Author Topic: Buying a new computer  (Read 1974 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

Buying a new computer
« on: November 05, 2012, 08:29:49 AM »
Buying a new computer in Korat needs a lot of, and especially careful, consideration what is most suitable for you at your location.

Notebooks that can operate on battery when the DC current is low are usually the most universal to use in Korat. If you want to have an extra monitor, an extra keyboard, mouse etc., i. e. use the notebook like a desktop PC, you can still do with most. And if you have a modern flat screen TV with HDMI input you can use that as monitor for most modern notebooks.

Still I prefer desktop PCs because I can change parts and upgrade hardware easily. Disadvantage is that I need a UPS/stabilizer to keep it running in the time of low DC current, about 7 - 8 pm, when the Thais all switch on their rice cookers.

Buy a factory-compiled desktop unit or have a shop in Korat put it together from single parts? To buy a whole unit is usually easiest, but from my experience might not be the best. For example I bought an HP Pavillon at IT City (Klang Plaza). After a year the hard disc drive (made by Samsung) gave up service: bad sectors, irreparable! I looked on Samsung's website to find out that they generally give three years factory-warranty on their HDDs, just for that series the warranty (of three years also according to Samsung) was to be supplied by the retailer. No problem I thought, unplugged the HDD and took off the four screws that held it. So I went to IT City with the HDD that was also labeled as part of that HP Pavillon. There the manager tried to tell me a hundred other places in Korat where to take my HDD to claim warranty repair or exchange - or bring the whole HP Pavillon with the malfunctioning HDD mounted inside to them. Then they would have told me that they have to supply warranty for one year only for the whole unit, an employee hinted to me at the side. :-[

So I better paid the 1.900 baht for a new HDD myself, telling myself never to buy a factory-compiled desktop unit anymore, and especially not at IT City (Klang Plaza). At IT City (IT Plaza) I have better experiences with the staff.

In any case, the lesson I learned was mainly not to buy factory-compiled desktop units anymore, but rather have a shop in Korat compile it for me, because then I can claim warranty on the single parts used, not just on the whole set. What use is the long warranty period of processor, graphics card, HDD etc. of three or more years, if the retailer refutes warranty claims for the whole unit after one year already?
Fun is the one thing that money can't buy
 

Offline takeitor

Re: Buying a new computer
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 09:09:53 AM »
Sound advice JF.  The biggest problem I have had with computers is overheating.  This may seem obvious in Thailand, but it is nothing to do with the weather as I am usually in an air conned room, but entirely to do with variable electric current.

My Dell Inspiron (a nice expensive one - not their cheap and nasty home-user ones!) that I got in the UK gets roasting hot within one hour of use and develops a "tingle" on the wrist rest that I can only attribute to a lack of proper grounding.  The Dell own charger, which is MASSIVE and stays cool in the UK, gets very hot in use.  The unit crashes far more often than it ever used to and, being a laptop, the only thing I can really do to keep it cool is use one of those laptop cooler units which are ubiquitous in all the little stalls in the top floor of the mall.

I use my computer for work, so in January of this year I decided to invest in a decent desktop system.  I am quite computer savvy and so putting one together myself is not too tricky and at least I know it is put together properly.  All the components used are selected for their reliability first, and then speed.  I bought the vast majority from www.thanni.com on the recommendation of someone on this site (I think) and I found that their service was ok  (parts arrived on time and well packaged, a couple of bits were unavailable immediately but were refunded quickly when I did not want to wait).  The remaining bits (Memory and Keyboard) I picked up in The Mall.

For those interested...this is the spec.  It came to over 52000 Baht (not least because of the two 23" monitors), but it has not crashed once whilst being used 8 hours a day for nearly a year.  My laptop barely makes it through a couple of hours - even with the UPS.

Case:   Elite 330   1180
Power:   Coolermaster 700w Silent Pro   5580
Motherboard:   Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3   3640
Chip:   Intel i5 2500 (3.3)   6880
CPU Cooler:   Hyper TX3 v2   580
Thermal Compound:   Arctic Cooling MX-4   380
Graphics:   Nvidia GTX 560Ti   7580
Memory:   G.Skill F3 DDR3-1600 8GB   2680
HDD:   Seagate Barracuda SATA 1GB   3640
DVD:   LG GH24NS 24X SATA DVD   640
Monitor x 2:   Samsung LS23A300BSV   10980
UPS:   APC BR900GI 540W   6280
Keyboard:   Logitech K300   980
      
Delivery      1425
      
TOTAL      52445

Prices are in Baht as in January 2012.

