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Author Topic: New Desktop PC Advice  (Read 1025 times)
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KC
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« on: January 04, 2013, 03:36:17 PM »

I'm looking into getting a new desktop PC after about a 5 years of laptops.  I'm looking for a good desktop that will play games (Skyrim, Borderlands 2, etc.) as opposed to a gaming desktop, so I'm not looking for bleeding edge performance.  The rest of the time, the PC will be used for MS Office, internet browsing, watching Netflix, iTunes, light editing of family digital pictures, and serving as the central repository of my family's digital life.

I don't want to build it myself, so I am looking for a good reputable company that will let me customize my order.  Can anyone recommend a company?

Also, what is the verdict on Windows 8?  Do I need a touch screen monitor?
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 04:40:49 PM »

Cyberpower PC has been good.  I had my boot drive go bad, and they RMA'd it with no issues once I explained the steps I'd used to determine the issue.  I was sans rig during the down time, but I didn't have to drop ship the whole thing back, just the drive.  Also, I reported to them that one of the case fans was losing a bearing and they immediately shipped me a new fan without requiring the return of the old one.
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rittchard
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 06:39:50 AM »

The last few PCs I've bought have all been Cyberpower as well, they generally have a very strong selection of the latest and greatest so you can mix and match to your heart's content.  The PCs I've had with them have had mixed success in terms of longevity, but I can't say if that was for certain something on their end or more me tweaking or upgrading or whatever.

What I've done in the past few years kind of goes against my natural instincts to want to upgrade, but has thus far worked out extremely well.  I went with an iMac with the best processor and graphics card, then upgraded only the memory.  Running Windows 7 on Bootcamp I have not had any significant issues with drivers, crashes, etc.  Everything just works beautfiully and the 27" monitor is probably one of the best available anywhere.  It's pricey but really feels worth the extra cost.

I haven't used Windows 8 much yet, but just remember if you go touch screen on a desktop configuration, make sure you have thought through the physical ergonomics of it all, i.e. will it strain you to reach toward the monitor depending on the size and where you place it, and do you really want fingerprints and such on your (presumably) large screen monitor to deal with, etc.  Personally I think it only makes sense on a laptop or tablet.
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Mystic95Z
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2013, 06:07:15 PM »

One word of advice, wherever you get it from, get a SSD, single biggest performance boost I've ever seen as an upgrade. Actually just put one in a pc my son uses that was build back in 2006 that has a AMD opteron 185 with only 2gb of ram and its made a huge performance difference.
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 02:00:39 PM »

Quote from: KC on January 04, 2013, 03:36:17 PM

Also, what is the verdict on Windows 8?  Do I need a touch screen monitor?

Win 8 is fine - a slightly refined version of Win 7 with a new GUI on top (which can be made completely optional with third party Start menu replacements).  You don't need a touch screen monitor at all.  If you really like the Metro concept you might want to investigate touch screens, but they are by no means a requirement.
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Roguetad
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2013, 05:29:25 PM »

My one experience with iBuypower wasn't that good.  The price was fantastic, but I had some issues.  I placed the order on 7/29 and it shipped on 8/17.  I had to pay extra for additional foam shipping protection, and even with that, there was damage to the case and the SSD drive slot.  At some point the case had warped during shipping, which caused the SSD to fall, breaking the connector.  So it was KIA upon arrival.

They say they QA and test before shipping, but I'm not sure about that.  After repairing the SSD and getting things started, I noticed immediately that one of the fans was poorly installed and ratteling.  It was also blowing air in the wrong direction.  During the first game I tested the CPU red temp light popped on.  I checked the temp and it was really hot.  The fan cooling was bare bones, and the liquid cooler for the CPU wasn't working.  They did send a replacement part, but they charged my credit card first as hostage.  It took over a month for them to credit back that charge.  When I was removing the old one, I noticed that they didn't seal it over the CPU correctly the first time.  Not good.  Sloppy work.  

Since then I've installed new fans, turned around the fans they had installed the wrong way, and the CPU temp has been good.  Still, for all of the work I've done already, I could have just built a gaming pc.

I think that Cyberpower and iBuypower are related by common ownership, but they seem a little shady about acknowledging that.  I don't think I would do it again.  Maybe my experience was a rare exception.        
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 08:06:09 PM by Roguetad » Logged
Roguetad
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 05:45:32 PM »

Quote from: Mystic95Z on January 05, 2013, 06:07:15 PM

One word of advice, wherever you get it from, get a SSD, single biggest performance boost I've ever seen as an upgrade. Actually just put one in a pc my son uses that was build back in 2006 that has a AMD opteron 185 with only 2gb of ram and its made a huge performance difference.
If you do go with a SSD, I'd suggest spending a little more to get one of the larger sizes available within your price range.  They fill up fast, even if you're just using it as the main OS and boot drive.
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rittchard
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 01:22:43 AM »

Quote from: Roguetad on January 08, 2013, 05:29:25 PM

I think that Cyberpower and iBuypower are related by common ownership, but they seem a little shady about acknowledging that.  I don't think I would do it again.  Maybe my experience was a rare exception.        

