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My parents think buying a computer is better than building one, help me prove them wrong!

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Which makes a better workstation: Prebuilt HP or Custom Rig?

Total: 8 votes

  • Custom Built
  • 100 %
  • Prebuilt HP
  • 0 %
  • Both are bad, get a Prebuit Dell
  • 0 %
May 21, 2013 3:13:49 PM

I have just graduated college, and I am looking to make a living doing freelance 3D animation work, and Video Editing. (Using 3dsmax and Adobe Software like After Effects)

I have never built my own computer before, but I have replaced hard drives, graphics cards, etc on other computers at work (What i don't know is how to put in the motherboard, processor, and heatsink etc)
I have never done that before, and I want to make sure i do it right.

Because of that, my parents want me to get a prebuilt workstation.

I have a NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti that I am defiantly going to reuse.

And here is the HP Z220 Workstation Build that my parents want me to get for $1900:
-HP Z220 Case
-IntelĀ® Core i7-3770 3.4 GHz CPU
-8GB DDR3-1600 nECC (2x4GB) Unbuffered RAM
-2 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6G 1st Hard Drives in RAID 1
-16X SuperMulti DVDRW SATA Optical Drive
-Some Generic Un named HP PSU
-Some Generic Un named HP Motherboard

I know that for that price i could probably build something much better, or I could probably get around the same thing for much less

So im basically wanting your advice for two different workstation builds.
The only requirement i have for them (unless its smarter otherwise) is to have 1TB RAID 1 drives:
- One for the same price as the HP Build ($1900)
- One with the best specs you could get for $1000-$1200 (Due to the money i have i will probably go with this one but still will consider the other one if i can find more cash somewhere)

I don't care about Intel or AMD that much, I just want to get whatever would be better.

(Since I am reusing the 660Ti as mentioned above i don't need another graphics card as mentioned above, neither build needs a card, but a mobo or processor with onboard graphics would still be good in-case my 660Ti fails one day)

Also just for fun i included a poll.
May 21, 2013 3:51:19 PM

Chrislsimpson said:
I have just graduated college, and I am looking to make a living doing freelance 3D animation work, and Video Editing. (Using 3dsmax and Adobe Software like After Effects)

I have never built my own computer before, but I have replaced hard drives, graphics cards, etc on other computers at work (What i don't know is how to put in the motherboard, processor, and heatsink etc)
I have never done that before, and I want to make sure i do it right.

Because of that, my parents want me to get a prebuilt workstation.

I have a NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti that I am defiantly going to reuse.

And here is the HP Z220 Workstation Build that my parents want me to get for $1900:
-HP Z220 Case
-IntelĀ® Core i7-3770 3.4 GHz CPU
-8GB DDR3-1600 nECC (2x4GB) Unbuffered RAM
-2 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6G 1st Hard Drives in RAID 1
-16X SuperMulti DVDRW SATA Optical Drive
-Some Generic Un named HP PSU
-Some Generic Un named HP Motherboard

I know that for that price i could probably build something much better, or I could probably get around the same thing for much less

So im basically wanting your advice for two different workstation builds.
The only requirement i have for them (unless its smarter otherwise) is to have 1TB RAID 1 drives:
- One for the same price as the HP Build ($1900)
- One with the best specs you could get for $1000-$1200 (Due to the money i have i will probably go with this one but still will consider the other one if i can find more cash somewhere)

I don't care about Intel or AMD that much, I just want to get whatever would be better.

(Since I am reusing the 660Ti as mentioned above i don't need another graphics card as mentioned above, neither build needs a card, but a mobo or processor with onboard graphics would still be good in-case my 660Ti fails one day)

Also just for fun i included a poll.


Go shop for builds and look at other people's builds since you don't have much "need" in specifications.
May 21, 2013 4:29:16 PM

I can't be of much use here, but if it were me I'd go onto pcpartpicker.com (you can chose your location at the top to change currency, and to the that regions websites for buying) and take a while to think out what you want to build, then order all the parts separately. Perhaps you don't care about it, but personally I find building it myself makes me care more for it. Then again, I like breadboarding computers and rebuilding them for fun.. :) 
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June 5, 2013 1:54:22 AM

Well, with minimal effort, watching Youtube videos, checking out more forums, and etc, I'm sure you can find your own parts, I'd however suggest the following build (Also, lol that HP is so overpriced):

CPU: It all really depends on how much you're spending, the i7 (4870K) is great for video editing and such, due to it's 4 physical and 4 virtual cores, you could also get a FX-8350 by AMD, but if you've got the money, I'm sure the Intel one would outperform the AMD one, although the difference would be minimal, you could also go for the 2011 socket, and get an i7 3960X, which has a total of 12 cores, although that thing is pretty expensive.....

MOBO: For motherboards it depends on what socket the CPU is, and if it has everything else you need. If you don't plan on overclocking, you can grab something cheap, for example if you're going AMD, I'd suggest an ASRock Pro 3 970, or an ASRock 990FX, although if you have more money to spend you should look at Asus and Gigabyte mobos. For Intel, Haswell just came out, so you might want to go and pick up an LGA1150 mobo, then there's also the 2011 and 1155 sockets, which I think are dead now.

GPU: You already have one. Do keep in mind if you want to SLI or CF, you might want to grab something that supports enough x8-x16 PCI-e slots, so the GPUs scale better.

RAM: 8 GB is just fine, unless you're doing some hardcore server running or video editing. Also try to keep the clock speed over 1600 MHz, if you want to go all out I think you can pick up 2666 MHz RAM sticks (G.Skill Ripjaws TridentX), but they're really expensive, and not necessary. If you just need something basic, the cheapest solutions are the G.Skill Ripjaws X 1600 MHz 2x4 GB, and A-Data 2x4 1600 MHz Gamer Series. Also if you want to be safe you can check the motherboard manufacturers' website for RAM support.

HDDs: Just get 2 1 TB Seagate (Barracudas) and RAID 1 them, or you can just get a 2 TB Seagate Barracuda, perhaps even add an SSD, you can get a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro for around 100$, well worth the investment if you want your PC to be lightning fast.

PSU: This is basically the thing you should NEVER cheap out on, I'd reccommend something by SeaSonic, Corsair or Antec. Their PSUs are known for their quality and overall reliability.

Case: Grab something you find visually pleasing, and which is compatible with the motherboard you choose (mATX, ATX, ITX, Full-ATX, etc), and something which has okay ventilation.


Btw, would love if someone could correct me on some of this, as I know some of this is most likely wrong.
June 5, 2013 5:14:28 AM

Something like this would be good for what your after. Theres not much reason to spend more than this, maybe a bigger case or beefier cooling. Only performance upgrade would be upping the CPU and RAM.
So for the $1900 build, just replace the CPU with a 3930K (or Ivy equivalent if it comes soon), an X79 board and 32GB of RAM.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($279.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($98.76 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($65.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($65.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1090.66
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-05 08:12 EDT-0400)

@ DaRebel
The 3930X only has 6 cores, but 12 threads due to Hyperthreading. Also its basically a clock speed and a small cache tweak over a 3930K, not worth paying double for.
LGA2011 still has to see any Ivy based chips, not an entirely dead platform.
What he is doing is video editing, and After Effects at that (in my experience with it, just burns through RAM). Faster RAM has very little impact on performance, except in specific applications like APU systems or Virtualization.
June 5, 2013 9:44:47 AM

Those poll results, lol.
!