I am getting a new box soon and this is pretty much the only computer game I play. I am just looking to play some nwn, total war etc. watch videos, look at wikipedia, use outlook, excel etc. Nothing too intense. Any suggestions? I don't wanna get something like windows 7 that will cause hg issues. Simple, straightforward and functional without a million bells and whistles.
To be honest the best OS for problem free NWN is XP but you won't get that on a new box and I've managed to play it on everything from Windows 98 to Windows 7 (yes including Me and Vista) with no significant issues. I have Windows 7 on my laptop and have no issues whatsoever playing NWN so don't let that put you off. Anything you get these days will be capable of playing NWN but if you don't want to spend lots of cash I'd grab something with an integrated Nvidia or AMD (was ATI) graphics and a PCie x16 slot for if you want to upgrade at a later stage. Core i3 or Athlon/Phenom x2/x4 CPU will be fine although you won't need the power these have available anyway. Make sure you have a decent amount of RAM (4GB on a Windows 7 installation) as I can confirm that this can seriously harm your map loading times having tested it out myself in the past. Much as Dell are not my favorite brand (I have to admit I have an XPS15 laptop though) have a look at their site and spec your machine from there and you'll get an idea of what it will cost not sure the following hyperlink will work as I've spec'ed it to use core i3, 4GB ram and dedicated graphics. www.dell.com/uk/p/desktops?~ck=mn#facets=40187~0~196663,40189~0~196670,40186~0~852692&p=1
As a former fan of XP, I actually like Windows 7 quite a bit, despite the odd obnoxious feature. I've run it just NWN fine on two different installs of it. I did, however, have a devil of a time patching it under SP1, and wound up copying my old install over. This would matter a lot more if I hadn't had easy access to it (my old HD is now my drives E and F), or if there was another client patch coming (there isn't, and the community 1.7 patch likely won't take issue either). If you do get Win 7, you may want to install and patch BEFORE you install SP 1, which will come as one of many critical updates after your initial install.
Also, people have been posting on the bioboards with issues they've been having trying to patch some versions of NWN, since the old boards and their smorgasboard of patches are gone, for the time being. You may hit snags, though I suspect ARF2 will help.
If you really want NWN to run smoothly, and are willing to build your own computer for it, I'd recommend building a computer with a GeForce 7xxx series video card and using Ubuntu Linux (32-bit) for the OS.
My main rig runs Gentoo Linux (far more customizable than Ubuntu, but requires more work and more time to set up - Ubuntu should mostly "just work" if you don't do anything fancy), and while my framerate hovers around 30-40fps on my main rig (GeForce 7600 GS, Athlon 64 FX-62), it's stable at that, even in heavy VFX, even with floaty text on (exception to floaties: dustbone).
The only downside to the linux version of nwn is that you either have to play in windowed mode or set up multiple desktop environments (not just desktops, more like "fast user switching") or you won't be able to "alt-tab" out of NWN.
By contrast, my Sister's computer, with a better video card (geforce 8400 gs) and a worse CPU (3.2ghz celeron) tanks out at 1-2fps in certain situations (certain vfx cause it, as do arrows) on Windows XP. I also tried the 8400 on my linux box, and got a lower framerate out of it than the 7600, so I switched back.
I hope this helps. :-)
P.S. If you decide to go this route, let me know (preferably here) and I'll post a guide to installing NWN and HGE on Linux.
my 8800 GXT from 4 years ago runs NWN amazingly. 50-60 in town, teens in hells (top out at 25-30 with not "action) on Vista.
My new desktop with 580gxt was chugging before the openGL hack, but now runs great. There are still some compatibility issues with Win7, but I was able to run 6 instances the other day and maintained reasonable frame rates.