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advice on pc build.


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#21 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8316

Posted 15 June 2013 - 01:41 AM


Depends on how much space you need... I honestly don't know what you guys are storing! I'm perfectly capable of getting away with a 128GB SSD. Not everything has to be installed at once!

 

Well, don't know about others, but I store quite a bit of media, including movies, songs, and so on, which totals about 1.1TB at the moment, but then I have my external hard drive for that. My 120GB SSD is only 20% full, complete with OS and lots of applications - needless to say, I run Linux on it - and 12GB allocated to swap (just because I can).

 

I still use internal hard drives for running my Windows dual boot and because I got my SSD much later. Also, SSD's are ridiculously expensive. I don't know who can afford 500GB+ SSD's. Finally, not *everything* benefits from being on an SSD, so until they become cheaper to produce than more conventional hard drives it doesn't make sense to store all your stuff down to the last bit on them if you have lots of data to store (unless you're filthy rich wink.png )

 

But don't worry, I have no doubt that in a few years we'll have petabyte-sized hard drives that can fit in your palm. And people will still be complaining that Windows 16 takes over fifty terabytes of space sleep.png


Edited by Bacterius, 15 June 2013 - 01:49 AM.

The slowsort algorithm is a perfect illustration of the multiply and surrender paradigm, which is perhaps the single most important paradigm in the development of reluctant algorithms. The basic multiply and surrender strategy consists in replacing the problem at hand by two or more subproblems, each slightly simpler than the original, and continue multiplying subproblems and subsubproblems recursively in this fashion as long as possible. At some point the subproblems will all become so simple that their solution can no longer be postponed, and we will have to surrender. Experience shows that, in most cases, by the time this point is reached the total work will be substantially higher than what could have been wasted by a more direct approach.

 

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#22 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 841

Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:57 AM

I wouldn't buy a Gigabyte mainboard, having had issues in the past because the mainboard that the 17 year old expert at the shop recommended wouldn't do the DIMMs that the expert recommended with it. ASUS never gave me trouble.

 

The harddisk you chose is incidentially the exact same I use with a mobile rack for backups, so I guess I couldn't say anything bad about it!

For the a solid state disk, I'd prefer the OCZ Vertex 4, but opinions are like assholes -- everybody has one. In any case, I'd go for something bigger than 64GB, so you have a little reserve. If you have to buy a smaller CPU to afford the SSD, then so be it. A solid state disk is the single biggest win, so one shouldn't ever economize there.

 

For the BluRay drive, it might be worthwhile thinking about buying that as USB. It's something I've done with my last computer. The advantage is that you can just pull the cable and during the 29 days per month when you don't need an optical drive, it won't consume power or delay your computer when booting.

 

Now of course Windows 8 ... this is the probably biggest mistake possible. I've already had this opinion after trying Windows 8 preview on my desktop back in the time, but now that I own a Windows 8 tablet for somewhat more than 2 weeks, I am even more convinced that Win8 is total fail. It is not even very usable for tablets, but even less so for desktops. Just say no. Windows 7 is so much better.

 

The OP has already stated his view, but just to clarify for anyone else who's yet to try Windows 8 - if at worst you don't like the new start menu ("screen"), then it takes 5 minutes to install a free utility to put the old start menu back. And if you don't like the full screen "Windows 8 apps", you can just ignore them, and you've got something that works just like Windows 7 (along with benefits such as faster boot times, improved task manager, better/simpler backup, lots of things built in as standard from anti-virus to mounting ISOs). Even if one thinks there's no advantage, I don't see it can be worse.

 

It also seems hyperbole to claim it's unusable - I didn't like the start menu introduced with Windows XP, but I didn't say it was unusable, I simply switched it to be like the Windows 2000. I sometimes wonder if some people accidentally got a completely different version to me...

 

 

Dont buy an SSD under 120GB.

I would only buy a power supply from a manufacturer that is dedicated to power supplies only.

Windows 8 is a placeholder between 2 successful versions ...as it was Vista and Windows 2000.

 

I don't think your argument about Windows 2000 works - on the contrary, when XP came out, many people (myself included) said XP was just 2000 with extra annoying bits you have to turn off. Before 2000 was NT 4, which I don't think was better either. But despite the critics of XP, it still wasn't really worse than 2000, and went on to be very successful.

 

Possibly you mean Windows ME, effectively being between 98 and XP for home users, but the 9x/Me line was a different operating system to the NT/2000/XP/etc line.

 

Even if Windows 8 is short lived, I doubt you'll be seeing a return to the Windows 7 start menu (just as we've never returned to the classic 9x/2000 start menu).

