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New Dell XPS 8500 vs. building my own

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September 3, 2012 11:04:21 PM

Sorry if this is in the wrong thread. I wasn't getting much help in "opinions and experiences" and there seems to be more traffic here.

Dell Specs in a nutshell:

OPERATING SYSTEM Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English

MEMORY 12GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs

OPTICAL DRIVE 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW), write to CD/DVD

HARD DRIVE 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive + Intel® SRT 32GB SSD Cache

VIDEO CARD AMD Radeon™ HD 7870 2GB GDDR5

PROCESSORS 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3770 processor (up to 3.90 GHz)

TOTAL: $1,249.98

or build my own computer. I looked on newegg.com and quickly calculated a total of equal or superior parts to be about in the same range as the Dell. I know if I look harder I can find a better bargain for the same parts, but is building your own computer worth it? Will I benefit from price and specs of a custom computer over the Dell XPS 8500 that I mentioned? What are you opinions?

More about : dell xps 8500 building

September 3, 2012 11:15:43 PM

One big question is what will you be using the computer for? Just gaming? Do any coding or video editing? If you don't do coding or video editing, then building your own is an overwhelming YES! i5 and i7 makes no difference in gaming.

For the price you are paying, this is a MUCH better setup: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gtw5

Not only will you get more performance for the price, this setup leaves room for upgrading. Good cases, PSUs, and hard drives are all salvageable if you plan to upgrade a few years down. You can get a 256GB SSD for the price too!

If you are one of those people who pay for their OS's, if the some parts above are on sale, you could easily fit the cost of the OS in too. OR get a different or smaller capacity SSD.
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September 3, 2012 11:25:51 PM

^^^
Good build, but get a 128GB SSD, and get a Z77 mobo and better case. A $1.2K build should not have a H77 board. Get the Extreme 4 and Haf 912. A lot better.
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Related resources
September 3, 2012 11:37:09 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($23.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($95.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($399.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1214.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-03 19:36 EDT-0400)

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September 3, 2012 11:43:45 PM

obsama1 said:
^^^
Good build, but get a 128GB SSD, and get a Z77 mobo and better case. A $1.2K build should not have a H77 board. Get the Extreme 4 and Haf 912. A lot better.

Oops my bad, picked a H77 mobo thinking of a Z77 in mind. Why would you go for a 128gb SSD? He has the budget for 256gb. I don't think the Haf 912 is that good of a case. The NZXT Source 220 (which I didn't use on my list) has a better fan layout. The top fan on the 912 is placed in such an awful spot! It should be in front of where the heatsink goes, NOT directly above it!!!
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September 3, 2012 11:53:08 PM

Thanks for the help guys! Yes, I will be buying my OS; probably Windows 7(I don't know if I want to wait for Windows 8). Also, is the sound card built in to the mobo? If not that would have to fit into the budget.
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September 3, 2012 11:54:46 PM

Also, Dell will finance the computer whereas building my own I would have to wait until after Christmas. I only have about $500 to spend right now. So buy the Dell setup now or wait and build after the year? I'm not in like great need of a computer, but I really want to play Arma and DayZ haha.
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September 4, 2012 12:18:45 AM

Well, you could get a slower computer (still fast!) to make it closer to how much you can spend. Not like Dayz is very demanding.
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September 4, 2012 1:15:33 AM

Yes very true, but those are my two options. Dell XPS 8500 or build my own. I'm pretty set on these two. Basically my budget will be what the XPS cost, $1200. Dayz is demanding for what I have now haha. Buy the Dell now, or wait and build. How much will I benefit from a custom $1200 computer versus the XPS 8500 is the question.
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September 4, 2012 2:45:36 AM

Gaming only, is probably 10-20% better with the custom. But daily use, SSDs makes everything feel snappy.

The custom will last you longer in the long run. When some parts get obsolete, the remaining reusable parts are still nice.
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September 4, 2012 3:26:57 AM

obsama1 said:
^^^
Good build, but get a 128GB SSD, and get a Z77 mobo and better case. A $1.2K build should not have a H77 board. Get the Extreme 4 and Haf 912. A lot better.


