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What would you do...? (2 choices)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 1, 2006 7:37:47 PM

Basically, I'm a moderately causual gamer been put in this situation...

The Good: My parents said they will buy me a computer for $2000 or less (the difference in cash will go to me).

The Bad: It has to be from "a known company," AKA Dell, HP, and even Alienware.

The Ugly: For the most part, their computers are terrible or overpriced.

So this is what I've narrowed the field down to...(which would you pick?)

Choice A) Dell (total=$1900)
3.0 Ghz Pentium D
2 GB RAM
1900 XTX
17" Flat screen, digital monitor
Decent sound card and speakers


Choice B) Alienware (total=$1700)
3200+
2 GB of RAM
7600 GT
No monitor
No sound card, no speakers

*For those who think B is better...is 2 GB worth it or should I shrink down to 1 GB and save up for a decent monitor?

Now, I clearly understand that choice A has a massive bottleneck on the CPU. Furthermore, the 1900 XTX will not be able to be used at its maximum potential...what does this mean though? Am I not going to be able to game at all, or only at lower (or higher?) resolutions? Because this is all free to me, I will be fine if the Dell model only lets me play Age of Empires 3, Civilization 4, and mabye even FEAR at 1280 x 1024 or 978, but if not...what would this bottleneck exactly do?

Any help on making a general decision, answering my RAM question, or explaining the consequences of choice A's bottleneck would be greatly appreciated.

More about : choices

May 1, 2006 8:13:49 PM

It's not the dual-coreness of it, it's that it's an intel rather than an Athlon...

Even though, you're going to see - maybe, worst case scenario - a 10 frame-per-second difference between an Intel and Athlon64, but the X1900 XTX will destroy a 7600 GT to it's very core.

The Intel isn't that much of a bottleneck at all, but that 7600 GT is. The Dell is the CLEAR winner, hands down.
May 1, 2006 8:16:44 PM

Get the Dell, theres almost no comparison.

Just be shure to clean up the Dell install of Windows.

The Alienware is what I build for a friend about a month or so ago, and its about a mid range setup. The Dell is much higher end.
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a b U Graphics card
May 1, 2006 9:45:12 PM

Well, first of all...Good for you!

Second, let me ask, can you have other choices if it's prebuilt?

Third Dell's can be full of bloatware and even have out fo the box stability issues. You should read the following article of a Dell XPS system that [H] purchased. Don't just skim it, read it. It might make you and your parents think about shopping elsewhere. Stability 2/10, tech support 4/10, overall 4/10 ... basically that Dell was terrible! Will yours be any better?

http://consumer.hardocp.com/article.html?art=OTI0LDEsLG...



So they won't let you do what most of us here do, build our own. Doesn't mean that you can't find a great prebuilt system. Contrast those Dell XPS ratings with this PC Club ratings.

http://consumer.hardocp.com/article.html?art=ODk4LDksLG...

Not that this is the exact computer you would want, but given the drast difference in Quality and support that [H] gave, maybe your folks would let PC CLub or another good rated company build you one. That's the route I'd try and take anyway. Getting Dell'd ain't the only option. :tongue:
May 1, 2006 9:55:16 PM

I would look at the price difference of knocking down the ram on the dell and seeing if you can install more for a lower price. :?: That way you may be able to spend more on a 9xx series dual core intel cpu.


Another thing, Dell now owns Alienware (as im sure all of you know) and the Alienware cases, while nice, are expensive eye candy. 8O

You can also check out custom build sites online. I know Velocity micro has nice pcs and Voodoo pc has nice ones (though both are somewhat more pricey than building your own)

Otherwise, I have a dell and I haven't had many problems with it and upgraded the ram over the max and graphics card too.
a b U Graphics card
May 1, 2006 10:22:46 PM

Just to add a couple more that earned good ratings:

http://consumer.hardocp.com/article.html?art=OTQ5LCwsaG...

http://consumer.hardocp.com/article.html?art=OTMzLCwsaG...

And again, the real benefit to [H]'s evaluation is that they order the system just as you or I would. That way they don't get a custom built, tested, and tweaked system. Don't kid yourself, this is the only way to do a good evaluation of a prebuilt system. If a major Website or magazine receives a PC for evaluation, you can bet it is custom built, tweaked, and pre-tested for stability and performance in the suite of tests that the reviewer will use. Not at [H]. They order one and let Joe Smo on the assembly line who is on his 28th computer of the day (and is day-dreaming about getting out of work or the girl down the hall) assemble it as each one before and after it. Then here comes the bloatware disc image, etc.

Anyway, nice to see a review of the average off the line system.

