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  1. #21

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Check out tigerdirect.com for parts and do NOT attempt to do Windows 7 if you aren't a tech head. You'd be better off with an XP media center OEM to learn Windows installs on and have an easier to manage OS when it's all said and done. Yes, 7 is better than Vista but it's still not appreciably better than XP for the average user.

  2. #22

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Just for the sake of argument:

    iBuypower:
    AMD Phenom II x4 955 @ 3.2ghz + Xigmatek Dark Knight HSF

    XFX 5770 1gb, stock clocks.

    iBuypower brand case

    Corsair 650TX PSU

    4gb "Corsair or other major brand" DDR3 @ 1600mhz

    ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO 785G

    500gb hard drive w/ 16mb cache, no brand mentioned

    24X Sony Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive

    Windows 7 Home premium

    $1144 USD (It's US dollars right? Honestly not sure if it's CDN or nto )

    Now from Newegg:

    Case: Lancool PC62 (This is a really really amazing case)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112239
    Power Supply: Corsair 650TX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139005
    CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 955
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103808
    Memory: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145249
    CPU Heatsink: XIGMATEK Dark Knight
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835233029
    Video Card: XFX 5770
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150447
    Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500gb
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136073
    DVD Burner:LG Black
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827136177
    Motherboard: ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO 785G (Just for the sake of argument)
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827136177

    Newegg Cost: $983.87

    Keep in mind, you're guaranteed to get the brands you've ordered with Newegg, you're getting an amazing case, very good memory (Note, on ibuypower you're not even sure you're getting Corsair brand name)

    The downsides of ordering individual parts:
    - The parts are not tested, if they're dead on arrival you'll need to cover the cost of shipping it back for it to be inspected / tested.
    - You have to build it yourself, this is probably quite bit for most people but when I built my first computer I was incredibly nervous and when it was finally over I felt like doing it again and again.

    Upsides of ordering your parts:
    - Guaranteed to get the brand you ordered.
    - Cheaper
    - You're learning something new
    - You're not restricted to what the company has to offer

    I'd do an alienware comparison but it's not worth the effort, the price difference is too massive. (Tried, it was something like $1349 but they install WoW!)

    I can't think of anything else, but these are what I'd consider to be the most important and it's obvious that you're saving a good deal of money.
    Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all. - Charles Babbage

  3. #23

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timberwolfe
    They are easy to assemble if every thing goes to plan just install drivers and happy days. If some thing goes wrong it will take time to solve.
    "If something goes wrong" leaves a huge amount to be desired. You are mostly on your own if something goes wrong. In many cases you have no idea what went wrong, and you feel completely over your head. Then you get to go through the fun return process and hope that you don't get screwed on your return. I built my first computer. I went to build my second and it didn't post. I will never build another computer after this experience.

    That being said, if everything goes right, then its not a bad experience.
    I used to be hardcore, then I discovered how fun it is to get laid on an almost daily basis. I'll take sex over WoW any day, so now I'm casual.

  4. #24

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    This is pretty much a flame, but do you understand what troubleshooting means?

    If you didn't expect to have problems on your first or second build and you give up after then you shouldn't have been building in the first place.
    Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all. - Charles Babbage

  5. #25

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by None
    If you didn't expect to have problems on your first or second build and you give up after then you shouldn't have been building in the first place.
    EXACTLY my point. Its not really a flame at all. Many people think that building a computer is an easy process when they have never even attempted it before. For those people, it would probably be better that they ordered a custom built.

    Oh, and in order to do trouble shooting you have to have some basic idea of how to build a computer other than plug A into B and then plug B into C. When you add in the crap shoot that buying never tested hardware actually is it gets even more fun.

    To top it all off, you have to return faulty products (which takes 3-10 days).

    I really hope that some day the stores catch up with PC gamers because doing this whole process through mail order is even more annoying.
    I used to be hardcore, then I discovered how fun it is to get laid on an almost daily basis. I'll take sex over WoW any day, so now I'm casual.

  6. #26

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by grymgroeth
    do NOT attempt to do Windows 7 if you aren't a tech head. You'd be better off with an XP media center OEM to learn Windows installs on and have an easier to manage OS when it's all said and done. Yes, 7 is better than Vista but it's still not appreciably better than XP for the average user.
    Um... no. r u on crack?
    Vista and 7 are infinitely easier installs than XP was.

    XP = taking forever just to install. (get a pot of coffee started, this is going to take a while..) Then when it does finish installing, you have to install every damn driver yourself. But first, you have to install your LAN's to even get online to download all the drivers.

    Vista, 7 = very fast install process. (don't bother going out for a smoke, you wouldn't even finish the cigarette.) And that's it, it pretty much does everything else for you.
    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/characte...gwraith/simple (8/8 H T13; 7/7 H T12 - F.U. Ragnaros)
    Quote Originally Posted by kumduh View Post
    @Wingwraith: You can haz a point too, but only because you admit you're a tool!

