Advice for Multimedia PC with £600 budget


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Hi, I am looking to buy a multimedia PC. I want a PC where I can multitask. The kind of things I want to do are watch movies, use Photoshop/Illustrator/Flash etc, use video editing and converting software, use 3d studio max, use iTunes, burn CD's/DVD's and use the internet. I am not too bothered if it cannot write Blu-ray DVD’s. I don't really do gaming but that is mainly because my current PC cannot handle it, if I had a better PC I would like to get into gaming but not really hardcore.

I am just looking for a base unit as I already have a monitor, speakers and wireless adapter. I have been searching through sites like PC World, Comet and some custom building sites but it seems like all of them have one thing I want but not another thing or they are too expensive. There seems to be so many custom building sites but I am a little weary of them and it doesn't seem much cheaper.

My budget is around £600. I don't know how to build PC's or upgrade them or anything so I basically want a pc with everything I need in it and I want it to last me a few years. My current pc has lasted me about 4 years and it still works for general use.

I am considering getting this HP Pavilion Slimline S3652 Desktop PC, it is £567.65 at comet.
Here are the specs for it:
Processor, operating system and memory
Processor type - AMD Phenom™ processor 9150e
Operating system installed - Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium 64-bit
Platform - With AMD Live!™
Chipset - NVIDIA® nForce™ 430 chipset
Standard memory - 4 GB
Memory type - DDR2-SDRAM
Memory slots - 2 DIMM sockets

Internal drives
Internal drives - 640 GB
Hard disk controller - SATA 3G Hard Disk Drive
Hard disk drive speed - (7200 rpm)
External hard disk drive - HP Pocket Media Drive sold separately
Optical drive type - Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner with LightScribe Technology
Lightscribe - Create silkscreen-quality disc labels direct from your PC with LightScribe: Just burn, flip, burn.

System features
Memory card device - 15in1 memory card reader
Network interface - Ethernet 10/100BT integrated network interface
Video capture interface - IEEE 1394 FireWire® Interface
Wireless technologies - Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g
Video connectors - DVI/VGA port, HDMI port
Graphics Subsystem Name - NVIDIA® GeForce™ 9500 GS with PureVideo® HD technology
Video RAM - 512 MB dedicated memory, up to 2303 MB total available graphics memory as allocated by Windows Vista®
TV tuner - TV (analog and DVB-T) tuner card, (DVB-T service not available in Ireland)
Internal audio - High Definition Audio 5.1
Audio connectors - 1 front audio port, 3 rear analog audio ports & 1 rear digital audio port
Keyboard - Wireless keyboard and optical mouse
Remote control - HP Vista Media Center Remote Control
External drive bays - 1 external optical drive bay, 1 internal HDD bay, 1 Pocket Media Drive bay
Expansion slots - 1 PCI low profile
External I/O ports - 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 in front); 1 FireWire®-IEEE-1394 ports
Video adapter, bus - 1 PCI-E 16x low profile

Software
Software - Productivity & finance - Microsoft® Works and Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2007 60-Day Trial Version
Pre-installed software - Microsoft® Internet Explorer 7.0; Windows Mail; Adobe® Reader 8.0
Optical drive driver software - Windows Photo Gallery ; Windows Media Player ; Windows Movie Maker ; Windows DVD Maker ; Cyberlink DVDSuite Premium ; Muvee AutoProducer ; EasyBits Magic Desktop ; HP Games Console with hours of free game play, featuring EA™ Spore™ Creature Creator
Software - education / reference / entertainment - Windows Media Center
Software included - Recovery partition (including possibility to recover system, applications and drivers separately); Optional re-allocation of recovery partition; Recovery CD/DVD creation tool; Symantec™ Norton Internet Security™ 2008 (60 days live update)

Dimensions / weight / warranty
Weight - 8.50 kg
Package weight - 9 kg
Dimensions (W x D x H) - 107 x 352 x 276 mm
Package dimensions (W x D x H) - 324 x 494 x 216 mm
Limited warranty coverage and exceptions - You can expand the warranty coverage of your product up to 3 years; for more information go to the "Options and accessories" web section on hp.com product pages.
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en/ho/WF06b/12454-12454-3329740-64546-64546-3793684-3818770.html

I am not sure about the processor, the specs for Intel Quad Core processors seem better but for what I want to do perhaps the processor is enough? I am not really familiar with Blu-Ray and HD technology. I have a decent monitor but as this HP PC has Blu-ray and the graphics card says it has HD technology will I need a HD ready monitor? Also I have heard negative things about Vista and this PC comes with it, so with the kind of PC I want will Vista be OK?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Waynos_Face

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Hi & welcome to PCReview
happywave.gif


The spec is about right for £600, the processor is a triple core so will be decent enough for multi-tasking.

