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What pre-assembled PC to buy?Follow

#1 Jul 15 2010 at 2:34 PM Rating: Decent
Every single post on this subject seems to come down to people arguing the merits of building your own PC to save money/get higher quality parts. I really don't care about that. What I'm trying to do is compile a list of feasible PCs that come from Best Buy, or Dell, or HP or Alienware, that have explained in the recommendations what upgrades to make. Now I'm not opposed to installing a new graphics card/power supply to a pre-assembled PC, if it's not available as an option from the supplier, but that's about the extent of hardware manipulation that I want to go to.

So keeping that in mind, what PCs would you recommend to someone with a budget of... $1000? How about a budget of $1500? or $2000? What ready-to-go PCs are on the market now, and are viable for FFXIV? If you bought one of the PCs, and didn't like the graphics card, what would you replace it with/what power supply would you put in to ensure the card got enough to run correctly?

I'm aware that it's cheaper to buy the parts from Newegg, and assemble it myself, but that's not what I'm asking. I'm trying to find recommendations for those three price ranges.

(Also, please keep in mind that I just need the tower recommendations. No monitor/speakers/peripherals needed)
#2 Jul 15 2010 at 2:36 PM Rating: Decent
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I bought a dell xps 9000 for $1484 shipped. i7-920 and ati(amcry) 5870.
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#3 Jul 15 2010 at 2:59 PM Rating: Decent
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this is one that was suggested on another forum and its within your budget: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883227258.

You can overclock it for improved performance and perhaps you can even upgrade the RAM or video card to reach the $1000 budget you have mapped for yourself. I'd imagine this PC will run FFXIV fairly well anyway.

EDIT: link isn't working properly anymore but if you click it there are various PCs on newegg for a good price and are within your range.

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 5:02pm by SolidMack
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#4 Jul 15 2010 at 4:27 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Every single post on this subject seems to come down to people arguing the merits of building your own PC to save money/get higher quality parts. I really don't care about that.


I still don't understand why people refuse to build their own PC. Almost every package deal comes with a sub-par GPU, which means with the cost of upgrading that + the rip off of pre-assembly you're paying an extra $3-400 at least. That's money you could use for something else or if you're that well off; give it away to your friends/family or buy someone a gift? I don't know. It's not about being cheap it's about knowing the value of a dollar from a broader point of view. Maybe it's because I grew up poor doing everything myself, I don't really know.

*This has nothing to do with computers or FFXIV. Sorry for the rant.

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 3:28pm by GuardianFaith
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#5 Jul 15 2010 at 5:38 PM Rating: Good
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I still don't understand why people refuse to build their own PC.


Because generally people have no idea how to, and don't WANT TO. They want something they buy, they plug in, they turn on, and it works. They have no interest in best performance per dollar. They wouldn't know a ram chip from a potato chip, and they couldn't be happier that way.

http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?storeName=computer_store&category=desktops&a1=Category&v1=High+performance&series_name=HPE380t_series&jumpid=in_R329_prodexp/hhoslp/psg/desktops/High_performance/HPE380t_series

An i7 930 quad with hyper threading, turbo boost technology, 9 gig DDR3. Less than $1100. Pricing out a similar build earlier today I was around $500 between the proc and [decent] motherboard alone. Couple hundred for ram, a hundred for PSU, $229 minimum for video card, a hard drive, case, cooling fans, DVD drive, OPERATING SYSTEM. . these things add up. Sure you have a much better machine at the end, but John Q Public isn't going to see it. . because John Q Public typically doesn't use his computer for much more than E-mail, Facebook, Youtube. .and maybe Gaming.

I'm on YOUR side, personally. . but everyone has the right to make their own choice.





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#6 Jul 15 2010 at 5:44 PM Rating: Default
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Quote:
They wouldn't know a ram chip from a potato chip, and they couldn't be happier that way.


That's understandable. I never learned until I had no choice. If I had one, I'd probably just be buying pre-assembled still.

If you buy that i7 you just listed you'll need to buy a video card to get the most out of it. Which will require installation but it's reeeally easy. All you'd have to do is open it up and stick the card in the slot, that's it.

A lot of people are buying these really high end processors and still scoring low on benchmark due to a low end video card.
Might I suggest:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130562

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 4:53pm by GuardianFaith
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#7 Jul 15 2010 at 6:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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If all you care about is email/IM/web browsing, then buying a retail model is the best way to go.

If you care about gaming, buying retail usually ends disastrously. Either you end up with a horribly inferior video card in the system, or you pay way way too much for one.

In all fairness, that HP in the previous post would be okay if you make sure to upgrade the video card from a 5450 to a 5770 in the customize options. That'll bring your total price to $1229.99 after "instant rebate". I honestly have no idea what the point is of having a higher price on EVERYTHING and also having an instant rebate on EVERYTHING; are they just trying to make you think you're saving money?

