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      Please help us for July   06/30/2017

      This month we're hoping for a little bit of a boost this month or next, in addition to covering the regular bills, we could benefit from some hardware upgrades. STEX Collector's Set gifts can now be sent to you via digital download as well as regular mail if you wish! Every donation dollar goes toward keeping Simtropolis online and humming along. Your contribution counts! Hardware Upgrades As our website community software improves with more and more features, and as we bolt on additional features such as chat, the increased load to handle all these new toys is taking the server a bit to task. You may have noticed that we'd been forced to temporarily disable the chat as we worked out allocating resources for more optimal performance. Following this, we've applied a number of 'soft' changes such as caching options and experimented with server configurations (nginx as proxy, for example), so the hardware aspect is also an area we'd like to focus on. The last time we upgraded hardware was back in 2012, prior to the release of SC13. Your contribution means a lot! Your donation will go toward helping us to 1.) migrate to a newer server or 2.) at least get some ram/cpu/storage updates and any other infrastructure hardware or services. Donate and Get a Gift or Donate Any Amount Thanks so much! - Dirktator & The Admins
DJDL

New laptop--feedback please

18 posts in this topic

Hello Simtropolis Community!

I am looking to buy a new Windows laptop and I would appreciate your input.  Along with the usual Office functions, my goal will be gaming (SC4, possibly Civ 3 and eventually Cities Skylines) and graphics/dtp (Adobe).

These are the machines (all Dell) that I am considering. and I'm hoping to purchase a new machine this weekend, since there's a sale going on.

Inspiron 5000 Gaming with Win10 Pro

  • 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ Quad Core (6MB Cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
  • 8GB, 2400MHz, DDR4; up to 32GB
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5
  • 128GB Solid State Drive (Boot) + 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive (Storage)
  • 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
  • 74WHr, 6-Cell Battery (Integrated)
  • "optimal cooling"
  • Ports
    1 HDMITM 1.4a
    3 USB 3.0 including 1 with PowerShare
    1 2-in-1 SD (UHS50) / MMC
    1 RJ-45
    1 Kensington Lock
    1 Headphone/Mic

Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming with Win 10 Pro

  • 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-7300HQ Quad Core (6MB Cache, up to 3.5 GHz) or 17-7700HQ Quad, 6MB up to 3.8GHz) 
  • 8GB, 2400MHz, DDR4; up to 32GB or 16GB, 2400MHz, DDR4; up to 32GB
  • 256GB Solid State Drive or 128GB Solid State Drive (Boot) + 1TB 5400RPM Hard Drive (Storage)
  • 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5
  • 74 Whr, 6-Cell Battery (Integrated)
  • Ports and Slots: Combo Jack (Headset/Mic, USB 3.0 port, USB 3.0 Powershare port, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, Noble Lock Security Slot, Power, 8.USB 3.0 port, Media Card Reader
  • front-firing speakers, a subwoofer and Waves MaxxAudio® Pro.
  • maximum cooling feature

Inspiron 17 7000 2in1 with Win 10 Pro--I'm considering two machines which share the following specs

  • 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7500U Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
  • 16GB, DDR4, 2400MHz
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 940MX 2GB GDDR5
  • 17.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Truelife LED-Backlit Touch Display with Wide Viewing Angles
  • 56 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (integrated)
  • The differences are the HD and port/slots:
    • 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive; Ports:   SD, SDHC, SDXC Card Reader (specified), USB 2.0, Noble Lock Slot,  DC Power In, USB Type C, HDMITM 1.4a (specified), USB 3.0 with PowerShare, Audio Jack
    •  1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive + 128GB Solid State Drive (for about $40 more); Ports:  SD Card Reader, USB 2.0, Noble Lock Slot, DC Power In, USB Type C, HDMI, USB 3.0 with PowerShare,. Audio Jack

XPS 15 with Win 10 Pro (priciest)

