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Hi guys, for ages now ive been using my daughters notepad, its not very good and not fair on her me keep on pinching it lol, so with my birthday coming up in a few weeks, i was thinking about saving up and treating myself to a half decent desktop,

ive been into AP for a while but am no pro by all means lol, from experiance i know that stacking DSO images is ONE HELL of a drainer on memory! and i had to give up with DSO as the pc was just not up to it.... ill also be needing the pc for photoshop, lightroom, stacking etc, all the norm programs for picture and video editing but im not too clued up on the pc front these days!

i was looking into building my own pc but from what i can see its no cheaper at all, this pre built one i have been looking at seems ok (what do you think?)

http://www.novatech.co.uk/pc/range/novatechblacknta12.html

i added all the pieces from the above link to see if it did come out cheaper if i were to build it but it only came out £30 cheaper and i didnt add no mouse or keyboard lol so im thinking just to save me the headache and get a warranty to get a pre built one?

will the above pc be ok for what i need it to do?

also is it worth investing in an SSD hard drive? just to run O/S and programs off? they seem amazing with no moving parts! boy have pc's changed since i was into them (about 15 years ago lol)

any help and advice will be greatly appreciated guys :)

all the best

martin

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Initial thought was how good (fast) are the AMD devices.

Only ask as I seem to recall people saying they are not as fast as the Intel offerings.

Memory can be expanded it says to 32Gb so that is useful for future expansion.

Finally do you want a desktop or a laptop.

You can take a laptop out to the scope but not a desktop.

Small point but the power supply is described as non-modular, if that goes pop then you cannot it would seem replace it

With Win8 the cost is £700 is that actually good?

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only reason i went the AMD route was a friend of mine said they are more reliable then intel, he said he had intel and apps etc were all ways freezing and crashing he said he had no problems like that with his AMD but i have no experience in either lol, would u suggest intel then?

yes when i have more money in future will be nice to upgrade to 16/32gb memory :)

mhh i wondered what non modular actually ment, that sucks a bit then!!! :(

and not worried about windows 8, the reviews dont seem that good, they are good for touch screen setups but not so for non touch screen, think windows 7 will do me just fine, OEM version is only £80 so not bad

also i dont want a laptop i cant stand them no more, have 2 Rubbish ones which will be more then enough to run the scope off it when needs be, i hate them with avengence buddy :(

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IN lots of ways the days of building yourself and saving are long gone, the only reason I do it is i want specific components, to gain the .5% extra speed LOL.

Of the shelf is normally fine especially if a clone, the last few I have bought have been zoostorms from ebuyer and have done fine for the jobs needed.

64bit and 16gb is good, 32gb is overkill in most instances, unless you want to get into the realm of ram drives for swap files etc....

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Should do the job no bother at all :) May be worth going to a place like ebuyer or scan.co.uk and add up the components in the PC to see what the price comes to and confirm if you are getting good value for money, It does not strike me as particularly that cheap, but not overly pricy either.

Regarding a modular power supply. I would not worry. Modular power supply means the PSU comes in units and it is easier to do neat cable management, so you can easily remove bits, not whether it can't be screwed out of the case. Judging by that picture I doubt very much if it went puff that it cannot be replaced. I have build quite a few systems over the years and power supplies are always removable in standard desktop towers like this, not a fixed part of the case or other components. Looking at the pictures supports that. So for that bit, no need to worry :)

Edited by AlexB67
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Hi Martin,

The PC you have linked to seems to have been designed and optimised for gaming.

Not to sure how well the various astronomy applications will work with the AMD 6 core processor and chip-set.

Overall the PC is over-specified for normal desk-top image processing and astro programs.

Possibly one of the less expensive Intel based i3 or i5 packages from the PRO series with a hard drive upgrade would be better suited to your needs?

I've used NOVATECH many times over the years and found they are very helpful and accomodating if you want to change the basic specification with extra storage or memory etc.

SSD drives are still an unknown quantity as far as reliability is concerned, if an SSD drive fails then there is no chance for data recovery, unlike a conventional drive where the platters can be removed and transferred to another drive chassis for data recovery, SSD failure is unrecoverable so you have to have an external (or internal) conventional back-up drive permanently installed if you value your data.

