the end is neigh

These past few months i’ve been mentioning ‘upgrading’ a lot. Since January, i’ve been trying to build a new office for myself and these past few weeks it’s all been coming together nicely…

First we had the dual 20″ monitors, followed by the 6ft corner desk, 8gig usb stick & professional glass mousepad. All of this is in addition to my 7.1 surround sound system which takes care of my audio needs.

Of course all of that is nothing without a PC to tie it all together. The PC is undoubtably the most important and therefore the most expensive part of my new office upgrade. It was a decision i would not be rushing in to for the sake of it. I waited on prices to drop and they did slightly, however not as much as i expected.

So just last week i ordered a Dell XPS 420 choc-a-block full of the latest technology. Now this is by no means the best system out there… it’s probably about 6-12 months out of date at this stage, but that’s the way technology rolls and unless you’re made of money, all you can do is get the best possible system for your budget at the time you’re buying it.

So i ended up paying €1000 for a system which will keep me happy for another few years. Bare in mind my only other computer is a laptop which is almost 3 years old now, so i need an upgrade, particularly if i’m to further my career as a web entrepreneur!

Anyway, i’ll run down through the specs now;

  • Quad Core Processor – I could have gotten a dual core 3.0GHz CPU for almost the same money as a Quadcore 2.4 GHz. The Math is simple.

2 x 3ghz = 6.0 ghz

4 x 2.4ghz = 9.6 ghz

So the quadcore has more juice on paper. However the dualcore is faster if handling fewer tasks. It’s basically a speed -v- multitasking situation or quality -v- quantity. Would i prefer to have one game of COD4 playing in high res, with max settings on, or would i prefer to be downloading music, buring dvd’s, on the net, listening to music whilst playing in photoshop…

I chose quantity as very rarely do i play games and that would be the only reason i’d need 3ghz cores rather than 2.4ghz. At the minute many applications/games aren’t designed for 4 cores, so i got a quad core to help ‘future proof’ the system.

  • 4 gig RAM – 4 gigs of RAM will be more than enough for me currently. I have 1 gig on my laptop, but Vista needs 2gigs to run smoothly, so i should have about 1.5 gigs to play with. I also know there’s a problem with 32 bit Vista and 4 gigs of Ram. It only sees 4 gigs less graphics card memory so i’ll really only have 3.5 or less according to Vista. Still loads for what i want and i can always go 64 bit down the line if i feel i need to.
  • 512mb Graphics Card – I was determined to get a 512mb graphics card. It’ll smoke anything i’ve ever played with before and allows me to go wild with animation, photo editing , 3d rendering, HD video, games at maxed out settings etc… It’s a Nvidia 8800GT which isn’t currently available online through Dell’s store, i asked for it and got it because i’m special 🙂
  • 500gig HD – I currently have about 350 gigs of space and i don’t even use 3/4 of that. I don’t really download movies that much so i don’t see the need for any more… i also like to erase movies after watching them once or twice, or maybe burn them to DVD, rather than hoard them up on a hard drive 🙄
  • TV Tuner & Dell Xcellerator – This add on cost €80 and was a real teaser for me, i didn’t know whether to get it or not. The TV tuner will have a novelty value, i’m not well up on TV / PC technology at all and it’s an area i want to know more about so that’s one reason why i got it. The main reason however is the fact that the Dell Xcellator will take in video and churn it out in to smaller file sizes, ready for use on youtube or on an ipod etc… apparently it reduces the load on the CPU by up to 86% so it kind of works on it’s own rather than hogging the CPU, which is great if i’m multitasking – which i always am 🙂 I also hope to do a lot of video blogging & editing down the line so i was thinking ahead with this one…
  • DVD/CD drives – on a laptop you can only have one cd slot in general. So if you want to copy a disc, you have to copy it on to your hard drive before burning on to another disc. That wastes a lot of time. With the XPS, i only got one slot by default so i paid another €20 to get 2. So now i can load in a dvd and burn it directly to another DVD without having to touch my harddrive. So it’ll save me temporary space plus it will burn quicker. Again, i don’t burn cd’s or dvd’s much, but it’s always handy to have.
  • Internal Wireless – I had to pay another €20 for internal wireless but i don’t have a phone line in my bedroom so rather than drag another extension wire in to my room, i can just use wireless which obviously cuts down on wires and leaves the place a bit tidier.
  • Internal Bluetooth & memory card reader – This feature comes as default and is another nice touch. My laptop has bluetooth and i find it handy for transferring data from my phone. The memory card reader is also another useful feature which i use a lot on my laptop.

  • Logitech MX 3200 – I paid an extra €40 for this mouse & keyboard combo. The MX 3200 looks the part and gets good reviews so i decided it would be a worthwhile investment as the dell standard keyboards and mice and pretty crap, lets be honest 😉 The MX3200 is also wireless so again, reducing the amount of cables on show which means my desk should never get too cluttered.

Other features the XPS 420 has are;

  • Integrated 7.1 surround sound (saves me having to buy one for my speakers)
  • Integrated LCD display & control buttons which look cool but serves no real purpose other than to look cool 😎
  • 8 usb ports, 2 at the front, 6 at the back 😀

  • Storage area on the top of the tower with rubber padding, so i can chuck my phone and camera, ipod etc… in there whilst in charging or uploading stuff to them – again another very nice feature – it means no mess on my desk.
  • Glossy black finish – the XPS 420 has a glossy black front which will blend in perfectly with my glossy black samsung monitors 🙂

As you can tell, i’m very excited about this machine and i’ve done my homework on it. It’s all about speed and multi-tasking and getting more work done in less time.

Thes past few weeks, i’ve spent over €1800 on building a new command centre for myself. In order to buy everything, plus pay for BeerChief i’ve had to earn enough money to pay for it all and i’ve done just that over the past few months. I’ve done it all on a laptop which is three years old… one core CPU, one monitor etc… imagine what i can do with 4 cores, 2 monitors and state of the art surroundings 😀

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