  • 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor (6M cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
  • 16GB DDR4-2400MHz; up to 32GB (additional memory sold separately)
  • 512GB PCle Solid State Drive
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5
  • 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge, Non-touch
  • Killer 1535 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
  • Battery: 97WHr
  • Ports: SD card slot, USB 3.0 with PowerShare, Battery gauge button and indicator, Kensington lock slot, AC power, HDMI, Thunderbolt™ 3 (2 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3) supporting: Power in/charging, PowerShare, Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps bi-directional), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps), Native DisplayPort 1.2 video output, VGA, HDMI, Ethernet and USB-A via Dell Adapter (sold separately) | 8. Headset jack  (I'm not planning on buying the Dell Adapter)

I like aspects of each machine, bigger screen for one, SSD, cooling feature, (SC4 and flash games are dangerously hot on my present machine), and graphics card.  I just wish they all came on one machine.  I would consider upgrading my existing machine but the motherboard on my TOSH Satellite is pretty archaic by today's standards so much so that a previous Win 10 update knocked out the functionality of my native keyboard.  I got a new one and it has the same issue, so I'm using a wireless one after breaking a USB keyboard.

Thank you all for your help!

Diana

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Posted (edited)

All new computers are grossly overpowered for SC4 needs. In fact, almost any used computer up for sale will be more than you need for this old game. Therefore, you should choose based on other criteria you may have.

If anything, the challenges will revolve around getting SC4 to recognize its environment (especially any modern graphics HW), so you might have some config work ahead (hunt down the advanced graphics card config tutorial/discussion).


  Edited by jeffryfisher

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For screen resolution be sure to stay at 1080 or below.  I believe SC4 has issues above that resolution.

As jeffryfisher stated, any computer now days will be way over powered for SC4 needs.  Your main issue is going to be finding the right graphics drivers that will allow SC4 to display correctly using Hardware rendering.

Also, as a side note, since your new computer will have Windows 10 on it, you will only be able to run a digital copy of SC4.

If you are going to also run Cities:Skyline I would go for the better graphics cards (like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050).  Also, for C:S, I would recommend going for 12 to 16 GB of Ram.

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22 hours ago, Prophet42 said:

since your new computer will have Windows 10 on it, you will only be able to run a digital copy of SC4

That may not hold true if one installs and runs the "XP Mode" addon as described by Grumalg. One important note from his lengthy msg: The virtual machine runs only in Pro versions of Win7+, not home versions, so choose accordingly if you want VM compatibility.

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Thank you all for your comments!

On 6/17/2017 at 1:42 PM, jeffryfisher said:

All new computers are grossly overpowered for SC4 needs. In fact, almost any used computer up for sale will be more than you need for this old game. Therefore, you should choose based on other criteria you may have.

If anything, the challenges will revolve around getting SC4 to recognize its environment (especially any modern graphics HW), so you might have some config work ahead (hunt down the advanced graphics card config tutorial/discussion).

Yes, Jeffryfisher, I totally agree that SC4 doesn't need all of the power that new machines offer. *:)  But I do plan on using this new machine for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign (CC subscriptions), MS Excel and PP and eventually playing Cities: Skylines.  So I will definitely be needing a fairly powerful machine.  I've had to do a bit on configuring for graphics and for the game to run on a single processor on this Toshie machine, so I think I'm up to that task--at least I hope so. :ooh:  I'm just trying to determine whether a GTX 940MX, GTX 1050, or a GTX 1050Ti, all with 4gigs would work for all of the apps and games I'm needing to run.  Thanks to both you and @CorinaMarie for the link. *:thumb:  

23 hours ago, Prophet42 said:

For screen resolution be sure to stay at 1080 or below.  I believe SC4 has issues above that resolution.

As jeffryfisher stated, any computer now days will be way over powered for SC4 needs.  Your main issue is going to be finding the right graphics drivers that will allow SC4 to display correctly using Hardware rendering.

Thank you for the tip, Prophet42!  Good to know and I believe all of the machines listed come with cards supporting that resolution.  The drivers are another issue to be sure, so I was wondering if there is anyone in the community who has a newer machine with one of these graphics cards?  If so, does SC4 run smoothly or did you have to tweak something?  Can you get it to run at all?

