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Build or Buy a Gaming Desktop? $1000 or less if possible?

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April 23, 2010 1:54:39 AM

I've been wanting a gaming pc for a long time, catch up with games that are by now some years old. Through looking around I'm stuck between buying a gaming PC or building one.
I mostly want the cheaper alternative, but I hear both sides, that "building is cheaper" or the other, that "buying a pre-built is cheaper". I'm leaning towards buying a pre-built system since I can't afford (money wise) to screw something up while building a PC. Also, I'm not one to delve into playing with my hardware to see what I can improve (at the most I'd tinker with RAM, Graphics cards, Video cards and stuff)

I've been looking at this PC in particular-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think it's pretty good, yeah? I'd like a system that could play Oblivion and Fallout 3. I wouldn't be multitasking the heck out of it, so that's no concern.
Could you guys tell me what you think or if you've any recommendations? Thank you.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 23, 2010 2:06:05 AM

Namtubb said:
I've been wanting a gaming pc for a long time, catch up with games that are by now some years old. Through looking around I'm stuck between buying a gaming PC or building one.
I mostly want the cheaper alternative, but I hear both sides, that "building is cheaper" or the other, that "buying a pre-built is cheaper". I'm leaning towards buying a pre-built system since I can't afford (money wise) to screw something up while building a PC. Also, I'm not one to delve into playing with my hardware to see what I can improve (at the most I'd tinker with RAM, Graphics cards, Video cards and stuff)

I've been looking at this PC in particular-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think it's pretty good, yeah? I'd like a system that could play Oblivion and Fallout 3. I wouldn't be multitasking the heck out of it, so that's no concern.
Could you guys tell me what you think or if you've any recommendations? Thank you.


As a previous customer of iBuypower I was in your EXACT situation over a year ago.

Although the computer they sent me was adequate, I have since upgraded everything but RAM/Mobo.( which are both on my birthday wishlist to replace)

Here's the rule of thumb: If you want to get a basic PC to surf the web/email/MS Office go get a dell. It's hard to beat their price for such a basic system.

If you want a gaming PC, build it yourself, you WILL save money.

Also iBuypower has terrible Customer Service ratings. I got lucky, mine worked pretty good out of the box. But the case felt cheap, the PSU was cheap. I inspected all the components after receiving it, and found one of my RAM sticks not seated.

Like I said, it was a good computer. But after about 5 months the glamour of the "Transformers looking case" and the cathodes wore off and I started really looking at my performance. For what I spent (859.00 from newegg btw) I could have built better.

I ended up giving my friend the case, PSU, and the Gfx card in a build I did for him and upgraded off of that. Meaning I did 2 complete computer builds on the same day for the 1st time. It was much easier than I expected, and I recommend any gamer builds their own rig.

The best thing you can do, is take the specs of the iBuypower computer and price the exact same parts from newegg.com

You'll find about a 100-200 dollar mark up.

Something to consider.
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April 23, 2010 3:19:18 AM

Thanks for sharing, it helps.
Yeah, the ibuypower computer has some unnecessary features.
I'll consider what you said, but I'm quite concerned about making a PC still.
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Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 23, 2010 3:22:22 AM

Namtubb said:
Thanks for sharing, it helps.
Yeah, the ibuypower computer has some unnecessary features.
I'll consider what you said, but I'm quite concerned about making a PC still.


You're nervouse, but I guarantee if you read the sticky of how to build a PC, you will be fine. Also we are here if you have any hang ups to help out.
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April 23, 2010 3:27:49 AM

That computer does look decent spec wise BUT keep in mind ibuypower probably uses mediocre parts at best. I built a $1000 (more like $1060) system a month ago and it's the best thing I've ever build.

As said above if you read the sticky about you'll have a good grasp about how to build a computer. And when in doubt ask the forum for suggestions/recommendations on parts.
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April 23, 2010 4:02:29 AM

Alright, I'm looking into parts. If I get something better and for less then I guess that's great. I usually don't get too ambitious with these things but what the hey.
Thanks both of you.
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April 23, 2010 4:41:17 AM

To me it has nothing to do with cost. Its quality. You will never get the type of quality and personalization from a store bought unit that comes from building your own. It isn't for everyone, but it is the best way to go. And its loads of fun.

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April 23, 2010 5:07:37 AM

Namtubb said:
Alright, I'm looking into parts. If I get something better and for less then I guess that's great. I usually don't get too ambitious with these things but what the hey.
Thanks both of you.

