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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi


I am going to get a Dell system in the next 5-6 days (co helps defray the cost) so am limited to Dell systems.


I know most of the articles on this site talk about custom building systems and wanted to get opinions on best system I can get from Dell that I can use as a HT PC.


So if people have expertise with Dell systems and can tell me what that they offer would work well, please reply.


I mainly would use it for audio right now, (so need DD, SACD. DVD A etc) and in the future (
 

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I recently purchased a Dell Dimension 4600 system for $999.


- 3.06Ghz proc w. HT (good if you want to decode WMP9)

- 512 MB of DDR RAM

- 40MB HD (more if you want to use the system as a Tivo)

- Radeon video card (cheap one OK unless you want to play games)

- On board sound. Fine for movies, you might want to purchase an aftermarket card for analog audio.

- No monitor (you may need one).

- Windows XP Home


I'm not sure if any computer can decode DVD-A yet? In the future you may want to add an HD video card and a capture card (to scale video streams for projection).
 

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Wait a minute, you can get Dell to sell you a computer with no monitor?! All I've seen there or at Gateway is complete, highly pre-packaged deals.


If I could get one of these companies to send me a computer with only what I need and nothing else, I think I'd do it. But neither makes any mention of this level of customization being available, so I figured they'd balk at a customer asking for a computer with no monitor, printer, floppy drive, modem or ethernet, or most of the common pre-loaded programs, and I didn't want to spend money on so much stuff I wouldn't use (at least not at first; I would gradually migrate certain functions over to the new computer from the current one anyway, but I'm looking to cut the initial all-at-once hit for right now).
 

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There are plenty of Dell computers without monitors bundled in.


If you want to customize your own (add your own memory, video card, etc) later, the PowerEdge 400SC is a great choice.


BTW, the PowerEdge 400SC, Dimension 2400, 4600, 8300, and most of the other machines all use standard ATX power supplies (just to counter any misinformation that may come up).
 

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I bought a 4600 recently and returned it. It only had 3 PCI slots. I got it with the Gagabyte Lan which took up one of these. I also needed firewire and since it didn't have FW on the MB I needed another slot for this. I also use a sound card and a capture card, not to mention my H3D.


I should have asked before I ordered. I had to pay shipping to send it back which I consider only right. When I called to get the RMA I could barely understand the customer service rep. They transferred me to someone else and it was the same problem. I think I talked to four people and could barely understand any of them. They were supposed to call me back withing 24hrs with an RMA but didn't. I called back and went through the same process, again barely understanding the reps but got the RMA this time. Dell is not a bad company but I like to talk to someone that speaks my language for customer service. I won't buy from them again and they probably don't care.
 

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What do you expect from CS that is halfway around the world (in the shadow of Mt Everest).
 

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For now, DELL PowerEdge 400SC is available at $448.20 ($498 - 10% discounts) and tax with following configuration:


P4 2.8GHz 800FSB

No Windows

128MB DDR ECC 333MHz

48x CD-ROM

3.5 inch floppy drive

1 Yr warranty

40GB 7200rpm hard drive

Onboard NIC

No monitor

Standard keyboard and Logitech mouse


I heard DELL is buying back 128MB memory at $67 and 40GB hard drive at $120 through customer support. I'm not sure this works for me or not, but I can try. ;) If it works fine, the price will be $261.20. :D


Warning. This machine has only 4 PCI slots and 1 AGP slot. So, be careful if you need a lot of PCI slots.


EDIT: it is 800FSB not 400. ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kazushi
For now, DELL PowerEdge 400SC is available at $448.20 ($498 - 10% discounts) and tax with following configuration:
That was just deal information, not option / advice. Sorrry. :)


To configure above system for HTPC, I'm planning to use use RADEON 9000 AGP first. Then, upgrade memory to Mushkin 512MB PC 3500 Level 2 Dual Pack (2x256MB) CAS2-2-2 Black to make memory access faster. After that, I'll use Xcard, PDI card and capture card on PCI busses.


However, those options are not necessary for audio only PC. Option for audio PC is only good audio card. There are several good audio cards. RME cards are one of the best card for 2 channel audio in both digital and analogue domains. You can buy used RME Digi96/8 PST around $150 at ebay if you are lucky. M-Audio revolution 7.1 and Delta 410 are one of the best card for 7.1 analogue play back. Revolution 7.1 is about $100. If you need DVD-A, only Sound Blaster Audigy 2 and 2 ZS support it. Audigy 2 has re-sampling problem, but I heard Audigy 2 ZS doesn't. So, if you don't have Audigy 2, I suggest you to try Audigy 2 ZS. There is no way to listen SACD from PC.


At the last, about the quietness, I heard this 400SC is enoughly quiet, so I'm hoping I don't need to tweak this to make it quiet.
 

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watch www.techbargains.com for deals on Dell. You can buy thru fatwallet or ebates for 2 or 3% rebates and use a rebate credit card for another 1%. I got a 4550 in March for $650 delivered minus 3% rebates. It's very quiet. I have added a $40 Cmedia sound card with SPDIF out, Flyvideo 2000 ($40) for TV with Dscaler, and I had a Radeon 7500. No problems whqatsoever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ps.


I have a $1k coupon to spend on the Dell site, if unused loose it. If I go over I pay extra. Other good components like add in cards/memory or upgrades that are worth it.


Thanks


Shri
 

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I see your point. However, Dell doesn't have good optional components in general. If you really don't want to spend money outside of Dell, Dell home has AIW9000PRO and Audigy 2 at least.


On the other hand, I think buying at least 2.8GHz P4 FSB800 and more than 512 MB RAM using 2 of DDR 400MHz RAM sticks is good idea because this is the recent high speed HTPC requirement.


Good shopping. :)
 
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