New System Recomendations

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Pat Conover, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. Pat Conover

    Pat Conover Guest


    Looking for a new system for a friend, and I have not ordered a new Dell in
    some time. I am not up to date on all the latest and greatest... He said
    he wants a good machine, with some gaming capabilities, so far looks like a
    good system for that is the XPS 8100. Not the fastest, but the cheapest of
    the faster machines. It does come with Win 7 64-bit, and I wonder about
    compatibility with other printers, software, etc he already owns. Nothing
    worse than buying a new machine, then having to buy all new peripherals and
    software because you also bought the latest OS.

    Specs on the "on sale" XPS 8100 shown below, about $1,143 delivered as
    shown. This is from the Dell Home site, which I hear does not include the
    OS and driver disks anymore, but the Small Business site does. The OS and
    driver disks was one reason I always bought Dells...

    Any suggestions or alternatives greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Pat

    Studio XPS 8100

    Date 6/1/2010 1:10:17 PM Central Standard Time

    Catalog Number 29 Retail 19

    Catalog Number / Description Product Code Qty SKU Id

    Processors: Intel® CoreT i7-860 processor (8MB Cache, 2.80GHz)

    Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64 Bit, English

    Hardware Support Services:

    2 Year Basic Service Plan

    Memory: 6GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs

    Monitor: 21.5" Dell ST2210 Full HD Monitor with VGA cable

    Video Card: nVIDIA GeForce G310 512MB DDR3

    Hard Drive: 750GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache

    Optical Drive: 16X DVD+/-RW Drive

    Speakers: Dell AY511 Attached Speaker w/ 5.1 Surround for Dell Monitors

    Wireless: Dell 1525 WLAN PCIe card with11n mini-Card & external antenna

    Keyboard: Dell Studio Consumer Multimedia Keyboard

    Mouse: Dell Studio Optical Mouse

    Sound: THX® TruStudio PCT THX

    Studio XPS 8100:

    Studio XPS 8100

    Adobe Software: Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0 Multi-Language

    Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed): Microsoft® Office Starter 2010

    Security Software: McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months

    Datasafe: Dell Online Backup 2GB for 1 year
    Pat Conover, Jun 1, 2010
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  2. Pat Conover

    Pen Guest

    Before you buy 64 Bit Win 7 have him check if drivers for it
    are available for his printers and any other hardware
    attached to his present system. 32 bit programs are not a
    problem, but 16 bit ones are; they won't run except in a
    virtual machine. Many older hardware will not work because
    the makers haven't written drivers for them, it is a common
    post in the win 7 forums, why doesn't my xxxxx work.
    Pen, Jun 1, 2010
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  3. Pat Conover

    Daddy Guest

    "...a good machine, with some gaming capabilities..."

    That describes 90% of the computers available from Dell. It's like
    asking for:

    "...a good car, with some performance capabilities..."

    Nobody can offer a recommendation that will make your friend happy based
    on that information. You need to understand much more about how your
    friend plans to use their computer. Comparing specifications in a vacuum
    is silly.

    Daddy, Jun 1, 2010
  4. Pat Conover

    Pat Conover Guest

    Any suggestions on the above configuration? Pat
    Pat Conover, Jun 1, 2010
  5. Pat Conover

    Nick Guest

    Have your friend download and run Microsoft's "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor"
    from this page:


    The upgrade advisor checks to see if the system it's run on will support
    Windows 7, and (what your friend needs) it also checks the installed
    software and hardware for compatibility issues.

    As noted on the above page, make sure your friend plugs in and turns on any
    peripherals (printers, etc.) that he wants to check for compatibility.

    And this page,


    allows browsing or searching for compatibility information for various types
    of software and hardware by name/model and publisher/manufacturer.

    Nick <mailto:>

    Sturgeon's Law: "Ninety percent of everything is crap."

    Nick's Observation: "One person's ten percent is right smack dab in the
    middle of somebody else's ninety percent."
    Nick, Jun 2, 2010
  6. Pat Conover

    Tony Harding Guest

    True, but how old is his "old hardware"? I received a brand new XPS9000
    of 12/31/09 with Win7 Home Prem, 64-bit, and it had drivers for my Epson
    Color Stylus R300 (purchased 2/1/2004) & Brother MFC8840D All-in-One
    (purchased 6/10/2005. I was surprised.
    Tony Harding, Jun 2, 2010
  7. Pat Conover

    Pat Conover Guest

    Thanks to all for the replies. As I said, its been a while since I bought a
    new Dell, so Daddy, excuse me for not being more specific about his intended
    uses. I spoke with him tonight and it appears he doesn't do all that much
    with the current computer other than web surfing, some light word
    processing, and the occasional excel spreadsheet of his work hours to get
    paid. He said he wanted a machine capable of gaming, but I don't think he
    is very hard core, otherwise he would order his own computer with the latest
    video card for xyz games.