Don't forget NOVATECH packages don't include a monitor or operating system.

8Gb RAM and a 1Tb disk with a 64 bit operating system will keep you going for years as long as you don't intend to keep all your raw AVI planetary files.

William.

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only reason i went the AMD route was a friend of mine said they are more reliable then intel, he said he had intel and apps etc were all ways freezing and crashing he said he had no problems like that with his AMD but i have no experience in either lol, would u suggest intel then?

I think you friend has been reading a bit too much internet perhaps or had some bad experiences :) but seriously, both will work fine for what you are after, nothing to worry about either way. A good system either Intel or AMD is absolutely fine in terms of stability. if it is not stable there is something wrong with it, a component, or some specific issue. Nothing to do with AMD or Intel in general.

Edited by AlexB67
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SSD by the way, they are not essential no, but nice thing to have, though still costly. it speeds up things on the desktop sometimes, or with anything that involves large disk read and write operations. So an SSD is a nice luxury to have, not essential, but can be fitted anytime at a later stage. A top range SSD with lots of space would be like having a Televue Nagler wide angle or something like that :).

Standard SATA 2/3 drives will still work fine. I use them still as my main storage because they got so much space for little cost and my PC flies where it matters with those drives. If it really concerns you on the desktop performance you can also turn a portion of RAM memory into an effective hard disk, that way you can achieve something similar, but if you need to know that kind of thing when the time comes just shout, ( probably better discussed in the software/hardware section ), it is not hard to do anyway if needed :).

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Hi. Yes that setup will work perfectly. I've built a very similar AMD system but based around the quad core CPU which I then overclocked to 4.6 ghz. It easily handles all my DSS stacking within a few minutes and all my processing requirements. You'll find the addition of an SSD will give you great benefit however the Sata 3.0 7200+ RPM HDDs also bench well in HDTune tests. Mine is roughly half as fast as my SSD.

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hi guys thanks for all the info, digesting everything, this is going to be avery hard choice guys lol :(

Hi Martin,

The PC you have linked to seems to have been designed and optimised for gaming.

Not to sure how well the various astronomy applications will work with the AMD 6 core processor and chip-set.

Overall the PC is over-specified for normal desk-top image processing and astro programs.

Possibly one of the less expensive Intel based i3 or i5 packages from the PRO series with a hard drive upgrade would be better suited to your needs?

I've used NOVATECH many times over the years and found they are very helpful and accomodating if you want to change the basic specification with extra storage or memory etc.

SSD drives are still an unknown quantity as far as reliability is concerned, if an SSD drive fails then there is no chance for data recovery, unlike a conventional drive where the platters can be removed and transferred to another drive chassis for data recovery, SSD failure is unrecoverable so you have to have an external (or internal) conventional back-up drive permanently installed if you value your data.

Don't forget NOVATECH packages don't include a monitor or operating system.

8Gb RAM and a 1Tb disk with a 64 bit operating system will keep you going for years as long as you don't intend to keep all your raw AVI planetary files.

William.

hi oddsocks, funny you say one of the i3 or i5 packages from the pro range, just looked at them and the most expensive pro range one and that comes in cheaper then the cheapest high performence one..... this is the one i just looked at...

http://www.novatech....chpronai05.html

but it says it only has 4 cores? i thought for stacking DSO's etc i was told to get at least 6 cores, 8 prefrably, so how will these intel 4 cores hold up?

looking at these 2 also but they would mean a LOT more saving time, just dont know this is driving me mad lol

intel (only 4 core tho)

http://www.novatech....blacknti60.html

AMD 8 core! 16gb ram! and ssd drive but well out of my price range, will have to keep saving for ages

http://www.novatech.co.uk/pc/range/novatechblacknta18.html

Edited by tingting44

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According to my nephew,the Intel Core i5 processor is about the best/fastest you can buy without spending stupid money. I think he said the only one faster is the i6? which costs a fair bit more. I was recently checking out desktops while buying a i5 Acer laptop. A desktop with oodles of storage (2-3TB) and i5 processor was about 500-600 euro. A similar model desktop with i6 processor was about 1100-1300 euros.

http://www.novatech....chpronai05.html

That looks like a good one for about the going rate. i5 processor,8Gigs of RAM and 500 gig HD. Not to be scoffed at.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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That computer is similar to mine - Same ram, and hard drive, but it has two more cores in it's processor than mine, and mine seems to do the job!

