New Computer: Build or Buy

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Dheepan

FNG / Fresh Meat
So I've got some cash to blow so I'm going to get a new computer.
I've never built a computer but the component quality to price is a lot better than a pre-built PC.

So, should I go ahead and build it myself or buy a decent prebuilt computer, then upgrade as necessary?

I am definitely leaning towards building. I'm sold on getting a Core 2 Quad 6600 Kentsfield besides that I'm open to everything else.

I'm looking to spend between 1.2-1.5k, no need for a monitor at this time.
 

[5.SS] Herr Hut

FNG / Fresh Meat
Mar 11, 2006
126
2
0
I recently built a new computer myself, having no experience building beforehand. Everything went together perfectly. Just make sure you do your research. I vote build :)
 

bloodypotato

FNG / Fresh Meat
Dec 29, 2006
357
1
0
27
Michigan
I'd go with building, you'll save quite a bit of money and it's a lot more fun that way! As for part's, I'd suggest either getting an MSI or EVGA 8800 (I opted for MSI because of slightly lower prices and their GTS came with Company of Heroes). For a motherboard, I'd go either Asus or Gigabyte, both are good, reliable brands. Probably get a cheapo sound card, probably aroud $30 US. 320 or 500gb hard drive (or some combo of smaller spaced 10,000 RPM drive and larger 7,200 hd for storage) and any disc drive really (Lite On has good prices but are generally louder drives, though I think it's worth it to get a SATA based drive, it makes it a lot easier to wire up). Antec makes nice cases (p18 series are good looking but heavy as all hell, 900 is a good case. Rosewill makes nice cases at pretty good prices) and check out Xclio for power supplies (I have a 600w right now and runs everything perfectly). Probably get 800mhz Corsair or Kingston (not too expensive, you can pick up 2gb of Corsair for $130 US last time I checked, but if you want to get some on the cheap get G Skill, though if you get that in combo with a Gigabyte mobo be ready to tweak the voltage settings). That's about all for now :).
 

-SemperFi-Jenova

FNG / Fresh Meat
Dec 1, 2005
1,140
3
0
Maitland FL
i also built three computers by myself with no experience using only the internet as reference. first one took me a good part of a day but the rest went by quickly. first time i did it i used a budget based of a PC i was going to buy and spent all the money on parts and ended up with something that i still use today for gaming 5 years later with no upgrades... so a lot better bang for the buck.
 

ImNotRyan

FNG / Fresh Meat
Jan 29, 2007
188
0
0
Florida
Always build your own computer, do yourself a favor and read reviews for the product you are buying beforehand.

Make sure you don't save any money on the video card, you want an "enthusiast" level card. They are usually split into economy, for office use. Performance for the family computer that wants to run doom 3 and stuff. And Enthusiast, which will probly need a good enough power supply just to get it enough juice. :D

An Enthusiast level card from 2004 will still outperform most of the video cards on today's market.
 

Dillinger

FNG / Fresh Meat
Jun 10, 2006
447
1
0
37
Baltimore, MD
I concur. My last system build was about 1.5years ago. I spent ~$500, and purchased a 3.4ghz Dual-Core processor, new mobo, new PSU, 2gb RAM, and a 7600GT.

Same components in a pre-build machine would have been upwards of ~$1,000 for sure.
 

Hyperion2010

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 22, 2005
2,560
1
0
32
NC
build, it saves tons of money, you can config a nice system with a q6600 and an 8800gts for that price range with 2 gigs of memory
 

Reddog

FNG / Fresh Meat
Dec 7, 2005
2,573
476
0
Australia
Build for sure, with most pre-builds you buy you cannot upgrade yourself without voiding the warranty, in fact even opening the case on them usually means voiding the warranty. This way you have to pay through the arse to have the company that built it do the upgrades for you. You are also right you do save a lot of money building yourself but remember you have no warranty or insurance other than your own skill.

