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Help me choose specs on Alienware desktop please

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November 7, 2011 7:32:05 PM

I'm aware that I can get the same hardware for much cheaper if I build a PC myself or use a website like ibuypower/newegg/etc... But, I don't want to do that and the main reason is because I ordered a $1,000 custom pc from ibuypower several years ago and it was the biggest waste of money ever. It was super buggy and crapped out on me after a month and I ended having to use my old dell. It completey turned me off from PCs and I've been exclusively using Macs since. I'm ready to get back into PC Gaming and I want a machine that will handle games like WoW, Rift, Guild Wars 2, Skyrim, TF2, Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, and Minecraft (among others) with high graphics and great performance.

I see A LOT of hate towards Alienware on the web, but it just reminds me of the same hate Macs get for being pricey. I would prefer to pay a couple hundred dollars for the brand name than to go the cheaper route and possibly end up with a PC that dies in a month (as previously stated). I've had good experiences with Dell in the past, my first PC was dell it is lasted me a VERY long time and was able to take over when that other one died. I actually still use the original speakers that came with that dell and they're no Studio Moniters but they sure as hell can hold their own, even with the strain I put them through with the music I make. So, basically from my experience Dell puts out reliable and durable products.

I don't know much about computer hardware I work much more with software, so I need some help from some tech savvy individuals to guide me through the process of choosing the specs on an alienware desktop. My price range is hopefully less than $2,000 so I was looking at the Aurora. But I want to hear what you guys have to say. If you hate alienware and think its a complete waste of money, tell me. But also tell me what a better option would be, but keep in mind i will absolutely NEVER use a website like ibuypower again.


- Some things that confused me:

* Dual graphics card vs single. Logically two seems better than one, but I see single gpu's that are more expensive than dual gpu's. What's the deal with this and what's my best option?
* i5 v i7. Again, logically i7 is newer so it should be better. But, i see i5 that are more expensive than i7 so same question as above^^.
* RAM. How much do you actually need? and whats 16gb of Ram at _____ speed vs 8gb at a higher speed. (i think its speed, i dont really know. all i know is it had bigger numbers lol)
* Solid state drives seem to be REDICULOUSLY expensive. It's something like +$700 for a 512GB Solid state as opposed to a TB HardDrive. Is the lack of storage room worth the supposed speed boost? For 700 f-ing dollars?!?

That's all I can think of now. If you guys can answer these questions and point me in the right direction it would be very helpful.

Thanks, Kyle

More about : choose specs alienware desktop

November 7, 2011 7:44:49 PM

two cheap budget graphics cards will cost less than one top end card . Thats shouldnt be a surprise

i5, i7 and i3 describe 3 different generations of processors . i7 is the oldest from memory , but has been completely changed at least once

No one uses a 500 gig SSD . Use a 100 -120 gig drive for windows and store documents on a regular hard drive

and alienware are stupidly expensive
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November 7, 2011 7:45:35 PM

two cheap budget graphics cards will cost less than one top end card . Thats shouldnt be a surprise

i5, i7 and i3 describe 3 different generations of processors . i7 is the oldest from memory , but has been completely changed at least once

8 gig of RAM is all a gamer needs . More than enough

No one uses a 500 gig SSD . Use a 100 -120 gig drive for windows and store documents on a regular hard drive

and alienware are stupidly expensive
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November 7, 2011 7:50:36 PM

i3, i5, and i7 are all the same age, they just have different features.

i3 = 2 cores with hyperthreading (2 cores/4 threads)
i5 = 4 cores no hyperthreading (4 cores/4 threads)
i7 = 4 cores with hyperthreading (4 cores/8 threads)

Most current games don't use more than 3 threads, so at the moment an i7 would be overkill if you are just using it for games.

The solid state drives will only help with faster loading of the OS and any other programs that are installed on the ssd. Personally, I don't think they are worth the current prices.
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November 7, 2011 7:54:49 PM

akopp21 said:
i3, i5, and i7 are all the same age, they just have different features.

.


No they are not . The socket 1366 is an i7 and it predates all current generation processors by several years . Worse still, some vendors are still trying to sell them as top end parts
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November 7, 2011 9:02:36 PM

Intel® Core™ i7-2600 (8MB Cache) Overclocked Turbo Boost to 3.9GHz [subtract $50.00]
Unlocked and Overclocked Processors

Intel® Core™ i7-2600K (8MB Cache) Overclocked Turbo Boost to 3.9GHz [Included in Price]
Intel® Core™ i5-2500K (6MB Cache) Overclocked Turbo Boost to 4.0GHz [Add $50.00 or $2.00/month1]
Intel® Core™ i7-2600K (8MB Cache) Overclocked Turbo Boost to 4.1GHz [Add $75.00 or $3.00/month1]


so out of those options, what would be the best choice? from what you guys have told me, it would seem the i5-2500k is the best?


