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To build, or to buy?

Hello all, it's my first post around these forums and I was hoping I could get some help with this subject.
I have two computers at home (the ''main'' one is a 2.26 GHz Celeron D, with 1 GB. RAM, a Geforce FX5200 AGP video card, and 80 GB. hard drive space, which is the one we use for games and all, because the other one isn't powerful enough for that - mostly the same as the other one, but with a 2.0 GHz celeron processor, 512 MB. RAM, and no video card)
In any case, they do their job so far, but I want to have a computer in which I won't have to run FS2004 (I'm an avid flightsimmer) at less that 20 fps.
So, here are the basics:
I'm basically saving money to replace the older one, so I'll have a budget of about $1300-1800. I've been looking at Dell computers (I'm in Venezuela, so my options are HP or Dell), and researching about separate components to build my own at the same time. From Dell, the one I like, from the ones I've seen, is this one:

Dell XPS 600:
Processor: Intel

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My advice

In reply to: To build, or to buy?

Hi
My advice to your problem would be just to but a prebuilt hp computer.(m7160n+) Its powerful, within your price range and got everything you would want on a gaming pc. It even comes loaded with MS windows media center 2006 and a remote control. Not to long ago i baught one of those and i cannot find one downside to it its just like a dream pc.
any hope this helps.

Connor

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DON'T BUY HP

In reply to: My advice

HP loads their computers with bloatware that uses hard drive space, and includes nasty background tasks that use up your system resources.

HP also puts crappy no-name-brand power supplies in their computers that don't provide enough power, causing the system to randomly shut down. If you plan on upgrading the video card or adding another hard drive, you'll need to buy a new power supply.

HP puts their computers in small, poorly designed cases with no intake fan in the front, which kills airflow. They put hot components like the CPU and hard drive very close together. Not to mention that they do a very messy job with the cabling, which restricts airflow.

I'd recommend building your own PC so that you can choose exactly what components you want. Here's what I'd buy if I were you. All the links are to newegg.com, which, to many, is the best place to buy computer components.

Without further adue, here is the list.

CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103562

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131530

RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145575

Video Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814131006

Hard Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822154414

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119074

Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103931

DVD Writer:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827135063

Floppy Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16821104101

Windows XP:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16837102062

And you can choose the monitor. Please take the time to read this post; I put a lot of time (30 minutes) and effort into it.

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Good Point

In reply to: DON'T BUY HP

He has a very good point. I would stay away from HP all together. Even dell. Dell has been notorious for motherboard failure and power supply failure.I know that the prices, at times, may seem too good to be true. That means they usually are. Most of the time when you build your own, it comes out cheaper than out of the box. But, when you are getting into the higher end parts the gap starts to get smaller. I have built my own, and I would say that it is a better configuration than any I can buy "off the showroom floor" if you know what I mean. If you choose to assemble your own, in the end you will be more pleased with the end result than if you would have gone with a house brand. you get to choose all the peaces yourself how you want them. Either way, the choice is yours.

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$1558 including a 24" LCD widescreen?

In reply to: To build, or to buy?

you must have a heckuva discount 'cause i'm getting $2470 as the price of a xps600 with the 24" widescreen. the monitor alone is $800 ($720 if you catch a sale or have a promo code).

$1558 is closer to the price without a monitor, in which case you could do better. today, they're bundling in a 20" 1600x1200 lcd monitor in the base config for $1790.

Dell US shipping is about $80 so here's what I would offer as an alternative to their $1880 price:

$270 Intel 830D 3.0ghz dual core CPU
120 ASUS P5LD2 motherboard
145 2GB g.skill ddr2-533 ram, 4-4-4-12
290 ati x1800xt 256mb video card
125 antec sonata ii, 450w ps
92 wd 2500js 250gb sata hard drive
80 audigy 4 sound card
50 benq dw1655 dvd burner w/lightscribe
25 any dvd drive
20 mitsumui combo floppy/media card reader
43 logitech lx300 wireless keyboard/mouse
420 viewsonic vx2025wm 20" widescreen LCD
115 win xp media center OS

$1,795 total with US shipping

improvements vs dell:
+ faster CPU (3.0ghz dual core vs 2.8ghz dual core)
+ double the ram
+ very fast video card (you'll need it to run flight simulator smoothly at the native resolution of the monitor)
+ lightscribe dvd labelling
+ media reader
+ wireless keyboard/mouse
+ widescreen 20" monitor

you could downgrade to an x850xt and save $120 and still get much better performance than the 6800 of the dell.

