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To Alienware, or not to alienware? EDIT: BUILDING MY OWN, CHECK SPECS

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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 4:30:04 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: next month (september 15th ish)

BUDGET RANGE: $2000-$2800

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, virtual pc

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: no preference

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: california

PARTS PREFERENCES: light up keyboard, laser mouse, 21 inch hd monitor, nvidia graphics x2 in SLI, intel i7 2.8 ish Ghz so i can overclock to 3.2-3.4

OVERCLOCKING: yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: prefer top of the line gaming set up, lots of windows+lights (love the vents on alienware even though they really dont do anything) hot swapable harddrives would be nice as well


I was going to purchase an alienware auroa alx for $2700. I want to see what I can make myself for about the same price or maybe look at another vendor since I have heard alot of horror stories about alienware. thanks in advance!

Edit: SO! I've decided I'm going to build it myself! Here are the alienware aurora alx specs i was going to buy for $2700

PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ i7 920 2.66GHz (8MB Cache) Quad Core Processor
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
VIDEO CARD Dual 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ HD 5770 CrossfireX™ Enabled
MEMORY 6GB Triple Channel 1600MHz DDR3
HARD DRIVE 1TB RAID 0 (2x 500GB SATA-II, 7,200 RPM, 16MB Cache HDDs)
OPTICAL DRIVE Single Drive: 24X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
SOUND CARD Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
MONITOR 21.5” Alienware AW2210 OptX™ Full HD Gaming Monitor
KEYBOARD Alienware TactX™ Keyboard
MOUSE Alienware TactX™ Mouse
PSU: 875 Watt Power Supply
Cooling: standard alienware liquid cooling
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 1 Year Advanced Service Plan

AND here is my to be new custom made new egg beast:

Case and OS: Antec 1200 with Antec TP-750 Blue and windows 7 64 bit $320 - $30 MIR= $290
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

MOBO: ASUS Rampage III Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $380
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor: Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80601930 $290
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:D UAL IN SLI MODE EVGA 012-P3-1472-AR GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) SuperClocked 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $650
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: G.SKILL Trident 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-16000CL9T-6GBTD= $184
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Harddrives: OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD3-2AGT120G 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $299
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Using old Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (free because i just need to take it out of old machine)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooling: Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard: Logitech G15 2-Tone 104 Normal Keys USB Wired Standard Gaming Keyboard $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mouse: Logitech MX 518 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 1800 dpi Gaming Mouse $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor: LG W2453V-PF Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Full HD 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 50000:1 w/ Smart Package $250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical drive: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Writer - Bulk - LightScribe Support - OEM $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Creative Fatal1ty Professional Series Gaming Headset MKII $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total Price: $2637 (scaled down to single 24 inch instead of dual 21 inch monitors)

Best solution

August 20, 2010 4:52:16 AM

Im going to vote not to alienware, for your budget you can get a pretty kick ass system and have a bunch left over for other goodies.

Start with a nice case, power supply and the operating system

Antec 1200 with Antec TP-750 Blue and windows 7 64 bit $320 - $30 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

ASUS P6X58D Premium with SATA 3 and USB 3 and i7 930 $550
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

6GB Gskill Pi Series 1600MHz CL7 $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD Caviar Black 1TB with SATA III $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Two EVGA GTX 470 $640(2x$320) - $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermaltake Frio $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

All that comes to 1820 before $50 MIR and shipping, leaving you almost 1k to pick out an optical drive(some like the cheapest but im quite pleased with my more expensive plextor drive), some thermal paste, a monitor, keyboard, and mouse it also lets you throw an SSD in there as a boot drive if you would like.
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August 20, 2010 5:43:35 AM

Quote:
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: california
:p 

On a more serious note, Hunter's build looks pretty good as it is.

You might also wanna look at ASUS Rampage III Gene.

Different HSF : Noctua NH-D14

You are gonna save quite a lot by choosing "not to Alienware". Get your parts from tigerdirect / compusa or something, if you're worried 'bout taxation in CA. If you live anywhere near a microcenter, of course get the processor from there.