If you've never built a system before you will need someone there who has to help you, if that's not possible a pre-build may be the best option.

However if you build yourself that's a good choice of CPU, I recommend that along with that you look at a 650i chipset for the mainboard, at least 2GB of DDR2 800Mhz RAM and a high end GPU (my preference is Nvidia but it's whatever is your cup of tea). I generally go for one of the high end cards but not the be all end all ridiculous ones, like for example it's hard to beat the 8800GTS bang for buck these days.

Storage wise I'd say a SATA2 HDD, you can pick up 300+ GB drives cheap as dirt these days with 7200rpm and 16MB Cache. Or you can go nuts and get a 10,000rpm drive, though the limited size of these drives and higher price in relation to the questionable real world performance gain they give doesn't balance out for me personally.

If you're looking for a case too I'd say look at something with good airflow, there's plenty of good cases around just hit up some reviews and decide. I got myself a Thermaltake Soprano case as part of my latest build early this year and it's got great airflow and nice spacing for a good price.

Power it all with at least a 550 watt PSU (preferably I'd go 650W) and make sure the one you choose has a solid amperage. For newer graphics cards these days you want at least 25amps sustained on the 12V rails (that's 25 per rail) a lot of PSU's will list something like 40amps but that is combined across however many 12v rails they have so be careful there.
 
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BuddyLee

FNG / Fresh Meat
Apr 12, 2006
2,088
20
0
NCC 1701-D Neutral Zone
Build it.

You might want to make a backup copy of your windows install cd-rom onto floppy disk, just in case your new hard drive does not recognize the cd-rom. I had this problem on my last build, and had to install Win2000, then XP over that. ><

I got huge bang for my buck watching for the 1 day sales at Fry's Electronics. You can't beat their 30-day satisfaction guarantee, I returned the 7950GT I bought and went with the 8800GTS 340... no questions asked.

e6850 C2D @ 3.0
abit IP35pro MoBo
2gb pqi Turbo PC6400 5-5-5-15
evga8800GTS OC 340mb
Thermaltake 600w PSU
Coolermaster Mystique Case

LG Flatron 21.6" TFT LCD Monitor:1680x1050 native resolution
2-millisecond response time, 3000-1 contrast ratio

~$1,000.oo

Try beating that from DELL. :D

http://www.newegg.com
http://www.tigerdirect.com

ARE YOUR FRIEND.
 

fiftyone

FNG / Fresh Meat
May 6, 2006
5,453
284
0
Build without a doubt.

I'm lucky, my local computer assembler puts the pieces together at no extra charge, I always research the parts and prices beforehand so I know what I want and how much its going to cost.
He is no more expensive than an Internet deal and often a couple of
 

Zetsumei

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 22, 2005
12,459
1,433
0
32
Falmouth UK
Processor: Q6600 g0, (or if you see it a Xeon 3220 g0 same price same part just better binned and higher thermalspec), and oc the processor to atleast 3ghz.
Processor cooler: Thermalright ultra 120 extreme
Memory: Ddr3 is currently still extremely overpriced and just not WORTH the money, go for ddr2 pc8500 (ddr1066). Go for atleast 2 gigs can do some more.
Motherboard: If you don't think of running dual graphicscards, i'd get one of the gigabyte P35 chipsets. like the GA-P35-DS3R its cheap and a good performer, if you think you'll swap out the memory later on go for a GA-P35C-DS3R. Don't go for ddr3 atleast for now.
Videocard: This is a hard question in november the next series will launch, that will be the extreme top end for the rest of the year and possibly dx10.1 support. Depending on what you have now it might be worth the wait (processors come out aswell but for gaming are often less important).
I say get a radeon X1950pro, then in november get whatever the top card (gtx) or one below (gts) is that nvidia brings out. With your money budget you can get a 8800gtx but i'd personally wait a bit. And be uber super for another year to come ;P.
Case: A case you'll see often so it might be handy to check and find one that you like, make sure that its silent, and if it got a built in psu, that its atleast 500 watts. Go for a branded case your case often lasts a few generations. The powersupply is important, antec neo-he or seasonic ones perform pretty well and are pretty silent.
Harddisc: Just get 2 seagate barracuda 500gb (or bigger if you prefer), in raid or something.
Sound: Depends on your speakers, although for gaming creative solutions are best, because they offload cpu power. But if you're a music listener go for other solutions :p. And if you got crap speakers like any set of computer speakers you might aswell stay to onboard sound.
 