and how is this graphics card? : 1.25GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560 Ti

edit: While i'm asking specific questions I might as well add this one in,

1333Mhz High Performance Memory
12GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz [Included in Price]
16GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz [Add $100.00 or $3.00/month1]
Alienware Recommended


1600Mhz Extreme Performance Memory


16GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz [Add $350.00 or $11.00/month1]
May delay your Alienware Aurora ship date


2133MHz Extreme Performance Memory

8GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 2133MHz, 4 DIMM [Add $50.00 or $2.00/month1]

you said 8gb is more than enough? so would the last option be best?
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November 7, 2011 9:08:58 PM

Quote:
if all you are doing is gaming yea the 2500K is more than enough

I would suggest spending less money on the name Alienware and build the pc yourself so you can spend more money on graphics/ssd/case/ram/storage/psu/mobo features/etc.



ok cool, thankyou.


I don't want to build my own PC because for one, I don't even have access to the most basic tools and two I don't know the first thing about it and i know I will end up screwing something up. I've never built any kind of electronic so its not a good idea to start off with a computer i put hundreds to thousands of dollars into.

And like i said before, i had a very bad experience with ibuypower. Everyone may think im crazy but i just dont trust those sites.
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November 7, 2011 9:10:32 PM

For gaming the 2500k

The 560 ti will play games well at 1080p resolution

and I agree completely with Pothead about building your own , saving a lot of money and having a system that you can upgrade
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November 7, 2011 9:14:24 PM

I appreciate the responses but building is just not an option. Ya all i need is a screwdriver, I don't even have one in the house lol. I don't build things. I create stuff with software.

I assume I can still upgrade an alienware pc in a year or two if i want a better graphics card or w/e

Building PCs is not for everyone. I have no desire to even attempt it because I know I am in way over my head before I even start. I don't mean to sound harsh, it's just not a big deal to me to spend extra money for the Alienware brand name like I said before. I just want to make sure I choose the right options so I get the best performance and longest usage out of it.


edit- I can see myself building a PC in the future as a fun project or experiment, but you have to understand I only have a mac laptop right now. I need a PC to play games, and I want one that will be ready out of the box.
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November 7, 2011 10:10:41 PM

Quote:
My first pc I put together in 2009 I basically stripped a prebuilt HP 2006 pc and threw it into a case my brother gave me along with a psu/gpu/ram he had laying around.

I watched about 15 minutes worth of tutorials before I first attempted, only had to take my computer to a local repair shop twice.



I don't want to have to bring it to a repair shop. I'm moving to the nyc early january, and im getting this PC late December. I don't mean to sound completely against building a PC, but I am not building one right now. Its not an option. Whatever I do, I'm buying a pre-built computer. That is why I posted this thread in this section of the forums.

If anyone thinks there is a much better option than Alienware that doesn't involve building myself, ibuypower or any site like it, please feel free to post some links.

I've gotten a lot of good info so far, but I don't need any more responses telling me to build one. I just want to make sure to choose the right options from the customization menus so I don't f*** something up because of ignorance.

So, what are some essential things I should be paying attention to?

So far, it's my understanding that
-the i5 2500k is my best bet for processor.
-The 8gb ram is a better option than going for something like 16 (which seems useless from what I've read).
-and this seems like a good gfx card : 1.25GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560 Ti

now for the harddrive, these are the options I get for this particular model I'm looking at now:

2TB SATA 6Gb/s (7,200RPM) 32MB Cache Add $0.00
Alienware Recommended

256GB Solid State Drive - SATA 3Gb/s [Add $300.00 or $9.00/month1]

512GB Solid State Drive [Add $750.00 or $23.00/month1]
Raid 0, Extreme Performance Options


2TB RAID 0 (2x 1TB) SATA II (3Gb/s) 7200RPM (2x 32MB Cache) [Included in Price]

512GB RAID 0 (2 x 256GB SATA 3Gb/s) Solid State Drive [Add $800.00 or $24.00/month1]
Raid 1+0, High Performance and Data Security Options

2TB RAID 1+0 (4 x 1TB SATA 3Gb/s) 7200 RPM


2TB seems like a little bit of overkill don't you think? And all the other choices are super expensive. I know they have 1TB options on other "starting points" for the same model (Aurora), but is there some reason why this only has 2TB or SolidState? This is definitely not the exact one I'm going to order though, I just want opinions on what hardware is sufficient.

Now, with gfx cards they say like 1.25 GB blah blah blah or 2GB blah blah blah or 4gb etc... what does that mean? And is more GB always better for a gfx card?