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August 20, 2010 5:57:17 AM

three for three, no says me,
Pre-built like Dell and Alienwa, oh whats the point, I'll just get called for being a buildityourself fanboi :) 
Moto
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 8:33:44 AM

BUMP! just finished the new specs, question tho. Will the 750 w power supply that comes in the combo be able to power everything here? I think i read somwehere 470's are power hogs. confirm/deny?
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August 20, 2010 9:50:55 AM

I dont believe Hunter would've suggested a psu that wasn't up to the job :p 
Google does report that they're hot power hungry little tykes, but with good cooling theres no reason to be scared of a little heat from your hardworking gfx slices.
Moto
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August 20, 2010 2:34:30 PM

i would vote no to alienware also, simply because all it is is just bragging rights,
you can build the same system your self for a whole lot less moolah.
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 3:15:05 PM

can someone confirm that all these parts will work together ok? im a little concerned about bringing in so many different companies under 1 case

p.s. so much happier with what im getting for my money instead of throwing it at dell :D 
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 3:27:40 PM

just went to dell.com to play around with customizations.an equal set up from alienware would cost $3300, $800 more then what we have put together here!
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August 20, 2010 3:29:17 PM

All the parts look good. EDIT: Previous comment based on Hunter's build. Looking at your build, agree with Timop. The IDE drive should go, and I'd recommend paying a little more for an SSD, rather than a Velociraptor. Paying the premium for a VR just isn't worth it.

If you're considering an SSD, I'd suggest looking at a SandForce-1200 controller-based SSD.

The Mushkin Callisto 120 GB is currently $260. It's new to the market, but it's using technology that has earned recommendations for other brands. If you want something that's been around a little longer, the OCZ Agility 2 is $299. There are 60 GB SF-1200 drives available for $160-165.
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August 20, 2010 3:55:57 PM

Take out the SLOWWWWW IDE drive as boot and get an proper SSD.
That thing is like putting wheel covers on a Lambo.
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August 20, 2010 4:30:37 PM

The 300GB raptor is beaten by a caviar black with 500GB platters so its silly to spend extra on a drive that gives you about the same performance when you could just grab either an SSD for slightly more, or get 3 1TB drives and throw them in raid 0 or 5. The 320GB IDE drive is older tech and uses lower density platters so while it may be cheaper its also going to be a lot slower, you could swap it out for a 500GB samsung F3 for a tiny bit more and get significantly better performance.

The TP-750 Blue has more than enough power for 2 GTX 470s, so it will allow you to OC them as well.
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 6:35:27 PM

cant decide on the hard drive. The SSD looks great, but for $300 I'd want more then just 128GB as my current single 500gb is using 118GB already. Also, raid 5 is pretty attractive.

Could I perhaps get the OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD3-2AGT120G 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $299
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(thanks timop, coldsleep, and hunter315)

and throw in my old 500gb HD i have in my current computer as backup/storage?
Would SSD be the way to go or say screw it and wait for bigger hard drives and get 3tb in raid 5? I am looking to get a high benchmark/bragging rights score.

Also, just to show how huge of an upgrade this system is, here is my current PC specs:

Dell 8400
Pentium 4 3.20 Ghz single core
3GB 400Mhz DDR2
Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Nvidia geforce 6800

Performance test 7.0 score: 534 :'( 

So far my hard drives seem to be the only bottleneck im running into, are there any others I should lookout for?
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 6:38:51 PM

just noticed i dont have an optical drive either O.O
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August 20, 2010 6:41:31 PM

Quote:

and throw in my old 500gb HD i have in my current computer as backup/storage?
Would SSD be the way to go or say screw it and wait for bigger hard drives and get 3tb in raid 5? I am looking to get a high benchmark/bragging rights score.


Sorry, I didn't mean to cause any confusion.

The typical recommendation for getting an SSD is: get an SSD for the boot & main applications. Use another (traditional) hard drive for storage.

An SSD is going to destroy any RAID setup with traditional hard drives. SSDs are an order of magnitude faster. The random access time on a Velociraptor is something like 4ms (they are still the king of traditional hard drives at random small reads -- even the Spinpoint is something like 11 or 13ms for random small reads). Random reads on an SSD occur in .1 ms or less. There's just no comparing them.

EDIT: Lite-On DVD burner - $20, free shipping
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 7:06:11 PM

thanks coldsleep, added optical and ssd are all figured out now thanks again.

final question/theorycrafting. what kind of benchmark do you think this baby will run?
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 7:22:20 PM

you guys rock. thanks for all the help. now its time to search for the cheapest dealer for all the parts lol, thanks again, this computer will be a BEAST
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August 20, 2010 7:51:49 PM

here is my experience with alienware. i paid 1500 for an alienware aurora. 7 days later i was on the phone with dell customer service (=blows) asking for a new pc that worked. they instead sent me a "technical expert" who took apart my new pc in my living room floor. he left and my pc was worse than before. needless to say that it was this experience that led me to want to build my own pc with hand picked parts. now all of my new parts are currently at home waiting for me to begin my build this evening. my case arrived early. yay!
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 9:08:16 PM

rrbiv said:
here is my experience with alienware. i paid 1500 for an alienware aurora. 7 days later i was on the phone with dell customer service (=blows) asking for a new pc that worked. they instead sent me a "technical expert" who took apart my new pc in my living room floor. he left and my pc was worse than before. needless to say that it was this experience that led me to want to build my own pc with hand picked parts. now all of my new parts are currently at home waiting for me to begin my build this evening. my case arrived early. yay!


