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Beating dell

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December 26, 2012 3:18:03 AM

It's time to put together a reliable pc for a customer in the family(my dad). I need to beat out dell in the price/quality ratio.

he has never used solid state, so I take the upper hand on that. He doesn't use much on the pc itself, domain login.

I will likely overclock it to 4ghz even to take away any mid-day performance changes, but not much farther than that, it needs to be 100% stable.

So far:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/u9LS

I'm going to stick with amazon, newegg, and ncix. I ordered my ssd from ncix last time, so I trust it now.

i5 3570k at $200+shipping with ncix or $215 with amazon

CM Hyper 212 evo at $30 with amazon

GA Z77X D3H at $142(-15) with ncix or $153(-15) with newegg patriot gamer 2 16gb 1333 at $62 with newegg

samsung 840 pro 128GB at $120 with amazon or newegg

nzxt source 210 elite at $50 with amazon

corsair builder 430w at $40(-20) with newegg

sony dvd/cd drive at $19 with newegg

2x acer 21.5" 1080p monitors at $110 each ($220) with newegg

win7 pro at $120 with newegg (promo code)

gigabyte wired keyboard and mouse at $16 with amazon

2x blue sickleflow fans at $6 each ($12)

I'm looking to see if anybody has found better deals or better parts at same price. Any case must look professional and use horizontal external drives. I would like to find a deal on non-glowing case fans because the glow may potentially irritate my "customer". 8gb is not enough, I checked the page file, and it grew very large with the 4gb ram he uses.

another question: would it be better to use 2 sets of 8GB(2x4) at ddr3-1600, cas 9? I know that memory controllers have come a long way, but I read that it limits oc potential.

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December 26, 2012 3:56:47 AM
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here another plain case to look at.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
50.
http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/case_accessories/hue
or one color led strip. it has small card that the power supply and on the back of the card is an on/off button.
the only thing on your build i would swap out is the power supply for a larger unit. you be able to add a video card if dad start playing games or want to give this system to someone in a few years. larger power supply the power supply does not have to work as hard..your not as close to it max output. this in 12 months or more when the caps start aging gives you a little more head room.
December 26, 2012 4:05:50 AM

you want to use dual monitor using onboard??

it is wise to put dirt cheap graphic card the to handel 2x 22" monitor even it is not for gaming pc

cheap 7750 is good option
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December 26, 2012 1:35:00 PM

smorizio said:
here another plain case to look at.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
50.
http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/case_accessories/hue
or one color led strip. it has small card that the power supply and on the back of the card is an on/off button.
the only thing on your build i would swap out is the power supply for a larger unit. you be able to add a video card if dad start playing games or want to give this system to someone in a few years. larger power supply the power supply does not have to work as hard..your not as close to it max output. this in 12 months or more when the caps start aging gives you a little more head room.


I love that case. it would work perfectly. is there any way to cut down the $16.50 for shipping? I would love to switch, but it seems to be an even trade between quality/reliability and appearance. if not, please convince me.

I'm really looking for plain fans or approval of appealing light and color of a particular fan.

I will look around for a deal on a higher watt psu with good ratings.
December 26, 2012 2:09:16 PM

What is this being used for?

If you go with 8GB of ram you just turn the page file off since you have an SSD as long as you don't have a program that won't run without one.
December 26, 2012 2:28:46 PM

J_E_D_70 said:
What is this being used for?

If you go with 8GB of ram you just turn the page file off since you have an SSD as long as you don't have a program that won't run without one.


I've had my page file disabled for almost 3 years now, and I have never personally had a program fail to run because there was no page file.
December 26, 2012 2:40:48 PM

1) What is the use case? If it is just an office machine then get a Dell business class PC and simply add an SSD to it yourself. Dell it may be a few $$ more expensive than what you can do, but if something goes wrong then Dell will take care of it rather than you. For entry level systems it is generally best to go with a pre-built system and simply uninstall all the crap that comes with it, upgrade to ~8GB of ram, and an SSD, and then call it a day.