  7. #27

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by grymgroeth
    Check out tigerdirect.com for parts and do NOT attempt to do Windows 7 if you aren't a tech head. You'd be better off with an XP media center OEM to learn Windows installs on and have an easier to manage OS when it's all said and done. Yes, 7 is better than Vista but it's still not appreciably better than XP for the average user.
    Installing XP on new machine you put into gaming use today would be tragic mistake. 64 bit version of XP is shit (meaning upgradeability is non-existing), any version of XP is almost impossible to purchase legally nowadays, no official support for DX10+ and even patching will be discontinued very soon. Since gaming performance with current drivers is virtually identical between XP and Win7, there isn't any reason to use XP with new hardware.
    Never going to log into this garbage forum again as long as calling obvious troll obvious troll is the easiest way to get banned.
    Trolling should be.

  8. #28

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Just FYI, Alienware is just Dell with fancy casing. It's amazing how much you pay for the (admittedly not bad-looking) cases and the brand name.

  9. #29

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by vesseblah
    Installing XP on new machine you put into gaming use today would be tragic mistake. 64 bit version of XP is shit (meaning upgradeability is non-existing), any version of XP is almost impossible to purchase legally nowadays, no official support for DX10+ and even patching will be discontinued very soon. Since gaming performance with current drivers is virtually identical between XP and Win7, there isn't any reason to use XP with new hardware.
    The other downside of going with XP is that you will constrict your maximum RAM to 4 gigs, even if your motherboard supports beyond that (what's worse is that Windows will dedicate a good portion of that for the OS or hardware only, leaving less for actual gaming). Newer Windows OS's will recognize > 4gigs, allowing room for expansion even if you initially only get that much RAM.
    *Since I'm tired of reposting the link:* EH vs TTL and Hybrid Tax

  10. #30
    Pit Lord Wries's Avatar
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    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by exochaft
    The other downside of going with XP is that you will constrict your maximum RAM to 4 gigs, even if your motherboard supports beyond that (what's worse is that Windows will dedicate a good portion of that for the OS or hardware only, leaving less for actual gaming). Newer Windows OS's will recognize > 4gigs, allowing room for expansion even if you initially only get that much RAM.
    Meh..

    32 bit operating systems can only recognize up to 4GB of RAM, and yes some of that will be not be used simply because other devices need to get their memory components counted into these 4 GB. That being said, windows XP actually has both a 32 bit version AND a 64 bit version, the 64 bit obviously capable of handling more than 4 GB RAM.

    Windows 7 also comes in 64 and 32 bit versions. The 32 bit version of Win7 is, like XP 32 bit, restricted to only being capable to use ~3.5 GB RAM. (Avoid installing this version at all costs!)

    So saying that the cause of the 4GB limit is that it is XP doesn't hold. Still, wouldn't recommend getting XP over windows 7 when the new OS has a lot of new capabilities under the hood, better support and also looks nicer too, heh.
    Obsidian 350D | Intel Core i7 2700K @ 4.8GHz | ASUS Maximus V Gene Z77 | 32GB RAM | Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan | 500GB SSD | 4TB Stripe

  11. #31

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wries
    32 bit operating systems can only recognize up to 4GB of RAM, and yes some of that will be not be used simply because other devices need to get their memory components counted into these 4 GB. That being said, windows XP actually has both a 32 bit version AND a 64 bit version, the 64 bit obviously capable of handling more than 4 GB RAM.

    So saying that the cause of the 4GB limit is that it is XP doesn't hold. Still, wouldn't recommend getting XP over windows 7 when the new OS has a lot of new capabilities under the hood, better support and also looks nicer too, heh.
    As I said in few posts above where the 32 vs 64 bit discussion started, 64bit version of XP is shit and should be avoided. Memory isn't an issue with it, but it has nearly zero driver support from day one. You're very lucky to get any devices working with it, dunno if there are even stable graphics drivers for DX9/10 cards. And since whole XP line is getting cancelled soon there's very little point in investing in it.

    Windows 7 on the other hand is totally different thing. Since practically all CPU's today are 64-bit capable, nearly all Win7 boxes sold with new PC's are also 64-bit. The driver support is totally different from the tragic XP64 since the manufacturers have had plenty of time to get their shit together with 64-bit Vista.
    Never going to log into this garbage forum again as long as calling obvious troll obvious troll is the easiest way to get banned.
    Trolling should be.

  12. #32
    Field Marshal Zangu's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    @ Brailiem:
    I got my first PC when I was 12 ( 14 years ago by now ) which was the first AND even more important the LAST preassembled PC I ever had.

