Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

Buying a Computer >$$ (with your expertise, please!)


  • Please log in to reply

#1
Daniel0000

Daniel0000

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
Anyone with the guts to answer part or all of this and help me in this design!!!

I know the first thing you'll say is 'build your own, it's half the price'. I'd love to, but unfortunately that's not an option. I'm also not looking at companies such as CyberPower, which don't provide comprehensive tech support and have F ratings with the BBB.

The companies I've considered are: Dell (x10-h2c?), Alienware (ALX?), Voodoo (Omen, I think), and Falcon (Mach V).

I recognize that some people are fanboys but “Falcon rocks Dell suxorz” doesn’t help me any.

I do a lot with multimedia, including, but not limited to: games, movies, making movies, 3d animation, graphic design, music, DJing, and lots of general multi-tasking.

My budget is very solid, but I still want to optimize for price. For example, I made comparable systems on Dell and Falcon. XPS was about $7800 and Falcon was almost 10k. I need to know if the extra 2-3k for Voodoo or Falcon or the extra 1k for alienware are worth it-i.e. equivalent systems perform better than the cheaper dell because of great wiring/OCing/cooling.

I'm gonna list what I'm thinking, in terms of hardware, along with questions on each piece.

Processor:
Intel® Core™2 Extreme QX6700 (8MB,3.2GHz Factory overclocked)
I notice dell overclocks this, but doesn't provide tech support for overlocked things. I believe the other companies overclock. Any particular company better or offer better service/warranty for OCing?
I picked this over dual cores/AMD under the belief that, at the same price as the X6800, quad core would be the future. Seems to perform better on most things, with the exception of OpenGL, and a few other tasks.
http://www.ocworkben....-QX6700/b1.htm
http://www.beastcomp....ead.php?p=4624

OS:
Vista, Home Premium. Should I also have XP Windows Media edi. on this, just in case, as Vista gets through these first months? Also, Vista Premium has the media center edition like features, such as TV tuner support, xbox connectivity and such?

Memory:
4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 4 DIMMs
4x1 is the best, I think. All the companies provide this, but I don’t know, say, if Voodoo uses much better RAM than Dell. Is this where that 1-3k price increase comes in, on parts like this?

Hard Drives:
320GB Performance RAID 0 (2 x 160GB SATA 3Gb/s 10,000 RPM HDDs
The dual raptors, I think for the OS + all installed programs?
Then a 750 Gig 7200 RPM for mass storage (another can be added in few years when I fill it up).
Voodoo uses Seagate, and again, I don’t know what Dell uses. The only standard are the dual raptors, though some people even recommended I buy a 15k 70gig drive (no one provides that standard).

Optical:
16x DVD-ROM Drive (My current comp has a cd burner and a dvd burner – stupid choice, can’t copy DVDs easily). I could go for two dvd burners, but that’s optional.
16x DVD+/-RW w/ dbl layer write capable w/ lightscribe hopefully.
No blu-ray reader/burner, 900$ for 2x burning is stupid.

Monitors:
Hmmm. 2407 and 3007 24” 30” widescreen digital flat dells seem to be nice. I don’t know if the dell LCDtvs are any good. The new 27” seems to be slightly more expensive, and not worth it. I know the 24 and 30” are Hi-Def and such. The 24" has some inputs, component/vga that the 30" doesn't. Could I hook up a 360 directly to the monitors, press ‘source’ or w/e, and have the game on the screen? And how would I get surround sound if 2/3 cables were plugged into a monitor. Or does a single HDMI cable work better than the component cables. I’ve used dual monitors for a while for graphic design and 3d modeling, but dual 24s seems ludicrous, which is why the 30” is looking attractive. I want great high quality image, gaming and support for hi-def movies, 360/ps3 and hopefully live tv. The monitor/tv tuner is important for me. Which brings me to my next point…

Tv Tuners:
The companies don’t offer these standard, or maybe only crappy analog ones that comes with media center. ATI's TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner claims to be hi-def and Vista ready. My current tv tuner is terrible quality, but internal, which is nice. I currently hook my xbox to it, and play through that terrible quality. Since no one offers the tuners by default, should I purchase the ATI HD external tuner, and use that for HD input for television/satellite and 360/ps3? Is the quality very good? I know that HDCP is a requirement, which the dell monitors have, I believe. http://ati.amd.com/p...ital/index.html

GPU:
Dual NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 GTX, 768 MB
No question on this one. One of these outperforms crossfire 1950s I hear.
Again, does dell provide a 500$ GTX while voodoo provides a watercooled 700$ BFG GTX. Or are the video cards provided by the companies the same? I hate how these cards take up two PCI slots, which is going to limit stuff later.