    Seems to me now, that the XPS 8100 is way too much machine for his needs.
    But he wants something that will last several years, with his old computer
    only about 3-years old now. I think the old machine has probably slowed
    down a lot since it was new, with some malware, spyware, virii, etc. Maybe
    a clean XP SP3 install is due.

    Thanks for the Win 7 hardware tips, but after talking to him, it sounds like
    the only hardware is his HP AIO printer, which he said is junk and wants to
    replace anyway. That is good news to hear about older drivers being
    included with Win7 Home Prem, 64-bit. I will keep that in mind for my own
    future upgrades, since this old Dim 4550 workhorse appears to be about
    7-years old now, after checking my systems online with Dell.

    Anyway, it looks like he wants to go with the XPS 8100 system specs above,
    but I also suggested a 1Gb video card and 8MB of Ram, 2MB for each of the 4
    slots. About $50 each for those upgrades. Is $1,143 a good price for that
    system? Any other suggestions? Thanks again, Pat
    Pat Conover, Jun 3, 2010
  8. Pat Conover

    Daddy Guest

    That was more helpful, thank you.

    If you friend /really/ was a gamer, he would know what he wants and
    wouldn't be asking you for help.

    Your friend would be best suited with just about any low cost PC from
    the Home division. Any computer costing $500 to $700, depending on
    whether he's keeping his existing monitor, would be entirely sufficient.

    That said, many people who don't know much about computers (referring to
    your friend) will ignore that advice and spend upwards of $1,000 on a
    computer that has more capability than they know what to do with,
    because they are impressed by all those fancy specs.

    Daddy, Jun 3, 2010
  9. Pat Conover

    Pat Conover Guest

    Daddy, thanks for weighing in on the thread. Yep, your right about any $500
    computer working for him, but he is a young guy, and I guess needs to tell
    his friends about the Core i7 processor, etc., as he emails them...

    Anyway, since shopping for His computer, I am now thinking about the XPS
    8100, so maybe you or the other regulars can comment from my prior post
    shown below.

    I use my computer for work mostly, lots of open programs running (Office XP
    2002) Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, QB Pro, many IE windows open, PDF files
    galore, photo storage and retrieval, and some proprietary apps. (Have to
    check on Win7 64-bit compatibility with vendors)

    In the past, I have also done DV video rendering, video file (TiVo to mpeg)
    conversions, DVD video burning, and some gaming. (On that note, I haven't
    seen any recent posts by Joan Gravitz, spelling by memory, still around I
    hope!) But the old Dim 4550 seemed to get slower and slower at those tasks
    over the years. Although I need a Production machine for work, I still like
    to play now and then...

    Based on the XPS 8100 system specs above, I was thinking about a 1GB video
    card either the ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB DDR3 or nVidia GeForce GT220 DDR3,
    which would be better, (I know Ben says nVidia cards overheat and die
    prematurely), and 8MB of Ram, 2MB for each of the 4 slots. Also thought
    about adding the Hauppauge HVR1250 hybrid TV tuner for $60 for TV video
    capture. I haven't kept up on the TV cards, maybe Tom Scales can comment.
    About $50 extra each for the Video and RAM upgrades. Is $1,143 a good price
    for that system? Any other suggestions? Thanks again, Pat
    Pat Conover, Jun 3, 2010
  10. Pat Conover

    Daddy Guest

    A young guy who wants to impress his friends should buy any Alienware
    model that fits his budget.

    However: His friends who /really/ know about computers will smirk behind
    his back, and his friends who don't know about computers won't know what
    they're looking at.

    The wiser course would be to spend around $600 on a computer and use the
    rest of his budget for a webcam, a digital camera, an MP3 player and/or
    a good set of speakers. A Flip (around $200) will be much more fun for
    your friend (and his friends) than the X58 chipset.

    Daddy, Jun 3, 2010
  11. Pat Conover

    Pat Conover Guest

    Problem is I am a Dell Guy thanks to this group, and don't do Alienware
    Thanks, Pat
    Pat Conover, Jun 3, 2010
  12. Pat Conover

    Tony Harding Guest

    I hope you mean GB of memory, not MB. I dobt you can even boot Win7 in 8MB.
    Tony Harding, Jun 4, 2010
  13. Pat Conover

    Pat Conover Guest

    Yes Tony, GB not MB, told you its been a while...
    Anyway, to bring this thread to a close, my friend called last night to say
    never mind, apparently he checked his bank account, and decided the old,
    slower machine was exactly what he needs right now! The
    recession/depression has not been too kind to the local construction
    workers. I guess I need to get him to run Malwarebytes, etc. to get rid of
    any nasties, run CCleaner and DeFraggler to cleanup his HD. Then it should
    be much faster.

