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Deciding between two PCs to order by tomorrow. Advice? ^_^;Follow

#1 Jul 14 2010 at 12:04 AM Rating: Decent
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It's that time again, for me. The last time I bought a PC was for FFXI in 2003, and I'm about ready for a new one with FFXIV a mere two months away.

My budget for the PC itself (not including monitor) is $1,500 tops, not a penny more. I've no interest in building one, so I browsed and configured thoroughly between Gateway, Dell/Alienware, HP, ibuypower, and others, and came away finding Dell and Alienware having the greatest value for my price range.

After combining just about every model and part I could find on the many sites I went two, the following two are what I've settled upon, and am open on any and all advice as to which to choose between them!

Keep in mind that my main concern is being able to run Final Fantasy XIV on high level settings, if not max, at a solid 30+fps. Thanks in advance, and here we go!

Dell XPS 7100 wrote:
PROCESSOR & GRAPHICS CARD AMD Phenom™ II X6 1055T + ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 2 Year Basic Service Plan
MEMORY 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs
HARD DRIVE 1.5TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 1.56MB Cache
OPTICAL DRIVE Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD)
WIRELESS Dell 1525 Wireless-N PCIe Card
SOUND CARD THX® TruStudio PC™
MODEM No Modem Option
Chassis and Case
Micro-ATX (Mini-Tower)
Height: 16.02" (407.75 mm)
Width: 7.31" (185.81 mm)
Depth:17.9" (454.67mm)
Weight: 22.4 lbs (10.18 kg)
Power: 460 Watts

Total PC Cost: $1,299.99
Tax: $114.06
Shipping: $19.00
Grand Total: $1,433.05 shipped via Dell.com


This machine would be the ultimate no-brainer for me if it weren't for the tax. I really love the great processor and gfx card combo, and the 8gb dual channel ram is nothing to scoff at. The built in wireless adapter and Blu-ray drive also make for quite a nice machine. The smaller size of the machine also makes for relatively easy transportation if the need ever arises. The two year in-home repair and warranty makes this quite tempting, too.

I don't like, however, how low the power supply is (460w), that seems way too low for the given set-up, though plenty have put the machine through its paces for months with no issues. That's not the only problem that the small PSU brings, though, as it also leaves NO room for expansion, not like the chassis is even large enough to accommodate many upgrades, anyway. All things considered, it's a great and powerful machine with excellent bang for the buck, but once it's time for upgrades 3-4 years down the road, this PC won't be of any use.

Though, as it stands, the tax and shipping rates make the next option all the more tempting...

Alienware Aurora AAR2-2663CSB wrote:
* Processor: Intel Core i7-860
* Processor Specs: 2.80GHz, 8MB Cache
* Memory: 6GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz (3 DIMMs)
* Video Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5870 (1GB) GDDR5 Graphics Card
* Hard Drive: 1TB SATA (7200 RPM)
* Cooling: Liquid Cooling
* Multimedia Drive: 24x CD/DVD Burner (DVD+/-RW) with Double-Layer
* Operating System: Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit)
* Networking: Integrated Gigabit Ethernet
* Sound: Integrated 7.1-Channel HD Audio
* Power: 525W Power Supply
* I/O Ports: USB 2.0 (4); FireWire IEEE 1394; PCIe x 16 (1), PCIe x 1 (1), PCI Express (2); Headphone/Microphone Jack
* Width: 9.84″
* Depth: 25.39″
* Height: 16.77″
* Warranty: 1-Year Limited Hardware Warranty, In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosis, 24/7 Phone Support

Total PC Cost: $1,498.00
Tax: $0.00
Shipping: $0.00
Grand Total: $1,498.00 shipped via Amazon.com


The computer I bought in 2003 was a decked out Alienware, so it's always tempting to continue the trend. While my budget is only half of what it was in 2003, this is still a great machine. It almost feels like a crime getting a brand new Alienware for the price Amazon has this one going for, and the potential for future expansions and upgrades are huge.

Though, right out of the box, I don't think that the Alienware will perform as well as the Dell would, yet overclocking may pick up the slack. I'm also a bit hesitant about the Liquid Cooling, coupled with the standard 1-Year In-Home Service Warranty. Nothing would be worse than the liquid leaking and frying the whole machine, though I hear Alienware's liquid cooling is very sturdy and secure, so my fear is highly unlikely to become a reality. Their site says that the liquid cooling requires no maintenance, too, which sounds a bit too good to be true, honestly. The huge size definitely makes it harder to take around if the need arises, relative to the smaller Dell, which sucks a little bit.

Still, this machine, for almost the exact same price as the Dell, seems like the best option for the long-term. The lack of wireless and a Blu-ray drive is a shame, but both can be easily added in for less than $100 total, so it's no biggie. At least if I added wireless to the Alienware, it would be Wireless n capable, rather than the internal Wireless b/g in the Dell.

In the end, the Dell is an amazing value, but the tax kind of works to diminish said value a decent bit. If Amazon taxed in California, I'd be going with the Dell, no question, but the fact that they don't tax changes a lot, IMO.

And there we have it! I basically convinced myself that the Alienware was the better buy between the two, but I'm still not 100% sure, and would love any input.

Thanks so much for your time, in advance, and I look forward to seeing many of you in FFXIV! ^_^b
#2 Jul 14 2010 at 12:24 AM Rating: Good
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You seem pretty set on buying through Dell/Alienware (same thing, really), but it has to be said that you could save a few hundred dollars and end up with superior components by purchasing individual pieces from Newegg and assembling the rig yourself. Don't get me wrong, Dells are fairly reliable, but they make their profit by coupling low grade motherboards, power supplies, and memory with name brand processors and graphics cards.

