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Want to build a gaming PC ASAP. Budget is $700 max, before GPU, which

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July 11, 2012 6:11:59 AM

Should I get an XPS for gaming instead of building my own? It seems to be cheaper, possibly.

I'd like to build a gaming PC ASAP. My budget is ~$700, before the GPU, which I will buy later. I want the option of overclocking and SLI/Crossfire, but I doubt I'll use them for a couple of years. I prefer not to use amazon or any other sites that charge NY sales tax.

I don't need storage hard drives or a monitor, keyboard or mouse.

I've got the following build in mind, which is a total of $636 + the cost of Windows.

Intel i5 3570k ($230)
ASUS P8Z77-V Lk ($130)
8GB 1.5V DDR3-1600 Crucial Ballistix ($46)
Crucial M4 128GB ($105)
Bitfenix Merc beta ($35)
Seasonic 620W M12II ATX ($90)
Windows 7 (have not selected a version)

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Other items: I'd like the PC to be as quiet as possible. I chose the mobo b/c of its I/O ports and LAN and audio chipsets.

I know the build overspends on the CPU and PSU. Could I get by on the Seasonic 520W M12II ATX?

But my bigger question is: should I just a Dell XPS? The entry level one is specced as follows for $750:

i5-3450 CPU
8GB RAM
1TB 7200 RPM SATA3 HDD
AMD Radeon HD 7570 1GB GDDR5
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Although it doesn't have an SSD, I could add one for $100, and I'd have a great video card, 1TB of bonus storage, and a copy of Windows. This seems like a much better deal than the system I'm building, I guess because this doesn't have the overclocking and expansion options my CPU and PSU give me. Any thoughts? If I decide not to O/C, the XPS seems like a much better deal, but maybe I'm missing something.
July 11, 2012 8:55:14 AM

If you'd want the option of overclocking and SLI/Crossfire, you shouldn't go with the Dell as the processor it comes with doesn't have an unlocked multiplier like your build does (The 'K' suffix) and the fact that its power supply and the cooling solution it would come with would have been skimped on by Dell to obviously cut costs.

The best way to go is through building your own computer.

If you want to save some money on Windows, either get a OEM version (note that you can only install it on the computer you install it on first) or you can see if you know anyone going to college in the US and get them to get you a copy of Windows through Microsoft's student deal promotion (if it's still going on). Oh and the Dell's graphics card isn't very good either. :p 
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July 11, 2012 4:19:41 PM

Really appreciate both of your input. Thanks for the PM and the detailed review of that build, chromonoid.

After thinking about it some more, I decided that keeping open my SLI and OC options isn't worth the extra cash. It turns out, as I thought, that was the real reason my home build was so much more expensive than the Dell. After switching to a cheaper CPU (3550 instead of 3750), PSU and mobo (H77 instead of Z77), the system is much cheaper. I have a thread with it elsewhere.
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