On 6/17/2017 at 2:19 PM, Prophet42 said:

Also, as a side note, since your new computer will have Windows 10 on it, you will only be able to run a digital copy of SC4.

If you are going to also run Cities:Skyline I would go for the better graphics cards (like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050).  Also, for C:S, I would recommend going for 12 to 16 GB of Ram.

Yes, I have an Origin digital copy which I'm running on my present Win 10 machine.  Went through that headache several months ago and all is running well, now. *:party:  Regarding the graphics card,  my problem/confusion is selecting a card that will work with everything I want to do.  My gut is to go for the 1050, but I worry that it won't work for SC4 and/or the Adobe apps.

2 hours ago, jeffryfisher said:
On 6/17/2017 at 2:19 PM, Prophet42 said:

since your new computer will have Windows 10 on it, you will only be able to run a digital copy of SC4

That may not hold true if one installs and runs the "XP Mode" addon as described by Grumalg. One important note from his lengthy msg: The virtual machine runs only in Pro versions of Win7+, not home versions, so choose accordingly if you want VM compatibility.

Thanks, Jeffryfisher.  Actually I do have XP VM on this machine (Win7 Pro, Upgraded to Win 10 Pro), which I've used to run an early version of Dreamweaver (legit).  Unfortunately I found it very laggy, and haven't used it since.  I'm also worried that since MS doesn't support XP anymore I might open my computer to viruses and such--it's always connected to the internet.

Another thing I would really appreciate help with is selecting the HD.  I understand that SSD are more stable, quieter, lighter and lightening fast (very attractive to me).  But they also have a limited number of times (about 10,000? ) that they can be read and written to.  So, I wonder if I should I go for a hybrid (128GB SSD (Boot) and 1T 5400 HD (storage), a 256GB SSD, or a 512GB PCle (BIG bucks!).  I'm shying away from a totally HHD since the rpms are only 5400.  As I've mentioned before, I do plan on using some resource intensive programs. I also plan on keeping the laptop as long as I can. 

Thank you all for your comments and and any more suggestions you can make!  I really, really appreciate it!

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3 hours ago, DJDL said:

 

Another thing I would really appreciate help with is selecting the HD.  I understand that SSD are more stable, quieter, lighter and lightening fast (very attractive to me).  But they also have a limited number of times (about 10,000? ) that they can be read and written to.  So, I wonder if I should I go for a hybrid (128GB SSD (Boot) and 1T 5400 HD (storage), a 256GB SSD, or a 512GB PCle (BIG bucks!).  I'm shying away from a totally HHD since the rpms are only 5400.  As I've mentioned before, I do plan on using some resource intensive programs. I also plan on keeping the laptop as long as I can. 

Thank you all for your comments and and any more suggestions you can make!  I really, really appreciate it!

My suggestion would be to go with the SSD drive.  Windows now days does a pretty good job of maintaining an SSD drive and keeping it healthy.  As long as the TRIM command is being utilized and you don't do things like defrag the drive or wipe the free space, the SSD drive should last you a fairly long time.  Also if you can afford it, get the 512 GB drive.  You will quickly run out of room on a 256 GB drive.

If you are concernced about having too many writes to the drive (the reads don't hurt it), then I would go with the hybrid drive.

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4 hours ago, DJDL said:

But I do plan on using this new machine for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign (CC subscriptions), MS Excel and PP and eventually playing Cities: Skylines.

Only one of those things will tax a computer to the point you need real expensive hardware, which would be Cities: Skylines. Excel and PP will run on a budget machine. Photoshop isn't hugely resource intensive, but a decent amount of RAM may help, depending on what exactly you a using it for. Illustrator and InDesign aren't particularly taxing either, not for the sorts of hardware we have today. By comparison (albeit the CS6 suite), I'm using the Adobe apps on a 1st Gen i5 Laptop with Intel Graphics, it's just fine.

