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Time for a new Windows 7 PC : Any recommendation on specs?

Sid Remey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2005
Posts: 31
Hi All,

It's been a while since I bought a PC, so I'm a bit out of date and would appreciate some help. I'd like a workstation PC for doing development and perhaps some video & photoshop too. I was thinking about a Core i7 but am not sure whether that is much better than a Core 2 Quad. My budget is about $1500 including OS but excluding monitor.

I have a few questions that you may be able to help me with:

- Core i7 or Core 2 Quad - which would you choose?
- I plan to install 6Gb of RAM so will probably go for the 64bit version of Windows 7. Are there any gotchas that I should know about?
- With respect to monitors, what is the difference between a TN panel and an IPS panel?
- Any recommendations on motherboards and hard-drives?
- Are there any websites that give standard recommended specs for fast PCs?

Thanks for reading.

SR


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Jaikiran Pai
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Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 10289
    
168

I'll move this to an appropriate forum.


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Peter Johnson
author
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Joined: May 14, 2008
Posts: 5845
    
    7

I have a Core 2 Quad system that I built 2 years ago this month. If I were to build a new system I would go with an i7. Not that my Quad is a slouch - with 8GM RAM, 3.5TB disk space and a 8600GTS graphics card it very easily handles my video, audio and graphical editing needs, and is a terrific development machine (especially considering my dual 24" monitors). And it has been happily running Win 7 Prof 64-bit since last August when the RTM showed up on the MSDN downloads.

Were you planning to build or buy? I see a Dell i7 system advertised in last Sunday's BestBuy circular for $1099, with 8GB RAM and a monitor. If you are building, the processor and graphics card will represent the bulk of your costs. I always go with the second best CPU and GPU, thus avoiding the premium price attached to the latest and greatest.


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pooja jain
greenhorn
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Joined: Jan 12, 2005
Posts: 213
regarding harddrives, go whichever has more warranty period, seagate or samsung, doesn't matter, imo.


:d
Peter Johnson
author
Bartender

Joined: May 14, 2008
Posts: 5845
    
    7

I had a Seagate hard drive crash on me. Went to their support web site, entered my serial number. They had the date of purchase (I never registered the drive, so it must have been the store I bought it from that did that) which was within the 5 year warranty, so they sent me a new drive and the packing materials to return the old drive. I was very happy with their support, no hassles whatsoever.
Sid Remey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2005
Posts: 31
Hi,

I was planning to build or perhaps buy from a bespoke manufacturer. I tend to avoid the big names like Dell to be honest. Core i7 seems like a good choice - I was thinking of the i920 with DDR3 memory and a RAID 0 (mirror) disk configuration.

Can you give me a recommendation on graphics cards? I don't really play games so don't need much in the way of 3D power. Overall, I'd like the PC to be quiet so I think a less powerful graphics card would be a good choice.

A final, perhaps nooby, question about Windows 7 64-bit. Can it run 32-bit apps too or do you have to find the 64 bit versions?

Thanks,

Sid
Sid Remey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2005
Posts: 31

In fact, here's the spec of a system that I looks like it might be ok. It comes to about £1000 (GBP) which is about $1600 (USD).

Sid


Onkar Joshi
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Joined: Mar 01, 2007
Posts: 116
Graphics card - Get one of the Radeon 5xxx series models instead. It was released last week or so.


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Peter Johnson
author
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Joined: May 14, 2008
Posts: 5845
    
    7

A final, perhaps nooby, question about Windows 7 64-bit. Can it run 32-bit apps too or do you have to find the 64 bit versions?

It can run 32-bit apps. In fact, when you install 64-bit Windows you will see the directories "c:\Program Files" and "c:\Program Files (x86)" - the former holds the 64-bit apps the latter the 32-bit apps.

One issue with 64-bit Win 7 you must install 64-bit drivers. Fortunately I have been able to find 64-bit drivers for all the hardware I have (well, not for my 10 year old scanner ;)).

Another issue is that if you are running a 64-bit app that takes plugins, those plugins must also be 64-bit. For example, 64-bit Windows provides both a 32-bit and a 64-bit Internet Explorer - some plugins will work only with the 32-bit one. This is not a problem with Firefox as the only Firefox downloads for Windows (from the official Firefox web site) are all 32-bit, and most Firefox plugins are OS-independent.

Another issue - if you plan to run Eclipse you must install a 32-bit JDK - Eclipse will not run with a 64-bit JDK.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
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Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Peter Johnson wrote:

Another issue - if you plan to run Eclipse you must install a 32-bit JDK - Eclipse will not run with a 64-bit JDK.


I would hope this is a very short lived problem. We use Eclipse on 64-bit Linux and 64-bit Mac OSX right now; I am surprised to realize that a 64-bit Windows SWT port isn't already shipping, considering all three run on the same processor!


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Peter Johnson
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Joined: May 14, 2008
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    7

The problem is that Eclipse does not start from a batch file which runs java.exe (which is how many Java apps are launched), but rather uses eclipse.exe, a 32-bit app, that loads jvm.dll and initializes the JVM. You cannot load a 64-bit DLL into a 32-bit app. In addition, Eclipse (at least the Java EE Developer package) ships with a number of DLLs, all of which are also 32-bit. Until a 64-bit version of Eclipse is released for Windows, you are stuck using a 32-bit JDK.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
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Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

I just checked, and a number of Eclipse 3.5.1 Win64 builds are available here:

http://download.eclipse.org/eclipse/downloads/drops/R-3.5.1-200909170800/index.php
 
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