Would they let you buy one from here?
http://www.velocitymicro.com/category.php?cid=12

Try configuring this one to your liking.
http://www.velocitymicro.com/wizard.php?iid=19
May 1, 2006 10:46:43 PM

get the dell. btw your parents are either retards if they only buy from system integrators, or they dont trust ur knowledge about comptuers at all
May 1, 2006 10:51:52 PM

Yes, your choice is between a Dell Dell or an Alienware Dell.

The Alienware looks like an $800 computer for $1,700.

You didn't mention the series of the Intell chip in the Dell (9xx, or 8xx). The 9xx is MUCH better. Both will suit your needs just fine.

The monitor you get from Dell would probably cost you about $200 on it's own.

Buy the Dell, and an Alien sticker for the case. :) 

Or better yet, do some research and make the case to your folks about how building your own computer would be much more educational and cost effective. Build a system comperable to the Dell (but w/ AMD dual core) for about $1,400 and keep $600 for extra curricular activities.
May 1, 2006 11:06:56 PM

u kno what? screw dell! get a cheap ass emachines or cicero at best buy with a x2 3800. then get your own x1900xt. GG should cost bout 1500. but u get everything.
May 1, 2006 11:30:03 PM

Neither.

Both are terrible at that price point.

Please do yourself a favor and buy your PC somewhere else.

HP/Compaq, Lenovo, Sony, E-Machines, etc all suck.

Either build it yourself or have a qualified person build one for you.

I'd like to volunteer to do it for actual cost + pizza.

I'm serious.

PM me for details.
a b U Graphics card
May 1, 2006 11:40:07 PM

"LOL, true, that CPU is fine, and will not bottleneck a X1900 at all.
"

Everyone agrees that most P4D variants score a whopping 1-2 frame/sec less than the typical X2 at high res! :-)
May 2, 2006 12:08:50 AM

How bout ABS?
At least you know what's comin in the box.

Real quick I put together a 3800x2, 2gig, 7900gt, speakers, 19inch LCD, etc for about 1780.00

They're reasonably large in the business, take a look there.
May 2, 2006 12:33:41 AM

Thanks for all the advice on this issue. I really didn't understand the whole bottleneck thing. This certainly helps clear some of the clouds up.

Anyways, to answer some questions posed to me...

Quote:

Second, let me ask, can you have other choices if it's prebuilt?


There are different selections. I can basically upgrade the processor from the Pentium 830 3.0 Ghz to the 900 series at 3.2 Ghz, but for $190 dollars! The video card can be different as well, unfortunately, the one below it in terms of price is the so-so 6800 vanilla!

Quote:
btw your parents are either retards if they only buy from system integrators, or they dont trust ur knowledge about comptuers at all


Heh. They are just slightly over-cautious parents that want a warranty that covers everything (parts, labor, on-site, accidents, etc.). Note: I have heard that Dell's service can be hit or miss, but what am I going to do? This is free.

In the end, I partially agree with you, but I doubt I will be able to convince them of other retailers after our last highly customized disaster (built piece by piece as opposed to section by section).

Thanks again for everything!
May 2, 2006 1:28:53 AM

It's too bad you can't talk your parents into letting you build your own. It would be an incredible learning opportunity which could lead to marketable skills. Tell them just like that, and make the puppy eyes.

You could build a way better system for $2000. If your parents lean to the left, tell them that by buying from Dell ( or Dell jr.) that they are supporting Big Business. Building your own promotes self-reliance and "sticking it to the man".

That's all I got.
May 2, 2006 1:29:40 AM

That's right, forget Dell and Alienware. Try Cyberpower. They let you configure almost everything and don't cost too much more than building it yourself. They don't have the greatest customer service, but they get a fairly decent computer in your hands with your choice of Intel or AMD chips. You'll get a lot more from them for your $2000. then from Dell or Alienware. By the way, I've got computers from Dell, Alienware, and Cyberpower, and I think the Cyberpower was the best buy for the money.
May 2, 2006 1:35:44 AM

Man I have been there, but I finally wont the battle with with my father (doesn't help he is working with Michael Dell 8O ). And wouldn't you know it, the first total self built system and I get a mobo that burns itself out in 4 months. Can't quite figure out why, but hey sh!t happens.

Warranty seems to be a big deal to many people, but then again thats what we (THG forums) are for, solving problems. But in the end if your forced into a prebuilt system an "off" brand will prob be your best value.