By comparison C:S will melt a powerhouse PC with a not too unreasonable amount of mods. It's frankly poorly designed, shockingly badly optimised and as a consequence you will need a lot of RAM and a good GPU with a decent amount of V-RAM if you plan to mod it much. Probably at least 16GB ram for acceptable performance, although I wouldn't touch a new PC with less anyhow.

4 hours ago, DJDL said:

 The drivers are another issue to be sure, so I was wondering if there is anyone in the community who has a newer machine with one of these graphics cards?  If so, does SC4 run smoothly or did you have to tweak something?  Can you get it to run at all?

You can ask, but even if someone else managed it, that's no guarantee you'll get the same experience. There are too many variables to give you an absolute without actually testing the game on a specific set of hardware. In theory it should though, but it's mostly down to the drivers. Worst case scenario you could make it work with software rendering, so the game should at least be playable. But other than that, you just have to hope the drivers you can get for the card play nicely with the DirectX 9.0 compatibility modes needed by SC4.

4 hours ago, DJDL said:

my problem/confusion is selecting a card that will work with everything I want to do.  My gut is to go for the 1050, but I worry that it won't work for SC4 and/or the Adobe apps

I can't see why you'd have problems with the Adobe suite. Just make sure the card is compatible with the version of OpenCL in use by your version (it should be). Even that's assuming you need to take advantage of additional hardware, it should work just fine without it. But NVidia work closely with Abode to ensure compatibility, it's real unlikely you'd run into a problem, even if you did, NVidia would likely patch the drivers to fix it. SC4 is a different story, but frankly it's impossible to tell up front.

4 hours ago, DJDL said:

nother thing I would really appreciate help with is selecting the HD.

Dual SSD / HDD configuration would be the best. You have the option of running the OS and apps off the fast drive. All your data should remain on the slower hard drive.

There is no benefit in terms of stability (if by that you mean shock resistance) if your machine has both an SSD and a HDD. Because whilst the SSD can handle it, the HDD still can't, so you can't really move it whilst in use, if you don't want to risk the HDD. You are also no more protected if you drop or knock the machine too harshly either.

PCI-e is silly money, sure it's faster again, but only you know if you need to pay what it costs for the extra speed. Hybrids are a waste of time if you ask me, it's a cheapo solution, when SSDs aren't expensive enough to warrant one.

SSDs are reliable and have been for some time, but you need to know, when it does die, it's like turning off a switch, poof... gone. There will be no way to recover data, unlike with the HDD. So it really shouldn't be used for important data at all. That said, if you aren't using it to write many GBs a day, it should outlast the life of the computer it's inside. Used this way, 256GB is probably sufficient, unless you have loads of apps you need to install. Of course you could always put those on the HDD instead if you need extra room. Really it depends again on how much extra that additional 256GB is going to cost you and if that's worth it. At retail the difference is about $50, sadly when speccing a machine, it may be three times that for the upgrade. The extra redundancy of separated SSD/HDD over a hybrid is worth it, not just for the speed benefits. If one drive dies, the other is still in tact, but with a hybrid if one part of the whole fails, the whole thing is dead. Also don't discount a 5,400 RPM HDD in a laptop, you'll barely notice the difference and they will be more reliable than 7,200 counterparts, hence why they are prevalent in laptops still. Laptop HDDs are designed to be tougher than desktops, so some compromises are necessary, but if you'd mated it with an SSD, the overall performance will be very good.

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WOW!  Such great information!  Thank you!

3 hours ago, Prophet42 said:

My suggestion would be to go with the SSD drive.  Windows now days does a pretty good job of maintaining an SSD drive and keeping it healthy.  As long as the TRIM command is being utilized and you don't do things like defrag the drive or wipe the free space, the SSD drive should last you a fairly long time.  Also if you can afford it, get the 512 GB drive.  You will quickly run out of room on a 256 GB drive.

If you are concernced about having too many writes to the drive (the reads don't hurt it), then I would go with the hybrid drive.

