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November 2, 2010 8:08:46 PM

I never posted here but it looks like a friendly place so here goes!

At Dell, I built an Alienware Aurora which priced out at $4236.00. One big problem is its lack of PCIe slots. It has 1 and I need like 4 at least.

So 2 questions:
1. Roughly how much would this cost to build something like this myself?
2. How do I overcome the PCIe problem?

PROCESSOR Overclocked Intel® Core™ i7 980x Extreme Six Core Processor (3.73GHz, 12MB Cache)
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Ultimate, 64bit, English
VIDEO CARD Dual 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460 - SLI Enabled
MEMORY 12GB Triple Channel 1333MHz DDR3
HARD DRIVE 1TB - SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200RPM, 32MB Cache HDD
MEDIA READER Alienware® 19-in-1 Media Card Reader
OPTICAL DRIVE Dual Drives: Blu-ray Disc (BD) Burner (Writes to DVD/CD/BD) and DVDRW
ENTHUSIAST ESSENTIALS USB 3.0 Controller Card
ENTHUSIAST ESSENTIALS Killer™ 2100 Gaming Network Card
MONITOR No Monitor
KEYBOARD Alienware TactX™ Keyboard
MOUSE Alienware TactX™ Mouse
WIRELESS 1525 PCIe WLAN card with 11n mini-Card & external antenna
TV TUNERS Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 Hybrid TV Tuner with Remote Control
BLUETOOTH Internal USB Bluetooth

More about : alienware build

November 2, 2010 8:23:59 PM

1) Here's a quick rundown:

i7 980x ~ $1000
Windows 7 Ultimate ~$180
Dual GTX460 1GB ~$400
12GB DDR3 1333 ~$300
1TB 7200rpm HDD ~$60
Card Reader ~$10
Blu-Ray Burner ~$110
No monitor ~$0
Keyboard+Mouse combo ~$120
Wifi card ~$20
TV Tuner ~$100
Bluetooth ~$30

Mobo w/usb3.0+ethernet+4 PCI-E x16 slots ~$300
PSU ~$150
Case ~$100

Total = ~$2880 (actual cost of PC)
Alienware name premium + Labor = ~$1356

2) Build it yourself.
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November 2, 2010 8:35:15 PM

All of the following assumes this machine is aimed primarily at gaming.

In addition to all of the things kureme mentions, you can save money by skipping some of the unnecessary parts. For a gaming machine, there's no reason to get the i7-980X. You can get an i7-950 for about $300. Windows 7 Ultimate offers very little, make sure that you really want BitLocker and on-the-fly language switching before you pay extra for Ultimate.

12 GB RAM is unnecessary for gaming, just get 6 GB.

It's also ridiculous to spend over $2000 on a computer and not fit an SSD in. For anwhere between $150-300 you can get an SSD that will dramatically improve your day-to-day computing experience.
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Related resources
November 2, 2010 8:35:51 PM

kureme said:
1) Here's a quick rundown:

i7 980x ~ $1000
Windows 7 Ultimate ~$180
Dual GTX460 1GB ~$400
12GB DDR3 1333 ~$300
1TB 7200rpm HDD ~$60
Card Reader ~$10
Blu-Ray Burner ~$110
No monitor ~$0
Keyboard+Mouse combo ~$120
Wifi card ~$20
TV Tuner ~$100
Bluetooth ~$30

Mobo w/usb3.0+ethernet+4 PCI-E x16 slots ~$300
PSU ~$150
Case ~$100

Total = ~$2880 (actual cost of PC)
Alienware name premium + Labor = ~$1356

2) Build it yourself.


+1 agreed, you could built it yourself for much cheaper! And most places charge ~$50 for installing all the parts for you and testing all the components. Also do you really need the i7 980x? That cpu is ridiculously expensive and with that extra money and switching down to the i7 950 you could easily get 12GB more ram (unneccessary imo) crossfire 6870's or sli GTX480's. You could also get a top end IPS monitor from Dell with the money saved. Think about what you are using it for and spend accordingly. Just my $0.02. Just thought I would let you know.
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November 2, 2010 8:37:42 PM

That was fast, ty.

So what about a motherboard?

Also; i just bought a new Corsair 600w PSU, you think that's ok for this setup?
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November 2, 2010 8:47:15 PM

552211 said:
That was fast, ty.

So what about a motherboard?

Also; i just bought a new Corsair 600w PSU, you think that's ok for this setup?


This kind of hard give us a budget and we'll put something together. Considering you put a 100usd NIC in your build I think the rampage III extreme kind of fits your persona(mine too :D ).

