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Wraith
23-04-2005, 16:12
Hi, I've been charged with finding a new family PC for around £1000 and I was wondering whether you guys could pass an eye over the specs to make sure everything is 'ok' so to speak.

It's from evesham.com which is a fairly good name in the UK and there's one close to where I live in case it never needs looking at.

I know what your going to say about the benefits of building your own PC but I just don't have the know how to do it plus this isn't my PC (nor my money buying it) it'll be the families and not having a warrenty when problems occur will leave me as the only person to blame.

Anyway... here it is -

Axis 64 MKR

Mother Board - ???? Not mentioned ???? Possibly 'MSI K8T Neo'
Processor - AMD Athlon 64 processor 3200+
Cooling - ???? Not mentioned ????
Operating System - XP Home Edition
RAM - 1GB dual channel DDR RAM (PC3200) 400MHZ (2x512MB)
Hard Drive - 200GB SATA 7200 rpm Hard Drive with 8MB Cache
Graphics Card - 256MB DDR ATI Radeon X800 PCI-Express graphics
Monitor - 17"Viewsonic VX715 (Black / Silver) DVI TFT
Optical Drive 1 - 16x DVD-ROM
Optical Drive 2 - Multi Format 16x Dual Layer DVD re-wri
Sound Card - Sound Blaster Augidy 2 ZS
Speakers - [None, I already have some harman/kardon speakers.]
Keyboard & Mouse - Microsoft Cordless Keyboard & Optical Wheel Mouse
Fax Modem - 56k Internal Modem (PCI)
Software - Microsoft Works 8.0
Warrenty - Evesham 2 year on site warranty (3rd year RTB)
Back Up Device - Floppy Drive with 7-in-1 Card Reader
Network - Onboard 10/100 Network Card

Price: £1,113.09 inc VAT (£947.31) (price shown is per PC and does not include shipping)


Questions -

(1) What's the difference between XP home and XP Pro edition and is it worth paying extra for?

(2) Not knowing the motherboard is a bit worrying -- the Athlon 64 needs a motherboard capable of supporting 64 bit tech doesn't it or the capabilities are wasted?

(3) With the processor does the '3200' bit necessairly mean it's a 3.2 ghz? What I mean is I know AMDs and Pentiums can vary when compared to each other.

(4) The graphics card is 'ok' isn't it? Games wise it'll last for a while yet wont it?

(5) How's this PC for gaming? It might not be mine but i'll be using it and playing games on it. Will the games I've missed out on lately (DOW HL2 etc) run smooth on this rig?

Brimstone
23-04-2005, 16:21
The graphics card is pretty good, I prefer Geforce myself but it's a pretty up to date card that's one of the better ones.

Take a look here (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/howtobuy/choosing2.mspx) for XP comparisons. Really though XP home is fine for your intended use.

It should be a pretty good gaming rig, not the best but it's not optomised for that.

It's worth finding out what the motherboard is though so you can look at future expandability when you need to upgrade.

Wraith
23-04-2005, 16:27
Thanks for that site, home edition looks fine, I'll try to find out the motherboard.

arxhon
23-04-2005, 16:31
Definitely ask about the motherboard. Also find out if the motherboard is properly supporting the 400mhz RAM. They might have decided to save $5 a board by supplying something that supports, say, 333 mhz. This underclocks the RAM. Ask if there's an option to upgrade the motherboard to something else for a few bucks if it won't fully support the hardware. Additionally, you get a few more options.

Also find out if it has a PCI Express slot. This is going to fully replace PCI fairly soon, but it'll be handy a couple years down the road when you want a new video card.

On the cooling front, it's probably some stock fan. If you're worried about heat, or want to do some overclocking (unlikely) then get a new one. Otherwise, don't worry about it.

The video card is good.

The Athlon 64 3.2 is very good.

You've got a decent gaming rig there for a couple of years at least, or maybe 4 if you do some small upgrades in two.

Sylass
23-04-2005, 17:01
(3) With the processor does the '3200' bit necessairly mean it's a 3.2 ghz? What I mean is I know AMDs and Pentiums can vary when compared to each other.
AMD and Intel chips use different chip architecture.

If I'm not mistaken, AMD started naming their chips in a way to make it easier for the customers to compare them to the Intel counterparts.

In example, my AMD Athlon XP 3000+ runs at ~2090MHz by default, but it's overall speed is comparable to an Intel chip running at 3000MHz.

Brimstone
23-04-2005, 17:04
Also find out if it has a PCI Express slot. This is going to fully replace PCI fairly soon, but it'll be handy a couple years down the road when you want a new video card.


Graphics Card - 256MB DDR ATI Radeon X800 PCI-Express graphics

I'd imagine it has a PCI slot or the card will be pretty redundant. :p

Wraith
23-04-2005, 19:25
That's great guys thanks for your time with this. :)

I've sent an email to ask about the motherboard and the RAM and will get back to you as soon as they reply.

Thanks again.

f2k
23-04-2005, 20:11
Overall it seems as a good solid computer. Just a few things though:

I donít really trust 64 bit CPUs just yet. The technology is still rather new. It is rather few programs that can actually take advantage of the extra pipelines.
Also, do the GPU, RAM and MB support 64 bit pipelines? If not, then youíre wasting a lot of power.

Also, I have some bad experiences with AMD processors. They tend to run VERY hot. You should look at upgrading the cooling ASAP if you go with the AMD.