According to that site, the "normal price" is $1,579.99 and after an instant rebate JUST FOR YOU (and everyone else) of 350, you only have to pay $1,229.99! Never mind the fact that you could probably have bought the parts and built it yourself for $1,000 or less.

Again, if all you use your computer for is general net usage, you can grab one of the cheapo $400 units and you'll likely be fine.

I respect the fact that the OP is willing to come out and admit that he knows he's overpaying for the product, but as a computer enthusiast, I can't help but shake my head.

Regardless, the same thing I say to people building their systems, I say to people buying them retail:

The following things apply to FFXIV:

- Quad Core processor or Hexacore processor. If it's a Dual core, move on.
- GeForce GTX 400 series or Radeon 5770 or higher. If it's GT/GTS, no. If it's a 5500 or 5600, no. If it's integrated graphics that says anything about "Shared video memory", **** no.
- Ask about the power supply. Accept no less than 600-650 Watts. MAYBE 550 at the minimum, and that's kinda pushing it. If they don't know the wattage, ask them to find out. If they say it's 400-450 but insist "It will be fine, we sell them like this all the time", consider shopping elsewhere. The fact that they just admitted to you that they sell a sh*tty product to other people in an effort to get you to buy a sh*tty product is NOT a selling point, and you're a fool if you fall for it (Hint: That's what they're counting on)

If you're not getting a rig for serious gaming, the top three are irrelevant, but you should consider the following:

- Hard Drive capacity is largely irrelevant. 320GB is fine. 500GB is also fine. If you don't know why you need higher than 500 GB, you don't need higher than 500 GB. Letting the sales monkey pitch you a 1.0-1.5 Terrabyte hard drive is allowing yourself to buy a product you will never utilize. That's like paying extra for more cupholders in the back of a minivan or SUV when you only need the vehicle for yourself. The salesman is trying to upsell you on crap you don't need. Don't buy it.
- RAM is nice, but 4 GB is fine. 6 GB is more than enough. 8 GB is just like the above; would you pay extra for rear seat DVD players if no one will ever sit in the rear seat?

If you're buying retail and you are NOT a gamer, $600 is pretty much an upper limit for a tower by itself (not counting monitor; bonus if it comes with one). Any more than that and you're paying for extra garbage you don't need.

If you're buying retail and you ARE a gamer, consider $1000 to be a lower limit; don't spend any less than that, and adhere strictly to the processor and video suggestions I made. This is when you WANT to pay for options (speficially a kick *** video card and a hardy power supply to keep it from dying on you in a year or two) because you WILL want it. Do not let the salesman undersell you on a system with a 5600 or lower or a GTS/GT or lower or a weak power supply by telling you "It will be good enough". You want to buy GOOD, you might even want to buy GREAT. You certainly do not want to buy "Good enough".

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 8:04pm by Mikhalia
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#8 Jul 15 2010 at 6:05 PM Rating: Good
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One of the best PC assemblers price-wise I've found is www.ibuypower.com You need to know a little bit about configuring a computer, but because all the options are on the table, it isn't like Dell where you're forced into buying a ton of unnecessary junk with the PC that you can't remove from the configuration. You also get an actual motherboard & bios so you can do fun stuff like overclock too :).
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#9 Jul 15 2010 at 6:28 PM Rating: Decent
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#10 Jul 15 2010 at 9:27 PM Rating: Good
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See I really like the stuff on ibuypower also. I just kinda wish I knew WTH I was looking at.
For instance, isn't more watt usage a bad thing? Why are 800 watts more expensive? I mean aren't we trying to save energy? Yes I'm serious, I have no clue why I would want to use more electricity.
The when it comes to my hard drive. Cool lookit that a Terebyte! Now umm, whats the cache and rpm numbers mean next to it?
Won't all network cards connect me at the same speed? Isn't it my modem that matters to get me all the speed I need?

It's things like that which send me running away and logging onto gateway and HP sites.

It's part of the reason I started the topic half a page down of "shop a new PC for me" I'm guessing the same reasons this one was started, except that I still plan on playing on PS3 lol
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#11 Jul 15 2010 at 9:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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ReiThor wrote:
See I really like the stuff on ibuypower also. I just kinda wish I knew WTH I was looking at.
For instance, isn't more watt usage a bad thing? Why are 800 watts more expensive? I mean aren't we trying to save energy? Yes I'm serious, I have no clue why I would want to use more electricity.
The when it comes to my hard drive. Cool lookit that a Terebyte! Now umm, whats the cache and rpm numbers mean next to it?
Won't all network cards connect me at the same speed? Isn't it my modem that matters to get me all the speed I need?

