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Core i7 - Dell or Homebuilt?

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May 6, 2009 4:11:03 PM

I looking to buy or build a i7 desktop for work and mild gaming.

Dell offer

i7 920
640gb hdd
6gb ddr3 tri-channel
dvd burner
hd 4670
vista 64bit
case, mouse etc
23" full hd monitor
2 yr warranty

$1050

Looking online, to build something with the same specs is going to cost about $1250+

Is it worth $200 more to build myself or should i just go with Dell?

More about : core dell homebuilt

May 6, 2009 4:16:19 PM

I'd just go with the dell since it's so cheap, don't expect to be adding a better gfx card though as they'll cut down the PSU so it's the minimum amount of energy output needed for 6 or 7 years.

May 6, 2009 4:16:46 PM

uh...that's an outstanding deal and hard to believe coming from dell...link? If you can get the deal I would probably go for it. Can you get specifics on what kind of hard drive, RAM and power supply it contains?
Related resources
May 6, 2009 4:29:13 PM

another thing to consider is your need/want to overclock. Dell's BIOS might be locked to prevent changes from being made and i'm not sure of the overclockability of Dell's mobos and HSFs
May 6, 2009 4:42:41 PM

I just had a quick look on newegg

Core i7 920
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366
G-Skill ddr3 1600 triple channel ram
Western Digital 640gb sata 3gb/s
Sapphire hd4670 512mb gddr3
HEC black steel atx mid tower with 585w psu
Samsung 22x Burner
Asus 23.6" full 1080p monitor
Vista 64bit
mouse & keyboard

$1120 shipped

Would this be better for future upgrades/overclocking etc?
a b B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 5:31:06 PM

It's a good price, not a great deal though.

You will probably want a beefier video card, so there's an extra ~$160
That means you'll need a bigger psu, an extra ~$75

I'm not sure what brand HD is in it, but Dell likes to use Maxtor. Unless it's got a seagate or western digital, I'd recommend replacing that as well.

You are paying for an OS, but Dell isn't going to send you the full copy. You will get a restore disc. In your build, you get a full copy of vista.

Dell's cases don't provide much cooling, so there will be heat buildup.

The gigabyte board you picked will be better than anything you find in a dell machine.

I'd be leary of the RAM too. It's likely a no-name manufacturer with no heatspreader and terrible timings.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 5:31:40 PM

Helloworld_98 said:
don't expect to be adding a better gfx card though
Why would you think that? The HD 4850 is one of the optional video cards. So a future upgrade in the same power draw range is always an option.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 6:10:58 PM

Yeah the Dell offer is a good price. I'm sure you could cut back on an i7 system to compare. But if you are looking for flexibility a custom PC is the way to go. The Dell will have limits. You probably won't be able to Overclock it. The PSU is probably, Just enough to run the system.

A 4670 is a good card but only for mild gaming at low to mid settings in most newer games.

Honestly I always go with custom if you know what you are doing and are a gamer.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 6:13:58 PM

aford10 said:
I'm not sure what brand HD is in it, but Dell likes to use Maxtor.
None of the Dell owners are reporting Maxtor HDDs being shipped. From the Dell forums they're saying they're getting Seagate, Western Digital and Samsung HDDs.
No reports of overheating systems, as you suggest, either.
The Dell restore disk is pretty much the same thing as the OEM Vista you would buy from NewEgg.

@ ddjmagic;
Instead of getting guesses, why not cruise over to the Dell forums and read about what the Dell owners are talking about. There have been some complaints about noisy fans but it looks like they're getting replaced by Dell. A few other issues also being reported, but probably no deal breakers.
May 6, 2009 6:19:31 PM

Boo dell!!

Customize the Rowe...

+1
May 6, 2009 6:25:51 PM

Im going to say build your own...

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$59.95
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM
$59.99
SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER 943SWX High Glossy Black 18.5" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
$129.99
EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
$194.99
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ... - Retail
$99.99
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
$72.00
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$199.99
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
$279.99
Subtotal: $1,119.88
Shipping: $12.19

Theres $85 in mail in rebates, which brings your total to ~$1050


I really cant see any reason to buy Dell when they use crappy no-name parts. Build your own and buy quality for less.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 7:07:32 PM

^Build your own, especially if you game. You will be sorry down the road because the Dell offing has a very limited upgrade path. A Custom PC has so much more and will save you money down the road. You can reuse parts during future upgrades. Besides, Unless you get an XPS you are getting parts from the lowest bidder.


