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Help Granny

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November 21, 2009 11:28:28 PM

Hello guys & gals need your expert advise, want to buy my grandson a new computer for Xmas or his birthday in February. I know he wants an i7 920 chip, future to upgrade to a direct X 11 graphic( I can't afford now) looking on Costco's website they have ibuy power and Velocity not familiar with those brands(please advise) I have also been looking at the Dell XPS 9000 my budget is $1400 which one of these should I go with? Also if anyone knows of a good reliable retailer that I can trust to do a build(live in So. Calif) I would appreciate any and all advise. Friends at work are suggesting that I wait till after Xmas will systems be that much better between December and February should I wait till his birthday? He's a great kid I want to make sure to get something he will be happy with, TNA

More about : granny

November 22, 2009 3:32:52 AM

Awww come on guys please I need your help.....anybody out there mind helping out an old lady
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November 22, 2009 6:15:57 AM

Ibuypower is a decent company (not great, but not bad). Do you know anyone that could assemble the parts if we put together a build for you? Building one yourself would get a much better build for the price.
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November 22, 2009 7:49:19 AM

Thank you so much for your response. I don't know anyone that can build computers. It will have to be retail. Just don't know which one. The only vendor I know is Dell. Don't mind using a smaller company. I saw a web company called Digital Storm, but they seemed a bit pricey for my budget of $1400. and I know nothing of them as well.
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November 22, 2009 4:31:43 PM

I've heard of digital storm, but don't know much about them.

If the only upgrade he would be looking for in the future is the video card, Dell would be ok. But other than that, Dells aren't very good for upgrades. You may want to look at their XPS brand.
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November 22, 2009 8:23:33 PM

I suggest using CyberPower - a review by Anandtech - a very respected tech website - said the price for the build they were reviewing was not much more than the cost of parts. And you can pick quality parts with them.

I7-920 system
http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdoc.aspx?i=3524

Older review of an AMD system from CyberPower:
http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdoc.aspx?i=3384

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

I googled the search terms– “Cyberpower PC reviews” and clicked on the first link offered – it was for resellerratings. Here are the store ratings they report:

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...

I just checked and the only Cyberpower i7-920 system currently listed on newegg is an open box - but at $300 off for a price of $999 it looks quite attactive - and with a powerful 4890 graphics card and 800w PSU. Unfortunately newegg does not list the brand names and models of all the components - control of which is one of the major advantages of using a company like CyberPower. Perhaps one could contact newegg and find out. Note that one should buy open box items with caution.

Anandtech has reviews for other systems including Velocity Micro and iBuyPower. I have heard good things about the former - they seem to be a little higher priced than CyberPower - but know nothing about the latter. Scroll down this page and you will see several - including the one linked above for CyberPower - and can continue on to more pages.

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November 22, 2009 8:42:09 PM

bmsyko said:
I don't know anyone that can build computers.


What about you, CyberGranny?

Its never too late to learn new skills or pick up a new hobby. And it is really not that difficult. Instructions come with the components and you can watch videos online. And you have people at THG to help you configure the system and to help if you run into problems.

This article shows the basic steps for building a PC - its really pretty simple:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2352165,00.a...

And this forum has a step by step guide too:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274745-31-step-step-g...

Think how impressed your grandson would be with a CyberGrannyBuilt pc. Then you could build one for yourself. But you sure allow some time between the two builds - it can be addictive.
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November 23, 2009 12:34:13 AM

Lol, I'm sure! I can barely turn the computer on. I'll live the building to you young people....I'm good at building families though
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November 23, 2009 12:58:15 AM

Great idea Granny. Building a computer together would make a fantastic family project. You could give him about 8 separate gifts and then an instruction sheet to assemble them - and do it together. And think of how much he would grow in the process.
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November 23, 2009 7:11:26 AM

You are very funny, I think you missed your calling you should be a comedian
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November 23, 2009 4:51:21 PM

OK I give up. Here is a great system from CyberPower for $1405

Note that it includes:
- i7-920 CPU
- ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 16X PCIe Video Card - which does direct X 11
- Faster 1600 MHz memory
- Several other top of line components to ensure easy upgrade (adding second graphics card, more memory, or overclocking), including:
---- Asus P6T motherboard
---- Corsair 750 Watts CMPSU-750TX power supply
---- Xigamatek Dark Night S1283V heatsink/fan
- Popular CoolerMaster Storm Scout Gaming Case

Note that the graphics card is a very decent one. It will let your grandson play most games at decent settings. A link with a review of the above graphics card follows - note that the one selected above is the faster of the two cards reviewed, if you need to trim the cost you could step down to the 5750. Also note the newegg retail cost of the selected card is about $180 - it ain't no cheapy.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5770,2446...

And later, if he wants more power, he can just drop in another 5770 in Crossfire and there should be very few, if any, games that he can't run at full settings on a decent sized monitor.

