Which HP Computer to go with?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by TripleB, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for you help with computer recommendations and spyware/anti-virus help. One last question for you and I'm through.

    I purchased an HP a1224n computer two nights ago. I chose it over the a1210n the a1224n basically because the it has more memory (1GB vs 512MB), it came with both a DVD/CD Recordable drive and a DVD/CD ROM drive, it runs at 3.06GHz vs 2.2GHz, and the guy at the store said it would fit my needs better since I didn't plan on doing a lot of gaming.

    I've got it home and got it set up and it's working wonderfully.

    The only thing that concerns me is that I loaded my Links 2001 golf game and it runs very quick, but it runs in "software rendering mode". I believe that means that it's actually not as quick as it could be and that the graphics aren't as detailed as they could be. It has an option of picking another kind of rendering software (can't remember what kind) but every time I chose it my program locks up. Not sure if it has to do with the computer or the fact that the software is from 2001?

    Anyway, I have 14 days to return/exchange it and I'm wondering now if I made the right choice. So.....

    LOOKING AT THE SPECS FROM THESE TWO MACHINES....WHICH IS THE BETTER MACHINE?

    BTW: I plan on using it for websurfing, playing Links 2001 golf game, editing pictures (and possibly home videos at a later time), cateloging music for transfer to MP3 and CDs, working with Word, working with Palm Pilot software, and my daughter to do reseach for school.

    HP Pavillion a1210n with HP 15” Flat Panel TFT LCD Monitor and HP Photo printer
    Windows XP Media Center 2005
    AMD Athlon 64
    2.2 GHz
    512MB RAM
    2000 MHz Sys Bus
    512KB Cache
    200GB Hard Drive
    Up to 256MB Video Memory
    Graphics: ATI Radeon XPress 200
    Double Layer Recordable DVD/CD with Light Scribe Compatability
    Digital Media Reader
    7 USB Ports
    4 Expansion Bays
    4 Expansion Slots
    2 IEEE 1394 Ports
    Software: Microsoft Works 8, Money 2005, Quicken ’05, HP Image Zone Plus, Sonic Digital Media Plus, InterVideo Win DVD 5, muvee autoProducer, Adobe 6.0, Apple Itunes


    HP Pavillion a1224n with HP 17” FlatScreen CRT Monitor and HP Photo printer
    Windows XP Media Center 2005
    Inter Pentium 4
    3.06 GHz
    533 MHz Sys Bus
    1GB RAM
    1MB Cache
    200GB Hard Drive
    Up to 128MB Video Memory
    Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator
    Double Layer Recordable DVD/CD with Light Scribe Compatability
    Digital Media Reader
    DVD ROM drive also
    7 USB Ports
    4 Expansion Bays
    3 Expansion Slots
    2 IEEE 1394 Ports
    Software: Microsoft Works 8, Money 2005, Quicken ’05, Adobe 7, muvee autoProducer, InterVideo Win DVD 5, Sonic Digital Media Plus, HP Image Zone Plus, Apple Itunes


    Thanks for your help.

    TripleB
     
    #1
  2. nViATi

    nViATi Hall of Fame

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    I'd go for the system with the Athlon 64 CPU
     
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  3. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    I have no intention of buying HP again.
    I might take one on if it was given to me though...
    I had an HP Pavilion tower computer a number of years ago. Now I'm not saying they are bad computers. They use essentially the same kinds of parts as everyone else. In some cases better, in some cases worse.
    In my case my motherboard went bad. Since HP uses a proprietary motherboard in a special case, I had to buy both a new AT motherboard and case. I'm now on my third motherboard for that computer, but it's still working.
     
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  4. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    TripleB, I looked up the specs of both machines here http://www.hp.ca/products/static/pavilion-desktops

    Benjamin, Something concerns me. First you say the sales advisor recommended the 1224 because you don't plan on playing games but
    it seems you're re-evaluating your choice based on how the pc handles Links Golf, a game. uh alright but here goes.........

    The athlon version uses an ATI Xpress 200 on board graphics chip while the other one has on board Intel for graphics. In the retail(non-professional) market for pc graphics, nVidia and ATI are pre-eminent. For games and video editing I'd pick the ATI over the intel chip anyday. ATI is renowned for the quality of it's video handling in the non-professional market. Also the ATI chip according to the specs can make use of up to 256MB of memory, 128MB for the intel(more about this below).

