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  1. #1
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Question 12 year old needs a computer, what would you get?
    My 12 year old wants a computer he can play GAMES with... I want him to do school work on it, LOL! Since there are so many computer experts here, I was hoping everyone could throw out some suggestions for good computers that would be great for gaming, yet productive for schoolwork :0) A good price would be nice as well since he wants to pay for it himself. It cannot be a MAC ( sorry Alex ) , and he wants a desktop with a nice monitor, not a laptop. Thanks! )

  2. #2
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    How much is he looking to spend on one? Some of those gaming computers can be pretty expensive.

    I bought a Dell a couple of months ago with the best graphics card Dell had available for the configuration, best sound, dual core, 20 in. widescreen monitor etc for around $1000, I love it. Do my usual work and the few games I have on it look and work great. Really depends on the budget on what to recommend.

  3. #3
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    I bought a used computer for my stepdaughter to use, for $50 through CraigsList. It's not super-fast or fancy, but it worked fine for her games. Since then, I've passed down my former workhorse computer (top-of-the-line from about 3 years ago) which she's using now (I'm using a Dell that's one year old this month, which I got through Dell Outlet for $850 or so, not counting the LCD monitor I bought locally.)

  4. #4
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    $1000+ is ok. He is NOT a serious gamer by ANY means. He only has a few games, but they load so slowly on the spare computer ( one takes 20 minutes to load he says!) The three games he plays are Civilization, Stronghold, and Battle for Middle Earth.

  5. #5
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    You can configure a nice HP or Dell for around that amount and I'm sure you have some coupons for those too Dell also has those XPS Desktops that start at $999 and XPS gaming starting at $1699. I ended up getting one of those new Inspiron 531 Desktops.

  6. #6
    Newbie WayneW's Avatar
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    A few thoughts. Hard drive space and memory are cheap (relatively) now-a-days. Don't skimp on these. Also make sure graphics aren't integrated ( built into the motherboard ).
    I don't think these can be upgraded later. I would still op for XP as of now also. I don't agree with the way Vista handles DRM (digital rights managment, long story). Suffice it to say, it can cripple Vista. Xp will still be supported for at least the next 5 yrs. If one (not me) likes the "Aero" look of Vista, download Windowblinds ($20). On a new monitor, make sure the contrast ratio is at least 3000 / 1 and the refresh rate is 5 ms
    (mili-seconds) or less. The "sweet spot", size vs cost for a good flat panel now is 22in.
    Dell monitors are, and always have been, overpriced. PC World is a good place to start and compare.

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    Last edited by WayneW; September 16th, 2007 at 11:37 PM.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Dylan is getting a new Alienware one. But Dylan is a serious gamer.

  8. #8
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    $1000 can get you a nice desktop and monitor... I like my HP desktops
    Deborah Carney
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  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Civilization...which version?
    Civ II will run on anything, Civ IV does well with my 1GB but seems to cause the (high-end AGP) graphics card an unexpected amount of work.
    computers that would be great for gaming, yet productive for schoolwork
    Anything that can handle a modern game will be able to easily do anything "productive" you'd want him to do. Games take WAY more computer resources than work (with a few exceptions, like guys who are trying to render several PCs worth of high-res graphics at once as their actual work!).

    It pains me to type this, a "low end" computer would probably be fine. What's painful is that the specs I'm thinking of were considered uber (and cost quite a bit), back when I bought mine!

    1GB RAM
    2.4 GHz Pentium 4 processor (I've caught places calling this a CELERON now! Bah...)
    nVidia 7800 GS (AGP config--now obsolete)
    2 HDs w/RAID Striping (this isn't too common. [Striping makes it go faster.])

    PRODUCTIVITY:
    Works Well: All revenue-producing software. No probs with any of it. I can't say for sure, but I really doubt any schoolwork program would need more resources than something like DreamWeaver MX or WebMerge.

    When there's games on the computer, the lack of productivity that results isn't the computer's fault!

    GAMES:
    General Rule: They need at least twice the "recommended specifications" game makers will admit to! Or at least, they do if you want to be able to run 'em at max settings. And once you've seen a game at max, you won't want to see it any other way! So double the specs if he wants to play games the way they're meant to be experienced!

