New PC advice


GlennChan wrote on 2/26/2004, 6:41 PM
Actually, this surprised me but a Dell system can be cheaper than a do it yourself system!!! Dell has some hot deals sometimes (free shipping, RAM upgrade, no monitor deals in small business section usually) which you can find on hot deals sites like Buy a barebones computer from them and put in your own parts (hard drive, DVD burner, etc.). Dell comes ahead most of the time, unless you have software already or plan on overclocking (nothing wrong with overclocking, except that it's quite involved).

Only go for the 4600 and 8300 dimension desktops, the 2400 has no AGP slot and the small form factor ones are messed up. I don't know about their workstation computers (they never seem to be a hot deal on those).

According to, Dell service is pretty crappy. Their rating is really low. Dell has also outsourced some of its tech support. Home users account for 15% of Dell's business and they are most likely going to get Indian techs, while customers with large contracts are more likely to get better American tech support.

Good things about Dell:
Quiet (compared to other computers you buy)
Case design is fairly good (hard to open though)
My high school was part of University of Toronto, which had an exclusive contract with Dell. Service was great (they sent actual techs over and would replace stuff without much hassle)... but your mileage will vary.
Hot deals on barebones systems

Some parts are proprietary (non-standard PSU on some models... normal power supplies would fry your motherboard)
Absurd upgrade prices ($400 for a 250GB hard drive that costs $200)
Service seems to suck for home users
They don't let you overclock
No Windows CD? EDIT: not sure about this...
Have to wait for hot deals
cosmo wrote on 2/26/2004, 8:49 PM
Great info!!

I'll add - I DID in fact get an OS disc with the purchase. It may have been because I upgraded to XP Pro. Also got separate discs for all included junk.

I've never had service issues but maybe I'm the fluke -)
PipelineAudio wrote on 2/27/2004, 1:59 AM
I have been looking at dells but at their website they dont tell you jack diddly about whats in their pc's I need to know how many PCI slots, which mobo etc...its not like you can buy a PC from them thats ready for audio, you still need to buy soundcards
cosmo wrote on 2/27/2004, 7:18 AM
agreed on that....I don't know what kind of board it is without looking but I know my Dimension looks to have 5 open slots. I have a a vid card, audio card, modem, firewire and still one open. If that helps...
Rednroll wrote on 2/27/2004, 9:12 AM
"I have a a vid card, audio card, modem, firewire and still one open. If that helps..."

No it doesn't and points out an obvious reason to build your own and why you cannot rely on a PC speced out by Dell for your DAW. You say you have 1 slot open, but you have no idea of what the motherboard is, so you don't know if that is a "shared" slot. Mother boards will usually have a couple slots that are "shared". That is they will share an IRQ. Which anyone with a DAW will tell you, you cannot share an IRQ with your soundcard, unless you want stutturing and skipping in your audio. It is very common for the AGP slot for a video card to share an IRQ with one of the PCI slots. What happens then when you plug your sound card into that PCI slot. You will get all kinds of problems, because you have a video card and sound card conflicts running an app that accesses both of them at the same time. There may even be shared PCI slots on your Dell and you have no way of knowing it, and could be having conflict problems and be unaware of it.
cosmo wrote on 2/27/2004, 11:06 AM
Now you're going to make a mockery out of this thread too?

What the f*ck is your problem???"

Go home loser. You're boring me with this, and I'm sure everyone is getting tired of it.

FYI - There are five slots, 4 in use, NO IRQ conflicts. So go f*ck yourself red.
Rednroll wrote on 2/27/2004, 11:20 AM
I point out a possible problem point which you are unaware of and is useful to other users and you say, "go f*ck yourself". Tell us what IRQ is assigned to each slot along with the other slots like your video card, maybe an AMR slot, or IDE slot, or your harddrive controlers, then tell me to go f*ck myself. You're really showing how immature you really are and how little you know to be able to offer any useful advice. Need I point out, there are other users that disagreed with your advice in this forum? Why aren't you telling them to "go f*ck yourself"? Obviously, you have a problem with me, and is "harrassment" as you like to call it.
cosmo wrote on 2/27/2004, 11:36 AM
you're off the hook man. I'm at work...but if memory serves - and I choose to indulge you....f*ck man - you bring out the worst in me. OK...if memory serves the audio card is in slot 2, IRQ 17, I/O ranges DC60-DC7F and decrements...(40-4F etc); the video card is IRQ 16 -- EC00-ECFF; the 1394 card is in slot 1 I think, and IRQ 21; a network card in IRQ20......ok that's enough. I'm sick of this man. All you ever wanna do is prove how smart you are and how dumb everyone else is. I'm not playing anymore.
Rednroll wrote on 2/27/2004, 11:47 AM
Hmmmm??? Maybe you could indulge the rest of us and explain how you where able to get so many IRQ's? From, all the PC specifications that I've seen the highest IRQ is 15. So if you could explain to us how you got more than that, than that would be very helpful for the rest of us running into lack of IRQ resources.
cosmo wrote on 2/27/2004, 12:16 PM
Dude..if you're saying I'm lying -SAY IT! If you want me to back that statement up with some screen shots after work when I get home - I'll indulge you that one more step. Call my bluff motherf*cker...

