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Advice On New Hardware

Discussion in 'General Software & Hardware Forum:' started by Lukas, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Lukas

    Lukas New Member

    Hey all, my first post here so hi! :icon_biggrin:

    I've been designing on and off for a few years now and want to try to make some money out of it now.

    I'm in a position financially to buy some new hardware in order to do this reasonably well. At the moment I do all of my work in the Adobe Creative Suite CS5 but my system is dying a long slow death...

    I've had my Toshiba Satellite A200-1VG for about 4 years now and although I initially got it to do a bit of webdesign and other admin bits and bobs and it has served me well up until recently, it isn't a good enough machine to do what I want it to do. It has 2GB RAM, 150 GB HDD, Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 1.50GHz in it with a 1280 x 800 display and amazingly enough an Intel 965 Express graphics card... awful I know, but it's done ok so far... until it began to slow down.

    SO, the time has come to buy a new laptop/desktop BUT I have a budget and don't want to spend more than I have to if I can help it. I don't really game on my PC so that's not important (though I may have the odd game of Age of Empires on it now and again), I do need a decent DVD drive for burning movies and backups as well as client files and images etc. Not worried about size, weight, speakers etc as it will be staying in my office. I know I need a dedicated graphics card and I know I want at least 4GB RAM and 500GB HDD. I also want a large screen so have been looking at 17.3" models so far.

    I have been taken by the price and specs of the following laptops:

    Samsung R780
    Samsung RC710
    Acer Aspire 7741G
    Acer Aspire 7551G

    And I wondered if anyone had any feedback on them, or their specs at all to help me out. I am getting SO confused!

    Also, to add fuel to the fire, my Dad has offered to give me his old desktop, now it's a decent enough PC, but I know with that I can upgrade the memory and graphics etc and buy a 19" monitor for about £70, so would it be better and cheaper to do that instead of forking out £550+ for a decent desktop replacement laptop???

    Soooooo confusing.... :icon_Wall:

    Would REALLY appreciate ANY input anyone could give me on this one... I need to decide soon, the money I have set aside for this project is going to disappear soon if I'm not careful lol!!!

    Thanks a million - once I've had some help and decided I'm sure I'll be back with more questions lol! :icon_thumbup:
  2. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Just depends if you need to be mobile? If not, then I would never work at a desk on a laptop, upgrade your Dad's PC and buy a big monitor.
  3. Lukas

    Lukas New Member

    I don't really need to be mobile for the design side of things no, and even if I did, when I go over to my Mother in Laws in Ireland for any amount of time for example, I will still have my Toshiba with CS5 on it to do any bits of work there that I need to...

    I think it is a better idea to go for the desktop, the power is better isn't it? Will it cost more than a new laptop to upgrade well though, thats the thing...

    I wouldn't mind investing in a graphics tablet either if I'm honest but thats a query for another day!
  4. Ben.T.D

    Ben.T.D New Member

    Hi Lukas - like Boss Hog said, I think if the spec is high enough I would take your dad's pc and upgrade it. All depends on if that pc will have enough of an upgrade path in terms of what processor/ram/gfx card you can install.

    I'm guessing it's a fairly modern one? Bit of a shame as I just sold all the parts for a decent pc on ebay last week!

    Do you know what's inside your dad's pc?
  5. Lukas

    Lukas New Member

    Not as yet, he bought it because it was better than the one he had and he is a big gamer so I'm guessing it's fairly good spec-wise.

    That said, it is pretty old, at LEAST 6 years. Is it worth it do you think? He had it custom made. He's away at the moment but when he gets back I'll get the PC, attach it to my TV and get the specs as best I can!
  6. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Just depends on the current spec and how much of an ugrade it will handle, 6 years is pretty old in computer technology terms. Having said that you can buy some fantastic new desktop PC's for a few hundred nowadays.
  7. Ben.T.D

    Ben.T.D New Member

    Hmmm, well 6 years is a while in computer land :) I guess that puts it in the Intel Core 2 era and could give you some half decent performance. Having said that, it could also be an AMD cpu based system - I only owned one single core AMD system from some time ago so I can't really comment on this side of things I'm afraid.

    If it is Intel core 2 then you should be able to drop a core 2 quad cpu into it (cpu socket 775) and that would give you pretty good performance as these were excellent performers in the day (and still are to a point) and basically wiped the floor with AMD!

    You said you were using CS5 and I also use After effects CS5 and this will use a multi core cpu well.
    From my recent ebay experience, you could pick up a Intel Q6600 quad core cpu for say £60, which is pretty good I guess. You would have to upgrade the cooling on the cpu with a new heatsink and fan etc so that's something to bear in mind.

    Also, depending on the motherboard, the amount of ram you can physically install might be limited - you'd have to check all this.

    If you then upgraded to a new graphics card you might have to upgrade the power supply to give the new components enough juice to perfom. You could get a really good deal on parts but if you've never tinkered in the inside of a pc then all this might be a bit daunting and be worth buying a fresh system.

    IF you have the money, maybe one of the newer i7 systems might be better as your basically future proofing your self much more in terms of upgrading.

    Do you have a budget?
  8. Ben.T.D

    Ben.T.D New Member

    Sorry Boss Hog - didn't see your reply as I was typing this wall of text, but yup like I said, might be worth forking out on a newer system.

    ps Lukas - which bit of are you in? I spent time in various parts of N and S. Wales?
  9. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Dare I say........

    ....Apple Mac?..........

    .... You get what you pay for and if you're intending making money out of design you'll probably be employed by a company in the future who will expect you to know how a mac works.

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