And no a 600w psu will probably do most of the time but you seriously don't want a 4k build being bottlenecked by you wanting to save 200 on a psu.
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November 2, 2010 8:47:36 PM

552211 said:
That was fast, ty.

So what about a motherboard?

Also; i just bought a new Corsair 600w PSU, you think that's ok for this setup?


If you are planning on SLI/Crossfire I would go with at least a good quality 750W psu. Also by buying the i7-950 and getting say 6GB of ram instead of 12 you're saving ~$900! Invest in a good PSU with that extra money saved =)
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November 2, 2010 9:00:37 PM

Build it yourself.

I suggest filling out the template here so that we can make some good suggestions.

Personally, If I was going to be spending that much money on a processor, I would invest a bit more into graphics cards. (If it is for gaming)
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November 2, 2010 9:10:22 PM

Ok, let me give you some background on my use and see what you come up with.

As you gathered, I do a lot of gaming. Mainly a game called Second Life. It would be nice to run that as fast as possible. I also do Photoshoping. In the near future I want to get into audio/video editing as well. Right now I have a decent computer but I can't even play HD video on it. Another problem with my current computer is lag on opening thumbnail picture folders.

So with that in mind, what are your recommendations? My ideal price range would be under $2500
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November 2, 2010 9:11:10 PM

Whatever you do, don't get a $100 network card. There's no evidence that they improve your latency at all. They might make a couple of milliseconds difference at a LAN party, but that's still well under the threshold of human reaction time. And there's pretty much no way they can influence anything once the packets leave your router. With a new router, you can perform basically the same function by using QoS.

I'll have to dig up the article where they tested people with and without one of those cards, and people couldn't tell when it was installed and when it wasn't.
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November 2, 2010 9:11:56 PM

Sure, I will fill out a template. Please point me to it.

I found it, sorry, did'nt see your link ;) 
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November 2, 2010 9:41:38 PM

coldsleep said:
Whatever you do, don't get a $100 network card. There's no evidence that they improve your latency at all. They might make a couple of milliseconds difference at a LAN party, but that's still well under the threshold of human reaction time. And there's pretty much no way they can influence anything once the packets leave your router. With a new router, you can perform basically the same function by using QoS.

I'll have to dig up the article where they tested people with and without one of those cards, and people couldn't tell when it was installed and when it wasn't.


I think the idea of the card is not really improving the latency, but more giving the game enough network bandwith to run properly. I for example ussualy download torrents while I game online and when I download at 2-3mbps My game starts lagging so having a card that gives my game enough network band to run fully functional would be nice. Of course this in no way justifies the price, but I think this is more the idea behind the NIC it's that it can amke your system function optimally in whatever it's doin that uses network bandwith without compromising your game rather than making your connection better in perfect conditions. Unless I'm going for a 5k system however I would never consider one.
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November 2, 2010 9:49:13 PM

Somebody_007 said:
I think the idea of the card is not really improving the latency, but more giving the game enough network bandwith to run properly. I for example ussualy download torrents while I game online and when I download at 2-3mbps My game starts lagging so having a card that gives my game enough network band to run fully functional would be nice.


As I mentioned in my previous post, with most modern routers, you can already do that. There's no need to buy a $100 NIC when you can just implement QoS on your existing network. (Assuming you have a router and you're not just plugging directly into your cable modem/DSL line/etc.)
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November 2, 2010 9:53:52 PM

That latency you are experiencing is NOT from your NIC - it's from your ISP bandwidth. If everything you were doing was local, even a 10/100mbps (old one) wouldn't bottleneck a GAME and a torrent. You could even throw streaming video and it still wouldn't bottleneck. If you don't want to bottleneck, you'll have to get a T1 line or better.

Get two $15 new NICs (10/100/1000) or a mobo with dual NICs, and a router than will let you dual link (~$50), and you'll save money!
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November 2, 2010 10:07:34 PM

You can do all that with a router? Cool I should try that out some day.

And I have dual nic in my mobo btw, but I'm not having any trouble with this(I mean if my internet starts lagging I just stop the slow download ^^) it's just I heard people saying it's handy thing to have despite the fact that it's insanely overpriced and not improving on latency noticably.

Aah what the heck to the point: Don't buy it unless you use 100usd bills as toilet paper.
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November 2, 2010 11:20:43 PM

552211 said:
Ok, let me give you some background on my use and see what you come up with.

