Cool alternative to scratch built. Can you beat it?

I've got several systems, most have been built from scratch. My oldest system is a P4 1.3GHz Dell and it is still working great so I decided to give Dell another chance. The new system gets over 9000 3dMarks (2006 stock settings).

$669.00 (after -$350 coupon) Dell 530 system including 22" LCD monitor and Vista Premium. Details below.
$299.99 XFX 8800GTS at 580MHz
$42.99 500W PSU

$1011.98 total w 22" monitor (before tax, free shipping on all items when I purchased)

In fairness we should add about $45 bucks for extra memory cause a friend gave me a GB for free, bringing the adjusted total to...

$1056.98 adjusted total w 22" monitor (note depending on where you live you may end up paying sales tax)


Core 2 Duo 6550 2.3GHz w 1333MHz FSB
2 GB of DDR on 4 sticks at 667MHz (1 GB came with the rig)
250 GB 7200 RPM HD
16x DVD burner
13 in one card reader
4x front USB2
4x rear USB2
7.1 sound
56k modem
10/100 network connection
8800GTS at 580MHz with 320MB RAM
22" LCD monitor with VGA and DVI
no speakers (hooked up to stereo) includes USB keyboard and optical mouse...
Vista Home Premium (plus whatever crappy software Dell includes)

2006 3dMark score is 9305!

Are you amazed, bored or disappointed? Can you beat it for the money?

The cheapest 22" Newegg sells is $230 shipped so if you like subtract $230 for the monitor if you want to compare box to box.

$826.98 adjusted total with no monitor not including tax. Remember to include an OS.....
14 answers Last reply
More about cool alternative scratch built beat
  1. Prebuilts from companies like Dell can be a good value if some of their limitations are not a problem for you. Limitations like:

    -proprietary cooling, case and PSU
    -week psu
    -limited BIOS

    So basically if you don't plan to upgrade or overclock it is fine.
  2. Like FanBoy said, you can not overclock it.

    If you stay in the low/middle end and not planning overclocking, they are hard to beat (price). It come built and OS installed. Just plug it and you are ready to use it in 10 minutes. I had two Dell and still having the last one as a development machine.

    I also have a Dell 20" widescreen ultrasharp and love it.

    And No, my current system is not a Dell but custom build. I wanted to be able to overclock it, had a RAID-0 and better RAM, HD and video card.
  3. No1sFanboy said:
    Prebuilts from companies like Dell can be a good value if some of their limitations are not a problem for you. Limitations like:

    -proprietary cooling, case and PSU
    -week psu
    -limited BIOS
    The last Dell I bought had proprietary cooling (case mounted fan and ductwork) but this one is more generic, it has a normal heatsink/fan, not a special duct.

    I already replaced the weak PSU, no problem.

    You got me on the BIOs. I'll try to OC when I get home but I doubt I'll have any luck.
  4. Yep, the bios is not overclockable. This may provide an overclocker an opening to beat my 3dMark score for less? I get 11.25 3dMarks (2006) per dollar spent (box only, not including monitor).
  5. Huge volume discounts for big corporations like DELL make it hard to beat their price component for component, except that nearly any aftermarket component will be higher quality than what they give you. I overmatched your hardware on Newegg for around $950 with an upgrade to the E6750 on a Gigabyte P31 DS3L mobo, which will give you more performance AND the ability to O/C. This includes a 22" monitor, $50 for a case, etc. Vista is the budget buster at $219 for Home Premium, although why anyone would actually pay money for that s#!t is beyong me ...
  6. The reason for Vista is DX-10. Already running DX-10 in BioShock. Doesn't NewEgg have Vista HP for about $110.00?

    The 6550 was the fastest CPU Dell would let me put into their basic system. I wish I had the 6750 and/or the abiltiy to OC.
  7. You could always buy an e6750 and swap out the chip, and ebay the 6550. Figure ~$200 for the 6750, less the $100 ebay sale of the 6550, and bang!

    PS, those ducted dell cooling igs were whisper quiet, my 3.2 p4 was hard to hear, and cool compared to a lot of posted temps.

    Does sucknot being able to fiddle with the bios.

    Could swap out the mb for a cheapie/combo board like the above poster mentioned with the cpu.
  8. Yep, the ducts had advantages. They were quiet and no wires could tangle up in the fan. The only downside was that they were non-standard.

