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Need new computer - AMD or Intel?

Posted on 2001-07-06
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Last Modified: 2007-02-13
Dear Experts,

I'm in the market for a second small office business computer to run word processor (WordPerfect7); telephone answering software (Quicklink Message Centre); internet access (AOL by modem), accounting (Quickbooks); scheduling appointments (an Ms Access based software); and a big MS access database.  Little or no gaming needs.

I would like the new "Main" machine to be networked to the present "Back Office" computer (Pentium II, 400 MHZ, 128 RAM, 8 GB HD, Win 98) which is 100 feet away. My Multifunction device is not networkable so I will need to run from the "Main" computer.

I'd like to be able to share the MS Access database and internet access from both computers.  When I built this office I asked that there be easy future access to the telephone jack plates though the wall from the ceiling for networking connections.  In the near future, the database will become quite large with many scanned reports (estimate 400- 800 MB of data), I also intend to upgrade to a networkable multifunction printer.  Possible voice recognition needs.

Currently in my price range ($1800CDN) is either:
1. A Dell Pentium III, 1 Ghz, 128mb SDRAM, 20 GB HD, CDRW, modem and 10/100 fast ethernet NIC.  or
2. A Future Shop house brand (Cicero SC4210) AMD/Athlon 1.2 Ghz, processor, 256 RAM not sure what kind-is this important?, 20 GB HD, CDRW, modem, and 10/100 network card.

I am leery of an non Intel processor for fears of forward and backward compatibility problems with devices and software.  What is your advise on what to buy and how to hook the two machines together cheaply?

Help!
syhnbuddy
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Question by:syhnbuddy
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17 Comments
 

Accepted Solution

by:
snowmobile74 earned 300 total points
ID: 6261443
I would sugest Dell since they have a good track record but if your into it you could just biuld it yourself but if you have little computer experience then I wouldn't sugest it if you bought it from a local shop then it would be more upgradable the only thing I have against AMD is that their processors run HOT! if you buy and AMD I would demand that the manufacturer put in a good heat sink and fan the standard AMD aproved ones are crap the fan they put on those things is about 1/4" thick!!!
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Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 6261470
For the access database, do you mean just big, Big, BIG or ***BIG*** :-) Some idea of the size would help in recommending something appropriate.
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Author Comment

by:syhnbuddy
ID: 6261758
SnowMobile74,
With my technicial experience better for me to stay out of the computer building industry - a good example is that I didn't the fan was so important.  What about compatibility and support issues?  That is why I also was more keen on Dell also.

RoadWarrior,
As to the size of the database, I've been given the estimate of 400 mb size of image files if I were to scan the last three years of reports into the database...add a little growing room per year, plus factor in miscalculation and I estimated 400 to 800 mb size of database.  Is that big, Big, BIG, or **BIG**?  Don't know, it's the only database I've owned.

Anyone with comments one hooking the two computers together?

syhnbuddy
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:d_hall
ID: 6261872
If you are only going to network two computere, simply get a 100 (or 10/100) network card for each, and a crossover cable directly connecting the two.  This will let you run at 100 speed, without the need for an expensive hub.  If you want to add a third (or more) PCs later you will need to buy a hub, and you can decide then if you want 10 or 100 speed (the price difference in the hubs is significant, but not in the cards).  If the current PC does not have a 100 or 10/100 card, you can pick one up for about $15.

If you go for an AMD system, insist that the power supply comes off the recommended component list [http://www1.amd.com/athlon/config], and (as suggested) ensure that it has a decent heatsink/fan combo and good case cooling (as least one intake fan front/bottom and one exhaust top/back, which can usually be the power supply fan).

As for compatability problems, if you are buying from a decent retailer they will let you try connecting your devices before you buy (if they won't, they are obviously not decent!).  Make it clear that you are serious about buying, but also that you are willing to take your business elsewhere for better service.
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Expert Comment

by:1175089
ID: 6262271
Take a DELL, in your case i think that this will be better. Take a multi-function office switch/router/NAT/modem device from good network manufacturer and be happy.
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Author Comment

by:syhnbuddy
ID: 6263331
D_Hall
Thanks for the simple advise of networking, I"ll probably need a hub for the networked (future) printer/MFD.

The AMD site was a little daunting, it seems that the consumer needs to have the smarts to check that the local manufacurer is installing proper heat sinks, vents and size of fans and correctly configured.  This goes beyond the simplicity of buying from a reputable manufacurer where the price gives you slower speeds?