    Step 1 - Choices:
    CPU:
    What do you need it for? In my Case I also needed one that could do Encoding, 3D-Modelling and the i7 Quad Series with their 4 additional Hyper-Threading Cores were just fine for the Task. ( I guess I'm also a little Intel Fanboy )
    With the CPU chosen you'll have the Socket it's based on which leads you to the Motherboard and also to the CPU-Cooler unless you're going with the Boxed one which I do not recommend as they're almost always too loud.

    Motherboard:
    The Motherboard will decide which option's you'll have when adding components like:
    - how many HD-/Optical Drives it'll support by it self, what type ( IDE, SATA, SATA-II, SATA-III ) and if RAID is also available.
    Personally I have 6 SATA-II HDD's which are Paired in a RAID-0 Setup for Performance ( 2 HDD's 'merged' into 1 for double Performance BUT you'll loose everything if one dies on you as the other will only have half the Information! )
    - how much RAM it'll support ( up to 4GB with 32Bit OS ), how many Modules ( 2-6 Modules ), which Type ( DDR 2, DDR 3 ) and it's Data Rate ( 800, 1066, 1333, 1600, etc... )
    From a recent Article I've been reading 4GB for gaming is sufficient enough for today's gaming performance. More is ePeen unless you're doing some real shit like 3D Rendering, PhotoShop ( like me xD )
    - how many Expansion Cards of which Type ( PCI, PCI-E ) it'll support and also if it's capable of doing SLI and/or Crossfire.
    From the same Article today's PC don't even scratch the PCI-e 16x performance maximum and 8x is enough so don't worry if the MotherBoard only has one PCI-E 16 Slot and the others beeing 8x.

    Then there's also the onBoard features like:
    - how many USB Connections you have. I need quite a lot... Even have to use my TFT's integrated HUB.
    - is FireWire available? Always good to have one...
    - how many Ethernet Ports are present. Two are nice for Networking...
    - Wireless Network could be a welcome bonus.
    - onBoard Sound for when you can't afford an Expansion Card one right now. Or when you just don't care THAT much about sound...

    Something to also keep in Mind concerning the Case you'll put everything into is the Form Factor.
    The current standard is ATX with comes in different sizes depending on it's SubModel.
    Don't just go by the size! It has to support the specific Model like ATX, EATX, EEATX because of the mounting holes.

    GPU:
    It's either nVidia or ATI which is a probably a preference or price thing which one you'll choose.
    - nVidia Cards usually are the Performance Hogs both in your PC and in your Purse while ATI will at least go easy on the latter one.
    - A new Card should be DirectX 11 Compatible as it's probably the near future of gaming.
    Why probably? Because I've yet to see a new Game giving full support of the praised features of DirectX 11 since it's release.

    RAM:
    Not much to say about RAM unless you're a Die-Hard-Overclocker but then again you wouldn't be asking us.
    - Make sure it's the right Type of RAM ( DDR will neither fit into DDR 2 or DDR 3 Slots ) as they're physically incompatible and visa verse.
    Hammers, Drills and the like are NOT a suitable option to solve this issue.
    - Recent Motherboards usually run by DDR 3 RAM with 800+ Data Rates up to reports of 2500.
    Mine run at 1600 which equals to 12800 MB/s but like I already mentioned, I'm not just gaming.
    - If your Motherboard has 4 RAM Slots buy 2 OR 4 RAM's if it has 6 RAM Slots buy 2 ( 1x2 ), 3 ( 1x3 ), 4 ( 2x2 ) OR 6 ( either 2x3 or 3x2 ) Modules.
    - Always buy RAM with the same Data Rates.

    HDD:
    With storage you have the choice of either conventional HDD's ( Cheap/Quantity ) or the newer SSD's ( Expensive/Speed )
    As of today SSD's deliver about 40% speed increase when handling Files but cost about 32times the price of conventional HDD's who, besides beeing cheaper, also deliver up to 12times the Storage Capacity ( 250GB/3TB! ).
    Well... Personally I prefer to have at least 2 Phsysical HDD's in my PC either for Performance or at least for Backup purposes.
    One for the OS and it's installed Programms/Games and another for the Paging File, Installation Routines, Backups, Stuff and Crap.
    Connectivity is done by either SATA, SATA-II ( or SATA-III which is interesting for SSD's ) all beeing backwards compatible so not much to worry about.


