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Author Topic: 'Custom' PC's...  (Read 1274 times)

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Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

'Custom' PC's...
« on: May 27, 2013, 03:16:08 AM »
I posted this in the On Topic forum and got zero hits, so maybe some one will stumble upon it in the Computer Forums.

So I am in the market for a new gaming rig for sub-$2000 if possible.

I currently have an Alienware laptop, but its been used and abused. When starting a game, it shuts down after a few minutes of playing. Upon reboot, however, launching same game seems to be fine. Also, the sound when in-game goes all wonky, which I have been lead to believe has something to do with overheating. I popped open the laptop but there weren't even any dust-bunnies in it, and I even have it set up on one of those big fan thingies thats supposed to help cool it down. So, its at the end of it lifecycle. Thinking about turning it into the BLU-RAY player of the house - for roomies to use - as we can hook it up to the TV. I'd probably wipe it clean first and just use it as that.

Which means I need a new gaming rig. There seem to be way too many options out there. Not really sure where to start. I'd prefer to avoid a Full Tower - I don't fancy lugging a 60lb computer around when I eventually move - but at the same time, I want a PC that will be an awesome gaming rig. I'm also not sold on Windows 8 - and compatibility with older games. At the same time, going forward, most things are going to be geared towards Windows 8.

I'd also have to buy a monitor for the new computer and I am getting a compact computer desk to fit somewhere in my room...but the more important thing is: What computer to buy?

Thoughts/Comments/Suggestions?

((No idea why it randomly shuts down when originally launching a game...sound issue appears to be heat related but no further way of cooling the laptop...in general, I think its been 'overused' for the entire time I've had it. Really should have gotten a compact PC since that should be more up to day-to-day use along with my gaming needs.

Offline Geraint

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Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 01:45:47 PM »
I've been buying "custom" computers for about the last 17 years.  I bought a computer from Alienware when they were relatively new, and I loved it, and loved the service.  So I bought a second one from them three years later.  By then they were very popular and much bigger.  In my opinion they lost a lot of their edge in that growth.  The product quality went down, as did the average quality of the technical support, though the oldtimers there were still really good.  Then they got bought by Dell ...

I bought my third custom rig from Falcon Northwest.  It was pricy at the time, but it was just what I needed to run my business and also be on the cutting edge in gaming.  Since then I have bought three more Falcon Computers.  Their prices have come down and the pretty much have computers at every price point but ridiculously cheap.  Their computers, even the supposedly "pre-configured" Talons (of which I have two now in the house), are meticulously assembled and tested, built with high quality parts, and supported by uniformly top notch tech support.  They're a little slow on callbacks, but they'd stick with a customer until the problem is solved.  Their technical support is free for the lifetime of the machine.


They have five lines of computers now.  The top of the line Mach V and the value oriented Talon, both are tower systems, and I can testify to the quality and performance of both lines.  The Talon line especially packs a lot of bang for the buck, (at the expense of somewhat fewer configuration options).

They also make a laptop line, and a LAN party oriented cube system called the "Fragbox".  Those start at like $1,700 and you can stuff them with enough gaming power to make them pricey.  I don't have any experience with them, but they seem to get good ratings.  And they have a new "mini" tower called the Tiki that I know nothing about.

There are probably other good custom or even great builders, but Falcon Northwest pretty much created the niche; they've kept their quality and quality of service high, and don't stuff their boxes with bogus software demos.  You get exactly what you ask for, and the range of available quality components to build it with is amazing. 

(Oh and buy the three year warrantee if it isn't standard on the rig you like; it's a very good investment, given the price of good video cards).

Hope this helps.
 
 
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 01:56:50 PM by Geraint »

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2013, 02:09:53 PM »
I think I've looked at that Falcon site. I think I am going to hold off for a few months though - need to get some money before I can afford one, but thought it wouldn't be prudent to start looking now to try and get an idea of what I want.

Also - that website Naiah posted was interesting, but I wouldn't be able to build something like this on my own. Not tech savy and wouldn't trust that I'd do it right!

Offline Moraline

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2013, 02:35:32 PM »
Do you want a laptop or do you want a full PC?

For laptop, I recommend Asus for affordability and good gaming rigs.

If you want a budget PC then check out IBuyPower. The higher end rigs will hold together well.

$2000 is way more then what's needed to buy a computer that can play any current game on Ultra settings.

