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Can't decide which system to buy (Dell vs Gateway)

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October 13, 2010 12:29:28 AM

Hey everyone, I need some advice. I'm buying a new computer and am stuck between two different prebuilts.

I'm a relatively tech savvy guy and initially planned on a custom build, but I've given up that idea for this go around. I've never built a computer myself before, and while I'm sure I could figure it out; I'm a seriously over-worked college student and I just don't have the time to find the best deals on components, wait for them all to arrive and then research just how to put them all together. haha I reallly need a new computer now.

Anyway, I'm stuck between these two systems..

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dell+-+Studio+XPS+Desktop+/...

Dell Studio XPS 8100 - $1150
Intel i7 870 / 8 GB DDR3 RAM / 1.5TB HDD (7200rpm) / ATI Radeon HD 5770 / 350w PSU / Built-in Wireless N / Windows 7 Home Premium

and

http://www.frys.com/product/6275820?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Gateway DX-4320-19 - $680 (Got it on sale @ MicroCenter)
AMD Phenom X6 II 1035t / 8GB DDR3 RAM (1333MHz) / 1.5TB HDD (Variable rpm) / ATI Radeon HD 5750 / 300w PSU / Built-in Wireless N / Windows 7 Home Premium


Obviously the Dell is the superior system, but it's $500 more. It also has a Firewire port, which I don't need right now, but I'm a designer.. it's likely I'll have something or other that will require it in the future. I'm also not sure what the speed of the RAM is, if you buy directly from Dell they use 1333mhz sticks, but I've seen a few retail versions of the XPS 8100 with 1066mhz.

The Gateway was just astonishingly cheap, so I grabbed it (I got the last one in the store, they had 14 of them in stock a couple of days before). The specs are relatively nice (especially for the price), but I'm not crazy about the variable rpm "green" hard drive. From what I've read they generally run slower than the traditional 7200rpm drives. The PSU is also tiny. The 1035t CPU is what's really keeping me from committing to this computer, though. I was thinking of trying to upgrade to a 1090t around Black Friday.. but I'm guessing that's not going to be possible with the existing motherboard? I can't seem to find just which board is in it anywhere, just "Systemboard with AMD 880G chipset", but all of the other AMD based DX-series computers run on 95w CPUs, so I'm not hopeful.

So my question to you guys is this, which should I choose? Is the Dell really enough of an upgrade to warrant the higher price and is the quad core i7 w/ hyper-threading going to serve be better than a hexa-core? I couldn't care less about AMD vs Intel, I just want the best performance.

This computer is going to be used mostly to run the (multi-threaded) Adobe CS5 suite (primarily Photoshop), and some light gaming (nothing either of these systems couldn't handle) and occasionally music production. Basically, I will be running software that benefits from multiple cores.

I'm a heavy multi-tasker; on any given day I have Photoshop, Illustrator, several different browser windows (with 5+ tabs each) and a couple of MS Word docs all open at the same time. I also have WMP running pretty much at all times.

I'd like this new system to last me as long as possible, at least 2-3 years without becoming terribly obsolete. I'm retiring an HP Pavillion with an Intel Viiv (Core Duo) CPU and 3GB of RAM that's running XP Pro that I bought in 2006.. so anything is an upgrade.
October 13, 2010 3:49:29 PM

The i7-870 is definitely going to be the better CPU, but that computer is a lot more money. Usually x6 cores is better for graphic design, but i still think that the 870 will have the edge. (and definitely if you are going to do some gaming.)

Remember too that the i7-870 is socket 1156, so the only way up from there (besides getting a new socket 1336 mobo and CPU) is an i7-875k which would probably be pointless.

On the other hand, the Phenom X6 II 1035t is on the lower end of the socket AM3 x6 processors. So if you wanted to upgrade your processor later, you'd have room to do so. (And with the money that you saved by not getting the dell you could afford it!)

Eh, if I were you i'd just keep the gateway and stash the money that you saved away for a processor upgrade down the road.


Here's some benchmarks either way-

AMD Phenom X6 II 1035t:
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=AMD+Phen...

Intel i7 870:
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=Intel+Co...
October 13, 2010 8:43:37 PM

you may want to check out www.cyberpowerpc.com...

I just did a build up of an i7-870 and the total was coming to $976 shipped in ~ 5 days

A note...you are talking about running CS5...you may want to look into an nVidia graphics card...CS5 will be able to make use of the CUDA technology

Both rigs you have selected use ATI graphics cards...they don't play as well with CS5
October 15, 2010 6:47:15 PM

sugarsniffer said:
...On the other hand, the Phenom X6 II 1035t is on the lower end of the socket AM3 x6 processors. So if you wanted to upgrade your processor later, you'd have room to do so. (And with the money that you saved by not getting the dell you could afford it!)

Eh, if I were you i'd just keep the gateway and stash the money that you saved away for a processor upgrade down the road.

But will the Gateway be upgradeable? That's my concern. If I could just get confirmation that it's current motherboard could support a faster X6 than Id absolutely go this route..

snowgoer1998 said:
...A note...you are talking about running CS5...you may want to look into an nVidia graphics card...CS5 will be able to make use of the CUDA technology

Both rigs you have selected use ATI graphics cards...they don't play as well with CS5

Only the Quadro FX cards are supported by CS5 though, right? There's no way I'm gonna get one of those in a prebuilt, it'd have to be an upgrade I do myself. In general it seems like most companies are favoring ATI's 5xxx series cards over nVidia at the moment, and most that do come with an nVidia card have an old GT 220 or 240.

Also, what is the benefits of CUDA over general OpenGL support, which the ATI cards have? I'm new to all of this so I don't really understand it all. Right now I'm running with an old GeForce 7300 LE (256mb), so I'm not getting any sort of GPU acceleration in CS5 at all.

Quote:
make some changes to the Dell and go with the edited version Dell:
triple channel memory configuration possible with the i7 cpu - something worth looking into
change the ATI 5770 to nVidia GTX460
upgrade from 7 home premium to possibly professional or ultimate

if you can do that then go Dell.
possibly look into adding SSD in near future.
have at it..

I know the Bloomfield i7's (9xx's) are triple channel, but the Lynnfield processors are dual channel , which is all Dell is offering in the XPS 8100. Is the triple channel memory configuration really that much better?

!