Definitely build your own!!! There are so many resources for you to do it yourself. YouTube has videos. I would love to build it for you, I am so jonesin' for another build. You will get good quality parts, the satisfaction of building it yourself.

Put together a parts list and post it here, you will get all the advice you need and some you don't.

You will save a little money, but you will get a truly PERSONAL computer. I envy you!!!!!
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April 23, 2010 5:13:39 AM

FALC0N said:
To me it has nothing to do with cost. Its quality. You will never get the type of quality and personalization from a store bought unit that comes from building your own. It isn't for everyone, but it is the best way to go. And its loads of fun.

I'd like to get into building my own PC, maybe even make it a hobby, but at the moment I feel like I couldn't afford to tinker around with such expensive equipment (yeah, I'll admit that I'm a cheap a**) However, it seems like the general consensus is that the quality of parts that sellers (like ibuypower) use are not as good as what I could get individually, right?

I did what cmcghee358 recommended; I found parts and compared their prices to the computer I liked These are parts that give the same specs, I believe, minus the mouse and anything I forgot ^^; ( I might have also overlooked compatibility issues )
Is it alright if I post them to make sure? Sorry for bothering.

Processor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And then DVD drive, Windows 7, and Mouse.

It is more expensive than buying the computer. However, it does fall into my budget. Again it looks to me like the consensus is that it is better to buy individuals parts that you know are good rather than buying a pre-set computer that may contain faulty parts.
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April 23, 2010 5:44:18 AM

I have an 955 BE system very similar to that one.

Cooler Master Storm Scout Case
AMD 955 BE @ 3.8 24/7
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus HSF Push/Pull
Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H rev 1.0
8 GB G Skil 6400 RAM
XFX HD 5770 "egg shape"
Rosewill 550 watt PSU.

Here's a link: http://i634.photobucket.com/albums/uu70/henrystrawn/DSC...

It's cool and stable @4 Ghz but according to benchmarks I don't gain much.

You might consider a crossfire board for a second 5770 down the road, that PSU will handle it. I'm running 2 HD5770 on a BFG 650 watt. Here's a link to my main system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8EusoPORfQ

The parts list looks good to me.

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April 23, 2010 5:45:29 AM

That's not a bad start.

Replace the x4 965 with a 955

I personally would get a better mobo, but the msi will suffice

Get cl7 or cl8 Ram

The graphics card is good depending on your resolution

You won't need a 750w PSU for you system, unless you plan on running crossfire in the future which you can't with the board you picked. It is however a good price right now. A good 500-550w will be fine for your system.

Case is mostly preference if you don't plan to overclock.

The HDD is good. Either the one you have picked or the samsung f3 will be your best bets.
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April 23, 2010 5:45:32 AM

Even if it is more expensive (how much is the total?) the video card is more powerful so it will have more life for future games, and can handle current games better.

Also, the prebuilt has a 1 year warranty. A lot of parts you get can have more than a 1 year warranty.
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April 23, 2010 5:53:36 AM

Looks good, it may be a little more expensive, but your getting better and higher quality computer.

Also, you don't need a 750W power supply, save some money and get a 550W-650W, it will be more than enough.
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a b B Homebuilt system
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April 23, 2010 6:02:47 AM

Namtubb said:
I'd like to get into building my own PC, maybe even make it a hobby, but at the moment I feel like I couldn't afford to tinker around with such expensive equipment (yeah, I'll admit that I'm a cheap a**) However, it seems like the general consensus is that the quality of parts that sellers (like ibuypower) use are not as good as what I could get individually, right?

I did what cmcghee358 recommended; I found parts and compared their prices to the computer I liked These are parts that give the same specs, I believe, minus the mouse and anything I forgot ^^; ( I might have also overlooked compatibility issues )
Is it alright if I post them to make sure? Sorry for bothering.

Processor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And then DVD drive, Windows 7, and Mouse.

It is more expensive than buying the computer. However, it does fall into my budget. Again it looks to me like the consensus is that it is better to buy individuals parts that you know are good rather than buying a pre-set computer that may contain faulty parts.


Good job finding all the same components bud! Alot of these guys think this is your dream build, they missed the fact that you were finding equal components to compare cost/value

Now, 1st things 1st. You have selected same specs but your quality is SIGNIFICANTLY higher. The PSU is made by the best brand in the world. The case is far superior to iBuypower's case as well.

Now we're also starting to see why building your own rig is so much better.