 

Back on topic - SSDs are well worth it, and are one of the best things you can do imo to make a computer feel faster.


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#23 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4656

Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:08 AM

The OP has already stated his view, but just to clarify for anyone else who's yet to try Windows 8 - if at worst you don't like the new start menu ("screen"), then it takes 5 minutes to install a free utility to put the old start menu back. And if you don't like the full screen "Windows 8 apps", you can just ignore them, and you've got something that works just like Windows 7 (along with benefits such as faster boot times, improved task manager, better/simpler backup, lots of things built in as standard from anti-virus to mounting ISOs). Even if one thinks there's no advantage, I don't see it can be worse.

 

It also seems hyperbole to claim it's unusable - I didn't like the start menu introduced with Windows XP, but I didn't say it was unusable, I simply switched it to be like the Windows 2000. I sometimes wonder if some people accidentally got a completely different version to me...

 

You should not assume too much. My point is not about liking or not liking one or the other. It's not about not being able to use a tile interface instead of a start menu.

 

It's about a system that has two different user interfaces and none of them is fully functional or works well, or interacts with the other in a seamless manner. The desktop interface has been deliberately "broken" (presumably to convince people to use the tile interface) and the tile interface is neither fully functional, nor ergonomic. Heck, it doesn't even let you place tiles where you want them, even for that Windows must be smarter than you are.

 

You want to use the tablet-optimized interface Metro because you have a tablet? Sure. Except a good number of "standard programs", say, for example the calculator simply don't run under Metro. You have them listed as "app", certainly, but they launch on the desktop. Switching to desktop always takes noticeable time, too. Not like it's several seconds, but it's just noticeable enough to be disturbing. What a crap.

 

Live tiles and notifications when the screen is locked. Awesome, except it's total shit. I tried this with "Mail", sent a test mail to myself from the desktop, and guess what, nothing happens. No notification until you log in again. But hey, at least all the Facebook/Twitter crap is built in, and sure enough the stuff you need the least in your life works, too.

 

Eventually you discover the "We sign you into Messenger automatically whenever you turn on your tablet" when you hover over the chat app. Wait, what? Fuck, that is not what I want. Of course you cannot uninstall the messenger applet without also uninstalling mail and calendar. And you cannot uninstall the Microsoft Store either, or prevent it from running in the background, even if you never intend to buy anything from it. The Kindle app permanently runs in the background, too. I don't intend to ever use Kindle, if I wanted Kindle, I'd have bought the $69 tablet from Amazon, what the hell?

 

You can add another user, but you cannot manage users, except if you launch the control panel on the desktop. Shame that the desktop controls are so small you need to do everything 5 times when using "touch". Similar is true for 2 dozen other system settings. No problem setting up the dumbified express stuff, but woe if you need to change something later. This means using the desktop and touch-navigating a UI that will do anything, except what you intended. Maybe it works if you have fingers like a girl, I wouldn't know.

 

The desktop is simply not designed for "touch", and even less so on a high-res tablet. If at least they'd be smart enough to launch desktop mode in high-resolution profile (which has been supported since Windows XP!). But of course that's deliberate, to discourage people from using the desktop. Right-click when you don't have your pen ready? That's a patience game. Of course you don't need to right-click, do you. Except all the time in a web browser, or whenever you want to do something in the tile interface that is not "launch".

 

You find another parade example of how mishappen Windows 8 is in its backup functionality. Of course everybody uses Skydrive anyway, right? But what if you don't want that, or if you want a real backup, including system restore and such?

There are two different systems active under Windows 8, one is "file versions" and the other is the same as you had under Windows 7. Microsoft did not even bother to change the window name, it still shows "Windows 7" in its window title. However, they did bother to botch with it. Other than under Windows 7, you cannot create a system restore disk on your SD card or on your USB stick, because Windows 8 will complain that it needs a DVD writer for that (Win 7 works just fine with a plain normal USB stick). Plus, once you have used Win 7 recovery, you cannot use file versions any more, because it will tell you that you can only use this if the other is disabled (but it gives you no option to do that!).

 

All in all, Windows 8 is simply not finished and not polished. It is Windows 7 with a half-finished touch interface added, and some Facebook/Skype stuff slammed on top.

The only reason why one would use it (and the reason why I bougth it) is that Android is even worse. Android is a Java toy with a Google browser.

Windows 8, on the other hand, is at least "Windows", so your programs will run (as bad as they'll run, but at least they do run), and you can program it without being forced to use Java and learn a completely new API. Of course that's only true if you never plan to use the Metro interface...