    I might upgrade CPU and/or MB at some point. My lowest Vista experience index is 5.3 for the CPU, all the other scores are 5.8/5.9.

    Funny that this is a "low/mid end" system in these forums....I bet it is faster (3d) than 95% of all PCs running in homes today.
  9. Approximate prices including shipping
    E6550 - $180
    2x1gb DDRII 667 - $80
    250GB HDD - $75
    DVD burner - $35
    Case - $65
    8800ts 320 - $300
    22" lcd - $265
    Vista Home Premium OEM - $112
    Motherboard - $120
    PSU - $100

    of course those prices arnt the cheapest ones you can find, but that looks like a pretty fair comparison.
  10. e2160 - $80 OC'd to 2.8-3.2 gig on Stock HSF
    2x1gig DDR2 800mHz - $63 after MIR's (Crucial stuff!!)
    250 HDD - $70 Segate 7200.10 (probably better than the dell's)
    DVD Burner - $30
    Case - $30 after MIR's COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    8800gts 320 - $276 eVga for 90 day Step Up program
    22" HannisG - $215
    Vista Home P- $112
    Motherboard - $78 after MIR Abit IP35, good basic OC'ing p35 Mobo
    PSU - $55 after MIR's Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550 ATX12V 550W 80% efficient!!

    Total - $1009!!! That isn't with the 6550, but would perform just as good as it, with a good OC. Add $95 to it for a 6550 and the new total would be $1104!! Now that's a deal. More room to OC and no Dell proprietary software/cables/etc.!!! I would opt for this build over the other. Yes you would have to wait for the MIR's but I think it would be worth it to me. But if your not wanting to go this route, because of the work involved, than it would be hard to beat that build.

    My 2cp's

    Edit: What $43 PSU were you going to use? I hope it's a good solid PSU like the one I quoted?
  11. I say its is fairly solid, and the 22inch screen only sweetens the deal.....

    Enjoy :)
  12. The BIGGEST problems with OEM versus self-built is the proprietary motherboards. Good luck trying to overclock because you won't be able to do it because of a locked BIOS. Not to mention the cheap cases, PSU's, and RAM as well. Overall, I won't be buying OEM ever again. I like the fact I know every component inside my system because I bought it and installed it myself.

    The only time I would look at an OEM machine is when I'm looking to spend $600 or less on a new system just to have something. In this price market, it's hard to beat an OEM because the fact it comes with a legal Windows OS as well.
  13. lunyone said:

    Edit: What $43 PSU were you going to use? I hope it's a good solid PSU like the one I quoted?
    Well that is a bit of a story. I bought this:

    to use as the PS for the Dell and at the time shipping was free. I see now shipping is $7.84. Anyhow I couldn't wait to see how the new Dell worked with a decent PS and video card so I stole the PS (Mushkin) and video card (1950XT) out of my old system. When the new PS (Rosewill) and video card (8800GTS) came I swapped the 8800GTS for the 1950XT but I was too lazy to rip out the old PS (Mushkin). So the Dell actually has my old PS (Mushkin) installed instead of the PS (Rosewill) I purchased for the Dell.

    nVidia suggests a 400W PS (on the box)for the 8800GTS but XFX suggests 600W. Too bad I couldn't find this info on their web site.... Anyhow it is working fine with the 550W Mushkin in this link:

    I don't remember what I paid for the Mushkin but it was closer to $60 than $100.

    Anyhow I didn't mean to cheat, I'm just to lazy to swap the Power Supplies back.

    If someone really wants to know if the 8800GTS will run on the 500 watt Rosewill I'll swap as a test....
  14. lakedude said:
    If someone really wants to know if the 8800GTS will run on the 500 watt Rosewill I'll swap as a test....

    No, don't need too. The PSU has about 29A on the 12V rails and would work fine for a 8800gts. The rosewill's are ranked very high on the quality scale, so the Mushkin is probably a safer bet than the rosewill one. Just wanted to know which $43 PSU that you were using. Most people only look at the manufacturers "Watts" and don't know about the amps needed to run a decent video card these days. I didn't know this until late last year and have built about 12 systems in the last 2+ years. Now that I know this, I try to inform others to be aware of it, so they don't make the same mistakes that I do.
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