    Step 2 - BuildUp:
    The fun Part... I always take my time making everything ready for the buildup Process like preparing some Music on my iPhone, something to feed on during breakes a well bright & tidy Workspace with something not too hard/soft to place the Motherboard onto during assembly ( a Games Magazine should do well if there's nothing like that supplied with the MB ) and also some Screwdrivers suitable for the job ( not your Grandfathers one covered with paint/dirt/blood )

    Start with the Case...
    ...by reading it's Manual. Look for something like a removable motherboard tray ( that's the Area on which you'll install the Motherboard ) as it'll help a lot to work outside the Case.
    Measure the Mounting hole distances on the Motherboard and apply the Spacer Screws onto the Motherboard tray.
    On an ATX Board there should be 10 of them to be mounted on it: 3 on the top row, 3 on the middle row, 3 on the bottom row and 1 between the bottom and middle row in the area where the PCI-E Slots reside.
    If that's done fetch the I/O Shield from the Motherboard Box and install it on either the back of the Tray OR the back of the Case from the INSIDE.
    You might want to check if the I/O Shield has some holes still covered with metal that might actually be used by the I/O Components on the Motherboard. Mine had the 2nd Ethernet Port and some USB Slots covered so I broke these metal covers away.

    Now onto the Motherboard...
    ...which will reside in a plastik bag to keep it Antistatic and so should YOU be.
    To make sure you ARE ground yourself somewhere by lets say touching the area of a Radiator not covered by paint.
    Clothing that supports static electricity should also be avoided.

    Take a look into either the Manual of the CPU or the Motherboard concerning the installation of the CPU.
    It'll usually be done in 4 Steps:
    1. Open the metal Socket Cover.
    2. Remove the plastic Socket Protection.
    3. Insert the CPU in place of the Socket Protection ( NOTICE the 2 Dents along the Sides of the green PCB which prevent the CPU to be installed wrong! ).
    4. Close the metal Socket Cover.
    While tempting to do so please touch NEITHER the golden Contacts on the bottom of the CPU or the golden Pins inside the Socket!

    With this done you can install the CPU-Cooler...
    If it's a custom one refer to the Manual delivered with it else take a look into the CPU-Manual.
    Boxed coolers usually have a pad on the bottom that gets into contact with the CPU to enable a better heat transfer from CPU to Heatsing Radiator while custom ones use a paste applied from a syringe.
    - The amount of paste is the size of an Ant as the amount needed is only to fill the microscopic gaps between the CPU and the Heatsink Radiator.
    I usually put a tiny bit onto the CPU and use a credit card to distribute it over the whole metal area of it.
    - I then install the Cooler and remove him again to check it's distribution on the contact area.
    Diagonally Opposing Screws should be tightened simultaneously.
    - If it's okay I install him again including the Fan Cable on the CPU-Fan Connector ( Motherboard Manual ).

    Next onto the RAM. Refer to the Motherboard Manual which RAM Sockets to occupy first depending on the amount of Modules you're going to install.
    On my Board with 6 available Slots it would have been:
    2 Modules: Slot 1 & 3
    3 Modules: Slot 1, 3 & 5
    4 Modules: Slot 1, 2, 3 & 4
    6 Modules: Slot 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

    Your Motherboard should have changed from something like THAT into something like THIS.

    With the Motherboard ready you can now place it onto the Spacer Screws of the Motherboard Tray and fix it with the Motherboard screws onto them.
    While doing so take care of the I/O Shield on the back. Some tend to get kinda nasty.
    If it's a removable Tray install it into the case and proceed with the Motherboard Wiring including:
    - 24-Pin ( 2x12 ) Power Cable ( largest Cable around the Block and really hard to overlook )
    - 4-Pin ( 2x2 ) or 8-Pin ( 2x4 ) Power Cable ( Installed near the CPU Socket )
    - Additional FANs
    - HDD Cables ( SATA and Power Cables )
    - Case Cables ( Power Indicator, HDD Indicator, Power Switch, Reset Switch )

    Finally Install the Extension Cards ( GPU, Sound, Network, etc... ) and wire them aswell if necessary ( mostly the GPU which are either one or two 6-Pin or 8-Pin Power Cables ) and you're finished with the Hardware part.


    Step 3 - Grand Entrance:
    Close the Case, hook the basic Peripherals up ( Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard ) and boot it up.
    If everything goes well he should mourn for a missing OS ( on brand new HDD's ) > Insert OS Installation CD and restart untill you read something like: "Press any key to boot from CD..." which will guide you through the OS Setup process.
    For the case it doesn't I recommend a Bomb Blast Protection Vest.

    Once the Installation is done get your Anti Virus/Firewall Software Up, install the Ethernet Cable and get the least the latest Drivers for the Motherboard Chipset, Graphics Card, Networking and Sound.
    Which at least is what I do after I'm done.
    After that feel free to hook up everything else like Printers, Scanner, remote controlled Killer Robots/Maids, etc... followed by their respective drivers.
    16665600 Pixels

  13. #33

    Re: alienware vs building a gaming computer?

    Wow, very nice post. I'm impressed honestly.

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