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Need a new rig, not up to date on the latest and greatest...

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May 14, 2013 12:25:22 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Next 1-2 months
Budget Range: $1,750-$2,200
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Photoshop, Light video encoding
Are you buying a monitor: Yes, Will need one, suggestions?
Do you need to buy OS: Windows 7 or 8?
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Alienware?
Parts Preferences: Nvidia, and a SSD drive
Overclocking: Yes
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe? Dual gtx 660 or single 680
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 would be nice

Hey guys and gals, first of Thank you!!

I need a new rig, my current rig is a Dell XPS laptop from 2006 with a core 2 duo extreme x9000 and SLI Nvidia 8800 GTX and 2 gigs of ram.

It's obviously over 6 years old now.. and I'm super surprised it's lasted this long. My raid volume on the HD is acting up and sometimes it won't boot without tinkering. Also it's just obviously old. It runs the newest games barely on the lowest settings.

I'm currently looking at going back to a tower I can upgrade and ordering this from Alienware:

PROCESSOR: 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3820 (10M Cache, Overclocked up to 4.1 GHz
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
MEMORY:16GB (4 X 4GB) Quad Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 680 2GB GDDR5
HARD DRIVE: 256GB SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive
MEDIA CARD READER: 19-in-1 Media Card Reader
SOUND CARD: Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
OPTICAL DRIVE:Single Drive: Dual Layer Blu-ray Reader (BD-ROM, DVD±RW, CD-RW)

Now first things first... please no, "build it yourself for cheaper" comments. I don't feel comfortable with doing more than changing out ram or video cards, I don't know how to pair mobos or what needs what power supply wise etc. This system is currently running me $2,200 and when I tried to price out parts on new egg it game up to $2,050 soo I don't see much savings.. I'm also aware there is plenty of complaints against Alienware.. but my dell XPS lasted me 6 years, and the one before that 4... I've only had techs come out twice and yea dealing with India was a pain.. but things for fixed without that much hassle.

I want to be able to build a pc that lasts me another few years, will run games smoothly, and give me enough threading to do extensive photoshop work, and light video encoding.

My biggest questions are if someone can explain to me this whole Sandy bridge, Ivy bridge thing, is the processor I have chosen ok? I hear 6 core is pointless for gaming, and I think quad core will be enough for the work I do? Should I get Windows 7 or 8? and a single gtx 680? or 660's SLI? Do you think the Alienware will come with enough power supply to allow me to buy a second 680 down the road for SLI? Any other observations or suggestions, other brands/builds in the price range to look at etc.
May 14, 2013 1:10:13 PM

Quote:
Now first things first... please no, "build it yourself for cheaper" comments. I don't feel comfortable with doing more than changing out ram or video cards, I don't know how to pair mobos or what needs what power supply wise etc. This system is currently running me $2,200 and when I tried to price out parts on new egg it game up to $2,050 soo I don't see much savings.. I'm also aware there is plenty of complaints against Alienware.. but my dell XPS lasted me 6 years, and the one before that 4... I've only had techs come out twice and yea dealing with India was a pain.. but things for fixed without that much hassle.


Even if you don't want to build it yourself - Alienware makes garbage systems that cost twice as much for crap hardware. Add in non standard form factors, extremely poor quality power supplies, and cases that make upgrading near impossible and you'll be chucking that system in a year or two. If you don't know how to build it yourself you can buy the parts and take it to a local IT shop and have them build it for you. Or if you want to go the boutique vendor route, there's plenty of better options out there like Origin, Falcon Northwest, or Puget Systems. But really, avoid Alienware (Dell garbage) like the plague.
May 14, 2013 1:24:37 PM

Alienware = garbage, I can make a pc in 1500$ better than their pc which costs 2500$
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May 14, 2013 1:25:32 PM

The processor you chose is a sandy bridge-e processor. Typically, people get that processor if they need it for heavy video rendering or financial crunching processes. Something along those lines. For your purposes (I'm assuming it's only gaming), you should just get the i7-3770 (I'm also assuming you don't want to OC because of your processor choice).

That being said, you really only need an i5 for gaming. Something like the i5 3570k if your OC or i5 3470 if you're not.

Sandy Bridge is a 2nd Gen Processor while Ivy Bridge is a 3rd Gen Processor. The 4th gen is also coming out next month and that one is called Haswell. Maybe its worth it to wait for that.

Also, to reiterate G-unit1111's point, you can buy the parts you want and get your local shop to build it for you. Alienware mark-ups are very high.
May 14, 2013 1:40:06 PM

I do professional photography and videography work, so I would benefit from better threading, but I don't feel I need a six core or something like that. I feel like whatever I get for gaming though will be good enough to handle that end... my old laptop can manage through it with some good deal of slowness.

Interesting though, I'll google up on the Haswell, thanks!

As per building it, I understand the advantages to building it yourself, knowing exactly whats in it, and easy planning for future upgrades. However, I priced out something through new-egg, I didn't see anymore than at most a $200 dollar savings not including cost hassle to build or pay to have it built, and risk of ordering non-compatible parts. I do concur that Dell does not list the used mobo or power supply which I am not necessarily crazy of. Though I wouldn't personally go as far as bashing them... My XPS has gone strong for 6 years now.. only had to replace the video card, and fix a key I broke on the board...
May 14, 2013 3:35:27 PM

PineappleFloat said:
I do professional photography and videography work, so I would benefit from better threading, but I don't feel I need a six core or something like that. I feel like whatever I get for gaming though will be good enough to handle that end... my old laptop can manage through it with some good deal of slowness.

Interesting though, I'll google up on the Haswell, thanks!

As per building it, I understand the advantages to building it yourself, knowing exactly whats in it, and easy planning for future upgrades. However, I priced out something through new-egg, I didn't see anymore than at most a $200 dollar savings not including cost hassle to build or pay to have it built, and risk of ordering non-compatible parts. I do concur that Dell does not list the used mobo or power supply which I am not necessarily crazy of. Though I wouldn't personally go as far as bashing them... My XPS has gone strong for 6 years now.. only had to replace the video card, and fix a key I broke on the board...


You're probably not pricing it right. Try using the website PC Part Picker. I only recommend X79 in very rare circumstances because if you're using just a quad core, you won't benefit from upgrading it. You could get a build for something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($60.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($154.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($108.00 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vector Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($379.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($134.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1503.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-14 18:34 EDT-0400)

$700 less than that Alienware system, you still get an i7, solid case, power supply, motherboard with Thunderbolt, 16GB of RAM with room for expansion, fastest SSD on the market, 1TB mass storage, and a GTX 670.
!