Well with H77 you forfeit access to the multiplier so it's not really a good purchase.

For $1200 I'd suggest something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($407.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Eleven Hundred ATX Full Tower Case ($109.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($24.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $1221.87
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-03 23:26 EDT-0400)
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September 4, 2012 4:39:58 AM

Yeah I like that build, G-Unit. 8 GB RAM and 1 TB HD is plenty for what I will be using my computer for. Web surfing(youtube, facebook, reddit, so on) and gaming. The money I save with the i5 and less RAM and HD could be put into a better GPU. Thanks for the help guys. I just need to decide if I want to wait or buy/finance the Dell now and bite the bullet.
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September 4, 2012 6:55:27 AM

BHall said:
Yeah I like that build, G-Unit. 8 GB RAM and 1 TB HD is plenty for what I will be using my computer for. Web surfing(youtube, facebook, reddit, so on) and gaming. The money I save with the i5 and less RAM and HD could be put into a better GPU. Thanks for the help guys. I just need to decide if I want to wait or buy/finance the Dell now and bite the bullet.


Build your own - it will be 1,000,000 times better than any Dell crap you could buy.
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September 4, 2012 7:02:21 AM

Yes. Dell and other OEMs are good for only the first year, when they provide full warranty. After that, there's totally nothing.
Build your own, and
a) You get better parts at around same price. You can choose what to compromise on, or no compromise.
b) you'll get 3+ yrs warranty on most parts. Stuff like HDD/PSU is 5+ years.
c) OEMs will never give you an overclockable processor.
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September 4, 2012 7:07:03 AM

proton007 said:
Yes. Dell and other OEMs are good for only the first year, when they provide full warranty. After that, there's totally nothing.
Build your own, and
a) You get better parts at around same price. You can choose what to compromise on, or no compromise.
b) you'll get 3+ yrs warranty on most parts. Stuff like HDD/PSU is 5+ years.
c) OEMs will never give you an overclockable processor.


Not only will they not give you an unlocked CPU but most OEMs water down their hardware and limit access to the BIOS. And then they use their own cases which are designed around proprietary form factors that make upgrading incredibly difficult and in some cases near impossible. At most they last about a year and a half before you have to upgrade, and then you can't do it.
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September 4, 2012 9:34:40 AM

I'm guessing you are carrying over mouse, keyboard, monitor and speakers/headset
from a previous computer. I know dells often ship with keyboard, mouse, possibly
speakers and even a monitor. If all you need is a pc that can surpass the suggested
requirements for DayZ(an Arma 2 mod for those unaware), here you go:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gwdE

This build comes in at 487.23 after 45 worth of mail-in-rebates and allows you to
have a good experience playing arma and dayz now, and swap in an ivy i5, more ram
and a better graphics card later if u want. The price also includes a copy of microsoft
windows 7 home premium sp1 64bit oem.

Most mobos nowadays(if not all of them) include decent integrated audio. If you are
a real audiophile though, you will be spending a few more bucks to add a sound card.
The mobo in this build lets you use one with either a pcie x1 lane connector(plugged
into the second pcie x16 slot) or one with an old school pci connector(even if you have
a dual slot graphics card installed).

Oh, you can add an ssd later too, but will need a sata 6gbps cable( the ASRock mobo
comes with only 2 sata cables which will go to the optical and green drive). You can
migrate the OS and your apps(browsers, games, etc) from the hdd to the ssd, leaving
more storage available on the hdd.
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September 4, 2012 1:56:01 PM

Just my input, wouldn't recommend the Source 220, its just not worth the money imo, having used it. I personally would say the Source 210 was the better option, but thats just my two cents?
Other good cases in that price bracket would have to be:
Antec ONE
Antec 300 (Although a little dated)
Zalman Z11
Sharkoon T10 (Purely on looks)
Or if you want to spend ~£60 you cant go wrong with the Corsair 300r

-SublimeOrange
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September 4, 2012 4:30:51 PM