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Don't worry about 4 versus 8 cores too much given what you are after ( unless you want to play a lot of the latest games or in some specialised circumstances ) I would not get too tempted or sucked in by over spending on things you do not really need. The i5 and i7 are both very capable. Often times there is no performance differences worth talking about at the same clockspeed. I know of cases where one can actually do slightly better in some apps with 4 cores over 8 :) The 8 cores i7 CPUs have what is called hyper-threading, the i5 does not, hence the 8 versus 4 count.

The cache size figures, in the case of i7 may be 8 - 10 Mb, and for the i5 it is usually 6 Mb IIRC, that can be more important in terms of what can make a difference in beefy applications, both will do anyway :)

Most common day apps only use 1 - 2 cores in practice for most processing, even today, and when they do use 4 or more cores the load of them is often much less. Sure there are exceptions to that rule, but usually this is the case.

As Luke says, the i5 is great bang for buck :)

Edited by AlexB67
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Just wondering tingting...................

Why a desktop?. For imaging in the field (or garden,LOL),would a laptop not be a better idea?. A really good one will cost the same as a desktop and its more versatile. You can use it anywhere in the house or outside. With a desktop you are confined to the room it is in because of cables. I have not used my desktop much since i bought the new laptop. I have transferred most of my web design tools/programs across to my laptop now so i can work from any room in the house or in the garden.

Just a thought.

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Just wondering tingting...................

Why a desktop?. For imaging in the field (or garden,LOL),would a laptop not be a better idea?. A really good one will cost the same as a desktop and its more versatile. You can use it anywhere in the house or outside. With a desktop you are confined to the room it is in because of cables. I have not used my desktop much since i bought the new laptop. I have transferred most of my web design tools/programs across to my laptop now so i can work from any room in the house or in the garden.

Just a thought.

Desktops are much easier to upgrade and you add up to 8 HDD drives in most towers which gives extra storage and raid functionality. You can also splash out on a large screen and use it for movie nights with your kids :) Temple of Doom for instance. Not to mention multimedia surround sound 7.1 speaker systems, better RAM upgrade capacity and obvious control against overheating. I've got 7 fans. Beats burning your thighs with a lappy :) I would recommend teamviewer for your laptop(s) so you can sit at your PC in your command centre with a mug of coffee on those cold winter nights.

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Movie nights with the kids................isnt that what tv's are for?.

7.1 surround sound?,again a good DVD,BR system can offer that.

I will agree that lappy's tend to get a bit warm when sat on your lap compared to desktops on a desk,but ive never used a laptop on my lap so ive never had that problem.

Storage wise......................on a laptop or a desktop....................2-3 TB of storage is way more then most people could ever wish to fill.

Sitting inside on a cold winter night controlling a scope from a desktop sounds damn good, but with the right software can the same not be done with a laptop?

I just think a laptop offers more freedom of choice as to where it can be used,as against a desktop.

Laptops these days are as powerful as desktops while offering more freedom.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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hi guys thanks for all the info, digesting everything, this is going to be avery hard choice guys lol :(

hi oddsocks, funny you say one of the i3 or i5 packages from the pro range, just looked at them and the most expensive pro range one and that comes in cheaper then the cheapest high performence one..... this is the one i just looked at...

http://www.novatech....chpronai05.html

but it says it only has 4 cores? i thought for stacking DSO's etc i was told to get at least 6 cores, 8 prefrably, so how will these intel 4 cores hold up?

looking at these 2 also but they would mean a LOT more saving time, just dont know this is driving me mad lol

intel (only 4 core tho)

http://www.novatech....blacknti60.html

AMD 8 core! 16gb ram! and ssd drive but well out of my price range, will have to keep saving for ages

http://www.novatech....blacknta18.html

Hi Martin,

I'll stick with my original comments.

A good proportion of the build cost of the AMD PC you link to has gone in the high spec graphics card, only useful for gaming and of no help in image processing.

There is not much difference in processing speed between the six core AMD and the Intel four core i5 once you consider that the i5 can hyper thread so that it looks to the application software that the system has an 8 core processor.