These seem like the 4 most important things to pay extra attention to: Video Card, Memory, Processor, and Hard Drive. Would that be correct? or am I missing something else that could be considered essential?
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November 7, 2011 10:22:11 PM

I really wouldn't advise getting an alienware PC, they're so overpriced for what they are.

I'd suggest buying parts from newegg, dabs or ebuyer and if you don't want to assemble them yourself try asking a friend or a local PC repair shop to do it for you (they might charge a bit, but it'll still probably be half the price of an alienware equivalent).

I'd recommend getting a single high-power card rather than 2 lower-spec ones as not everything is crossfire/SLI optimised and there are often scaling issues etc.

The speeds and timings on RAM don't really make a difference to the vast majority of gamers, most won't notice any difference. On a related note I wouldn't think you'd need any more than 8Gb for gaming (if you get 2x4Gb and feel you need more you can always get another 2x4Gb later).

Don't get a single massive SSD, get a 120Gb (or whatever) for windows and a few games, get a 500Gb-2Tb drive for data, movies, work etc.

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November 7, 2011 10:54:56 PM

Thanks a lot for all the helpful information. I think I have a much better understanding of what everything means and what the best options for me are.

Lol, I'm sorry guys but I'm gonna go with Alienware. I make enough money that it's not a big issue for me to forfeit going the cheap route. My main concern is getting something reliable and although Alienware is overpriced, they get good reviews and are very well known for gaming.

It's kind of like buying Coca-cola vs buying Stop and Shop brand cola in my eyes. Yes, the stop and shop brand has the same exact ingredients and tastes VERY similar but is it really the same as getting the real deal Coca-Cola?

You guys have been very helpful and I'm sure that in a year or two when I have some extra cash and free time I will come to you again for advice on building my first PC.

thanks, Kyle
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November 7, 2011 11:26:18 PM

lol im sure thats exactly what the creators of RC Cola said...
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November 8, 2011 2:53:29 AM

ok, so how does this look? :

-Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
-Intel® Core™ i5-2500K (6MB Cache) Overclocked Turbo Boost to 3.8GHz
-8GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 2133MHz, 4 DIMM
-1.25GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560 Ti
-2TB SATA 6Gb/s (7,200RPM) 32MB Cache
-Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
-802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 EDR USB Combo Adapter
-Dual Drives: Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo (BDROM; DVD/CDBurner) and DVDRW

Please let me know if anything stands out as something that's not gonna cut it or unnecessary
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November 8, 2011 3:18:54 AM

That doesn't look bad, Blu-ray probably isn't necessary unless you plan on using it to watch movies.
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November 8, 2011 3:29:59 AM

i guess i forgot to mention I get discounts on any dell product. its still probably over priced but not as much as it normally would :) 
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November 8, 2011 3:30:44 AM

you don't really need ddr3 @2133, 1600 is fine.

Does dell state what motherboard you are getting?
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November 8, 2011 3:35:48 AM

I can't find anything about the motherboard


and the only 1600 option was 16gb or something and was way more expensive than the 8gb 2133
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November 13, 2011 8:43:00 PM

My imo Hip i dont see why not that you wouldnt wanna learn about building a pc. I mean a alienware looks good but its overpriced and you still wont know whats inside your computer. I mean i do understand where you coming from thats its going to be your first time building but would you wanna be able to pick your own parts? To know that if your mobo cuts out you know how to replace 1 or even to know a new processor that will release you will know exactly how to exchange it and/or the mobo? I was in the same boat as you i had a prebuilt dell and i mean its was top notch for what it was but as i started to get more into computers i knew they was throwing in cheap parts and i wanted to pick my own brand/parts and not just have "8GB of ram" and not having the freedom of picking the brand i want. I would really advise you to look on youtube on building a pc and its not really that hard and you will save your self some money. I mean if you got the cash to do prebuilt all power to you but i think down the road you may regret it just like i did. I mean prebuilt computers are ok and they work but its about freedom and knowing that i can upgrade any part at any time instead of not knowing and taking it to a pc shop/tech support etc. I mean you got so much help around on the internet to where you couldnt go wrong. All im saying is this before you spend on the alienware just take a moment goto http://www.newegg.com and build you a wishlist then compare it to the alienware and i bet that you will have freedom of the parts that you wanted/Lower price and a much better custom pc.
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November 13, 2011 11:24:59 PM

he does not want to build a PC, he has made that clear. I think he has all that he needs.

I cannot say for certain if you could SLI down the road with the mobo that comes with the dell. if the 2133 is cheaper than get it.

Its tough to give good advice when dell is ultimately picking the components in terms of brand) going into the system, but you get the warranty and I wouldn't worry about hardware failure.
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November 14, 2011 2:23:15 AM

Quote:
2 years olds don't want to bathe. They make that clear. Doesn't mean we won't stop trying to make them take a bath.


