New Computer


Active member
I am anticipating buying a new computer. It was intended to be late January but I find my current computer is not powerful enough to trade with D4F. Having looked at several web sites, I want a spec of 80KB hard disk (don't need more) but, more importantly 512MB RAM. When I bough this old beast it has 64MBRAM which, at the time, was considered high spec, so I intend to overkill rather than underkill!!!.
Anyone out there got any ideas on reliability, prices, etc.
Thanks in anticipation (of your usual helpfulness)
If you are a serious trader, here's the spec and help you want.
1: Hard drive size and speed -not really important. 20 Gb will last you forever. Best value for money should be 40G/7200.
2: CPU don't buy the very fastest- it will rob you of money for nothing extra. AMD ( my favourite) 1700-2000 is plenty fast enough. ( My system is 1700). Or intel P4 17/1800.
3:512Mb memory PC133 spec is plenty good enough. Leave the DDRAM for the games players at 50% premium.
4: Only have Windows XP Pro. forget the rest including XP Home.
5. Motherboard is unimportant- they are mostly 6 of one and half a doz. of the other. Again , no need for anything fancy here like RAID. On board sound is standard. DON't get one with everything on board.
6. Video card. Chose a DUAL head AGP such as Jetway 315 128M. I know these work in multi monitor setups. There are plenty that don't.....This will enable you to expand to several monitors....
7. Don't use USB for ADSL or Broadband. Fit a network card.
8. With windows XP , you can fit another network card and hook up another PC to share your internet connection. However a better way is to use a broadband router. Doing it this way, if one PC suddenly dies, the other PC will still be live on the internet. If you share through a network card, and the main PC dies, the other PC can't get on the internet.Another bons with a router is the inherent built in firewall- essential on broadband.
9. Fit a 56K modem as backup just incase the broadband goes down.

When you have digested all of that, go and find a local independant PC shop, show them this spec and ask them for a quote. You should get change out of £500. Why? because when it goes wrong ( and PC's do go wrong) you won't be lumbered with things like £1 a minute help lines run by dorks who read from a script . You won't get " send it back and we will wipe your hard drive free of charge "........ you had valuable data on there? oh sorry..... You wont get fobbed off with " sorry madam, it must be your software" or "sorry, this PC is not designed to go on the internet all day". It's TRUE, I've heard it all before.

Why not build it yourself even ? :)
Martin - interesting you say that you shouldn't use a USB connection for ISDN or Broadband. You may recall my cry for help on another thread re ISP's and have decided in the absence of ADSL that I will have ISDN and go for a 128K ISP - Surftime diamond+ seems favourite at the moment.

The BT Home highway site says that ISDN is connected through a USB connection. Is that a problem? And if so, what do you recommend so far as a network card is concerned? And waht should I be paying? I am running a PIII-667 with 576MB RAM and an Appian Geronimo 16MB 2 head graphics card to run 2 monitors. OS is win 98.

Also interested to know why XP Pro. My son runs 2000 pro which he swears by, and dismisses XP as "a bit Fisher Price".

Many thanks for your continued help.
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No problem with Win2K pro, but it's not as clever as XP pro. I used to run 2K Pro untill it went "iffy" and I was forced into going XP pro. There's no doubt about it, XP pro has my vote for stability and tricks. As for USB, there is a resourse overhead and if you have a VIA chipset mother board, you could come up against "insoluble" problems. Stick with USB for cameras, printers,scanners etc.If your ISDN can be hooked in with a NIC, then go that route.
For network cards (NIC), chose one with Realtek chipset 8139. You will find these rebadged by 100 companies at £10-£15. 3COM is supposed to be the Rolls Royce, but personally I've never had a lot of luck with themand are 3 times the price.
Cheap is good in the PC world- generally :)

Wow ChartMan- that was some answer. Many many thanks.
There is a local place who have supplied my boss, he thinks they are the bees knees. I'll give them a try.
'Build it myself!!!' Give me a hammer and screwdriver and I'm OK, anything else and I'm just too timid (actually scared if the right word - if it involves electric or water I keep right away)
Thank to all others who have kindly replied.
A hammer and a screwdriver are the only two things you need to build a PC. The screwdriver's use is obvious. When you have built your own PC adn it all works lovverly, I'll tell you what the hammer was for.
Go for it.
Too late Chartman - I've been to the professionals and ordered!!.
Can't hang about. Faxed them your spec, some things a little different, but mainly as you recommended. Only hope I can crack the different ways of using it. Am used to Win 95 and 98 (Old fashioned these days!!)
If it doesn't work - watch out!!!
Ask them to set up XP Pro as "windows Classic". That way you'll find your way around a lot easier. Most things are very similar to Win 98/95.Enjoy :)
Thanks for your help all. New machine arriving Thursday. Can't wait to get my hands on all that power!!
Local boys seem v.g. Have answered any queries I had in plain english - quite rare these days. They are also setting it up for me, saves me getting in a tangle with all those wires. (Sometimes ignorance IS bliss!!!)
Must go, busy trying to remove all personal stuff from my oldie.
Regards all.
...and once you've worked out how to do that, can you re-write Hamlet and making it interesting. :D
Gosh, who would have believed a new computer would have generated such interest???
If you don't hear from me for some time, you know I've mucked it up. So far I've had three different answers from BT re tranferring my openworld surf package, so be patient. I think they are trying to get me to ring their 0906 number (NO CHANCE!!)
Hi all, well I'm up and running - wonderful, have actually got speed. Mind you, I had to download a ms patch to get java, they omitted to mention it would take 4 hours - great when BT chop off at 1.5 hrs. Late to bed!!!. However it has loaded the java I needed without me doing anything else - thank goodness (being polite!!!) They local guys were great - loaded everything for me and made sure all was OK.
Many many thanks to all of you for your invaluable help.
Hello Chartman.

Have taken notes about your spec for a pc.Have just taken on the BT broadband service and have hooked up via the usb connection.This workes OK so far ,have noted your advice re the usb connection. Is it very difficult to change the connection as you advise if I get problems later? :D

I read your threads regular together with options and FTSE beater and others.I have learned a lot from this site.
I also subscribe to the USA publication Stocks and Commodoties.Its very informative this is not an advert,just passing on my experience .
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Just read the post and only comment would be that it is worth paying attention to the noise generated as I have found my Dell PC is considerably quiter than other PC's.

Was also told that Pentiion processors run at a lower temp and require a less powerfull fan - dont know how true that is though