2) If for heavy office use, and your dad is willing to pay a bit of money then look into building something that is tiny, silent, and fast. Pick up one of those tiny ITX boxes with the 120mm fans up front and no CD drive. Load it up with whatever CPU and GPU you want (you can fit full sized cards in some of them), and then hide it under/behind the desk. Then get a USB3 CD/DVD/Bluray drive and have that sit on the desk under the monitor, allong with a USB hub for hot plugging other drives and devices. If you build it right then you will never hear it, and it will leave a nice clean work space.
December 26, 2012 2:57:31 PM

few suggestions.

8 gb is plenty with an ssd.

Where did you find an 840 pro for $120? everywhere I've looked, the 840 pro is $140-150. If you found it for $120, awesome (and let me know where :)  ), but if not, I reccommend either the 830, or any toggle-NAND second gen sandforce drive from a reputable company. The 840 pro is technically the fastest, but the speed isn't much over the 830 or toggle sandforce drives.

while I'd reccommend the corsair builder PSU's for a budget gaming PC, if you want stability, buy seasonic or PC power & cooling (or one of the re-labeled seasonics/pc power & cooling PSU's that corsair/XFX/etc sells, but that takes a little research.) The builder series is built by CWT, and are mediocre PSU's at best.


and a question

what is the target dell system you need to beat?
December 26, 2012 5:58:11 PM

CaedenV said:
1) What is the use case? If it is just an office machine then get a Dell business class PC and simply add an SSD to it yourself. Dell it may be a few $$ more expensive than what you can do, but if something goes wrong then Dell will take care of it rather than you. For entry level systems it is generally best to go with a pre-built system and simply uninstall all the crap that comes with it, upgrade to ~8GB of ram, and an SSD, and then call it a day.

2) If for heavy office use, and your dad is willing to pay a bit of money then look into building something that is tiny, silent, and fast. Pick up one of those tiny ITX boxes with the 120mm fans up front and no CD drive. Load it up with whatever CPU and GPU you want (you can fit full sized cards in some of them), and then hide it under/behind the desk. Then get a USB3 CD/DVD/Bluray drive and have that sit on the desk under the monitor, allong with a USB hub for hot plugging other drives and devices. If you build it right then you will never hear it, and it will leave a nice clean work space.



lol, dell is terrible

edit - not enough desk room, busy man. everything(except monitor, keyboard and mouse) goes on the floor under the desk.
December 26, 2012 6:10:18 PM

quilciri said:
few suggestions.

8 gb is plenty with an ssd.

Where did you find an 840 pro for $120? everywhere I've looked, the 840 pro is $140-150. If you found it for $120, awesome (and let me know where :)  ), but if not, I reccommend either the 830, or any toggle-NAND second gen sandforce drive from a reputable company. The 840 pro is technically the fastest, but the speed isn't much over the 830 or toggle sandforce drives.

while I'd reccommend the corsair builder PSU's for a budget gaming PC, if you want stability, buy seasonic or PC power & cooling (or one of the re-labeled seasonics/pc power & cooling PSU's that corsair/XFX/etc sells, but that takes a little research.) The builder series is built by CWT, and are mediocre PSU's at best.


and a question

what is the target dell system you need to beat?



8gb is not enough. with system managed page file, his computers went over 10gb pf with 4gb ram.

840 pro 128gb was $120 at amazon yesterday. I switched to intel 520.

there is no specific system I am beating, but I need to put one together that won't need technical support so often and will last longer than 3-4 years. In his profession, my dad uses a lot of multitasking, and dell ripped him off the last two times he thought he got a good deal. after 2 years, his dell vostro series computers were all a wreck, bsod randomly sometimes. customer service is completely useless.

You can't replace a broken part on a name brand computer so easily. A burned onboard usb controller, and geek-squad couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, they just sent it back as it was and tried to tell us to use the front usb ports because those work fine. (they don't)
December 26, 2012 6:20:21 PM

As I and CaedenV asked, what is the use case? What is he possibly running that takes up that much RAM?
December 26, 2012 6:34:41 PM

he runs more than ten programs at a time, often the same program with many open files. all of them are installed on the server.

