Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: How much PC is enough?

  1. #1
    I got rid of my floppy disks Xpirate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    537

    Default How much PC is enough?

    I recently purchased a new laptop for my wife and child to use. I got a Toshiba P55t-A5116. It set me back about $800 after taxes at Best Buy. Now I see a blue screen of death with 0xc0000185. A Google revealed that it is probably a hardware problem with the CD or hard drive.

    I will see if Toshiba will warranty it. I could not get into the BIOS and disable the CD. The ability to disable the CD was grayed out.

    Before the laptop died, I noticed how my wife did not use the whole 1080 resolution. She had it set to something around 720 and claimed it helped her see it. Of course I explained how to make things bigger without changing the resolution, but that just irritated her.

    She also hates the touchscreen. She can not stand how our child gets fingerprints on it. The back lit keyboard is too difficult to understand because it requires pressing a FN button.

    If Toshiba does not warranty the machine, I have decided to purchase the Celeron model for around $230. It uses 720 resolution and there is no touch screen or back lit junk to confuse the wife.

    The reason I bought such an expensive one in the first place is because she used her old cheap laptop for years. Now I fully understand that a cheap machine is more than she needs. She only does one thing at a time. She does not run virtual machines. She does not do high end video games. All she does is surf the internet, email, and occasionally use MS office products. I purchased my wife more machine than she needed.

    At work, I have a laptop connected to a docking station. It has 8 GB of ram. I can easily make it run out of memory by running two virtual machines along with the software the company uses to communicate with the remote Linux machines I work on. The corporate spyware also runs on it to help slow it down and eat memory.

    The slowness and constrained resources of that laptop encouraged me to build a powerful Core i7 with 32 GB of ram, an SSD, and an Nvidia graphics card. Now I live in the 64 bit world here at home. I was able to make the PC use about 14 GB once by running multiple VMs, a couple videos, and some other stuff. That was the most ram I was ever capable of making it use.

    I have more machine than I really need here at home. I wonder how many other folks have more than they need.

  2. #2
    Anodized. Again. Konrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,060

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    As you probably already know, it really boils down to only two critical questions:

    1) What do you want/need to do with the computer?
    2) How much are you willing to pay?

    Seems you've already answered your own question: you feel you didn't really want/need the computer you got, or at least that you got "too much" computer and aren't using it to its full potential ... and you feel you paid too much for it.

    The only complication, really, is that many people have explicit faith in particular brands and/or they automatically condemn other brands, which narrows their selections down considerably. This doesn't seem to apply to you, unless you really feel strongly (for or against) owning Toshiba, Intel, and nVidia products - and, conversely, unless you feel unhappy that you don't own AMD, Apple, Sony, whatever.

    Me - I'm perfectly happy owning ridiculously overpowered high-end stuff, and (even though I'm sorta cheap and bargain-conscious) I'm not really unhappy with what I paid for it. I'm only dissatisfied that I can't obtain (or can't justify the expense of obtaining) even more ridiculously overpowered extreme-tier stuff. Although I'm obviously an atypical niche-market minority kind of computer user.

    My parents kept on saying, for years, that their PC sucks at this and sucks at that, Macintosh could do it all better, and look at all the money they've poured into their PC over the years instead of a Macintosh. I don't like Macs, but my advice was just to sell the computer they feel doesn't work for them and use the money towards one they already like. They don't do a lot more than casual browsing and some small-business tax/accounting stuff. A $500 laptop would serve them well.

    My technerd buddy swears by AMD, has to have the latest/greatest AMD proc and chipset and APU and all the rest all the time. He moans at every opportunity that he "wasted" $1K on a "crappy" nVidia card. Again, I advised he sell it (to me, lol) and spends his money getting what he really wants. He must meet or exceed all the highest system requirements for every game title on the market, he must overclock heavy, he must install future cooling ... spending $10K on his computer(s) isn't (to him) unreasonable. Compare vs people who overspend vast sums on other hobbies, collectibles, cars, whatever.
    My mind says Technic, but my body says Duplo.

  3. #3
    Yuk it up Monkey Boy! Airbozo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    In the Redwoods
    Posts
    5,270

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    Never too much!

    LOL!

    I have 4 systems a home including a new gaming rig. It has 16gb of memory and I have not checked to see how much I have ever used. The chassis is the main overkill part. It is a TT SwordM liquid cooling model, but I am not using the radiators or pumps, just air for now.

