New Desktop recommondations

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maydayp
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New Desktop recommondations

Postby maydayp » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:22 am UTC

Okay, so I need a new computer. My current laptop has too many issues (it needs a new battery, hard drive, and fan) to bother replacing, when I want to replace it in a couple years anyways. But, I want to go back to a desktop, since they seem to last longer (or used to). And they are easier to "update" or fix if you need to. But I don't really know what's good for a computer these days (it's been about 4 years since I bought my current computer).

What I mainly use it for is gaming and internet surfing. I hope to be using it while taking a "Computer/Network Electronics Technician" course. (I'd go laptop, but I really need something that will last if I don't get into the program). The games I play are a mixed bag of older games (from GOG, so win 8 compatible), and newer ones like diablo 3, torchlight 2, and a few lag heavy flash games (gemcraft labrynth and bloons td 5).

And I've been told it's better to get a computer custom made, would it be better to order it online (my brother says to use alienware), or go to a local computer shop (I'm assuming they'd do it).

Edit: I'm Canadian, so if you want to recommend a place for computers, please make sure it ships to canada. Some places still don't ship internationally.
Last edited by maydayp on Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:34 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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ahammel
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby ahammel » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:34 am UTC

Why not build it yourself?
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maydayp
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby maydayp » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:47 am UTC

Because I've not done so myself, and I don't know anyone near me who has (or would help me). And I'm too afraid to try to by myself. (my brain is going "I'd probably mess it up).

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ahammel
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby ahammel » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:20 am UTC

maydayp wrote:Because I've not done so myself, and I don't know anyone near me who has (or would help me). And I'm too afraid to try to by myself. (my brain is going "I'd probably mess it up).

It's not particularly difficult. If you can put together a Lego kit, you can put together a PC.
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maydayp
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby maydayp » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:46 am UTC

ahammel wrote:
maydayp wrote:Because I've not done so myself, and I don't know anyone near me who has (or would help me). And I'm too afraid to try to by myself. (my brain is going "I'd probably mess it up).

It's not particularly difficult. If you can put together a Lego kit, you can put together a PC.

Eventually I do hope to have the knowledge and ability to build and add the software to a new computer. But right now? I don't, and I've too much "Oh me yarm I'm going to mess it up some how" anxiety going on. And truthfully, if I'm spending about a months pay on a computer I'd rather have someone putting it together who has the experience I lack.

KnightExemplar
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:50 am UTC

I agree its not particularly difficult, although if a step gets screwed up (ie: a defective part was delivered, or whatever), things can get stressful pretty fast. Just know that you're gonna pay a decent premium on a pre-built computer, and the configurations are not nearly as flexible as building your own. In particular, I never am able to find a decently build desktop, they're all just... wrong... and overpriced garbage.

Still, they're simpler. And pre-built means they work out of the factory and are tested. I personally didn't build my first PC, I bought it pre-built and then modded it until I was confident enough to build my own. I still highly recommend that you learn to build your own (because honestly, the marketplace is filled with poorly configured systems...), but if you aren't confident yet I see the benefits to buying pre-built and then modding it after-the-fact. (although this is gonna be a few hundred extra $$$).

With that said, I don't know the Canadian Market. But... no one has ever gone wrong with recommending a Dell.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-8700/pd?oc ... d=xps-8700

The i7 is way overpowered for your needs, but might as well grab it. The PC will be workable, and honestly for its configuration, 800 USD isn't too much of a markup. (The i7 is an expensive processor...)

The issue however, is the weak GPU and the lack of a SSD. Building your own, you should downgrade to a cheaper i5 and then invest in a stronger GPU and SSD. Ugggh.... with that said, a Dell is a Dell, a solid safe choice to start with. The 450W power supply will prevent you from upgrading to anything super-serious, but should be enough to upgrade to a mid-range video cards sufficient for 1080p gaming (with exception of the Witcher3, Assassin's Creed Unity, or the latest games. Which have absurdly high specs). I'd expect that you'd be able to play Diablo 3 on the Dell no problem.

I mean, $800 is actually a fair price for that Dell system. $300 processor, $100 motherboard, $50 case+PSU, $80 RAM, $50 HDD, $50 GPU, $100 Windows == $730 would be the cost to build that system on your own. So $800 for the pre-built system is quite fair at its face value.

The problem is that the system is so poorly configured its hard for me to recommend it seriously. No SSD? The super-high end i7 processor paired with such a weak GPU? If it were reconfigured to be an i5 with a more powerful GPU and SSD, it'd be cheaper and more effective. *Sigh*. Its the issue with pre-built systems. Even if they come at a fair / reasonable price, they really aren't configured correctly. Still, the above gets you a good starter system. Its got a high-end CPU at least, and definitely will blow the pants off of your typical laptop.

