Computer tower down

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#1
...and out so I'm looking for a new one. My problem is I don't know much at all about the technical terms of computers to be sure that I'm getting what I need so any help would be much appreciated.

What I need is one with a dvd/cd burner (the old tower only had a cd burner), a good video card for playing Netflix videos and such, an OTA tuner card, and enough storage to hold lots of pictures, music, and 10 hours or so of video.

PS I want to buy one locally and not online.

Thanks for any help!
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
Tim,

Are you buying it "done" or building it "up" yourself? Which opeating system do you plan to use? I bought a dual-core/3 gig machine on Craigslist for $80.00 a couple months ago and added a DVD burner, more RAM and a video card. About half of the parts came from other computers I have retired, including a 6-channel audio card with a game port. Works for meee.

Jim
 
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scajjr2

DTVUSA Member
#3
It also depends on what you use it for. If it's your main rig do you also play games, etc.? In my area (southeast NH) $350-$450 at a local shop gets you a 2.5-3Ghz speed dual-core CPU, 2-4 gig of memory, 500gb-1Tb hard drive, DVD burner, 512mb-1Gb video card, tower case with a 450-500 watt power supply and Windows 7.

If you have parts you can reuse from your old system most also sell a "barebones" with motherboard/cpu/memory/case/power supply for around $200 or as Jim said a craigslist system and just add what you need. I've done that a few times over the past year where I've picked up a 2002-2005 era HP/Compaq system for $100 (all had a minimum of a 2Ghz dual core cpu), added more memory, bigger hard drive, video card, dvd burner and put Win7 on them and they run great. I do usually get my parts thru Newegg.com as you can save a lot but shipping is usually only 3 days and free on a lot of items.

Sam
 

dave73

DTVUSA Member
#4
Most computers since 2001 or 2002 have come with a CD/DVD burner combo standard. You want a computer to have at least a 2Ghz processor, but since you want one with an OTA TV tuner card (typically not standard on PC's), you want to look for one with at least a 2.5ghz processor (over 3ghz recommended if looking at HDTV). I would recommend looking for one with a 64 bit motherboard, as that allows you to add lots of memory to the PC. 32 bit motherboards are only limited to 3 - 4gb of memory, due to the way the operating system handles memory. That's why when I bought my laptop, I picked one with a 64 bit system, as it allows for more than 4gb of memory. So look for one that allows for as much as you think you'll need for future upgrades.

Some people have been able to use parts from their older PC in the new ones. As long as the parts will fit into the slots, & compatible with Windows Vista or 7 (Windows 7 standard on new PC's), then that'll work. I can tell you that unless you pick a PC that's similar to one you got now, then it's almost a guarantee that the parts are no good for the next one you get. Most new PC's have SATA ports while older ones have E-IDE ports for hard drives & DVD/CD burners. Memory chip slots have also changed too, as many PC's now use DDR3 memory & the memory chip might not fit into the old slot (or if it does, it might not be backwards compatible). I say get one that will allow you to upgrade to a Blu-Ray player/burner later on. My laptop only plays Blu-Ray disks, but doesn't record to them. There are Blu-Ray burners available, but aren't cheap. Those burners also burn DVD's & CD's too. Before I forget, that if you get a new PC with a Blu-Ray player/burner in it, make sure you have software that will read the disks if it has video on it, because Windows Media Player doesn't support Blu-Ray (I've tried it already). Then there's the video graphics card. Older PC's used AGP slots, but that was eliminated for PCI-E slots, & I see PCI-E x8 & x16, plus PCI for legacy cards. So if you have an older video graphics card, there's a good chance it won't work on the new pc. Today's software need lots of memory, & having a separate video card will free up the RAM on the PC for your software. Get at least a gigabyte card, if possible.

As for where toy buy one, then in most cases, either one of you local computer stores or Best Buy are about the only choices. Maybe HH Gregg if there's one in your area (they're coming to the Chicago market this fall & opening 1 store near me). I just wished I had waited a bit longer before I bought mine. I could have gotten a better deal on mine, as Big Lots was selling refurbished Gateways for $399 for the same features & specs. as my Acer that I bought new, for $100 more at walmart.com (shipped to the store free). I'm not afraid to get a refurbished, as my last one was a refurbished (Compaq Presario) that lasted me 5 years (mine got ruined, because my mom overhumidified the house last winter, & shorted out the motherboard). Had that not happened, I would have kept that one & used it for getting my DVD's loaded onto the hard drive, & got software that would pull up the movie. I would have even had all of my CD's ripped to mp3 format for my own jukebox. I'l just have to get another one for that. I however will be getting that one online from tigerdirect.com (I like this site for most of my computer part needs, & better than Best Buy).
 

Jim1348

DTVUSA Member
#5
Micro Center

You might even consider taking a drive to the Micro Center in Sharonville. Depending on the route, it should be drivable in less than an hour. I love Best Buy, but computers are just one of a number of products they sell. Micro Center, on the other hand, is more focused on computer. I am not even saying they have the best prices all of the time. They do, however, have pretty good prices most of the time. Often times you can beat their prices at New Egg or Tiger Direct. What Micro Center does offer, however, is a store near you where you can ask someone questions in person. You owe to yourself to at least take a look at their website and then make your own decision from there.