If I were you, I would look at a comparable Pentium CPU. But thatís just personal preferenceÖ

XP Home vs. Pro. Well, I would never use Home Ė Pro has a lot of extra features compared to itís little brother. That being said, Iím studying computer science at uni, so I like to tinker with all the various parameters of my computer. Depending on your experience with Windows, you might not even notice the missing features in XP Home.

Why 2 DVD drives? One should be sufficient for most purposesÖ

Monitor is a wee bit small, but I guess that itís sufficient for most applications.

alterion
23-04-2005, 20:35
lol @ f2k.. almost all of what you have said is completely wrong
1). 64BIT PC'S work fine on a modern platform.. it is nothing to do with 64 bit pipelines
gpu.. ram mobo only need differnt drivers to configure in 64 bit build mode..
2) the current amd 64 bit pc's are VASTLY superior to their pentium counterparts for everything except video editing.. they run much cooler than the pentiums.. the 3200+ will actualy be comparable to a 3.4ghz pentium.....AMD's go faster and are cheaper...
3) home and pro.. difference is not noticable and i have used both.. only real advantages are to do with networks.. and i guess that they wil not be running one. As for the ram i would ot worry.. basic ram will be fine for normal use.. this family isn;t going to be doing ock'in.
4) tw dvd drives is pretty standard on most pre-buildds of today alows you to watch one while buring on another
5) 17 inch is fine..unless you go up to 20" there is little benifit from a bigger screena s they will use the same naitive res.. the vx 715 is a good model.. has dvi and looks nice.. so all in all it is a good deal.. even if you could build it for aroun £950 yourself...

arxhon
24-04-2005, 05:53
I'd imagine it has a PCI slot or the card will be pretty redundant. :p

Yeah, well, me not rede so wlel. :D

f2k
24-04-2005, 06:39
I never said that 64bit would not work. I was just wondering whether or not there was any benefit derived from using them.

About 6 months ago, when I got my new computer, I looked at benchmark tests comparing Pentium 32 bit and AMD 64. No big difference.

I donít know how hot the new CPUs run, but I know that the reason why I had to have a new computer was a VERY hot AMD processor. No matter what I did, up to and including water-cooling, I just couldnít force the thing to run cooler then 55 degrees Celsius. And that was idle-tempÖ

Hercco
24-04-2005, 08:02
There's no benefit from being 64-bits if your OS doesn't support it. However, AMD 64's are faster than their 32-bit processors, even if you're running a 32-bit OS (like a current Windows). This has nothing to do with being 64-bits, they're just better otherwise.

Even though there is no 64-bit Windows out yet, it is coming. And Windows is not the only OS, there other that already have a full 64-bit support *hint, hint*

AMD's used to run really hot, however this is not the case with 64's. With the top of the line processors AMD is ahead of Intel in heat issues.

Brother Munro
24-04-2005, 10:26
Even though there is no 64-bit Windows out yet, it is coming. And Windows is not the only OS, there other that already have a full 64-bit support *hint, hint*

Hmm, if you're thinking what I'm thinking then it isn't compatible with an AMD processor anyway and a bit of a moot point. ;) :D

alterion
24-04-2005, 15:56
i take it oyur talkin linux.. i think it IS compatible..??..

Wraith
24-04-2005, 16:07
Ok they haven't got back to me yet but I wasn't expecting them too considering it's Sunday.

I was reading the latest PC Format magazine about the new x64 upgrade coming to XP and the article was saying how for people who were buying computers from evesham.com and similar companies the upgrade would most likey be free or at least fairly low because the place you bought your system from would be getting the discs free from microsoft. It went on to say that microsoft wouldn't be providing the upgrade for free to the general public and the figure of £100 was mentioned...

Wraith
27-04-2005, 18:36
The company got back to me, this is what they said -


Thank you for your e-mail. The Axis 64 MKR currently uses the MS-7125 MSI NVIDIA nForce 4 Motherboard (skt939) PCI-Ex, that will accept PC3200 (400mhz) RAM memory as standard. This memory is offered in our standard configuration.

Kind regards.

In regards to previous comments (expandability, future upgrading, everythign else) is this mother board 'ok'?

Cheesejoff
28-04-2005, 08:21
The only advice I'll give is: don't get a 200gb hard drive! That's far too much! Cut it down and get an external one to use as a backup.

Wraith
28-04-2005, 10:32
The hard drive comes as standard -- there's no choice to replace it with a smaller capacity one for a reduction of the overall PC's price.

Sai-Lauren
28-04-2005, 10:45
The only advice I'll give is: don't get a 200gb hard drive! That's far too much! Cut it down and get an external one to use as a backup.

You can never have enough hard disk space :D
Seriously, I got my home pc about 7 years ago, when 6 GB hard drives were huge. If I install anything now, I virtually need to clear something else off to make room for it. :eek:
It's not called bloatware for nothing, you know. Maybe when they start hitting the limits of processor speeds, programmers might start taking the time to tighten the code, but until then, apps will just get bigger, bulkier and have more things that you never, ever use.

Have a look at XPs disk management, or buy a copy of something like partition magic and split that drive into partitions, especially if you're not going to be the only one using it. Would certainly minimise some of the parental tech support you're going to have to do ;)

Wraith
28-04-2005, 12:49
Would certainly minimise some of the parental tech support you're going to have to do.

;)

Thanks for the advice.

Seriously though if anyone could have a look at that motherboard and gives me the thumbs up or thumbs down I can get on to the parents and tell them the set up has past the 'portent acid test' and should be considered worthy of purchasing.