^
Kill@dor loves me
a b B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 7:53:19 PM

WR2 said:
None of the Dell owners are reporting Maxtor HDDs being shipped. From the Dell forums they're saying they're getting Seagate, Western Digital and Samsung HDDs.
No reports of overheating systems, as you suggest, either.
The Dell restore disk is pretty much the same thing as the OEM Vista you would buy from NewEgg.


The problem with heat isn't always overheating. The constant higher temps can decrease the life and efficiency of the hardware.

The restore discs are customized for their hardware. They are packed with all kinds of annoying extra garbage. Down the line if the OP decided to upgrade the hardware inside the case, he couldn't use that restore disc to install windows. It's more like an image of the factory settings.
May 6, 2009 8:43:51 PM

Yes Rowe, you are my HERO ^_^
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 8:45:11 PM

aford10 said:
The constant higher temps can decrease the life and efficiency of the hardware.
How much decrease?
a b B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 9:25:41 PM

It all depends on the amount of heat and the quality of the part. Put a cpu or a psu in 30C and 80C. The cpu or psu in the 80C temps will fail first. It's the same concept of overclocking and getting high temps on a cpu.

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2009 10:03:48 PM

Thats true no matter if you're talking about a Dell case, the HEC case the OP mentioned or the Antec 300 snurp85 listed.

You claimed the Dell system would have decreased life span and efficiency. How much decrease over the OPs build or snurp85's suggested system?
May 6, 2009 10:33:15 PM

I bought a Dell and it is what I am on now, at the time I thought it was a great deal then I learned what a bad decision I made after I figured out how much money I would have saved if I had done the research to built my own. Dell locks you out of all kinds of settings that could be beneficial to upgrading down the road and also shuts you out of any future overclocking hopes.
May 6, 2009 10:44:33 PM

aford10 said:
It's a good price, not a great deal though.

I love that line! SOOOO true.

Build your own my friend. It may cost you $100-$200 more however it will be a far better quality machine.
May 6, 2009 11:42:11 PM

I've both built my own & bought from Dell.
In fact, I recently built my own i7 with the Asus P6T motherboard and I'm very happy with it.

But before you make the decision, you should consider a few of the advantages about Dell that haven't been mentioned.
1. When you have a problem that you can't figure out, are you going to call yourself or Dell to get the problem fixed?
2. A 2 year warranty and Dell pays the postage both ways for replacement parts. I've received parts overnight from Dell.
3. A centralized site to download updates and bug fixes for your computer.
4. The forums page that discusses issues and remedies for a known platform.

The restore disk is irrelevant, when you upgrade to Windows 7, the Dell forums page will have full instructions.
By the way, you can always upgrade the video card if you want.
May 6, 2009 11:50:24 PM

WR2 said:
Thats true no matter if you're talking about a Dell case, the HEC case the OP mentioned or the Antec 300 snurp85 listed.


WP2, if i built my own what case/psu would you recommend over the Dell/HEC/Antec 300 for <$100, thanks

randomeyes - Thanks for the insight.
May 7, 2009 12:21:48 AM

In the older Dells they used Hitachi HDDs.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 12:35:09 AM

The Cooler master 690 is only a little bit more than the Antec 300 but has more space. Lots of fans.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 1:12:07 AM

WR2 said:
Thats true no matter if you're talking about a Dell case, the HEC case the OP mentioned or the Antec 300 snurp85 listed.

You claimed the Dell system would have decreased life span and efficiency. How much decrease over the OPs build or snurp85's suggested system?


Yes, there is heat inside all cases. However, some are much better at blowing that warm air out.
The antec is a nice case. It has a 120mm rear and 140mm top fans.
The HEC is garbage. It only has a side air duct and an 80mm rear fan.
The Dell case is garbage. It also only has 1 fan and has a vent without a side duct.

You sound like you don't believe heat buildup can reduce hardware lifespan.?
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 5:33:13 AM

aford10 said:
You sound like you don't believe heat buildup can reduce hardware lifespan.?
How much will it reduce hardware lifespan? What are we talking about here? 10% 20% 30%? What does that translate to in the number of years of lost lifespan?
"Dell uses Maxtor HDDs" "Dell case is garbage" "decrease the life and efficiency of the hardware"
Lots of opinions but nothing that can back it up? I mean you think there would be a tremendous hue and cry with all the dead Dells that expired prematurely. Maybe you're being over dramatic trying to make your point?
I suppose it's only fair for you to point out to the OP all the forum threads with home builds gone wrong?