 

Login gestures, what a great idea. Except it takes me 3-4 attempts every single time. How complicated can it be to draw 2 lines and a circle? You wouldn't think there's a lot one can do wrong.

 

And of course Windows 8 boots lightning fast. Or so the propaganda says. My Win 7 desktop is up in 9 seconds whereas my Win8 tablet takes close to 1 minute. One is admittedly a muscle-desktop and the other is a puny Atom tablet, but still. Close to 1 minute for doing nothing but initializing a few drivers and swapping in a kernel image is not what I'd call "fast".



#24 Promit   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6340

Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:26 AM

While I largely agree with everything samoth said, I will firmly ask that we keep this thread on the topic of a PC build and off the topic of Windows 8. Feel free to open that discussion in a separate thread.



#25 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2247

Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:08 PM

You haven't really said what you want to use this machine for. Gaming? Development? A bit of both? Something else?

 

I second all the ssd recommendations. I think it is probably the best single upgrade you can make to a modern PC in terms of bang for buck.

 

If it's for development (especially C++), being able to use your ssd as your working directory is a massive time saver. My work machine has more memory and a faster cpu, but the C++ project I'm working on (medium size, ~400k loc) builds at least twice as fast on my home pc with an SSD*.

 

If it's for gaming, I'd spend an extra few dollars and upgrade your GPU to a 7870 (you also get 3 free games with it).

 

Either way, I'd say your CPU is a bit anemic. Everything I've read points to the i5 3570K as price/performance sweet spot. 

 

*Admittedly, it was written by an insane person and has the single worst code organisation I've ever seen.


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#26 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3412

Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:47 PM

i'd like to pre-face this with a thank you to everyone, and the parts have already been ordered(as of last saturday night), so future advice is unnecessary.

You haven't really said what you want to use this machine for. Gaming? Development? A bit of both? Something else?

Too right, I did forget to preface this with it's purpose. this is going to be mostly focused as a gaming rig.

If it's for gaming, I'd spend an extra few dollars and upgrade your GPU to a 7870 (you also get 3 free games with it).


see, you coudn't have chimed in with this a week ago? =-), if i had seen this one before ordering everything, for ~20$ more, i would have grabbed it(although the one i chose now has a 30$ rebate, so technically this one would have been 50$ more after everything). 


Either way, I'd say your CPU is a bit anemic. Everything I've read points to the i5 3570K as price/performance sweet spot. 
 
*Admittedly, it was written by an insane person and has the single worst code organisation I've ever seen.


how do you mean by "anemic" ?
regardless, i suspect when it comes to gaming, my gpu is more likely to be my bottleneck, then my cpu in todays world.
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#27 skytiger   Members   -  Reputation: 258

Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:58 PM

if you use your PC for anything important you need a UPS

 

once you factor in the cost of a UPS

it is usually cheaper to buy a laptop - they have very good UPS built in ...

 

modern laptops have powerful enough GPU to play GTA4 BF3 etc with decent settings

they have room for 2 or 3 hard disks and can support 3 external monitors

they use little power and make little noise

 

buying desktops just doesn't make sense any more



#28 DaBookshah   Members   -  Reputation: 174

Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:14 PM

Sorry I'm going with the others on the SSD- this very box I typing on has a 40gig ssd for the os, a 1 tb and 250gb, and I am forever having to monitor the ssd it because it fills up- a lot.

 

You need enough for windows and all your programs- my windows 7 ult windows folder is 22gb and I have 13gb in program files.

 

120gb is a nice round number.

Pretty sure my current machine has a 32gb SSD (they were more expensive a while back) and I've never had any problems. But it only has windows + visual studio + dev stuff, everything else goes on the spinning disk....



#29 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1737

Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:00 PM

if you use your PC for anything important you need a UPS

 

once you factor in the cost of a UPS

it is usually cheaper to buy a laptop - they have very good UPS built in ...

 

modern laptops have powerful enough GPU to play GTA4 BF3 etc with decent settings

they have room for 2 or 3 hard disks and can support 3 external monitors

they use little power and make little noise

 

buying desktops just doesn't make sense any more

 

Till it comes time to fix something, or upgrade...

 

I bought a UPS several years ago, it has been overhauled once so far, and is due for another sometime soon, but debating between an overhaul or carting it off to the office as is and replacing my home one. 

 

Personally, I don't want any screen that comes attached to a laptop. They generally suck, are small, have poor colour accuracy, and aren't nearly as cost effective as buying external monitors. If I'm going to be buying external monitors anyway, then why waste money on an inferior third screen that is going to be rather awkward to position anywhere? 

