I just finished purchasing my system and am waiting on one last, final part (the mobo). I have that sinking feeling in my stomach that I could have bought a Dell with roughly the same specs for the same price. Of course, I can't get the specs identical, but here's a compare and contrast:
My build: 2490.57 (after about 210 in rebates, which I'm sure I will have to go through some hassle to get, but after all taxes and shipping).
Lian Li PC-V1100 Plus II
Asus Rampage Formula
8gb Corsair 6400C4DHX 4-4-4-12 Ram
WD Black Caviar 1TB
Samsung 245BW 24" Monitor
Sony BDU-X10S Blu-Ray Player
Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
Logitech DiNovo Keyboard
Logitech MX Revolution Mouse
Dell's build: 2455.11 (after tax, free shipping)
XPS 420 Q9450
Windows Vista® Home Premium Service Pack 1
4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs
Logitech Di Novo Edge Keyboard
24 inch E248WFP (Not sure how this compares to my Samsung)
nVidia GeForce 9800 GT 512MB (I think the 4870 is better, but by how much?)
1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 32MB Cache (probably the WD or a Seagate)
Dell Optical USB Mouse OM [310-8030]
Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD)
Integrated Sound Blaster®Audigy™ HD Software Edition
2Yr Ltd HW WRTY, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis, 24x7 Phone Support
Dimension XPS, Specialized Support
I left out all the software the Dell comes with (I own, and prefer, other software). I definitely win on some components: 8gb to 4gb Ram; BD player and a separate CD/DVD Writer (compared to a combo player); a better GPU; and my monitor may be superior. Does anyone know what chipset and PSU the XPS 430 uses? I probably win on those (important) ends as well.
If prices are pretty close, does it still make sense to build your own from the ground up? This is a moot question now, since I already bought everything and I gained the joy of learning about each component and how they all fit together. Tomorrow, when I receive the motherboard (finally!), I will hopefully get the satisfaction of hearing the beautiful beep of a well-built system. But I still want affirmation that I did better than Dell =).
You did fine, at pretty much the same price your system is a good deal better, and you have a good MOBO instead of who knows what kind of funky board Dell would stick you with. You'll also have more breathing room to upgrade then what you would have got with the Dell.
Same question to you, physicz. Do you mean I should have purchased different components or that I paid too much for the ones I did purchase? And, as I said before, keep in mind that I am including tax + shipping in the total price.
I dont think you paid too much for it, I think they just didn't realized you included a monitor, a mouse, a OS , a BD player, taxes and shipping. You could have maybe saved a few $ here and there, but wouldn't have changed alot.
Samsung 245BW vs Dell E248WFP; roughly equivalent. Both have a TN panel, similar pixel pitch (.270), same brightness, basic contrast and identical response times. The Dell will do Portrait mode and has a 4 year warranty while 245BW does not do Portrait mode and has a 3yr warranty. Both have come down in price about $100 over the last year.
The Dell 420 probably uses an Intel X38 BTX motherboard with only one 16x PCI-E slot, not the usual two. And it probably has a 425watt PSU (enough to power the 8800GTX once offered which should have about the same power draw as the GTX 260)
The 9800GT is a refresh of the 8800GT. It's a 55nm copy of the 65nm G92 processor.
It's performance looks to be competitive with the HD 4850 which is pretty much in keeping with the 9800GT's retail price of around $165.
I saw that you weren't able to get audio AND video over the HDMI cable? You should be able to do that - I've seen it done. Did you try the 2nd DVI port on the video card?
Haven't built yet, WR2. I am receiving my mobo tonight -- will build then and update the board. My unerstanding is you can use the dvi/hdmi dongle that comes with the gpu to get sound through the dvi. Will let you know how it goes.