Hello. I'm looking for recommendations on a power system that is upgradable.
My top requirements are:
- i7 CPU (920, 2.66 ghz is fine for me)
- memory configuration that allows for 12gb upgrade that isn't cost prohibitive
- graphics card upgrade (my ideal graphics card is a EVGA GTX 285/295 - but, I'll buy separately if necessary so long as the system can support it)
- Brand reliability. I don't mind spending a couple hundred dollars more for the brand. I'd rather not build a system from scratch - too much of a time sink - but am fine purchasing some upgrades from 3rd parties myself.
Here are some of the systems I've looked at and reasons why I'm still on the fence. Thanks community!:
- Dell Studio XPS. Nice system, but 450w power supply is dead-end. Could I just replace it was a 3rd party 750w/1000w/1200w power supply?
- Dell 730x. Better system, but the price for 12gb is $2100 extra. Red flag. What's that about? 4gb Dimms are $200
- Alienware X58. 'Speced system per my requirements is around $2200. Okay. I just can't get past the silly case though.
- IBuyPower seems to have a pretty bad reputation for service/support as well as including cheap parts to get the lower overall cost price down.
- Cyperpower seems to be a bit better, but would rather avoud a boutique brand.
if you're thinking of spending $2000 you can build one yourself. My i7 build right now is right around $1000 w\ a 920, 12gb, 2gb hd4870... alot of those dells have a weak 3450 and weak psu so you'll end up upgrading both and dells parts aren't cheap.
I'm selling my current build if you want to buy it. I was going to list it for around $1500 w\ a 23'' dell lcd for local sale but online I'd need extra money for paypal fees and shipping.
I would be willing to set up an ebay auction (powerseller) which would be another 3% I would need in addition to cover fees but in case you want protection from paypal / ebay. I have all original boxes and all manufacturer warranties are fine. the system has not been overclocked.
I am a previous Dell owner who was very happy with their PC but decided to build their own PC because of the limits built in to the lower cost Dell PC's and high cost of those without those limits - particularly the PSU. Dell are very good store bought machines for the low end system, but not, I beleive, a good performance/price choice for higher mainstream and above.
While I have no personal experience with either, if I were to buy rather than build today I think I would first look to Cyberpower and Velocity Micro. Both have had systems selected in the Top 10 selections at PC World - see the 3 links under Desktop PCs in the link below:
Both also give you considerable flexibility in designing your system and including name brand components. My preference would be for Cyberpower because the seem to have slightly better prices and a larger mix of component selections.
But like I said, I have no personal experience with either.
PC Mag used to do an annual PC satisfaction surey - the latest I could find now is from 2007. Velocity Micro ranks next to the top (Apple) followed by self-built and CyberPower is near the middle - but ahead of Dell.
With regard to your questions about Dell, you now generally can upgrade the PSU. For specific models, I would measure the size first to ensure a fit as some PSUs, especially in the larger sizes, are larger than their generic smaller cousins. Also, I would generally not choose Dell upgrades since their prices for some are horrendous. Especially with Video cards and RAM, I know I can find a better deal buying on my own.
The complication with RAM is buying compatible memory when Dell publishes so little about theirs. In my case, I was successful in matching the make and model of RAM and just getting a larger size. Because the model numbers have become complex and include some inconsequential differences, I went to the manufacturers site and found their model code naming guide and knew what each number meant. I suppose a reasonable alternate would be to get CPU-Z to mine the stats on the Dell memory and match the stats.