View Full Version : Will this PC last?
01-03-2005, 12:23 PM
Someone (without my consent) bought me and emachine for christmas. Now I've heard a lot of bad things about them, but the system, so-far, seems okay. It's got WindowsXP with SP2, a 2ghz AMD Sempron processor, which is fine with me since I'm not much of a speed whore, a Geforce 4 MX (integrated, so that sucks), which I'm also fine with as I didn't plan on buying Doom3 an HL2 anyway, an 80gb hd, a DVD Burner, and 512 mb DDR ram.
Compared to my last system, this seems like a dream machine, and I would be perfectly content using it for the next two years. What I want to know however, is if it will last that long. I know Emachines has a bad reputation, and the fact that it was bought from walmart darkens the situation further. What can I expect? Should I still continue saving up for a new PC or is there a chance that this one will still be working in 2 years?
01-03-2005, 12:38 PM
Just save up and buy one next year. PCs continually improve. With the specs you listed you might want to pick up a slightly better video card even though it depends on what you want to play. Spend 100-150 on a better card if you want to play this years PC games.
01-03-2005, 12:39 PM
Hard to tell, really. I've seen Apex DVD players (which are notoriously unreliable) run without a hitch for years. Some of them run great and then suddenly crap out after 3 weeks. So, ya never know.
Shane R. Monroe
01-03-2005, 12:40 PM
I haven't had my hands inside an eMachine for a good 5 years, but I'm doubting its improved much since then.
I will tell you that I've had the SAME Dell for a good 2 years and I've done NOTHING other than slap a couple more hard drives and some more memory in it. I'm still using the crappy ass onboard GeForceMX too (I don't need anything else). From a TECHNOLOGY standpoint, you're probably fine (I don't know anything about Sempron tho; AMD isn't my CPU of choice to begin with).
If you're intent on keeping it that long, plan to add another hard drive and more memory (and don't wait long on the memory - memory dates fast and old memory = more $$$).
Also, you might nuke the drive. eMachines (along with all the other 'consumer pcs') seem to love to shovel software on it you 1) don't want or use 2) can't remove without a clean format. The first thing I did when my Dell showed up was I nuked it.
Computers are fastly becoming so competitive its all about what YOU need. The good part is - if the case isn't totally proprietary (which they used to be if I recall) you can always change out the parts (mobo + CPU are well under $200 for quality stuff). You can always add a NIC if the onboard one craps out. You can always upgrade the video card. Onboard sounds craps out, you can add a card.
I'd open it up and have a look. If there is like 1 PCI slot, no extra hard drive bay, and no room for more stuff inside, I'd keep saving your cash. Even cheap Dells are NOTORIOUS for not being expandable at all.
01-03-2005, 12:47 PM
In regards to Dell - it seems that a lot of people are very anti-Dell, but I've been buying them since 1995. My dad and I have probably bought 6-7 of them between the two of us and besides hard drives (which suck anyway), we haven't had any problems with them at all.
Of course, I'm sure you could squeeze a lot more performance out of your box buy building one yourself and putting the right combination of components in it (and perhaps overclocking it as well), but I'm really not a hardware man myself. I'd just rather have something that works out of the box. Of course, just like Shane, the first thing I do when I get a new PC is nuke it and reinstall :)
01-03-2005, 01:00 PM
Cheap Dells can provide a good place to start if you know what you want.
In Feb 2004, I bought a Dell SC 420 from Dell Small Business with a P4 "Northwood" 2.8 Ghz proc. 1 GB ram, intel craptastic extreme graphics, onboard sound, with integrated Giga lan and 80 Gig drive for around $500 and got a $200 rebate which I received in 30-45 days (Excellent rebate return time ).
The computer supports both serial and parallel IDE so if I want to go serial I can.
It was easy to install a Radeon 9800 Pro video card in this machine. I also added a 120GB hard drive I picked up at Frys for $40 after rebate. I just got a Seagate 400 GB hard drive which I am going to install in it very soon.
For the most part the Dells I have had I could do just about anything I wanted to. If you buy the real cheap **** in Dell Home , they even admit on their page nothing is expandable so its your own fault if you can't upgrade it later.
