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Home-built system crashed, have to go pre-built: Help!

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August 23, 2009 11:18:22 PM

As the title says, a system that I assembled a year and a half ago kicked the bucket for a variety of reasons. My health is terrible and I'm not really capable of building another, so I'm trying to frantically shop for a replacement. Since most of what I can do involves either watching TV or using a computer, not having one is rough on me physically, so I'd love some fast help to figure out a good option for me.

Here is some basic info:

I was using an E8400 processor with an 8800GTS video card. I felt like both ran somewhat hot, particularly the video if that matters. I had no sound card and used some older Bose 200 series speakers (that I also use for TV) instead of computer ones when I wanted better quality, such as during movie or music playback. I have a monitor that works great (DS-263N) and runs at a native resolution of 1920x1200.

I will use the system for gaming and music/movie playback. I would love to be able to use it as a DVR but only if I could record my Comcast HD lineup. Otherwise it's sort of a waste of time I think at this point. As far as games go, I don't run out and buy the latest FPS whenever it's released, but I would like to have reasonable performance for 3 or 4 years with things like Diablo III, the latest Elder Scrolls game or Total War game, or whatever comes down the pipe.

I am out of the loop in terms of parts but have built before, so the terms will probably be familiar. I don't have a specific budget but I'd like to set a hard cap at $1500 with the goal to build for less than that. I posted in Dell only because I'm familiar with that company, but I don't care much what brand I get if it is the best value and has reasonable support.

I'm happy to answer any additional questions. Thanks in advance for your help!
August 25, 2009 5:43:04 PM

I recommend designing your own system at CybepowerPC and letting them build it.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/

Just go to the "Configurators" about a third of the way down the page and select which one you want - I suggest choosing between the Intel i7 and the AMD Phenom II. The i7 is the best option in terms of power but will cost you about $200 more than the Phenom II for the faster cpu, memory, and mobo. I think the lower cost Phenom II will provide more than enough power for your planned uses.

I configured an example model of what you can get from CyperbowerPC with an Intel i7 CPU for $1281 (as of 8/9/09 - with one $40 rebate to further lower price). Note the quality components used in the mobo, PSU, video card, and CPU heatsink/fan:

CASE: CoolerMaster Centurion 590 RC-590 Mid-Tower Case
Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Maximum 120MM Case Cooling Fans for your selected case
POWER SUPPLY Upgrade: Corsair Power Supplies (650 Watts CMPSU-650TX - Quad SLI Ready)
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-920 2.66 GHz 8M L3 Cache LGA1366
COOLING FAN : Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V Gaming CPU Cooling Fan (Double layer H.D.T. technology for maximum cooling)
MOTHERBOARD: (3-Way SLI Support) GigaByte GA-EX58-UD4P Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Ultra Durable™3 Mainboard Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 SATA RAID w/ eSATA, Dual GbLAN, USB2.0, IEEE1394a, &7.1Audio
MEMORY: 6GB (2GBx3) PC1333 DDR3 PC3 10666 Triple Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
FREEBIES: None
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX275 896MB 16X PCIe Video Card (EVGA Powered by NVIDIA)
Free Game: FREE GAME - Street Fighters IV
HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (1TB (1TBx1) SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
Optical Drive: Sony 20X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive (BLACK COLOR)
Optical Drive 2: 16X DVD ROM (BLACK COLOR)
SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
KEYBOARD: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
MOUSE: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse
OS: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium w/ Service Pack 1 (64-bit Edition)
SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
RUSH SERVICE: NO; READY TO SHIP IN 5~10 BUSINESS DAYS

When you need more power you just slap in another 275 video card and go to SLI. And should you ever need more memory (which I doubt you will as few applications today will use more than 3 GB and the above has 6GB - but should you need more ---) just had more memory in the available slots.

If you want to OC, I recommend increasing the PSU to 750w. If you want to record off Comcast cable - just add a TV tuner for about $100 - see the menu online - and make sure you have input lead from Comcast - via a splitter or something. That will allow you to record their HD TV. If you want to also play BluRay discs, you also need to upgrade DVD drive to BluRay reader for about $100. If you need the add-ons and it is getting to pricey - you can downgrade some of the other components or go for the Phenom.