    I also have an older Dell T7500 with dual xeon x5675's, dual nVidia Quadro 4800's, and 32gb of memory. Even playing around with photoshop or sketchup, I have never heard the fans spin up, nor do I beleive I have ever pushed the procs or video cards anywhere near the halfway point. It IS overkill for me (just like a similar Dell 690 I still have sitting in the garage, but it only has one video card).

    My home server on the otherhand is always running low on memory (8GB) and pushes that processor (E3-13xx (can't remember)) to the max. The fans are almost always on full speed.
    "...Dumb all over, A little ugly on the side... "...Frank Zappa...

  4. #4
    Moderator TLHarrell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Morgan Hill, CA
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    Go for the Celeron for the wife and put an SSD in it. It'll seem a lot faster than stock, and she should be quite happy with it.
    I have a hammer! I can put things together! I can knock things apart! I can alter my environment at will and make an incredible din all the while! -Calvin

  5. #5
    Undead Pirate d_stilgar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    2,987

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Konrad View Post
    As you probably already know, it really boils down to only two critical questions:

    1) What do you want/need to do with the computer?
    2) How much are you willing to pay?
    After answering these questions I always optimize the components for balance (amount of storage, ram, speed of cpu vs gpu, etc.) and then spec the PC up to the specified budget.

    It's important to note, however, that if you are trying to do X on budget x, but you can't do X unless you spend budget y, sometimes it's just better to keep waiting or spend more money. The most frustrating thing is to spend a lot of money but still not be able to do what you want.

    I may be a special case, but I've had 16Gb in a machine before and still maxed it out pretty quickly. Games generally won't come close to this, but 3D modelling and rendering certainly will, and the Adobe Creative Suite will do it in a heartbeat.

    I also try to under-budget when making a parts list, because I know lots of small upgrades will ultimately bring the price up by another 50% or so. Other people many not have this problem, but I definitely do.

  6. #6
    I got rid of my floppy disks Xpirate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    537

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    You guys are right.

    I paid the money for the 32 GB because I wanted to fill up the motherboard to the maximum that it could hold. Last time I bought components, I decided to wait to fill up the other banks. Once I got ready to do it, the memory cost more money due to supply and demand. My stinginess prevented me from ever upgrading that RAM. I stayed with the old PC for about four years before I got the Haswell.

    Even though it is more than I really need, I have no regrets on my desktop. I like having more machine than I need just in case I ever need it. Eventually I am going to get a couple WQHD panels. I'm waiting for the prices to come down on them.

    However, I can not say the same about the wife's laptop. It's almost like I can hear it saying, "You are a big dumb A!" It goes on to say, "You wife uses 720 and the extra bells and whistles confuse her!" So, I probably will just get her something cheap in the future.

    Someone intelligent said that highly technical people sometimes forget that most of the world is not made up of highly technical people. Being married helps me fully understand that.

  7. #7
    . Spawn-Inc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    4,145

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    i just built a $2400 gaming rig that will pretty much be used for web/email usage. i have overclocked it as much as i could for benching purposes, have it overclocked to 4.8ghz for my daily and will use it for gaming when i get the urge to. i intend to use it for 4-5 years which is why i went with the higher end stuffs.

    i bought the $75 intel 20th pentium annivery edition cpu just to overclock it as much as i could (got up to 5.2ghz i believe. but i won't likely use it ever again. maybe i will build a HTPC with it.
    CPU: Q6600 G0 3.5GHz@1.4v (4.2GHz max) / 4790k 4.8ghz @1.265v
    GPU: 9800GTX /GTX780 hydrocopper
    Ram: Samsung 4GB /gskill 16gb DDR3 1600
    Mobo: EVGA-NF68-A1 680i (P32) /AsRock Extreme6
    PSU: Enermax Galaxy 850Watt /EVGA 850 G2
    HDD: OCZ 120GB Vertex4, Samsung evo 840 250GB
    LCD: Samsung 32" LN32A450, Samsung 226BW 22" wide
    Sound: Logtiech Z 5500
    CPU & GPU: 3x Swiftech MCR320, 2x MCP655, MCW60 R2, Dtek Fuzion V2, 18 high speed yates @ 5v

  8. #8
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,616

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    I too am guilty of chronic overkill and have vowed to stop it. I'm putting together a system now out of parts I already have and then I plan to enjoy it as it fades slowly into obsolescence. Let the passing of time be a measure of just how overpowered it was.