SublimeOrange said:
Just my input, wouldn't recommend the Source 220, its just not worth the money imo, having used it. I personally would say the Source 210 was the better option, but thats just my two cents?
Other good cases in that price bracket would have to be:
Antec ONE
Antec 300 (Although a little dated)
Zalman Z11
Sharkoon T10 (Purely on looks)
Or if you want to spend ~£60 you cant go wrong with the Corsair 300r

-SublimeOrange


The Antec 300 is still good, but I'd pick the Corsair 300R out of all those choices. Not a fan of Zalman cases and I don't think that last option is available in the US.
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September 4, 2012 7:46:08 PM

I already have a Logitech G500 mouse, 2 Bose companion speakers, and I'm using my Samsung 46" LED as my monitor. Dell includes a $40 mouse into that price, but that's all I had selected. JT, I will probably not go any lower than an i5 and 8 GB RAM. Not so sure about HD if it's going to be custom. I would also like to at least have my GPU better quality. I don't necessarily want to be having to buy upgrade parts a year from now.
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September 4, 2012 10:04:50 PM

That's cool. Just wanted to put out the option of a lesser build you can use right away
with upgrade paths for later should you find you want or need them. I don't envy your
situation of having to choose between financing a limited dell now or waiting so long
to put together a custom build. Best of luck making that decision.

P.S. If you did go with the less than stellar parts now, you could also sell them later
to help defray the cost of any upgrades. Just sayin...
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September 4, 2012 10:33:49 PM

No problem JT and your build is most certainly a doable option if I was to do the custom build and would still be within my budget. Didn't really think about it at first, but now that might nearly be an option, but maybe a better GPU.

EDIT: Cash right now budget*
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September 5, 2012 3:36:26 AM

I made a few tweaks to that first 500 dollar build. Take a peek...

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gAH9

Bumped the mobo down a smidge. I think the main loss is the ability to change a k series
cpu multiplier, but any current i5 quad will not bottleneck modern games. It is also down
to one sata 6gbps connector but most people just use one ssd anyway. Kept the 4 dimm
slots and can still run ddr3 1600 full speed. Also lets you install cards with x1 pcie and/or
old school pci when a dual slot gpu is in the 1st peg slot. pcie 1x plugs into 2nd peg slot.

Bumped up the cpu a bit from 2.4 to 2.5(will match any C2D at 3ghz at least). the tiny bit
of extra money is more than worth the bump in performance.

Now what you've been waiting for...a better gpu! This HIS 7770 runs cool and quiet so
should be a good candidate for some OCing. Driver updates have improved the 7770's
performance, so it should rival the hd6850 which is several small tiers above the 6770 in
the other build. With some moderate OCing, you should get hd6870/gtx560ti levels of
performance. It could go even higher.

The total now comes to 497.88 after 2 15 dollar mail in rebates. Care to take a bite?
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September 5, 2012 6:50:03 AM

You, my friend, are making my decision really hard haha. That is a nice build, but I'm going to get a little picky on you here. This is the least I will go as far as specs/performance are concerned. i5, Radeon 7000 series, 6GB RAM, ? HD(I do download music and games, but that's about it), Windows 7 and Microsoft Office(I forgot to mention sorry), and 1 optical drive. What would the price be on that?
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September 5, 2012 3:52:49 PM

A little picky? LOL

OK, here is something a little different that should do what you want and only
raise your budget a little bit. As time passes the amount you have to build
with now goes up, right? See here: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gCgY

I know what you're thinking... "Hey , that's not an i5 quad!" No , no it isn't.

However, this processor, along with a good mobo and hyper212+, should exceed
4ghz easily, putting it on par with the slower sandy b core i5 quads(or better even).
Any core i5 quad won't bottleneck games and neither should this.

This mobo will let you install 5 expansion cards( 3 pcie 1x, 2 pci) with a dual slot
gpu installed in the main peg slot or 2 and 2 with a 3 slot gpu(if you want).

You also get 8 usb 2.0, 2 usb 3.0 and 6! sata 6gbps ports. AMD is packing a ton
of performance and features on their platform now for the price compared to
intel. A cpu costing about half that of an i5quad is able to compete with it. Sweet!