Here for about $250 less is a baseline AMD Phenom II X3 core system for $1,028 as of 8/25/09. The system has mobo and PSU configured for Crossfire to make later upgrades easy by simply adding another video card or two more sticks of memory and an upgraded HSF to enable OC the CPU.
•CASE: CoolerMaster Centurion 590 RC-590 Mid-Tower Case
•Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Maximum 120MM Case Cooling Fans for your selected case
•POWER SUPPLY Upgrade: Corsair Power Supplies (750 Watts CMPSU-750TX - Quad SLI Ready)
•CPU: AMD Phenom™II X3 720 Black Edition Triple-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
•COOLING FAN : Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V Gaming CPU Cooling Fan (Double layer H.D.T. technology for maximum cooling)(Venom Boost Extreme OC Certified)
•MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P AMD 790X CrossFire Chipset with PCIe slot DDR2 SATA RAID MB w/GbLAN, USB2.0, IEEE1394, &7.1Audio
•MEMORY: 4GB (2GBx2) PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
•VIDEO CARD: ATI Radeon HD 4870 PCI-E 16X 512MB DDR5 Video Card (Major Brand Powered by ATI)
•HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (1TB (1TBx1) SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
•Optical Drive: (Special Price) LG 22X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Dual Layer Drive (BLACK COLOR)
•SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
•SPEAKERS: 600Watts PMPO Subwoofer Stereo Speakers
•NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN
•KEYBOARD: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
•MOUSE: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse
•Flash Media Reader/Writer: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer (BLACK COLOR)
•OS: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium w/ Service Pack 1 (64-bit Edition)
•Windows 7 Upgrade Coupon: (Free Upgrade Coupon) Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium ($29-$29 Mail-In-Rebate = Free) (64-bit Edition)
•FREEBIES: FREE! (Microsoft® Flight Simulator X Deluxe) Game
•SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Note that one can add a Blu-Ray player for $99 and a AVERTV remote control TV tuner for $90.

And of course the configurator gives you quite a few options in between - or outside - the range presented above.
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August 25, 2009 6:04:21 PM

dont go with cyberpower i had a horrible horrible expierience with them, they had to replcace my computer twice. go off there website and look at some reviews and you will see that they are not so great
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August 25, 2009 6:27:56 PM

I have never owned a Cyberpower PC so I cannot claim first person experience - but then any first person experience is only anecdotal and not a good source of evidence about a system used by thousands if not hundreds of thousands. Instead I refer you to Cyberpower's list of awards from many sources:

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/awards/

PC Mag used to do an annual customer satisfaction survey. The latest I could find was for 2007. It shows customer satisfaction with Cyberpower ranking ahead of Gateway, Dell, HP, Lenovo and others - although below Apple, self-built, and Sony.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2182831,00.asp
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August 28, 2009 7:39:22 PM

just type in cyberpower pc reviews and you will see what i eman. My freind ordered a pc from cyberpower and he had issues also. Dont go with them.
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August 29, 2009 4:45:48 PM

Are you suggesting he base a decision on anecdotal information posted by a few disgruntled owners rather than using more comprehensive surveys?

That does not make sense.

But just for grins, I typed the search you suggested and clicked on the first link offered for resellerratings. Here are the store ratings they report (on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best):

Cyberpower......................8.34
Dell................................2.07
HP.................................1.82
Gateway.........................5.0


http://www.resellerratings.com/store/CyberPower
http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Dell
http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Hewlett_Packard
http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Gateway

Or another one of the links on that search took me to newegg which sells Cyberpowerpcs. On the model in the link, all 18 buyers rated it tops - 5 stars.

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

This was a deactivated item so I went to the list of Cybepower PCs - newegg sells quite a few - and checked the lowest price on listed - under the assumption that the cheapest is the most likely to have problems. All 5 ratings were again tops - 5 stars.

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

Well that is it for me. I have more than satisfied myself that the anecdotal evidence is not the best source of information here. I encourage people to build their own - but if they choose not to - which is a valid and reasonable choice - then I think Cyberpower is an excellent choice for a manufacturer.

I bet if you search for any PC manufacturer you are going to find a host of unhappy users that have posted complaints on one forum or another. The unhappy speak up while the satisfied just quietly use their PC.
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August 30, 2009 1:23:49 AM

Do what you want but you will be sorry
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September 6, 2009 7:31:12 PM

Thanks for your input guys but it's a bit too late at this stage. For what it's worth, I got an Asus at a local Best Buy. It had the distinct advantage of providing a fast turnaround, and the parts in it provide me with a pretty easy and clear upgrade path down the line. We'll see how it turns out.
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