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HP vs Custom PC Builder

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July 8, 2008 3:45:27 PM

hey everyone!
Im not too knowledgeable about all of the computer specs and hardware performance. So i was wondering if someone here could help me identify the better computer system. The first list of specs is from hp.com and the second list of specs is from an experienced computer builder. I know that HP jsut mass produces their computer, but it seems like i can get more for cheaper. As for the computer builder, he says that his computer is better built with better parts and charges around 200$ extra.

My main use for this computer will be using Adobe programs and especially after effects and premier pro. So i will be doing a lot of video editing. Every once in a while i play a game.

Specs from HP.com:
Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Quad processor Q9550 (2.83GHz)
8GB DDR2-800MHz dual channel SDRAM (4x2048)
1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT, 2 DVI, HDMI adapter
Hard drive 500GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive edit
Primary CD/DVD drive LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
Sound Card Integrated 7.1 channel sound w/front audio ports edit
PRICE: 1900$


Specs from custom builder:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Overclocked to 3.6GHz, 12MB L2 cache
CPU Cooler: Tuniq Tower 120
Motherboard: ASUS P5Q Deluxe <click here> for specs
Memory: 8GB OCZ Reaper HTC DDR2 800 low latency
Video Card: ATI HD4870 with 512MB GDDR5 PCI-E 2.0 (speed is between
the GeForce GTX 260 and 280, and sometimes it beats them both)
Sound Card: ASUS Supreme FX 7.1HD Onboard
DVD Burner: LiteOn 20X DVD Burner with LightScribe Tech
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 750GB with 32MB L2 cache, SATA 3.0
Power Supply: Silverstone Strider 750Watt power supply
Case: Lian-Li V1000 Plus (I've included a picture with it)
Windows OS: Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit - SP1
PRICE: 2200$

I simply just dont know how to compare these two... Hp.com offers a 1GB card, but the custom builder says his gfx card is better.
These performance differences make it hard to distinguish the better computer.

If possible, please tell me the biggest differences between these comps. (pros/cons)
Thank you in advance for the help.
-Leon

More about : custom builder

a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 4:01:49 PM

The other guy is right; the 260, 280 or 4870 are all better than the 1gb 9600gt. Memory size doesn't mean its better, it has to do with the GPU.

Tell him to get you a breakout of his retail prices of all components, and come back with those. You can do it yourself with a few more questions and answers and for less than he wants you to pay.
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 4:10:47 PM

The second build is A LOT better than the first. I'd say the $300 difference is very small compared to the benefits it brings.

I didn't actually check prices, but I'm estimating Newegg would charge about $1700..$1900 for the items in the second build, including shipping. The OP would basically pay $300 or $500 for somebody to pick the parts (and the guy did a fantastic job), to place the orders and verify the parts and handle RMA's and assemble and overclock and test, and probably to install Windows and drivers too, without the crapware you'd get with an HP. Since the OP is not a computer enthusiast and can't do all that properly unless he spends lots of time on research, I think it's an excellent deal and he should take it.

By the way, that second build is a lot more upgradable in the future. It has a quality large case and PSU, for example, which you don't normally get with HP/Dell/etc.

Edit: one more thing: if that HP's 500GB disk is a WD5000AAKS (i.e. Western Digital), it's visibly slower than the Seagate Barracuda 750GB. OK, if it's a Seagate 500GB then it's fine. WD makes very fast disks from 640GB and more, and their 320GB version is great too, but the 500GB is an exception.


Related resources
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 4:14:18 PM

~$1900 on Newegg...all exact same components that they system builder wants to use. You can go a little cheaper on the case, memory, motherboardand even the power supply. I would bet you could shave off ~$200 easy by going with different components in each of these categories. I guess it depends if he lets you pick your own components (and from where??) and paying him to do the build for you. Your call.
July 8, 2008 4:19:03 PM

I like the custom machine better...

You could trade the case for something less expensive and 4gigs of ram is plenty.

Also the Custom machine has a far better graphix card, and better components in general the any HP will ever have.
July 8, 2008 4:20:42 PM

If you want a cheap case with poor airflow, 300 watts power supply, cheap components that you don't know the brand and an OS slowed by HP software go for HP! The system builder was honest and the components choice is fair.
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 4:23:38 PM

Ok, now let's see the arguments in favor of HP. Does the system builder offer any kind of warranty and support?
July 8, 2008 4:24:45 PM

That's a reasonable price, a very reasonable price really. If you want to save a little money then ask him to change the Hard drive to the Samsung 500GB Spin Point F1. Also, change the case to the Cooler Master 690. Have him drop the Tuniq Tower and get you an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro, you do not want him overclocking that computer unless you have the know-how to maintain it, no offence. Lastly drop 4GB of memory, because there is no performance difference between 4GB and 8GB, there never will be.
July 8, 2008 4:26:07 PM

you can save on the graphic card and use it for another hard drive. a 9600gt is just perfect for video and photo, a 9600gso coul also be just fine. the extra hard drive helps a lot on adobe software.
July 8, 2008 4:41:07 PM

Custom builder's offer is better hands down. Performance is just greater.
a c 108 à CPUs
July 8, 2008 4:57:16 PM

I'd ask him what the voltage of that q9450 is. I'd feel alot more comfortable with an hp q9950 rig at stock volts with a factory warranty than that custom q9450 at ??? volts?