    It will be quite a change in mindset for me to simply enjoy the thing for what it is instead of constantly focusing on how I could improve on it. It's one of the perils of our hobby and of the industry at large.
    “Do not trust people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible, and when I leave you will finally understand why storms are named after people.”

  9. #9
    Anodized. Again. Konrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,060

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    I'm big on defraying initial costs where I can. I generally get the best chassis, PSU, motherboard/chipset, and monitor I want (don't really need it, I admit), plug in the lowest-cost proc and RAM and graphics cards I can get away with, and - over time - upgrade everything "up to the max supported" and end up with a top-end system.

    People say that this technically isn't the most cost-efficient long term approach.

    But I strongly disagree. It wouldn't be the most cost-efficient if all those plug-into-their-socket components had unchanging prices. The reality is that they all keep getting better, faster, bigger, smaller, and cheaper every time something new rolls off the silicon assembly line. So you either have the option of getting more later than you could initially, at the same price; or you have the option of getting "the max supported" componentry you originally wanted at a substantially lower price than you would've initially paid. The PC chassis, PSU, monitor, etc, should last you at least a few years, and they'll still be fairly comparable to the latest-greatest ... but the latest nVidia card or Extreme Intel proc will be half-obsolete two-generations-old stuff in much less than a few years. And RAM, ha, RAM gets cheaper every day - at least until the next-gen RAM becomes mainstream, and the discontinued RAM gets harder to find.

    Exception to the rule is mobile devices. Laptops, might as well stuff 'em with the best RAM they can hold because while these parts will eventually be less advanced than their new counterparts, they will become harder to find and likely to never get any cheaper. Just stick the best storage card and battery upgrade and carry case and whatever else you can into your little tablet or smartphone right away; while some of these things double and redouble capacities (and half their costs) every year or so, they are fairly cheap to begin with. Focus on what the device can do for you now, because you're using it now, and you'll be using it for years, so don't focus on what upgrades will be available in years. Besides, the gizmo is ultimately disposable, you'll likely be looking to replace it long before you'll be looking to repair and upgrade it, and you'll pay less for more that way, too!

    Well, maybe a second exception to the rule. Don't spend money upgrading old tech to old tech. What's the point of spending $200 on a crazy modern AGP card which has more raw computing power than the Pentium-4 (now worth maybe $100) you'll plug it into? Such stuff is better found on craiglist, hopefully for no more than, say, $10-$20.
    My mind says Technic, but my body says Duplo.

  10. #10
    Anodized. Again. Konrad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,060

    Default Re: How much PC is enough?

    We're all entitled to indulge in a little thread necro now and then, yes? I hope.

    I found this most excellent site and it seems relevant to topic (and this topic itself gets reincarnated at TBCS often enough anyhow): Logical Increments - PC Buying Guide.

    It's easy to read and updated with current products regularly enough. Not every possible choice is ever listed (especially at the uppermost product tiers where the latest-greatest toys, enthusiast boutique brands, and niche requirements tend to dominate), but it offers an excellent cross-sample and represents many good products, along with useful advice about what's out there in the wild (and why you should care about it) for people who need/want some new computer tech. At least it presents a good "baseline" reference to compare against any other (non-listed) products which may particularly interest you.

    Note that a few items - including essentials like monitor/display, keyboard, mouse, and speakers/headphones - are not categorized and not factored into the site's listed total build prices. Like anything else in the computer market, these items range from ridiculously inexpensive (and often cheap, but more or less adequate) to ridiculously overpriced (and often packed with special features which mainly cater to fanatical hypernerds) - you generally get exactly what you pay for, as usual in competitive markets, but you needn't pay for more than you'll actually use. (As an aside, most of these components can be used for many years and even reused in your new computer platforms for many years more, until they break or are gradually phased into obsolescence.)

    Also note that the site assumes stock cooling options, as shipped out-of-the-box, no added fans or cooling upgrades (let alone any loops/rads or more exotic cooling solutions), and this may be actually be insufficient to reliably run the heaviest systems at the top-end of the list - meaning that a little more money might need to be added into the build price. Also note that if your processor cooler doesn't supply any sort of TIM then you'll have to buy your own, not optional but at least it's cheap (less so at the higher end...), even though the site entirely fails to mention TIMs.

    And any plans for serious overclocking requires very careful attention to selecting parts, limiting the array of product options while also driving up price premiums. Casual overclocking, with unspectacular to modest results, is typically built into all but the cheapest computer gear these days anyhow and requires little or no additional investment.
    My mind says Technic, but my body says Duplo.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •