Skip to main content
Topic: I need a new computer. (Read 2615 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

I need a new computer.

I was using a HP laptop running JRiver through Vista , this was connected to my HiFi via the headphone socket to aux on the amp and HDMI to my TV.
Anyhow, cut a long story short my laptop threw a wobbly and I now need a new computer.
This time around I want a desk top, I have limited funds, around 350 quid, its not much I know, would this be enough to build one? Would I be better off buying second hand? Or could I get a new one to suit my a/v needs for this money?
Any help would be greatly appreciated as I know very little about computers.

I need a new computer.

Reply #1
I think you can find something in your price range.  Audio playback isn't that demanding and I think just about modern computer can handle DVD video.    I'm not quite as sure about Blu-Ray & HD video, but I assume any modern computer can handle it.    (Game video can be very demanding because the graphics have to be generated.) 

HDMI isn't universal, but I think you can find a computer in your price range that has it.

If you are going to play commercial Blu-Ray discs the computer does need to be HDPC compliant, or the software will refuse to play the disc.

A "refurbished" computer might be better than "2nd hand."  It should be fully tested and should come with Windows 7 or 8 with nothing left on the hard drive by the previous user.

I need a new computer.

Reply #2
I think you can find something in your price range.  Audio playback isn't that demanding and I think just about modern computer can handle DVD video.    I'm not quite as sure about Blu-Ray & HD video, but I assume any modern computer can handle it.    (Game video can be very demanding because the graphics have to be generated.) 

HDMI isn't universal, but I think you can find a computer in your price range that has it.

If you are going to play commercial Blu-Ray discs the computer does need to be HDPC compliant, or the software will refuse to play the disc.

A "refurbished" computer might be better than "2nd hand."  It should be fully tested and should come with Windows 7 or 8 with nothing left on the hard drive by the previous user.


Thanks for the heads up on refurbished PCs, I found a Dell with the following spec,
Inspiron 3847 Desktop
Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-4130 (3MB Cache, up to 3.4 GHz)
Windows® 8.1
1 TB SATA III Hard Drive (7200RPM)
8 GB DDR3 Dual Channel 1600MHz Memory (2x4GB) [QTY : 2]
Back Up Media Not Included
Windows® 8.1 (64 Bit) English
16X DVD +/- RW Drive
Dell Wireless-N 1705 + Bluetooth 4.0
Chassis : Chassis with Black Bezel

And also this slightly cheaper one.
Inspiron 3847 Desktop
Processor: Intel® Pentium® G3220 Processor (3M Cache, 3.0 GHz)
Windows® 8.1
1 TB SATA III Hard Drive (7200RPM)
Memory : 4 GB (1x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3
Back Up Media Not Included
Windows® 8.1 (64 Bit) English
16X DVD +/- RW Drive
Dell Wireless-N 1705 + Bluetooth 4.0
Chassis : Chassis with Black Bezel

Then I came across this which is slightly more expensive.
Inspiron 660 MT
Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-3240 (3.40GHz, 3MB)
Windows® 8
1 TB 3.5inch SATA III Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
Memory : 4 GB (1x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3
Graphics: 1 GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 620
Back Up Media Not Included
Windows® 8 64bit (English)
16X DVD +/- RW Drive
Wireless : Dell Wireless 1506 Card

Would either of those three cope with high bit rate audio and video? I have a few bluray discs burned onto my external hard drive, my old HP laptop coped with most high bit rate audio and video but it caused it to run very hot and sometimes it would freeze up if something else was running in the background.
Any thoughts on the above three PC's would be greatly appreciated, I only run two channel stereo at the moment but that might change in the future. Also I'm dubious about windows 8 as I've never used it before.

I need a new computer.

Reply #3
From the look of it, the first option is definitely your best bet.

8GB of RAM in dual channel with an i3 is likely to remain relevant longer than the second or third option. The final option has a geforce 620 video card, but this is a truly low end card. Since the i3-3240 in the 660MT is from the previous generation and you sacrifice half of your memory (and memory bandwidth), go for the first option.

The "Pentium" series tends to be rather neutered in terms of capabilities (Virtualization, QuickSync) and bus/RAM speed, so I would probably avoid them unless you plan to get a Pentium 3258 and overclock it to 4+GHz (which would mean building your own).

All of these machines should be able to deal with high bitrate audio and video without any problem. Cell phones should be able to handle most high bitrate audio at this point! The Inspiron 3000 series seems to use the Realtek ALC662 for audio output and the i3 4130 uses the on chip "HD4400" for graphics. These are nothing fantastic, but decoding Blu Ray rips won't be a problem for a current i3 with 8GB of RAM. Compared to your old HP laptop, the 3847 with an i3 should be nice and responsive.

Double check that whatever machine you buy has the output ports you need!

Regarding the Windows 8 interface, just download ClassicShell (free) or one of the many purchasable start button replacements (StartIsBack, etc.), and you can make Windows 8 look a lot like windows 7. Windows 8 is faster and will receive updates for longer than 7, so it does have certain advantages even if you keep the stock user interface.

I need a new computer.

Reply #4
Really, any computer that's been made within the past 5 years will do audio and DVD playback without any issues, even the lowest of the low end. Blu-Ray is significantly more complex to decode, so if you have a system that is both old and rock-bottom low-end, you could potentially run into problems there. None of the systems you posted fit that description, and I don't think Dell sells even refurbished PCs that old.

If worst comes to worst,  you can always add in a separate video card, if it's a desktop. Video cards these days have hardware video decoding - even some CPUs do, but I'm not sure if the i3 has that or not. Even a low-end card at $30-$40 would have video decoding capability.

I need a new computer.

Reply #5
even some CPUs do, but I'm not sure if the i3 has that or not.

Every "i series" Intel CPU that has graphics has has full decoding built in and can decode blu-rays in hardware.  This includes the Pentium and Celeron versions based on them.  Any i3 you find in a normal PC or laptop will have graphics built in and thus support blu-ray hardware decode. 

Except for some Atom CPUs and a few oddballs not found in normal PCs, every Intel chip with graphics from 2010 and later will have hardware video decoding.

 
SimplePortal 1.0.0 RC1 © 2008-2019