I would like to tell you a story, there was once a man who wanted to build a computer for the first time. He had spent two weeks doing his price research and was blown away by the prices that places like ncix.com and newegg.ca were giving. To him, this sounded perfect, he was saving much needed money! Soon after his order was placed, the excitement of the whole experience was still fresh in his mind. He couldn't stop browsing the online stores! But there lay the downfall of his good spirits. He was slowly finding that some of his parts were outdated, for example; his cpu was a quad core. This man was unaware that the socket 1156's were coming out in a week. They came out and the price dropped dramatically. To his dismay, he also realized that DDR3 RAM prices were on the verge of being near level to those of DDR2, yet he had gone with the latter. Worst of all, his motherboard supported just about no expandability. The Gigabyte EP45-UD3R. For only $15 more he could have bought the EP45 UD3P, which was more feature packed, and supported DDRR3, something the UD3R did not. Seeing as though any sort of major update would be a total revamp of his whole computer, the price would be way to high to ever do any major update. He broke down in frustration.
After much more forum searching, he came to accept the fact that it is better to rejoice about what you do have, and leave what you don't behind. His parts arrived and with a new mindset, he set to work. He had all of the internal components installed, but he was not getting any signal on his monitor. He tried every single trick in the book, and then some but the problem would not go away, so in defeat he RMA'd the mobo. Getting it back, he made sure he had an expert friend's help for the install. People, would you like to know the outcome? It worked! Sounds great right? No; it turns out he had forgotten to plug in his 8-pin power connector. There was no need to wait that week and a half plus the $40 for shipping, he had everything he needed! As frustrating as it was, well sh*t happens, and he could now get his computer to work!
Once more in high spirits, everything was going great. Computer up and running and one thing left. The sound system. He had found an amazing price on sale to get the Logitech X-540's for $80! The young man could not have been more exited to put it together. Could it just have worked, for once! N.O. All of this waiting, and hard work and what happens? He gets to the end of the journey only to have to deal with some speakers that came broken. He had consulted with experts and the verdict was true, he had to RMA, again. Throughout this process, he had also discovered that in his small town there was a memory express. A place in which you can get just about any computer part you want, for the same or cheaper price that that from an online site. If only he had known about this!
I am going to switch up the story a bit now. That man, in case you haven't already guessed, is me. I am now faced with the decision of whether I want to RMA my sound system, or try for a refund, pay the 15% restocking fee + shipping, and buy it through memory express for quite a bit more, if NCIX even accepts my refund plea. What a nightmare.
Now I have learned, never buy from an online site! If it seems to good to be true, it probably is!! There are always hidden setbacks that are invisible to the inexperienced, concealed by the glamor of an online computer store!
The guys in a computer store likely would not have told you those things, or they would have tried to sell you something more expensive than you really needed. I only buy online because of the price premium in real stores its just not worth it, and with newegg shipping speeds the delay between purchase and part arrival is minimal. Next time, stop by the forums first and we will get you up to speed on modern parts.
I hadn't quite finished my story, it is edited so take a re-read.
Yes, I wish I had consulted with you guys! Instead I dealt initially with arstechnica.com. They're jerks down there. Always treating me as as a noob simply because it was my first time. In turn they then screwed me over, telling me I didn't need this, or that would be "good enough". Now the problem is, my mistakes are ireversible unless I nearly get a new computer.
P.S. Parts List:
Intel C2Q Q9400
Antec Earthwatts 650W
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1GB Vapor-X
Sound Blaster Xtreme Gamer
Cooler Master CM 690
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit + Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
WD Caviar Black 1TB
G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1066
The part of system building that you're missing is that not everyone needs the uber-OMG-they-just-release-partx-why-don't-I-have-it-yet system. Looking through your parts list, I see absolutely nothing wrong with your component choices. In truth (look below), it would kick the snot out of my gamer without breaking a sweat and mine does everything I ask it to.
Don't sweat the wiring issue - everyone does that at least once.
Don't sweat not having the absolute latest and greatest - there's always something new just around the corner (USB 3.0, SATA6)
Don't sweat the RMA time - We all go through it eventually (was without my 22" monitor for 5 weeks)
you obviously have had some tough luck with online retailers. newegg is a great site, and those problems you mentioned, toms hardware is great, the guys are friendly, responses are quick, and just a great place to be!
yeah I do know that my components are still very good, what bothers me is that some of this stuff came out like a week after I bought it, for the same sort of price. Anyways, what can you do, besides consult TH that is
I have come to love and rely upon the community hear, its a great site indeed. One of the few.
P.S. I forgot to mention, I WILL NEVER BUY FROM AN ONLINE RETAILER AGAIN. Except in small parts. I won't buy my whole system from there like I did last time, and price isn't the biggest issue because my local memory express does price matching
Also, for the record. I just totaled my Newegg purchases for the last four years (since I discovered them). Let's just say, I could have bought a decent used car with all that cash.
In all that time and six pages worth of purchases, I've had three issues:
1) ATI All-In-Wonder X800XL - $300: System would constantly freeze up on me. Figured it was a bad card and returned it. Newegg accepted it and returned the full purchase price; which I promptly turned around and dropped on a Geforce 7800GS, only to get the same freezes. Turns out there was nothing wrong with the ATI card. My power supply couldn't support it.
2) Viewsonic VG2230WM - ~$350: Developed a vertical magenta line from top to bottom on the right hand side of the screen, two months after purchase. While not strictly a Newegg issue, since I bought it from an online retailer, I had to ship it directly to Viewsonic for repairs. As mentioned, five weeks before I got it back. Been working like a champ ever since.
3) WD 500GB hard drive - ~$80: Had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing a hard drive go "brick" on me. The real unfortunate part was that this hard drive contained all my movies (and I hadn't backed them up). One hard drive and one month later, I was back in business (and yes, I did pick up a second hard drive for back up purposes).
So I'm looking at 50+ purchases totaling over $8000 (over 4+ years) and I'm out $130 for the brick hard drive/shipping to Viewsonic and 6 weeks turn around time for repairs/replacements.
From my perspective, I have no problems with ordering online (from Newegg).
Newegg's been great. On occasion I use Amazon. Hit or miss there, but mostly a hit. I used to use Mwave, they aren't that great product and price-wise, but good service. I live near a Microcenter, and used to live near a Fry's.