Help me choose my hardware

This is a discussion on Help me choose my hardware within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Ok... For those of who not following my inconsequential gripes, my laptop recently died. I'm in the process of acquiring ...

  1. #1
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Help me choose my hardware

    Ok... For those of who not following my inconsequential gripes, my laptop recently died. I'm in the process of acquiring a new computer. Last week I bought a Asus U6SG laptop. A terrific machine but an awesome mistake. I has no XP drivers and, while this can be handled, installing XP breaks the warranty. I'm going to returning it tomorrow (Monday). Already talked them in.

    I've spent today the whole afternoon around shopping malls looking for a replacement. Nothing useful. So I changed my strategy. I'm going to split my budget in two and buy tomorrow a desktop and order a laptop.

    The laptop will be:
    Lenovo Thinkpad T61 (customized)
    15.4'' Widescreen
    Intel C2D T9300 2.5GHz 800MHz 6MBL2
    2 GB DDR2
    100GB 7200rpm
    SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop version 10

    I will need to order this from UK. With a discount of 100 Euros, it will cost me around 800 Euros, 900 USD.

    Now, for desktop I'm going to buy tomorrow I need your help in understanding the hardware involved. I have so much to choose from that I need a quick crash course in recent hardware. Ever since Pentium 4, I lost track of the developments.

    So...

    - What exactly is the different between Intel Core, Core 2 and Core 2 Duo?
    - Looking at two Core 2 Duo, one the E8400 3Ghz and the other a E4500 2.2Ghz, what's the approximate ratio in loss of speed? How do they compare to a P4?
    - What's the difference between Core 2 Duo T and E series?
    - Are there any problems between SATA hard drives and XP?

    Folks, help me decide.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  2. #2
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    1) The Core2 is the successor of the Core, adding SSSE3 (or even SSE4, not sure), 64-bit support, and a few other goodies. Since the Core, Intel attaches Uno, Duo or Quattro to the name to indicate the number of cores, so the Core 2 Duo has two cores.

    2) Generally speaking, the Core 2 blows the P4 away. It has an overall much better architecture, with a reasonably sized pipeline. It has a very smart microcode implementation. It has a full-width SSE engine, which means that most SSE operations take half the cycles.

    3) The Ts are the mobile variants, nowadays based on the Penryn core. The Es are the desktop Wolfdale core chips.

    4) Not since SP2, I believe.
    Last edited by CornedBee; 06-01-2008 at 02:41 PM.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

  3. #3
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Hmm.. excellent info CornedBee. Will read more into it based on what you said. Thanks. (And thanks also for the earlier tip on Lenovos. Despite some limitations, I ended choosing one.)

    Just one last question (or a repeat actually). I cannot rate Intel Core 2 processors because, well, I don't know much about them. Regarding question 2 how would you compare both processors?
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    1) The Core2 is the successor of the Core, adding SSSE3 (or even SSE4, not sure)
    The 65nm C2Ds have SSE3, the new 45nm models have SSE4.

    Mario:

    One of my friends got an E8400 at stock speed, he manages a SuperPI in around 14 seconds. I have an E4600 and i can do it in 22 seconds.

    Although this is a bad benchmark for multi-core processors, it should give an all round picture of how they perform relative to each other.

    However, the E8400 is a high-end part, and imo you would only ever need such a CPU if you are playing new games. My E4600 is lightning fast for everything i throw at it. I can play 1080P x264 movies in VLC with around 32&#37; usage on both cores, so there is plenty left for other stuff, i can convert a 700mb AVI video file in around 20 minutes (This took 3-4 hours on my old celly, i couldn't believe it when i first tried it on the E4600) and i can play Crysis with all settings turned to high @ 1152*864, with framerates never below 20, averaging about 40. (This is with an 8800GS 384MB)

    The only difference between an E4600 and E4500 is a slightly higher multiplier, i think i would be hard pressed to tell the difference, and i can VERY much recommend it. It is simply a quantum leap compared to my old Celeron D 2,53, and it was so cheap aswell!

    So in short, unless you want to play games in high resolution, stick with the E4500, imo atleast.

    Edit:

    I'm sure you won't regret the Thinkpad aswell, those things will outlast a small star, no matter what you do to it.
    Last edited by Neo1; 06-01-2008 at 03:17 PM.
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

  5. #5
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Excellent! Even more so because I'm not a gamer Thanks a bunch for the info.