I just ordered a laptop from Newegg.com (.ca) for $999 (refurb): <New it's only $1600>

ASUS G75 Series G75VW-BBK5 Notebook
Intel Core i7 3610QM(2.30GHz)
17.3"
8GB Memory
1TB HDD
Double-layer DVD+/-RW/CD-RW
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M


Offline Nessy

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2013, 03:53:17 PM »
I build computers as a hobby since it's a completely unnecessary skill. Here's the thing about spending a lot of money on a computer, it's not really necessary. I am from the camp, and there are different camps of course, that you tend to target the parts that are a bigger pain in the ass to replace. Motherboard is at the top of the list, then your CPU, which is not hard to replace but not something most people want to replace, then you make sure you have a PSU worthy of a strong card. After that, things like ram, you want a good amount but easily upgradable... same with the GPU... get a good one one but not the best one. For 200 dollars, you can usually get a nice video card at any given time that will outperform the last generation.  Storage harddrives are easy to add, get an SSD for your base. If the parts are good, any of these sites should serve you well but they cost.

Now when it comes to gaming laptops, it's different because they are not easy to replace. RAM is still pretty easy to replace though so you don't need to spend a fortune on that. the GPU is usually going to be the bottelneck on a laptop, as soon as you get and soon be outpaced, so focus on that. For notebooks, I've heard and seen great things with Asus and Toshiba... heard awful things about HP build quality and experienced those problems with our work computers.

I forgot to mention, if you are concerned about space but not hardset on a laptop, there are fragbox builds, microatx builds that can still give you flexibility without a lot of bulk.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 03:57:42 PM by Nessy »

Online Peripherie

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2013, 07:06:00 PM »
I just bought a gaming laptop from Toshiba: Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7190

It was under $1500 and performance wise, it has really done all that I've asked/thrown at it beautifully.

The only problem is how HOT it gets. The parts that get the hottest (and I am not extremely tech savvy to say which one it is) sits directly under my right wrist next to the track pad. And the fan vent is located on the right side of the laptop where most people (including me) have their mouse. So what that equals is very hot air being blown out onto your hand while you play. Luckily I got an elevated fan pad which seems to help that a tad.

The point of my post is... if you are going to go with a laptop, check out the quantity/quality of fans it has and specifically look for comments that talk about how hot the perspective device gets. (You had a gaming laptop so you probably know all this but somehow I missed all that commentary when I was looking for reviews on it. :P)

Good luck! And share with us what you eventually get!

Edit: Added: I was also skeptical about Windows 8. But since I got this laptop I promptly deleted/uninstalled all the "Apps" and downloaded a "Put the Start Button back" program that automatically boots it up to the traditional desktop. That seems to have fixed most of the annoyances that I have come across. So there is hope!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 07:09:35 PM by Peripherie »

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 05:36:44 AM »
I'm looking to go to a Desktop. Currently have a gaming laptop, but its not up to the rigourous all day use I've put it through for so long. A desktop will be a bit better for me, for everyday use, I think.

This is what I am looking at:

http://www.maingear.com/custom/desktops/potenza/index.php

With these components:

Customizations:
Special Promotions:  $75 Instant Savings!
$-75.00
Special Promotions:  FREE! Just Cause 2
Special Promotions:  FREE! Assassin's Creed III with NVIDIA 600 Series Graphics!
Special Promotions:  [GeForce™ GTX 660 Higher Required] FREE! Metro: Last Light digital download
Chassis:  Potenza with VRTX Cooling Technology
Included
Exterior Finish:  Black Brushed Aluminum
Included
Motherboard:  Asus® P8Z77-I Deluxe Featuring USB 3.0, SATA 6G, 802.11n/Bluetooth, Lucid Virtu MVP
Included
Processor:  Intel® Core™ i7 3770 3.4GHz/3.8GHz Turbo 8MB L3 Cache HD 4000
$143.00
Processor Cooling:  MAINGEAR EPIC 120 Supercooler
Included
MAINGEAR Redline Overclocking Service:  Intel® Turbo Boost Advanced Automatic Overclocking
Included
Memory:  16GB Corsair® Vengeance™ DDR3-1600 1.5V (2x8GB)
$59.00
Graphics and GPGPU Accelerator:  NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 660 2GB GDDR5 w/PhysX [PERFORMANCE]
$86.00
Hard Drive Bay One:  1TB Seagate® Barracuda™ 7200rpm 64MB Cache SATA 6G
Included
Power Supply:  450W Silverstone ST45SF 80 Plus Bronze Certified PSU - GeForce GTX 680 Approved
Included
Optical Drive One:  8X Dual Layer DVD RW Drive Slot Loading SATA
Included
Ethernet Adapter:  On-board Gigabit Ethernet
Included
Wireless Network Adapter:  Integrated 802.11b/g/n Wireless - up to 300Mbps!
Included
Bluetooth:  Integrated Bluetooth Technology Module
Included
Display:  20" Asus® VS208N-P 1600x900 LCD [TN Panel]
$119.00
Operating System:  Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Included
The Final Finesse:  Designed, Manufactured, and Supported in the USA - Flawless Craftsmanship and Wire Management
Included
Angelic Service Warranty:  Lifetime Angelic Service Labor and Phone Support with 3 Year Comprehensive Warranty
Included
MAINGEAR Premium "Out of Box" Experience:  MAINGEAR Premium "Out of Box" Experience - LARGE T-SHIRT
Additional MAINGEAR "Gear":  MAINGEAR Branded Miniature Portable Tool Kit