...a final point...A friend's computer was crashing frequently and he asked my what could be done.  It was a desktop unit, situated on the floor under the desk, like many are.  The box was full of dust and both fans were completely covered with it.  One good vacuum later and the situation was vastly improved.
 

Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Buying a new computer
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 01:01:10 PM »
To ensure sufficient cooling I did add another fan for 40 baht inside the case of my desktop improving air circulation, after I had to replace a graphics card for 1.200 baht that had its integrated fan gotten stuck due to the material having expanded or shrunk by humidity and/or operating temperature. Not just dust is a problem for a computer; some material used in the construction might also cause a problem in this climate.

Also I do use a "silent"-type graphics card without its own integrated fan (and mechanical cooling) now. Proper cooling of your computer in this climate is a science for itself. A cheap desk fan for 199 baht blowing air around the outside of the case helps temperatures to remain constantly low, even without being in an air-conditioned room.

A small application "HD Sentinel" that is displaying the temperatures of my four HDDs on the taskbar helps me control their temperature and ensure longer life.

"CPU Cool" is an application that can control the temperature and regulate the speed of the fans connected to the mainboard when overheating requires it. It also can display the temperature on the taskbar.
Fun is the one thing that money can't buy
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Buying a new computer
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 04:01:37 PM »

 a silent graphics card i also find better - I always leave the side panel off - and sometimes lay my pc on its
 side leaving an air vent of course.
 it seems to prevent the wear on the fan as opposed to being in one position.

 
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline takeitor

Re: Buying a new computer
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 05:04:04 PM »
HD Sentinel looks a useful little addition - especially now I have a second drive taking up precious breathing space in the case - cheers JF.

I agree that many people overdo their graphics card and a simple fan-free card is fine for most, but if you're doing any 3D work and need any sort of power in the card (particularly for the latest games for the kids!), the more fans the better.

Of course, it is probable that the majority of forum users here are computer savvy to some extent - it is those you are helping JF that maybe less so....
 

Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Buying a new computer
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 06:12:04 PM »
If you go Control Panel => System on Windows7 and open the Windows Experience Index what is the score for 3D business and gaming graphics?

The graphics card I bought around three years ago for 1.200baht, the Nvidia GeForce 8400GS (64 bit) gives me a score of 5.3 of 7.9 maximum. On another computer I got an Nvidia GT 440 (128 bit) I bought last year: that gives me a score of 6.8 of 7.9 maximum, and that had cost 2.200 baht. Of course you can get better quality and performance for higher prices, but you do also need more factors on your PC supporting such extreme performances, like a high clock-speed multi-core processor, loads of high clock-speed RAM, strong power supply and especially you need very high resulution monitors. If not all those match your graphics card's needs you might better have bought a cheaper one. An overpowered graphics card can even slow down your whole system.

Display adapter type NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS
  Total available graphics memory 3839 MB
        Dedicated graphics memory 1024 MB
        Dedicated system memory 0 MB
        Shared system memory 2815 MB
  Display adapter driver version 9.18.13.697
  Primary monitor resolution 1600x900 (HP monitor digital graphics)
  DirectX version DirectX 10

Display adapter type NVIDIA GeForce GT 440
  Total available graphics memory 3543 MB
        Dedicated graphics memory 1024 MB
        Dedicated system memory 0 MB
        Shared system memory 2519 MB
  Display adapter driver version 8.17.12.9573
  Primary monitor resolution 1360x768 (5 year old Samsung 30" TV over Digital graphics out - HDMI in)
  DirectX version DirectX 10

The PCs I use those graphics cards on are about 5 years old, Core2 Duo 2.33 resp. Core2 Duo 2.00

When I get rich some day I'll buy better, but I got no reason to complain about what I have now, as they do what I expect of them.
Fun is the one thing that money can't buy
 

 



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