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Alienware or build my own rig choice question

Last response: in Systems
April 5, 2010 1:33:51 PM

Hi there, :hello: 

My first time posting here, thankful for all the useful information I've been finding on this great site over the years.

Anyway, I have a question where I'd really appreciate your opinions.

I am about to buy a new gaming rig and have selected some components which I was about to order. But since I have very limited time I am a bit reluctant to buy eveything in components since it's been years I put a computer together and configurated everything correctly. One of my friends who happens to work at a big HW company is able to give me a huge discount on an Alienware Area-51 rig with a fairly similar spec, which would save me the pain on putting everything together myself. With the discount it would end up at the same price as the component alternative. However, my knowledge of Alienware computers are a bit hazy nowadays. Also their configuration tool lacks a lot of information motherboard, brand/quality of memory/HD etc. This made me end up being a bit unsure about this second alternative.

My main question is if I making any tradeoffs on performance if I choose the Alienware solution just to avoid the hassle of building the rig myself? Or maybe this is a no-issue with performance being similar since memory, graphics card and processor are almost identical? Which would you think give most bang for the bucks?

Any other comments on the two different cases, cooling, future proof etc would be very appreciated.

Thank you,

Component specs:

Motherboard Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5, X58, Socket-1366, DDR3, ATX, USB3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, 2xPCI-Ex(2.0)x16

Memory Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333MHz 6GB CL9 Kit w/3x 2GB XMS3 modules, CL9-9-9-24, for Core i7

Intel Core™ i7 Quad Processor i7-920 Quad Core, 2.66Ghz, Socket 1366, 8MB, 130W, Boxed w/fan

Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 2GB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0, 2xDVI-I, HDMI, DisplayPort, Full-Retail

WD VelociRaptor 150GB 10000RPM, SATA, 3 Gb/s, 16MB

Western Digital Caviar® Black™ 500GB, Sata 3 Gb/s, 32MB Cache, 7200RPM

Sony NEC Optiarc DVD±RW burner AD-7240S

Antec Twelve Hundred Big Tower Black Fans: 3x 120mm Front, 1x 200mm Topp, 2x 120mm Bak, Blue LEDs, Window

Corsair HX 750W PSU ATX 12V V2.2, 80 Plus Silver, Modular, 4x 6+2-pin PCIe, 12x SATA, 140mm Fan

Alienware Area-51 computer:

Motherboard: Configuration tool had no information on this

3-channel memory, 6 GB 1 333 MHz (3 x 2 GB)

Intel® Core™ i7-processor 920 (2,66 GHz, 8 MB cache, 4,8 GT/s)

2GB ATI® Radeon™ HD 5970 graphics card

640 GB seriell ATA (7 200 v/min)

16x optic DVD+/-RW-drive

Killer™ Xeno™ Pro-network card

Soundblaster™ XFi™ Titanium PCIe-card (not sure how needed these are for gaming nowadays)

Also some other stuff included in this spec such as keyboard, mouse and 1 year on site support.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2010 2:29:54 PM

Considering that this section is about building it yourself, no one is going to tell you to get the Alienware. You're going to spend extra for lower quality parts, especially the motherboard, RAM, HDD and PSU. The reason you don't get details on them is because they're not good ones. You also don't need the network card or the sound card.

Not only that, but the build you put together is not that great anyway. Check out this one:

CPU/RAM: i7-930 and G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $460. Much faster sticks. Not to mention cheaper.
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310. A higher quality board (though only slightly).
GPU: HD 5970 $700
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $90. A faster drive. I left out the VelociRaptor because it's only as fast as this one, but a hell of lot more expensive.
PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W 80+ Gold $200. A bigger, more efficient PSU.
Case: HAF 922 $90. A better, cheaper case.
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
HSF (if OC): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35

Total: $1,905

EDIT: Forgot to mention this. If you want better advice, follow the guidelines from the link in my signature. If you give us a budget, usage, and other information, we can put together the best answers to your questions.
April 5, 2010 3:16:52 PM

built it yourself and go with a i7 930 instead of a 920... It is only $10 more and can overclock higher. You will get a much better deal if you build it yourself...
Related resources
April 5, 2010 3:22:16 PM

also, if you go with crossfire (2 of them) 5850's you will end up spending $100-$150 less and will get performance that is very close to the 5970 in most situations...

I personally have a antec 1200 and have found it to be a very good case. the cooling is awesome and it has plenty of room for all of my components. Just we aware, this case is BIG...
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2010 3:24:57 PM

On the CF 5850s: Yes, that is close at stock. However, the 5970 is acutally two 5870s on one card, with the cores slightly downclocked. You can undo that downclock with three clicks of the mouse, meaning that you can pay $700 for $800+ worth of power. Also, the 5970 only takes one slot so you can either save money by getting a single PCIe 2.0 board (not available for LGA1366 CPUs) or still add a second in Crossfire later. I think that's worth the little extra cash.
April 6, 2010 7:06:11 AM

Thanks to both of you, really appreciated.

MadAdmiral, thanks for suggesting the components. I'll check what is available for me where I live and start all over again. =P