Yes, good points @Prophet42!  I do like the idea of a pure SSD, but the price is giving me pause.  I'm kind of leaning towards one of the 128 SSD with 1T HD. That way, the OS and programs could be on the SSD and data would be stored on the HHD. As to the number of writes,  I really don't know how much I would need to write to the SSD-I've never thought about it. :ooh:  But I guess I would rather have more than I need than not enough.  I did check with Dell and they assured me that the 128GB SSD +1T HHD is a dual drive and not a hybrid.

11 hours ago, rsc204 said:

Dual SSD / HDD configuration would be the best. You have the option of running the OS and apps off the fast drive. All your data should remain on the slower hard drive.  . . . The extra redundancy of separated SSD/HDD over a hybrid is worth it, not just for the speed benefits. If one drive dies, the other is still in tact, but with a hybrid if one part of the whole fails, the whole thing is dead. Also don't discount a 5,400 RPM HDD in a laptop, you'll barely notice the difference and they will be more reliable than 7,200 counterparts, hence why they are prevalent in laptops still. Laptop HDDs are designed to be tougher than desktops, so some compromises are necessary, but if you'd mated it with an SSD, the overall performance will be very good.

 @rsc204, you make a very good point about the advantage of having a HHD and an SSD, on the chance that the SSD dies.  I could also backup the OS on the internal HHD, or on an external HHD, just in case the SSD dies. I also checked with Dell, and the agent assured me that the 128GB SSD would be enough to run the OS, Adobe products, C:S,and Office.  All data would be on the HHD. Good point also about the rpm.  I must have been thinking of my last computer, which was a desktop.  Oops! 

12 hours ago, rsc204 said:

By comparison C:S will melt a powerhouse PC with a not too unreasonable amount of mods. It's frankly poorly designed, shockingly badly optimised and as a consequence you will need a lot of RAM and a good GPU with a decent amount of V-RAM if you plan to mod it much. Probably at least 16GB ram for acceptable performance, although I wouldn't touch a new PC with less anyhow.

I've done a bit of research and it seems that both the GTX 1050 and 1050Ti would work well with C:S.  Am I right? I know that it's a lower end card and that the GTX 980, 1060 and up would work really well, but I really can't pay that much right now.  I will equip the machine with 16GB ram at the start and I can upgrade later up to 32GB.  Would this GPU and memory be sufficient to play the game and not "melt" my new pc? :lost:

13 hours ago, rsc204 said:

By comparison (albeit the CS6 suite), I'm using the Adobe apps on a 1st Gen i5 Laptop with Intel Graphics, it's just fine.

Great!  *:thumb:

13 hours ago, rsc204 said:

I can't see why you'd have problems with the Adobe suite. Just make sure the card is compatible with the version of OpenCL in use by your version (it should be). Even that's assuming you need to take advantage of additional hardware, it should work just fine without it. But NVidia work closely with Abode to ensure compatibility, it's real unlikely you'd run into a problem, even if you did, NVidia would likely patch the drivers to fix it. SC4 is a different story, but frankly it's impossible to tell up front.

Yes, according to my research, the OpenGL should be compatible with either the GTX 1050 or 1050Ti.  SC4, I know, is another matter due to the age of the game and lack of updating to keep pace with the progression of computer technologies.  It is a "catch as catch can" situation.  I just wanted to know if there was something I was missing--a very good probability--in selecting a card.

13 hours ago, rsc204 said:
17 hours ago, DJDL said:

 The drivers are another issue to be sure, so I was wondering if there is anyone in the community who has a newer machine with one of these graphics cards?  If so, does SC4 run smoothly or did you have to tweak something?  Can you get it to run at all?

You can ask, but even if someone else managed it, that's no guarantee you'll get the same experience. There are too many variables to give you an absolute without actually testing the game on a specific set of hardware. In theory it should though, but it's mostly down to the drivers. Worst case scenario you could make it work with software rendering, so the game should at least be playable. But other than that, you just have to hope the drivers you can get for the card play nicely with the DirectX 9.0 compatibility modes needed by SC4.

