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Technology Blog, by: David Monaghan.

Computer Shopping.

Posted by David on June 6, 2006

I wrote up this email to my friend (you know who you are) and just before I hit the send button I realized I should post it here instead. I'm not really doing any shopping at the moment but I always have a list of what I'd get running. I use it when I do shop for computers as an end goal and comparison. Perhaps now I'll keep this updated here rather than in my head, no promises.

Here's the message (BTW I refer to a computer as a machine many times, trust me a computer is just a complicated machine);
http://pricewatch.com is really good for finding a good price on equipment though it's sometimes hard to make out what's what.

One of the best retail websites for computer parts is Tiger Direct at http://tigerdirect.com of course.

There's also http://outpost.com which is Fry's Electronics' site but it lacks a full view of what is in the store.

Tiger Direct has a selection and price comparable to going in to Fry's from what I remember. A better deal can always be found but the risk is often in the retailer; Often won't get the part, will get a wrong part, or will get damaged parts.

My Dream Desktop Multimedia Machine

  • CPU: Dual+ Intel 2.5ghz+ 64Bit Processors w/ 1mb+ of L1 or L2 cache and 800mhz+ bus speeds
  • MTB: Supporting processors and with little built on and many PCI, AGP, and PCI Express
  • PWR: 500W+ supporting MB, quiet if possible.
  • HDD: 500G+ SATA or SCSI (8mb+ cache 7200rpm+ 9ms- seek time) (Seagate if possible) and supporting controller card
  • RAM: 2G+ per stick (or one stick) w/ 800mhz+ bus speed (Any brand w/ 1yr+ warranty)
  • GFX: 512mb+ AGP or PCI Express w/ VGA, an optional DVI would be optimal (NVidia if possible) + Obviously the largest screen with the lowest depth and best quality affordable (ViewSonic is good for computer monitors, Sony is good all around, see also Apple's flat-panel monitors), oh yeah and you want two or more if possible
  • PTS: at least one USB and Firewire in the back and likewise in the front
  • ROM: DVD and CD at least, anything better than bottom line would be a bonus (Sony if possible)
  • SND: 5.1 or more w/ optical out and remote (SoundBlaster or better if possible, see also MAudio, and DigiDesign at http://musiciansfriend.com) + Bluetooth w/ headset and audio profiles and bluetooth headset/headphones
  • INP: Optical mouse, quiet keyboard w/ media keys, wireless if possible (Logitech if possible) + drawing tablet
  • FLP: SuperDisk floppy combo drive or just a floppy, if possible.
  • NET: 802.11g/a/b (perhaps n?) w/ MIMO and SpeedBooster + Ethernet 10/100/1000 (Linksys or Intel if possible)

My Dream Mutimedia Server Machine

  • CPU: Dual+ 2.5ghz+ 64Bit Processors w/ 1mb+ of L1 or L2 cache and 800mhz+ bus speeds
  • MTB: Supporting processors and with little built on and many PCI
  • PWR: Redundant 500W+ supporting MB, quiet if possible, battery backup if possible
  • HDD: 4T+ SATA or SCSI RAID (8mb+ cache 7200rpm+ 9ms- seek time) (Seagate if possible) and supporting controller card
  • RAM: 4G+ per stick (or one stick) w/ 800mhz+ bus speed (Any brand w/ 1yr+ warranty)
  • GFX: 2+ Video Input w/ S-Video, DVI/VGA/RCA/Component Video if possible + matching digital video receiver/tuners.
  • PTS: At least one USB and Firewire in the back and likewise in the front
  • ROM: Not needed
  • SND: 5.1+ channel audio input w/ optical if possible + digital video/audio receiver/amplifier/tuner/distributor (combo or separate units) with 5+ video/audio outs
  • INP: Infrared and/or RF and/or Bluetooth remote functionality (all if possible)
  • FLP: Not needed
  • NET: Dual 802.11g/a/b (perhaps n?) w/ MIMO and SpeedBooster and/or dual Ethernet 10/100/1000 (Linksys or Intel if possible) and/or dual fiber channel and Bluetooth w/ headset, audio and video profiles

My Dream Multimedia Laptop

Okay, the laptops a huge dream, otherwise it's pretty obvious… as close to that as you can get…

Hope I didn't miss anything too obvious or important…

I recommend also looking at the current Mac lineup, they have a computer as cheap as $600 that is pretty powerful and insanely small (see the Mac Mini) as well as much more expensive and powerful machines.

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