As you gathered, I do a lot of gaming. Mainly a game called Second Life. It would be nice to run that as fast as possible. I also do Photoshoping. In the near future I want to get into audio/video editing as well. Right now I have a decent computer but I can't even play HD video on it. Another problem with my current computer is lag on opening thumbnail picture folders.

So with that in mind, what are your recommendations? My ideal price range would be under $2500


I think, $2500 is a dream budget for alot of us =). Anyway once you fill out the template we will all be able to suggest a great build for you.
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November 3, 2010 2:01:17 AM

And the NIC is a waste of money.
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November 3, 2010 3:58:05 AM

Just went ahead and made a whole system. Of course you can take out the stuff you don't need and save money.

CPU and GPU1:
Core i7-950 and 1st Sapphire HD 6870 1GB $513.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GPU2 and OS:
2nd Sapphire HD6870 and Windows 7 Pro 64-bit $349.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

MOBO and HSF:
Asus P6X58D Premium Mobo and Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme CPU Cooler $310.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

PSU and RAM:
Corsair 850W PSU and Corsair XMS3 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600 RAM $224.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

SSD:
G.Skill Phoenix Pro 120GB SSD $234.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD and Card Reader:
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD and Nippon Labs Delux All In One Card Reader $84.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

BDROM:
Lite-On 12X Blu-Ray Burner $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE:
Antec Nine Hundred Two Case $119.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

KBM:
Logitech MX 5500 Revolution Bluetooth Cordless Keyboard and Mouse $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MONITOR:
Asus VE248H 24" 1920X1080 2ms Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor $219.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SPEAKERS:
Logitech Z-2300 200 watts RMS 2.1 Speaker System $135.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

TOTAL Price: $2,485.81
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November 3, 2010 2:01:14 PM

kureme's build is basically what I would suggest. With the exception of waiting to see what happens with the 69xx series cards coming out this month.

Nice build.
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November 3, 2010 2:15:00 PM

Hey kureme, thanks for going to all that trouble and even adding in the links which was extremely helpfull. There are some things I do not need such as a monitor, wireless keyboard & mouse and speakers. Also, the card reader comes in a combo pack with another HDD which I don't need. I just need the card reader. After eliminating these items the price is now at $1904.86. I am partial to Nvdia graphics cards and would prefer to go with a higher end card from them, I'll have to look.

Questions and comments:
I want to be able to tranfer VHS to digital, do I need a tuner card for that?
There seems to be debate over the NIC. From what I read, the Killer NIC not only controls bandwidth better but also relieves the HD and CPU from using resources running the network connections and that's why I wanted it.
And as for Windows 7 Ultimate vs Home, I was told if I'm going to get 7 at all I should get the Ultimate because there is stuff in that version I would need/want.

CPU and GPU1:
Core i7-950 and 1st Sapphire HD 6870 1GB $513.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.539709

GPU2 and OS:
2nd Sapphire HD6870 and Windows 7 Pro 64-bit $349.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] 14-102-909

MOBO and HSF:
Asus P6X58D Premium Mobo and Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme CPU Cooler $310.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.544934

PSU and RAM:
Corsair 850W PSU and Corsair XMS3 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600 RAM $224.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.543327

SSD:
G.Skill Phoenix Pro 120GB SSD $234.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231378

BDROM:
Lite-On 12X Blu-Ray Burner $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827106346

CASE:
Antec Nine Hundred Two Case $119.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129058


TOTAL Price: $1,904.86
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November 3, 2010 2:58:39 PM

Check this link to see if there's anything in Win 7 Ultimate that you need. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/defa... I generally find that most people don't need anything more than Home Premium. Hint: If you don't know what a feature is, you probably don't need it.

It's your money as far as the Killer NIC goes, but the demands of running your network traffic are so minimal that it shouldn't be a concern. 10 years ago, maybe, but so much processing power has been added, I'd be surprised if I heard that it used more than .01% of your CPU. The articles I've seen that suggest it has some value still only find an increase of 2-5 fps in a few games. Other articles show no fps increase. I'd rather spend that $100 on a bigger graphics card, for a bigger increase in fps, myself.
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November 3, 2010 3:01:09 PM

The reason behind the HDD is for a storage drive, being 1TB, whereas the SSD would be the boot drive, being only 120GB. Being a combo with the card reader is just to save some money.

There's no point getting a NIC if you are playing online. The main network problems lie with the router/switch and modem as well as ISP. If you are using the ISP provided modem, chances are it is just a generic brand that just does enough to work. If you switch to a quality brand like cisco you may notice significant differences. Resources used by the network is minimal to none because it is already integrated into the operating system. If anything the discrete NIC would be the one using more resources because it would be running in addition to the integrated ones already running in the background.

