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Is this a good system?

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December 10, 2010 4:57:37 PM

Ok, so i'm planning on buying an alienware aurora, for $2000 cdn. I'm just wondering if this is a good buy ( i don't have the time, or skills to build one), and if its not what would be a better system to buy?, keeping in mind i live in Canada and i have a budget of $2000.

Heres the system specs:

875w psu
Overclocked Intel® Core™ i7 930 Quad Core Processor (3.36GHz, 8MB Cache)
12GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - (3x 4096MB) ... is this even necessary?
Dual 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ HD 5670 CrossfireX™ ... i'm replacing this with my gtx 580 card
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
1TB - SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200RPM, 32MB Cache HDD

More about : good system

December 10, 2010 5:46:07 PM

It's pretty bad. First, it's not worth any were near $2,000. Second, it's Alienware. Third, I'd highly doubt that the POS PSU they include will be able to handle a high end GPU despite what wattage they say it has, so that upgrade is useless.

I'd highly recommend building it yourself with your budget. It really doesn't take much time (my first build took less than 2 hours) and almost no skills. There is absolutely no wrong way to put the parts together. If you've got the ability to drop in a new GPU, you've got the ability to build it yourself.

If you absolutely must get a prebuilt, check out the "custom" builders like IBuyPower, CyberPower, etc. None of them are good choices, but they're better than Dell. I don't know who services Canada though, so you might be out of luck.

If you must buy from Dell, as an absolute last resort, drop the extra 6 GB of RAM out of the build. It doesn't really help you. Then, swap in the actual GPU you want (or one close to it). You could also drop down to an i5-760 to afford a larger GPU. The CPU doesn't really help gaming that much.
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December 10, 2010 7:41:28 PM

hmm, well as for the gpu i already own a gtx 580, but the computer originally came with a 525w psu and i upgraded it to the 875w, so i thought that it would handle it. If i make these changes will it be a good gaming pc?

Overclocked Intel® Core™ i7 930 Quad Core Processor (3.36GHz, 8MB Cache)

changed to _ Overclocked Intel® Core™ i5-655K Processor, 3.86GHz, 4MB Cache

12GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - (3x 4096MB)

changed to : 6GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz

And what kind of effect would these changes have on the system.. thanks!
oh and the new price is $1720 (including shipping and taxes)... $1549 without tax
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December 10, 2010 7:51:58 PM

DO NOT GO FOR ALIENWARE. It is a pure waste of money. Choose your parts you need and you would be better off than that configuration below the price limit. You are in canada so i guess newegg.ca will do. Choose the parts from there and you will be having a very good pc at an excellent price. Also you get a wider choice of parts.
If you dont mind i will surely start from a scratch.

Motherboard: Gigabyte or Asus X58 (I personally trust these two brands)
Always choose a motherboard with more number of power phase design it will help you run cooler and is very essential for OCing.
CPU: Intel i7 (choose anyone in your price limit)
RAM: Patriot/Kingston/G-Skill/Corsair (i think 8 GB would be more than enough. I would like to tell you check the frequency and latency timings. The lesser the latency the better)
Cooler: Corsair H-70 (excellent liquid cooler with no need to change coolent!!)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
GPU-I would recommand using sli on any nvidia fremi based tesla cards(400 or 500 series). Two of these monsters give unmatched performance. Try reading more on tesla technology and teslas
HDD-Your choice.
PSU- GO FOR BRANDS SUCH AS CORSAIR, THERMALTAKE, GIGABYTE, COOLER MASTER. (I personally prefer cooler master). Look for SLI AND Crossfirex support on them and it should be above 800w if you are going to run 2 cards.
If you have a good budget you can also get an ssd. They are unmatched to speed compared to HDD.
If you dont know how to put it together then have someone else to do it or maybe even i will try to help if you wish to do it yourself. I build my pc myself and the best part is that you get what you want at a less price.
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December 10, 2010 7:52:07 PM

No. The i5-6xx are dual core CPUs. I'd stick to the i7-930 over that.

I assumed the PSU you listed was part of the original build. Since it's not, it should be fine. I'd still caution you that many parts prebuilt vendors like Dell use are proprietary. That means they aren't easily exchanged with aftermarket parts (like everything else you'd buy).
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December 11, 2010 3:26:56 PM

Ok, so i"m starting to think that maybe i should just build my own computer, but i"m still not sure? .. is there any good tutorials that i could read so i can know what im getting into?
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December 11, 2010 5:03:27 PM

The guide listed in the stickies at the top of this forum is an excellent one. It's one of the better ones I've found. You can also just Google how to build a PC and find millions of guides. I'd suggest reading through a few and following one that uses similar parts to what you're using or one that you just like.
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December 11, 2010 6:26:16 PM

Well rather than just reading on how to build one i would want you to check this.....
It is rather a very complete video on how to build a gaming PC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKSYpdGCQac
The above link is part 1, also check out the other parts form the same uploader.
One another thing i would like to tell you, do make sure that you just go through all the manuals of the case and motherboard before you do anything, before fixing everything on the motherboard and in the case, keep the manuals in front of you when you are building. Do not rush through the process, take your time if this is your first build. If you choose your parts wisely there would be no problem at all. So BEST OF LUCK!!!
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December 12, 2010 5:10:13 AM

Alright, so after a bit of homework i've settled on some parts

cpu: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

motherboard: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Ram: http: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Hardrive: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Sound card: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

case: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

psu: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

as for the gpu, I already own a gtx 580, and i was wondering if could use the dvd drive and 500gb hardrive (uses sata) from my old system without problems. And also probably use the Corsair H-70 as suggested. if theres any problems with this set up please let me know, and offer any opinions about the products ive listed ( oh and whats your opinion with the onboard sound that comes with the motherboard?) thanks!
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Best solution

December 12, 2010 2:31:59 PM

To start, there is no reason to spend $700 on the CPU. Instead, grab the I7-930 for a good $400ish less and overclock it. You could use the savings to grab a second 580 for SLI, or stick in a SSD. Check out OCZ's Vertex 2 or Agility 2 SSDs for some good ones. I'd get one that's at least 80 GB or larger.