It's OK to recommend a homebuilt PC as the better option. This is the Homebuilt Systems forum after all.
But if Dell (and HP and others) is doing such a poor job as you suggest you'd think they would have gone out of business years ago?



a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 5:37:49 AM

ddjmagic said:
if i built my own what case/psu would you recommend over the Dell/HEC/Antec 300 for <$100
Looking around over @ NewEgg I think a CM Centurion 5 case and a 500W or 550W OCZ PSU
would be a decent match to your budget goals, after you figure in the available rebate.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 6:22:08 AM

That OCZ StealthXStream 500W PSU is on weekly special over at NewEgg this week. Promo code: EMCLSLS25 $50 plus the $20 rebate.

Another option in your price range. Antec Sonata III and Earthwatts 500W PSU $90 with NewEgg promo code: EMCLSLS23 And I think it has free shipping.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 12:22:09 PM

WR2 said:
How much will it reduce hardware lifespan? What are we talking about here? 10% 20% 30%? What does that translate to in the number of years of lost lifespan?
"Dell uses Maxtor HDDs" "Dell case is garbage" "decrease the life and efficiency of the hardware"
Lots of opinions but nothing that can back it up? I mean you think there would be a tremendous hue and cry with all the dead Dells that expired prematurely. Maybe you're being over dramatic trying to make your point?
I suppose it's only fair for you to point out to the OP all the forum threads with home builds gone wrong?

It's OK to recommend a homebuilt PC as the better option. This is the Homebuilt Systems forum after all.
But if Dell (and HP and others) is doing such a poor job as you suggest you'd think they would have gone out of business years ago?



I haven't been able to find a graph showing the decrease in lifespan. It's a well known fact that hardware has to work harder in higher temps.

I would have no problem recommending a homebuilt PC to someone who was simply looking to surf the web, email, do finances etc. However, the OP obviously is looking for more.

I built my PC over 2 years ago. My roommate purchased an HP just over a year ago for close to $900. When he was shopping around he was lured in by this 'amazing' PC. It had a huge 500G HD, a full G of RAM, and a 'super fast' 2.8Ghz dual core cpu.
He's found out what a mistake he made. He's already had to upgrade the RAM, and replace the psu. Compared the my PC that was built before he purchased his, I've spent $0 since then. I have to listen to him constantly complain about how slow it is. He is ready to purchase new. My mom and my uncle have brought their HP pavilions to me for various reasons throughout the past couple years.

My point is simply the smoke and mirrors games that HP, Dell, and Gateway all play. They try to wow you with this UNBELIEVABLE deal. In reality they use low quality, low budget parts. These companies stay in business because homes and businesses need PCs. The vast majority of people don't know squat about computers and wouldn't know the first thing about how to build one on their own. So they rely on Dell, Gateway, and HP to do the work for them. That is how they stay in business.
May 7, 2009 1:32:32 PM

I've found that over the years people having the knowledge of building a pc from scratch has defiantly grown over the last few years. I think its more due to the fact society is becoming more and more technical and relying on pc's to help them accomplish things. I will say though that the people that know how to maintain their newly built pc / pc they get from dell is about the same however.

Coming up with a list of compatible parts is semi-difficult (especially when coming up with a list that is not just compatible but of quality parts) for an average user, but actually assembly of putting things in is pretty simple. And installing an OS is pretty simple too. For a lot of people that come here and ask for help with their new builds the parts they list (usually) will work together but arn't optimized for budget/performance/quality. That's where I like to believe the people here at Tom's can really help people. Most of the forum people here have a good understanding of these items and can make an poor/average build a solid well performing build for the budget (especially if the poster has special needs/wants).

The hard part I think is installing the software and optimizing it for your rig. (especially for high end rigs that have to deal with beta driver and such…ect…)

In general People that are buying dells/hp's/gateway's ect... are people that really have no clue how to either maintain or build a pc. So with this in mind these are the people that are much more common to getting viruses on their machine and not understanding/reading what the software they are installing actually does. They never seem to do highly recommended updates which just makes the problems worse and are clicking on what to most of us are obvious "bad links" which will infect their pc with a virus because they don't know any better. So when talking about dell's/hp/gateways ect... I don't necessarily believe it’s a performance issue but that of a quality / budget / customizable / support. Home build rigs give the flexibility of quality and customition. It’s very easy to target a user’s needs and tailor that build to what they need and in return will boost the performance for the budget. Dell is more for low budget rigs and support. For a lot of people they do not have the knowledge of keeping their pc maintained. It’s much like a car. Every 3000miles you should get your oil changed…Same with a PC. Every 3 months you should be doing defrags and system scans. Most pc users can’t even do this.