AGEIA® PhysX® physics accelerator:
Worth it, not worth it? Only $250. Does it complement the GTXs, or would it just sit idly? Once I add this on, I can’t get a nice sound card.

Speakers:
I have the klipsch promedia 5.1, which are nice, but analog, and have a screwy center + annoying wires. I really want a wireless setup, and 7.1 seems way excessive and impractical to set up for the space I’ll be in. The Logitech Z5500 500 Watt 5.1 Digital Surround Speakers seem nice. Speakers are probably the easiest thing to order separately, so if there are any suggestions on good speakers.. Note- I’m not setting up a media center, so I can’t mount 3k speakers or anything. $300,$500 dollar computer speakers. Considering the speakers are of such low quality compared to the GPU/monitor etc. do I need…(below)

Sound Card:
The pre-installed 5.1 or 7.1s with dell or alienware, or is it worth it to get something like the Creative Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ XtremeGamer High Definition 7.1 Audio, or the Sound Blaster X-Fi™ Fatal1ty. On all the systems, voodoo, falcon, having the PhysX plus the sound card exceeds the number of PCI slots. Do I dish the PhysX, or dish the sound card? It seems like the inexpensive speakers would be the bottleneck, and I might as well dish the sound card and go with the PhysX.

Floppy drive, media reader:
Necessary? Obsolete?

Keyboard:
I don’t do uber gaming hotkeys. Play, pause, mute, search and stuff like that would be nice. Backlit keyboards are cool, a screen isn’t. I’m fine with a wired keyboard (usb on the monitor) though a wireless is great too. What do I get? The Saitek Eclipse, Saitek 2, the Logitech® Cordless Desktop® MX™ 5000 or the Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard.

Mouse:
I have an mx 1000 now, I guess (the name is all worn off). How is the MX revolution? The 1000s great, not latency, good feel, recharging in the dock weekly is easy. However, I never use the few hotkeys they have. The revolution looks nice, with the click and word and instasearch and good battery life.

Mousepad:
Laser needs mousepad? Cheap one?

Battery Backup/Surge Protector:
APC Back-UPS ES 650 VA w/ Phone Protection
Battery backup comes in handy a dozen times a week where I live. I don’t know about surge problems ever, but I certaintly need a battery backup with the new comp. The 650 APC costs about 90, for 4 backups and 4 surges, which is good enough. Is there another surge protector, or it this one fine?

External HD:
Western Digital 500GB My Book Premium Ext HD 7200RPM USB 2.0/FireWire 400
500gig external for storage backup. Fast enough to be worth it, or overkill?

Modem:
No?

Productivity Soft:
Microsoft Office Small Business ed. .has word, excel, outlook, powerpoint and publisher. I don’t use publisher. I hear there’s a student edition w/out publisher that’s a good bit cheaper, but no one seems to provide it on install.

Security:
I have had pop-up nightmared with McTacky and Norton (and Panda). I use free avast now, along with S+D, Ad-aware. Is there a good all-in-one program cheap, or is the free avast and spyware checkers a good set-up?

Burning:
I hear vista lets you burn DVDs without buying software. Yes? If not, Nero?

Warranty:
Some of the companies offer 4 year (Dell) or 3-year (Alienware, Voodoo). And dell jacks you another 70 for ‘completecare’, whatever that means. I should note that I hate Dell’s tech support, and the month it’s taken from my life, but they have replaced an x800xt and a power supply, and saved me from fan failure which would have killed my comp.
This is important. 24/7 or weekend support, who has expert technicians and who has Indians reading from a script (cough dell). Is falcon’s phone support good? How about replacing. It’s $530 for Voodoo’s aircare service. Can they not send a technician with a replacement GPU? Do I have to pack it up and mail it? The pluses and minuses of everyone’s tech support and warranties are very very important. Who OCs, who provides warranties for OCs?? etc. Can I install that new tv tuner I purchased separately without voiding dell’s warranty…

Other Stupid Questions:
Fingerprint scanner (this comp. is expensive, so I need fingerprint security?)
Headphones?
Did I forget anything? I want this rig to be ready to go.
Vista – problems with drivers/software? Will it kill my iPod etc.