True. However,the OP is not a 2 year old dealing with a general distaste of water. He is dealing with very expensive components not to mention the time it takes in assembling the PC. While the analogy is clever and I understand it, its application is a far stretch in this circumstance.

I agree wholeheartedly that it is better to build ones own PC, yet the OP has had this recommended to him several times with cost vs benefit analysis, and end results shown.


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November 14, 2011 5:37:11 AM

To answer one of your questions, the more RAM a video card has (not system ram here, but the VRAM directly on the card itself) the better it can handle higher resolutions. This is where textures and what not get loaded into the card. A 3 GB card is for people who game on multiple monitors, which naturally have extreme resolutions. If you game gaming on a monitor that is 1920 x 1080, then 1.25 GB of RAM is more than enough. 1920 x 1200 is also good for 1.25 GB of RAM (though some may say otherwise. I have a 512 MB card and game just fine on a 1920 x 1200 on Medium graphic settings).

By the way, you say that your bad experience with ibuypower has turned you off from PCs and turned you to a Mac. Mac is a PC, and uses the same hard ware as anyone else. Only difference is the name, the OS, and the price. Macs break too. Not all computers are bug riddled, virus infested, people hating machines. So props for trying to get your feet wet again. Just wanted to point this out though :) . (And nothing against Macs either).

As far as what you have selected for this PC, it all looks very good. That 560 Ti will get you high graphics on just about any game. However, if you want to play at high resolutions (1920 x 1080 or higher) on ultra settings for any game out there, a GTX 580 (or its ATI counterpart) will definitely be the way to go. The Ti can handle some ultra settings on some games I'm sure and is a great card, so not a bad buy.
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November 14, 2011 5:47:49 AM

HipZepi said:


- Some things that confused me:

* Dual graphics card vs single. Logically two seems better than one, but I see single gpu's that are more expensive than dual gpu's. What's the deal with this and what's my best option?
* i5 v i7. Again, logically i7 is newer so it should be better. But, i see i5 that are more expensive than i7 so same question as above^^.
* RAM. How much do you actually need? and whats 16gb of Ram at _____ speed vs 8gb at a higher speed. (i think its speed, i dont really know. all i know is it had bigger numbers lol)
* Solid state drives seem to be REDICULOUSLY expensive. It's something like +$700 for a 512GB Solid state as opposed to a TB HardDrive. Is the lack of storage room worth the supposed speed boost? For 700 f-ing dollars?!?

That's all I can think of now. If you guys can answer these questions and point me in the right direction it would be very helpful.

Thanks, Kyle


1. Depends on the card. A 580 is a $500 card (more on alienware I'm sure), whereas two 560 Ti will is $250. So two of those will be $500, the same price as a 580 but will perform better. Dual cards, however, have their own issues, such as microstuttering and not all games have the best support for it.

2. i5 is not older than i7. i3, i5, and i7 are all the same age (generation-ally speaking). The i3 is for low end computers. i5 is for performance on gaming and day to day tasks. i7 is for enthusiasts and power users who want the very fastest and best processors available. Geared more towards high end users that do video editing and CGI animation. Not necessarily the best for gaming, as the i7 2600K is matched in game performance by the i5 2500K. The i7 2600K will surpass the 2500K in other duties, such as rendering and the like.

3. 8 GB will be all anyone will ever need for the next few years. I barely use more than 4.5 GB of RAM, and that is while I am photoediting AND doing other tasks on the computer (I'm a major multitasker). 16 GB is good for rendering and video editing, running virtual machines, or setting up a RAMDISK (not getting into that). As you have already decided, 8 GB is more than enough for gaming.

4. Its up to what you want to spend and what you want to see in terms of speed. For me, it isn't worth it by any means. Sure your computer can boot up a minute faster, and programs load twice as quick, but for that much money, forget it. Your decision of a 2 TB disk will suit you well.
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November 26, 2011 2:12:30 AM

HipZepi said:
ok cool, thankyou.


I don't want to build my own PC because for one, I don't even have access to the most basic tools and two I don't know the first thing about it and i know I will end up screwing something up. I've never built any kind of electronic so its not a good idea to start off with a computer i put hundreds to thousands of dollars into.

And like i said before, i had a very bad experience with ibuypower. Everyone may think im crazy but i just dont trust those sites.



I know just what you mean! I've been looking at gaming computers for over a week. I'm more confused than ever. I was hoping to order a Digital Storm ODE Level 3 but shipping to Canada is about $500. I've looked at IBuypower, Cyberpower, etc. I don't really want to buy those. I also don't want to start building a system & find out I ordered the wrong power supply or case or something doesn't fit.

I'm looking at the same computer you are, the Alienware. I have a Dell Desktop that even though wasn't great at running games, lasted a long time.
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