I don't know everything he does on those things, but he will need a lot of ram. even if he maxed out at 8gb, the new programs will progressively use more.
December 26, 2012 6:41:55 PM

lxgoldsmith said:
8gb is not enough. with system managed page file, his computers went over 10gb pf with 4gb ram.

His usage must be ridiculous, because 8gb is enough for me to run a server 2k3 VM (2gb), a fedora core VM (1 gb), a chrome browser with ~10 tabs open, and play borderlands 2 with page file turned off.

keep in mind the page file will be using the ssd on the new rig.

lxgoldsmith said:

840 pro 128gb was $120 at amazon yesterday. I switched to intel 520.


I'm showing $144 on amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-2-5-Inch-SATA...

Intel drives tend to be the go to ssd for reliability, so good call for your dad there.
December 26, 2012 6:44:49 PM

If I go with 2x4gb, how would it affect the overclocked computer to install 2 more?
December 26, 2012 6:48:50 PM

lxgoldsmith said:
he runs more than ten programs at a time, often the same program with many open files. all of them are installed on the server.


Ok, it sounds like he uses his machine as a fat client, with the server doing very little work. You can go ahead and stick with 16gb of RAM if you like, but having the page file on the ssd will give a dramatic speed increase anyway, and will be used anyway as the memory requirements increase for the programs he uses.
December 26, 2012 6:59:50 PM

OK. I cry uncle. Get 2x8 or 4x4 whichever is cheaper. Just make sure they're matched sets (i.e. don't put two 2x4s in you cart, get the single 4x4 kit).

And if he's really that multitask heavy I'd drop the cooler and replace the 3570k wiht a 3770.
December 27, 2012 4:00:53 AM

lxgoldsmith said:

there is no specific system I am beating, but I need to put one together that won't need technical support so often and will last longer than 3-4 years. In his profession, my dad uses a lot of multitasking, and dell ripped him off the last two times he thought he got a good deal. after 2 years, his dell vostro series computers were all a wreck, bsod randomly sometimes. customer service is completely useless.

You can't replace a broken part on a name brand computer so easily. A burned onboard usb controller, and geek-squad couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, they just sent it back as it was and tried to tell us to use the front usb ports because those work fine. (they don't)

There is a major difference between Consumer Dell products, which are absolute crap, and Business Class products which are in fact quite good, and offer very good service. Please do not confuse the two (same goes for HP... consumer stuff is junk, but their business stuff is pretty good).

I work at a place that refurbishes computers and I can tell you, parts is parts. If your USB dies on a dell, you replace the mobo just like you do on a stock ATX board. The difference is that pre-built machines have a very healthy aftermarket environment where you can find replacement parts very cheap after your products are out of warranty.

Don't get me wrong... I am all for building my own system, and I build systems for others as well. Just keep in mind that systems you build, you will ultimately be responsible for fixing down the road. If your dad can fix the computer on his own, then sure, build him a rig. But if not, then make sure that you will be available, especially if this is for work.


Also;
Claiming Geek Squad as a repair shop is ridiculous. Geek Squad is a sales desk. It is their job to tell you that your computer is broken, and that it would be cheaper/better for you to replace it with a new one rather than have them fix it.
December 27, 2012 4:52:14 AM

I am sure you can find better prices on some of these bits elsewhere, but consider a build like this:
mobo: ASUS itx with wifi, usb3, optical audio, etc
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
cpu: i5 3550 or 3570 (i7 sounds like it would not be taken advantage of in this case)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: 16GB 2x8GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case/Power: SilverStone sugo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Slim DVD: I am sure you can find a much cheaper price on these elsewhere
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That brings the base system to $700, which I am sure you can knock down to $550-600 if you shop around a bit.

Then reuse the parts you had found for the monitors, keys, mice, and OS for an additional $476, which brings the total a bit under $1180 (I wasnt shopping for sales, so my guess is that it would come to ~$1050ish).