Any thoughts or ideas, suggestions – great!!

Whoever sticks with me through this will be my own personal Jesus Christ!
~Daniel :whistling:
  • 0

Advertisements


#2
Hemal

Hemal

    Founding Fart

  • Technician
  • 1,470 posts
Well you seem to have a lot of the parts mapped out already! If you have a high budget (which seems like you do) I would definately suggest going with maybe a bit higher quality RAM which will leave you with more flexable overclocking ability, even though I dont think you would need to increase what speed that chip provides you. Most of the parts you've chosen seem to work, dual dvd burners - they have an 18X burner out so you could upgrade to that instead. The graphics card seems to be nice as well, and I'm glad you didnt jump the gun and automattically suggest putting two of those suckers in there as it would most likely hurt more then help.

If you are really concerned with your sound, I would highly recommend something from the Sound Blaster Audigy Series- browse around the cards and see which ones work for you- but they came out with some really nice stuff. Hauppauge makes great tuners, the higher end stuff is worth your money and you could turn this machine into a TiVo if you stick in another harddrive, even though I think space isnt a concern for you.

My one problem with this machine is the heat it will generate. It will be a beast of a machine, but most likely will have the capability to boil water if not properly treated. Usually I don't recommend water cooling for most systems as it can get pricier, but for a machine such as this, I think that it's the only way to go, plus it will keep it very quiet.

The smaller acccessories and stuff you dont have to sweat for now. Wireless sets from Logitech are nice for your keyboard and mouse and same even with those computer speakers, but Bose makes some nice sets for the computer as well if you're really into your sound!

Vista Ultimate is the way to go, especially with the Media Center and the extra goodies it gives you. Its not too high of a step up and its worth the upgrade. You could create a dual boot system with XP Pro and Vista on it - or one on each harddrive and use that route as many people do today. Many drivers for Vista are non-existant so tread softly when putting all of your eggs in that basket, especially for this high end of a machine.

Edited by soxrok, 06 March 2007 - 02:22 PM.

  • 0

#3
james_8970

james_8970

    Trusted Tech

  • Retired Staff
  • 5,084 posts

AGEIA® PhysX® physics accelerator:
Worth it, not worth it? Only $250. Does it complement the GTXs, or would it just sit idly? Once I add this on, I can’t get a nice sound card.


Scape that, its a waste of money as no games really support this and newer GPU's are beginning to become more efficient at processing phyiscs.

Dual slot coolers are the only way to go now, heat issues with the cards forced retailers to place there as it would heat the interior of the case and its more efficient to push the air outside of the case.

Microsoft doesn't have a secret plan to kill Ipod, that i know of anyways :whistling:. However there is no Itunes that currently works for Vista. Many of apples products don't have patches for vista at the moment and I can't see them rushing to much, want to make microsoft look bad, after thier new OS release they'll release new compatable programs for Vista. The OS due late this month I believe.

Hard Drives:
320GB Performance RAID 0 (2 x 160GB SATA 3Gb/s 10,000 RPM HDDs
The dual raptors, I think for the OS + all installed programs?
Then a 750 Gig 7200 RPM for mass storage (another can be added in few years when I fill it up).
Voodoo uses Seagate, and again, I don’t know what Dell uses. The only standard are the dual raptors, though some people even recommended I buy a 15k 70gig drive (no one provides that standard).

You won't see much of a performance gain in the raptors, if any at all. The raptors are the 15k drives, they come in 34, 70 and 150 denominations. One 750GB barracuda should be all you need.

Memory:
4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 4 DIMMs
4x1 is the best, I think. All the companies provide this, but I don’t know, say, if Voodoo uses much better RAM than Dell. Is this where that 1-3k price increase comes in, on parts like this?

If you plan on overclocking, get ram thats clocked at, at least 800MHz. So that the ram isn't a limiting factor in your overclock. 4x1 is the best at the moment, however I'm not sure how much ram Vista can support, i know XP could only support 3.5GB or ram.

James

Edited by james_8970, 06 March 2007 - 07:25 PM.

  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP