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Looking for advice on gaming computer purchase

Last response: in Systems
August 3, 2010 6:33:04 AM

I'm looking to purchase a mid-high range desktop gaming system, emphasis on long term sustainability and value, over short term extreme performance.

I am a resident of Canada, and after looking into the possibility of purchasing parts to build a computer, it doesn't seem as financially viable as purchasing a prebuilt.
My budget is flexible, I'm able to put out the extra money now if it'll save me cash in the long run.

From what research I've done, this computer appears to be the best deal I could find, I would like to get some assurance that it'll do what I would like it to, and that it is of reasonable price. Any other advice appreciated.

HP PAvilion Elite HPE-372f Desktop PC 1149.00$ (CAD)

Processor: Intel i7-860 2.8ghz
socket LGA1156

Chipset: Intel H57 express

Motherboard: *Manufacturer: MSI

* Motherboard Name: MS-7613
*HP/Compaq motherboard name: Iona-GL8E

Power Suppy: 460W

Memory: 8 GB Installed, 16 GB Max capacity
speed supported: PC3-10600 MB/s
type: 240 pin DDR3

Hardrive: 1 TB SATA 3G (3GB/s)

Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n PCI Express x1 wireless card

Video Graphics: Radeon HD5770, 1GB

Sound/audio: High Definition 8-channel audio, ALC 888S chipset

Expansion Slots: PCI Express x16 One (None available)
PCI Express x1 Three (Two available)
PCI Express x1 minicard socket One (One available)

OS: Windows 7 Premium 64bit

a b 4 Gaming
August 3, 2010 6:47:23 AM

This is a much better build:

All from

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152181

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ...
Item #: N82E16817341017
-$44.00 Instant
$20.00 USD Mail-in Rebate17-341-017

Subtotal: $136.98

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811129066
-$15.00 Instant

GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Item #: N82E16814125333

OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3F1600LV4GK
Item #: N82E16820227507
-$15.00 Instant
-$17.00 Combo
$20.00 USD Mail-in Rebate20-227-507

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I5750
Item #: N82E16819115215

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard w/ USB 3.0 & SATA 6 Gb/s
Item #: N82E16813128409
-$4.00 Instant
-$19.99 Combo
Subtotal: $810.95

Windows 7 64 bit OEM 104.99

Total cost before shipping, taxes and Mail in Rebates($40): 1051.00
a b 4 Gaming
August 3, 2010 6:48:43 AM

The one I listed has better quality components, and it will outperform the one listed. Also it allows for you to add a 2nd GPU on down the road. And from the recent benchmarks from Toms Hardware, 2 460s in SLI dominate.

So it's 100 bucks cheaper before MIR and it's better. I highly recommend building your own
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August 3, 2010 7:19:04 AM

Thanks for the response, cmc.
My concerns are as follows:

-From what I can gather, newegg ships from the United States to canada, even when ordering through their .ca website. In addition to the heightened shipping costs for distance, the shipping charge factors in duties, brokerage and tax on importing goods from the states (my provincial 13%). An example on the newegg site shows 55 dollars shipping for a single computer case - often you end up paying separate shipping for each item you purchase, because they are not all located in the same storage warehouse. This could potentially be a great deal of money in shipping.

-The rebates appear to be applicable to US residents only, so would not be of relevance

-The core in your build is an I5 750. Although I've noticed in reviews the I5 750 is barley outperformed by the I7 860 in gaming - would it possess the same longevity as an I7 core?

- With half the Ram and HD space, which are, admittingly not an immediate concern, aswell as these other points - is this still a better value long term system? Factoring in the time and effort required for me to learn to, and put together a system for the first time?

Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
August 3, 2010 7:27:48 AM

Being an American I can't speak for shipping, but I was under the impression that duties wouldn't be added.

The i5-750 has the same longevity of the i7-860 because it's on the same 1156 platform. The i5-750 is ideal for gaming.

4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD is all that will be required for gaming. More importantly, the 4 GB of RAM is CAS 7 latency so I am positive it will be better than whatever RAM the HP had. Also the HDD I listed is 7200 RPM and has a single 500 GB platter. Which is a high end specification for current HDDs

Also, take a look at the warranties for all of these items. Most are 1 year, some are 3-5 year. THat's better than the HP warranty. Also the customer service here on Toms Hardware exceeds any company when it comes to individual experience as well as a motivated will to help those in need.

Finally, building your own computer isn't as hard as you think, and also when you personally install every component and see how everything connects, it provides you with experience to troubleshoot your own computer much better.
August 3, 2010 9:05:13 AM

Prebuilt systems often inflate their worth by confusing the customer with crap they do not need whilst hiding the cheap quality parts they use.

As cmc said, 4gb is all you need for gaming, by the time you need more than that DR3 will likely be old news and you will likely be eyeing up a new system by then. So, the prebuilt lures you in with LOTS of RAM, but the reality is half you don't need and what you do use will be low quality high latency slower RAM.

The PSU will be god knows what and may or may not last - typical luck will state it will survive beyond waranty and then blow, damaging the rest of the system in the process.

The HDD will be slow, the motherboard far from adequate. You want a computer that can last, cmc has given a motherboard that can use two GPUs, 2 x GTX460 is disgustingly good and will extend the life of your PC FAR more than a more expensive CPU - especially when the CPU is useless in terms of additional gaming performance (all the i7 860 offers is hyperthreading which is pointless for games).

There has never been a situation where what can be bought prebuilt is better than what can be built for same price. The onl decent parts in a prebuilt are the CPU and GPU (though sometimes they stick ya with a crap one of those two) because those are the only two things people generally know what to look at, for everything else big numbers is enough to convince a buyer
August 3, 2010 5:24:41 PM

After throwing the listed components in my cart, with shipping and tax the total comes out to 1240.85, which isn't bad at all.

A couple more questions, if you wouldn't mind. I have no access to a credit card with the required limits, does newegg take Visa gift cards?
Is there anything else I'll reasonably need to complete the computer? Networking card, thermal paste?
August 3, 2010 7:59:46 PM

Thermal paste is not needed, nor is a network card - the motherboard will have what you need for that.
A non magnetic screwdriver is about all you need
a b 4 Gaming
August 3, 2010 9:01:18 PM

I believe newegg will do paypal linked to a bank account. Yup just checked they sure do, also accept check by mail.
August 4, 2010 7:12:53 AM

cmcghee358 said:
I believe newegg will do paypal linked to a bank account. Yup just checked they sure do, also accept check by mail.

Thanks a ton for the advice. At the very least I'm going to give this a lot more thought and explore some more options.
Although I'm almost disappointed - I was ready to go out tomorrow and purchase that pre-built at the conveniently located future shop retailer without having to worry about any hassle. It's something I need to get over, I think. Paying exorbitant amounts of money for the "convenience" isn't worth it.
August 4, 2010 7:14:05 AM

Best answer selected by Harshe.
August 4, 2010 7:55:40 AM

You'll also find it a lot more satisfying when you first play on a computer you built yourself, well worth the inconvenience