Originally posted by fluffy
OK, I'll give it a shot, based on my knowledge formed around South African availability and prices...
1. Should I buy a 17" LCD monitor (v. good specs) of a NZ internet site, even though it doesn't offer a 'no dead pixel warranty'?
A dead pixel occurs when the smallest block that makes up an image on the screen (also called a "pixel") becomes locked in a certain state. For
example, a pixel could lock on to a red color at all times. Manufacturers of LCD monitors and notebook displays expect this defect to occur to a
limited extent. Therefore, there is no warranty for any dead pixels unless and until your display has 8 or more such dead pixels.
Thus this problem is very common and almost expected. Thus to protect you investment you want some cover/protection, especially because a monitor is
expensive and rarely repairable. So in short. NO. Get a screen with some sort of warrantee/guarantee.
Personally I think LCDs are over-priced. I'll never buy one myself at their current prices.
2. Where on NZ internet sites can you buy cheap, good speakers?
Sorry I can't help you with that one. Do an Internet search. And compare makes and prices.
3. Is a tech Keyboard and Wireless free battery optical mouse good for $55 + shipping?
Err... Maybe I shouldn't try my hand at this... LoL... Doing a quick conversion to ZAR, I'll say $55 is an average to good price.
4. Also, has anyone had any first-hand experience with a battery free wireless optical mouse (electromagnetic inductive technology) that can tell
me the ups/downs?
No need to look for batteries
No recharging time
Highly acceptable curser performance
A bit high priced
The mouse pad is a bit narrow
No Wrist Rest (personal preference)
No driver and software included
(Personal experiences - Not valid for all devices!)
5. How powerfull is a 'ABIT Siluro nVidia FX5800, 256MB AGP' graphics card, what games could/couldn't I play?
Quite powerful compared to some. 256MB is more than the minimum requirements for most games. Though it's not top of the range, but it should give you
your money's worth. Depending on how quick you are to catch performance differences, you may not even notice the difference in some games. But I can
foresee the card lacking in the not so distant future.
6. Is the above graphics card good for $165?
Conversion. Average. If you're going to do some serious gaming you might consider putting more aside for a graphics card. It's really worth it.
7. I have no clue what good/bad sound cards are, and what are good prices/brands, so If anyone could help me out? Or should I just get a on-board
Again, depending on what you're planning to do with your sound and what your budget looks like. Personally I don't think there's good or bad sound
when it comes to PC's. Just average to brilliant. I'm more than happy with my on-board sound (with 5.1 surround speakers), and it's cheaper. Though
sometimes I wish I could crank it up a notch.
8. On AMD Athlon 64 processors, what is the difference between a 754 and a 939 socket?
See this site's site for full comparrison
9. What is a good price for AMD Athlon 64 2.4 GHZ processor?
Can't help you there.
10. Is a 64-bit processor practically double the speed of a 32-bit Intel processor?
Yes and no.
A bit is short for “binary digit.” It is basically how a computer stores and makes references to data, memory, etc. A bit can have a value of 1 or
0, that’s it. So binary code is streams of 1’s and 0’s, such as this random sequence 100100100111. These bits are also how your processor does
calculations. By using 32 bits your processor can represent numbers from 0 to 4,294,967,295 while a 64-bit machine can represent numbers from 0 to
18,446,744,073,709,551,615. Obviously this means your computer can do math with larger numbers, and be more efficient with smaller numbers.
Now see, that description wasn’t too bad, but the question is how does this affect you, the average PC owner? The largest benefit will go to
academic institutions and private companies, where large calculations are being performed, huge databases are being accessed, and complex problems are
Everyone that doesn’t fall into that category will see some benefit of using 64 bit processors over 32 bit processors, but not much in today’s
marketplace. The AMD Athlon 64-bit processor is completely backward compatible, meaning you can currently use it with 32-bit operating systems and
software programs. You will see some benefits by using this setup, but because the programs weren’t written to take advantage of the extra power,
they won’t use much of it.
The true benefits of this set up don’t come from the amount of bits, but by the improved structure of the 64 bit vs 32 bit processor's older
structure. A 64-bit processor is made with more advanced silicon processes, have more transistors, and faster speeds. This is currently where the true
benefit of switching to a 64-bit processor lays.
As for 64-bit operating systems and software, many are in the works, but nothing is in final version. Microsoft has released a beta version of Windows
XP that takes advantage of the 64 bit technology, but there are still issues. The problem is when you run 32-bit software programs in the environment
of a 64-bit operating system. Many programs won’t work properly, such as Adobe Acrobat and Windows Media Player, for example. Another issue is RAM.
You really need about 4 GB of RAM to take full advantage of the capabilities offered by a 64-bit processor, while most PC owners have less than 1 GB
under their computer’s hood.
Thus, in the end, you won't use much of a 64-bit processor's power on your home PC. In the future you might be happy with your 64, but at this exact
moment you'll be wasting your money. My opinion!
11. Should I buy a wireless Network Interface Card if i am to use broadband on my computer, but plugged/connected in to a switch/hub?
Huh? There's no need for a wireless card unless you are going to connect to a wireless network. It might be an investment for the future...
12. What's the difference between a switch and a hub?
Hub is a place of convergence where data arrives from one or more directions and is forwarded out in one or more other directions.
A common connection point for devices in a network. Hubs are commonly used to connect segments of a LAN. A hub contains multiple ports. When a packet
arrives at one port, it is copied to the other ports so that all segments of the LAN can see all packets.
A passive hub serves simply as a conduit for the data, enabling it to go from one device (or segment) to another. So-called intelligent hubs include
additional features that enables an administrator to monitor the traffic passing through the hub and to configure each port in the hub. Intelligent
hubs are also called manageable hubs.