Now red - I am not a PC tech, I'm a musician. I'm fortunate enough to live in a world that allows me to write songs and produce them near 'real' studio quality in the comfort of my home. Thanks to the almighty PC, yes indeed. Since my passion is so closely linked to computers, I've gone through a few and had to solve my share of problems. My comments in this thread pertain diectly to my experience as a musician trying to maintain my sanity while producing music and video on a pc. Since I'm not a pc tech and don't want to be one(we do exsist you know), I've come to my current level of involvment in pc buying. It works for me, a regular, semi-smart guy who doesn't enjoy fussing with computers. I found a place to buy a good raw pc + monitor at a good price with service I already had good experience with. There are plenty of people in here to tell this guy how to build a killer pc and where to get all the parts etc and that's fine. I didn't criticize anyone for advising that stuff, I just gave an account of my experience. Like or not, we can't all be pc techs.
Rednroll wrote on 2/27/2004, 12:39 PM
Get rid of all the agressions. I was just asking you a question. Why all the name calling? How old are you anyways? I was just telling you the max is usually IRQ 15. There is however in newer chipsets and Windows XP with ACPI to get more than this. They are though, in the most cases dynamic IRQ's, and there are still IRQ conflicts, which can't be resolved depending on the motherboard. So for you to come out and tell me to go "f*ck myself" without not knowing any of this, it's really uncalled for and like you said, you're no computer tech, but you sure do know how to voice your opinion without any backing knowledge.

"FYI - There are five slots, 4 in use, NO IRQ conflicts. So go f*ck yourself red."
GlennChan wrote on 2/27/2004, 3:34 PM
Whoa...! I didn't expect a flame war in here.

Does Dell tell you how many PCI slots there are? Yes, it's on their website (under more details or something like that). Dimension 4600s have 4 or more I believe. 2400s have 3 PCI slots and NO AGP.

Dell motherboards are usually special-made Intel ones. Some of them need proprietary power supplies.

I didn't realize this was the Vegas Audio forum, so some of my comments are a bit off. Overclocking is a bad idea since it creates more noise and your computer is so powerful already. I assume quietness is really important. has lots of information on how to tweak your computer to make it more silent (and which parts are quieter if building your own), and also has a review of a vendor which specialises in quiet computers:
Unfortunately I have no experience with them and they have zero ratings on, so I don't know if they're trustworthy. Some vendors send reviewers better or tweaked versions of their product, so Silent Pc's review may not be entirely accurate either. They don't seem to specialize in audio, so may have to figure things out yourself.

>>>its not like you can buy a PC from them thats ready for audio, you still need to buy soundcards<<<
That's a good point, but the point of getting a Dell is that it can be a good deal if putting together your own computer and troubleshooting everything. If you are looking for something like a turnkey system then Dell is no good of course.
cosmo wrote on 2/27/2004, 3:42 PM
Love how you take my quotes out of context and call me aggressive when I'm trying to beat you off of me! I am aware of dynamic IRQ might of wanted to have that in mind when you were spouting off about 15 being the highest.

This isn't about who's smartest, just sharing info. And FYI to glennchan - aside from the soundcard upgrade my Dell is still running straight out of the box. I think I said somwhere else - maybe I'm the fluke...who knows. I'm just sharing.
Nat wrote on 2/27/2004, 3:47 PM
Red : for your information,

When using ACPI mode, the OS will assign up to 24 IRQs to peripherals. Also, it's not the PCI slots that are shared, it's Windows that puts different hardware on the same IRQ, moving to another PCI slot won't help much under ACPI.
Also, I built 3 pcs recently and 2 of them have the audio card and video card on the same IRQ with absolutely no problem.
cosmo wrote on 2/27/2004, 3:52 PM
So the enhancements in the IRQ management system must account for how many fewer problems I've had since moving to the XP platform? I ask because I have some students using different OS's and it may be useful to know for when they start beefing up.
Geoff_Wood wrote on 2/27/2004, 7:33 PM
To get back to the original question - where can I get a cool audio PC built - Dell and the like is the last place to go.

Try you local PC assemblers (you know the 4 guys in a corner shop with security bars all around the windows - look for one with a real nerdy guy, and intense 'gamer' style peripherals (lots of thermo-nuclear-looking cooling devices lying around, etc). Their objective is not totally dissimilar. Then explain that you want a stable, reliable, and fast PC - they should be able to whip something up.

Then take out their wanky graphics card (you don't really wqant to see the 100 shades of skin on the dinosaurs scrotum at 200kph) and you should have something on the right lines.

Maybe run their component suggestions past here for comment before saying yes.

