I've never built a computer, and the extent of my hardward/software skills has been adding RAM, hard drives, and video cards to an existing system.
For this reason I'm looking at companies that let you custom build an order by web page.
What I'd like to do is show the specs/price here and get comments on components (so many choices for each piece, it's mostly Greek to me).
I started looking at Uberclok and wound up at Digital Storm.
First, I'll state my intended use:
I do digital photo processing from a serious DSLR camera using Nikon Capture NX2 (single thread application) and Photoshop CS3 (will be using CS4 on the new system).
The type of work I do takes too long on my current system, a P-IV 2.66 (non-hyperthreading) 2 GB RAM system.
I need lots of HD space, and would like to have 3 hard drives (1 for OS, 2nd for storage, 3rd for RAID 1 backup of 2nd hard drive).
OS- I want dual boot, with Windows XP (for my 32 bit software: Capture NX2, CS3, and Vista 64 bit for CS4 and other 64 bit software to come.)
I don't game much anymore, and certainly not seriously, so that's really of much smaller importance.
I had initially looked at getting a system based on an E8500/8600 dual core CPU as my my software Nikon Capture NX2 is singled threaded and thus extra cores don't do a thing to boost performance, it's all based on highest clock speed (mostly). What changed my mind was the 920 being overclockable to the high 3.X ghrz, and the wish to have a system based on the newer platform for possible upgrade options down the road.
Case, I don't care about look, my rig is behind a desk door, I just want cool temps with room to upgrade (I want to run eSATA too).
For budget, I'm trying to stay around/under $2500 or so (I am flexible).
Card Reader: Internal Digital Media Card Reader (Black) Hard Drive Set 1:
Operating System: 500GB Western Digital (16MB Cache) (7200 RPM) (SATA) Set 1 Raid Options: Configure Hard Drive Set 1 in a Raid 1 Mirror (Requires Two Hard Drives) Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: 1TB Western Digital (7200 RPM) (16MB Cache) (SATA) (Extreme Speed) Hard Drive Set 3: Backup\Misc.: 1TB Western Digital (7200 RPM) (16MB Cache) (SATA) (Extreme Speed)
Optical Drive 1: DVD-ROM/CD-ROM (DVD Reader 16x / CD Reader 40x) Optical Drive 2: DVD±R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 20x / CD-Writer 48x) Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Video Card: 2x CrossFire Dual (ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB)
IMO, if you have added RAM, GPUs and HDDs to a system you can easily build your own PC. It will end up being either cheaper (if you want to spend less than what you have budgeted here) or will be a lot more powerful (if you want to spend the same amount of money). If you price out all of those components on newegg I would imagine it would be much cheaper than your listed ~$2,800.
this is a potential i7 build that I have put together. Obviously it includes a monitor and is missing a few things that you would want on your build, but you can tweak it and find something that fits your needs.
I would suggest attempting to build unless you are overly concerned with the warranty you get through that website. Keep in mind that newegg has outstanding customer service and you can RMA any defective products at little to no cost.
This forum is extremely helpful, and I would encourage you to try.
overclocking is not as complex as people think. I was in the same boat before I started researching the topic. If you want to squeeze every hz of speed out of your processor it may involve a lot of time/complex voltage adjustments. However, changing one or two simple things out of the box can give you more than enough speed to handle anything out there today. Heck, the i7 stock is a powerhouse in of itself and seems to be more than adequate for any multitasking/processor-heavy requirements.
Again, if you feel more comfortable paying a bit of a premium (quite a bit, actually) then go ahead and buy through a site like that. However, the extra money is not worth them spending about 2 minutes changing a couple of things in the BIOS to OC the i7 for you.