$1200 build from AVA Direct a good idea?

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Hey folks,

I'm looking to purchase a new computer and decided not to go with any of the major manufacturers for a variety of reasons (don't like many of them, can't fully customize, etc.). Was considering purchasing myself, after ruling out Cyberpower PC, due to extremely negative reviews. But I stumbled upon AVA Direct, which seems higher regarded and provides the benefit of (1) me not having to actually build the thing and (2) only one company to deal with if there are problems, warranty, etc. I acknowledge that putting it together myself could save a a few bucks, but the premium seems low enough that I'm willing to pay for them to spend their time instead of my own.

Having said that, I think I put together a pretty good build, but there are a lot of options for some of the components that I'm just not sure between (e.g., RAM or motherboard). First, let me tell you at a high level what I'm looking for:
Roughly i5 with 8GB RAM
"Pretty good" graphics card (e.g., nVidia 650 TI)
120GB SSD (no other HDs with the unit - I am already set in this regard)
Room for 2 additional internal HD
Room for 2 hot swap drive bays (in addition to the DVD drive)
Adequate PSU
All the usuals (DVD burner, USB ports in the front, integrated network, etc.)
Windows OS

I was looking to spend around $800, but cost is secondary to getting the right machine. Though please don't recommend things that will push this into a different class (e.g., $1500+) -- I don't need that much power.

I configured one on AVA Direct (starting with this model) which is a bit better than the above (16GB RAM, 240GB SSD) that came out to be $1125. Here are the details:
COMPUCASE HEC 6C28B Black Mid-Tower Case, No PSU, ATX
CORSAIR GS Series™ GS600 600W Power Supply, 80 PLUS® Bronze, 24-pin ATX12V V2.3 EPS12V, 2x 8/6-pin PCIe, Retail
ASUS P8Z77-M PRO, LGA1155, Intel® Z77, DDR3-2400 (O.C.) 32GB /4, PCIe x16 SLI CF /1+1*, SATA 3Gb/s RAID 5 /4, 6Gb/s /2, HDMI + DVI + VGA, USB 3.0 /6, HDA, GbLAN, mATX, Retail
INTEL Core™ i5-3450 Quad-Core 3.1 - 3.5GHz TB, HD Graphics 2500, LGA1155, 6MB L3 Cache, 22nm, 77W, EM64T EIST VT-x XD, Retail
No CPU Cooling Fan Upgrade
Standard Thermal Compound
KINGSTON 16GB (2 x 8GB) HyperX Blu PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz CL10 1.55V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
ASUS GTX650TI-1GD5, GeForce® GTX 650 Ti 928MHz, 1GB GDDR5 5400MHz, PCIe x16, HDMI + 2x DVI + VGA, Retail
OCZ 240GB Agility 3 SSD, MLC SandForce SF-2281, 525/500 MB/s, 2.5-Inch, SATA 6 Gb/s, Retail
RAID No RAID, Independent HDD Drives
ASUS DRW-24B1ST Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, OEM
ROSEWILL RCR-IM5001 Black/Silver 75-in-1 Card Reader/Writer Drive w/ 3 USB 2.0 and eSATA ports, 3.5" Bay, SATA, USB 2.0
Integrated Network Controller
Integrated Audio Controller
MICROSOFT Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM
WARRANTY Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

Here's what I'm looking for:
General assessment of this build (e.g., Is this case or motherboard good?)
Anything you recommend spending a little more or less on (e.g., 1333MHz RAM vs. 1600MHz)

This will be a generalist machine -- I do a little gaming (e.g., Diablo 3) and video processing (e.g., encoding DVDs), but most of what I do will not tax a machine, regardless of the exact specs. Mostly I just want something that will last me several years without me cursing its sluggishness or inability to play the latest game (as I do with my current/old machine).

Any advice welcome on how to optimize my experience.


Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Nowish

Budget Range: (e.g.: 300-400) $800-$1200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: generalist, some gaming

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: I need everything except HDD

Do you need to buy OS: Yes (Win7)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I don't want to build, but am looking to purchase from, e.g., AVA Direct (unless people warn me away)

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, nVidia

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 2560x1440 for monitor 1 and 1080x1920 for monitor 2

Additional Comments: Only game at the moment is Diablo 3, but there will surely be others. I want something that's going to last a while, but doesn't need to be top of the line.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Just time to upgrade (current computer is >5 years old)
2 answers Last reply
More about 1200 build direct good idea
  1. hello, i can't give u feedback--in fact this is because I'm also considering an i5 from AVA Direct--i've heard too many problems re: CyberPower, they seem to have more of a mixed-review thesedays compared to a few years ago. Not a lot of bad customer-complaints, but enough of them such that I'm wondering if they've grown too fast to meet demand, and so that's why I'm looking into a custom-config from AVA direct.

    Another thing i noticed is that AVA seems to have a huge selection of components from their drop-down lists when compared to CyberPower or anyone else.
    And there seem to be a few more popping-up in the last year or 2: have u heard anything about custom-config'd systems from iBuypower.com ?

    I"m also trying their custom-configurator, not too bad, but nowhere near the selection of AVA direct from these folks either, but for me, the primary goal is just a reliable computer, fair price with no BS, especially in customer care attitude.

    If u find any good feedback on AVA direct or iBuypower, please let me know.
  2. I actually ended up building my own, discussed here:

    I'm using it currently and am happy. It was quite a pleasant experience, and I definitely recommend it.

    Good luck.
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