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Build vs. Dell

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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 2:55:21 PM

I just can't seem to get a build that is a better deal than Dell.

Put this together:


Built a similar machine on Dell with 9GB RAM, a 24' monitor, keyboard, mouse...and it was $1520 with 2 year warranty. I can't seem to get anywhere near that building my own with the following:

i7 processor (860/920)
Radeon 5870
6GB of tri-channel RAM

Any advice here or should I just go with a Dell?


More about : build dell

August 19, 2010 2:59:09 PM

When you're comparing vs. a pre-built (like Dell), you have 2 options. You can get the same quality components and usually beat the price; or you can pay about the same (or more) and get better quality components.

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.

If you could follow the instructions in the How to Ask for New Build Advice thread, people will be able to come up with a more accurate answer for you. Specifically, intended usage, monitor resolution, and budget are very important pieces of information.

I'll note that manufacturer warranties on parts are frequently longer than 2 years. What graphics card did you put on the Dell? They tend to charge a big premium for gaming graphics cards.
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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 3:03:46 PM

I had a 5870 as well on the Dell prebuilt (XPS 9100).
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August 19, 2010 3:14:50 PM

Could you mention the config of the Dell PC you are eying? And the price?
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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 3:21:14 PM

This is the Dell PC @ $1549.99

PROCESSORS Intel® Core™i7-920 processor(8MB L2 Cache, 2.66GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
MEMORY 9GB Tri Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 6 DIMMs
MONITOR 24.0" Dell ST2410 Full HD Monitor with VGA cable
VIDEO CARD ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5
HARD DRIVE 750GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
OPTICAL DRIVE Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
SPEAKERS No Speaker Option
KEYBOARD Dell Studio Consumer Multimedia Keyboard
MOUSE Dell Studio Optical Mouse
SOUND CARD THX® TruStudio PC™
MODEM No Modem Option
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 2 Year Basic Service Plan edit
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August 19, 2010 3:43:19 PM

Its a natural fact that price-wise, all the OEM's like Dell and HP are at an advantage. They can build relationships with cheap part manufacturers and thus get heavy discounts on their bulk orders for the machines they build and these savings obviously pass on to you. We the builders must pay full price + taxes for our parts but you can bet bottom dollar you don't see the same cheap manufacturer stuff in our PC's than you would in theirs. Once you start system building, its hard to see why you'd ever want to go back to an OEM.
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August 19, 2010 3:44:52 PM

i7 930
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Windows 7 HP
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
6GB RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Dell ST2410
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Monitors/pr...
xfx 5870 + Aliens vs Predator
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1TB spinpoint f3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
24x DVD burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GA-X58A-UD3R mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OCZ Fatal1ty 550W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
mouse
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

TOTAL : $1502

LESS than the Dell total, and ALL of the parts are BETTER quality. I included the Dell monitor for comparison, but you could find a better one for the same price, or a similar one for a better price. The only thing the Dell has that this build doesnt is 9GB RAM, which is really unnecessary; if you really want it, throw in a 3x1GB set.
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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 3:52:00 PM

I really have no need for 9GB of RAM, that's the lowest you can get on that specific Dell model. I have no ties to getting the same Dell monitor, would prefer a Samsung but that's neither here nor there. Does your total price include mail-in rebates and combos?

Also, how does the XFX brand compare with Sapphire when buying a video card? Just want to make sure I'm getting good quality materials/brands if I'm going to build myself.
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August 19, 2010 3:54:44 PM

That build is after rebates, but without any combos.

xfx is generally a better brand, lifetime warranty and such; also that 5870 is $60 cheaper and comes with AvP.
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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 3:58:37 PM

Alright, will check out your build and see what I can do with some combo deals on newegg...may be able to save $100+ in combos which would then be worth it. If anyone else has any recommendations, please let me know.
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August 19, 2010 4:02:20 PM

Decent build, some areas for improvement, even without shopping for combos. The i7-930 + the Gigabyte UD3R is a good setup, assuming that you are using the i7 for more than just gaming.

