Help me customize the computer I'm buying

I have two questions:

  1. Which graphic card would you get? The most graphic intensive things I do are play games like the Sims 2/3, the occasional simple video editing, and some photo editing with paint shop pro X3 (probably X4 soon)

1GB AMD Radeon HD 7570 [DVI, HDMI, DP, VGA adapter]: Included in price

OR

2GB Nvidia GeForce GT630 [DVI, HDMI and VGA via adapter]: +$20

OR

2GB AMD Radeon HD 7570 [DVI, HDMI, DP, VGA adapter] : +$30

OR

1GB AMD Radeon HD 7670 [DVI, DP, HDMI, VGA adapter]: +$50

  1. What exactly is a TV Tuner? The only description is “Includes online Program Guide. Review the TV schedule, record a single episode or an entire series” but that doesn’t really tell me what it does. Do I somehow connect the computer to my cable box?

Thanks :slight_smile:

The basic option sounds fine for Sims 3, but if you want to step up I’d recommend the Radeon HD 7670 over the other two on the basis that you’ll never really use 2 GB video RAM on a lower-middle end graphics card, and you’ll notice more of a difference in games by adding more processing power than you will with twice the RAM. RAM is cheap these days, so that’s why they add large amounts even to budget cards.

A TV tuner is basically the same circuit that decodes the antenna signal on your TV, but for use with a computer instead. So it adds DVR functions to your computer, and it works quite well with the Media Center functions in Windows. I use this setup on my living-room computer and my only complaint with it is that I never really seem to have the time to watch all the stuff I record.

Looking forward, are you ever likely to replace the video card, on your own? If you think you might do it yourself some day, I’d upgrade to the NVidia card, because they are so much easier to replace than a Raytheon card. If you won’t do it yourself, then this doesn’t matter.

That’s baloney, there’s no difference in difficulty replacing a “Raytheon” card.

[Computer tech hat on]

The replacement procedure is identical in all ways. You have been misinformed or are completely ignorant of the process.

Can you give us the specs on the rest of the system, a huge card on a basic dual core might not help you much.

I did a small amount of research on this. All 4 cards score around 800-1000 according to

gt 630 = gt 440
and radeon 7670 = 6670
according to google.

Modern Intel 4000 HD integrated graphics scores around 650-700. (assuming you’re getting a ivy bridge processor).

So really, they’re not really any better then the integrated card that comes in almost every new intel based computer.

I vote, stick with the basic one, or get the T.v tuner if that sounds like a feature you’d use.

Buy a 100-150$ card if you need it for games in the future and just install it yourself.

[ul]
[li]2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3820 processor [3.6GHz, 15MB Shared Cache] [/li][li]10GB DDR3-1600MHz SDRAM [3 DIMMs][/li][li]2TB hard drive [/li][li]500GB secondary hard drive[/li][li]460W Power supply[/li][li]SuperMulti DVD Burner (still considering if I have them put in a 2nd, or do it myself later)[/li][/ul]
And oh, I’ve replaced video cards in my last couple of computers, so eventually it’s very likely I’ll do it in this one too.

I was thinking about this this morning…so it’d only get the same 1 or 2 channels my TV does when not hooked up to cable?

That kind of depends on what your TV options are. I feed some 20 channels of analog cable into my DVR, but that’s because the digital cable signal in my neighbourhood needs a separate decoder and can’t currently be used with a tuner card. There are different TV tuner cards with support for various cable networks, so you probably need to check what kind of tuner card you need first. These all connect via a standard PCI port or externally through an USB port, so it can easily be added later if you wish to go that route.

I’d also recommend you go with the basic graphics card and upgrade it in a year or two, all the cards you listed seem rather a bit underpowered for that system and given the quick development of new graphics cards there is really no way you can lose by waiting for new models to hit the market and reach an attractive price point.

Perhaps the poster is referring to the driver install process, which is much more of a hassle with AMD cards than it is with NVidia.

AMD cards have prerequisites like .NET Framework which you are notified of in advance. However the install will proceed as normal if you don’t have the prerequisites. You will only start to encounter problems after it’s all done. I have also found that an upgrade install with AMD drivers will lead to something randomly breaking, usually whichever game happens to be my favorite at the time.

NVidia’s installer is much more flexible. Either it doesn’t need prerequisites or it brings them along and deploys them without bugging the user about it. Upgrade installs are smooth and seamless.

AMD and NVidia might be identical in terms of performance but NVidia definitely wins the day when it comes to ease of driver installation.

I have owned brands of cards going back to 1999.

Never had an issue as you describe. They all install cleanly from one install file. .net or any other program if needed downloads automatically.

Just works.

I would suggest upgrading the power supply particularly if you go with a more advanced video card. The power requirements for video cards can be significant and need to be added to the consumption for all other components.

Make sure it’s a quality power supply as well. Not all power supplies are created equal.

That said, I think you’re buying a dell XPS or a HP computer right? I have the dell XPS 8500 computer with the 460 watt power supply(high quality it seems, since it’s 80+% efficient) and it powers my crazy huge video card just fine. (GTX 285). It’s a few years old, but boy is it one HONKER big ass video card.

My other specs are similar

3770 (lower power then your 3820 cpu).
16gb
1 tb hdd

I don’t think I will now, but might when I replace the video card. Thanks to help from a nicely done video on Youtube I’ve already managed to replace the power supply in my current computer, so I’m not worried about replacing one in the future if it turns out to be necessary.

And Harmonix, yes, an HP. All three of my desktops over the past 12 years have been.

Sounds like you have things well planned! Was just trying to point out a potential problem but it’s clear you are already aware of it and capable of handling the situation.

Speaking of Power Supplies, I just bought an HP Elite 1360t with i7-3770 and an NVIDIA GT630 video card. The system comes with a 300W power supply, which seems a bit skimpy. Should I be concerned?