And the custom video card has it all over the 9800gt ...
July 8, 2008 5:00:11 PM

The_Blood_Raven said:
Lastly drop 4GB of memory, because there is no performance difference between 4GB and 8GB, there never will be.


The OP is doing video editing. I'm pretty sure the 8GB will come in handy.

The custom built computer is much much better, and with a little investment in learning about overclocking and components, you can fairly easily maintain it.... or just build the thing yourself for less money (but more time).

The HP will be noticeably slower - it has a much slower clockspeed, probably slower memory and a worse graphics card - probably a slower hard drive too, and the motherboard, powersupply, case, and cooling on the HP are likely to be crap. The custom build has fantastic components in all of these regards.
July 8, 2008 5:00:44 PM

Custom build is better, but not for the price. He is charging you $800 extra. I can build the same performance machine for half the price.
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 5:03:48 PM

Quote:
The OP is doing video editing. I'm pretty sure the 8GB will come in handy.


You WILL notice a difference between 4GB vs 8GB, providing you optimize pagefile.
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 5:10:44 PM

aevm said:
Ok, now let's see the arguments in favor of HP. Does the system builder offer any kind of warranty and support?

He better if he's charging $200. I charge $160 for Water cooled and full OCed build (Prime95 stability 9hrs+, memtest86+ 4hrs, benchmarking, OS optimizations/software installation, RAID( the usual stuff like AV, FireFox,etc and if they give me the CDs , I install all other software like Photoshop,etc).

If it's a non water cooled OCed, $100 (Prime95 8hrs+, Memtest86+ 4hrs, benchmarking and software installation, If doing RAID +$10.)

I warrant no problems for 60 days as long as they have not opened the case. I also don't warrant software issues.
July 8, 2008 5:18:16 PM

First of all, thanks for all of the replies.
The_Blood_Raven
i didnt know you had to maintain the overclock processor. What does this entail? is it a lot of work?
thanks for the heads up!

nickr336
do you have a web site or soemthing?

I guess, my main concern now is the life of the overclocked Q9450. will overclocking it really
diminish the life of it?

so many things to learn....

-Leon
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 5:25:52 PM

Yeah, exactly, I've never heard of maintaining an overclocked processor. I'm really curious to hear details on that one. Do you have to water it every Sunday, like a potted plant, maybe?

I wouldn't worry about the life of the Q9450. The Tuniq Tower is a very good cooler and will keep it at a reasonable temperature. And even if it dies after, say, 5 years instead of 7, do you really care? If you use a computer for work you have to upgrade it from time to time anyway to remain productive. It's a $330 part now, and will be worth $50 in 5 years.
July 8, 2008 6:01:45 PM

I'm not sure why you need all that for video editing....looks more like a gaming build.

If you are video editing as the primary use, I'd forgot about that overclock, special cooler, low latency ram, high end video card, and large power supply. Take that savings and get a couple more hard drives for your videos. It'll still be fine for gaming.

But, the main differences seem to be the OC'd CPU, bigger harddrive, and better video card on the custom build. Probably a better motherboard also.

July 8, 2008 6:41:28 PM

Being a custom system builder myself, I think you are getting one heck of a deal on the custom built system. That HP is half the machine of the custom one.

As for the Warranty? I think if you check, just about all the parts the builder listed in his specs comes with at least a 1 year factory warranty.... which is about all you will get from HP at that price.

--Shodar
July 8, 2008 6:47:17 PM

For a 85% Video Editing/15% Gaming machine Quad CPU is a no-brainer. Ppl are right - the 'other' guy offers better config. if you can afford $1900 for a generic build i really dont see you having a problem shelling out a couple more for a better config. I do however have a few suggestion.

VIDEO: 2x 4850 in CFX will probably get you more processing powers (ATI 4000 series has 800 processing unit! which will translate into fast compiling of video and such). 2x 4850 is $40 more than 1 4870 and to me you are getting most bang for the buck if you go with 4850's in CrossfireX.

HDD: For overall performances, both config seems to be missing this part. Im suggesting a (4) hard drive formation for a RAID10 which improves both speed and security of your data at the cost of additional hard drives and power consumption. Hard drive prices are still going down so this wont be a problem i assumed.