I have an i3 Win 7 64 bit laptop with 4Gb RAM and 750Gb HDD for data acquisition using MAXIM DL and The Sky X pro, when away from home this also doubles up for quick look processing with AutoStakkert or DSS together with Pixinsight and Photoshop.

The laptop it will process a stack of 400 frames in Autostakkert in about 2 minutes, Pixinsight is a tad slow depending what you asking it to do, Photoshop has no lag.

Back at home when I have a lot of data to crunch I transfer the data to an iMac with an Intel i5 and use Pixinsight and Photoshop in the Mac environment or Autostakkert and DSS running on a virtual Windows Xp partition.

The iMac with the i5 processor, 8Gb memory and 1Tb disk will stack 1000 frames in around 1 minute running on the virtual Windows partition.

Pixinsight and Photoshop running on the Mac OS have no noticeable lag whatever I ask them to do.

There are just as many software glitches affecting AMD as there are Intel and in many cases this is more to do with the support chip sets, application software and hardware drivers than down to the processor architecture.

I doubt that there would be a measurable difference in stacking speed between a 4 core i5 and the 6 core AMD so in the end it will come down to personal preference.

Whatever you choose will be a world away from your daughters laptop.

As i mentioned before NOVATECH are very helpful, if you ask them I'm sure they wouldn't mind you popping down to the Portsmouth showroom (but give them a bit of notice first, they tend to get a bit busy at times) with a copy of Autostakkert or DSS and a data set copied to a CD to try on your shortlist machines, there is only so much you can glean from studying the spec lists.

William.

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I doubt that there would be a measurable difference in stacking speed between a 4 core i5 and the 6 core AMD so in the end it will come down to personal preference.

William.

There is also cost. The i5 is substantially more than the AMD 6 core last I looked. I also find that decent i5 compatible motherboards (LGA 1155?) can set you back a good 50 pound more than an AM3+ socket board. So admittedly by very rough calculations that's 100 more for the intel based set-up already. Then there are graphics cards with AMDs offerings again coming in cheaper than their NVidia rivals. I'll balance that by acknowledging the superior ability of the i5. The i5 Ivy 3570K is a fantastic chip especially when overclocked and performs better than the AMD 6 core in just about all benchmark tests. It even surpasses the AMD 8 core 8150 in the majority of tests (not sure about the 8350 piledriver). That said, I wouldn't swap my ultra stable overclocked AMD rig for anything. I would recommend that whichever setup you go for don't save on the RAM. 8 gig of standard RAM is nowhere near as good as 8 Gig of say Mushkin enhanced frostbite or Corsair.
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Movie nights with the kids................isnt that what tv's are for?.

7.1 surround sound?,again a good DVD,BR system can offer that.

I will agree that lappy's tend to get a bit warm when sat on your lap compared to desktops on a desk,but ive never used a laptop on my lap so ive never had that problem.

Storage wise......................on a laptop or a desktop....................2-3 TB of storage is way more then most people could ever wish to fill.

Sitting inside on a cold winter night controlling a scope from a desktop sounds damn good, but with the right software can the same not be done with a laptop?

I just think a laptop offers more freedom of choice as to where it can be used,as against a desktop.

Laptops these days are as powerful as desktops while offering more freedom.

There is also the user interface to consider with a variety of keyboards/mice which are inherently more user friendly than a laptops UI. Yes you can plug them into a laptop too but then that sort of defeats your point of portability/freedom of choice. Screen size is another advantage and even screen amount for those who like eyefinity style displays. I guess I don't see it as a choice between them but rather the 2 complimenting each other. I'll always have both provided I can afford them.

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There is also the user interface to consider with a variety of keyboards/mice which are inherently more user friendly than a laptops UI. Yes you can plug them into a laptop too but then that sort of defeats your point of portability/freedom of choice. Screen size is another advantage and even screen amount for those who like eyefinity style displays. I guess I don't see it as a choice between them but rather the 2 complimenting each other. I'll always have both provided I can afford them.

A laptop mouse (if you want one) is not a monster. You can even have a wireless mouse with laptops. I will agree to a degree that a desktop keyboard is more user friendly simply due to the size.

