Thinking About New PC - A Dilemma

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#1
In a year or so I really should consider replacing this "old faithful" PC, but I'm caught in a dilemma. I'm pushed for space because the computer desk I have just fits nicely in the area designated for it and any PC newer than mine, that I would even consider giving house-room to, has a bigger case.

Any likelihood that Alienware or Dell are going to make their top-of-the-line products any smaller in the coming months? I see online that many reviewers have criticised them for this. The Dell XPS is extremely tall and the Alienware Area 51 or ALX is extremely deep.

In my desk, the Dell XPS would just fit but only have a half inch space all around and part of the back would be blocked, not good for air circulation.
The Alienware Area 51 would fit OK but jut out the front by 3 or 4 inches more than my current one.

I positiively refuse to go laptop, so sorry, that is not an alternative.

I suppose I could just move the desk over to the left by a foot and place the tower outside/alongside the desk.

You may think I'm crazy, but a) I want top of the line, b) I'm incapable of building my own, sorry, and c) this is all just musing anyway for want of something else to do.
However, any comments would be appreciated, as always.

LOL.:??
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
I got an XPS 210 I'm quite happy with from Dell. Unfortunately they don't sell it anymore I think from thier site anyway (it permiered in 2005 or so with the other XPS systems). The only problem with these smaller systems is they're more prone to problems such as overheating and than if something breaks its hard to find replacement parts.

They do have some other slimmer, new models though. It depends on what kind of performance you want and the size. They have new "studio desktops" that are about the same size if not smaller than the mac minis (about the size of a tower external drive like a WD My Book for example). Smallest Dell desktop system I've seeen. Then they got the slim tower insprions, less kick but great price range and about the size of the 210.
 

Ex_Brit

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Staff member
#3
Thanks Justin. Just so I can make it last another 5 - 10 years I want to go Core i7 and DDR3 memory, plus I want to make sure I have sufficient PCI/PCI-e slots for extra peripherals such as a fax modem and TV tuner etc. Plus I would like to meet or at least exceed my current CPU speed of 3.00ghz.
In other words I want speed, power and timeproofing.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
Slim icore7 systems are hard to come by. The best I could find from Dell anyway is a desktop the same size as the 210 I've got here but is only a quad-core. Most gamers however consider quad-core a pretty decent proccessor line. Maybe you could take a look at this? Its got everything I would probably be interested in if I were to make a purchase today anyway, but proably too big for you...

Then there's always the monitor/computer combos, like the XPS One.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#5
That certainly is a more manageable size. I think I'm going to have to cut away at some of the structure of my desk sp that the upper area of the tower isn't blocked at the rear. Now to find someone with an electric saw.
 

Ex_Brit

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Staff member
#6
Had a brainwave. I can easily screw a shelf on the side of my current desk and stand the new PC on there or use what they call a mini workstation on wheels and just stand it to the side of my desk.
My dilemma is caused by lack of space. My PC work area is jammed in behind my huge flat-screen TV and between that & my dining room furniture.
In an apartment one only has finite space. Would I love to have a room devoted to my computer and all its paraphernalia.

I have also been reading extensively about RAID, a field I have never yet ventured into and am having trepidations about it, considering all the trouble people are constantly reporting all over the web with their various RAID arrays. OK it's glorious for speed and RAID 0 is the tops for that, but if I was forced into RAID I would settle for RAID 1 which has data security as a major plus feature.
I wonder if Dell or Alienware would send round an assassination squad to get rid of my heretic self if I asked them to make my rig non-RAID? It isn't an option in the Customizing sequence & really should be IMHO. I can hear the cries of horror at that statement. LOL.
I assume that RAID can be "turned off", i.e. disabled somehow, either physically by switching connections around or in the interface or BIOS itself.
You see, I'm quite happy with connection speeds I have now, for the main part.
I'm not an avid gamer and appreciate that they need speed, but am looking at gaming rigs because they have the best combinations of components/setups etc. not necessarily for their principal designers purpose.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#7
You can enable/disable the various RAID configurations in the BIOS, but I'm not sure what the effect would be if it comes with the OEM factory setup and the OS with Raid(x) enabled and you turn it off ?
 

Ex_Brit

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#8
I would phone them first to make sure what the best method would be. I would far better prefer the machine to come with no RAID installed in the first place. It's all moot right now anyway.
 

Sarge

Active Member
#9
Why are you against the laptops, Peter?
 

Ex_Brit

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#10
I'm not, it's just I prefer the flexibility & power of a PC, more versatile, can be expanded more, more easily, less likely to break (I'm not good with anything hand held).
 

Sarge

Active Member
#11
I'm afraid I won't buy another desktop machine ever again. Why? Because before, laptops were known like expensive and not that fast, which means you could buy up to double faster machine with the same money if you take the desktop. For example, I payed last august a 1000 euros for the machine who was a top of the line back then, but now I see this summer, there are laptops just as fast, apart from the Core2Quad witch can't be found in the laptops for that money, Core2Duo isn't that bad solution. But GeForce 9700M is around fast as 8800GT for the desktops, which (still) runs newest games at the highest resolution and details, that's why nVidia used the SAME gpu in the GeForce 250GT cards who are their newest generation as we all know.

So, my next machine will be a laptop because next to laptop you also get a desktop too, you can plug in the keyboard and mouse and as big as you like monitor. It spands up to 10 times less energy, and isn't loud at all.

If you thnk that plugging 2 monitors on a laptop is an issue, its not true anymore, there are DVI or VGA to USB since a month or so ago, should be on the market very soon if it already isn't, costs about 130$ if I recall correctly.

It even takes less space :smile: And, you can't take your computer anywhere, anytime safely (if are careful :tongueout:)
 
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Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#12
It's true that laptops have made great strides towards full functionality that is enjoyed in PC's, but I just don't like dealing with such a compact form. I like a fuil size keyboard and a proper mouse. Yes I know you can add that, but I also like a large screen and I don't know of any laptop that would accept 4 optical drives in addition to 2 hard drives like my tower does!
 

Sarge

Active Member
#13
Of course you can add a few optical drives, next to one that does almost everything within the laptop:





As for the screen, there is a standard HDMI or DVI or VGA connector right on it, and you can add more monitors trough the USB. All those external things go trough the USB.

Also 3.5" HDD, empty are just a few dollars, and in each you can change and add HDD's in it. :smile: Just the question is, with Power trough the USB or it's own plug, and 3,2" or 2,5"?




And it's not that rare to see today's laptops to have external SATA connectors to ensure the maximum speed.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#14
True. A laptop would be a second computer. One day I might get one.
 

Sarge

Active Member
#15
I'm sitting here next to 3 desktop PC's, my newest one with Core2Quad in between, but I'm using my little 10" EeePC with 900Mhz single core processor and 1GB DDR2, and 160GB. I really don't know why :smile:

I tried Windows 7 on it, it works, not the Aero, but it works not slow enough to make me hate think that it isn't for this computer. :smile:
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
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#16
LOL, that's good!
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going.
Staff member
#17
I got my mini-workstation and it fits beautifully next to my main PC desk & will be ideal to sit a new PC tower on (or in). I'm looking at Alienware (Dell) ALX X58 but they don't do it in a non-RAID configuration. I'm in correspondence with them over this. I dislike RAID setups as so much can and does go wrong with them and they can be hell to set up. (I don't care what ANYONE says about that, I disagree!!!!!).:angry:
I'd rather forego that tiny extra bit of speed they afford (only under ideal conditions) and settle for regular HDD configurations.