    Both machines can support a maximum 4GB of memory but the 1210 ships with 512MB while the 1224 comes with 1GB in the configuration you bought. Now, if you do exchange and get the 1210 instead do the following:

    Sell the two 256MB memory chips(banks) in the 1210 via eeeebbbaaayy or other and buy 1GB for the 1210 or just sell one 256MB chip and replace it with a 512MB one for 768MB total. Memory is quite low cost so this upgrade is practical and easy to do.

    Reason why: Both the ATI and intel chips do not have their own exclusive dedicated memory for the storage and manipulation of graphics. Hence they must both 'borrow' the pc's system memory(512MB for 1210, 1GB for 1224) for processing graphics. Clearly if the ATI borrows 256MB of system memory, that only leaves another 256MB for the Windows operating system and all the other applications/programs you may be running at the same time. 256MB of memory is way too low for such a situation hence the need for a memory upgrade.

    The benefit of more video/graphics memory is that larger and more complex graphics can be manipulated/processed more quickly. In real world terms, games will look better and play faster.

    Also the 1210 has 4 expansion slots while the 1224 has only 3. The number of expansion slots is important if you later decide to plug in 'add-on' cards either to improve or add functionality.
     
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  5. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    I guess what concerned me was that if it couldn't run a 2001 game as well (or at least it didn't seem as well to me) the 2001 Dell I just got rid of, how was it going to handle editing of my photos/videos or run any other "larger" programs I use.

    Not sure if it's true or not but the guy said that the 1224 (the one I bought) cannot be upgraded to run the Windows software that will be coming out next year.

    Thanks for the in depth help.

    TripleB
     
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  6. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Benjamin, I don't know the detailed stuff about graphics. However, OpenGL and Direct3D (D3D) are two competing systems(programming interfaces-'way of doing things') for displaying 3D graphics and possibly 2D as well. I think OpenGL is for all-purpose 3D work including games whereas D3D might be games focused, don't quote me on that. Both systems are better than 'software rendering' for games. I am not sure whether both systems need a degree of hardware support in order to work. Hardware support means the functionality required to perform a task is hardwired/built-into the chip or 'add-on' card. I have no way of knowing whether your system has support for the other rendering options availible in Links golf.

    It's also perhaps important to note that your new pc uses Windows Media Center while your old pc, the Dell, probably had something like Windows 98, Millenium, Windows 2000 or Windows XP home/pro. Since you are now using a different operating system( Media center) there could be an imcompatibility problem. In the computer field, 2001 is ancient. It could be the case the other rendering option in Links Golf uses a version of the rendering code that is not supported by Media Center. If that is the case I suggest you google
    'links golf 2001 pc game patches' and see it anything comes up that will solve incompatibilty problems.

    I have games produced for Windows 98 that will not run on XP. It is normal and to be expected.
     
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  7. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Games generally use capabilities of a PC that often change versions and implementations very quickly, hence the increased imcompatibility problems compared to other types of software.
    On the other hand the complexity of the videos/photos a pc can handle is far more dependent on the CPU speed and amount of system memory.
     
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  8. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    DUMB IDEA OR NOT?

    TAKE BACK THE 1224, PURCHASE THE 1210, GO WITH THE 17” FLATSCREEN CRT MONITOR (reduces price by $100), AND USE THE MONEY I SAVE ON THE MONITOR TO PURCHASE 512MB OF RAM (I hadn’t checked but the last I heard you could get it for around $110).

    THAT WAY I COULD HAVE THE AMD ATHLON 64 PROCESSOR, THE “UP TO” 256MB OF SHARED VIDEO MEMORY, THE ABILITY TO UPGRADE TO THE NEW WINDOWS SOFTWARE, AND THE 1GB OF RAM. SORT OF LIKE HAVING THE BEST OF BOTH MACHINES.

    THE ONLY THING THE 1210 WOULDN'T HAVE IS A DVD-ROM DRIVE.

    IS ALL OF THIS A GOOD IDEA OR JUST STUPID???

    THANKS FOR YOUR HONEST INPUT!!!

    TRIPLEB
     
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  9. jayserinos99

    jayserinos99 Hall of Fame

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    In your case, you may want to go with the AMD because it's 64-bit and the new Windows Vista/Longhorn should be able to run on it. Personally I like having the ability to upgrade my video card as well, so it should have at least an AGP slot (if not PCI-X). Also, another stick of 512MB of ram shouldn't cost $110 (you may want to go to a place like crucial.com to pick up on Micron memory). DVD-Rom drives are really cheap and you can just add another one for $30.