POWER SUPPLY: I have the best experience with Corsair brand PSU so i'm recommending it for it's quietness and consistency based on personal experience. 1000W IS an overkill, but not if you plan on adding more hardware for upgrades, let's say... HD4870 and maybe a few more hard drives for more video backup? :) 

HEATSINK: if the 'other' guy offers Tuniq 120, i would up the ante to the THERMALRIGHT IFX-14. i own this baby and it pretty much like a fridge sitting on top of your CPU. Ya it's HUGE but it's air cooling ability is out of this world. and it would be housed in a full tower case so space isn't a problem either. Liquid is NOT RECOMMENDED IMO because you since it's mostly a work machine you want the most consistent AND stable config and I think everything at stock config is a safe and wise choice. Other than the video cards nothing else runs on high temperatures. plus the fact that the case im recommending has GREAT airflow so keeping those babies in moderate temp. wont be an obstacle.

CASE: Lian Li is premium brand but that particular case might not be the best case due to its 'holely' front casing which constantly sucking in dust particles (i own a V2100 and the differences is the size so i kind of knew how it works) The Silverstone case works better in this department and has a separate compartment for hard drive cooling (Lian Li's cost extra $ for that)

CPU: Intel Q9450 $330
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-X48-DS4 $225
RAM: 2x G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) Kit $210
VIDEO: 2x ATI 4850 $340
SOUND: ASUS Xonar PCI-E $100
HARDDRIVE: 4x Western Digital Caviar 640gb $360
POWER SUPPLY: CORSAIR 1000HX 1000W $250
HEATSINK: Thermalright IFX-14 $80
CASE: SILVERSTONE TJ09-BW FULL TOWER $300

TOTAL: $2,195
July 8, 2008 6:55:02 PM

gaiden said:


CPU: Intel Q9450 $330
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-X48-DS4 $225
RAM: 2x G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) Kit $210
VIDEO: 2x ATI 4850 $340
SOUND: ASUS Xonar PCI-E $100
HARDDRIVE: 4x Western Digital Caviar 640gb $360
POWER SUPPLY: CORSAIR 1000HX 1000W $250
HEATSINK: Thermalright IFX-14 $80
CASE: SILVERSTONE TJ09-BW FULL TOWER $300

TOTAL: $2,195


Now Add in the cost of the Operating System....
Oh, and since he will be video editing... a good video capture card would be nice....
Dont see a reason for the extra sound card...

--Shodar
July 8, 2008 7:17:55 PM

definitely the custom build is better :) .
July 8, 2008 7:23:08 PM

umm... why does the HP list a 9800? Is there such a card?
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 7:35:47 PM

I just assumed 9600GT.
July 8, 2008 7:40:14 PM

If you are doing adobe video editing that is not dependent on vide card 3d performance. You could save 100-130 dollers by telling the builder you would rather have a 4850 instead of a 4870.

The performance value you are getting by having an overclocked Processor vs the stock HP Processor will be worth the extra price, the time you save on your projects will be worth the extra cost.
a c 126 à CPUs
July 8, 2008 7:40:28 PM

Lets see......$300 bucks more for a better mobo, much faster RAM, bigger HDD, much better GPU and the CPU comes OCed and is easier to OC.

Simple choice. Custom build all the way.
July 8, 2008 7:52:22 PM

Shodar said:
Now Add in the cost of the Operating System....
Oh, and since he will be video editing... a good video capture card would be nice....
Dont see a reason for the extra sound card...

--Shodar


The poster didn't really stated that he needed an OS so i assumed he has a 'working' copy and video editing i assumed Professional Video Editing and not tv-capturing type of video or some homemade 'videos' if you know what i mean :pt1cable:  . I also assumed most of his videos have sound so sound card for processing sound??? having a sound card takes the load from the cpu also means a bit of performance gain IMHO :hello:  .
July 8, 2008 7:54:39 PM

...umm...well lets see...if its an HP and it aint a blackbird, pass...lol...
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 8:02:53 PM

The reason for building your own computer has little to do with money. The store bought computer will always be cheaper apples to apples because they build in such volume. I build my own because I get to buy exactly what I want, no more or less, of the best quality components I can find and I don't have to put up with the crapware loaded by OEMs. Their goal isn't to sell you one box but rather to keep you coming back to them for repairs, upgrades, etc. There are many traps built into all OEM computers that I've seen.
a c 108 à CPUs
July 8, 2008 8:33:19 PM

Hands down - HP

HP has a three year warranty - onsite parts and labor. Will your custom builder guarantee that?

He's got that q9450 at 8x450. At what voltage? What are the temps at load? Spending $2200 on a computer with no warranty is a JOKE when you can purchase that HP rig for $1,900.