I figure if someone is on here and can talk the lingo of computers they probably can build their own pc with ease and probably should. It’s the maintence of keeping that PC at a high standard of performance that usually takes some research and time to figure out. So to the OP I’d base my descion on the ability/desire to keep your PC running at a high standard. If you want to keep it running at a high standard then go with the homebuilt. If you don’t and plan on throwing this thing out in a year or two because of it slowing down or want someone else to fix it if something is to go wrong go with the dell.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 2:22:02 PM

Once you go custom, you never go back... unless you buy a laptop. haha.

Why are we still debating this... just build your own. You will have personal fulfillment and be knowledgeable about everything in your new PC. It will also have NON-crappy parts. Alot of OEM parts are crappy and built to only stock spec, not intended for OC or alerations.
May 7, 2009 2:25:55 PM

Just build your own. It will save you so much cash...not only that you will know your parts better...and learn more from people here. We can walk you through it too ^_^
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 2:46:50 PM

^
Plus think of it this way... A custom PC will also position your system for future upgrades. You will very rarely NEED to upgrade everything. You can reuse Hard drives, DVD drives, Cases, powersupply, etc. You also have more flexibility in the parts you can use in your system. So even if you break even or spend a little more now, you will save in the future. Plus you will have a better performing machine.

I remember several years ago my sister has a dell 700MHz PIII system. When I build my new system she asked if I wanted to swap PC's.. She got my custom built 600MHz PIII with the same 256MB Ram, but better video, PSU, etc. There there was such a noticeable performance different to her and me, in just simple apps like IE, word, and just navigating windows. We even reloaded both machines with the OS only and the difference was entirely noticeable. I sold her PC for $150 as payment.
May 7, 2009 4:08:04 PM

randomeyes said:
I've both built my own & bought from Dell.
In fact, I recently built my own i7 with the Asus P6T motherboard and I'm very happy with it.

But before you make the decision, you should consider a few of the advantages about Dell that haven't been mentioned.
1. When you have a problem that you can't figure out, are you going to call yourself or Dell to get the problem fixed?
2. A 2 year warranty and Dell pays the postage both ways for replacement parts. I've received parts overnight from Dell.
3. A centralized site to download updates and bug fixes for your computer.
4. The forums page that discusses issues and remedies for a known platform.

The restore disk is irrelevant, when you upgrade to Windows 7, the Dell forums page will have full instructions.
By the way, you can always upgrade the video card if you want.


No offence...
This is just amature.

1) When you have a problem that you can't figure out --> figure it out!
2) A 2 year warranty --> computer parts rarely die in 2 years unless you killed them.
3) A centralized site to download updates and bug fixes for your computer --> R U serious, who cares?
4) The forums page that discusses issues and remedies for a known platform --> the internet is free.

""By the way, you can always upgrade the video card if you want"" yah, and if you got a dell, you have to upgrade the PSU while your at it.
May 7, 2009 4:12:32 PM

He's happy with it...that's all that matters i guess -_-
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 4:16:01 PM

grieve said:
No offence...
This is just amature.

1) When you have a problem that you can't figure out --> figure it out!
2) A 2 year warranty --> computer parts rarely die in 2 years unless you killed them.
3) A centralized site to download updates and bug fixes for your computer --> R U serious, who cares?
4) The forums page that discusses issues and remedies for a known platform --> the internet is free.

""By the way, you can always upgrade the video card if you want"" yah, and if you got a dell, you have to upgrade the PSU while your at it.


Exactly!
May 7, 2009 4:31:27 PM

I am going to take this thread in a different direction.
I've decided to forget the Dell and go homebuilt, i am going to up my budget a few hundred.
Budget is no more than $1500 including shipping for the complete build.
I'm hoping to get quality parts, and something that will last 6-12 months without any major upgrading and be able to overclock/upgrade in the future.
It will be mainly used for word processing, spreadsheets, quickbooks, photoshop and some video and music software, also hoping to play some older games and some newer games on low/medium.
If you guys could help me out and maybe point me in the right direction.
Here's what i have so far from looking at newegg and looking at there best rated.

Intel Core i7 920
EVGA E758-A1 3-Way SLI (x16/x16/x8) LGA 1366 Intel X58
combo deal
Newegg Link
unsure about the motherboard

OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
Newegg Link

EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3
Newegg Link

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
Newegg Link

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA
Newegg Link

ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor
Newegg Link

Microsoft Windows Vista 64bit
Newegg Link

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready
Newegg Link

Case - Not sure yet , anymore recommendations

Now


Total with shipping without a case -
$1,385.64

Should i change anything? How will this perform in the things i want to do?

thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 4:40:45 PM

The antec 900, antec 1200, and cooler master HAF are some of my favorite cases.

