Build or Buy?

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wildfan1980

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Hey to all who want to help,

I am currently running a Dell Dimension 8300, 3.1Ghz, 80Gig HD, 3Gig RAM, ATI Radeon X1950PRO, all running on WinXP. It's about 5 years old and has been fine running all games up until now. I ran Mass Effect and Bioshock well enough to finish them, but I am noticing a big need to upgrade.

I have been looking at Dell and Alienware, but the more research I do the more I want to build my own PC. It saves money and I can pick parts I want not ones the company forces you to choose.

My only problem is, I've never built a PC before. Is it worth the risk dealing with my budget of around $2500 or should I just go with an Alienware and run with the pre-chosen NVIDIA 790i mobo?

Is there a site that walks you through a computer build like this? Or should I find someone who can help in person? Any help is welcome and appreciated.

Thank You,
John
 
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Building your own PC is not hard, provided you are willing to take the time to do it properly.

IE: Read the manual, follow the instructions, and be careful!

Basically, you'll pay 1.5x to 3x as much on a prebuilt PC than you would if you build it yourself.

It sounds like you would be willing to go the build-your-own PC route, which, in my opinion, is far better for a number of reasons:

1 - you have control over EVERY part - no cheaping out on the important stuff
2 - you know the machine, inside and out, because YOU built it
3 - you saved a ton of money, and can get better quality parts as a result
4 - you get the satisfaction of knowing that your PC is better than anything you could buy from anyone else at that same price
5 - you get the additional satisfaction of knowing that you built it yourself

There are a ton of online guides on how to build PC's, including one here in these forums:
http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/531492-guide-building-your-own-system.html

If you would like, we can suggest a list of essential parts that will give you an idea of where to start, and then you can go from there. We're more than happy to recommend parts, and explain why certain ones provide better value or performance.

Here's a few online sites that can get you started:

newegg.com - the best selection and pricing if you live in the US. newegg.ca will be launching in the next few days (yay for all us Canucks!)

tigerdirect.com / .ca - a good alternative to newegg. I've had great experiences with the CDN site.

xoxide.com - good place for cool cases and various other components.

ncix.com - good place with awesome weekly specials. will ship to US and Canada

Hope this helps!
 
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http://www.buildyourown.org.uk/pc-building/ There's a lot of sites out there and even videos on youtube that share the information you're looking for. It's certainly your choice so far as which way you spend your money. You want to study the process out before you purchase the parts if you decide to put one together yourself. Jazz
 

wildfan1980

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Oct 1, 2008
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Thanks a bunch for the quick replies. I have a good idea of the parts I need, but I can't say no to help if people are willing to share.

The computer I'm looking to build is something that is upgradeable to prolong the life of my PC. And yes I know computers are out of date quite fast, but the one I'm using lasted 5 years with a few upgraded parts. My goal is to have it play *gasp* Crysis smoothly, but not spend $5000.
 

wildfan1980

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I've looked at different parts, and it seems even building it myself I can easily reach the 2K benchmark. I'm probably going overboard, but I'm unsure of what to buy for somewhat future proofing my PC in the areas that jack up the price the quickest. i.e. The processor and GPU.

Quad cores still seem pretty expensive compaired to the end of the old dual core E8500. Is it necessary to go quad core yet or stick with the old dual core? And how easy is it to throw in a new processor in the future once quad's come down?

Next is the GPU. Minimum I can find that will run Crysis smoothly at high resolutions costs around $300 max of $600 for the insanely hot 4870x2.

Between the processor and GPU, I estimate the cost around $800-$1200 depending on if I go quad core or not.
 
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Check out:

www.tomshardware.com

for charts outlining the performance of graphics cards and processors.

You'll be surprised at some of the results. IMO - you certainly don't need a quad core right now. A high-end Intel Core2Duo yields awesome gaming performance.

Same thing with video cards. While the 4870x2 might be the 'fastest' card right now, there are plenty of other options that will handle Crysis without breaking a sweat.
 