If you're just gaming, you could just as easily go with an i5-760 build or an AMD Phenom II X4 955 build and save $200-300 compared to the cost of the i7.

XFX is generally considered one of the quality manufacturers, along with Sapphire and a couple of others. They offer double-lifetime warranties on some of their cards.

This G.Skill PI Series RAM is cheaper and has better timings (CAS Latency) than the Corsair linked above.

I believe the Fatal1ty series from OCZ is decent, though if you ever added another card, or want to overclock, it might not be enough for the system.

This combo with an XFX 5870 and XFX 750W PSU is a pretty good deal.
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August 19, 2010 4:08:50 PM

I would say that it is. The UD3R has USB 3.0 & SATA 6.0 Gb/s support, in addition to having more PCI slots.
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August 19, 2010 4:13:46 PM

thanks coldsleep.

the ud3r has SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0, and one more PCI-e slot, while the p6t has one more PCI slot. The UD3R is getting great ratings everywhere, and is newer and cheaper.

EDIT: you snuck in ahead of me! :) 
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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 4:56:49 PM

Confused on the RAM as the Corsair RAM listed is $119 after rebate and the G Skill coldsleep listed is $149.
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August 19, 2010 5:00:38 PM

Who is the moron who changed the newegg site? I think they need some feedback.
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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 5:26:14 PM

Also, been hearing a lot that the i7 950 is supposed to get a price cut here shortly to take it to $299...if this is true, would I be better off waiting on that and paying an extra $10 to go from the 930 to the 950?

Still looking at the RAM and case...kinda want a case that doesn't look so plain-Jane but also has good fans/cooling. Suggestions?
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August 19, 2010 6:11:39 PM

Quote:
Confused on the RAM as the Corsair RAM listed is $119 after rebate and the G Skill coldsleep listed is $149.


Hmm. Apparently I was looking at different tabs. I wasn't considering the rebate, but the RAM I linked does have better timings. :)  If you're including the rebates in the cost, then the Corsair RAM linked is pretty much the cheapest 6 GB kit you can get.

The RAM I linked is more suitable for overclocking, if you're thinking of doing that. Otherwise the Corsiar XMS3 is a great find by rainvie1.

If $1500 isn't a hard limit, then there are certainly other cases to consider. Lots of people like the HAF 922. Personally, I think it's ugly as sin, but tastes vary. :)  Other than that, I'd suggest googling "computer case reviews" and just poke around.
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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 6:26:33 PM

Seems like this PSU may be a better deal than previously posted. How does this look so far? It's at just under $1600 with shipping which is a little more than I had anticipated but not going to break the bank. Can I get some add'l input as to what could be tweaked?

http://yfrog.com/mjtest3lj
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August 19, 2010 6:27:14 PM

the cheapest way to go about is buy the base system from DELL and then add your components.

dell makes money from the memory/harddrive/graphics upgrades which are usually double the price of what you pay at newegg.

again what you get from dell is not only the hardware but also QA which is the big risk when building your own. think of the time it takes troubleshooting incompatible hardware.
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August 19, 2010 6:31:00 PM

kenzaoe said:
the cheapest way to go about is buy the base system from DELL and then add your components..


Of course, that also means that you may end up voiding your warranty, and you are accepting that you may end up with less performance-oriented parts.

I'm not sure why you'd buy a complete system from Dell, even a barebones one, only to have to replace the RAM, PSU, and GPU, etc. (Considering that you are almost certain to have to replace the low-wattage PSU in order to put a gaming GPU in.) It might end up being cheaper if you're only planning small upgrades (like just RAM), but if you're talking GPU etc., it's not going to be cost-efficient.
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Anonymous
August 19, 2010 6:32:14 PM

kenzaoe said:
the cheapest way to go about is buy the base system from DELL and then add your components.

dell makes money from the memory/harddrive/graphics upgrades which are usually double the price of what you pay at newegg.

again what you get from dell is not only the hardware but also QA which is the big risk when building your own. think of the time it takes troubleshooting incompatible hardware.


