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What is most important?

by opd29 / February 15, 2011 9:10 AM PST

My budget is $1500. I'm customizing a Dell XPS. My question what is most important.

Processor? (i5 or i7?)
Memory? (4GB or 6GB or 8GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3?)
Hard Drive (SATA or Solid State?)

Any info would be useful.

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Depends on use.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 15, 2011 11:31 AM PST

For most of us the i3 w/4GB RAM is fine.
The HDD is going to be SATA even if it's Solid State.

Given the info in your post you may want to tell more.

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by GizmosHub / February 16, 2011 1:02 AM PST

If you want the best, then you would go: Processor I would go with i7, 8GB ram, and I would go with Solid State hard rive.

I'm not sure the prices of them now, but depending on your budget I would definitely go with i7, and at least 3GB of ram, the solid stat drive you can always add it later.

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Building a balanced system
by TrackSmart / February 18, 2011 9:21 AM PST

$1500 will get you a very nice desktop. However, your question will be easier to answer if you tell us what you'd like to do with your computer.

For a balanced, do-anything system, I would suggest a true quad-core processor. The Core i5 2500k is probably the best bang-for-your-buck processor in the middle-to-high price range. You'll get most of the performance of an i7, but at much lower cost. You can read more here:

If you plan to do any gaming, you'll want to reserve some money for a good video card ($160 - $200). You'll probably get a better deal if you upgrade the video card on your own (rather than through Dell), but that depends on your comfort level with installing parts.

As for the hard drive, I would suggest a small solid state drive for the operating system (at least 60GB, larger if you are a game and want your games to be installed on the solid state drive - in that case you'd want to go for 120GB).

Then get a secondary hard drive for music, movies, photos, documents, etc. Again, I'd install this on my own since you can buy a 1TB hard disk for $60 from Dell will probably charge you much more.

As for memory, I'd go with 6 to 8 GB. There's no reason to get less than that since RAM is so cheap these days. Again, RAM may not be cheap through Dell, but it is cheap to buy in general. My apologies, but you can tell that I like to build my own systems. There's nothing wrong with off-the-shelf (sure saves a lot of hassle), but sometimes they really stick it to you when you upgrade from the very basic configurations.

Good luck!

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what is most important
by red235 / February 19, 2011 12:51 PM PST

one thing im tired of is people asking what u going use it for well first off about that unless ur doing some major stuff why not just build one that can do anything u want basically so heres my 2 cents

1.The most important part is the cpu no matter what u do grapichs coding editing gaming u cant do anything with out a good cpu so go with the biggest u can afford that way ur set and above what u may need

2.second is video card if you plan on doing alot of graphics type stuff you need a large one or dual but its better to go with one big one then 2 and deal with the hasells the best bang for your buck is amd aka ati nivida is better pure power cost more and uses more power so go ati aka amd you can get alot more for ur buck and there just as good

3.memory 4gigs will do 90pct of almost anything you do but right now at the prices go with the 8 u cant beat it

4.psu make sure your psu is big enough to handle everything you have a 750 from a good realiable company will do 90pct of everything u need corsair is most likley the best out there but cost make sure ur case is 1 a size that will fit everything and 2 has enough cooling in it

6.hard drive 1 tb is bigger then what most people every need a ssd is mostly for bragging rights there os drives all the do is make ur system boot faster shut down faster and make some apps load faster ok yes thats good but why pay over 100 for a ssd thats gonna give u a few secs faster unless ur spending alot of money on it so id go with 2 tb hard drives for the price of 1 ssd and you have urself plenty of room for everything

7.sound= on board sound is decent these days if you want great sound for music and movies u can spend a little money here for that there are plenty of really good sound cards out there today that will do alot of stuff

8.disk drives unless your gonna use blue ray or some fancy light scribe program there are plenty of dvd burners for under 30 that are great

9.monitor this is prefence to me samsung has the best out there you cant beat them 23 to 24 inch are awesome and can do 90pct of what u need and most cards today can run dual monitors so u could go that route