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Sep 30, 2008
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You will find, that "future proofing" your PC is much easier than you think when you build your own PC. For the most part, the only time you will have to do a complete overhaul and build a new rig is when you want to upgrade the processor or motherboard. Other than that you can continue to upgrade parts for years to come, so I would suggest buying the best processor and mother board you can afford, and if you need to save money buy a little lower end graphics card or less ram than maximum, and then upgrade latter when you can afford to. You should not need more than 4 gigs of ram anyways. I would also suggest buying a really big case with lot's of fans, and not overclocking your processor if you plan to keep it for a long time.
 
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hey wildfan,

First off, where in the world are you located? (helps us help you shop)
Since the budget is pretty high, I assume you'll want to go Intel CPU?

You may want to wait a couple of months for the new Bloomfield CPUs to come out. They're due for release Q4-08 from Intel.

Also, game performance has a lot to do with the resolution you're playing it at. Are you using a 24"+ monitor?
 

wildfan1980

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Oct 1, 2008
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31
hey wildfan,

First off, where in the world are you located? (helps us help you shop)
Since the budget is pretty high, I assume you'll want to go Intel CPU?

You may want to wait a couple of months for the new Bloomfield CPUs to come out. They're due for release Q4-08 from Intel.

Also, game performance has a lot to do with the resolution you're playing it at. Are you using a 24"+ monitor?
Location=Minnesota. So US prices.

I've heard of the new Intel's and I've considered waiting since it's not essential that I build a new PC right away. But if I did build one soon without the new processor's from Intel, and say drop in a dual core. Are there boards out there that will be compatible with the new ones when they release?

And I am playing on a 24'' Dell UltraSharp max resolution 1900x1200
 
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Dec 24, 2007
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If you spend 2500 on a machine you built yourself, you'll run Crysis flawlessly. Trust me. I'm building a computer for around 1200 and it's going to run all the games I want at a high, stable frame rate.

If you're a gamer like me, there isn't much hype about the new processors coming out. Hence, they're not directed towards gaming. However, I'd like to see accurate benchmarks for the new processors coming out. I'd wait until December if you're really interested in the Bloomfields.

If you play on a monitor that's any bigger than 24 inches, you should invest in more than one video card too. On the downside, I've heard a lot of horror stories about SLI and CrossFire.
 

wildfan1980

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Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
31
If you spend 2500 on a machine you built yourself, you'll run Crysis flawlessly. Trust me. I'm building a computer for around 1200 and it's going to run all the games I want at a high, stable frame rate.
Well I certainly don't "have" to spend $2500, that figure was just the amount I had planned on to get a decent con-job, I mean desktop from say Alienware or Dell. And it seems if I go quad core, the top of the line QX9650 is $1000 down to the Q6600 at appx. $190. Or I can go top of the line dual core E8500 for about $190 also. I don't think I will be OC since I'm not very familiar with it. So, it would be OOB performance.

And about the new Intel chips coming soon. My guess is that they will be insanely expensive, and no game will even come close to utilizing them for quite some time.

Again, I really appreciate all your help. :)
 

wildfan1980

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Joined
Oct 1, 2008
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31
On the downside, I've heard a lot of horror stories about SLI and CrossFire.
I thought about going with a dual GPU setup, but with my current computer knowledge and research I feel more comfortable with a 1 card setup. Also I hear one card of equal stats will perform better, but can't back it up with facts.
 

wildfan1980

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Joined
Oct 1, 2008
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I know Jones said something about a list of essential current components. I would love to have something to compare to or start off from. Only if you have spare time of course. I'm not in a hurry. I've done quite a bit of research, but there are so many opinions out there, that a simple start off point would be great.

I guess where I decided to start is the Mobo. And I'm trying to decide between the Intel X48 or the ASUS Rampage X48. My other question is, do I go with a DDR2 or a DDR3 board? From what you all have said, it seems if you want to future proof your system get a good board. So spend the $400 on the ASUS 48x DDR3? Or no? I'm not sure how much faster, if at all, DDR3 RAM is.

Next is my processor question. Should I go with a dual core E8600 and wait for the top quad core to drop? Or go with a middle of the line quad core?

Sorry to keep asking questions. There are just so many options! :)

John
 
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