    Yes Daddy and RNR, a really, really fast machine is always needed to send
    emails and web surf. I bet William has a 20-year old box that does the same
    quite well too.

    Thanks, Pat
    Pat Conover, Jun 4, 2010
  14. Pat Conover

    Joe M Guest

    Daddy, thanks for weighing in on the thread. Yep, your right about any

    I bought a Studio XPS 8000 about 5 months ago with about the exact specs you
    have proposed but added a Bluray burner. (Service Tag 86LXHK1)... Wanting to
    render HD video and burn Bluray discs is the only reason I needed a new
    I did standard video and DVDs with a Dim 4550 and later a Dim 5150...

    I have a Sony HD camera and am using Pinnacle Studio v14 software. I started
    to spec a Core 2 duo machine based on the software's hardware requirements
    until I read a forum suggesting the Core i7 would work smoother. I also
    learned lots of video ram is helpful with rendering, so I went with 1G... I
    added my own 1T second hard drive to capture video.
    Anyway, this i7 machine works great. No problem crunching the data and
    burning the Bluray discs in a reasonable amount of time. It does all of this
    without the cooling fan screaming so it's not straining too much either.

    Good luck - Joe
    Joe M, Jun 6, 2010
  15. Pat Conover

    Pat Conover Guest

    Thanks for the input Joe. But, unfortunately like my friend, I may have to
    wait a while more before upgrading to a fast machine like this :(
    Thanks, Pat
    Pat Conover, Jun 6, 2010
  16. Pat Conover

    BillW50 Guest

    Really? Yes this is a nine month old post I know, but do you still
    believe this? And I really know much about computers, but new to
    Alienware. And I bought this one mainly because it was the first SLI
    graphic laptop (Alienware calls it a mobile desktop, go figure). As I
    like to collect noteworthy machines in computer history.
    I don't know, while Alienware is a bit pricey... they do offer things
    which doesn't exist in other laptops or are just plain rare. Like this
    one has two hard drives instead of just one. Plus you can set them up in
    RAID mode if you would like.

    Most laptops have the GPU on the motherboard. Thus if something goes
    wrong with it, you need a whole motherboard replacement. Not so with
    with this Alienware. As you can change out the card itself. Plus you
    have two GPUs. So if one ever fails, you still got another one.

    And the cooling system is pretty impressive for a laptop. And the whole
    laptop feels cool except for the rear end where all of the heat escapes.
    And while many Nvidia GPUs has been problematic for most laptops due to
    excessive heat (including this 7900GS). It doesn't seem to be much of a
    problem for Alienware machines.

    Sure you can get a great machine for much less money (yes I have those
    too). But still, Alienware is still quite impressive to say the least.
    They also have some of the best LCD screens I have ever seen on a
    laptop. As it reminds me a lot like automobiles. Sure you can joy ride
    in a simple sedan. But a fancy sports car is much more comfortable and
    enjoyable. ;-)
    BillW50, Mar 13, 2011
  17. Pat Conover

    RnR Guest

    Two philosophies that come to mind here.... buy quality for a price
    or buy cheap and replace more often. Each has advantages and
    disadvantages. Personally I do the latter but it has to do with how I
    use the system. That said, Alienware sounds like a nice system and I
    would probably consider it before going to an Apple system. Meanwhile
    I like my cheap Dells <g>.
    RnR, Mar 14, 2011
  18. Pat Conover

    BillW50 Guest

    Actually you can have it both ways. As I always have bought cheap and
    often since '81. And four years ago this top of the line Alienware was
    costing $2500+. Yet when one of these popped up for $250 with a buy now
    option... well there you go. As you can have quality and cheap at the
    same time. As long as you are willing to wait for a few years sometimes.
    Heck the two video cards alone are currently going for $150 a piece.
    That is worth more than I paid for the whole laptop. ;-)
    BillW50, Mar 14, 2011
  19. Pat Conover

    RnR Guest

    That's smart !!! I like it <g>.
    Just curious, what OS do you run on the Alienware now?
    RnR, Mar 14, 2011
  20. Pat Conover

    BillW50 Guest

    It was sold with Windows 7. This model came out during the XP and Vista
    switchover. So some came with XP and some with Vista. This one came with
    XP. And the Vista drivers are available on their website and they work
    just fine under Windows 7 too.

    But I did drop in another drive and installed XP from the recovery disc.
    So I have both XP and Windows 7 on this machine.
    BillW50, Mar 14, 2011
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