Hollow4 wrote on 2/28/2004, 9:01 AM
dont check the forum for a couple of days and what all goes to hell. why dont you drop the swearing and pissy attitude, all you had to do was respond calmly. Red made a good point about irq sharing that i had to deal with this summer. in fact the OS does not assign IRQ numbers its the bios on your mother board, unless you are one of those lucky few who can reprogram them or have the new version. with that said dont go all postal on each other. its just stupid and you make yourself out to be the biggest a$$ of all.
anyways the original point of this thread was to give advice about a ew computer not to argue to buy a dell or not. the originator wanted options and as it turns out wanted the ability to learn a lot about computers adn the way they work. this led him to build his own. anyways, you can find cheaper prices at dell, but like i have said before sometimesthe parts are not as good. and really the only reason to build your own is to get knowledge and to know whats in your computer after you build so you can make better decisions on stuff.
Cosmo, just to point out, you only have 4 PCI slots on you MB, the video card slot is AGP
cosmo wrote on 3/1/2004, 7:55 AM
Ryan - good point. There are 4 PCI slots and 1 AGP slot. I also neglected to mention(forgot) that I have another SB sound card installed for the MIDI port. I like it better than USB for the keyboard controller.

The name of this thread is "New PC Advice". I would argue that this thread isn't really open to new PC advice, UNLESS it's a build your own PC solution. Mine was not, holy crap...he suggested Dell....and the whole world comes crashing down. I've never advised against building your own PC, I just gave my account of how it all worked for me, and let other users know that if they don't want to build one, they do have other options.

Of great note in this all - my DELL is over a year old and I haven't had NOT ONE PROBLEM with any of the cheap parts they put in it.

The swearing and the pissy attitude was a direct result of instigation from Red...calling me out on all that stuff and making me back it up. If someone calls me a liar I'm going to defend myself. Let me call you a liar and see what you do Ryan. I'd bet you'd come to your own defense. I think I even made a public apology for my behavior Friday afternoon. That happens a lot around here....yeah.

Thanks for calling me the biggest @ss of all. Isn't name calling what you repremanded me for?

Rednroll wrote on 3/1/2004, 2:16 PM
The funny thing is, is that I never called you a liar. I just asked for some further information that you seemed to be so sure of, but somehow you twisted that all around again.

Do you feel like everyone is out to get you? Do you feel like big brother is always watching? Do you always sit in a restaurant with your back to the wall? Do you feel like you're always saying something is white, while the rest of world is insisting it's black? Please, lay down in this leather sofa and relax, then let's start with some childhood experiences.
cosmo wrote on 3/1/2004, 2:29 PM
I think my fingers are losing weight from all of this typing. Isn't this the thread that you jumped on me about that IRQ stuff? You asked (in a really smart a$$ way) for me to tell you what all of my slot addresses and IRQs were to prove there were no interruptions or shared slots or whatever. When I told you, it seemed like you were calling BS on back through it if you want...I'm too bored of this for that. Anyhow, if someone calls BS on me, that's like calling me a liar.

Maybe you were just caught up in the swirl of our Friday battle and didn't realize you called BS on me. Whatever. What's the point here again?

We've gotta quell this. I read that long historical account of your times in this forum on that other thread....go read my reply if you like.
Rednroll wrote on 3/1/2004, 2:38 PM
Do you wear a protective foil benie cap to keep the government from probing your every thought, through satellite transmissions?
whr wrote on 3/1/2004, 4:11 PM

I have a "corner store" that has built my PCs for years. They've always done a good job. However, The owner sold the largest share of the store to someone else and I have'nt gotton anything from them since. I went directly to the former owner and we worked out specifics on what they would build me. That was 8 weeks ago and he doesn't even return my calls. Needless to say I don't trust them for service if I can't even get them to build the thing.

That's what started my whole dilema.
Hollow4 wrote on 3/1/2004, 10:32 PM
hey i didnt mean for it to sound like i was calling you in particular an A$$ i was sayin gabout swearing and being frustrated in general, and for people egging it on. i guess i didnt really re-read my post before i put it up, sorry man.

hey i know i was never "craching down" on Dell i was pointing out some actaul facts of the company. now that that has been said i do think that dell can make some quality machines, but you will pay dearly for these machines.

Anyways this is moot anyways because in the end the bickering really does nothing

just a thought

cosmo wrote on 3/2/2004, 7:17 AM
Exactly - that's how much fun dealing with the corner store can be. I've been to court cause one of those guys ripped a friend off my for mucho dinero.

Not all of us have a good corner store, it'd be nice if we did but GOOD one's aren't that easy to come by for some of us. I've been there. And I've been Dell. Dell worked a lot better for me. Not looking for Dell props, just tellin my story guys.

Appreciate the response Ryan, really. I gotta call you though still on the cheap parts stuff - I'm one and several months into my Dell and still NO problems. And I've got LOTS of music and videos as a result of having a perfectly running machine!

Red - have you been spying? I love my little foil hat! Ever since I started wearing it my wife gives it up left and right! -)