10.and as the other guy said u can build alot more for ur buck through newegg then going dell and dont be afraid to build ur own u cant mess up and its a great learning process plus if u build your own and install ur own windows disk its a clean install and it dont have all the bloat ware that dell has and on top of that if something goes wrong you back up your drive and just do a fresh install and newegg is a great place to get computer parts if you want email me at i build computers for a living i can help u pick out what u need and good luck

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Reasonable advice
by TrackSmart / February 19, 2011 10:27 PM PST
In reply to: what is most important

Very reasonable advice in general (above). Just one point of disagreement. For a $700 system, I agree that you should not get a solid state drive. But if you are going to spend $1500, per the original poster's budget, there's definitely a lot of value to be had in spending $100 on an SSD. At that price range, spending $100 more on the other components won't get you much extra speed compared to the SSD. It makes all of your requests feel instantaneous (because they nearly are).

As for asking about usage, well, that just makes sense...

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About usage....I agree. If they don't say and you don't ask
by VAPCMD / February 21, 2011 2:43 AM PST
In reply to: Reasonable advice

then you can't make the best recommendation for their requirement and situation.

If money's no object then no problem, you can just throw $$ at it. But most here have a budget which doesn't include $300-$400 MBs, Intel Extreme Processors, two $200 or $400 GPUs running Sli/Crossfire, SSDs or dual 24in monitors.

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Laptop or Desktop?
by Jelly Baby / February 21, 2011 1:11 AM PST

I'm not familiar with Dell's product codes but assuming it's a desktop - of the three, if you can only afford one at purchase time, I'd go for the i7 CPU. At a later date you can add an SSHD and (a lot!) more memory but by then you'll know where the bottle neck is.
Swapping a CPU later can lead to all sorts of problems - not the least of which would be needing a new motherboard so that's the one to set in ston right at the start.
AN SSHD with your OS and program files installed on it and very little else makes sense as the extra speed should help with start-up times but once everything is up and running it won't make a huge difference to system performance. SSHDs are still fairly small in capacity terms so you would need to install a second "standard" drive anyway for all your work files, images, movies etc. and you can experiment with where to put the swap file to get best performance.
In memory terms - Assuming a 64 bit OS I'd start with at least 8 G of RAM, which should be adequate for most purposes and take it from there if you do any sort of heavy video or audio editing. Memory is very easy to upgrade so it can be done whenever you find a need for a bit more head-room

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Today, i7 in laptops is one hot machine.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 21, 2011 4:20 AM PST
In reply to: Laptop or Desktop?

With the rare exception of the dual core i7, I can't write that an i7 laptop is a good idea for folk that want a long lasting laptop.

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(NT) When you say 'hot', you mean performance or temp ?
by VAPCMD / April 29, 2011 11:26 PM PDT
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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 30, 2011 1:16 AM PDT

The complaints and praise continue for quad core i7 laptops. At least some one warned you.

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Even more important of what you are asking...
by mazinger4 / February 21, 2011 3:25 PM PST

A solid computer system starts with the Mother board selection. Yes before you select the processor or memory size, make sure you get a motherboard that offers you the most advance technology up to date. Since in a couple of years much mobo technologies can become obsolete. By technologically uptodate mobo, i mean one that offers: ddr3 memory, usb3.0, socket PGA1366 Socket( which supports all core i7 procesors including the overpriced "i7 extreme"), pci-e2.0, and Crossfire(dual video card support). With this yo can make sure you can go back and upgrade your system if it starts falling behind new technology (at least for a few years). With your budget you can get an i7-960 processor for around $300. thats one step below the mother of all processor ever invented available to the genetal public"core i7 extreme". try to keep the memory over 4gb. And if you are a hardcore gamer do not settle for a videocard with less than a Gig of memory. Sata hard drives are cheap:$150 for 1 terabite, not can always install double internal harddrives if your data requirements are high, and an external for data potability. I use one external HDD where I back up copies of all my DVDs in VOB format for beter resolution, this is one instance where large capacity HDD are a must. Remenber that with a good mother board you can always upgrade in the future. Keep that in mind.
hope this helps.

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I'd suggest
by Dango517 / April 29, 2011 5:50 PM PDT

Processor for gaming
Memory for running multiple programs at once
Hard drive if your moving around loads of data.(office, graphics, photo editing)

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