Offline Moraline

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2013, 09:09:49 AM »
Specs look great. The power supply is a little questionably weak, and I'm not a fan of corsair RAM (but that's just a personal thing and easily replaced.) I didn't see an SSD listed.

The real question is how much is the total price + shipping?

Just looking at the base prices, it looks really overpriced (I estimated you were looking at spending $1600+.) Although since your starting with an Intel based processor that's not really surprising.

Also, custom built PC's like this are rarely a good deal. If you want to know if this is a good deal or not, then source out the parts on a couple other websites and look at the total pricing then compare the overall costs. To factor in labor costs, it only takes about 20 min's to put a computer together from scratch. Then the only thing you need to add to that is how much you want to spend on a warranty - which is rarely worth it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is having to spend your own money on shipping the broken computer then having to live without it for 2-6 weeks.

(This build is heavier but the price is better and if you're getting a desktop it's not really going to make much of a difference.)
Quote
~ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883227464
$1,299.99 (+23.99 shipping) USD   
(Plus there is an additional promo code -$100 on the price for new buyers So the price is actually only $1,199)

iBUYPOWER (Powered by ASUS Motherboard)
Model -     Gamer Power NE201A
Processor     Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz
Cache Per Processor     8MB L3 Cache
Memory     16GB DDR3 1333
Hard Drive     500GB SATA III HDD +120GB SSD
Optical Drive 1     24X DL DVD+/-RW Drive
Graphics     NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660Ti
Ethernet     Gigabit Ethernet
Power Supply     500W
Operating System     Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
Special Features
    NZXT Phantom 410 White
    Internal Blue Case Lighting
    120MM Closed Loop Liquid Cooling

Motherboard Name    ASUS P8Z77-V LX
Memory Spec     8GB x 2
Memory Slot (Total)     4
Memory Slot (Available)     2
Maximum Memory Supported     32GB
Audio Features     Realtek ALC892 8 Channels

Mouse Type     iBUYPOWER USB Mouse
Keyboard Type     iBUYPOWER USB Deluxe Keyboard

Physical Spec
Dimensions
    20.9" x 20.3" x 8.5"
Weight
    35 lbs.
The point is, there must be much cheaper options where you can get significantly more bang for your buck. For the price your paying for that rig - I'd at least expect it to have a SSD (Solid state drive).

But if that rig you quoted is the one that you really want. It's a good overall gaming rig that will last a couple years. It's just overpriced.

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 10:15:03 AM »
Alright. Some ground rules as not everything seems to be conveyed properly.

1) I am  not BUILDING this myself. I will not buy the parts and put them together myself.
2) Give me Options - if you think its overpriced, show me a CHEAPER option

So - what I am looking for - is recommendations in regards to a website that can give me some bang for my buck.

I do not feel comfortable BUILDING a PC from scratch myself, so will be using some sort of online Retailer.

I understand that this isn't the cheapest way (compared to self-building) but that latter is not an option.

Offline Moraline

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2013, 10:45:11 AM »
The one I linked wasn't a self build. It's already built for you.

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2013, 11:08:06 AM »
I think I misread your post for some reason >.<

I need a Monitor and some way to receive a Wireless Internet Connection too. Any pointers on the latter?

EDIT: I might be better off with something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883227432

Also, still need a wireless connection for the PC. Not really sure what to go for in regards to this.

