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  • A lot of computer help needed

    I've been having a lot of trouble with my computer for a while, and we're thinking seriously about buying a new one. Since we know *little* about computers, I have several questions.

    1. What's the difference between a Celeron and Pentium processor? Is one better than the other?

    2. I'm considering computers with ATA/100 hard drives (7200 RPM). Is this good, bad or ugly?

    3. There's a possibility I might get my current computer working okay within the next 6 months. If I do, can I network the two with a distance of about 75 feet between them without spending a lot?

    4. One computer lists the video card as integrated Intel 3D graphics, while the other lists it as Integrated Intel 3D AGP Graphics. Is there a difference, and are these good cards?

    5. One lists the modem as 56K PCI voice modem. The other lists it as 56K PCI data fax modem for Windows. Differences?

    6. One comes with a network adapter (Integrated 10/100 Ethernet). The other doesn't mention any. Comments on this one?

    7. If I should network two computers, can I backup files from one to another?

    8. Can I use my current ATA/100 5400 rpm hard drive in conjunction with the 7200 rpm drive on a new computer if I don't get the other one working?

    9. Does the ATA/100 signify the speed of the drive, ot is it the rpm or both?

    10. Lastly, where is a good place to buy the computer? I'm leaning towards either a Gateway or a Dell.

    All help on this is *Greatly* appreciated.

    Ed

  • #2
    I can't help you with most of your questions. Most of our computers here are bought in peices and assembled by my husband. We did have a major problem and time was of the essence to get up and running as you may recall a while back. Anyway we bought a Dell Pentium 4, 1000mhz, 20gig and 128mb ram figuring we could upgrade on our own. I don't know if Gateway does the same thing but upgrading using other than Dell parts is next to impossible and those same parts at Dell were more than twice the cost. I wanted a CD rewriter and Dave got one for $150, Dell's wasn't as good and they wanted almost $400. Also the manual said I could upgrade to 1gig of ram but when we tried it didn't work. Turns out it was a misprint and we can only go up to 512mb. We were not happy about that. He finally got his CD rewriter installed but no help from Dell since they won't support anything but their products. Also, getting help from Dell is next to impossible. So much for winning more awards for support than any other computer as they say on the commercials. We're finally up and running but it hasn't been a good experience at all.
    DJ

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    • #3
      Re: A lot of computer help needed

      Ed, I don't know enough technical details to answer all of your questions, but have some info that might be useful.
      1. What's the difference between a Celeron and Pentium processor? Is one better than the other?
      When we were looking at a new computer a year ago (I realize that's ancient now! ) my brother (who really is a computer whiz) said quite adamantly, "Do NOT get a Celeron! It's a piece of crap." I don't know why it's a piece of crap, but I've heard that from other sources as well.
      2. I'm considering computers with ATA/100 hard drives (7200 RPM). Is this good, bad or ugly?
      That seems to be close to top of the line right now. (I just went through purchasing a new hard drive and it's what I purchased.)
      3. There's a possibility I might get my current computer working okay within the next 6 months. If I do, can I network the two with a distance of about 75 feet between them without spending a lot?
      I don't really know enough about this. I know you can get network cards pretty cheap on eBay (~$15?)and cable should be pretty cheap too. What I don't know is if you need a separate network hub/router or if XP can play that role. (Isn't XP supposed to have improved networking capabilities?)
      5. One lists the modem as 56K PCI voice modem. The other lists it as 56K PCI data fax modem for Windows. Differences?
      Skipped #4 b/c I have no clue. As far as modems, it seems to me that you'd want a data/fax modem, but I couldn't tell you what the difference is or why I feel that way.
      6. One comes with a network adapter (Integrated 10/100 Ethernet). The other doesn't mention any. Comments on this one?
      Hmmm. Not sure what "integrated" means, but I'm guessing that means it's included on one of the mainboards in the computer. My feeling is that if you think you're ever going to want to upgrade, "integrated" is NOT the way to go. It does make things cheaper to produce however, so you get more bang for your buck. But if the network connection fails for some reason and it's on the mainboard, don't know what that means for replairing/replacing it.
      7. If I should network two computers, can I backup files from one to another?
      Yes, this is possible as long as you have enough disk space.
      8. Can I use my current ATA/100 5400 rpm hard drive in conjunction with the 7200 rpm drive on a new computer if I don't get the other one working?
      Yes - I have this exact configuration in my computer now.
      9. Does the ATA/100 signify the speed of the drive, ot is it the rpm or both?
      It signifies the speed of the interface bus.
      10. Lastly, where is a good place to buy the computer? I'm leaning towards either a Gateway or a Dell.
      My husband purchased a Gateway a year ago and he's been quite happy with it. Haven't had to use support though and we haven't tried to upgrade anything, so can't give you any feedback on that aspect. Also, we suggested that my aunt purchase a Gateway because we'd heard that they are very good at answering "beginner's" questions (didn't want her calling us!) and she's been happy with it.