Regarding Windows 7, why don't you figure out what you actually need/want than just following along with what someone else said. For most everyone, Home Premium is enough. For the gamer/enthusiast Professional is good enough if they haven't already gone to linux. Ultimate just gives you integrated data encryption (still not as good as some stand alone encryption software), application restriction (blocks certain applications from running) and seamless multi language support (you don't need to restart after switching languages) in addition to what Professional offers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7_editions

To convert VHS to digital, if it's a movie you may be better off buying the dvd or downloading it because they will be a higher quality picture than the VHS and not choppy. If it's a home video or something, you can get a TV Tuner Card but the easiest way would be to get an a/v to usb adapter cable, also called "video capture usb".
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November 3, 2010 3:51:37 PM

The NIC is out. To many of you are against it and I have to go with the majority on this one as well as the Pro vs Ultimate, that's out to.

I also didn't know it was that easy to convert VHS to digital so I don't need anything for that then. (yes, it's for home movies I want to transfer)

I work for Comcast who is obviously my ISP, lol, and am using an Arris TM722 EMTA DOCSIS 3 22mps Modem with an old Linksys WRT54G. That all seems to be running great.

Lastly, I have lots of storage drives already.

So here is an altered version of kuremes order, let me know what you think.


CPU
Core i7-950 $294.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
EVGA GeForce GTX 480 $539.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS:
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO and HSF:
Asus P6X58D Premium Mobo and Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme CPU Cooler $310.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.544934

PSU:
Corsair 850W PSU $129.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) $134.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD:
G.Skill Phoenix Pro 120GB SSD $234.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Card Reader:
AeroCool FP-01 55-in-1 Card Reader w/Flip-up LCD Screen $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BDROM:
Lite-On 12X Blu-Ray Burner $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE:
Antec Nine Hundred Two Case $119.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


TOTAL Price: $2,075.85
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November 3, 2010 5:11:25 PM

Just a couple of quick suggestions. You could get this comboHaf X Full Tower, Core i7 950, Asus Sabertooth x58 Motherboard. This combo will give you an awesome huge full tower HAF X at the price of the antec nine hundred two. And what better way to show off an awesome build then an awesome case.
As for the cpu cooler the CORSAIR CAFA70 120mm Dual-Fan CPU Cooler is an awesome cpu cooler that performs almost equal to the beast noctua d14 cpu cooler. And the corsair a70 is only 1/3 of the cost with rebate it comes down to $33. Now price/performance wise that is an offer that is unbelievable. Also on a build like that Id personally get a modular power supply like the CORSAIR Professional Series AX850 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply this psu is gold certified which is always an added bonus
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November 3, 2010 5:56:33 PM

I'd forget the 480 they're expensive for one reason: they are the best

But if you don't neccesarily need the best single GPU on the market there is no point in paying a premium for it. I'd get 2 460s 1gb in sli which are currently the best bang for buck solution in your price range, even the new 6850s/6870s can't match it. However the 69xx series look appealing and so do the 490gtx and 580gtx all will be coming relativly soon. So before you order look for more info on realease dates if there is no clear info or the release dates don't appeal to you then order.

As for you wanting to have a NIC to take the strain of your cpu then well it's a much better idea to get a sound card which does the same only more and being a sound card it gives better sound. I am personally a fan of good sound and for me a sound card really does improve my listening experience( I have an asus xonar d2x btw). A sound card is tied to the rest of your audio system however so if it's good you should get a sound card to actualize it's potential otherwise forget a sound card.

I don't like any of the cases mentioned here(the looks don't appeal to me they are good cases though) I'm more a fan of silverstone, lian li, fractal and other of the more clean looking cases. This case in particular isn't overly large and it's the best cooled case on the market(Beating the larger more ventilated haf x) http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... you also save 30bucks in combo with your OS(I reccomend pro, but home premium is fine really)

personally I love bit-techs builds here's the one that fits your budget http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/buyers-guide/2010/11/0...
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November 3, 2010 7:29:37 PM

First off why would you overpay for a case $100 more than the HAF X with the combo ive given. Secondly which gfx setup you choose should depend on which games you play the 6850 and 460 in sli and xfire are too close to call many reviews have shown. As for the 6850s they are overclocking beast and can easily be overclocked to the speeds of the 6870s thus destroying the 460s

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3602/his_radeon_hd_685...

http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-cross...
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November 3, 2010 7:57:07 PM

syxxnyne69 said:
First off why would you overpay for a case $100 more than the HAF X with the combo ive given. Secondly which gfx setup you choose should depend on which games you play the 6850 and 460 in sli and xfire are too close to call many reviews have shown. As for the 6850s they are overclocking beast and can easily be overclocked to the speeds of the 6870s thus destroying the 460s

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3602/his_radeon_hd_685...

http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-cross...


