December 9, 2008 at 4:27 pm #159914RsaeireMember
I find, with the current technology available, you can buy a desktop PC far cheaper than 4 years ago that suits a lot of different needs. I say this as my current desktop, a Dell Vostro MTâ€¦ with some extra additions, can currently playback HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies, 720p and 1080p mkv (H.264) files, play current games with medium to high quality settings at 1920×1080 e.g. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 and also carry out the normal tasks, such as web browsing etc, without putting a huge strain on the system.
My basic system was purchased for â‚¬195, including VAT and P&P, in June 2008; Dell was running a special offer at the time.
IntelÂ® PentiumÂ® Dual-Core E2180 Processor (2.00GHz,800MHz,1MB cache)
1024MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2×512]
Logitech EX110 Cordless Keyboard and Mouse
Integrated IntelÂ® Graphic Media Accelerator X3100
250GB (7200rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive with 8MB DataBurstâ„¢ cache
Genuine Windows Vistaâ„¢ Home Premium with Service Pack 1, 32-bit â€“ English
48x CDRW/DVD Combo Drive
Integrated 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio
Internal Wireless PCI Card
I purchased the following components to increase the capabilities of the basic system, and salvaged a few left over from my previous system:
Graphics card: Sapphire (AMD) Radeon HD 3650 512MB DDR3 = â‚¬60
Sound Card: Creative Audigy 2 ZS Platinum = â‚¬0 (salvaged)
TV Tuner: Sapphire Theatrix 550 Pro = â‚¬0 (salvaged)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB (x2) = â‚¬115/â‚¬230
RAM: Corsair TWIN2X 6400C4 DDR2 2x1GB = â‚¬50
Keyboard & mouse: Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laser = â‚¬0 (salvaged)
Subtotal = â‚¬340
Grand total = â‚¬535
As you can see, the total system only cost â‚¬535, and can do practically anything I throw at it. Of course there are some shortcomings, such as the CPU, but overall, I couldnâ€™t be happier with my system.
As noted initially, this is all possible due to current technology and as a direct result of the graphics card; the Sapphire (AMD) Radeon HD 3650. As the capabilities of graphics cards has increased significantly within the last 2 years, hardware decoding of HD-DVD and Blu-ray, with codecs such as H.264/MPEG4 AVC and VC-1, can now be carried out almost entirely by graphics cards, freeing up resources from the CPU and allowing increased usability and versatility within the computer environment. Not only can current graphics cards carry out hardware decoding of these HD formats, but they can also do the same with video files on your computer that use the H.264 codec; such as 720p and 1080p mkv files encoded using x264.
With this in mind, the basic system would need only the addition of the graphics card to still excel in carrying out full 1080p decoding. As such, a system, such as the Dell Vostro 200 MT, could be bought as is, with only the addition of a graphics card, to enable full 1080p decoding and provide adequate support for current games. Going by the price I paid for my basic system, and the price of the graphics card, the system could have been bought for as little as â‚¬255; which is amazing considering what it does.
Unfortunately, the Dell Vostro 200 MT is no longer available, however, it has been replaced by the Vostro 220 MT. Choosing the basic configuration of the Vostro 220 MT, which is similar in specification to the Vostro 200 MT, the price comes to â‚¬369, including VAT and P&P, and with the addition of the graphics card at â‚¬60, the total would amount to â‚¬429. With Dell offering discount codes and offers pretty much all the time, you would most likely see this price come down.
In closing, it goes to show that, with the advent of new technology and dynamic components, advanced functionality and system versatility is ever more prescient and, in the future, we will see even more breakthroughs that change the way in which our systems operate and that will allow us to approach a level of simplicity and ease of use.December 9, 2008 at 4:50 pm #174465BritmanMember
I remember my first PC cost me nearly 3k and had less performance then the NC10, dam it only had 128mb of RAM…lol.
Now, if you can build yourself and have just 1K, you can build a kick ass PC that will take anything you through at it and more.
But it’s also down to the fact that with advances in manufacturing and mass production that the prices have fallen.December 9, 2008 at 5:15 pm #174463jezMember
I recall my dad kitting out his office PC with an extra 16mb of RAM back in the 90s. Cost him around Â£500 iirc!
In my local Tesco ( a supermarket chain for the non-Brits here) you can pick up a quad core 6600 with all the RAM and HD space you’ll ever need for a few hundred pounds.December 9, 2008 at 5:25 pm #174464RsaeireMember
It’s just crazy how prices fall continuously within the PC market. Thankfully components can be bought cheaper with increasingly more advanced technology, so it looks like we can look forward to what’s to come next.
10TB SSD drives, gesture controlled 3D holographic menus, 1GBps broadband speeds, 100 core CPUs… unfortunately I envision us being stuck with Windows 7, as its successor(s) will have done a Vista 😛December 9, 2008 at 7:06 pm #174467WilliamYZFMember
I paid Â£1500 for a PC when the DX2-66 came out, the CPU was Â£500 of that. Damn I was impressed at the time. I can also remember RAM at Â£50 per Mb.
I have had a P4 3.2 for 4 years and it does what I ask of it.
Could be why I gave up gaming on the PC years ago and am happy with my Xbox360 hooked up to 5.1 and a 46″ TV.
In fact I am so old I stuck with DOS for a long while after the first incarnation of Windows arrived. The joys of tinkering with your Config.sys, Autoexec.bat & Himem.sys to gain a few Kb of available memoryDecember 9, 2008 at 7:11 pm #174466techguyoneMember
My first PC was a toshiba laptop
How times changeDecember 9, 2008 at 7:18 pm #174468WilliamYZFMember
TBH I think we all owe AMD a big thank you. When they became a threat Intel was forced to drop prices and the rest is history.
We all continue to enjoy the fruits of their rivalry.
And unless I mistaken a new game doesn’t automatically require a newer more expensive graphics card.
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