Opinions wanted: Modems

Due to Mother Nature, I no longer have an operational modem.
Sucks to be me, hunh? :smack:

SO, I am going tonight to invest in a new one.

I have been looking through Best Buy, CompUSA, OfficeMax and am looking between $30-50.00. Nothing fancy, only for browsing and IM’ing. Also know, I have a slapdash system, morphed from the dead corpses of other computers. I will post later looking for assistance in loading a sound card as for some reason it WILL NOT WORK. But that’s not relevant here.

What, in your numerous esteemed opinions, should I go for?

US Robotics? Creative Labs? Diamond?

Recently I made a recommendation for USR based on a project we have going at work, but apparently they’ve slipped in quality recently. The best one out there that we’ve found is the Creative Modemblaster. Of course, no one is officially endorsing anything; this is just my recommendation based on the results of the modem comparisons that we do.

General Questions is for questions with factual answers. IMHO is for opinions and polls. I’ll move this to IMHO for you.

Off to IMHO.

DrMatrix - General Questions Moderator

Usually when I have bought modems (14.4, 28.8 or 56K ), I’ve always bought the cheapest one available. Usually this runs about $20, no more. A cheap generic pci modem is good emough IMHO. Now I know that all of you are going to roll your eyes, but basically my opinion is that dial-up sux and the advantage you gain from a $50 or (godforbid) a $100+ modem is hardly worth it. My cheapo -brand modems have been connecting me to Earthlink or AOHELL or any others I’ve used at approx. 50K. Good enough for me but then again some people really need those extra features.

My recommendation is to get an external modem. I would recommend a USR/3Com modem. They are more expensive but I never have any problems with them.

Another vote for the cheapest POS you can find. $10.

If you need caller ID, answering machine software, or ever plan to run Linux - those are IMO the only reasons to buy a more expensive modem.

Put me in the cheapo pile.
I would go for the cheapest one, you might prefer to go for the prettiest one etc. It makes no huge difference.

You can get a crappy winmodem for about $10. These are “controllerless” models that pass off all the work to your machine’s CPU. They may work ok under ideal conditions, but if there is any sort of line noise you will get disconnected frequently. They also eat up resources and may slow down older computers.

I would recommend spending a little more and getting a hardware-based modem. These are much more reliable and will not tax your CPU. Look for ones that are compatible with DOS and/or Linux; winmodems never are.

I was able to find a Hayes Accura 56k PCI for about $55 last year. The US Robotics 2976 is available for under $50. Zoom has some good ones as well.

You’ll be looking at two kinds of modems. The first is a winmodem which is a PCI card. These use software to emulate aspects of a regular modem.

The other type is, what I call, a true modem. Normally these are external and connect via your serial port or internal and fit in an ISA slot.

I’ve found better average connections using the second type.

I have an external Apache 56k modem which I’ve found to be one of the better I’ve used. I think you can normally pick these up around $60.

To clarify, all external serial modems are hardware-based. Most ISA modems are as well. All USB and most PCI ones are software-based (winmodems).

There are some ISA winmodems, and some hardware PCI modems, but you have to look hard to find them.

Hmm, that didn’t really clarify anything did it. How about this.

Either buy:

  1. The cheapest thing you can find (and hope you have clean phone lines)

  2. An external serial modem

  3. An internal modem that is compatible with DOS or Linux.

      • Try the cheapest Winmodem first. If you have any problems with it (in particular, problems with lost connections during big downloads, or low speeds when others have no such problem), then spend $100 on a serial port hardware modem that will work perfectly, and probably be a bit faster besides. [That was my experience, anyway]
        Just remember, don’t buy a USB modem!

Well my first response was “why bother just use it as a excuse to go broad band”

But At this point theres not much diffrence between the modems except bells and whistles

I’d go for a PCI Winmodem from a semi-major brand, at least, so you can get driver support down the road. If you don’t feel comfortable opening your computer to install it, then get an external USB modem. It will be more expensive, but also more universally compatible. DO NOT, under any circumstances, get a modem that connects to a serial port. Serial ports are being retired and will not be present on any new computer you might choose to upgrade to. They’re also more work to install and setup than USB modems.

Got any cites for that, FDISK? I haven’t seen a modern ATX board without COM ports.

Come on guys, try to give some appropriate advice. I know I’ve already weighed in on this, but…

Look at the OP:

“looking between $30-50.00. Nothing fancy, only for browsing and IM’ing”

MissTake clearly isn’t concerned with optimal connection speeds or Linux compatability. I know quite a bit about computers and I would definitely agree with all statements made so far comparing the performance of winmodems vs. external and serial modems. But COME ON!

I think this is the problem with computer advice, or technical support in general, these days–information that isn’t appropriate to the end-user. Heres my answer…again.

If you are just browsing the web and IMing with your frankenstein computer, buy the cheapest modem you can find and go from there.

*sorry for the rant

Number: The Abit AT7-MAX/MAX2 and IT7-MAX/MAX2 come with no legacy ports. The MAX2 series returns the PS2 ports, but the COM and LPT ports are still absent, having been replaced by USB2, firewire, and 5.1 sound. This is a growing trend, similar to the elimination of ISA last year. The only device that hasn’t transitioned nearly entirely to USB is keyboards, and those are on the way. Motherboard makers see no reason to put unusable ports that cost money and system resources on their boards, when they can include far more usefull ports.

Jayrot: The cheapest modem one can get is, most likely, a crappy modem. She may not care if her modem doesn’t support Linux, but she probably WILL care if it only connects half the time and there are no drivers available for it. That’s why I suggested a Winmodem from a name brand, driver and warranty support is assured.

Well, we’ll see how long it takes for them to go away completely. ISA slots took a long time to die, and floppy drives are still with us. I’m sure a lot of businesses still have a need for RS-232.

And even when onboard connectors disappear, there will still be adapters.

There might be an external USR at ebay.com for around $50. You see they are nice because you just plug them in & turn them on & turn on the computer & it sees it & you’re all set to make a dialup connection.

THANKS!!! for your replies.
I ended up dealing with the wonderful people at Computer Renaissance and purchased a $29.99 Intel modem.

It seems to be a bit slower than the previous Diamond Labs one, but the connection is much better.

And I know I should just go cable, but with the ‘Frankenstein’ :wink: puter I have, I cannot fathom tossing the green for it. Once I can afford to upgrade, it will be a possibility.

Of course, I loaded it Friday night…and then was on-line until 3 in the bloody morning blank glazed stare
I now know why I was avoiding buying a new modem. My sleep schedule has gone to hell already.