That's what keeps making me question building my own...I'm somewhat of a novice but I think I can build myself easily...just worried about getting a component that is DOA or something going wrong and not being able to figure out what.
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August 19, 2010 6:58:38 PM

coldsleep said:
Of course, that also means that you may end up voiding your warranty, and you are accepting that you may end up with less performance-oriented parts.

I'm not sure why you'd buy a complete system from Dell, even a barebones one, only to have to replace the RAM, PSU, and GPU, etc. (Considering that you are almost certain to have to replace the low-wattage PSU in order to put a gaming GPU in.) It might end up being cheaper if you're only planning small upgrades (like just RAM), but if you're talking GPU etc., it's not going to be cost-efficient.


some ppl are great at twisting other ppl's words.. pfff

it seems that cost is the big issue here. since yoyoyo spec'd a dell machine it seems that the graphics options from DELL were enough for him. so no need to replace the power supply. just buy a graphics card that has the same specs than the highest option dell has.. it will be cheaper.

of course it's stupid to buy a dell and replace the PSU. i wasn't suggesting that. i was offering a different idea where you save more and one doesn't need to be a tech guru to install a graphics card and some RAM.

oh and at 1500 you are going for balance not performance. you might void the warranty but the risks of something going wrong is much smaller when you just install some ram and graphics card then putting psu, mobo and cpu, case etc

think about the time as well you put in a build!
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August 19, 2010 7:07:12 PM

kenzaoe said:
some ppl are great at twisting other ppl's words.. pfff

it seems that cost is the big issue here.


I didn't read it as cost being the primary issue. I thought that yoyoyo was looking for best value for the money. Which buying something from Dell and then replacing parts that you've already paid for would not give you.

The default power supply that comes with a Dell Studio 9100 is a 525W PSU, and there is no option to replace or upgrade it. That's fine for a single graphics card, but it's unsuited for any reasonable dual-card configuration. It also does not meet the 5970 system requirements specified by ATI...even though it's the top GPU option offered by Dell.

Furthermore, I don't know about your experiences, but I've spent more time troubleshooting other people's pre-built computers (both brand-spanking new and old) than I have on builds I've put together myself.

If you read through the forums here, you'll find a lot of first-time builders going through with their own builds, coming back and saying how well it worked out for them. There are also a lot of people that show up with problems and get help. I'm certain not everyone finds the answers they need, but by and large, your comments above seem unreasonably pessimistic.
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August 19, 2010 8:27:11 PM

coldsleep said:
Which buying something from Dell and then replacing parts that you've already paid for would not give you.


wow.. u kinda live in your own world. read my messages. again.

i've build systems when i was younger. over time i realized for certain applications and budgets the time spent building and dealing with the occasional defective part ended up being more expensive overall. it seems that you do have a lot of time on your hands. what a lot diy ppl don't realize is the time you spend in a build. add to this the fact that some users might not be savy enough and you really have a recipe for wasting time and money. (i'm also wasting my time right now explaining my advice to somebody who feels entitled and is not very open-minded) i do remember the satisfaction i got of building my own system and being the fastest and badest around for a few months :) 

i was offering an alternative route. one that i took and decided to share since the topic was DELL vs diy.

yoyoyo i suggest you also look at dell outlet as well. my current i7 xps 9000 system was bought from dell outlet, a year ago. it was a base system (i7-920), got it for $875. i've added 24gb DDR 3 of ram for $1,200 from crucial when the upgrade was $3,400 from dell. i've upgraded the graphics a few months ago and sold the old card on ebay. gave the original 2x1G dimms to a friend who was building a custom system (karma points ;)  i could have as well sold those two. of course i keep adding more HDDs

system has been solid. removed windoze (1 yr warranty expired anyway) running ubuntu and all 8 cores (HT enabled) are almost daily 100% busy with heavy computation. i know i got the best price-performance for my application (statistical analysis and visualization)... and very little time wasted on the setup.

but again i'm writing this on a hardcore diy forum. so, i understand the resistance.