Ah!  Yes, very good point!  Right now, I have DirectX12 and the game runs well with the Radeon HD graphics card that came with the system.  I'll just have to see if the game works with the new graphics card.  If it doesn't work at all, even with configuring, I could at least play the game on the present machine I'm using. *;)

Thank you for all of your help.  Trying to configure a new computer has been a bit confusing in light of what I want it to do.  I guess SC4 isn't the only thing that hasn't kept up with newer technologies. Lol! You've all added to my education and certainly made it a bit easier.  Thank you!

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35 minutes ago, DJDL said:

I've done a bit of research and it seems that both the GTX 1050 and 1050Ti would work well with C:S.  Am I right? I know that it's a lower end card and that the GTX 980, 1060 and up would work really well, but I really can't pay that much right now.  I will equip the machine with 16GB ram at the start and I can upgrade later up to 32GB.  Would this GPU and memory be sufficient to play the game and not "melt" my new pc?

I'm using a 750ti (desktop) and performance is acceptable. That said it's mated to a 4th gen i7, 16GB RAM and very fast system which was 6 months old at release of C:S. Considering that the 30fps it can barely maintain is disappointing. RAM usage is close to 10GB for C:S alone, with very few mods too, it's really bad at that. The 1050ti is in theory twice the power of the 750ti, but that's comparing desktop parts. Even so the mobile one should beat a 750ti, so it will be playable.

Knowing the option to upgrade the RAM is there is useful, but you should check the configuration of the RAM that's included. So for example, if it has 2x8GB sticks with 2 spare slots, great, you'll only need to buy 2 more sticks when you want to upgrade it. But if it comes with 4x4GB sticks, taking up all four slots (or 2x8GB if only 2 RAM slots exist), you need to bear in mind you'll need to pay for the full 32GB if/when upgrade time comes along, which will double the cost. So ideally, you want free slots left to begin with.

40 minutes ago, DJDL said:

es, according to my research, the OpenGL should be compatible with either the GTX 1050 or 1050Ti.

Actually it should be OpenCL support you need, although it too is pretty standard. Basically that's the technology that allows an application to utilise the GPU for offloading work from the CPU, making it run more efficiently. Again though it really depends on what you are doing in the Abode suite whether this really is a huge benefit. It's not like an i7 is a slouch and needs a huge injection from the GPU, but if you work with lots of very large graphical images, it may make a difference. But again, this is really more of a RAM thing. Chances are your current machine doesn't have 16GB, so you should know if you have performance issues or not. If the old machine runs everything happily, the new one is pretty much bound to run better.

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20 hours ago, DJDL said:

I'm also worried that since MS doesn't support XP anymore I might open my computer to viruses and such--it's always connected to the internet.

That could depend on how you configure the virtual machine. Your physical machine may be connected to the internet, but the VM could be told that it has no IP config whatsoever (and its firewall could be made impenetrable). I don't know if Win10 could further insulate it by not allowing the VM to serve any ports.

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@rsc204 Thank you for the  playability comparison of your system.  I feel more at ease.  As to the RAM I just checked with Dell and the system has a two slot configuration, with 16Gb in one slot. Not the most cost-effective config, but I don't believe I'll need to expand for a while, giving me time to save or for the price to come down. *;)  I also checked with Dell regarding the GTX 1050/1050Ti OpenCL compatibility and they said it wouldn't be a problem.  Actually, I don't have any Adobe on this present system with the exception of Acrobat DC, and that is why I was asking these questions, albeit basic questions. *:golly:  I haven't done graphics for a number of years but find I will need it for some dtp and image editing--resizing photos and simple ads, nothing major.  In fact. I may scrap Photoshop altogether and just use GIMP.   Thank you for all of your very helpful information and feedback.  I really appreciate your time.  *:)

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39 minutes ago, jeffryfisher said:
21 hours ago, DJDL said:

I'm also worried that since MS doesn't support XP anymore I might open my computer to viruses and such--it's always connected to the internet.

That could depend on how you configure the virtual machine. Your physical machine may be connected to the internet, but the VM could be told that it has no IP config whatsoever (and its firewall could be made impenetrable). I don't know if Win10 could further insulate it by not allowing the VM to serve any ports.