Side Note: I have nad nothing but good experiances with Dell's support, but it has been 2 years since I called anything in. THe last thing I called in was a 9800Pro I fried a resistor on due to extreme overclocking and I had it replaced for free. (they didn't have a clue that it had been water cooled and OC'd lol).
a b U Graphics card
May 2, 2006 10:51:43 AM

"The Alienware looks like an $800 computer for $1,700.
"

Well said, sir! :-)
May 2, 2006 11:36:49 AM

hi,

can you not buy a system from dell without the moniter, they tend to save money by giveing you moniters that have crap response times so that will leave you with some nasty ghosting on alot of games!

get a pc without the moniter and ask around everyone you know, thousands of people upgrade from 17" to 19" moniters every week, and loads of them have the old 17" lcd's going for cheap, many just have them sitting in the attic do nothing, ask your friends, your familys friends and get them to ask their friends... you could pic up a moniter for $100< and use the money you have saved on getting a better chip, 2gig of memory is a must for newer games and some old ones to ie:- oblivion and bf2, fear only runs playable on my system at 1024x768 with most settings maxed out (and i have an athlon 4400+ x2, 2gig mem, 7800gtx, etc)
May 2, 2006 1:33:44 PM

I sympathize with your situation not because I've been in your shoes but because I too build my own and wouldn't like being forced to choose between either of the two rigs you've listed. Another option is to downgrade the pre-built computers even more, save some money and later upgrade at your leisure the components that matter most. I'd recommend starting with a cheap 939 Athlon64 so you can upgrade later on to dual core or anything you like, but NOT the particular Alienware system that's so overpriced. Also you could skim to just 1GB of RAM for the moment as it's the easiest thing to upgrade should you need it and your parents wouldn't even have to know... (wink wink). The X1900XTX is undoubtedly one of the best graphics cards out there but I don't think it's worth it with your current options. A huge chunk of your budget is going there and as you said you're only a casual gamer. The point is not that it's a hell of a lot better than the 7600 but what your needs are, what games you play and at what resolution. Good luck deciding!
May 2, 2006 8:38:07 PM

Only change I would advise is spend the extra $40 and get an Audigy 2, other wise onboard sound will be better than that sound card in the wishlist i think.

Edit: 600 posts you mofos lol 8O
May 2, 2006 8:56:58 PM

Quote:
Only change I would advise is spend the extra $40 and get an Audigy 2, other wise onboard sound will be better than that sound card in the wishlist i think.

Edit: 600 posts you mofos lol 8O



Even an SB Live Value is better than onboard sound. Anything is better than onboard sound.

But I agree an Audigy 2 or better wouldn't hurt.
May 2, 2006 9:21:07 PM

I would go for the one with the 1900XTX for it is a lot faster graphics card.
May 2, 2006 9:37:02 PM

Just in case you didn't know: if you end up buying a Dell, don't ever pay the price listed on their website. I've always been able to find a coupon floating around the web that either knocks hundreds of dollars off of the price or at the very least gets you free shipping.
Oh, and as far as Dell monitors go, my 2001FP is great. No ghosting, no dead pixels, good brightness and contrast. I don't know about their cheaper flat panels, but this 20" one is great.
May 2, 2006 9:55:27 PM

Quote:
Just in case you didn't know: if you end up buying a Dell, don't ever pay the price listed on their website. I've always been able to find a coupon floating around the web that either knocks hundreds of dollars off of the price or at the very least gets you free shipping.
Oh, and as far as Dell monitors go, my 2001FP is great. No ghosting, no dead pixels, good brightness and contrast. I don't know about their cheaper flat panels, but this 20" one is great.



I agree some Dell LCDs are very nice while others are not so nice but regardless I would advise against getting a Dell PC.

Dell LCDs are ok but I would never buy a Dell PC.
May 2, 2006 10:25:32 PM

Quote:
The Good: My parents said they will buy me a computer for $2000 or less (the difference in cash will go to me).


Well, who knows if it would work, but you could buy one of Dell's $300 beauties and use it as a router or whatever, then use the rest of the money (since you said the rest of the cash will go to you) to build yourself something nice. Your parents are probably smarter than that, but who knows?
May 3, 2006 12:59:25 AM

Hehe, excellent idea on paper, but I doubt his parents would let him do that.

If I were in that situation, I would try my absolute best to convince my parents to let me build my own. If that fails, call around at computer stores and ask if they will build a custom machine for you. I'd only go to an online prebuilder as a last resort.

One builder not mentioned is iBuyPower, you can check them out too.
May 3, 2006 2:18:06 AM

Quote:

Dell LCDs are ok but I would never buy a Dell PC.


That's because you can build your own PC.

And probably so you don't have to deal with Windows when it's shipped to you LOL
May 3, 2006 3:01:24 AM

Quote:

Dell LCDs are ok but I would never buy a Dell PC.


That's because you can build your own PC.

And probably so you don't have to deal with Windows when it's shipped to you LOL


Tru64 and Tru64

However common mortals do not have to suffer with Dell or windoze either ;-)
!