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August 19, 2010 8:44:15 PM

kenzaoe said:

i've build systems when i was younger. over time i realized for certain applications and budgets the time spent building and dealing with the occasional defective part ended up being more expensive overall.


I'm well aware of how long it takes me to build my own system...it was at least 8 hours for my last system, as I ran into problems. I spent a lot more time than that on troubleshooting a recent Dell 9000 Studio XPS that someone I know bought. That's in addition to the time this person spent on the phone with Dell support, who came up with a completely wrong answer to the problem, and was recommending replacing components with older tech.

I've taken the route you're suggesting before, and I've been less than satisfied with the results. For your uses, it sounds like it worked well. For a gaming rig, you're almost certain to have to replace the PSU along with the GPU, which is going to add up fast. I agree that if you just have to replace the RAM, then no big deal.

Yes, this is largely a DIY forum, but there are clearly price points where you get a better deal going pre-built. I'd say it's about $500 and below. If you feel differently, that's fine.

I'm trying to comment on value & (hopefully) facts, I'm not trying to personally attack you. If you feel that way, I'm not certain how that happened. My initial post to was talking about voiding the warranty, etc. I don't think any of that was twisting your words.
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August 19, 2010 8:52:31 PM

Quote:
I spent a lot more time than that on troubleshooting a recent Dell 9000 Studio XPS that someone I know bought. That's in addition to the time this person spent on the phone with Dell support, who came up with a completely wrong answer to the problem, and was recommending replacing components with older tech.


you should know better than calling dell for support :o  i mean you are a hardcore builder.

good luck yoyoyo
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August 19, 2010 8:59:47 PM

kenzaoe said:
Quote:
I spent a lot more time than that on troubleshooting a recent Dell 9000 Studio XPS that someone I know bought. That's in addition to the time this person spent on the phone with Dell support, who came up with a completely wrong answer to the problem, and was recommending replacing components with older tech.


you should know better than calling dell for support :o  i mean you are a hardcore builder.


This is probably not the correct place for this response, so I'll attempt to include something useful.

Check your own reading comprehension, sir. I didn't call Dell. The person who bought the computer and I ended up helping did. I wasn't involved in the call to Dell, I only came in after hours on the phone with Dell failed to fix the problem. I did manage to resolve the problem (incorrectly installed/applied graphics drivers), while Dell wanted to replace a 5nnn-series ATI card with an ancient nVidia card.

Helpful comment follows:
The fact that you're admitting that Dell support is pretty terrible these days is yet another reason to not get a pre-built from them.

To reiterate: I agree with you that buying a pre-built makes sense for certain budgets & uses. It's just that a gaming build with $1000+ available is not one of those budget/use combinations.
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August 20, 2010 1:42:25 PM

This has digressed really badly.


Quote:
Seems like this PSU may be a better deal than previously posted. How does this look so far? It's at just under $1600 with shipping which is a little more than I had anticipated but not going to break the bank. Can I get some add'l input as to what could be tweaked?

http://yfrog.com/mjtest3lj



This build looks good, the PSU is good, the extra $$ is coming from the monitor and the rebate on the RAM. I would buy it.
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October 17, 2011 6:34:58 AM

coldsleep said:
When you're comparing vs. a pre-built (like Dell), you have 2 options. You can get the same quality components and usually beat the price; or you can pay about the same (or more) and get better quality components.

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.

If you could follow the instructions in the How to Ask for New Build Advice thread, people will be able to come up with a more accurate answer for you. Specifically, intended usage, monitor resolution, and budget are very important pieces of information.

I'll note that manufacturer warranties on parts are frequently longer than 2 years. What graphics card did you put on the Dell? They tend to charge a big premium for gaming graphics cards.


So true Coldsleep I bought a top line gaming computer 2 years ago and now am replacing the RAM, and hard drive. Installed a better power supply not long ago when the stock one went out the month after warrenty went up lol. Take the "hard right" and do research and build your own with Exactly want you want and quality parts you want.
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