 

Then there are USB ports, which are generally lacking. Personally I like to have a number of things hard wired to back USB ports where they're out of the way (And dealing with hubs on the desk just mean even more cords to screw around with. No thank you.) I haven't seen a laptop that will support my mouse, keyboard, wacom tablet, Screen Calibrator, two printers, scanner, plotter, and mill, high res webcams, and a few external audio gear bits. I really have no idea what all is plugged into the main system at this time.

 

Hard drives? I have six currently, plus two optical burners. 

 

 

Needless to say, there are lots of reasons why building a tower make a lot more sense than a laptop. (Beyond heating and cooling issues. I've yet to find a laptop that comes close to matching the processing power of my desktop that I can't basically fry an egg on.)


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#30 Cornstalks   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6974

Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:22 PM

I've yet to find a laptop that comes close to matching the processing power of my desktop that I can't basically fry an egg on.

Really though, that's a +1 for the laptop and a -1 for the desktop. I mean, you get to make breakfast while you game, no moving required. Heck, if you don't mind an oven on your legs you can make breakfast and game while still in bed.

 

/s


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#31 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6985

Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:45 PM

I'd say its not a cut and dried decision between laptop and desktop, and that it depends on your needs and patterns of use -- the price, power, or cost-effectiveness of hardware really only enters into it as far as it either drives your needs or budgetary limitations.

 

For me, I want a relatively-powerful computer that I can move around and be comfortable working on when necessary, and I want to use that same machine with better amenities when I'm working at home. As such, I have a high-end Lenovo laptop (W530), which is pretty much maxed out, and a dock that supports USB 3.0 and three high-resolution monitors. For what I spent, I could have built a more powerful desktop workstation -- or, I could have built a similarly spec'ed desktop for probably half the cost. Why didn't I take one of those options? Because I value being able to take my working environment with me when I need to be mobile, or just want to spend an afternoon setup in a coffee shop somewhere.

 

Although there are people who really need all the power that can be crammed into a desktop computer that would not be well-served by *any* laptop, and there are those who's budgets are so constrained that they simply can't afford the premium that portability demands while still getting a decent machine, most users fall somewhere in the middle, and can be well-served by either desktops or laptops. Obviously, portability will cost more, but if you're in the middle group you can choose the balance of power and affordability that's best for you.

 

Most people don't need 6-8 CPU cores, 1000w PSUs, Triple-SLI with 13" GPU cards, or 6+ hard disks. Few actually do, though many more think they do. Honestly, if external GPUs were more practical right now, I'd invest in one of those and a good NAS, and probably never buy another desktop computer again. As we're not quite there yet, if I build up a new gaming rig this fall (seeing as the laptop takes care of my work needs), I'm going small-form-factor: Haswell ITX board, a compact 550w PSU, a couple fast 2.5" SSD drives, as much RAM as the board will take, and as large a single GPU that the PSU will feed and will physically fit inside the case. The older I get (or perhaps, the more I move between residences) I keep finding that less (stuff) is more.



#32 skytiger   Members   -  Reputation: 258

Posted 18 June 2013 - 05:27 AM

my alienware m17x has 6 usb ports 3 external monitors 2 hard disks

 

and never gets hotter than 80c even after 24 hours of stress testing

 

I can open the case in 30 seconds and replace any main component in minutes

 

it has a quadcore i7 and GTX660

and was cheaper than equivalent PC + UPS

I never look at the built-in monitor

 

and it uses 1/6 the power of my last desktop

 

also the economies of scale are with laptops now



#33 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2247

Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:06 AM

my alienware m17x has 6 usb ports 3 external monitors 2 hard disks
 
and never gets hotter than 80c even after 24 hours of stress testing
 
I can open the case in 30 seconds and replace any main component in minutes
 
it has a quadcore i7 and GTX660
and was cheaper than equivalent PC + UPS


Those are good points, but there are a few things to consider.
You night be able to open the case, but good luck finding an upgraded gpu or CPU for your machine.