Since buying my new laptop a month ago,i have considered dumping my desktop, but cant bring myself to do it as i also feel that they compliment each other. I am lucky enough to have both.

In saying that, my desktop really is an ancient workhorse and takes about 15 mins to start-up (even though i added more RAM a few yrs ago). I also have a Dell lappy that never really did do much even thought it cost 800 squids.

I'm addicted to my new Acer Inspire E1-571:

Intel core i5 3230M 2.6 Ghz- with turbo boost 3.2 GHz

HD Graphics 4000 (1760mb DYNAMIC VIDEO MEMORY)

15.6 HD LED LCD

4GB DDR3 memory

750GB HDD

dvd-super multi DL drive

Acer Nplify 802.11b/g/n

6 cell Li-ion battery.

The mind baffles.

From turn on to browsing, it takes about 10 seconds. It can handle anything i throw at it.Multiple downloads/uploads of HUGE files at the same time take mere seconds, Online gaming is real fun (no lag).

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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In saying that, my desktop really is an ancient workhorse and takes about 15 mins to start-up (even though i added more RAM a few yrs ago). I also have a Dell lappy that never really did do much even thought it cost 800 squids.

I'm addicted to my new Acer Inspire E1-571:

Intel core i5 3230M 2.6 Ghz- with turbo boost 3.2 GHz

HD Graphics 4000 (1760mb DYNAMIC VIDEO MEMORY)

15.6 HD LED LCD

4GB DDR3 memory

750GB HDD

dvd-super multi DL drive

Acer Nplify 802.11b/g/n

6 cell Li-ion battery.

The mind baffles.

From turn on to browsing, it takes about 10 seconds. It can handle anything i throw at it.Multiple downloads/uploads of HUGE files at the same time take mere seconds, Online gaming is real fun (no lag).

Nice stats :) I'm enjoying my imaging laptop right now too but its not a patch on yours. 70 pound off gumtree :) but with a 15.6" screen, windows 7, 3Gb of Ram and a dual core CPU it does everything I require of it and more. That's a very slow PC boot up time you've got. It might be worth going into your performance monitor logs to find out whats causing it. This PC i'm on now boots up before i'm even ready to enter the password. The benefit of a 590 MB/s SSD.

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IMHO if portability is of concern the laptop is worth considering for sure. If room or space or moving the PC is of no concern, in terms of bang for buck the desktop PC wins every time given the same CPU and RAM, they just perform better and cool better, and mostly they last better because of that.

You are paying a price for squeezing all that stuff into a small space :) There again, If you have the cash and a powerful enough laptop by all means go ahead, very handy for sure. Just be aware when x manufacturer says laptop Y has a 3 GHz i3 at a similar price as a PC, chances are cache sizes are smaller, bus speeds and RAM frequencies lower. The mobility versions are often not as powerful, they may seem to be with a superficial read of the specs but the rule is, you need to pay more for a laptop to compare in performance to a desktop tower PC with the same performance.

edit; I should have added, sales tactics can be very deceptive in the PC world without telling outright lies when sellers claim something is what it actually isn't in terms of making comparisons, a bit like saying the frequency of a CPU and amount of RAM is like aperture in a telescope or the magnification is everything as some stores will try to tell you , it is not the whole story :)

Edited by AlexB67
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Could I just chip in that Deep Sky Stacker, Registax 5.1, Registax 6, Nebulosity 3 and sharpcap are all currently 32 bit applications so can't access more than 4 Gb of ram each. More RAM will let you do other things while they are running but using 8Gb or 16Gb of ram won't make them work faster themselves.

If you use a 64 bit flavour of Photoshop for final processing then it can access more RAM on a 64 bit system so go for 8Gb minimum, but doesn't need a top end graphics card except for 3d stuff and liquify type filters though so avoid those gaming PCs, as Oddsocks said !!!

Instead, a small fast SSD for the operating system and a separate 7200RPM SATA drive of 1 or 2 TB for your captured data and processing files might yield better performance (drive heads on a single drive are not looking in several places 'at once') and will keep your data physically separated from the operating system which could save headaches in case of corrupt bits of the O/S drive. I always feel better working this way. Also simplifies a backup process if your precious data is all on one drive you can use something like FreeFileSync to do a simple compare/update backup. I always find simpler backup routines are the ones I am better at keeping on top of.