You will also be ready to drop in an 8core(4 module) piledriver FX cpu if they show
performance much better than bulldozer/phenom2 once the impending launch lands.

Bumped the ram up to 2x4GB of low latency patriot with heatspreaders.

Bumped the gpu down a bit to an msi 7750, but given that when 7750s launched
they were not far behind hd5770/6770 in some games, newer drivers should boost
performance, and this cool and quiet dual slot cooler should let you do a fair amount
of overclocking, it looks pretty sweet for the price. W/55w, it balances the higher
power use of the 125w 965BE(closer to 160w when OCed) versus an i5 at 95w (or
higher when overclocked)and 80w 7770.

Also upgraded the PSU from the corsair cx500 v2 to an antec vp 450. Hardwaresecrets
had a very positive review of this PSU showing acceptable amounts of ripple, greater
than 80% efficiency with their standard load tests, and 75% efficiency in their overload
tests. The only reason it isn't rated 80+ is due to lack of power factor correction, but
it's built to a higher quality with split +12v rails than some others w/pfc and just 1 rail.

You can find the review here: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Antec-VP450-Powe...

The antec vp 450 also has a combined total of 36A on its split rail design with two
+12v lines, providing 426w vs the cx500 with 28A/336w. You do have to balance your
power use on the rails, but with a later more power hungry gpu, you use the provided
6pin connector and an inexpensive adapter(2 molex to 1 6pin) on 1 of the molex lines
u will hardly use except for maybe a few case fans or something. Any card out now
with more than 2 6pin connectors is not worth the extra money, imho. Nothing higher
than gtx660ti or hd7950(either one you OC yourself)at around 300.

All told, the final build cost rises to between 550 and 555(+11%) after 50 in rebates.
Still, this is under half the total you would pay for the dell, and the main upgrades you
may make(gpu and ssd) are fairly simple drop ins. Actually, if you got a 300 dollar gpu
later and a 120-128MB ssd for under 100, your total outlay would be under 1000.

As for MS Office, 2010 pro is about 200 unless you get a student version or something
and it sure ain't free. You can get a free or very cheap office suite like open office or
corel that will do everything MS office will , but far cheaper(or free). It's the best I can
do and be anywhere near your current budget and let you do what you want to do.

Edit: to save a few more bucks, you could knock the HDD down a notch or 2 now if
you may load the os , office software and games on a ssd in little while. That is
unless you have a massive music collection and can't resist steam's game sales.

Edit: you could also save more money buy running the 965BE stock or with a milder
oc on the amd cooler, skipping the hyper 212+. The rosewill case has a cpu fan hood
that would need to be removed somehow to allow for a tower style cooler such as
the hyper212+ vs a lower profile amd cooler. Also, I do have a bit of a concern about
the hyper212+ fan blocking access to 1 or 2 ram slots on that motherboard with
taller heatspreader equipped dimms like those patriots. If 8GB is more than plenty
for your needs( I imagine it would be)then that shouldn't be a problem.
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September 6, 2012 7:20:31 PM

That, I like. Ok, here is the deal. I just got my financial aid check in from school so I will figure out my budget tomorrow. Honestly, I probably won't build a $500 computer. I will buy the Dell, even if it is inferior. Mainly because I can put x amount of dollars down and finance the rest. I just like the i5, the better GPU, more RAM, and more HD in general. If I do have more than $500 to spend, I will build my own and upgrade those parts in your previous build.
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September 7, 2012 2:55:06 AM

Glad to see we are getting closer to what you want. A few more modifications:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gKRb

Dropped the hyper 212+. You can use the amd heatsink fan that comes with the cpu.
Since it has the same cooler as 970BE(3.5ghz), 975BE(3.6) and 980BE(3.7), you should
be able to bump up the multiplier a few notches without much if any voltage increase
and keep cpu temps under control. You might even be able to undervolt as well.

Also spent 4 bucks more on ram that won't bonk heads with a fan on a tower cooler
should you decide you want one in the future. It's still 2x4GB of patriot ddr3 1600,
just at a more standard C.A.S. latency 9 vs CL8.

