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Gaming PC: Branded or Generic

by penti01 / September 15, 2007 3:19 PM PDT

I'm planning on getting a brand new gaming PC, meaning all new processors, mobo's, RAMs, GPUs, etc and it is expensive... a good Dell XPS or any else out there would cost you around $5,000 minimum, going to as high as $8,000 if you max everything out, but if I would build it myself, it would only be somewhere $4,000 with all the best parts available in the market...

I know that these branded are factory overclocked, but isn't it possible to simple self-overclock it? even though the warranty won't cover it, but the price range is simply half!

Now why would people out there buy more expensive branded gaming PC's? Is it 'coz of the warranty, overclock, etc? Or 'coz they can't/don't know how to build one from scratch?

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I blame it on the wife...
by Travis2k7 / September 15, 2007 10:01 PM PDT

I built my last PC in 2002 (AMD 1800+, 60GB, 1GB, GeForce4 Ti 4600) but when it came time to upgrade I bought a Dell Inspiron 531.

It wasn't an XPS but considering my days as a heavy gamer are over I think it will suit my needs. She was most interested in the warranty being a previous Dell owner. Had I been single still gaming heavily I most likely would have built another or possible kept my current PC. My favorite game World of Warcraft ran just fine on the old one... Of course I haven't played it since I got married last year.

Anyway, the specs are nice (AMD 5600+, 2GB, 320GB, GeForce 8600GT) and it gives great framerates... not saying I won't upgrade to the 8800's when the prices go down or maybe even go with the new 9 series when they come out.

For the money spent it is a great PC and she's happy as well.

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Build it!
by mep916 / September 16, 2007 6:07 AM PDT

Recently, I bulit my first high performance PC (Check out my profile if you want to know the details). All the parts were purchased through, at a total price of $3725.

The satisfaction you receive from building a system on your own is superior to the agony of dealing with OEM's - especially when you want to upgrade hardware. If you don't consider yourself a "do-it-yourself" person, there's plenty of companies' that will do it for you - at a heavy premium.

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Possible? Sure, but....
by jbking2 / September 17, 2007 1:30 AM PDT

Overclocking can lead to frying parts and if you end up buying the parts a few times over to learn how to do the O/C, did you really save anything there? Also, there is the time factor when it comes to computers that assembling them as well testing and tweaking in the O/C and reading instructions that some may not want to spend that time to learn enough to have confidence to do that work.

I would think people would buy more expensive branded gaming PCs for the same reason that people buy expensive branded sports cars: There is some value in that name.


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by poopingfish / September 20, 2007 4:46 AM PDT

People dont pay for the name
Go to a computer forum and the name Dell is laughable.
Go to and get a Q6600, p35 mobo of some sort, 2gb Gskill HZ ram, segate 7200.10 HDD, 8800GTX or Ultra and case of your want.
Then Choose a psu to fit your needs..
This will be much less then any DELL and you have all access to it.
You can self OverClock easily, its just changing setting in the BIOs to make A certain bus or other similair item run at a faster speed then stock from factory.
This does and will produce more heat and will require a better cooler.
Tr 120xultras are well respected. OVerclocking usually isnt needed unless going for benchmarks, or needed for workstation type deals.
Orrr your just a computer enthusiast...=)

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I somewhat disagree....
by jbking2 / September 20, 2007 5:41 AM PDT
In reply to: ^

Dell is hardly a boutique known for making top end gaming systems would be a starting point of my retort. VoodooPC and Falcon Northwest would be examples of the makers I mean when someone pays for the name though there are some attempts by other makers like Dell and Gateway to get into this market they will likely fall short.


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Just for the record...
by angrykeyboarder / September 29, 2007 12:39 AM PDT

Dell owns Alienware
HP owns VoodooPC

And both Dell and (just recently) HP, have their own branded gaming boxes that have gotten pretty good reviews as well.

My problem with Dell and HP is that you just can't get the customization you can from a smaller shop (or by building it yourself).

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Custom Built
by Michael00360 / September 28, 2007 10:59 PM PDT

Just built a machine this year! It is:
AMD Anthlon X2 5600+ Dual Core Processor
Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 Motherboard
2GB Ram (DDR2 800)
300 GB SATA II Hard Drive
2 Lite-On DVD-RW DL SATA DVD Drives
512MB Geforce 7600 PCI Express Video Card
600W Power Supply
And a Zalman CPU Fan

I run Windows XP Pro SP2.

I have yet to find a name brand PC that meets my very specific requirements in a gaming laptop or desktop.

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DIY vs not.
by angrykeyboarder / September 29, 2007 12:44 AM PDT

There are plenty of smaller shops that will custom build (or almost custom build) a box for you.

Those are for us "in-between" folks who don't have the patiences/aptitude to build our own but want more than what the the Dells and Gateways have to offer.

I got my current box from ABS ( - I'd not recommend them, however).

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Yep... your right
by shaunchris / October 1, 2007 5:06 PM PDT
In reply to: DIY vs not.