A nice monitor that's well colour balanced would be worth considering for image processing.

Could I suggest visiting somewhere like Overclockers that has a configure-your-own PC tool and playing around, then posting possible specs back here to get feedback before you jump in?

Don't forget that if, say, you find the £50 graphics card is not doing what you want then you can get some of the money back on ebay or classifieds and move up the range a little. Look at the motherboard and check it has plenty of maximum ram capacity and space for what you need should you want to upgrade if 64 bit versions of software appear later, and enough SATA and SSD connectors, USB ports etc. The number of RAM slots is worth considering as if you have 8Gb and only 2 slots even with a maximum of 32Gb you have to remove your existing sticks of RAM and buy new ones. If you have 8Gb of RAM in one slot and 3 spare slots you can add 8Gb at a time without binning what you already have. Can save a bit of money. Also cheaper to make up 32Gb RAM by using 4 x 8Gb than 2 x 16Gb.

Make sure the power supply is a bit over what you need now so you can upgrade bits in the short to medium term without adding a new power supply. There are power supply estimators all over the web.

Just a few ideas to confuse you further, sorry about that. Asking about computer specs and configuration will always get you a lot of different opinions. At least you don't have to ask about the Mac vs PC debate on music tech forums though ;)

Cheers

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According to my nephew,the Intel Core i5 processor is about the best/fastest you can buy without spending stupid money. I think he said the only one faster is the i6? which costs a fair bit more. I was recently checking out desktops while buying a i5 Acer laptop. A desktop with oodles of storage (2-3TB) and i5 processor was about 500-600 euro. A similar model desktop with i6 processor was about 1100-1300 euros.

http://www.novatech....chpronai05.html

That looks like a good one for about the going rate. i5 processor,8Gigs of RAM and 500 gig HD. Not to be scoffed at.

That computer is similar to mine - Same ram, and hard drive, but it has two more cores in it's processor than mine, and mine seems to do the job!

thanks mate, think i will go for an intel i5 setup then by the sounds of it and no gaming spec graphics card.....

Just wondering tingting...................

Why a desktop?. For imaging in the field (or garden,LOL),would a laptop not be a better idea?. A really good one will cost the same as a desktop and its more versatile. You can use it anywhere in the house or outside. With a desktop you are confined to the room it is in because of cables. I have not used my desktop much since i bought the new laptop. I have transferred most of my web design tools/programs across to my laptop now so i can work from any room in the house or in the garden.

Just a thought.

ive all ready posted why i dont want a laptop, i cant stand the things mate, ive got 2 crappy laptops that i just can not stand using, i never use it in the garden/field they ALL ways seem to corrupt within a year i just hate them soo much, i want a desktop to put in my bedroom, so i can chill out away from the kids and mrs and have some me time, picture editing and stacking etc with a beefy calibrated monitor, no one else will be using it so no kids spam ware will be getting on it along with crappy apps the mrs goes on, after i have installed the programs i need more then likely the wireless card will be getting removed and strictly no net on it at all, sole use for picture ediding and stacking

There is also cost. The i5 is substantially more than the AMD 6 core last I looked. I also find that decent i5 compatible motherboards (LGA 1155?) can set you back a good 50 pound more than an AM3+ socket board. So admittedly by very rough calculations that's 100 more for the intel based set-up already. Then there are graphics cards with AMDs offerings again coming in cheaper than their NVidia rivals. I'll balance that by acknowledging the superior ability of the i5. The i5 Ivy 3570K is a fantastic chip especially when overclocked and performs better than the AMD 6 core in just about all benchmark tests. It even surpasses the AMD 8 core 8150 in the majority of tests (not sure about the 8350 piledriver). That said, I wouldn't swap my ultra stable overclocked AMD rig for anything. I would recommend that whichever setup you go for don't save on the RAM. 8 gig of standard RAM is nowhere near as good as 8 Gig of say Mushkin enhanced frostbite or Corsair.

mhh thats interesting, i will look into the 8gb frostbite or corsair ram, my mind is getting boggled loool

Could I just chip in that Deep Sky Stacker, Registax 5.1, Registax 6, Nebulosity 3 and sharpcap are all currently 32 bit applications so can't access more than 4 Gb of ram each. More RAM will let you do other things while they are running but using 8Gb or 16Gb of ram won't make them work faster themselves.

