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Old 02-27-2013, 04:49 AM   #1
Ultimate
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Default New Build and Intro

Hello everyone,

I am looking into sourcing some parts to build a new computer.

Note: Skip below for my new proposed computer build if you do not want to endure my background.

First a little background.
About 8 years ago in 2005 I bought my first desktop an all factory Dell:
Computer Package: Dell Dimension 5100
Processor: Pentium P4 Prescott 775 LGA 3.00GHz
Memory: 4X Samsung 256MB (200MHz) changed to 4X 1GB (200MHz+)
Motherboard: Intel i945G Express ICH7/R
Graphics: Radeon X600 256MB HyperMemory RV380 GPU
HDD: WD WD800JD SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 80GB
PSU: Factory 305W
OS: Windows XP 32bit (use of 3.5GB RAM max)

The computer has been amazing, very reliable, only thing I ever did to the hardware was clean the dust out periodically, and a few years ago upgrade the memory as I am a bit of a multi-tasker. I realize that any new computer will definitely blow this old one away, but I am debating 2 main things:
1. Whether I should buy another Dell or build my own desktop.
2. If I were to build my own what parts to use.

I acquired a lot of old computer parts and put together some computers for fun but they are all older or comparable to my old Dell. I even have a few single digit GB HDDs!

Pros and Cons of Dell:
Pros:
- My old dell came configured with a HDD shadow copy or factory restore that came in handy when I reloaded the OS every other year or so. It was nice because I could simply back up my files and reload the system back to a factory reset whenever the windows rot slowed the computer. I know there is disk image software out there that can do something similar/better, but this way I did not have to bother with much other than the time it takes to re-set up the computer.
- No HW issues and a comprehensive warranty
- Relatively inexpensive and previous one lasted a long time (great value)
- Comes assembled and tested so it is less likely to not have DOA or similar issues

Cons:
- Not upgrade-able
- Bottlenecks limiting the system
- Little control over OS features
- Less features such as raid, etc.

I am sure most people on this forum will likely say to build a computer instead of buying a Dell if I have the ability and time to put it together. A build is the direction I am leaning toward myself as long as the criteria in the second post can be met more efficiently than buying a Dell.

Cliff notes from above:
- I have an ancient Dell I am looking to upgrade.
- I am debating if I should buy a new Dell or build my own computer.
- If I do build a new computer, what components should I use to get the best value?

The New computer:
Usage: Some gaming/movies entertainment and some CAD work/Photoshop (good for most uses but not necessarily great at everything)

Budget $: I would like to spend under $1500 including 2 monitors and other peripherals but the items below are more important to me and a few hundred dollars is not an issue either.

I am looking for a computer with really good value which to me means the amount of performance and reliability I get for the money over the longest time period. Basically, a computer I can use for the next 5-8years with minimal amount of upgrade over the years.

In order of importance:
1. Lowest cost over time (i.e. will the components still be relatively high performance for several years)
2. Reliability
3. Performance which also relates to time as technology is always changing quickly in this market

I have seen friends who spent a very large amount of money on the latest and greatest components and came out with a nice computer, but not what I would expect for the money spent. My old Pentium P4 on moderately striped down XP is by no means fast but it seemed almost as good as my sister's laptop on Windows Vista w/Dual Core. Also, at work I have a Dell T3500 (12GB RAM, 6 core Xeon, Quadro 4000, Win7 64bit, etc.) and it is fast, but again, not what I would expect for the money although it is probably slow because of the Microsoft Enterprise Network/Software they have it on.

My picks for the build:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Gic2

Not sure if I should go for a cheaper or better feature rich motherboard but I was trying to stick with Asus, Gigabyte, or Intel. Also, I know the Corsair 600T is expensive and not necessary but I like it over the other cases in its class. Trying to make it fairly future proof so I may add another GPU in the future, more RAM as necessary, and overclock, etc.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:02 PM   #2
brispuss
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Lightbulb

Based on the list at Partpicker, the choice of components is very good!

The only suggested change is to swap the Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler for the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler here or here.

Although the the NH-D14 performs quite well, it is bulky, heavy, and relatively expensive. The Hyper 212 EVO is smaller, lighter, performs better, and is cheaper!
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:19 PM   #3
Treehugger
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Default

I also really like the Corsair 600t case. You don't see many cases like it. In fact, your build is very similar to mine.

As brispuss said, no one could really fault your choices. It's a good all-round selection. From Gabriel's review of the power supply, he suggested opting for the Seasonic X-series KM3 650W power supply instead, since for only a few dollars more, you get four video card power connectors (instead the HX650's two), a fully modular cabling system (allows easier cable management, while allowing for future additions), higher efficiency, and better power regulation. Seasonic built the Corsair HX650 anyway, so it's the same manufacturer.

I'm in a similar boat as you. My first purchase was a Dell laptop. After extensive research at the time, there were fewer horror stories for Dell customers than for customers of any other manufacturer. That laptop lasted a little over five years.

I also came to appreciate the Dell "factory restore" image, and reliability that the laptop provided, even when it had aged. However, any of the features that Dell provides can be relatively easily found for your personal build, perhaps even for free.

The question of whether to buy a pre-made PC or build one yourself is probably a little about the money, but you'll also spend time finding the parts, putting them together, troubleshooting, etc. It depends upon what's most important to you: your time and effort, and possible headaches, or your value for money?

Personally, I'm looking forward to piecing together my ideal PC.
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