I want to keep that same hd7750 in there so you feel like it's more of an upgrade, but
here is another 7750 model that costs a penny more but is 9.99 less up front:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The msi is 109.99 plus 4.99 shipping and has a 20 dollar rebate. This HIS is 104.99 with
free shipping and a 10 dollar rebate. The heatsink fan looks pretty puny by comparison,
but is more than enough to quietly cool the 7750(better than the reference design, even)
and could allow for some overclocking as well.

The total now comes to 538.87 after 40 dollar in MIRs or 538.88 after 30 dollars of MIRs.

A few more tidbits to think about for future upgrading.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This 2GB HIS 7870 with IceQ cooler has been in stock, out of stock, in stock, and out of
stock several times today at newegg. It is 199.99 shipped after a 20 dollar mail in rebate.
The the blower style exhausting heatsink fan with copper heatpipes makes for both a
cool and quiet card that should be a good overclocker. Since even a mild oc will put it over
a 300 dollar 7950 or 285 dollar gtx660ti, it makes for a pretty sweet upgrade path(as long
as it or something like it is on sale at that price).

Also heard tell of ssd prices hitting 50 cents per GB, but when checking pcpartpicker and
newegg found only the likes of 70 dollar 120GB drives. That is... until checking the end
of the page at newegg and finding this: (actually a cost versus capacity search)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not only have we met 50 cents per GB with ssd pricing, we have exceeded it. I was
looking for a 120GB drive at 60 bucks but found a fairly fast sata 6gbps ocz vertex 3 120GB
drive for 49.99 after a 10 dollar rebate. Yes, they are out of stock and may not get more in
stock, but the mere idea of there being more prices like this in the near future when you
can afford to add an ssd is pretty awesome.

I was going to expand more on something along the lines of using an online tool to find a
distribution of linux that you might like and download it for free, removing the windows
tax of 89.98. With a program? called Wine, you might be able to run windows games on
linux. Of course there are a variety of free office suites compatible with microsoft office
and media players for your music too. Even browsers that would be more secure to run
in linux than on windows. You could download a live cd iso with multiple linux distros to
try, and if you like one (or more) you could use it for things other than games if you either
get windows right away or pay for that "upgrade" in the near future and do a dual boot
system. Crazy no? But something you can try out some now before making a final decision.

I would mention that with the extra burden off your budget, you could bump up the current
graphics to the HD7770 mentioned earlier while staying under 500 before rebates.

I'm feeling peckish and should probably eat something. This is just a little food for thought.

Edit: almost forgot. It has been mentioned that the i7 3770 is in excess of what you
need for your most systematically strenuous task(gaming) buy at least 100(if not
200) dollars. The starter build with win7 plus the addition of good speed /cost/price
ssd at 50? and an upgrade in gpu of 200 will be less than 800 total. You could also
get a large percentage of your money back later on the initial system's radeon gpu.
If you could get over 50% back you'd be under 750. And I forgot to post a link
comparing i5s, i7s, PIIs, and the upcoming mystery priced socket am3+ piledriver FX:

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/135388-amd-cpu-bon...

The PII x4 980BE trades blows with i5 2300, while the FX 8350 trades blows with
the i7 quads. You could have PIIx4 980BE levels of performance right away, and
be able to upgrade to FX 8350 in the future(pricing is still unclear at this point).

Socket 1155 is a dead socket, but socket am3+ is alive and well.
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September 7, 2012 4:22:56 AM

You do realize that you're talking to a complete noob when it comes to computer internals right? haha just running that by ya ;) . Hey, I do appreciate the enthusiasm and benevolent advice though. I will have you an answer hopefully in the next 24 hours on where we can go based on my budget. Hopefully, I will have some play room to bump up all the significant specs that I'm wanting/looking for. FYI, you will be getting the top answer either way. Thank you kind sir.
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September 7, 2012 5:21:43 AM

"one is glad to be of service"(bicentennial man)

Do let us, me , whoever know what you end up doing.

If you get the dell I may cry though(don't worry, you won't have to see/hear it).
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!