1175048
Thanks, that is two votes for the Dell and some caveats for the AMD.

Does anyone know if the Future Shop house brand (Cicero SC4210) AMD/Athlon 1.2 Ghz is properly configured for heating/cooling?  How about their choice of RAM?  Anyone with bad experience with Dell or Future Shop?

syhnbuddy
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6263332
I see you are looking to share your internet connection.  Since this is a business computer with your business database on it, PLEASE be very aware of security!  Look into firewalling before you put these machines on the internet.  You can get a prebuilt box that runs internet sharing software with security or you can get a program called ZoneAlarm that runs on Windows systems.
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Expert Comment

by:boom23
ID: 6264893
A comment about AMD cpus
You shouldn't worry about overheating and stuff because nowdays AMD cpus come with AMD approved fans which means that running your cpu at its original speed (not overclocked) the fan that comes with the cpu can efficienly cool down the heat.  Just get the case with fan sucking in the air from the front.
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Expert Comment

by:pbessman
ID: 6265081
If you can afford it go with the Dell.  I have never seen any negative issues with Dell computers.  I have seen plenty with Compaq and HP and some Gateways.  I was contaracted with a company that had over 500 Dell computers and hardware issues were mostly from improper handling than from defects in manufacture.
   I have the upgrade from "Quicklink Message Center" to "HotFax Message Center".  They are both from the same company and I have found that the newest version of the HotFax Suite has some really nice enhancements over the standard "Quicklink".
   Why do you need a modem for dialing the Net if you have a Network?  For your application you may do better with a network modem.  However, I see some other things that indicate the level of internet service needed.



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Expert Comment

by:pbessman
ID: 6265087
The following applies to RETAIL not OEM. "You shouldn't worry about overheating and stuff because nowdays AMD cpus come with AMD approved fans"
 OEM is cheaper and without the same warranty.  

If this is a business,"you can get a program called ZoneAlarm".  If this is a business, you can afford to do much better than free downloads off the net.  If you purchase your software you can eliminate some of the plagues of shareware.  Most people I have seen who are running Net connected businesses use Black Ice Defender, which is available at most Office Supply and Retail computer stores.
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Expert Comment

by:qatil
ID: 6265793
if u dont want "headechs" donnot buy AMD if u have lot of time then it OK
Intel is the best choice if it is nonbranded
buy branded computer if u have lots of mony and wants to waste.
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Expert Comment

by:boom23
ID: 6267910
It's a waste of money if you go for Intel, it just is.  And i'm sure alot of people agrees with me, well maybe not the intel fans.  Pbessman, my comment applies for both Retail and OEM.  Well you get that here in NZ where I live.
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Expert Comment

by:d_hall
ID: 6272132
I think your fears about AMD are somewhat justified - there are still some issues with system configuarations, heat, and mysterious problems.  But if you follow AMD's advice on which components to use (see the link I posted above) then you should be OK.

If in doubt, get the retailer to send you a list of the components in the system (in particular the motherboard, the power supply, the CPU cooler, the graphics card and the RAM) and check each one yourself.  If it's not on the list, get them to swap for one that is!

Here's the link again - I forgot about EE not liking punctuation around URLs.

http://www1.amd.com/athlon/config
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Author Comment

by:syhnbuddy
ID: 6272309
Magarity
Your comment on security is very timely.  I have to admit I am not protected but I dial up for under 10 hours per month, so thought I didn't need to worry too much.  I will look into Zone Alarm, etc.  What did you mean by "prebuilt box that runs internet sharing software with security"?

Boom 23
Thanks for reassuring me concerning AMD manufacturing.  So far more experts seem to be pointing me to Dell.

pbessman
Not sure what you mean be a "network modem", for internet access.  I surf sparingly for research and do not run a Net connected business.  Do I need Zone Alarm for short spurts?

HotFax Message Centre may be a good idea to upgrade to.  I've had trouble using VNC to talk to my work computer from home and have been blaming the Quicklink Message Centre.  But that is a separate question altogether...

D_Hall
Got to your AMD link. Thanks.  Working on it.

syhnbuddy
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:boom23
ID: 6272749
Wouldn't Dell be more expensive?
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Author Comment

by:syhnbuddy
ID: 6275997
It's about the same price Boom23, for slightly different bells and whistles.

Dell Dimension 4100 $1800CDN (ON sale til July 18) for 1.0 GHz Pentium, 256 RAM, 20 GB HD, 16 mb video, 8x CDRW, SB64VPCI sound, speakers, Windows ME, MSWorks, Ms Money, Norton antivirus, network card, modem and 3 years on site support.

AMD (local brand) $1900 for 1.2 GHz Athlon, 256 RAM, 40 gb HD, 32 mb video, 8x cdrw, ?sound card, speakers, Windows ME, network card, modem and 3 years on site support.

If I do not get a really hefty push towards AMD, the Dell on sale looks good.

syhnbuddy
0
 

Author Comment

by:syhnbuddy
ID: 6292568
Giving points to snowmobile74 since he was the first to suggest Dell and starting the exchange going concerning AMD problems.  Thanks for all the comments.

syhnbuddy
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