If you're absolutely set on one of these two computers, then go with the one that you feel most excited about as both will run FFXIV very well. In your case, this sounds like the Alienware, although I do have to say again that it makes me gag a little to see them charging $1,498.00 for a computer with that build sheet.

If you're interested in doing a more in-depth comparison on the componets in each system, check out the following links:

Gaming CPU Benchmarks - July 2010

Gaming GPU Benchmarks - July 2010

Current Graphics Card Hierarchy - Tom's Hardware

Edited, Jul 13th 2010 11:42pm by akirussan
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#3 Jul 14 2010 at 12:36 AM Rating: Good
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Neither looks like a much better deal than the other.

Quote:
Though, right out of the box, I don't think that the Alienware will perform as well as the Dell would, yet overclocking may pick up the slack.

An i7-860/HD 5870 combo should outperform a 1055T/HD 5870 in just about everything except a few highly threaded tasks. This includes FFXIV, but the graphics card will be doing so much of the work that the difference shouldn't be very significant. Any RAM over 4 GB is just about irrelevant for typical use, so don't sweat that too much.

The extra year's warranty on the Dell might put it over the edge for me, especially if I were interested in the other minor perks that come with that system.

Re: power supplies, ATI lists a 500 watt PSU as the minimum recommended to run a 5870. They're liberal in naming those requirements, but jesus... these OEM manufacturers sure cut corners on the less visible parts. I wouldn't build a PC of that level around either of those power supplies.

You may be fine. You should probably check out the manufacturer of the PSUs and consider that before their listed wattage.

#4 Jul 14 2010 at 12:43 AM Rating: Default
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This is just my opinion, please do not be offended.

A. You have way too much money.
B. You have no knowledge of computers.
C. Both.
D. Troll



*edited for politeness.

Edited, Jul 13th 2010 11:53pm by GuardianFaith
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#5 Jul 14 2010 at 1:05 AM Rating: Decent
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From newegg:

EVGA X58 FTW3 132-GT-E768-KR LGA 1366 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
250

G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ 150

Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80601930 290

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply 90

LIAN LI PC-7B plus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 90

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive 75

XFX HD-587X-ZNFV Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card 390

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM 100

LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Reader Model iHOS104-06 - OEM 60

TRENDnet TEW-623PI IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n (draft) 32-Bit PCI Rev. 2.1/2.2/2.3 Wireless N-Draft Adapter Up to 300Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128-bit WEP (Hex & ASCII), WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK 30
------------------------------------------------

$1525 + taxes and shipping apply. Obviously over budget however:


I don't see why you want to overclock, but not build your own? To each their own I guess.

This system for about the same price is (I think) more future proof especially with USB 3.0 and a bigger PSU. It has a bit more speed stock, plus it has everything you are asking for except for a warranty.

Also the i7-860 is based off the 1156 and not 1366 mb so there's another strike against upgrade-ability.

But go ahead and get the Alienware, they have cool cases at least.


#6 Jul 14 2010 at 1:18 AM Rating: Good
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Kitoro wrote:
Keep in mind that my main concern is being able to run Final Fantasy XIV on high level settings, if not max, at a solid 30+fps. Thanks in advance, and here we go!


Neither of these systems will manage XI on max. you might be able to get them to run it on high if you don't mind your FPS dropping down to 10-20ish. 30 FPS is the cap, so you're not going to get 31-60, no matter what you do.

Dell XPS 7100 wrote:
PROCESSOR & GRAPHICS CARD AMD Phenom™ II X6 1055T + ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB
MEMORY 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs
Power: 460 Watts


Lots of unused memory, really good video card, pretty good processor, horrible PSU.

Alienware Aurora AAR2-2663CSB wrote:
* Processor: Intel Core i7-860
* Processor Specs: 2.80GHz, 8MB Cache
* Memory: 6GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz (3 DIMMs)
* Video Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5870 (1GB) GDDR5 Graphics Card
* Power: 525W Power Supply


Better (but still bad) PSU; you're really going to want at least a 650. Some might say 750+. Normally the i7s stomp all over the Phenom II X6 and **** down their neck, but in this case, this i7 is actually -worse- than the X6. It's not -bad- overall, but excluding the i7M processors, the i7 860 is the lowest one on the totem pole. Still a good video card though.

Also, if you have to ask if you need liquid cooling, the answer is usually "You don't".

So in summary, both have a very good video card, a pretty good processor, an abysmal power supply, and way more RAM and HD space than you'll need for a while.

In my opinion, you'd be better suited if you kept shopping. If the thought of paying way more money than you need to wets your pants in anticipation and excitement, and you really can't be bothered to built it yourself, I would suggest somewhere like cyberpowerpc.com to configure a system with at least an i7-930 and a 700-800W PSU.

Gun to my head, if I had to pick one of them, I'd go with the first, and a new power supply before I even turn it on. I think you'd be better suited with other options though.
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#7 Jul 14 2010 at 1:18 AM Rating: Decent
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Thanks for the swift and (mostly) helpful replies! As opposed to building as I may be, I'd definitely consider doing so if I could get comparable parts for less than $1,100 shipped.

I'll poke around Amazon and TigerDirect (neither charge tax in CA, unlike NewEgg), and see what I can come up with.

Once again, thanks so much, everyone! I really appreciate the input. ^_^b I'll touch base whenever I figure out exactly what I'll end up doing. I'd like to decide sooner than later, if not just to get everything set up and in place for September 22nd, but I've still got plenty of time. :P
#8 Jul 14 2010 at 1:20 AM Rating: Good
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Kierk wrote:
I don't see why you want to overclock, but not build your own? To each their own I guess.


I need to second this.
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Mikhalia: only 5% or less of my posts are utter crap.
Tyapex: 393 posts of utter crap...
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