Getting a new system, what parts

I'm a little hesitant about building a computer, and I think I could probably get a better price buying from a company so Dell seems like a good idea for my next computer (other than the trialware they usually install on the computers).

I have been researching for a few weeks but finally decided to come to the experts. My first question is which is better for general computing (web browsing, file transfer...) and video conversions (entire DVDs, not just a 10sec file)?:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
Intel i7 920,827.html

If anyone has any other suggestions of a better processor that is a better price or is faster, then that would be appreciated.

I already found the Dell Studio XPS 435 which has the Intel i7 and 3GB of DDR3 RAM and many other nice components for $750 base price which is at a pretty high end of my budget, maybe even over it (my budget is always flexible when it comes to electronics :P )

Is DDR3 RAM combined with the Intel i7 going to be really that much faster than my current AMD Athlon X2 6000+?
8 answers Last reply
More about getting system parts
  1. If you look at some benchmarks, the i920 and E8500 may be 400% and 50% faster than your cpu respectively, but (a) what will that do for you? and (b) is now the best time to upgrade if it can be delayed?

    Unless you are multi-tasking, only your video conversions are likely to be significantly affected by the upgrade. You could check some benchmarks that show performance on similar tasks and see the real world impact of a cpu upgrade.

    Sure, a faster cpu et al are always better, but price structure on current parts, Intel and AMD, is likely to change later this year as new options in the form of Intel i5 are introduced.

    So, if you are on the fence about an upgrade, wait. If not . . .

    Build vs buy: Building isn't hard, until it is lol. Which is why there are forums like this. But there *is* a difference between a warranty on parts and a warranty/support for a PC from a good vendor. You can often get a very good price from a vendor on low-end PCs, sometimes on high-end, too.

    For kicks, I'm going to get prices on the parts for one of the Dells you linked. BRB.
  2. There are no experts here , but there are plenty of opinions .

    i7 is the best cpu available for video encoding . Its quite a lot faster than everything else at that particular task . Elsewhere its not that much better and is sometimes worse than amd and perhaps c2d

    This is an article from an Australian magazine,buyers-guide-40-cpus-tested-for-budget-mid-range-and-gaming-pcs.aspx

    Bottom of the page is a relative performance graph comparing Australian prices with over all performance in 2D apps .[ doesnt include gaming ]
    Its not a complete list of processors available today , but it is an interesting reference
  3. I have been using both Dell and custom built pc's for about 15 years and all i can say is that if you are willing to read and learn, in the end you will have a better piece of hardware if you go with a build. Now if you only want the pc to surf and lets say download music then go ahead with a pre-built-system.

    The only downfall with Dell, hp and other manufacturers is that you will not be able to overclock the cpu due to a locked bios. And on top of that most parts are generic and overpriced, unless you want to spend good coin on a high-end Dell XPS system with all the brand name parts...

    As far as the question above, i would wait for the i5's to come out... Then decide...
  4. XPS i920: Choosing least expensive parts at Newegg, the kit came to $722 without case and power supply. So, figure $800 min w/o shipping.

    So this low-end i7 is cheaper from this vendor.

    If you had a willingness to invest a bit more, and the time to adjust a few parameters . . . well, for $0 to $100 more you could have that cpu run at 3.2GHz - 3.6 GHz (vs 2.66) and be capable of installing a couple of *good* graphics cards for game play. Doing that with, that Dell will be difficult to impossible. Unless you pay up front for the upgrades, and that's where they usually get you for a bit more $.

    IOW, for the price you get control of the parts' quality, the ability to overclock, cases that fit your need and/or style, and portability of parts for future builds . . . up to a point. And you can save some money on higher-priced gaming rigs.
  5. The dell looks cheaper but might not be over time .

    With a home built you can keep the same case and psu for several generations of internal hardware .

    Also remember to consider the cost of Windows as well . That adds $100 to the cost of a home built in addition to the components
    And no warranty on the home built either .
  6. Well you do have warranty its just on each individual piece of harware. For example if you purchase a Western Digital hard-drive you will have a 5 year warranty. Same for the PSU,GPU,RAM,CPU etc... the only diffrence is that you will have to uninstall that part and send it in for a replacement.
  7. I still don't know if I should go with a Dell for its price or a home-built for its quality. I don't know if I would break my computer or wear it out faster if I would overclock a new one. The Dell is cheaper (now) as you guys said but a homebuilt has better parts that you can reuse. I probably wouldn't use the warranties unless I broke something while building it... In that case I just might go with the Dell.

    Warranty on the entire computer
    Cheaper for now - It's not like I'm gonna get a new computer every year and reuse the case and PSU (from my dad's point of view)
    Website doesn't let you make any mistakes on compatability

    I still am having a kinda hard time making up my mind.

    Edit: I think getting the homebuilt system might be nice if I wanted overclocking (but for more money lol) and it would look better if I got a nice looking case. Is overclocking hard? Does it ruin your system if you do it wrong (I mean, make your computer get bad sooner)?
  8. As far as overclocking, no its not hard but you have to educate yourself first. Meaning go to the overclocking forums here on Toms and just read and learn. It seems like for now you should go with a pre-built system and start playing arouund with different components. Now I will guarantee you this : once you have that Dell for about a year or two and then find out that the only thing you can do is upgrade the video card and maybe the cpu, you will start to tell yourself "WHY" did I buy this system if it cant keep up with time..... Thats what happend to me back in 97 when I spent 1,200$ on a full system from Dell. Yea I had the 4 year warranty, but Dell builds a pc and makes sure non of the components will fail in that timeframe. I never had an issue in those 4 years exept for maybe a fan going out...What really had me upset was that when I finally decided to swap parts and upgrade I noticed that everything exept the video card and cpu were generic (no-name brand). So in the end its up to you and your needs. I would rather have you read and learn the basics of putting a pc together here on Toms then going ahead and spending good money on a pre-built pc.

    On a side note : Compatibilty as far as parts is the least of your worries. Just go to Newegg, click on motherboards and read the reviews. Most reviews will show a list of components that the user has purchased from them. And then you will have an idea of what's compatible with the motherboard you choose. I hope this helps and remember if you have a question feel free to ask whatever....
Ask a new question

Read More

Homebuilt Systems