SiC-Disaster

FNG / Fresh Meat
Dec 16, 2005
4,893
679
0
33
Netherlands
www.tangodown.nl
Pre-built computers suck balls IMO.
Building one yourself (with proper research to compatibility of parts ofcourse) results in a better gaming computer.
With prebuilt, there is allways a chance that the upgrades you had foreseen with it, are not compatible with parts allready inside, and youll have to spend a lot more money!
 

THG repo

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 25, 2005
606
4
0
Auckland New Zealand
In my country (New Zealand) pre-built* is the way to go.

No offense but the fact you can't get someone else to build you a awesome computer for about the same price as the parts LOL at YOU!

*Well mine wasn't rebuilt but they built it for me after we had a chat about parts obviously it was cheaper (if you don't understand why you should DIE!).

Basically I recommend you choosing all your parts and fully understanding what they can do.
 

BuddyLee

FNG / Fresh Meat
Apr 12, 2006
2,088
20
0
NCC 1701-D Neutral Zone
You can get a 7950gt for less than a X1950PRO, and it is more powerful card... and it is an nvidia. :D

For a few bucks more you can get an evga 8800 and use their "step-up" program to upgrade later.

Keep in mind that an 8800 will smoke any DX9 card, even the 7950X2.

Here is a performance chart for gfx cards from tomshardware.com.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/08/06/the_best_gaming_video_cards_for_the_money/page7.html

And here is a cpu chart.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html

You can get a dual core now for ~$70. :eek:
 

Nagels

FNG / Fresh Meat
Aug 9, 2006
468
26
0
West Cork, Ireland
Build........build build build, was thinking the very same as yourself a few months ago dheepan, priced up an high spec pc online pre assembled...came in at 3,800 Euro, did some reserarch.......priced up the parts seperately.....went for an 8800gtx 768mb card plus mucho higher spec power and mobo.
Total cost was 2,300 Euro....puter guy assembled it over a weekend for 250 euro and it runs sweetly.

The biggest expense was the graphic card coming in at 600 euro, but worth every cent IMO.

Even if you have to pay some guy to put it together you'll save a ball of money.
 

Zetsumei

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 22, 2005
12,459
1,433
0
32
Falmouth UK
You can get a 7950gt for less than a X1950PRO, and it is more powerful card... and it is an nvidia. :D

For a few bucks more you can get an evga 8800 and use their "step-up" program to upgrade later.

Keep in mind that an 8800 will smoke any DX9 card, even the 7950X2.

Here is a performance chart for gfx cards from tomshardware.com.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/08/06/the_best_gaming_video_cards_for_the_money/page7.html

And here is a cpu chart.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html

You can get a dual core now for ~$70. :eek:

I believe the evga step up program works with any card even if they aren't from evga :p Afcourse the 8800 will smoke it but you'll need to sell that card when you want something new and shiney in november. Thats why i just suggested something cheap that will keep him happy till november.
 

Ralfst3r

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 21, 2005
3,043
293
0
37
The Netherlands
Well if you know how to proper build a new system you should always build it yourself. You always get more performance for your money. You could always let some computer shop put togheter your chosen components.
 

SiFi

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 22, 2005
458
0
0
*expensive* advanced Lego :)

Zetsumei, that cooler is sick :p vbmenu_register("postmenu_339550", true);