So do you need a tv card or blu-ray capability???

It sounds like a decent spec multi-use PC will do you fine, with a QuadCore Processor and a decent Graphics card.

Just because it supports HDMI or HD doesn't mean you need a HD TV.

Vista is a lot better than XP, yeah it was buggy to start with but now its very good.

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/range.html?t=pc&c=all&r=RIC

You want the Ricochet Pro, add Vista and its £527, Quad core in stead of triple core, ATI HD 4850 graphics, very good for gaming.

Edit: If you don't like the case just look for one on their site and ask if you can have that instead.
 
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Thank you for your responses. I would like a PC with Blu-ray because I do not have a Blu-ray player and want to use the PC to watch movies and TV. Perhaps a TV tuner is not needed though, because I have seen you can buy a usb hardware with an aerial and remote to hook up to your PC to watch TV, is this pretty much the same as a TV tuner?

I have found another PC I am considering which is £600, Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo Pi2680 Desktop PC. Here are the specs for it:
* Intel Quad Core processor Q6600.
* 2.4GHz processor speed.
* 8Mb cache.
* 3Gb DDR2 667MHz RAM upgradeable to 4Gb.
* 1Tb SATA hard disk space (2 x 500Gb).
* Multi-format, dual layer, Blu-Ray optical drive.
* nVidia GeForce 9600GT graphics card.
* 512Mb graphics memory.
* 20-in-1 media card reader.
* 5 USB ports.
* 1 Ethernet port.
* 2 FireWire ports.
* 2 PCI slots and 2 PCI Express.
* HD Audio 7.1 sound card.
* 802.11a/b/g wireless enabled.
* Microsoft Vista Premium operating system installed.
* Software included: Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 60 day trial, DVD playing and burning software, internet security with 90 days of free updates, Adobe Acrobat Reader, hard disk recovery/facility to burn recovery media.
* Includes wireless keyboard and mouse.
* Size (H)37.3, (W)20, (D)43.5cm.
* Weight 12.5kg.
http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/5080458/Trail/searchtext>FUJITSU++PI+2680.htm

I am not sure if fujitsu is a good brand, but this PC has a better processor, graphics card and hard drive. But it has 3 GB ram unlike the hp which has 4 GB, will it make much difference?
 

Waynos_Face

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3gb to 4gb will not have too much of an impact,

Fujitsu- Siemens are a very good brand for laptops so i dont' see why they wouldn't make a v.good pc.

Nice find and good spec for £600, although not alot of point getting a blu-ray palyer if you ain't got a HD TV, not going to be able to see the difference in quality.

Good PC though.
 
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Waynos_Face said:
3gb to 4gb will not have too much of an impact,

Fujitsu- Siemens are a very good brand for laptops so i dont' see why they wouldn't make a v.good pc.

Nice find and good spec for £600, although not alot of point getting a blu-ray palyer if you ain't got a HD TV, not going to be able to see the difference in quality.

Good PC though.

Thanks for your help.

I want to buy a hd ready monitor but I will have to get that a bit later.

I was thinking perhaps this Viewsonic VX2260wm 22 Inch TFT Monitor would be ok for £166.74:
* Widescreen aspect ratio with Full HD 1920x1080p resolution
* 20,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
* Fast 2ms video response delivers superior picture clarity
* OptiSync® digital/analog inputs
* SRS WOW HD sound
* Eco-mode conserves power
* Aspect ratio adjustment
* Stylish slim-bezel design with glossy piano-black finish
http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=332361&catcode=

Do you think there will be any kind of sales around xmas/new year for PC's? Or does that not really happen for PC's.
 
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Waynos_Face

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The discounts are different for PC's normally when new technology is released the price drops on the older stuff, if you are not in a rush for a P then end of January will be a good time to buy a new one as the New AMD Phenom " processors are out so there will be a price drop on the old Phenom processors and the comparitive Intel ones.

