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Gaming: Upgrade Dell XPS 8300 i7... or build from scratch?

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December 19, 2011 4:30:04 AM

We're a Mac family, but I'm looking for a PC to play some Windows-only games: SWTOR, DAO, some stuff on Steam. We'll be hooking this up to our 55" Sony TV via HDMI and using a bluetooth keyboard/mouse, so we can also use it as an HTPC in the living room.

I have the option to get the following for $620 out the door thanks to a discount:

* Dell XPS 8300 i7-2600
* 8GB DDR3 RAM
* 500GB 7200 RPM HDD
* Nvidia Geforce GT530 1GB


Figured I'd buy this and use it as a basis for upgrading. Better video card (suggest?) + a 256GB SSD (or raiding 2x 128GB SSDs as I hear this provides better performance?). I like this idea because I don't have to shell out for everything at once, altho I'm keen on getting the SSD at the same time as the PC itself.

1.) Is this possible with the XPS 8300?

Versus the price of buying all the components individually, I figured the $620 price--which also includes RAM, the OS, case + PSU--was a good way to go vs building a PC (which I've done before... but not since 2005).

2.) Is there a better alternative out there? I'm all ears.

Again, this will be for games, so I'd like some power under the hood with the GPU. Trying to keep the TOTAL budget under $1k if possible.

Thanks! :) 

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December 19, 2011 4:42:51 AM

The GT530 graphics card will definitely be holding back your PC.

It's not a very good card for a gaming machine, in fact you should be throwing a large portion of your budget at your video card.

Modern Gaming is much more intensive on the GPU (Graphics Card) rather than the CPU.
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December 19, 2011 6:18:29 AM

warhead0 said:
The GT530 graphics card will definitely be holding back your PC.

It's not a very good card for a gaming machine, in fact you should be throwing a large portion of your budget at your video card.

Modern Gaming is much more intensive on the GPU (Graphics Card) rather than the CPU.


Yep, noted. Which is why upgrading the stock GPU on the Dell would be one of my top 2 priorities.

Was reading reviews on Newegg and thought this might be a viable candidate:

* HIS IceQ X Turbo H695QNT2G2M Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5

Just not sure if that card would require a PSU upgrade as well?

Again, I am open to suggestions on upgrades. That GPU may be overkill for my needs.
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December 21, 2011 2:09:19 AM

DO NOT GET THE XPS 8300. I own the machine. if you ever want to upgrade the graphics card you are screwed. it comes with an 460w powersupply. The highest you can go with that and have stable performance is GTX 550ti/GTX560(NON TI). If i were u build your own. Also you can just get a i5 2500k with your own system and overclock it and get I7 performance unless you want to do heavy multi-threading apllications. I7 is not at all neccasary for gaming and for about a 100 bucks less you can get a fine CPU. Anyway unless you are willing to spend 250 on 6950 and 100 bucks on a PSU and risk screwing up your Dell warranty i dont suggest you buy dell. Build your own!
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December 28, 2011 12:04:44 AM

Best answer selected by Sylin.
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