Don't know about the ownership thing, and I've certainly seen both good and bad comments about both.  But I've physically been to and inside the Cyberpower building and while it does appear kind of chop-shoppy, I probably wouldn't call it shady.  At least they were open enough to let me walk through and see the workbenches, etc. - I've certainly seen messier labs where I've worked. 

I think it's probably luck whether you get one of the more skilled techs to build yours.  They used to have a paid option for better handwork but I think that's gone now.  That said, I've had crappy experiences with big names like Dell and Gateway as well so who can you really trust?  If you go with one of the "premier" fancy shops, you may get great craftsmanship but you'll pay handsomely for it.  But if you're really willing to pay that much, you'd probably be better off with a Mac.
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 09:02:25 PM »

If you're planning on being able to walk up to your pc, and, while standing check your email, etc, then get a touch screen, and you may as well splurge and get a big one. Hell, one with a finger reader is awesome, so you can unlock it with a swipe of your thumb. W8 has several other options (eg: 4char numeric pin, live account password, or even touch patterns on a picture).

I'd love a touchscreen monitor, but I'd also have my PC in an area where walking up to it and using for 2-5 min is reasonable, rather than hunting for where I put my (imaginary at this point) tablet PC.

I also am a big supporter of the multi-monitor layout. So, there's that option too (rather than going touch).

Having two monitors of varying types can be annoying, since the color/contrast/brightness is never perfect.

If you're thinking about using touch at arms length, that gets old. FAST.

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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013, 09:19:49 PM »

I only bought one PC from Cyberpower and it held up decently; only issue I had was the graphics card died but I cannot fault them for that.  after the one I purchased from them I decided to build my own.
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KC
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2013, 01:30:37 PM »

Thanks to everyone for their advice.  Any other vendor recommendations other than Cyberpower?
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Punisher
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2013, 04:45:46 PM »

I generally tell my customers that most brands have an equal oppurtunity for failure (except gateway and emachines which seem to have a higher rate of failure). Basically they are all roughly the same quality and I have had units from every brand in for repairs, even during the 1st year..
So going with a Dell or HP may not be bad either...
What kind of budget are you looking at?
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KC
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 02:48:33 AM »

Quote from: Punisher on January 14, 2013, 04:45:46 PM

I generally tell my customers that most brands have an equal oppurtunity for failure (except gateway and emachines which seem to have a higher rate of failure). Basically they are all roughly the same quality and I have had units from every brand in for repairs, even during the 1st year..
So going with a Dell or HP may not be bad either...
What kind of budget are you looking at?

I'm not inclined to tinker by overclocking, so I would want to spend a little more to be set for a few years.  I don't need the latest and greatest graphics, so I was thinking $800 to $1000 for just the CPU box w/o the monitor.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 07:11:00 AM »

Quote from: KC on January 15, 2013, 02:48:33 AM

I'm not inclined to tinker by overclocking, so I would want to spend a little more to be set for a few years.  I don't need the latest and greatest graphics, so I was thinking $800 to $1000 for just the CPU box w/o the monitor.

Given this, my advice, especially given that you intend to use the box for gaming.

1: more ram (8GB seems to be a fairly easily achievable number... you might be enabling the pagefile before you retire the box, but it's plenty for now)

2: more gpu vram. 2GB is the current 'standard'.  A couple of games currently are capable of going over the limit with textures and such. More if you start including extreme amounts of AA, super high resolution gaming, etc. So get at least 3GB for 'futureproofing', which will save you from an upgrade cycle or two down the road. Right now it won't net you much. 2-5 years? Probably. A 3GB 660 TI would be a good solid choice here, as long as you're not trying to game above 1920x1200.

3: SSD. Barring a failure, I'm inclined to the opinion that an SSD system drive is one of the best things you can do for a computer. Reliability is much higher than an HDD when you have zero moving parts, so unless you have an electronics issue which can happen to either a hard drive or an SSD... the SSD comes out ahead. Also, things can get dropped. Hard drives don't do so well in that regard, especially while running.

As a personal example, my current box runs on ssd's. In fact, it runs on two raid-0 arrays built from two SSD's in each array. It has been that way for a couple of years now. In that time frame I have had zero events with the raid's that resulted in anything longer than waiting a few minutes on boot while the OS does cleanup. (unexpected shutdowns are the most likely cause, has happened twice in two years).

In addition, you cannot beat a quality SSD in terms of system responsiveness, for the OS drive. There is absolutely no contest, and once you start using one in this regard, every time you go back to using a machine running on a standard hard drive, you will _know_... because it's going to feel like the machine is broken.

If you're wanting to save money, put your game installs on a secondary hard drive. Keep it defragged, and you're fine. Most gaming access is going to be texture loads anyways, which are inherently pretty sequential in nature if they've optimized the datafiles.

4: 64bit OS. Just do it. Don't sweat compatibility issues, you're not likely to have any. 32bit is OVER. biggrin

Atomic
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Mystic95Z
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2013, 12:04:34 AM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on January 16, 2013, 07:11:00 AM


4: 64bit OS. Just do it. Don't sweat compatibility issues, you're not likely to have any. 32bit is OVER. biggrin

Atomic


If you are going > 4gb ram you HAVE to go 64bit OS to use that additional ram.
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