About the case sure but then a case is personal and I'd happily pay 100usd more for a case that I find betterlooking(by miles), that cools better and is legendary for it's build quality. But as I said this is personal.

about the graphics cards. Well I don't see your arguments really. Yes it depends which games you play but you can hardly guess which games you'll be playing in the next 4/5 years and which brand they will favour. So the only sensible thing to do is take the best average performer. Now 460gtx sli performs, better costs less, runs cooler, overclocks higher(I have no idea why you brought overclocking up because 460s overlock like absolute dreams), supports CUDA, physx and 3d. The only disadvantage they have is that they consume slightly more power but seriously is that a reason to favour 6850s over them? I mean really the choice is so damn obvious.
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November 3, 2010 8:05:07 PM

Somebody_007 said:
supports CUDA, physx and 3d.


Not strictly disagreeing on 460 vs. 6850, but...

CUDA - potentially useful, depending on what you're doing and if the applications support it.
PhysX - cute, but doesn't make a huge difference in the playability of games
3D - supported by the 6850

I don't think there's a compelling reason to go with one brand over another right now, aside from how it fits into your budget. nVidia's 3D offering is more advanced at the moment, but they're still both in relatively early stages of development.

In other words, if you can afford 2x 460, but not, say, 2x 6870, go nVidia. If you can afford 2x 6870 but not 2x 470, go AMD, etc. If you can manage to wait for the 69xx series to come out, do so, at least to see how they benchmark and how they affect the prices of existing cards.
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November 3, 2010 8:19:42 PM

Yeah those features are not all that usefull(although I have much more faith in nvidia 3d which is kind of mature already than whatever amd will come up with)

Agreed on that competition is very fierce in this price range but in my eyes with a single card amd takes the lead and for dual nvidia. Although differences are minimal. I would opt a little more towards nvidia because of the features mentioned. Even if you don't use any of them there is no compelling reason to go with amd over nvidia.

Bassically coldsleeps last paragraph sums it up perfectly, although I'd stay away from 470s and 480s if you want to overclock.
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November 3, 2010 8:29:40 PM

I'm sticking with the best GPU and will be looking for those releases.

Those 2 motherboards seem darn close, I'll have to look closer into that.

The case I picked only has 3 front bays I just noticed and I want 4 so I'll be looking into that too.

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November 3, 2010 9:00:52 PM

So I'm a little confused, why buy 2 cards instead of 1?
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November 3, 2010 9:02:11 PM

At some budgets, 2 cards provide a better graphics capability right now, though it can limit your expansion later. It's not worth it at all budgets, however.
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November 3, 2010 9:22:51 PM

552211 said:
So I'm a little confused, why buy 2 cards instead of 1?


Like coldsleep says it can give you more performance for your money than a single better card. Here is a good comparison in bang for buck

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3602/his_radeon_hd_685...

as you can see here http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3602/his_radeon_hd_685... 460gtx sli performs a little over 15% better than a 480gtx(both have a good stock OC and both can OC further) while costing over 100dollars less.
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November 3, 2010 9:38:59 PM

Here is what may be a dumb question for most. How do you use 2 cards as 1? I mean I only have 1 monitor lol so what is connected to the 2nd card?
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November 3, 2010 9:55:43 PM

The cards are connected inside the computer with what is called a bridge. You only connect one cable to the monitor. Perfectly sensible question to ask, especially if you haven't been digging around inside boxes set up with multiple cards.
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November 3, 2010 10:32:43 PM

Can I still use the ports on the 2nd card for say like an additional monitor?
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November 4, 2010 12:16:14 AM

Into the first card additional monitors can be run
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November 4, 2010 8:37:09 AM

yeah you can run 2 monitors of each card(maybe only one of the second not 100% percent sure, but you can definately run 3).
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November 4, 2010 6:00:05 PM

I'm liking the idea because also if one card breaks down I can use the other until I get a new card.
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November 4, 2010 10:09:10 PM

Definitely a positive out look to a dual card setup. Also I would suggest looking at this review for the Best Graphics Cards For The Money: November 2010 this review is from here at toms. I think you should choose a setup based on this review as the review is based on what is in the best interest for you as a user in your price range
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