Workstation: Assembled Or Branded?

Published Date
01 - Jan - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jan - 2006
Workstation: Assembled Or Branded?
Q. I want to assemble a high-end system for mechanical design, for which I've allocated around Rs 2 lakh. I plan to run Idea and Catia on the system. I'm thinking of going in for a dual-core Intel solution with an nVidia Quadro 4500 Fx card. Please suggest a good processor, mainboard, and graphics card with at least 256 MB of memory. Also please suggest a vendor from whom I can purchase these components. 
Manpreet Singh Rehsi

We generally work with consumer-oriented products, and our opinion on workstation and server-related products is limited. Even then, I'd say that instead of assembling a workstation, it would be advisable to opt for a preconfigured workstation from a good brand such as IBM, HP, Dell, etc. Unlike with a desktop, there are simply too many considerations with a workstation or server to go about assembling one.

Dell has workstations that are configured to run mechanical design applications such as Catia and Idea. Dell's Web site ( gives a thorough run-down on how to choose a workstation with respect to the application one plans to run. HP and IBM, too, have products in this range that you should check out. Also, opt for an AMD Opteron-based system over Intel-they are said to deliver better performance than Intel processor-based systems.

Graphics For Games
Q. I have an old Pentium IV machine with an AGP slot on the motherboard. I want to play newer games such as Terminator 3, Delta Force Xtreme, etc. The current graphics card doesn't help much, and I would like to upgrade it. I have a modest budget of around Rs 5,000. Also, will my current 256 MB of main memory with Windows XP as my OS be enough for such games?
Ankit Tyagi

Before you purchase a graphics card, check what type of AGP slot your motherboard has. The older type of AGP slots are not compatible with the newer AGP cards-there is a voltage difference. I'd suggest any card based on the 6200 chipset from nVidia. XFX has a 256 MB card that retails for around Rs 5,000. Alternatively, you can also look for a 6600 chipset-based card, which generally retails for Rs 7,000 but which delivers much better performance than 6200-based cards.

I'd recommend 512 MB of system memory, and that should be your other upgrade if you want to play high-end games.

Gaming PC Or Gaming Console?
Q. I'm planning to get myself a new PC mostly for gaming purposes. However, with the launch of the Microsoft Xbox 360 and with the Sony PS3 to be launched, I am confused as to whether I should opt for a PC or a game console. Also, when will these consoles be launched in India?
Arka Bose

First, I don't think the Xbox 360 will  come to India soon, due to the low broadband penetration here. The major revenue generator for Microsoft via the Xbox 360 is its online service, Xbox Live, which needs a high-speed broadband connection. Until the broadband infrastructure improves significantly, don't expect the Xbox 360 to hit Indian shores.
Similarly, the PS3 is slated to launch in the latter half of 2006, and is less likely to come to India immediately. The atrocious pricing of game titles leads to rampant piracy in India, and that doesn't help either. Moreover, in India, the social acceptance of consoles is very low, and selling them doesn't sound like good business to most dealers. I'd suggest you stick with a PC with good graphics and processing power.

A Question Of Formats
Q. I want to buy a DVD-Writer that supports almost all available formats. I don't want to get stuck with a drive that fails to read a particular format. I've budgeted Rs 3,000; can you suggest a good model from a reputed brand?
Prateek Katiyar

It is difficult to single out a DVD-Writer that will have absolutely no compatibility issues with recording media. No matter what drive you buy, you're bound to encounter compatibility issues sooner or later.
However, from experience, we know Lite-On drives perform better than other brands when it comes to compatibility. I'd suggest you opt for the Lite-On 1693S, which retails for around
Rs 4,000. If you're unable to get it, settle for the Lite-On 1673S. 

A Modest Mobile
Q. I am planning to buy a cell phone, and my budget is a modest Rs 15,000. The phone should play MP3/MPEG4/AAC/WMA, and should have expandable memory (up to 2 GB would be preferred) and USB mass storage support. I can do without a camera.

Sony Ericsson's K750i has almost everything you want. I can't think of a cell phone under Rs 15,000 that supports 2 GB of memory; the K750i has support for memory cards up to 1 GB. The K750i, however, will set you back by about Rs 17,000. If you are a Nokia fan, the 6230i is the phone to go for: it supports nearly everything you asked for, and has many more features. Moreover, it retails at Rs 14,000.

Mobiles Revisited
Q. I want to buy a new mobile handset. I've shortlisted a few models: the Nokia 6600, Nokia 3230, Sony Ericsson K750i and the Samsung X600. My main considerations are a brilliant display and good image capture. My budget is Rs 16,000.
Aroop Patel

With your considerations in mind, I'd suggest the K750i. Apart from what you have asked for, the K750i also has features such as a good media player, FM, Bluetooth, etc. Nokia's 3230 is also a good handset if you are a Nokia fan. The Samsung X600 and the Nokia 6600 are too dated, and shouldn't be at the top of your list.

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