Micro Center Cincinnati/Sharonville
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#6
Thanks to all for the advice, it's much appreciated. Yea, I'm looking for something pre assembled but if I have to add a ota tuner later I believe I could do that. Anyway I hope to get something next week and thanks to your help here I've a good idea of what to look for.

Thanks again!
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#8
Don't buy Hauppauge unless you're buying the Aero-M. Anything else Hauppauge makes is a waste of money, but the Aero-M is very good. It has the new 7th generation LG chip in it, meaning it outperforms even the Zenith DTT900/901 converter boxes.

- Trip
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#9
Don't buy Hauppauge unless you're buying the Aero-M. Anything else Hauppauge makes is a waste of money, but the Aero-M is very good. It has the new 7th generation LG chip in it, meaning it outperforms even the Zenith DTT900/901 converter boxes.

- Trip
Trip,

The page at Hauppauge says its for a Netbook or Notebook, but that shouldn't scare anyone with a desktop computer away from it --- correct? Hauppauge Computer Works : WinTV-Aero-m

Jim
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#10
Correct. Plus, it's compatible with Mobile DTV, which is available from WXIX and WLWT, both of which I think Tin58hsv receives, if I recall correctly.

- Trip
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#11
Don't buy Hauppauge unless you're buying the Aero-M. Anything else Hauppauge makes is a waste of money, but the Aero-M is very good. It has the new 7th generation LG chip in it, meaning it outperforms even the Zenith DTT900/901 converter boxes.

- Trip
Hauppauge /WinTV used to be the "gold standard" but I have not heard anything good about their products in years. And their prices tend to be about 50% higher than their closest competitors.
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#12
Hauppauge /WinTV used to be the "gold standard" but I have not heard anything good about their products in years. And their prices tend to be about 50% higher than their closest competitors.
I'm not sure that they've ever been the "gold standard" for digital receivers. I own a number of WinTV-D receivers for the primary reason that they happened to exist back in 2003, and I love the signal meter and hardware tuning that allows instant signal checking rather than having a delay. But the tuners themselves are of reasonable quality for about 2001.

The first Hauppauge tuner I've owned since then is the Aero-M, which I bought after learning it had the latest LG chip in it. I'm aware of no other tuner with the 7th gen chip. The WinTV software is absolutely awful, but is required for M/H. I primarily use my tuners with TSReader though, so as long as the hardware is good, I'm in good shape.

- Trip
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#13
I really meant, back in the old analog tuner days. And yes, the software has always been awful. If it worked correctly, it would be great - I like that it is supposed to interface with TitanTV, but the reality is I've never been able to get that function to work. 3 different Hauppauge tuners, 4 different computers. No TitanTV.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#16
OK, got the new tower from Best Buy and it's a Dell (dude gotta'...:)) with 4gb memory, 500gb hard drive, 64 bit mother board. Netflix plays smoothly and not choppy like on my old old old Emachine now so I'm happy.

The Aero-M tuner is a problem since it doesn't recieve as many channels as my Zenith box nor is it picking up the mobile channels on WXIX and WLWT. It showed it picked up both channels on the regular broadcast scan (even though neither channel comes in on the Aero-M now) but during the mobile scan it found nothing at all. In fact none of the channels it found during the scan are coming in now so I'm not sure what's up with that.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#17
Tim, Congrats! :thumb: What OS are you running?

I recently built two dual-core 3-gig Windows XP-PRO machines and I expect them to work well for the next couple years.

I have no clue about your tuner, in fact that's the first time I have heard the name. Please tell us more.

Jim
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#18
The Aero-M tuner is a problem since it doesn't recieve as many channels as my Zenith box nor is it picking up the mobile channels on WXIX and WLWT. It showed it picked up both channels on the regular broadcast scan (even though neither channel comes in on the Aero-M now) but during the mobile scan it found nothing at all. In fact none of the channels it found during the scan are coming in now so I'm not sure what's up with that.
Are you sure you've got the MCX-to-F connector adapter connected all the way? You have to push it in until you hear a click. If its loose, the tuner will rely on the "stick" antenna attached to it which is most definitely not as good as your external antenna will be.

- Trip
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#19
Tim, Congrats! :thumb: What OS are you running?

I recently built two dual-core 3-gig Windows XP-PRO machines and I expect them to work well for the next couple years.

I have no clue about your tuner, in fact that's the first time I have heard the name. Please tell us more.

Jim
It runs on Windows 7. The Wintv-aero-m tv tuner connects externally to a USB port and has a 7th generation tv tuner. It really should be better at pulling in tv stations than the Zenith converter boxes but...

Are you sure you've got the MCX-to-F connector adapter connected all the way? You have to push it in until you hear a click. If its loose, the tuner will rely on the "stick" antenna attached to it which is most definitely not as good as your external antenna will be.

- Trip
Yea, the connector is flush against the tuner and picks up most channels but not the really weak ones that the Zenith box sometimes gets (reception has been rough around here since the leaves came out in the spring.) Besides that it's just not working right. You get a channel in, any channel, and after a few second the computer makes a sound like when you unplug something from a USB port, then the picture freezes up and then disappears then no channels come in at all. Very frustrating. I think I'll try it on my sons laptop when he's not looking.
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#20
Wow, that is odd. Do try it on a different computer. If it still does that, could be a hardware problem with the tuner. If a different computer corrects it... then I don't know, and I'll have to think on it.

- Trip
 
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