Then, you should learn to re-image your hard drive, buy an SSD, replace the crappy GPU with something better but that will fit in the 450W, and then you'd actually have a pretty serious system. I'd expect... maybe an extra $500 in mods to get that PC to the state that I'd personally want it. ($200 on a 512GB SSD, and $200 on a gaming-quality GPU, $100 for more RAM to get to 16GB). The GPU is the only wasteful purchase (the Dell XPS already has a GPU. Just not one as high-quality as I'd hope), but I'd expect that you'd "lose" only about $120 total on this deal, compared to building your own. ($70 from the markup since Dell is building this one, and $50 as you waste the NVIDIA GeForce GT 720 that will probably be insufficient for your gaming needs)

After making sure that the PSU is good enough for a GPU upgrade of course. Otherwise... you'd be stuck. But hey, its how pre-built goes.
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KittenKaboodle
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby KittenKaboodle » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:21 am UTC

ahammel wrote:It's not particularly difficult. If you can put together a Lego kit, you can put together a PC.


While that is no doubt true, it does not, however, follow that if one is capable of buying a Lego kit, one is also capable of buying a properly matched set of components to put together a PC by one's self.
If one buys a "kit" of suitably matched parts, it will usually already be assembled (considering that assembling a PC hardware once the parts are in hand is about as difficult as assembling an 8 piece Lego kit (not including software installation of course, especially drivers)), either way we are back to the O.P's original question.

Ermahgerd!, $800 US for a PC :shock: Why I remember paying only $1200 for a 286 with a megabyte of RAM and a 40MB hard drive, but the really cool thing was it had a CD ROM drive, I was the only one on my block who had one of those! the CGA graphics kind of sucked, but hey it was color! (actually it might have been EGA, it was a long time ago, I don't really remember) Oh, I almost forgot, it also had a 2400 baud modem and Prodigy preinstalled.
Then there was the time I spent $500 for 16 MB of ram for a different machine (yes, that is an 'M'), and I had to walk up hill (both ways) in the snow to get it! you kids these days :evil:

maydayp
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby maydayp » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:10 am UTC

KittenKaboodle wrote:
ahammel wrote:It's not particularly difficult. If you can put together a Lego kit, you can put together a PC.


While that is no doubt true, it does not, however, follow that if one is capable of buying a Lego kit, one is also capable of buying a properly matched set of components to put together a PC by one's self.
If one buys a "kit" of suitably matched parts, it will usually already be assembled (considering that assembling a PC hardware once the parts are in hand is about as difficult as assembling an 8 piece Lego kit (not including software installation of course, especially drivers)), either way we are back to the O.P's original question.

Ermahgerd!, $800 US for a PC :shock: Why I remember paying only $1200 for a 286 with a megabyte of RAM and a 40MB hard drive, but the really cool thing was it had a CD ROM drive, I was the only one on my block who had one of those! the CGA graphics kind of sucked, but hey it was color! (actually it might have been EGA, it was a long time ago, I don't really remember) Oh, I almost forgot, it also had a 2400 baud modem and Prodigy preinstalled.
Then there was the time I spent $500 for 16 MB of ram for a different machine (yes, that is an 'M'), and I had to walk up hill (both ways) in the snow to get it! you kids these days :evil:

*snickers* when I first graduated highschool I bought a ram card for my old XP computer, I think it was only ~250mb. And it was still 100 (back in 2009). (the computer only had half of that... it's still running though, even if it's over 10 years old) It only has ~56GB of memory... And my laptop? was about 799 iirc, and has 6gb ram, but only 750gb memory. (but laptops are more expensive and this was 4 years ago).
This computer has 8gb ram, and 2TB ram... it's only 710...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

(Am I right that it's a good deal?)

wumpus
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby wumpus » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:13 pm UTC

KittenKaboodle wrote:
ahammel wrote:It's not particularly difficult. If you can put together a Lego kit, you can put together a PC.


While that is no doubt true, it does not, however, follow that if one is capable of buying a Lego kit, one is also capable of buying a properly matched set of components to put together a PC by one's self.
If one buys a "kit" of suitably matched parts, it will usually already be assembled (considering that assembling a PC hardware once the parts are in hand is about as difficult as assembling an 8 piece Lego kit (not including software installation of course, especially drivers)), either way we are back to the O.P's original question.

To a large degree, http://www.logicalincrements.com/ does it for you. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be able to deliver anything quite like the Dell in question. Warning: if you try to buy a i5 based desktop http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-3847-desktop/pd?oc=fdcwrt203h&model_id=inspiron-3847-desktop it isn't clear at all that you can add either a video card or even a SSD. From painful experience I've known Dells to configure one SATA port for hard drives and the other for optical, and not let you change that in BIOS. Don't expect either a slot for a graphics card or even enough power from the power supply.

Also note that the Dell comes with windows and some form of office (365 personal, which while pretty limited is likely better and sending and recieving office documents than LibreOffice). Expect to add another $100 to the price listed at logical increments unless you can find someone who can provide something like a windows[tm]bing[tm] OEM edition. Even so, I'd expect for "gaming and internet surfing", the addition of a real GPU and a SSD would justify dropping all the way down to an i3 (no surfing requires more than 4 threads, and how many games?) for the tiers around "great" (hint, add the SSD first then bump the memory to 8GB before thinking about jiggling the other choices up and down).