EDIT 2: The one I linked isn't that much better then the one you linked, but comes with 500gb more hdd space...which i do need. 500 GB isn't going to last me long believe it or not. Hard for it to be that much of a difference in price though, unless the graphics cards are really that much better.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 11:42:27 AM by MagicalPen »

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2013, 01:55:21 PM »
I think I'm going with Moralines suggestion. Can't really see the $$ difference between that one and the one I found. Will spend $50 on an external 500GB HDD. That will work well for turning this laptop into a BluRay player for the house I think. Also getting a monitor and an USB Wireless Adapter ($15). I used a Wireless-G Game Adapter in the past so may pick one of those up in the this one won't work. Hopefully get it all here on Friday!

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2013, 04:47:37 PM »
And good thing I did >.< My laptop (gaming one) just died on me. 3 of the 4 USB ports don't work anymore and it failed big time while trying to import my pictures from Ireland Trip. Luckily, I have this crappy/old MacBook that does work - so hopefully NewEgg delivers by Friday!

Offline Moraline

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2013, 06:06:25 PM »
I think I'm going with Moralines suggestion. Can't really see the $$ difference between that one and the one I found. Will spend $50 on an external 500GB HDD. That will work well for turning this laptop into a BluRay player for the house I think. Also getting a monitor and an USB Wireless Adapter ($15). I used a Wireless-G Game Adapter in the past so may pick one of those up in the this one won't work. Hopefully get it all here on Friday!
This is exactly what I would have suggested. To be honest a smaller harddrive will perform better and most of the time an external storage device is a preferable way to house your large data.

As for the wireless, yeah, adapters are easy to just plug into a USB port (some of them are so tiny you can hardly even see them.)

And good thing I did >.< My laptop (gaming one) just died on me. 3 of the 4 USB ports don't work anymore and it failed big time while trying to import my pictures from Ireland Trip. Luckily, I have this crappy/old MacBook that does work - so hopefully NewEgg delivers by Friday!
Oh no! Usually Newegg is pretty quick with delivery.  Good luck and I hope it all works out for you!

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2013, 06:15:38 PM »
The Desk and Chair are coming from Amazon, so hopefully the Newegg stuff arrives on Friday. Otherwise, I start work on Monday so I hope they can leave delivery at the front door (I'll write a note to tell them to leave it inside the front door if no one is home).

The Gaming Laptop is currently doing a 'Startup Repair'....but the 'several minutes' seems to mean 'several hours' (if at all) as it hasn't done anything (no restarts or anything) so far.

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2013, 03:16:55 PM »
A little bit worried with the shipping right now.

The monitor is shipping separately. I click on the tracking number and all the information pops up.

Not so much for the PC. Clicking on the Tracking Number provided takes me to the NewEgg page which says - There is no record of this! Click HERE for Fed Ex....so I click on that link and FedEx says that nothing exists.

Now, I did pay a little extra for 2-day shipping to receive the computer on Friday, but at this point it doesn't look like it has even been shipped? I've sent NewEgg an email about it (if its not going to arrive by Friday, then I'd certainly like a refund on the money I paid for 2-day shipping!). Of course, the Live Chat option isn't an option for this sort of thing and I'm tired of calling people on the phone lately.

EDIT: Looks like I am going to have to call them, again. The form just gets stuck on 'submitting' - page doesn't progress etc. For a PC website, that scares me about my order since their Customer Service page doesn't work!

EDIT 2: Fuck NewEgg. They didn't mention anywhere that the 2-day shipping means the PC won't arrive on Friday because it took over 24 hours to process (while everything else in the order will arrive on Friday). Kinda makes it hard for me to be here to recieve the shipment as I start work on Monday and no one will be home until after 5PM!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 04:12:52 PM by MagicalPen »

Offline Nessy

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2013, 09:44:14 AM »
Sorry to hear about your tracking issues. Processing is a hit or miss. I did notice you mentioned wireless G as an option. At this point, you really shouldn't go less than N, even if your home set-up won't provide the extra speed... yet.

I am not sure where you live, but when i receive a delivery when i am not home, they leave a sticker that allows me to call the warehouse and pick it up there. I think I've picked it up as late as 7 or 8... right up to when they close... if you are close to their warehouse that can be an option for the day workers.

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2013, 11:41:58 AM »
The monitor arrived yesterday. Its about the size of the desk its sitting on (which I just assembled today) so its going to be sweet. Got it on sale/discount from NewEgg. Wish I had the PC, as I could have spent the weekend downloading my games onto it.

