or Blu-ray combo DVD-RW drive.

During a coupon sale you have to act fast. You have to click Filter Results over and over to refresh the page to catch new stock or one that was released from a customer's cart, click it, add to cart, fill out a captcha screen, then scroll down a huge list of options to add to cart. Type and move fast since someone else could be going for it too.

The prices at the Outlet can vary, sometimes go up just before a coupon sale, or even during the sale. Like even though I got my machine for $628 after coupon, last month people got it for under $600.

Right now, at first glance, you won't see any deals. The cheapest i7 machine is above $1000. So you might just leave, never knowing the cheaper stock that's usually there. Unless you check when the add stock, or keep updating the screen for an hour. I had to spend 30 minutes to get my machine the morning of the sale.

After a coupon sale, you can see a lot more stock. Spot something you like, grab it, or wait for the next round of coupons. You can go to www.Slickdeals.net, register on the forum, then create an alert, using keywords, so the moment someone creates a thread on Dell Outlet, an instant e-mail will be sent to you. Thanks to that, I found out Dell Outlet sent a twitter too early, tipping people off to a Friday sale: http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?t=1286671

It's usually free shipping, and the tax estimate seems to be high, lowering after you get your 2nd confirmation e-mail.