View Full Version : Computer question

05-09-2004, 12:52 PM
Thinking of getting this computer, what do you think of the choice? I like IBM and have had good luck with their computers. I need to make the purchase very soon. Also, should I be thinking at all about an Apple, the sales man gave me a pretty good pitch.
Thanks in advance

ThinkCentre A30 8198
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Base Model Features and Specifications Part No Unit Price* Quantity Price*
ThinkCentre A30 8198
Form factor Tower (3x5)
Processor type Pentium 4
Processor speed 2800 MHz
Processor cache 512 KB
Hard drive type EIDE
Memory 256 MB
Maximum memory 4096 MB
Operating system Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Optical drive 48X CD-ROM
819881U $579.00 1 $579.00

Cueless Joey
05-09-2004, 01:18 PM
Mac's are better machines. Better operating system, OS X , and very rarely gets a virus.
Windows XP has too many holes. I'm still on Win 98.
Lower priced PC's have cheap motherboards. I like Azus and Intel boards. IBM hard drives are very good.
If there is a local computer store to you, get a quote what they can build around that price.

05-09-2004, 03:02 PM
I think that is fine. You may want to consider going with 512MB of RAM though since the prices are so reasonable and it will run XP more smoothly. I myself have been on XP Pro since it became available and have not once had any problems with worms, virii, etc. I do update XP regularly as well as use Norton Anti-virus and Sygate Personal Firewall which does help with those sorts of problems.

05-11-2004, 07:27 PM
Depends on what you are using it for... If your into graphics processing stuff or the newer games, I'd go with a faster processor, ~1Gb RAM, Bigger HDD, a good video card,( Although the video card is not mentioned in your post). I like Dell business class machines better, although they cost more.

As for the Apple, They have a strong image processing following and have the corresponding software to support that. And the OS is strong, I'd venture to say better that MS's OS. But keep in mind that any off the shelf software you find will likly be only for Windows.

Viruses and other such things are pretty much spread across the board, however, most virus authors have got in in for MS products as they are the 800lb gorilla. There seems to be a hate Microsoft mentality among the hackers and such out there that is not entirely unfounded. XP pro, so far looks like its more solid than anything MS has released so far.

Personally I like other OS's, I'm not a big fan of windows.

For everything else I'd say that machine is a good choice.

BTW: Did make sure a monitor was included in that price?

05-12-2004, 03:01 AM
Pop, if you really want an educated answer to your question, we need more info. Copyguy made some relevant points, and so did Joey.

Do you have a broadband Internet connection? DSL or Cable or Frame Relay? If you buy an XP box, you really need one, just to download all the patches and upgrades necessary to make it stable and semi-defensible. 48 or 50 MB of patches can't be realistically downloaded over a modem, and what the store or online retailer sells you will NOT be current.

What about your existing software and data? Do you want to start over, or carry over what you already have? Do you have it all on CD? This is one of the most important things. Make a list. How are you going to import all your emails,contacts, phone numbers, pictures, drawings, etc. over to the new box?

As Copyguy points out, if your desire is to have a graphics processor, the Mac may be a better choice. If you want a do-everything box, you are pretty much stuck with Windows.

Personally, I like Win2K over XP, just because it is easier to patch up, and it is the same base kernel, and needs fewer CPU cycles to get through it's day, which translates to better performance. LOL, I can make it current with one giant service pack and 13-15 security upgrades, instead of 45 or so with XP. Of course, you still need antivirus, anti-spyware, registry cleaners, etc...haha. I just love Windows /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Take a look at your existing machine. What are you doing with it? Do you use external USB devices, like a digital camera, photo printer, or MP3 player? If so, you need to consider driver support for the hardware you already own. Usually it is better with Windows, but older devices may still not be supported with XP, and you need to know if there is driver support for all your toys.

I don't know if you want to have the ability to integrate CAD and CNC programming into your cuemaking, but programs like MasterCAM and AutoCAD are easier to setup and deal with on PC's than Macs.

I got out of the computer business last year with the hope that I could occupy myself with something less annoying. Whether I have been successful at that is still up to the jury, but I can offer this. 10+ years of dealing with it left me hating consumer hardware in all forms. If you choose a PC, please look at the Dell business class machines as copyguy suggests. You will spend roughly the same money, and get a much higher level of support from the OEM.

Okay, now that we have that behind us, this is what I think you should be looking at in it's basic form to get you through the next 2-3 years.

The fastest Intel Processor you can get. 2.8 Ghz will probably be ok, but don't go lower. (that will insure you ONE OS update, no more, i.e. XP 2005, or whatever, will still work)
512 or more MB of RAM. 1 GB is better.
120GB or more of disk space.
DVD/CRDOM reading and burning capability, 2 drives
4 USB ports, 2 Firewire. Get a hub if you need to.
17" to 19" Flat panel display.
Speakers/Sound as needed.
100BT Cat5 card and Wireless built in, depending on your Internet connection and local network requirements.
Lastly, the SMALLEST footprint this all fits in, and try to do a little cable management behind the desk. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Of course, there is always option "B". Clean up the computer you have, buy an etch-a-sketch, call it your laptop, spend the grand on some nice tooling, wood, etc., and build me a nice break cue!