Dell always has deals for a lot of their mid grade machines (High end if you compare it to HP or Emachines ) at rock bottom prices so there is no excuse to buy a cheap ass one and cry later about it.
Shane R. Monroe
01-03-2005, 01:45 PM
Well, the Dell came from a horrible experience with a homebuild. Bitch would just randomly lock up. I spent HOUR AFTER HOUR shooting the problem. Finally, just ordered the Dell for a really good price, and I've been TROUBLE FREE.
Sure, I used to love building my own boxes when I had time. Now, I'd rather get work done. :)
01-30-2006, 02:27 PM
I should've known that after a year of owning this PC it would run into problems. I will sum up some of them here. Maybe someone knows what's wrong, maybe not. I used to think that I was fairly knowledgable about PCs but who am i kidding. Technology hates me. Weird things keep happening and I have no idea what they're about.
*Last year I bought a new keyboard. That seems simple enough but when I connected it, all hell broke loose. The computer would lock up and programs would stop loading. I'm still using an old, dirty keyboard that came with a PC I bought five years ago because I'm afraid to connect any new ones.
*It's loud. Evertime I game, or go to a web site with lots of graphics (especially flash ads), it makes a scary "moaning" noise. Up and down like a siren. Are Athlon XPs supposed to do this? (Semprons are Athlon XPs)
*After installing Windows update and restarting, my mouse stopped working. Why the hell is that? I re-connected several times and nothing. It was dead. I have to use a USB connection for it now. And for the record, neither the mouse nor the keyboard that came with this computer would work.
*Today I decided to update the drivers for my graphics card. Heh, heh, heh. Big mistake. I tried to install the latest forceware drivers which are "supposed" to work with this card. After the drivers were installed, the screen went black for a second everytime I used advance display settings or Nvidia's settings in the taskbar. It never done that before and it shouldn't now. I was able to select godly resolutions and refresh rates that my piss poor monitor and card could only dream about (for the record, I didn't try them). When I right-clicked, the context menu would just flash and disappear. Simple mouse movements would automatically send my computer into standby (which for some reason, I can't get out of.) Clicking on a program would open 20 separate instances of the same process. Rolling back didn't help much so I had to perform a system restore (and I thought system restore didn't delete files from the hardrive. Now, all files dowloaded today and yesterday are gone. I checked and the amount of hardrive space used for system restore is at the max so what gives?)
*While booting, it makes a clicking noise. *click, click, click*
Also, has anyone bought a PC or know anything about http://www.ibuypower.com ?
I was originally going to buy a PC from there but then someone got me this emachine and I decided, against my premonitions, to just stick with it and save my money for other things. Seems to have been a very dumb thing to do.
01-30-2006, 03:46 PM
Damn, what a nightmare.
Right, I can't help with windows/drivers/etc problems, but it does sound like you're having hardware issues; something on the motherboard seems to be broken and that clicking sound ... hmmm ... can you tell where it's coming from? Could it be the hard drive? Hope not...
Let me say this though: AMDs rock! I only use AMD cpus and the 64bit Semprons (socket 754 motherboards - I know, ancient!) seem to be amazing value; you can get a good 754so mobo + Sempron64 cpu + 1gig DDR400 ram for a ridiculous price (hint: cheaper than a Nintendo DS Lite) and the cpu is ultra cool even when overclocked like mad. You get tons of performance for that price.
If you want to play it safe and cheap a Barton core Athlon XP on a socketA (ancient!) mobo with some DDR333 or even DDR400 ram will do the job every time, solid performer. And no they don't make any such strange noise, I don't think.
For pure performance at half the price of the nearest non-AMD competition go for the 954 socket Athlon64 with venice core. Kicks major ass!
01-30-2006, 06:04 PM
Could it be the hard drive? Hope not...
I surely hope not as well but I was backing up my stuff just in case. However, in the middle of a burn, my drive stopped recognizing CDs. I tried DVDs and they work fine but it won't recognize any CD at all. I can't @&$%ing believe this. Now I can't back up my stuff!