Also your i7 and gtx are almost certainly mobile parts, so you can't really compare the prices
if you think programming is like sex, you probably haven't done much of either.-------------- - capn_midnight

#34 skytiger   Members   -  Reputation: 258

Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:49 AM

It makes no sense to "upgrade" a PC

because paying for 2 CPUs or 2 GPUs but only using 1 is throwing money down the drain

 

What makes sense is to build a machine at the price/quality/performance sweetspot, load it with RAM and don't tinker with it

 

The market for desktop PCs is now tiny - laptops now outperform desktops on price/performance

 

When you factor in the UPS laptops are the only choice



#35 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3412

Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:11 AM

It makes no sense to "upgrade" a PC
because paying for 2 CPUs or 2 GPUs but only using 1 is throwing money down the drain
 
What makes sense is to build a machine at the price/quality/performance sweetspot, load it with RAM and don't tinker with it
 
The market for desktop PCs is now tiny - laptops now outperform desktops on price/performance
 
When you factor in the UPS laptops are the only choice


dude....are you high?
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#36 noitarenev   Members   -  Reputation: 224

Posted 24 June 2013 - 01:14 PM

Your linked PC components are not fairly balanced at that prize range.

I did a build list for you, it is $17 more, but has better power supply, processor, video card, heatsink, SSD and HDD. Plus cheaper RAM.

 

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($94.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($65.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($234.99 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic G 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG UH12NS29 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $977.86
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-24 15:12 EDT-0400)

 

I noticed that you already bought your items, my condolences.


Edited by Indloon, 24 June 2013 - 01:26 PM.

How do you suppose certain knowledge in past times was suddenly there?
Luck, chance, coincidence? 

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#37 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4656

Posted 24 June 2013 - 03:29 PM

if you use your PC for anything important you need a UPS

 

once you factor in the cost of a UPS

it is usually cheaper to buy a laptop - they have very good UPS built in ...

 

modern laptops have powerful enough GPU to play GTA4 BF3 etc with decent settings

they have room for 2 or 3 hard disks and can support 3 external monitors

they use little power and make little noise

 

buying desktops just doesn't make sense any more

On the contrary. Laptops are "kind of acceptable" when you need a computer on the road. This is little surprising, since that's what they're made for, too. As compared to "no computer" they simply win. Otherwise they are overpriced and simply pathetic.

 

The difference in performance between a laptop and an equally priced desktop is not somewhere around 20% or 30%, but rather around 8-10 times. It's even more drastic with what are they called... ultrabooks, convertibles (that is, tablets with an attachable keyboard)?

My 4 year old 2.6 GHz desktop (which is already rather slow compared to its more recent brother) runs at approximately 5-6 times the speed (wall clock) as compared to my 1.8 GHz Atom convertible that costs as much as that desktop did 4 years ago.

 

And then of course those tiny screens...

 

An entirely sufficient UPS (which will give you around 20 mins) costs under 100 euros, by the way. It's not like you need UPS for 12 hours. If you're desperate on saving money, you get one for half as much money too, which is still sufficient to do a proper shutdown without data loss.



#38 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 24 June 2013 - 03:51 PM

The difference in performance between a laptop and an equally priced desktop is not somewhere around 20% or 30%, but rather around 8-10 times. It's even more drastic with what are they called... ultrabooks, convertibles (that is, tablets with an attachable keyboard)?

 

Hyperbole much?

 

Please show me how to build this as a desktop for < $200.

 

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8250s-clevo-p157sm-p-5870.html



#39 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3560

Posted 24 June 2013 - 06:49 PM

My conclusions after 8 years of computermerizing is that any laptop with desktop-like performance is not going to really be used like a laptop because even if it weren't trying to melt the universe one direction at a time, it would be running out of battery in five minutes anyway.

 

Plus more than one monitor feels like a necessity at this point. 


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#40 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4656

Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:01 AM

 

The difference in performance between a laptop and an equally priced desktop is not somewhere around 20% or 30%, but rather around 8-10 times. It's even more drastic with what are they called... ultrabooks, convertibles (that is, tablets with an attachable keyboard)?

 

Hyperbole much?

 

Please show me how to build this as a desktop for < $200.

 

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8250s-clevo-p157sm-p-5870.html

 

What about that? I see "starting at $1750", not "<$200". Mind you, "starting". Not worth reading any further.

 

For $1750 you get a beast of a desktop. One that, regardless of colorful advertizing and buzzwords, performs a task in 1 second that takes 10 seconds (wall clock time) on an equally priced laptop.

 

Dude, do not try to kid me, I see this every day. My wife works home office for the Devil, and every task that I can perform "instantly" on my home desktop (which is not the most powerful nor most recent machine), no matter how trivial it is, takes 5-6 times as long. My work desktop has about 2.5-3 times the horsepower as compared to my private one.

 

Telling someone that a laptop is as good as a desktop (except for the special case of needing a computer on the road!) is as ridiculous as claiming that Windows 8 is better than Windows 7. This simply defies reality. Yes I know you work for Microsoft, no thank you, not interested in how awesome it is.






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