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Please not the 830

In reply to: $1558 including a 24" LCD widescreen?

The whole 800-series of Pentium D's sucks. They run a lot slower than the 900-series; they can't even compare with AMD. The 900-series has a 65nm process, so it has less transistors, which therefore produce less heat. For that reason, it's the better overclocker. But I'd still recommend the AMD.

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More questions...

In reply to: To build, or to buy?

Wow, I thought I had already posted a response to this. My bad.
Anyway, thank you all for the suggestions, and specially to nathanpsz2 for the thorough list, I didn't really expect anyone to do that.
Unfortunately, since I live outside the U.S., and our government imposed a restriction on dollar purchases (only $2500), it's difficult for me to build a computer part by part, especially if all the parts are brought from the U.S. (also, I don't know, does newegg ship internationally? If so, it can certainly make that option more viable -since I love building computers-. If not, I would have to bring each part separately via a forwarding company, which is extremely expensive. E.g.: paying shipment over $30 for a $13.99 katana... don't ask.) However, I can easily use that list you provided and search for those parts (or equivalents) here.

I recently sent an e-mail to Dell, to see how they would provide tech support/warranty services, shipping, payment, etc., and I'm still waiting for a response from them.

Ah, while I'm here, a question: From the computer specs I posted, which part would any of you emphasize over the other? (I mean, would you drop the 24'' monitor for the 7800 video card, or would you use a higher processor and less memory/hard drive. What would your priorities be, for a gaming computer?)

I'm sorry again for the long post, and thanks for all of your answers.

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I'd settle for a 19" LCD...

In reply to: More questions...

...to be able to afford a 7900GT/GTX or Radeon x1900xt/xtx. The native resolution of the 19s is 1280x1024, so it looks best at that. That way, you can play every game that comes out in the next few years at max detail because it's not an ultra high resolution.

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I don't know about the shipping, though...

In reply to: More questions...

...try getting in touch with newegg.

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I thought so too...

In reply to: I don't know about the shipping, though...

...about the monitor. I hardly have enough space for my (17'') monitor as it is right now.

And sadly, no.. here's what it says on the FAQ section:
"Q: Does Newegg.com ship internationally?
A: Newegg.com does not currently ship internationally; we only deliver to locations within the United States and to Puerto Rico." Oh well... I'll have to manage some other way.

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Chiming in...

In reply to: To build, or to buy?

This is the first question intermediate users ask. They are savy enuf to know the difference between parts but haven't yet built their own rig.

You will have to answer the computer age-old question for yourself. Do you want to make your own machine which will be a higher quality machine with the right research...or do you buy an average performing pre-built that you don't need to touch?

Should you decide to build your own...

Read up on different motherboard, video cards and memory. Don't skimp on power supplies or motherboards...you will kick yourself later if you do. I typically decide on a processor and build around it. This is a dilema all to it's own...AMD or Intel.

Should you decide to go with prebuilt...

You have already narrowed it down to Dell or HP. Keep in mind that Dell recently aquired Alienware. This company has been near the cutting edge of PC building. This could be the best of both worlds...a prebuilt machine that performs like a homemade rig.

Hope this helps. Just know you are at a bridge that all of us computer geeks cross at one point or another. Welcome my computer geek brother Happy

Joe Fox

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Good advice...

In reply to: Chiming in...

...get AMD, and whatever you do, don't buy HP. And don't skimp on the PSU, especially. If that dies, the comptuer will go bye-bye.

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