Yeah, I confess I really don't know how to do that.  In fact, I looked at using the XP VM to test a mod I downloaded and I was lost, but that's another subject that I'll pursue at a later date.  Thank you for the advice @jeffryfisher.  It will come in handy when I take on testing that mod.  *:)

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45 minutes ago, DJDL said:

As to the RAM I just checked with Dell and the system has a two slot configuration, with 16Gb in one slot. Not the most cost-effective config, but I don't believe I'll need to expand for a while, giving me time to save or for the price to come down.

This is the ideal config, few laptops have 4 sockets, but many vendors use cheaper smaller sticks and fill the slots to start with. Buying another 16GB stick in future will be cheaper than having to buy 2 to replace two 8GB sticks, so it's the best solution. Frankly, you may find the upgrade is simply never needed, but it's useful to know you can.

18 minutes ago, DJDL said:

Yeah, I confess I really don't know how to do that.  In fact, I looked at using the XP VM to test a mod I downloaded and I was lost, but that's another subject that I'll pursue at a later date.

Honestly running a VM is a bit of a faff, unless you absolutely need to, I wouldn't bother with it. Bear in mind too, not only will you need a Pro version of Windows (more expensive), but you'll also need a legitimate XP licence as well, not that those are expensive these days, but if you don't have a disk, it's another cost you'll need to bear.

 

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47 minutes ago, rsc204 said:

Honestly running a VM is a bit of a faff, unless you absolutely need to, I wouldn't bother with it. Bear in mind too, not only will you need a Pro version of Windows (more expensive), but you'll also need a legitimate XP licence too, not that those are expensive these days, but if you don't have a disk, it's another cost you'll need to bear.

"Faff" as in "mess?" (Yes I had to look up that term, lol)  If so, yes I agree.  Soooo laggy.  But, that said, I know I bought the XP VM when I purchased this present system--I would just need to find software.  I'll explore how to use a VM when I finally get around to testing that mod (another thread).  And I wouldn't dream of having a system without Win Pro.  :wub:  Great info!  Thanks, @rsc204!

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59 minutes ago, rsc204 said:
1 hour ago, DJDL said:

As to the RAM I just checked with Dell and the system has a two slot configuration, with 16Gb in one slot. Not the most cost-effective config, but I don't believe I'll need to expand for a while, giving me time to save or for the price to come down.

This is the ideal config, few laptops have 4 sockets, but many vendors use cheaper smaller sticks and fill the slots to start with. Buying another 16GB stick in future will be cheaper than having to buy 2 to replace two 8GB sticks, so it's the best solution. Frankly, you may find the upgrade is simply never needed, but it's useful to know you can.

That eases my mind.  Now I'm getting excited about this new system!  I think I've decided on the 15" 7000 gaming Dell system: i7 (7th gen) Quad with 16GB ram, GTX 1050 w/4Gb, 128 SSD +1T HD, 1920 x 1080 res.  Really good cooling feature, too.  I'm not really going to obsess about the ports--the USB 3.0 should be fine for what I need to do vs. Thunderbolt 3 on the XPS (though I do love that InfinityEdge display!)

My heartfelt thanks for all of your help and comments, everyone!  You're the best!

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2 hours ago, DJDL said:

That eases my mind.  Now I'm getting excited about this new system!  I think I've decided on the 15" 7000 gaming Dell system: i7 (7th gen) Quad with 16GB ram, GTX 1050 w/4Gb, 128 SSD +1T HD, 1920 x 1080 res.  Really good cooling feature, too.  I'm not really going to obsess about the ports--the USB 3.0 should be fine for what I need to do vs. Thunderbolt 3 on the XPS (though I do love that InfinityEdge display!)

My heartfelt thanks for all of your help and comments, everyone!  You're the best!

Sounds like a great machine!  Have fun with with it and let us know how SC4 runs on it. 

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Yes, I think I will.  *:golly:  I'll be sure to report back on how SC4 behaves.  Thanks for all of your help! 

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