Newbie here- build this or buy pre-built?

Hi. I’m new to this board. I used to buy pre-built computers (Compusa, Gateway, etc.); however, I built the last two. My current computer is about three years old with a P4 3.4 Ghz processor, 1GB dual channel ram, 160GB Sata 1.5 HD, ATI9800AIW Pro video card.

I’ve been thinking about either building a new computer or buying something like a Dell (I can get an organizational discount and save quite a bit). However, I like the total customizability of doing it myself and I want excellent performance. I know Dell/Gateway used to take a lot of shortcuts and use a lot of proprietary, limited edition stuff.

After a three year break from researching parts, please advise on this set-up (if I build it myself); or should I try a Dell OptiPlex 755 (

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model

ASUS P5N-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive 16MB cache

MSI NX8500GT-TD512EH GeForce 8500GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit

LG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe

APEVIA X-CRUISER-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Rosewill RP600V2-S-SL 600W SLI Ready-ATX12V V2.01 Power Supply

SUPER TALENT INT-AIN1-C All-in-one USB 2.0 Card Reader

Plus 56Kbps PCI Modem, USB + PS/2 Wired Standard Digital Media Pro Keyboard, and 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical Wheel Mouse.

Grand Total w/ Shipping: $863.66

I’ll probably add a digital TV tuner card as well for as much as $100 more. Also, I might add a 32" or 42" 1080p LCD HDTV for my monitor (but I need to do more research first). Thanks.
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  1. Have you built a pc by yourself? Ever tried to install a pci card or harddisk or dvd drive? If so, you should be able to build this pc. It takes some time & a set of basic hardware tools.

    The good thing about diy pc's is that you get to pick out the part that you like, not the parts that the manufacturer throws together.

    Are you going to overclock the pc?

    Regarding your selection:

    Do you have a need for 2 PATA/IDE connectors? Since you're getting a new harddisk to replace the old, I suppose, your parts don't need 2 PATA/IDE connectors, except for the dvd burner which is probably PATA/IDE. I suggest you get a SATA dvd burner if you can for about the same price. The SATA data cable is thin & easy to plug in & unplug. Same for the SATA power cable.

    If you don't need 2 PATA/IDE connectors, the best choice right now is P35 chipset. GA-P35-DS3L with no raid is a good start. Or DS3R with raid.

    The rest looks good, other than the power supply. Get a Corsair 450W VX if you have no idea which one to get or one of these in tier 1/2 with about 500W:
  2. Here are my thoughts from my limited knowledge:

    - Get a Core 2 Duo e6750 or e6550, save $80.

    - I have heard bad things about the PSU you chose. research it.

    - If you want to OC, look at Nforce 680i. But, If you want Xfire you need AMD or Intel chipsets.

    - If you have the money, look at the ati 3850.
  3. Do you game much? If so, the Video Card you have picked out is not a gaming card, very weak.
  4. So long as you have a 2nd pc to research any build issues (beep codes) I'd highly recommend building it yourself. The molex connectors make things easy and all you really have to watch for how you route your cables.

    1: Don't forget to factor in the cost of the OS

    2: The inclusion of the 56k modem scares me. Try to get it to a location that has some sorta high speed connection for your 1st run of updates, you're gonna need it.

    3: If you're really in love with this case I'd replace the fans with a 120mm exhaust, 80/120mm front intake and 80mm side duct intake. They can still be all blue and shiny if you want but quieter fans are always better than the cheap loud ones that typically come with these cases. Up to you, I prefer Spire and Panaflo personally.

    4: Same goes with the PSU, most OEM PSUs are cheap, loud and unstable. I've never had any issues with the Enermax Liberty line. At last count, I'm running 5 of them throughout the family and all run fine.
  5. Thanks for the advice everyone. As I mentioned, I have built a couple of computers. The computer I’m currently using I built about three years ago. But now with all of the new technology such as the duo and quad core processors as well as PCI express slots, I thought I would get a second opinion on the potential setup I listed above. I especially appreciate the advice on the power supply and the case. I actually love my current case, but it’s not being sold anymore. So, I thought I might actually build the new computer in the old case and transfer the old computer into a new case. My major concerns included finding a nice motherboard for under $200, a nice case with side window, and a good reliable and adequate power supply.

    I’m not a gamer, but I would like a decent video card without making the cost of the build too much. But in case I add a 32” LCD HDTV for a monitor, I want something that can drive it with no problem. I’ve also thought about buying something prebuilt. Years ago, prebuilt meant limited edition and proprietary parts which weren’t very upgradable. However, perhaps much of that has changed. Here’s a Dell system that I can buy at a great price through an organizational discount.
    OptiPlex 745 Minitower Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor E6700 (2.66GHz, 4M, 1066MHz FSB)
    Operating System(s) Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2, x32, with Media, English
    Memory 2GB DDR2 Non-ECC SDRAM,800MHz, (2 DIMM)
    Video Card 256MB ATI Radeon X1300PRO, Dual Monitor DVI or VGA (TV-out), FH
    Keyboard Smart Card Reader USB Keyboard, Black
    Mouse Dell USB 5-Button Premium Optical Mouse, Black
    Boot Hard Drives 250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s and 8MB DataBurst Cache™
    Floppy Drive and Media Card Reader Options 1.44MB 3.5 Inch Floppy Drive
    Speakers Dell™ A225 Speakers, Black
    Modem Dell V.92 PCI Data/Fax Controllerless Modem, full height
    Removable Media Storage Devices 16X DVD+/-RW and 48X CD-ROM, SATA, Roxio Creator™CyberlinkPowerDVD™
    Hardware Support Services 3 Year Limited Warranty plus 3 Year NBD On-Site Service
    Monitors Dell 20 inch UltraSharp™ 2007FPW Widescreen, Adjustable Stand, VGA/DVI

    That’s why I asked if I should buy a prebuilt Dell or Gateway, etc., or build it myself using the parts I listed above (with a few changes based on your suggestions). Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond.
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