As for delivery...well, I don't have a car so won't be able to pick it up. The nearest wharehouse is a little over an hour away as well, so completely out of the question. I had an issue with FedEx last summer in regards to delivery - I was getting ready to fly out of the country so my mom sent me my Passports via FedEx. Tracking said it got delivered but it was not (and passports are quite important!). They claimed to deliver to the right address and would talk to the driver about where exactly they left it. Turns out they delivered it to my Neighbors house instead of mine...since, you know, the numbers 71 and 73 look so much alike >.< My neighbor was out all day but came over in the evening to deliver the package. Was quite a scary incident.

I wonder if I can tell them to leave it at the front door if no one is home?

Offline Oreo

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2013, 12:16:34 PM »
You can so long as you call your local FedEx on the delivery day and make the request. This assumes you don't have to sign for it. I get deliveries all the time, and both UPS and FedEx have been good about helping me. They sometimes will leave it at the Post Office if you are worried about it being stolen.

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2013, 01:27:12 PM »
Alright. So I can't display in HDMI. When I plug a cable into the HDMI port on the back of the PC and then to the Monitor, nothing happens. I can only get  my screen to turn on using the DVI (the white one) connection directly on the video card - which appears to be the only connection available on said video card.

Am I being retarded and missing something? (IE. I can't use HDMI?).

Offline Oreo

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2013, 01:33:16 PM »
Have you tried a different HDMI cable just on the off chance there is something faulty with the wiring? I have had trouble in the past with the same sort of problem involving ethernet cables.

Offline Moraline

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2013, 01:33:39 PM »
Alright. So I can't display in HDMI. When I plug a cable into the HDMI port on the back of the PC and then to the Monitor, nothing happens. I can only get  my screen to turn on using the DVI (the white one) connection directly on the video card - which appears to be the only connection available on said video card.

Am I being retarded and missing something? (IE. I can't use HDMI?).
The HDMI connector on your PC is onboard video so it would be disabled in favor of the better/more powerful video card.

If you want to enable the onboard video you can check the BIOS for an option to enable it when you boot the computer up. I don't recommend it. Your video card is far more powerful.

*edit* I forgot to add, that often the onboard video is disabled automatically as soon as you connect a video card. There may or may not be an override in the BIOS.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 01:43:29 PM by Moraline »

Offline Nessy

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2013, 06:21:55 PM »
The HDMI connector on your PC is onboard video so it would be disabled in favor of the better/more powerful video card.

If you want to enable the onboard video you can check the BIOS for an option to enable it when you boot the computer up. I don't recommend it. Your video card is far more powerful.

*edit* I forgot to add, that often the onboard video is disabled automatically as soon as you connect a video card. There may or may not be an override in the BIOS.

I want to second this. DVI is perfectly fine for a monitor. It will be beautiful and powerful. Don't try and enable the HDMI port on your motherboard when you have a perfectly good video card that can out perform your onboard processor with everything.

Offline MagicalPenTopic starter

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2013, 06:24:26 PM »
The BIOs for the new PC is interesting and I am completely baffled by it. Luckily, did Disk Management to enable to the new HDD.

All set now! I see I still have 2 slots for memory sticks if I ever want to upgrade them.

Offline Moraline

Re: 'Custom' PC's...
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2013, 03:34:34 PM »
... All set now! I see I still have 2 slots for memory sticks if I ever want to upgrade them.
Yes indeed it does!

To be precise...
Quote
Memory Spec     8GB x 2
Memory Slot (Total)     4
Memory Slot (Available)     2
Maximum Memory Supported     32GB
That means that you can actually upgrade by pulling out the 2 x (8GB) 1333 sticks that are in it and replace them with 4 x (8GB) DDR3 1600. It would probably give you close to a 10% increase in RAM memory performance and allow you to run even more application/programs at the same time. (Great if you decided to run dual monitors).

Like this for $309 USD:
G.SKILL Trident X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C7Q-32GTX
<< CAS Latency of 7, making it the best in class >>

Or if you want to go cheaper and just add in a couple of sticks to double your memory but maintain current RAM speeds - Then you could use these 2.

For $119 USD:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-16GBXL
This ram is probably better then what's in the system by default but it's roughly the same specs so it should work well with it.
<<Be sure to double check the Type of RAM inside the case already if you plan on adding to it. You'll find a sticker on each stick that details it's type etc...  Ex: SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) >>