Here is the configuration list copied from CyberPower:

CyberPower X-58 Configuration – Total Price $1405
• *BASE_PRICE: [+795]
• CD: Sony 20X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive [+2] (BLACK COLOR)
• CASE: CoolerMaster Storm Scout Gaming Mid-Tower Case w/ Transparent Side Panel [+44]
• CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-920 2.66 GHz 8M L3 Cache LGA1366
• FAN: Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V Gaming CPU Cooling Fan (Double layer H.D.T. technology for maximum cooling) [+43]
• HDD: Single Hard Drive (1TB (1TBx1) SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD [+26])
• KEYBOARD: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
• MOUSE: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse
• MOTHERBOARD: (3-Way SLI Support) Asus P6T Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Mainboard Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 SATA RAID w/ eSATA [+55]
• MEMORY: 6GB (2GBx3) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module [+93] (Corsair or Major Brand)
• OS: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium [+104] (64-bit Edition)
• POWERSUPPLY: Corsair Power Supplies [+101] (750 Watts CMPSU-750TX - Quad SLI Ready [+8])
• RUSH: NO; READY TO SHIP IN 5~10 BUSINESS DAYS
• SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
• SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
• SPEAKERS: Logitech S120 2.0 Stereo Speaker Set [+19] (Black Color)
• VIDEO: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 16X PCIe Video Card [DirectX 11 Support] [+115] (Major Brand Powered by ATI

Also note that it includes a cheap but "free" mouse and keyboard and $19 speakers which, if not needed, can be eliminated bringing the price below the $1,400 budget.

If you want more options, I suggest reposting your request in the Homebuilt Forum which gets a lot more traffic. Just add something like "I am not actually looking for homebuilt but could not find a fit in another forum that applies - trying to get help to both configure a system and locate a specialty vendor to provide it with good components."

Sure wish I had had a Granny as generous as you. Would you like to adopt a 50 year old foster grandson?
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November 23, 2009 6:26:01 PM

As a sidebar on the design, I used the i7-920 CPU because that was your specification and I understand you want to indulge him. But does he need that super fast CPU for anything like CAD design or a lot of major video editing? If primarily gaming, a much less expenses CPU will do the job just as well - and with lower costs for the motherboard and memory as well. I know this is probably more detail than you wish to get into, but you might read this recent (today) review from THG on the best CPUs at different budget levels. The i5-750 (which with mobo and RAM may cost about $300 less than the i7-920) is all that is needed for the fastest game play - here is what that article says:

"With rapidly-increasing prices over $200 offering smaller and smaller performance boosts in games, we have a hard time recommending anything more expensive than the Core i5-750. This is especially the case since the Core i5-750 can be overclocked to great effect if more performance is desired, easily surpassing the stock clock rate of the $1,000 Core i7-975 Extreme.

""Perhaps the only performance-based justification we can think of for moving up from a Core i5-750 is that LGA 1156 processors have an inherent limit of 16 PCIe lanes for graphics use. This is an architectural detail that the LGA 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors share, so if a gamer plans to use more than two graphics cards in CrossFire or SLI, the LGA 1366 Core i7-900-series processors are the way to go.""

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu,246...

He could get faster game play by giving up the i7-920 and using part of the money to purchase a faster graphics card.

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November 24, 2009 7:40:32 AM

Gaming will not be the main function, he will be using for graphic art designs
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November 24, 2009 7:44:47 AM

rockyjohn said:
OK I give up. Here is a great system from CyberPower for $1405

Note that it includes:
- i7-920 CPU
- ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 16X PCIe Video Card - which does direct X 11
- Faster 1600 MHz memory
- Several other top of line components to ensure easy upgrade (adding second graphics card, more memory, or overclocking), including:
---- Asus P6T motherboard
---- Corsair 750 Watts CMPSU-750TX power supply
---- Xigamatek Dark Night S1283V heatsink/fan
- Popular CoolerMaster Storm Scout Gaming Case

Note that the graphics card is a very decent one. It will let your grandson play most games at decent settings. A link with a review of the above graphics card follows - note that the one selected above is the faster of the two cards reviewed, if you need to trim the cost you could step down to the 5750. Also note the newegg retail cost of the selected card is about $180 - it ain't no cheapy.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5770,2446...

And later, if he wants more power, he can just drop in another 5770 in Crossfire and there should be very few, if any, games that he can't run at full settings on a decent sized monitor.

Thank you for the info, greatly appreciated. Ha Ha you are very funny 50 year old grandson indeed!

Here is the configuration list copied from CyberPower:

CyberPower X-58 Configuration – Total Price $1405
• *BASE_PRICE: [+795]
• CD: Sony 20X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive [+2] (BLACK COLOR)
• CASE: CoolerMaster Storm Scout Gaming Mid-Tower Case w/ Transparent Side Panel [+44]
• CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-920 2.66 GHz 8M L3 Cache LGA1366
• FAN: Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V Gaming CPU Cooling Fan (Double layer H.D.T. technology for maximum cooling) [+43]
• HDD: Single Hard Drive (1TB (1TBx1) SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD [+26])
• KEYBOARD: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
• MOUSE: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse
• MOTHERBOARD: (3-Way SLI Support) Asus P6T Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Mainboard Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 SATA RAID w/ eSATA [+55]
• MEMORY: 6GB (2GBx3) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module [+93] (Corsair or Major Brand)
• OS: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium [+104] (64-bit Edition)
• POWERSUPPLY: Corsair Power Supplies [+101] (750 Watts CMPSU-750TX - Quad SLI Ready [+8])
• RUSH: NO; READY TO SHIP IN 5~10 BUSINESS DAYS
• SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
• SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
• SPEAKERS: Logitech S120 2.0 Stereo Speaker Set [+19] (Black Color)
• VIDEO: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 16X PCIe Video Card [DirectX 11 Support] [+115] (Major Brand Powered by ATI

Also note that it includes a cheap but "free" mouse and keyboard and $19 speakers which, if not needed, can be eliminated bringing the price below the $1,400 budget.

If you want more options, I suggest reposting your request in the Homebuilt Forum which gets a lot more traffic. Just add something like "I am not actually looking for homebuilt but could not find a fit in another forum that applies - trying to get help to both configure a system and locate a specialty vendor to provide it with good components."

Sure wish I had had a Granny as generous as you. Would you like to adopt a 50 year old foster grandson?

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