If you get him a wireless keyboard and mouse (logitech all the way!) then the only wires he would have are power, and 2 monitor cables. Nice, quiet, and simple, yet plenty powerful for whatever he is working on. If he needs better graphics there is plenty of space and power to throw in a decent workstation card as well.
December 27, 2012 12:43:03 PM

CaedenV said:
Claiming Geek Squad as a repair shop is ridiculous. Geek Squad is a sales desk. It is their job to tell you that your computer is broken, and that it would be cheaper/better for you to replace it with a new one rather than have them fix it.


when a business customer holds an agreement, they are obligated to a certain number of "repairs" per year, are they not?
December 27, 2012 2:33:30 PM

Geek Squad is a 'service' and 'upselling' sales desk. Very few of them know anything about computer hardware, and those that do are typically just passing through on their way to a real job. They are more than capable of offering a few services like virus removal or OS reinstallation, but they will charge 3-5x more than a real repair shop does, and they are obligated to try and sell you other crap as well. It is their policy to hire people from the best buy floor (sales staff) rather than anyone who walks in that actually knows about computers.

I mean seriously, they charge over $100 just to come to your house and diagnose a problem, and then add whatever their 'work' fees are after that. Every computer repair person I know charges ~$50 for the initial diagnosis, and they will typically waive that fee if you have a serious amount of work that needs to be done.
December 27, 2012 2:46:11 PM

I'm pretty sure I can put one together with higher reliability and performance per dollar at the $1000 mark
December 27, 2012 2:54:17 PM

can you guys advise me on an atx motherboard?

I am drawn between gigabyte z77x ud3h and asrock extreme 6. they are the same price.

with win7, gigabyte gets $20 combo, and asrock gets $15 combo.

it appears that gigabyte has more expansion slots, while asrock has 2 more sata 3 slots internally. please expose any other differences.
December 27, 2012 7:44:23 PM

If you are looking at stability and reliability then go with ASUS without questions. If you are looking for the best value then go with ASRock. Gigabyte dosn't tend to hit either of those metrics very often, and they are simply not as good as they use to be. But if there was a Gigabyte board that had some feature that you need, at a price point much lower than the others, then I would give them a try.

The real question is how many expansion slots do you need?
Do you need graphics? or is the iGPU good enough?
Do you need a sound card? or can you find a board with good audio?
Do you need a wireless card? or can you find a better quality board with wireless included for about the same price of the add-in card?
What is your design philosophy for this build? If you are building a game rig then you tend to want as much connectivity as possible... but when you get into work environments then extra connectivity is viewed as a liability rather than a feature. Just be sure you know what it is that you are building.
December 27, 2012 8:21:48 PM

CaedenV said:
The real question is how many expansion slots do you need?
Do you need graphics? or is the iGPU good enough?
Do you need a sound card? or can you find a board with good audio?
Do you need a wireless card? or can you find a better quality board with wireless included for about the same price of the add-in card?
What is your design philosophy for this build? If you are building a game rig then you tend to want as much connectivity as possible... but when you get into work environments then extra connectivity is viewed as a liability rather than a feature. Just be sure you know what it is that you are building.


there may be graphics at a later point, no sound card, very likely to need a good wifi card.

If it needs to be repaired or upgraded, we will need the extra slots, ie usb 4.0 or sata 4 or extra solid state, which could give a speed boost to the aged computer.

I may be looking too far into the future, and maybe revitalization upgrades is not to be considered for building a future proof computer. if not, please be clear as to which board has better initial quality and which is more future proof.

I use the z77x d3h, and it has 2 intel and 2 marvell sata 3 ports internally, with plenty of features. I need to know the differences between the motherboards that are not apparent.

I could switch to an amd build to get a better motherboard, but that would give a slower, less future proof processor.
December 27, 2012 10:19:39 PM

i would go with the gigbyte board. them and asus and msi going to be the top three mb for standard build. the asus mb some of them now have a usb flashback. you dont need a cpu just stand by power to flash a mb bios. having a zabertooth mb the asus mb is very simple and plain for a efi mb. the gigbyte boards a lot of them have taken the fastest cpu award over clocks. they tend to be thick and uses large digital vrms. good for long stable motherboard.
January 6, 2013 11:09:04 PM

Best answer selected by lxgoldsmith.
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