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$2000 Dell credit to burn

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November 18, 2012 8:59:44 PM

So a family member is offering to let me buy a computer with their Dell $2000 credit line (it's actually 3k, but I don't want to max out their card).

I don't have the option of building my own desktop from scratch (someday I'd like to), so I'd like to gather some opinions on what's the best investment I could make here? Perhaps something that allows me to modify in the future? I do enjoy playing MMO's like WoW and Guild Wars.. I'd like something that could handle such games at decent settings. Any alternate suggestions are welcome, but again please note I only have the option of purchasing with Dell. Below are some systems I picked out through browsing.

Should I buy a desktop + monitor?

Alienware x51
16GB (2 X 8GB) Dual Channel DDR3 up to 1600MHz
1TB SATA 3Gb/s (7,200RPM) 32MB Cache
Slot-Loading Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD±RW, CD-RW)
Dell U2312HM 23-Inch UltraSharp™ Monitor
Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3770 (8M Cache, up to 3.4 GHz)
1.5GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660
330W External Power Supply

XPS 8500
Windows 8, 64-bit, English
Microsoft® Office trial
Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24"W Monitor, 24.0 Inch VIS, Widescreen
3Yr PREMIUM PANEL Ltd. Warranty, 3 yr Advanced Exchange
12GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs
Blu-ray Combo Drive (BD-R, DVD+/-RW), Write to CD/DVD
2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive + Intel® SRT 32GB SSD Cache
AMD Radeon HD 7770
Integrated 7.1 with WAVE MAXXAudio 4
White w/19:1 Media Card Reader
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3770 processor (up to 3.90 GHz)
No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system)
Dell Wireless 1703 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0+LE
Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet

Alienware Aurora R4
Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3820 (10M Cache, Overclocked up to 4.1 GHz)
8GB (4 X 2GB) Quad Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz
1.25GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560 Ti
1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3Gb/s
Dell U2312HM 23-Inch UltraSharp™ Monitor
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
Single Drive: 24X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability


or do you think I'm better off getting a laptop like these? (Hesitant to get a laptop though because I've had horrible experiences with Dell laptops)

Alienare M17x
Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz w/ Turbo Boost 2.0)
6GB (1 X 2GB, 1 X 4GB) Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz
500GB 7,200 RPM SATA 3Gb/s
2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660M
17.3-inch WideHD+ 1600 x 900 60Hz WLED
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230 With Bluetooth 4.0
Slot-Loading Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD+-RW, CD-RW)

Inspiron 17R-SE
Windows 8, 64-bit, English
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM (6MB cache, up to 3.4Ghz)
17.3" 3D Full High Definition (1080p) LED Display with Truelife
8GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
1TB 5400RPM SATA HDD + 32GB mSATA SSD w/ Intel Smart Response
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GDDR5 2GB w/ 3D Glasses
Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD) with Cyberlink Power DVD 9.6 (Blu-Ray)

Alienware M18X
Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz w/ Turbo Boost 2.0)
18.4 inch (467.36 mm) WLED WideFHD (1080p) display (1920 X 1080)
8GB (2 X 4GB) Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz
500GB 7,200 RPM SATA 3Gb/s
2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660M
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230 With Bluetooth 4.0
Slot-Loading Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD+-RW, CD-RW)




Thank you!

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November 19, 2012 1:12:30 AM

I really like the x51. I think it's the best dell desktop since everything else can be home built easily, to do the specs of X51 in a small chasis on your own is much harder.

Next, what I do a lot with Dells is to buy the cheap XPS 8500 (no upgrades) and then on the dell website, buy the 7870+ the of graphics card. Sicne the Dell XPS can be preconfigured with a 7870, you should be fine using one and I know that people have gotten 7970s to work easily on the XPS. This will save some money as you don't need the lame upgrades dell makes you get when trying to configure an xps with a 7870.
I did this when there was a 200 dollar gift card for buying a dell desktop and then just ended up using it to buy a dell graphics card. It's overpriced for sure but after 200 bucks off, it's not that bad at all.
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November 19, 2012 1:22:03 AM

I would say if you had to, that you should just get a laptop with the money but...what the hell.

A Lenovo Y580 has the exact same specifications for $1000 less.... Stupid Dell.
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November 19, 2012 3:04:28 AM

Yeah, I realize that it's Dell.. but I'm just trying to take advantage of what they have to offer with the line of credit available to me. The x51 stood out to me as well, I'm really leaning towards that.

Does anyone have any recommendations on Dell monitors maybe?
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November 19, 2012 1:23:45 PM

The 27in IPS 1440p monitor for 800 bucks is my favorite monitor from dell. That would be great to game on in my opinon. Of course, the 30 inch 1600p is even better but it's so expensive.
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November 22, 2012 8:28:14 PM

yialanliu said:
I really like the x51. I think it's the best dell desktop since everything else can be home built easily, to do the specs of X51 in a small chasis on your own is much harder.

Next, what I do a lot with Dells is to buy the cheap XPS 8500 (no upgrades) and then on the dell website, buy the 7870+ the of graphics card. Sicne the Dell XPS can be preconfigured with a 7870, you should be fine using one and I know that people have gotten 7970s to work easily on the XPS. This will save some money as you don't need the lame upgrades dell makes you get when trying to configure an xps with a 7870.
I did this when there was a 200 dollar gift card for buying a dell desktop and then just ended up using it to buy a dell graphics card. It's overpriced for sure but after 200 bucks off, it's not that bad at all.


Thank you for all of your advice! Right now I'm still undecided. I like your idea of buying the cheap XPS 8500 and GFX card separately, I didn't realize that was possible. My question is, how bare bones can I go?

The cheapest one I see is this one:
Windows 8, 64-bit, English
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-3350P processor (6M Cache, up to 3.10 GHz)
Microsoft® Office trial
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 2 DIMMs
16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW), write to CD/DVD
1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s
NVIDIA GeForce GT 620 1GB DDR3 for Win 8


Do you think I should at least upgrade the CPU?


Thanks again, and happy thanksgiving!
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November 22, 2012 9:07:37 PM

If that's the $699 dollar one then go for it. I like everything about it except for the p after the processor since it means it has no integrated graphics card :(  Other than that you should be able to upgrade that puppy up pretty easily.

You can also do this with an aurora too if you want to max out your 2k. If you buy the 699, adding 1 gfx card still leaves plenty of money so you can add like a dell monitor or something like that. 2412 is what I have as my monitor and I love it.
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November 23, 2012 1:07:50 AM

Best answer selected by faeriespryte.
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