If you didn't know any better you'd think AMD 965 3.4 GHz > AMD 955 3.2GHz? Well thats not the case. Since the 955 and 965 are the same chip, it's just the 965 has a 17x multiplier instead of 16x.

So you buy the 955 instead, open BIOS and increase your clock by 1x and boom you just saved 30 bucks.

This is really what we're getting at, building your computer with quality parts and more important SMART parts.

Thats why we're here, to steer you to the best value/dollar. And giving you exactly what you need with current parts available.

And I can guarantee Toms Hardware Forums are better Customer Support than anyone you'd call at any computer building company.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 23, 2010 6:03:34 AM

Also the PSU is another good example of why we recommend building your own.

What would you rather have, a no-name PSU thats 750W or a Corsair thats 550W and is cheaper, and actually fits your needs.

iBuypower's job is to take a buttload of components, and without any sort of logic, just kinda mix and match to generate alot of different system specs and configs.

They dont care if the PSU is offbrand, not really. But when you build your own, being the end-item user, you most certainly care.

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April 23, 2010 6:51:39 AM

Woo! Thanks for the loads of help everyone ^^

I changed the PSU and CPU. I'm looking at RAM now, so I could do better in that department?
I found this RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's cl7, but is it better? I'm afraid I lack knowledge in this department too.

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April 23, 2010 8:00:47 PM

I was looking at tecmo34's 'Recommended Builds' sticky (very useful, by the way) when I realized I forgot about a cooler!

I got this cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The cooler comes with a Thermal compound, right?

Also, I believe this RAM will suffice:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Picked out a better Motherboard (I believe):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I'll post the rest again for ease;

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

550W Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD 955 Processor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive (I didn't show post this earlier, but there's nothing wrong with it, right?):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then Windows 7 Home Premium, keyboard and mouse.

If I'm correct, am I ready to order and start building? (Please pardon my anxiousness, for this is...exciting :D  )

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April 23, 2010 8:26:19 PM

Definately build your own. I just built my first ever computer with the help of this forum. Best choice I ever made. Build your own, you'll be fine.

Do you live near a Frys? I don't, but they run massive combo specials for in-store purchase. Like this one. It would save you a few bucks from your AMD modeled build, with what most would argue is a better chip.

i5-750 CPU & Mobo Combo - $205 + $20 MIR = $185
http://www.frys.com/product/6222150





http://www.frys.com/product/6222150
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a b B Homebuilt system
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April 23, 2010 9:17:33 PM

You only actually need a CPU cooler if you intend to Overclock the CPU. I'll look over your specs when I get some free time tonight.
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a b B Homebuilt system
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April 23, 2010 9:42:43 PM

Namtubb said:
Again it looks to me like the consensus is that it is better to buy individuals parts that you know are good rather than buying a pre-set computer that may contain faulty parts.


It's not that the parts would necessarily be faulty, it's just that they are almost guaranteed to be of lower quality.

The reason regulars on this forum aren't interested in pre-built computers is because typically those businesses cut corners on some of the less-visible parts, such as the power supply, RAM, and hard drives. This doesn't make them bad people, but it does mean that the parts may not be as good as if you bought them yourself and built the computer on your own.
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April 24, 2010 6:18:43 AM

cmcghee358 said:
You only actually need a CPU cooler if you intend to Overclock the CPU. I'll look over your specs when I get some free time tonight.

Oh thanks! I appreciate it ^^
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a b B Homebuilt system
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April 24, 2010 6:23:16 AM

Also just skimming it, whats all that add up to? Seems like you might have some wiggle room in your budget?

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April 24, 2010 6:45:10 AM

cmcghee358 said:
The CPU you have linked is an older 955, it ends with "IBOX"

What you want is the newest 955 CPU that ends with MBOX, it runs cooler.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's little things like that that would go past me ^^; Thanks for pointing that out.

The subtotal is $998.90, but I will have enough for it. $1000 is just the approximate limit I set for myself so that I wouldn't spend like mad heh heh
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 24, 2010 6:48:23 AM

Namtubb said:
It's little things like that that would go past me ^^; Thanks for pointing that out.

The subtotal is $998.90, but I will have enough for it. $1000 is just the approximate limit I set for myself so that I wouldn't spend like mad heh heh


Go head and buy it, I'll PM you my cell number in case you run into any trouble
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April 24, 2010 7:04:39 AM

cmcghee358 said:
Go head and buy it, I'll PM you my cell number in case you run into any trouble

Thank you and everyone else a bunch :D 
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April 24, 2010 7:07:21 AM

Best answer selected by Namtubb.
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