If you use a 64 bit flavour of Photoshop for final processing then it can access more RAM on a 64 bit system so go for 8Gb minimum, but doesn't need a top end graphics card except for 3d stuff and liquify type filters though so avoid those gaming PCs, as Oddsocks said !!!

Instead, a small fast SSD for the operating system and a separate 7200RPM SATA drive of 1 or 2 TB for your captured data and processing files might yield better performance (drive heads on a single drive are not looking in several places 'at once') and will keep your data physically separated from the operating system which could save headaches in case of corrupt bits of the O/S drive. I always feel better working this way. Also simplifies a backup process if your precious data is all on one drive you can use something like FreeFileSync to do a simple compare/update backup. I always find simpler backup routines are the ones I am better at keeping on top of.

A nice monitor that's well colour balanced would be worth considering for image processing.

Could I suggest visiting somewhere like Overclockers that has a configure-your-own PC tool and playing around, then posting possible specs back here to get feedback before you jump in?

Don't forget that if, say, you find the £50 graphics card is not doing what you want then you can get some of the money back on ebay or classifieds and move up the range a little. Look at the motherboard and check it has plenty of maximum ram capacity and space for what you need should you want to upgrade if 64 bit versions of software appear later, and enough SATA and SSD connectors, USB ports etc. The number of RAM slots is worth considering as if you have 8Gb and only 2 slots even with a maximum of 32Gb you have to remove your existing sticks of RAM and buy new ones. If you have 8Gb of RAM in one slot and 3 spare slots you can add 8Gb at a time without binning what you already have. Can save a bit of money. Also cheaper to make up 32Gb RAM by using 4 x 8Gb than 2 x 16Gb.

Make sure the power supply is a bit over what you need now so you can upgrade bits in the short to medium term without adding a new power supply. There are power supply estimators all over the web.

Just a few ideas to confuse you further, sorry about that. Asking about computer specs and configuration will always get you a lot of different opinions. At least you don't have to ask about the Mac vs PC debate on music tech forums though ;)

Cheers

yes a decent monitor will be being added, just want to get a decent desktop 1st then i can worry about saving for O/S and monitor lol, very interesting about overclockers website WILL CHECK THAT OUT NOW!! and will 10000% post back here with the specs as 90% im going to choose things that i dont need and would rather spend the money on things i do need, like better ram instead of gaming spec graphics cards etc lol

THANKS a lot for this guys, you have been SO helpful! thank you all kindly :D

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Just to add my 2 cents;

They don't make processors in numerical name order, e.g. you can get an i3 that is better than an i7. Other info about the chip will determine how quick it is. This might help http://www.cpubenchmark.net/

As for Intel or AMD, historically intel generally leave a bigger gap with the speed they set their chip to run at vs the speed it is truly capable of (or maybe the speed it dies at). i.e. if a chip overheats and dies when run at 4ghz, intel would sell it set to 3.5ghz whereas AMD would sell it set to 3.8ghz. To the users this means that intel chips either run a bit cooler, or you can overclock it a bit more. I have an AMD, and bought a bigger heatsink with decent 120mm fan for about £25 to get rid of that extra heat. You can get OEM chips that don't come with the stock fan and are a tiny bit cheaper.

Regarding self builds; these days the only reason to self build is if you want specific components in your pc. Personally, if I bought a shop pc, i'd replace the mouse, case, fans, PSU, graphics card and hard disk(s), so there's little point for me. Though I would consider a motherboard bundle (board, chip and ram), you might have seen them on Novatech.

Regarding SSD. As mentioned previously, the stability of them is still a bit iffy and when they fail, the fail in full. Also, ideally, everything that has heavy writes should be moved to a normal drive, so if you're not confident about delving into various windows settings, SSD's probably aren't a good idea, though there are tons of tutorials online regarding setting windows up for them. I have an SSD, but I left my SATA partition with Windows on it in tact, so if my SSD dies I can still use my pc. Incidentally, last I read, they dont recommend taking an image of your SATA OS drive and restoring it to your SSD, it should be a proper install - can't remember why though.

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