Second, you don't need a sound card unless you're a huge audiophile. Onboard sound is extremely good now days and is already capable of suppling 7.1 outputs. I would at least try onboard before getting a discrete sound card. If you can tell tha the quality isn't the best, then buy the card. I'd probably suggest going more expensive on it, as the lower end cards aren't going to be much better than onboard.

Third, I'm not a huge fan of the Rampage series of boards. I'd personally switch to the Asus P6X58D Premium. It's cheaper and considered to be a better board overall.

Fourth, that RAM is kind of slow. Pick up some 1600 mhz (or higher) CAS Latency 7 sticks instead. I would rank the different brands in this order: G.Skill, Corsair, Mushkin, followed by everyone else. Just avoid OCZ, as they don't play well with Intel boards.

Fifth, a better HDD is the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB. It's roughly the same price, but it's a touch faster and higher quality.

Sixth, I don't see any reason to spend $250 on a case. You really don't need to spend more than $100-$170 (US). The HAF 922 is considered the best case out there. It's around $100. It's called a mid-tower, but it's actually larger than many full towers. It's kind of ugly though. Other options I'd prefer are the Antec 1200, HAF 932, and the Coolermaster Cosmos. Those all run around $160 US.

Finally, I'd probably step up the PSU to an 850W. Corsair would be great. I'd look at their modular line, since you'll obviously have a lot of money left over after these changes.

You can use your old DVD drive, but I'd probably get a new HDD for the boot drive. The newer drives are a lot faster. The older drive would be just fine for another storage drive.

As for the Corsair H70, that's not a great choice. Corsair's Hydro series isn't that great. It's expensive, yet doesn't cool as well as some of the higher end air cooling options. I'd check out the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (about $40 US) as a great, cheap option or the Noctua NH-D14 (about $90 US) as the absolute best cooler out there.
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December 13, 2010 9:29:12 PM

Ok, so here are my revisions:

psu
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

cpu
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

cpu cooler
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

ram
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

hdd
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=22-152-1...

ssd
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...


I couldn't find the specified ssd, so i linked this one, (got good reviews, and is relatively cheaper than the other ones showed)
I have also never overclocked before and i'm just wondering what your opinion is on the skill of it?
Thanks!
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December 14, 2010 2:01:04 AM

Another CPU to consider is the i7-950. I kind of forgot that they were so close in price to the i7-930. There isn't a huge difference between the two, but the 950 is faster at stock.

As for the SSD, here's one of the ones I mentioned: OCZ Vertex 2 120 GB. It's a bit more expensive, but it's going to be faster as it's newer.

Everything else looks good. The only thing I'd caution you about is the RAM. The heat spreaders make the RAM very tall, so it might interfere with the HSF. You may need to switch the typical slots you install the RAM into (i.e. instead of using the first slot, you'll need to use the second one), which limits the total amount of RAM you can use. Basically, the HSF might block a slot, so you'd only be able to install a maximum of 3 sticks of RAM. It shouldn't really matter, but it's something to consider.

As for overclocking, it's more an art than a science. I'm not that experienced at it as I haven't really had the time to really work on it. It really just involves changing some settings in the BIOS and testing the build repeatedly. There are many, many guides out there about how to do it, but there is no absolute right way to go about it. It's really trial and error.
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December 14, 2010 2:17:19 AM

Alright, thanks a ton for the help. I'm gonna have to wait a month or so until i can actually build though (get some cash). So i guess thats a good amount of time to look over some tutorials. I also read that Intel is coming out with a new line of processors in about a months time, and i'm just wondering what your opinion is on whether i should wait to buy one of those. Again though thanks a lot, you've helped big time.
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December 14, 2010 3:14:56 AM

I'd wait and see what happens with the new CPUs. Keep in mind that they were originally slated for this year, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen. If you can get by with the machine you have now, it should be worth the wait. Either the new CPUs will be a better option at a similar price, or the older ones will at least be cheaper. It's hard to say without knowing what kind of performance the new line is going to get or how much they're going to want for the chips.
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January 29, 2011 10:33:24 PM

All right, so ill be ordering everything within the next two weeks, and with the new cpu out, i would like to update my list to see what you think, and make sure that its all good before i order everything.

PSU
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

CPU
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

CPU Cooler
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

MotherBoard
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Ram
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

HDD
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=22-152-1...

SDD
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

I think it's all good, however, i was a little confused with all the different ram out there, so if theres anything better than the ones i have listed please let me know. I also want this to be a long term computer that can be upgraded in the future. Thanks!
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January 29, 2011 10:36:06 PM

Oh, and also I've read that people have had problems with the cpu cooler being too large. I'm just wondering if i should get something else, as i want there to be minimal problems, considering this is my first build.
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February 6, 2011 1:36:04 PM

Best answer selected by peterson99.
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