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 6:24:03 PM

aford10 said:
I built my PC over 2 years ago.
E8500 / EP45T-DS3R / HAF 932 and built over 2 years ago? Interesting ;) 

Yes it is a well known fact that hardware has to work harder in higher temps. And running a PC system in a higher heat environment can reduce the lifespan of the hardware. What if the temps are only slightly higher?
Then what does that actually mean? How much reduction? Lots of variables of course but since most PCs have a perceived useful lifespan of 3~5 years it's not as much of an issue as you're trying to make it. Not when much of the hardware is probably good for 15+ years (apart from the items that have moving parts like fans, HDDs, case switches and maybe PSUs).

If you checked my systems details you've noticed I'm not against home builds.
I was mostly curious to see how much FUD you'd try and use to support your position.




May 7, 2009 6:29:21 PM

You could buy Vista now...or save some major cash and get Windows 7 & instead!!! That way Vista will be cheaper later and you can just transfer files when it expires.

+2
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 6:50:42 PM

Actually that is a really good build. I mean I favor some other brands from what you picked, but to each his own. The ONLY thing I would insist you change if the Video card. The one you selected is the GTX 260 with 192 stream cores. I'd HIGHLY recommend switching this to the 216 Core model. Either that or look at the ATI 4870 cards.

Other than that, GOOD build. That thing would blow the doors off a DELL. Are you planning on overclocking at all? You can get a little OC out of the stock cooler, but if you consider doing any OCing I would get the cooler before you build because most of them have a back plate. This would require you to remove the motherboard to install. This way you do it right off the bat and don't have to worry about it. Unless you plan to just run stock speed.

In addition, just get VISTA... Don't "Wait for windows 7" There is WAY to much hype behind it. It IS Vista with some modifications in the way it operates and looks, but ultimately the same. My buddy has beta tested Windows 7 and just says "Dude, it is Vista". Plus Vista is patched pretty well right now and you know darn well Windows 7 will have some work that needs to be done and stuff that won't run right out of the bucket.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 6:51:03 PM

^
^
-2
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2009 8:18:05 PM

WR2 said:
E8500 / EP45T-DS3R / HAF 932 and built over 2 years ago? Interesting ;) 

Yes it is a well known fact that hardware has to work harder in higher temps. And running a PC system in a higher heat environment can reduce the lifespan of the hardware. What if the temps are only slightly higher?
http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/message/icon4.gif Then what does that actually mean? How much reduction? Lots of variables of course but since most PCs have a perceived useful lifespan of 3~5 years it's not as much of an issue as you're trying to make it. Not when much of the hardware is probably good for 15+ years (apart from the items that have moving parts like fans, HDDs, case switches and maybe PSUs).

If you checked my systems details you've noticed I'm not against home builds.
I was mostly curious to see how much FUD you'd try and use to support your position.


The E8500 system is new. I built that one around 7 months ago. It's my baby :) 
The one I built a couple years ago is an e6850/evga 790i/sunbeam transformer case. It's nothing real special, but it's a good secondary computer.

I'm not gonna throw around garbage facts. I looked for a while for some graphs. I'm sure it varies in each circumstance. I'm sure that most posters on here aren't against home builds. That's kind of what this site is all about.
May 8, 2009 12:07:28 PM

I agree this build will most likely blow the socks off any dell. Now its time to trim the fat off and optimize the build.

Here's a suggestions for ram that are a bit cheaper but offer the same quality and maybe even better preformance than the crosair ones you've listed
OCZ Plat 1600
mushkin 1600
G. Skill 1600

All of these options would be great picks with your rig and leave your plenty of room for overclocking. (unless you plan on going more than 4ghz. Then i'd have some other suggestions.)
May 8, 2009 1:59:20 PM

Ok, i switched the Corsair Ram for OCZ and switched the GTX 260 192 to GTX 260 216.
Total is now $1385.64 without case or cpu cooler.
Is the GTX 260 the best card for $200 range?
Anything else i should change?
Any CPU Cooler recommendations?

thanks
a b B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2009 2:22:08 PM

^
Actually the 4870 is on par with the gtx260 and tops it out with several games. It is also a little less than the GTX260 216. But both are good cards and a good choice. It's sorta preference.
!