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Need advice on a pre-built computer..

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January 17, 2009 10:46:35 AM

Hi,

So here is the deal...I work from home for my company on my own desktop and I need a NEW computer for a few reasons: my current computer is 5 years old, I fear its dying, and I can't play any new games on it like I want to.

I want to clear something up right away...I am not a home-build enthusiast and dont have the time, patience, and know-how to go that route like you guys do. I want to buy a pre-built Gaming computer from a manufacturer. Yes, I completely realize I could get it much cheaper if I build it, but thats not the point as I wont have time to tinker/troubleshoot with it as I need it for work everyday. I wanted to post the question on this forum since you guys are the true computer experts and hopefuly can help me out.

The companies I am looking at are:

Falcon Northwest
Alienware
Digital Storm
I Buy Power
Velocity Micro

I plan on buying a computer with I7 920, 6 gigs RAM, GTX 295. One of my main goals is being able to upgrade the unit for years going forward. (btw, not interested in over-clocking) All of the models I am looking at are currently about $2800-$3500.

So my main questions are what do you guys know about the above companies? If YOU had to buy a computer from one of them which one would you pick and why? I care about customer service, reputation, and relliability, as much as I do the price.

Thanks for your input!! :) 
January 17, 2009 2:34:07 PM

Grab a dell. We deal with them where I work, and get the 5 year warranties usually. Makes it real nice with the package we have, because if we have issues, call them, they are usually there with parts next day.
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January 22, 2009 6:48:58 AM

I would be cautious of the Dell XPS 730x series right now. Check out the Dell support forums and see the huge issues with random power loss and shutdown problems that remain unresolved. Their support is as good or better than any other manufacturer but there seems to be a major problem going on. My own system is unfortunately one of them and I am waiting for it to be fixed.
January 22, 2009 10:42:52 AM

Does anyone know anything about IBuyPower? Their website offers a massive selection of components and total cost is about $600-$1000 cheaper then some of the other companies.

thanks
January 23, 2009 7:46:00 PM

Thanks!

I have it narrowed down to either Cyberpower or Maingear.

Couple questions:

1. In regards to hard drives: If i go with I7 920 core, is there any reason to go with the 300GB Velociraptor SATA 3.0Gb/s 10,000RPM 16MB Cache over the 500GB SATA 3Gb/s 7,200RPM 16MB Cache? Should I bother with RAID 0?

2. There are so many case choices on these companies websites...any certain cases you reccomend or do NOT reccomend?

Thanks again..
January 23, 2009 8:33:54 PM

1)
It depends on what kind of drive the 500G is. Is it WD, seagate...? The velociraptor is probably the fastest out there, but it's also the most expensive. The WD cavair blacks are great 7200 rpm drives.

2)
When I look at a case, I look for:
how many 80mm and 120mm fans it has
how much room it has (mini, mid, full)
tooless design?

I like room to work, good airflow, and i prefer not to dig for tools all the time. It's a personal preference. Good airflow is important though, check out how many fans it has. 2 80mm fans should keep it cool enough, any more is always a bonus.

January 23, 2009 9:04:58 PM

I would NEVER have a Raid 0 array in any computer I own due to the potential of losing all data on the drives due to the loss of a single drive. (This could be mitigated by getting a Raid 1 + 0, however.)

If possible, you could always go with a typical "server" approach.

1. Fast, single drive (or Raid 0) small capacity hard drives for the operating system and potentially your installed programs.

2. Larger, 7.2k drive(s) (potentially in a Raid 1 or Raid 5) for storing data.

This is especially true if you wish to play games that require frequent large updates (many MMOs), and you have a slower internet connection. Or, perhaps you download movies? Or, save lots of music? Either way, losing large amounts of data could me a LOT of lost time.

This is the reason I'll never have a Raid 0.
------------
As for a case, if you are purchasing a warranty, you typically can't open the case and work with it without voiding that warranty. As such, the most important things to look for:

1. Number and size of fans: The more, smaller fans a system has, the louder it will be. You may not necessarily want a quiet computer, but you definitely don't want one that is always whining.

2. Ease of access to external drives, front panel ports, etc. in your desk/workstation area.
a. Top mounted ports might be good for some, but horrible for others.
b. Some people prefer bottom mounted ports. (Top ports, usually, will break easier for most.)

3. Will things be placed on top of the computer case? (If so, no top mounted fans for you.)

4. Case appearance.
February 1, 2009 3:52:48 PM

Thanks everyone for their reply...here is the build I think I am going to purchase from Cyber Power PC for a grand total of $1901. Can you guys take a quick look and make any comments about the components and build? I want to make sure I am not getting a crappy case, hard drive, and that everything is compatible, etc..

CASE: ($25 off Mail-in Rebate) New! Apevia X-Jupiter Full Tower Gaming Server w/ Temp Display and Fan Control 420 Watt Power (G Type Black Color with Side-Window)
Neon Light Upgrade: NONE
Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Extra 3-Color Neon Light LED Case Fan (2 x Fans)
POWER SUPPLY Upgrade: 1, 000 Watts Power Supplies (Corsair CMPSU-1000HX - Quad SLI Ready)
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-920 2.66 GHz 8M L3 Cache LGA1366
COOLING FAN : Intel LGA1366 Certified CPU Fan & Heatsink
MOTHERBOARD: Asus P6T Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Mainboard Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 SATA RAID w/ eSATA, GbLAN, USB2.0, IEEE1394a, & 7.1Audio
MEMORY: 6GB (2GBx3) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module (Corsair or Major Brand)
FREEBIES: None
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX285 1GB 16X PCIe Video Card (EVGA Powered by NVIDIA)
VIDEO CARD 2: NONE
VIDEO CARD 3: NONE
LCD Monitor: NONE
2nd Monitor: NONE
HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
Data Hard Drive: NONE
USB PORTABLE DRIVE: NONE
Optical Drive: (Special Price) LG 20X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BLACK COLOR)
Optical Drive 2: (Special Price) LG 20X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BLACK COLOR)
SOUND: Creative Labs X-FI XtremeGamer 24-BIT PCI Sound Card
SPEAKERS: NONE
NETWORK: ONBOARD 10/100 NETWORK CARD
MODEM: NONE
KEYBOARD: Logitech Deluxe 250 USB Keyboard (Black Color)
MOUSE: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse
Extra Thermal Display : NONE
Wireless 802.11B/G Network Card: NONE
Flash Media Reader/Writer: None
Cable Wiring: Professional Wiring for All WIRINGs Inside The System Chasis with High Performance Thermal Compound on CPU
Rounded Cable: None
VIDEO CAMERA: NONE
PRINTER: None
PRINTER CABLE: None
IEEE CARD: NONE
USB PORT: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
FLOPPY: NONE
OS: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium w/ Service Pack 1 (64-bit Edition)
FREEBIES: FREE! (Microsoft® Flight Simulator X Deluxe) Game
Media Center Remote Control & TV Tuner: None
SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
RUSH SERVICE: NO; READY TO SHIP IN 5~10 BUSINESS DAYS
February 1, 2009 7:41:21 PM

^ Looks good. Imo, you probably don't need the sound card.

As for mouse get a G5. Trust me. You'll never go back to a old mouse.
Also unless going SLI you don't need a 1kW PSU.
!