PS. That ~$300 i7 really looks like a $250 i7-1240 ("upto 4GHz"). It also looks like the old "buy a Xeon if you are using a GPU" trick is mostly gone, although if you are looking at a ~$200 i5 I would strongly recommend a ~$200 Intel E3-1240 v3 in its place (and related processors).

KnightExemplar
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:00 pm UTC

maydayp wrote:*snickers* when I first graduated highschool I bought a ram card for my old XP computer, I think it was only ~250mb. And it was still 100 (back in 2009). (the computer only had half of that... it's still running though, even if it's over 10 years old) It only has ~56GB of memory... And my laptop? was about 799 iirc, and has 6gb ram, but only 750gb memory. (but laptops are more expensive and this was 4 years ago).
This computer has 8gb ram, and 2TB ram... it's only 710...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

(Am I right that it's a good deal?)


Its integrated GPU which has a terrible reputation for gaming. The PSU is only 300W according to that page, so you'd have to buy a new power supply if you wanted a GPU upgrade.

It'd be a fine machine for office use, but not if you wanted to play any games on it. If we're sticking to brand names... then I say stay the course on the Dell machine, despite its many faults.

If you're going with an off brand: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 83-272-026

The AMD Fx-6300 is a significantly cheaper / weaker CPU than the i7, but the AMD R7 260X is the minimum gaming GPU that I'd recommend. (Anything weaker is IMO not "gaming worthy"). You should be able to play most games at 720p at 60FPS+ with the R7 260x. The balance between CPU / GPU is good in this machine, and the cost is in-line with its components.

It seems like CybertronPC makes custom PCs, you can go to their site and order one custom-built.
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mousewiz
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby mousewiz » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:53 pm UTC

Canadian?

Check out memoryexpress if they're in your area (calgary/edmonton/winnipeg/vancouver).

Reasons:
1) They'll beat online prices on identical products. For prebuilt desktops that won't (I don't think) get you anything because they're selling custom offerings, but for any peripherals or upgrade components it's nice.
2) Their staff know what they're talking about (unlike the staff at, say, futureshop).
3) If you ever do start upgrading components, they have the best selection of components in stock that I've seen at a brick and mortar store. Also, if you do decide to build a machine yourself, they'll mount the cpu + heatsink + memory to the board for you and make sure it boots for free before you take everything home, which is a thing that has potential to spare you a lot of annoyance.

Admittedly, I can't (timewise + I always build my own) comment too much on their selection of prebuilt machines other than "at a glance, seems reasonable", but other people in the thread already appear to be filling you in on what to look for. I'm just throwing out some free advertising for my favourite shop.

Also: I don't think you need a new PC to play D3 or TL2. My 6 year old Q6600 still runs both those games without trouble. I mean, I'd still go out and get a new one because it'll last you a while + used PCs have lemons, but you definitely don't need a particularly powerful one for those.

maydayp
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby maydayp » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:19 am UTC

So, last week I got a quote for a desktop, and the price was quite out of my budget (well I asked for two when the idea desktop was out of my budget. one within my budget and one more than. and only got the more expensive one). I found the computer build they sent me for 800 (plus 180 for win7, and 180 for labour (their quote)). The price they quoted me was $1415.70

So my question, is it normal for the price to get marked up another 200-300 dollars? Because if it's not, I really want to call them on it, when I reply to their email, saying sorry too expensive, so I went elsewhere. (I ended up buying a similar computer for $700 (really good deal)) including insurance, elsewhere)

ps the "computer" in question http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.2252355

KnightExemplar
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:02 pm UTC

Yeah, because when those small-shop suppliers quote you a price, they had to buy those parts at a specific price. Probably a few months ago.

The PC Market moves very quickly. Every few months, prices on virtually every piece of equipment drops dramatically. There are very few manufacturers who can keep up with the changing prices (due to competitive advantage, or maybe pressures they put on the suppliers). When you build your own (or buy a kit), they can sell you overstocked inventory and you can take advantage of price shifts in the marketplace.

You really can't compare the price with a kit and a pre-built computer. Its not just labor, but inventory and deprecation of virtually every piece of the computer causes the price to inflate.

Which is why we're all recommending you to just build it yourself. But if you aren't willing to do that, buy from a big-name manufacturer who can at least keep up with the market. Dell Alienware, HP Phoenix.

I remembered the name of a smaller manufacturer in the US. "Digital Storm" Vanquish is a good prebuilt at a good price.

http://www.digitalstormonline.com/vanquish-ii.asp

Apparently, it costs $300 (dunno if USD or CAD) to ship from US to Canada however. So you're best bet is again, build your own. And ignoring that, just get a boring Dell.
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maydayp
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Re: New Desktop recommondations

Postby maydayp » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:40 pm UTC

Well, the email actually said that they haven't ordered the parts yet. And as. My last post said I found a really good computer elsewhere, that I've purchased.


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