Yeah that monitor coupled with a 5.1 creative or logitech surround sound should be sweet.

If you aren't in a rush then wait 7 weeks, but the price drop could only be £50 so is it worth it?

Plus if you know someone who can build PC's then you are always best buying your own parts, save about at least £50 -£100.
 
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John Lewis are good with warranties, but sometimes under spec for the price.
Their pc's come with a shed load of software, some i never used in owning a pc from them in 4 years!
 
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I have found this other PC from Comet for £636.16, HP FL234AA/M9365.

The only thing is the specs on Comet are a little different to the specs on the HP website, for example on Comet it doesnt list the graphics do you think it is still the same specs as on the HP website? Also on the HP website the PC is £880 whereas on Comet it is £636.16.

on comet it says:
Shared graphics 2815 MB
Dedicated graphics No
Graphics type Nvidia

whereas on hp it says:
Graphics Subsystem Name - NVIDIA® GeForce™ 9800 GT with PureVideo® HD technology
Video RAM - 1024 MB dedicated memory, up to 2815 MB total available graphics memory as allocated by Windows Vista®


here are the full specs from hp:

Processor, operating system and memory
Processor type - AMD Phenom™ processor 9550
Operating system installed - Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium 64-bit
Platform - With AMD Live!™
Chipset - NVIDIA® nForce™ 430 chipset
Standard memory - 4 GB
Memory type - DDR2-SDRAM
Memory slots - 4 DIMM sockets

Internal drives
Internal drives - 1 TB (2 x 500 GB)
Hard disk controller - SATA 3G Hard Disk Drive
Hard disk drive speed - (7200 rpm)
External hard disk drive - 500 GB Personal Media Drive
Optical drive type - Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner with LightScribe Technology
Lightscribe - Create silkscreen-quality disc labels direct from your PC with LightScribe: Just burn, flip, burn.

System features
Memory card device - 15in1 memory card reader
Network interface - Ethernet 10/100BT integrated network interface
Video capture interface - IEEE 1394 FireWire® Interface
Wireless technologies - Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g
Graphic subsystem name - NVIDIA® GeForce™ 9800 GT with PureVideo® HD technology
Video connectors - Dual DVI/VGA, TV-out, HDMI
Graphics Subsystem Name - NVIDIA® GeForce™ 9800 GT with PureVideo® HD technology
Video RAM - 1024 MB dedicated memory, up to 2815 MB total available graphics memory as allocated by Windows Vista®
TV tuner - TV (analog and DVB-T) tuner card, (DVB-T service not available in Ireland)
Internal audio - High Definition Audio 7.1
Audio connectors - 2 front audio ports, 6 rear analog audio ports & 1 rear digital audio port
Keyboard - Wireless keyboard and optical mouse
Remote control - HP Vista Media Center Remote Control
External drive bays - 2 external optical drive bays, 2 internal HDD bays, 1 Pocket Media Drive bay, 1 Personal media Drive bay ; Landing pad for USB & 1394 devices
Expansion slots - 1 PCI (1 free) and 2 PCI-Express 1x (1 free)
Video adapter, bus - 1 PCI-Express 16x
External I/O ports - 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 in front); 2 FireWire®-IEEE-1394 ports (1 in front)

Software
Software - Productivity & finance - Microsoft® Works and Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2007 60-Day Trial Version
Pre-installed software - Microsoft® Internet Explorer 7.0; Windows Mail; Adobe® Reader 8.0
Optical drive driver software - Windows Photo Gallery ; Windows Media Player ; Windows Movie Maker, Windows DVD Maker ; Cyberlink DVDSuite Premium ; Muvee AutoProducer Full Version; EasyBits Magic Desktop
Software - education / reference / entertainment
Windows Media Center
Software included - Recovery partition (including possibility to recover system, applications and drivers separately); Optional re-allocation of recovery partition; Recovery CD/DVD creation tool; Symantec™ Norton Internet Security™ 2008 (60 days live update)

Dimensions / weight / warranty
Weight - 15 kg
Package weight - 17 kg
Dimensions (W x D x H) - 178 x 422 x 394 mm
Package dimensions (W x D x H) - 295 x 505 x 510 mm

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en/ho/WF06b/12454-12454-3329738-214846-214846-3733093-3757528.html

http://www.comet.co.uk/shopcomet/product/473561/HP-FL234AA-M9365/tab/specification
 

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