      OK - now let's see if all the formatting I put in this actually works...
      Jeanie

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      • #4
        OH missed that one. Yes you can use the other computers on your network as a backup. That's what we are doing now as a temporary set up until we put stuff on CD but like Jeanie said, if you have enough gigs on each machine you should have no problem setting them up as backups
        DJ

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        • #5
          Thanks for the replies. Now I know a little more than I did an hour ago.

          Jeanie, the formatting looks great!

          Ed

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          • #6
            Looks like most of your questions have already been answered so I won't re-hash whats been said. Intel makes both pentium and celeron just so you know.

            If you decide to network down the road, I suggest you look at a wireless network. I am using Intel's anypoint wireless and I love it. Take a look at www.intel.com/anypoint to learn more about it. It works well and it is not expensive. It also doesn't use a card, but simply plugs into a USB port.

            I currently have the old technology, but if I ever decide to upgrade to high speed internet access I will probably upgrade to the new 802.11b product.

            The anypoint allows sharing of the dial-up internet connection without anything extra. If you have a cabel modem or DSL hook-up you will need to get a router.

            Hope everything works out for you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Keith. I have my computer on the way, and I am thinking about possibly setting up a network before too long. I'll check out the link you provided.

              Ed

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              • #8
                It is not a problem copying files on networked computers.

                You will need to add a network card to the second computer. Make sure that the connections on both are the same. The newer connections look similar to the phone connections. If you have the older type of connection (a short round piece sticks out about a half inch), then you might want to order a network card that is compatible with both.

                I have used only Dells for the past five years. No one is perfect, their support and reliability has been good. Gateway has dropped a bit in that period of time. Two of my friends have had support problems with Gateway.

                Another friend of mine is a computer consultant. He recommends Dells to his clients.

                I'm sure that you will get many different opinions, but here is my two cents-free of charge.

                You will need advice from others more knowledgeable than me for your other answers.

                Good luck,

                Alan

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                • #9
                  Do people mostly buy computers off the peg in the US i.e. ready to use out of the box or do they assemble them from parts ? I gradually upgrade from parts so I finish up with one PC 'nearly' leading edge and the recipient of all the superseded parts as back up.

                  However at the end of the day I still couldn't build a computer at a better price than Dell or one of our larger suppliers in the UK for the spec they provide. On top of that the off the peg model is up and running out of the box and backup available in the form of guarantee and a helpline. Not forgetting the assembly time and getting the beast to function once you've screwed it together.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Gateway have left us Aussies out in the cold, they have closed their Australian branches. I have a Gateway which is about 2 years old and while they offer support for the newer ones(under 1 year old) people like me with older computers are left to fend for ourselves. I was going to upgrade my Gateway this year but now I'm not sure, as without being able to get tech advice from Gateway I'm worried about compatability issues.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ed, I feel very strongly that you should avoid integrated graphics cards. If you don't get an actual AGP slot on your computer then the only graphics upgrade you can make is with a PCI card. Not a good choice. Plus the computer manufacturers don't put out graphics drivers upgrades often enough for onboard graphics.

                      Integrated network and sound is not such a big deal because you can always add pci cards later.

                      Also make sure you get a full copy of the operating system and not just a restore disk.

                      Sharon

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                      • #12
                        Chris
                        I would say the average American buys a complete system ie Dell, Gatway etc. There are those computer "Geeks" that know what they are doing and can constuct their own. I think you can actually get a better deal here if you do it that way. You can also get everything you want vs what a company package gives you. However tech support is left to you to do and there is generally no warrenty except for the individual parts once you figure out which ones the bad one. The average American user just wants to make use not design the thing and as one of those, I can identify. We have 3 hand built by my "geek" husband and one Dell. Found out I'm limited with the upgrades to the Dell but the others arn't.

                        Sanda
                        Sorry about Gateway leaving you high and dry. If all you can afford is to upgrade then I would say go that way but bare in mind you may be left alone in the end. It's a tough decision. Glad it's not one I have to make.
                        DJ

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                        • #13
                          Gateway have packed their bags and departed from Europe also.
                          I keep saying I wont upgrade the next time but buy a brand new machine however I usually finish up buying parts. Assembly is easy its the 'tuning' thats the hard work !

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            From everything I'm hearing, I think I did pretty well. I went with a Dell 4400, Pentium 4 1.6 Gz, 256 megs DDR SDRAM, no monitor, 64 MB NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 4X AGP graphics card, 40 MB hard drive, 10/100 PCI Fast Ethernet NIC, 16X10X40 CD RW drive, and SB Live digital sound card. My Gateway is a little over 2 years old (Maybe 3), and I considered another. Dell had the best deal at the time I bought, and knowing that Gateway is having some problems, plus the better deal with Dell, I decided to go with Dell. It's gotta last me for a while! Thanks for all the responses. Maybe I'll get it tomorrow or the next day.

                            Ed

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That's a shame about Gateway. I do so like those cute cow commercials. Don't forget to let us all in on your new toy when you get it Ed. We can't wait til you take it out of the box.
                              DJ

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