    So, it's a done deal, the desktop will be this one:

    INSYS (basically an assembler with some mean looking cases)
    Intell C2D E4500 2.2 Ghz
    3Gb DDR2
    Geforce 7200 GS (512Mb)
    250 GB SATA

    That's 449 Euros (err... around 600 USD). This machine will run Windows XP exclusively (the laptop is the Linux one). I don't plan ever to use Vista. My successful transition to Linux started a few months ago, means this machine will too eventually host Linux when XP becomes a thing of the past.

    So... in the end I get two machines for 1200 Euros and I still have 400 Euros left for spending however I please. How dumb was I when I bought that Asus? Don't answer please
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #6
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    Mario:

    So you are buying it pre-assembled then? I think you should consider putting it together yourself. It took me around 2 hours, from when i got the parts with the mail, to when i could boot the PC and start installing XP. On top of that, i got some really high quality components and it cost me the same as a pre-assembled PC with much lower specs.

    Other recommendations:
    Antec P182
    Gigabyte Mobo
    Corsair RAM and PSU
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

  7. #7
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Just to assure you: With XP and SP2/3 you will have no problems whatsoever with SATA drives. I have been using them for years and had no problems with them.
    Aside from that, I would probably recommend a 3d-party HD, especially Travelstar because they offer excellent performance, better than standard HDs for laptops (which typically are 5400 rpm, as well). The Travelstars are 7200 rpm (but power-wise, they're 5400 rpm).
    I was blown away by the time I switched out the HD from my laptop for the first time and switched it with the travelstar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neo1
    So you are buying it pre-assembled then? I think you should consider putting it together yourself. It took me around 2 hours, from when i got the parts with the mail, to when i could boot the PC and start installing XP. On top of that, i got some really high quality components and it cost me the same as a pre-assembled PC with much lower specs.
    For a laptop?
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  8. #8
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    No, no. Neo was suggesting it for my desktop.

    I'm considering buying a second hard drive. that's for sure. Meanwhile I understand SATA drives are only an issue during XP installation. I will need a floppy with the specific SATA drivers. My XP license is not OEM, but is pre SP2. So I could almost bet I cannot install XP without that floppy disk. Correct?

    Meanwhile, it's pre-assembled because I'm buying it from large store which doesn't offer the ability to customize, but guarantees me three things: their own warranty extending one year over that of the assembler, immediate delivery and a low price (note those 449 euros include a 19'' Samsung TFT and a Lexmark x3550). Unbeatable. Later, if I so wish, I can upgrade the parts myself.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  9. #9
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I'm considering buying a second hard drive. that's for sure. Meanwhile I understand SATA drives are only an issue during XP installation. I will need a floppy with the specific SATA drivers. My XP license is not OEM, but is pre SP2. So I could almost bet I cannot install XP without that floppy disk. Correct?
    Depends. Some motherboards certainly support native sata mode, I think it's called. It allows you to use your SATA disks as if they were PATA.
    My motherboard supports such as feature, for example. I don't need drivers to install XP on any of my hard drives.
    If it doesn't support it, then you will need a floppy drive or a slipstreamed WinXP CD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  10. #10
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Okies. I'll see about that tomorrow. It's been so many years I don't do this, that thiongs that were just natural then, skip my mind now; i.e. I didn't ask about the mobo. Don't know brand, make, model. But will check about that stuff tomorrow.

    Ok. Thanks all for the help. Cheers
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  11. #11
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    The T51's built-in hard disk comes with crash protection - an accelerometer watches for hits and immediately moves the head away from the disk, so a head crash is extremely unlikely.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

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    Might i ask, what specs does your current PCs have? Not the ASUS i mean, but the old one?
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

  13. #13
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    The old laptop is dead. I believe it burned something inside.

    It was a P3 1 Ghz, 500MB and 20GB HD. Toshiba Satellite Pro 6000. Shipped with both Windows 2000 and XP. Quite the fancy laptop in its time. Excellent all around and lasted me 6 years through sun and snow being on for what was maybe an average of 14 hours daily.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    The old laptop is dead. I believe it burned something inside.

    It was a P3 1 Ghz, 500MB and 20GB HD. Toshiba Satellite Pro 6000. Shipped with both Windows 2000 and XP. Quite the fancy laptop in its time. Excellent all around and lasted me 6 years through sun and snow being on for what was maybe an average of 14 hours daily.
    You are going to be in for a treat with that C2D!

    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

  15. #15
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    hehe
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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