    I don't know if you're the type to tinker around with computers, but just like tennis racquets, there's a bit of a learning curve but once you figure them out, there's nothing holding you back.
     
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  10. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Benjamin, A
    'Double Layer Recordable DVD/CD with Light Scribe Compatability' DVD Drive
    is basically a
    'DVD ROM drive'
    with the added ability to write(create) your own DVDs and CDs.
     
    #10
  11. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    Thanks...the 1224 (the one I have now) has both a DVD/CD RW (combo drive) and another DVD-ROM only drive. The 1210 only has the DVD/CD RW combo drive.

    TripleB
     
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  12. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    Is the AMD easier to upgrade a video card than the Pentium 4?

    How much does a quality video card run?

    I don't like to tinker at all. After some of the software problems I've had in the past I almost cringe just updating drivers and such.

    TripleB
     
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  13. jayserinos99

    jayserinos99 Hall of Fame

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    Video cards are not dependent on type of cpu, as long as you have a slot to put them in. Depending how much you want to spend on a video card, there are good ones in the 100-200 range...of course if you're a really big gamer, some of the cards out there are in the 300-400 range.

    As far as software is concerned, I'd look into reinstalling the base operating system and the drivers for each of the hardware devices and then imaging (basically taking a snapshot of the hard drive) that standard drive. This makees things a lot easier than reinstalling the whole operating system and drivers.
     
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  14. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    After going back to look at both computers again and talking to a guy there, I'm even leaning more towards taking the a1224n back and getting the a1210n.

    The one I don't have has (this is from the old memory of a computer moron so forgive me if my terms are wrong): a 64 bit processor (compared to 32 in the one I have), has a PCI-E slot (the one I have doesn't) to make adding a video card easier, the ability to run the new Windows operating system (if I choose to upgrade to it), has an extra expansion bay and expansion slot, costs $110 less, and has up to 256MB of shared Video memory (compared to 128 for the one I have).

    The only downside is that it only has 512MB of RAM (compared to 1GB on the one I have) and it has an extra DVD-ROM drive already installed.

    I checked and they said that since it was open that there would be a 15% restocking fee. It pays to read...I pointed out that on the recept it only says 15% on notebooks, it says nothing about desktops. They concurred.

    Thanks for your help.

    TripleB
     
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  15. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Good idea. Changing memory chips is a simple task suitable for novices. Just make sure you buy the correct 'format' of memory chip. jayserinos99's recommendation of using crucial.com is advisable, they know what they're doing so will be able to pick memory of the correct type.
     
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  16. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Benjamin, if your old dell machine has a DVD rom drive you can take it out and use it in your new machine.
     
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  17. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    Sweet....thanks for that bit of information....there won't be any compatibility problems will there? I was told that some of the "bigger" manufacturers like to make things on there computers so they won't work with other brands so you'll keep coming back to them.

    Thanks again for ALL your help and advice.

    TripleB
     
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  18. RiosTheGenius

    RiosTheGenius Hall of Fame

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    sounds like you need to consider switching to mac.
    the new G5 is out.... macs are better built anyway.
     
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  19. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    I probably would but I'm a teacher and every one of our computers at school are non-Mac PCs (mostly Dell and Gateway)....a big change from when I went to high school and all we ever used was the Apple IIe.

    TripleB
     
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  20. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    The custom components are usually the motherboard, graphics and audio sub-systems. However the DVD-rom drives in the machines of these 'bigger' manufacturers are usually rebadged standard drives produced by hardware manufacturers like Freecom, NEC, Plextor, Samsung, LG, etc. The firmware stored on a chip on the drive might be none-standard but that's not something to be concerned about on a DVD-rom under normal usage.

    All modern Microsoft operating systems like Windows XP, etc. will already have basic support for almost all existing common devices like DVD-roms, monitors, etc. Since a DVD-rom is such a simple component, and ones used by Dell should be a mass market brand, I'd expect your new pc to recognise and make available the DVD-rom's full functionality for use by you without you having to install any additional drivers.

    If your place of work allows it you can make a few bucks by selling to the students the parts of your dell machine that still work like the display, mouse, keyboard providing you don't want to keep them for spares.
     
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