You should have gotten from ACS... very good prices and there service is good and they are gamers!!!! just for kicks here is the site if you want to check them out... they are going to be the next biggest i think im happy with my buy!!

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by shaunchris / October 1, 2007 5:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Yep... your right

I meant is the site

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speaking from
by ozos / September 29, 2007 3:26 AM PDT

about a decade of experience in high performance personal computers, overclocking, etc

I can say build it your self, you'll get a faster, nicer running box than buying from Dell or HP (and from about a decade of experience in IT, I can say that I will happily NEVER own an HP branded computer, I've no issues with (most of) their printers, scanners etc).

The reason people buy Dell is twofold:

A) theres the lack of knowledge/information/self-confidence/whatever else to build a system themselves

B) elitism, its the same reason your rich boss buys a big Mercedes for his birthday, just to show off that he can throw down the money and drive off the lot in $100,000+ of motor vehicle, basically Dell XPS, or Alienware (especially the ALX systems), anything from VoodooPC, etc, they exist to cater to the so called "gamer market", which is basically marketing amazingly over-priced hardware to people willing to pay anything to feel like they've gotten the Ferrari of computers...this quite simply isn't the case

Yes, you can spend easily in excess of $10,000 on a Dell XPS, and easily in excess of $20,000 at some of the more unique boutique shops (VoodooPC especially, although HP may have changed that), most of that usually going into cosmetics (like color-matched peripherals, etc).

Look at computer price as a measure of years out of the system, capped at about $2500 equating to 2.5 years

If you spend $1000 or so on a new DIY computer, it'll be competent for about a year (before someone starts screaming how their 2-3 year old box still works, what I'm saying is that a $1000 DIY system will run everything on the market at its time of production, all the way up to a year from its time of production, at which point you will likely see a performance defficit (usually in gaming) where an upgrade starts to be attractive, once you clear ~$2500 you're just wasting money on the system, given that no computer will outlast ~3 years and still be in the top tier)

So, I get that you want a top end capable gaming machine, now consider this:

My current gaming system cost less than $1000, I believe the total price is somewhere around $750-$900 (haven't actually priced out components that I recycled from previous builds, however that $750 figure accounts for the new parts, and the $900 should cover everything else had I bought it new).

Its specs are as follows:
AMD Athlon64 x2 3800+
2x512 G.Skill FX TCCD DDR
2x512 Patriot PC3200 DDR (or 2GB total, for those of you keeping track at home)
PNY Verto GeForce 7900GS 256MB
2x80GB ATA-133 HD's (this is a point of contention, most people want more space, I don't blame them, I just don't use that much hard-drive space so this is more than suitable for my needs)
and some various peripherals like keyboard, mouse, etc

The above runs every game on the market, no questions asked, with more or less any settings I want excluding 1920x1200 and higher resolutions, and HDR + AA at the same time in non-Valve games (not a performance issue, an architecture issue of the NV4x and G7x chipsets, the 7900 is G71 for reference, Radeon X1800/X1900 and later are all capable of HDR + AA, and the 7900 does have enough processing power to handle it, its just an architecture thing, GeForce 8 can also do HDR + AA).

So, I'm hoping my example helps put it into perspective, you dont need to spend Ferrari prices, to get Ferrari performance, because there simply doesn't exist "gaming" hardware, its just the same stuff on the inside.

Honestly, I'd look at or, check out whats available, and look to spend max $1400 (monitor is always extra) on your new system, re-use what you can from previous builds (optical drives for example, 16x DVD-ROM drives will be 16x DVD-ROM drives until the end of time, and why spend ~$20 when you likely have a few laying around).

I'd look at quality internals, and you'll get a quality experience, if you buy junk, it'll give you junk. Look to a ~$200 per part maximum, although you'll generally be spending no more than $150 on any single part (exceptions include the graphics card and the monitor). Go ahead and buy the 8800GTS if you want it, nothing wrong with an indulgence like that, but don't think it requires $4000 of hardware around it, and please dont' be duped into believing that you gotta buy the absolute highest end hardware on the market to get a good experience.

A little secret of these big-box boutiques:

Most of their ~$5000-$8000 PC's cant hold a candle to what you could custom build for ~$2000, thats why they've finally broken down and restorted to factory overclocking, to try and regain some market share, a system you hand-build for $4000 isn't neccisarily faster, its just wasted money to a degree, unless you know what you're doing with that type of hardware (super expensive mainboards are expensive for a reason: BIOS options and overclocking, no other reason you buy a $300 mainboard unless its going in a server).

Thats my 2 cents, hope it helps some.

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custom build
by Michael00360 / September 29, 2007 5:48 AM PDT
In reply to: speaking from

I posted my specs earlier and forgot the cost and where I found the parts. My cost rounded out to around $1400.00 including a new case. All parts are new and purchased and under warranty. The monitor I already had and keyboard and mouse are old news. I do have a profile setup on (where I buy all parts) the wish list is called mikedGamePC. The only thing not listed is the video card, they apparently stop selling it.

FYI: If you do like me and watch the prices of the parts, you will find that the prices change daily.

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