    Plays Well, at max: Civ IV, Rome: Total War, Medieval (the original): Total War, Black & White, Morrowind. But Civ IV will crash after a few hours. However, he's not going to try to play it 10-12 hours running, I suppose! He'll have to wait until he grows up and nobody can boot him off before he can experience a true gaming jag

    Plays, on "high" (but not THE max) And Could Be Better: Black & White 2--gets laggy with huge populations. But (IMO) B&W 2 sucks compared to B&W I anyway, so the best way around this problem is to not buy it

    Medieval II: Total War. This is the perfect example of the General Rule I mentioned above. It:

    Won't let the backup units on at "the settings I specified." This is such a strategic advantage for me that I actually like it. So the (AI) enemy has 5000 powerful backup troops? Awww. They won't be able to come on. Too bad. FOR THEM!!! )
    Castle seiges on MII: TW are pretty much unplayable at high settings--lag galore, I'm talking a slow slideshow. Glad they have the option to have the comp just calculate the result.

    These things might possibly be overcome by turning down the settings, but I hate the blurry, ugly, graphics the lower settings usually produce.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  10. #10
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I've sold systems to families seeking computer literate kids in the 10-12 year old range since the 80's. Look for exactly what I posted on the home page of Ecomcity.com for 600.00. Don't buy anything if you don't install Microsoft OneCare on the box from day one.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  11. #11

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    The video card is the most critical thing to most games. I have run into many issues of late of the kids wanting new games and their video cards not handling it. I have upgraded their machines and such just to get them working. Myself this is normally not a worry since I stay upgraded.

    So while not a "serious" gamer now, there might be a few games down the line that may require a decent video card. Video card should be anything above a 7600GS as this point. There are aspects such as pixel shaders and all that gobbledly gook that will make a difference even 6 months down the line.

    You can also get the units with onboard video, as most have PCI-e slots for upgrading to a better video card later (even HPs). Though it's best to start with what you want.

    If you get Vista on the machine make sure it has at least 2GB of RAM, or at least upgrade to that quickly.

    Also the processor should be at LEAST 2GHz in speed. I know several new games that are requiring it and pretty much that will become the minimum soon.

    I have never understood why some folks feel that kids that want to play games can just use some old machine that is gathering dust in the closet. Games are one of the most CPU/Video/RAM intensive things out there for a computer. Really it's games that push things to the limit most of the time.

    IMHZngO.

  12. #12
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Civilization...which version?
    All of them, he is a serious history freak, haha!

    Thanks everyone for your feedback, I will use it when I help him choose. :0)

  13. #13
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    I would go with Dell.

    Dell is the best bang for your buck. You can get a good system for $600 with 19-20 in LCD.

    As somebody said out there, buy a PC based on your needs. If you want to chase down the latest technology, you will be paying a lot and in 6 months, you will find that you lost 60% of the retail value.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne
    It cannot be a MAC ( sorry Alex ) , and he wants a desktop with a nice monitor, not a laptop. Thanks! )
    Why not?

    Civ4 on Mac rocks.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador newestuser's Avatar
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    I vote for dell too. That $479 one isn't too shabby:
    http://www.dell.com/content/products...=04&l=en&s=bsd

  16. #16
    Newbie WayneW's Avatar
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    If you go with Dell you'd better opt for the extended warranty.

  17. #17
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    Why? When I was researching new computers a couple of months ago, got a new Dell, 40% of respondents (70 people voted) had a Dell:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...highlight=dell

    And we have affiliates here who probably use their computers a lot more than the average person. I was surprised it was that high myself but so far very happy with my purchase.

  18. #18
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    Dell will give you decent or entry level components. Sufficient for a 12 yr old.
    You won't get ASUS MB on the system except maybe the Dell XPS (which you are better off building a whitebox)

    I bought my P4 2.66GHz a few months after it came out. Still running it.
    Only problem I have is, I am running out of HD space but HD is cheap right now.

    Note, you can get like 1% back on CJ Dell Home or SMall biz.
    ...

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by newestuser
    I vote for dell too. That $479 one isn't too shabby:
    http://www.dell.com/content/products...=04&l=en&s=bsd
    The $479 (1.6Ghz is too slow) doesn't match up with decent specs. The processor is way too slow for games.

    Now the $499, and mainly the $599 (core 2 duo 2.33GHz) are better for a kids gaming PC. Also it comes with a 8600GS video card, but I would upgrade it (at least to the Dell option of the 8600GTS). Though you could probably stick with the 8600GS and upgrade the video card yourself and get something even better.

    The cool thing about Dells is that you can still order XP on the machine. 1GB would be fine on XP, but if one chooses Vista, definitely add another 1GB.

  20. #20

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    BTW, I have a 12 year old myself, and he plays many of the same games (also AOE2/3, Axies and Allies, Battlefield 2142, DoW, etc).

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