It's things like that which send me running away and logging onto gateway and HP sites.

It's part of the reason I started the topic half a page down of "shop a new PC for me" I'm guessing the same reasons this one was started, except that I still plan on playing on PS3 lol


I'll try to explain these as non-technically as possible; no promises, but I'll do my best.

Power Supply Wattage

The Wattage on the Power Supply is the maximum wattage, not the wattage it will always perform at. It is typically expected that a power supply will lose its potency the more it is taxed, so if your system requires 400W to run and you use a 400W power supply, the thing will ALWAYS be at max capacity. As it starts to lose its power over time, you will have your system die off sooner, because once that 400W PSU is running at 300-350W, parts will start dying and frying.

Conversely, if you had, say, an 800W PSU, then at best it is running at 50% capacity. It will wear out much slower over time, and even as it does, will still have enough power.

Let's say you own a company and you want to produce 40 pictures a day. So you hire someone who can draw 40 pictures a day.

Over time, he's going to start to slack off; might have a bad day... you're going to end up with 30-35 pictures and your customers will be unhappy. You will lose money.

Conversely, if you hire a guy who can draw 70 pictures a day, not only is he more than capable of drawing 40 without breaking a sweat, but if he slows down over time, he's still not slow enough to hurt your bottom line.

The idea is that you WANT a power supply that will not constantly be running at max capacity, because you want to have room for it to run higher when needed, and you want to accommodate for any slowdowns.

Hard Drives

Depending on the source, a Gigabyte will be used to refer to either 1000 Megabytes (MB) or 1024 MB. Again, depending on source, a Terrabyte (TB) is 1000/1024 GB. Read on here for more about this.

Most common programs are only a few GB (although some games recently can get to 10-20GB). Pictures are typically only a few MB in size, music is approximately 1 MB per minute of music, depending on encoding. Movies and TV shows can take up several hundred MB, easily.

500 GB is usually more than enough for most people. You could get a TB or 1.5 TB HD, but here's the thing:

Go to "My Computer"/"Computer" and then look at your C drive. In vista/7, it will show you the usage statistics; in XP or older, you will have to righ tclick and click properties.

This will show you how much space you are currently using and how much is free. Do you already have a 500 GB HD and it's about 400 GB full? Maybe consider a 1 TB drive. Do you have a 250 GB HD and it's about 60-80 GB full? Then a new one with a 500 GB should be more than enough.

The cache size is roughly an indication of how much data the HD can transfer to/from RAM at once. Higher is better, but really high is really expensive.

Furthermore, your HD is basically some round pieces of metal with your data on them. A higher RMP means the disks spin faster, and therefore data is retrieved and written faster. 7200 RPM is fine. 10,000 RPM is faster, but will cost more, and 10K RPM drives tend to be smaller as well.

Network connectivity

Your modem is a pretty big deciding factor, yes. Assuming you're physically connecting to your modem or through a router, your system will communicate with your network at whatever the slowest speed is. If your computer is 10/100/1000 and your modem is only 10/100, then 100 MBPS will be the fastest network speed you can achieve. Pretty much everything has gigabit ethernet on it though, and ethernet connection speeds are really more of a concern in large network environments (read: businesses) than home use.

If you have a file server or media server, then upgrading your entire network to gigabit ethernet may be a consideration. Your average user probably will never need to worry about it.

It's also worth mentioning that the max connection speed for an 802.11G network (wireless) is 54 MBPS, meaning that even if your router is only 10/100, your desktops may seem to be faster than your laptops. 802.11N is faster than 802.11G, but that's all laptop stuff.

Disclaimer: I kinda bent a few facts here and there to convey my point; there are a few things here that are not entirely accurate, but for the purposes of explaining the concepts to you, this should do. If you want to learn more, there's a wealth of information out there that explains these (and other) concepts far more technically.

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 11:56pm by Mikhalia
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#12 Jul 15 2010 at 11:24 PM Rating: Good
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Mikhalia summed it up pretty well, the only thing I would add is that specific parts have specific wattages. For instance, some phenoms are 135 watt processors and some video cards require a 550 watt power supply minimum. In that regard, you would be safest going with a power supply at least 135 watt + 550 watts, in this case 685 or basically 700w. That would ensure that you have enough to run the system, and like Mikhalia said, enough for the drawdown once the system ages a little.
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#13 Jul 16 2010 at 1:00 AM Rating: Decent
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www.digitalstormonline.com

You can get a PC with a six-core Phenom II 1095T and a Radeon HD 5770 for $1200. That's better than what HP/Dell/Gateway can get you for that amount of money. Plus they overclock the CPU for you, and it's a pretty aggressive OC off the factory.

Plus the reviews and testimonials are mostly positive (especially for the customer service).

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