glad to hear you chose the custom route as well :D  I was nearly an alienware owner, but I'm pretty sure i dodged a bullet. have fun building your computer, while your building your machine, im gonna compare prices from dealers lol
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August 20, 2010 9:25:23 PM

The only thing I'd vote on changing is going with 2 nice GTX 460 cards instead of those 470s. Galaxy makes some nice OC versions:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

They just about keep up with the 470s, are way cheaper, and use a lot less power. Spend the extra dough on getting a 24" screen, or whatever else!
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Anonymous
August 20, 2010 10:43:14 PM

calguyhunk said:
:p 

On a more serious note, Hunter's build looks pretty good as it is.

You might also wanna look at ASUS Rampage III Gene.

Different HSF : Noctua NH-D14

You are gonna save quite a lot by choosing "not to Alienware". Get your parts from tigerdirect / compusa or something, if you're worried 'bout taxation in CA. If you live anywhere near a microcenter, of course get the processor from there.


If I buy from tigerdirect or compusa, i dont pay tax?
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Anonymous
August 21, 2010 1:53:49 AM

Best answer selected by thetopham.
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August 21, 2010 3:29:49 AM

Quote:
If I buy from tigerdirect or compusa, i dont pay tax?
It's a California specific sales tax thing. California charges a tax if both the merchant and the buyer are within state.

From Newegg.com ---

Newegg.com charges the appropriate state and/or local sales tax for any order shipping to California, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee. Sales tax for cell phone orders shipping to California and Tennessee are calculated before any instant savings are applied.
*Tennessee, New Jersey and New York residents are charged according to their state and/or local tax rate. Please note that the sales tax for New Jersey, New York and Tennessee orders is calculated based upon the total price of the order, including shipping and handling. The tax imposed by these states on shipping and handling is part of the state sales tax, not a separate tax.
*California residents in Los Angeles county are charged 8.25% sales tax *California residents outside Los Angeles county are charged 7.25% sales tax California orders outside of Los Angeles county are not charged for district tax because we do not have a physical presence outside Los Angeles district / county**:. The breakdown of Los Angeles county tax charges is as follows: *Sales Tax: 6.00% *County Tax: 0.25% *Combined State and Local Tax: 1.00% *District Tax (L.A. County only): 1.00%
**We cannot make any changes to the tax rate. Please refer to www.boe.ca.gov on Transactions and Use Tax Regulations, regulation 1821 sec (2) and regulation 1823 (b) Use Tax sec (1). District Taxes (sales and use taxes) pamphlet publication 44, Jan 2007.
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Anonymous
August 21, 2010 3:38:10 AM

yeah that sucks lol. i plan to order all the parts i can from tigerdirect, then the parts i'm missing i'll order from newegg since tigerdirect doesnt have some of the vendors (antec >.<) each site has deals on different thing so i did a mix and match ordering from both sites. only $70 tax now instead of $230 lol
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August 21, 2010 4:05:23 AM

Quote:
yeah that sucks lol. i plan to order all the parts i can from tigerdirect, then the parts i'm missing i'll order from newegg since tigerdirect doesnt have some of the vendors (antec >.<) each site has deals on different thing so i did a mix and match ordering from both sites. only $70 tax now instead of $230 lol

Try NCIX also, both it and Tigerdirect price-match, and If you have a Frys and Microcenter local try that too.
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August 21, 2010 4:33:36 AM

calguyhunk said:
It's a California specific sales tax thing. California charges a tax if both the merchant and the buyer are within state.


Most/all states do that, it just depends on whether or not the merchant has a location in the state you live in. People in wherever Tigerdirect is based (Florida?) get charged sales tax when buying from Tigerdirect, but not Newegg.
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August 21, 2010 4:37:53 AM

coldsleep said:
Most/all states do that, it just depends on whether or not the merchant has a location in the state you live in. People in wherever Tigerdirect is based (Florida?) get charged sales tax when buying from Tigerdirect, but not Newegg.

Yup, Tigerdirect/CompUSA/Circuit City are all in FL.
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