05-12-2004, 06:49 AM
Macs are much more secure. When I go to the norton site to check my security, it always comes up 'stealth' with no ports open. I have a powerbook with 512ram and 40gb hd and 512cache. This is pretty standard for what a new pc labtop would have. My mac is rated at 1.25gh, rays pc laptop is rated at 2.8, but the mac loads up apps faster, and in generall performs better. I guess the macs os is less of a resource hog than windows.

The downside of mac would be for someone who likes to run a bunch of different aps, especially games, because there is more pc software out there. They have office apps and all that, but where you can walk into best buy or whatev er and buy all kinds of pc software, you can only buy it for apple online or at an apple store, if it is near you.

I used pcs for a long time and like them too, just do not like the security or vulnerabilty problems. For instance, in march, there were 100 viruses created, all for pcs running windows, none for apple, unix or Linex.


BTW- my ips are off temporarily while we are moving but my email addie is available if anyone needs to be in contact.

05-12-2004, 09:08 AM
With the correct techinical knowledge a windows pc can be made as secure as any system, it is just simpler for the non-technical types to go with a Mac. Macs are excellent for basic email and web browsing as well as graphic processing, outside of that they leave a lot to be desired on the software front.

05-12-2004, 01:35 PM
Thank you all for your responses. I asked the same question a year ago and time went by and my system is still running but at almost 7 years I think I am pushing it. My needs are pretty small. I would like to have a p4 though from what friends tell me and a pretty good amount of ram. I don't play games, a word program may be the thing I use the most. Mail thing is I want reliability. Today I am going to a place near me that can build a system. They have been there for a long time and I thought it may be more reliable if I have a system put together with high quality components, that is expandable but to my current needs. I kind of like the idea if there are problems I actually have someone to see that is not somewhere on the other side of the world. It seems even if I buy from a place like Circuit City or some place, unless I buy the extra service contract. Once I am out of the store any problems are done with the company, so I am back to the same thing with the 4 hours on the phone with who knows who. I have heard such scary things about Dell's service they scare me a little. My hook up is Comcast cable by the way if that matters at all.

05-12-2004, 07:50 PM

On my mac, I have microsofts mac office. It works with sending word docs to pc users. I do not however, think it is as good as the one made for windows. So, if someone really needs some of the more powerful features of office, windows pc is probably best. To get those programs on the mac, you have to get a special program to use it.

For browsing, email and writing docs, some graphics, I like my mac because it is safe. OTOH, I like pcs too and in fact recently built a pretty nice one to use as our server in our home network.

Either way, you will be fine as long as you are careful and keep on automatic scan and update.


05-12-2004, 09:09 PM
Microsoft Windows is generally not a good OS for most power users who need something specific such as an enterprise server, or high end publishing but it is good for home use.

Generally speaking I go with
Unix/Linux/BSD/Solaris for Reliable Servers, Development
Macs for Productivity, Videos, Photos
Window for Solitaire, Email, basic home needs, wide range of software choices

What you may want to do, if you want get a bit adventerous, is build an Intel/AMD machine with good components (ASUS or ABIT motherboard, lots of RAM, ATI Radeon or eVGA Geforce Video Card and a big hard drive or two) and dual boot with Linux. Just an idea.

Personally, I would never buy a computer without knowing exactly what Motherboard I'm getting. But then again, I always build my own with everything being exactly what I want.

05-13-2004, 07:04 AM
Going to a local is not a bad choice. It is nice to have someone near by working on it if you have problems (hopefully you won't). I have noticed lately around my house, the mom and pop stores are not the cheapest anymore. I personally am not always concerned with the cheapest, but rather I want to make sure I get what I want.

eg8r <~~~also builds my own computers

05-13-2004, 11:41 AM
I built my first PC in 1982. Over the years I built more than I can possibly count for various friends, family, customers, etc.

I don't do it any more, for a couple of reasons. One, it is no longer cheaper to build a PC than it is to buy one. At best it will end up costing the same.

More importantly, to me, is the stability issue. Computer manufacturers put a great deal of effort into integrating the components into a stable platform. Mom and Pop builders don't have the resources to do this.

When a local builder or individual slaps a box of parts together into a computer, they do not know what cross-compatibility issues will arise until they are done. In addition, the margins are so slim, that they have to cut corners to make a buck. They are constantly changing their components around because the last box of parts was a dollar cheaper than the one before that. CPU fans and power supplies that won't last a year, sound and video cards that come from who-knows-where, and so on.

I still do not advocate going down to Circuit City or Best Buy and buying a comsumer box. They are so loaded up with crap that they only run at about 50% of their potential.

Buying a business class workstation from a major manufacturer like Dell or HP is the best way to go in the long run. The price will be about the same as the consumer box, service will be WAY better, and you will not get stuck with 250 various pre-installed trial versions of Quicken, Money, AOL, MSN, Norton, etc....