I think I know why it crapped out though. Thing is, my drive can't burn at higher speeds. It can't burn CDs any higher than 8x and can't burn DVDs higher than 2x (otherwise It'll coaster) Now when I select the lowest burning speed in Nero, a strange bug with my mouse or something puts it right back to the max speed. I was aware of it but sometimes I forget to catch it. Well, this time I forgot, and now the drive's CD reading capabilities is DEAD! Funny that it should die now of all times ... when I really really needed it. That hd's days are numbered. I just know it.
This is crazy. I'm almost convinced that there's something supernatural going on. For all these things to happen in the span of two days. I mean, are chain reactions like this normal? First the mouse, then the clicking noise, now the DVD drive.
01-30-2006, 06:32 PM
It could be a motherboard problem if you are experiencing multiple hardware issues at the same time. Maybe your parallel IDE controller or whatever it is on a train to the graveyard.
01-30-2006, 07:39 PM
Hopefully its just he mobo. I was only able to back up a quarter of my data. Funny but in the time since my cd drive crapped out and now, I managed to sprain my knee. I don't know how hell that happened since I just been sitting here most of the time. One of my housemates said he saw the ghost a two-year old boy in his room a few months ago. Hmm ... Thank god my TV still works.
I guess I'll have a computer guy look at it. If its fixed then maybe I'll have him upgrade the ram and videocard. I'm not a heavy gamer but I'll be damned if I have to use a Geforce MX anymore. It would be nice to know if any other MX users experienced problems with the latest drivers. I think Shane said he used one but that was a year ago.
01-31-2006, 01:01 AM
I had a hard drive that clicked. Get your stuff off there somehow.
Network it and share it or put a new one in as master and the old one as slave and drag the data off. In the past I've even used Ghost to do a disk to disk copy from a bad drive to a good drive and that was successful too.
01-31-2006, 01:58 PM
Before I reformatted two weeks ago, I backed up all my stuff on data DVDs so its not really a big loss. The only problem is the DVDs were crap and gave me a load of crc errors when copying them back. At least most of my stuff is safe.
What really concerns me is Windows XP. If I have to replace the hd then this copy of XP is gone. I do have an XP disc that came with a Dell laptop but will it activate on a new PC or hd? Currently this house has 3 registered copies of XP. It would be really lame to have to buy another one.
01-31-2006, 02:17 PM
Knowing Dell it could be a recovery disc with all your apps on as well so it restores to it's shop-new state. i.e. bundled with 10 ISPs and 100 bits of software you don't want.
BTW I bought a Dell laptop for a client and it came with Firefox installed too. :)
Either way, XP or Recovery disc, you will be fine, you bought it once so you don't have to buy it again.
Register it with all 1s... oh wait..they fixed that bug. :D
02-11-2006, 04:37 AM
Hardrive's still working but the CDROM capabilities are really messed up. Still, it not only plays and burns DVDs but twice as fast! It won't recognize CDRs at all and game and software discs take forever to read.
One of my USBs died. It was never used until I bought a gamepad last week and now it died. Hmm. Now when plugged into a different port, Windows either won't recognize the pad or gives me a code 10 error (Device cannot start)
The computer is in the kitchen (nowhere else to put it). It is using a fairly old surge protector and is sharing the outlet with nothing else. It is roughly 10 feet from the refrigerator, about 7 feet from the dishwasher, and around 15 feet from the electric furnace.
I should've realized earlier what the problem probably was. Since we started using this furnace (this is our first winter here) no has been able to walk through the kitchen and touch a metal object without being shocked. I don't understand why but there is a lot of static here. We've lived in many places with electric furnaces before and not once have we ever experienced static buildup like this. In fact, the only time I remember getting a static shock was when I was dragging my feet on the carpet. Now it doesn't matter whether I drag my feet or not (there isn't even carpet in the kitchen).
02-11-2006, 12:05 PM
Electric furnace is in the kitchen? I guess it must be really dry and ionized in the kitchen. I live in an old house with a boiler/radiator heating and during the winter the house gets extremely dry causing lots of static (zap my cat during brushing). A humidifier alleviates the problem a bit and plants. Your computer may be in its own electrical socket but the line might still be shared with other sockets. Surge protector loses it effectiveness with age. I learnt that the hard way during a storm (I have a new one with a battery backup now). Before buying new parts or fixing the PC maybe remedy the potential cause of the problem. Good luck.
02-13-2006, 01:18 AM
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