For the $300 difference in price you can buy 3 Seagate Barracuda 500GB hard drives from The Egg and pocket 60 bucks.
July 8, 2008 8:36:19 PM

In fact thats not true ram, because although they get the parts cheaper, they also mark the price of the overall machine so it ends up being very close for the very low end machines, (whcih also have crappy build quality), and they mark it up more and more, mid ranged systems just aren't comparable.
July 8, 2008 8:37:44 PM

@ Hood, niether of your original build are good for video editing- they're gaming rigs. And nearly every moron here is pointing you toward a gaming machine and crap you don't need. I would high suggest googling "entry-level video editing PC" or something similar to get an idea of what you need. The basics are:
A- a fast quad-core CPU (3.0ghz+)
B- lots of ram (4gb+)
C- multiple hard drives (3 is the absolute minimum).
D- video card with 512mb of video ram (and since you game, a 4850 is perfect since it's so cheap).
E- a 64-bit operating system to use the 4gb+ of memory
F- two large monitors (2x24" would be ideal, but 2x22" would be more inline with your budget).
July 8, 2008 8:40:00 PM

gaiden said:
The poster didn't really stated that he needed an OS so i assumed he has a 'working' copy and video editing i assumed Professional Video Editing and not tv-capturing type of video or some homemade 'videos' if you know what i mean :pt1cable:  . I also assumed most of his videos have sound so sound card for processing sound??? having a sound card takes the load from the cpu also means a bit of performance gain IMHO :hello:  .



Ahh yes, point well made. I always forget about the sound editing. :bounce:  :bounce: 

As for the OS, both system listed in the OP has an OS listed as part of the config.. only natural for me to include it in my config if I were specing out one of my custom PCs for someone.

--Shodar
July 8, 2008 9:14:57 PM

Noya:
the specs above all have what you mentioned. except for the multiple hard drives.


I was not too worried about a sound card...
but i am worried about this wear and tear with overclocking. what do you guys think about the damage that does? does the cooler in the custom build rig do a good enough job on cooling it?
July 8, 2008 9:42:23 PM

hood said:
Noya:
the specs above all have what you mentioned. except for the multiple hard drives.



Yes, but they're overpriced and have a higher range graphic than you'll use for
Quote:
Every once in a while i play a game.

This is an enthusiast website where people usually want the best for their money. Not to mention, multiple hard disks is one of thee most important parts of a video-editing setup.

Here is a decent, though way overpriced video editing rig:
http://www.adkvideoediting.com/systems/viewsystem.cfm?r...
Notice the hard disk setup? That's the minimum you want and that's how you use them (OS, "scratch"/work, render/storage)

Do you even have monitors yet?

*edit*

Anyway, here's my list for a similar budget:

$440 shipped - 2 x 22" Acer 1680x1050 monitors:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$180+ - Lian Li aluminum full tower case

$329 - Intel Q9450
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$36 - XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Retention Bracket
$7 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(overlock the CPU to 3.2gz+, the FSB is the limiter)

$92 w/rebate - 4gb 1066 DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$135 - ASUS P5Q
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


$165 - Asus 4850 video card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(this will nicely play any game at 1680x1050)


Windows/Programs drive
$54 - 250gb Seagate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Capture/Work drive
$90 - WD 640gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Render to/storage drive
$90 - WD 640gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Backup drive
$90 - WD 640gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$84 - 520w modular Corsair
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-520w-sli-certified-modu...

$50-60 - 2 x DVD/RW drives

For a total of $1,842 (including all the hard disks and monitors you need). All the parts also come with the manufacturer's warranty and can easily be RMA'd back to Newegg if there's a problem.
a c 126 à CPUs
July 8, 2008 10:17:32 PM

Wisecracker said:
Hands down - HP

HP has a three year warranty - onsite parts and labor. Will your custom builder guarantee that?

He's got that q9450 at 8x450. At what voltage? What are the temps at load? Spending $2200 on a computer with no warranty is a JOKE when you can purchase that HP rig for $1,900.

For the $300 difference in price you can buy 3 Seagate Barracuda 500GB hard drives from The Egg and pocket 60 bucks.


Well lets see. 3 year warranty (and most of the time the chances of that PC going bad or parts is very limited mainly to the HDD or PSU in those types) which if used will be rare. When you custom build a PC your RAM normally has a lifetime warranty, CPU is normally 5 years, mobo is 3-5, HDD is 5, GPU is normally dependant on the majer but a good amount of time.

I see your point but still for $2200 you can have a better one, like the fact tat the custom has a much better GPU, made. Mine cost me $1500 for me to build and would have been over $3K through most cheap PC makers and around $6k with Alienware/Falcon/Voodoo (HP). So what would I have paid that extra $1500-$4500 for? the case? the name? the 3 year warranty that I have to spend 3 hours on the phone with some guy in some other country that has no clue what the hell a CPU is let alone how the PC works?

I guess I just like being able do it myself and save a lot of money.
!