A third type of hub, called a switching hub, actually reads the destination address of each packet and then forwards the packet to the correct
A switch is a device that filters and forwards packets between LAN segments. Switches operate at the data link layer (layer 2) and sometimes the
network layer (layer 3) of the OSI Reference Model and therefore support any packet protocol. LANs that use switches to join segments are called
switched LANs or, in the case of Ethernet networks, switched Ethernet LANs.
A HUB is a better option than a switch for a private network. A switch has more use in bigger and complex networks.
13. DVD-writers. What are good/bad ones. Is there a good price, brand, or specs I should know of?
Personal opinion: LG. They're the leaders when it comes to CD/DVD media. And they're not that expensive. Can't help with price-range.
14. Where can you get cheap, good quality, floppy drives?
I'll give you one for free!
But seriously, what on earth do you want to do with a floppy (Stiffy?) drive? I'm sure you can get one from a
computer someone else threw out. They still come standard with most PCs, though very few people still use them. (And the people that do use them,
shouldn't be in front of a computer!)
15. Where, on the specs of a motherboard does it say the PCI-E slots, USB ports etc?
It should be very clear on any motherboards spec in plain english.
Eg. AMD-8111 / AMD-8131 Chipset, ATX, Socket 940, Max RAM: 8 GB, DMA/ATA-133 (Ultra) x 2, Serial ATA x 4
, Network adapter
Intel 945G Chipset, ATX, Socket LGA775, FSB: 1066 MHz, Max RAM: 4 GB, DMA/ATA-100 (Ultra) x 2, Serial ATA x 4
Example Motherboard Specs
You'll see the specs are plainly listed. No mysteries or hidden messages.
16. What kind of motherboard will i need for a AMD Athlon 64 processor, and is the CPU the only thing that has to be compatible with the
This is a huge choice...
Guide: How to buy a motherboard
17. What are good things I should take into consideration when buying a case (e.g. cooler, fan, low noise, watts of power supply etc.)?
Usually the only parts comes with the case is that actual case and the power supply (and supply fan). Power supply is extremely important and you need
to keep this in miind when you shop for the motherboard and chip. Noise reduction shouldn't be a problem. Electronic Interference might be kept in
mind. And looks are nowadays important. You are no longer looking for a boring beige case.
18.Where can you get the coolest looking, good quality, cases?
Can't help you there.
19. Anything I need to know about switches/routers?
Not really, unless you're planning to set up a big network.
20. Do you think I should just buy a complete system? If so, where is a good site with good specs?
Yes. You'll get more support if you only have to deal with one supplier. Many times the manufacturer don't carry the responsibility warranty if the
product is not installed by certain parties. But then again you won't always get the "complete system" at the price you're looking for. A complete
system might be more expensive.
Personally I've never bought a complete system from a single supplier. All of my PC's are custom build the way I want it.
Make from that what you like.
21. I am looking to buy a laser colour printer. Are there any cheap ones out there?
It's not the printer that's expensive, it's the cartridges. Compare the cartridges with each other in line with the quality and quantitiy of
Warning: HP is over-priced for untrustworthy printers.
Lexmark has competative prices but not as good quality of printing. (My opinion.)
22. I am looking at buying 1 or 2+ of memory (RAM?). Someone told me that you have to rely on good brands for RAM. What are good brands I should
look out for? Kingston? And does anyone know where you can get cheap, good qulaity RAM?
No! Never, ever buy cheap RAM!!! If a RAM is not good, the computer will not start. Fullstop. If there is one thing you can show fork out money for,
it's good quality RAM. Do not compromise price for quality you will regret it.
Try Crucial. Corsair is good but probably too overpriced. Kingston is also more or less at the top of the quality list.
I am probably going to buy over 120GB of hard drive space. I don't really understand the subcategories like DDR400, DDR433, DDR2, SATA, SODIMM?
This is a complex question. And it will be a waste of both times if I repeated everything that exists on a million other sites.
Check out these sites.
Guide to Harddrives
Everything you need to know about Harddrives
24. It says that DDR2 isn't backwards compatible with DDR motherboards? What does this mean? How can I tell if the motherboard can handle it? What
is DDR/DDR2, and whats so special about it? Is it better?
That's correct. Your motherboard specs will also specify the RAM slots. DDR2 RAM is on the verge of replacing DDR. There's lots of technical
information about which is better and there's quite the debate about which is better. Some say DDR2 is just a scam to get you to upgrade.
have about the best comparison between the two although it might be
a bit out of date. It comes down to the fact that DDR2 is in fact (becoming?) faster than DDR. Older DDR2s were out-run by DDR. Considering the fact
that DDR2 technology is going to develop towards both lower timings and higher frequencies, its advantages over DDR SDRAM become the more conspicuous.
DDR2 modules with more aggressive timings are most likely to appear in the future, boosting the performance even higher.
25. Also, I think I need to buy from good brands, the hard drive, to ensure quality and safeness. So what are good hard drive brands?
Seagate. Hands down. Fujitsu (Desktop drives only). Western Digital - not to bad.
26. Would you recommend buying seperate hard drives, or one big one?
Personally I don't see the difference. One bigger HDD will be cheaper
than two smaller ones. Some might reason that if you have two HDDs and one crashes, then you won't loose all of your data. Only half of it. Consider
price vs. reliability/consistancy, i.e. should you loose a drive.
27. Where would be a good place to buy hard-drives?
Computer shops? LoL. Just kidding. Can't help you with that one. Just don't buy a second hand one.
Looking at all of this, I would suggest that if you are going to build a custom PC, make sure it's done by someone that knows their stuff. If you're
planning to do it yourself, read everything you need to read, and revise it!
Also remember that all I said is based on MY opinion and experiences, and some people will differ with me...
What was my prize again for anwering all questions?