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Old 12-10-02, 01:35 PM   #1
cvearl
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Talking Build your own vs. Alienware ect...

This is not a post for the computer savy out there. This is intended for those that are new to building thier own PC and are a little shy when it comes to picking the best stuff and maximizing thier dollars...

I recently built a new rig. I am on a budget so I had to optimize my purchase decisions as best I could. I read many reviews and researched the majority of processors and chipsets to aid in my decision. From there I took a look at computers from Alienware and Falcon Northwest as they are known for making top of the line gaming rigs. Here is the Alienware computer I based my purchases on. This is as advertised in Maximum PC and PC Gamer November/December publications and thier web site. Don't flame me for using Alienwares blueprint. All products have thier plusses and minuses. I just found that this config fit into my budget and was a great overall balance for what I was looking for. Everyhting I bought matched thier parts right down to the brands. The hard drive I bought was 20GB smaller though as the store I went to did not have 60GB in stock.

ALIENWARE HIVE MIND

Elite Full-Tower Case (Enermax dual fan 350-Watt PS)
Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 2.40GHz 533MHz FSB w/ 512KB Cache
Hi-Performance Heatsink/CPU Cooling Fan
ASUS P4PE Intel 845PE 478-pin Pentium 4 Motherboard DDR
Standard 1.44MB Floppy Drive
512MB DDR SDRAM PC-2700
60GB Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 7200RPM 2MB Cache
52x IDE CD-ROM Drive
NVIDIA® GeForce4 Ti 4200 w/64MB AGP
Sound Blaster® Audigy 1394 - 5.1
BroadCom® 100Mb LAN Adaptor
Logitech Internet Keyboard
Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer USB (Standard Color)
Microsoft® Windows® XP Pro Edition

PRICE: $1,599 US

I went to thier website for a parts list to try and get specifically the same items right down to the memory. Luckily, the store I shop had all of the items they used to build this system.

MY COST: $1,200 US

This is only to illustrate that you can save a fiar amount of money doing it yourself and if you are not the most informed PC guy you can often follow prefab blueprints from gaming PC companies with great results. The companies that I recommend to probe when making your decision are Falcon Northwest, Alienware and Voodoo.

A final note on buying or building the best of the best. It is not really that smart to lay down the cash for the very top of the line. If you buy technology that is 3 - 4 months old already, you save a ton!!!! This "HIVE MIND" PC described above cost me $1,200 US. It is noticably faster and more robust than thier ultra "AURORA" model that they were selling for $2,999 US back in May and June. This is always the trend. At the speed things have been going the last 5 years, it is stupid to buy the very top shelf unit as it will lose 40-50% of it's relative value in 6 months or less as illustrated by this example.

I hope this information was helpfull.

Have fun,
Charles.
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Old 12-10-02, 01:43 PM   #2
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good for you. What you did makes a lot of sense, if you arent sure what components will work well with each other, why not see what the "experts" use together and simply copy them. And that's a beautiful computer you built to, I hear the Asus P4PE is a great board.

I'm not sure if that was an ideal budget system, I might have suggested a P4 1.6a and overclock the hell out of it as 2.4B is a little steep in price... but overall good job
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Old 12-10-02, 01:52 PM   #3
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for $1,200 you should be able to do a lot better than the alienware setup...a prometia phase change cooler comes to mind...
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Old 12-10-02, 02:09 PM   #4
cvearl
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Quote:
Originally posted by gokickrocks
for $1,200 you should be able to do a lot better than the alienware setup...a prometia phase change cooler comes to mind...
Like I said, this was just a guidline. 2 months ago (component for component) this was the absolute best I could afford from my local store without actually buying lesser components and overclocking the crap out of them. So really $1,200 give or take $100 depending on individual tastes. Each piece was not necisarily the greatest in thier field but each idividual item was editors choice (for that week ) at every web site I checked. I really needed to get it done fast as I am married and a father of 2 teenagers. Between helping with homework and taking kids to swimming and basketball nearly every night of the week, this was efficient for me to "slap" together. Now I need to explore OCing the Ti4200-64 card.

Charles.
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Old 12-11-02, 01:43 AM   #5
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if you have no problems building computers, or know someone else that can do so or help you, than by all means build your own. you can select every component of your system and you are sure that every component is quality. with pre-built systems, especially dell's/gateway and such, alot of it is just generic.

if you don't want to deal with building computers, companies like alienware/falcon are perfect because they are suited for the gamer, and generally include quality parts compared to dell. i'd recommend ocsystems, at ocsystems.com. they build pretested overclocked systems, and compared to the prices of other prebuilt computer sites they are the cheapest and offer amazing performance.
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Old 12-11-02, 03:57 AM   #6
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Good job cvearl


Quote:
Originally posted by cvearl
Like I said, this was just a guidline. 2 months ago (component for component) this was the absolute best I could afford from my local store without actually buying lesser components and overclocking the crap out of them. So really $1,200 give or take $100 depending on individual tastes. Each piece was not necisarily the greatest in thier field but each idividual item was editors choice (for that week ) at every web site I checked. I really needed to get it done fast as I am married and a father of 2 teenagers. Between helping with homework and taking kids to swimming and basketball nearly every night of the week, this was efficient for me to "slap" together. Now I need to explore OCing the Ti4200-64 card.
Oh sure be on a budget when building a new computer. Geez thinking about the family first and putting food on the table, braces and college.

I supposed this computer was put together for the 2 teenagers? Nope, it was bought for playing UT2003.

Last edited by sbp; 12-11-02 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 12-11-02, 01:08 PM   #7
cvearl
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Wink Heh heh

This is daddys PC through and through. Weeelllll I guess my kids use it too. We have a utility PC (PII350) beside it for MS Office and Internet stuff but this is the one that gets pounded on. My daughter is hooked on Morrowind. My son is playing UT2003 and WarcraftIII. As for Dad (me), I just finnished JKII and currently play UT2003 and Warcraft III. Looking forward to World of Warcraft, Doom III and crap like dat. I might pick up battlefield 1942 or get back into counter strike.

Overall this PC has been great. I am saving for the Geforce FX lite (nv31) if I can afford one and it comes out by Feb/Mar. If not I will cave and get a 9500 PRO. With a little OC'ing using coolbits, I have the memory on the G4Ti4200 running at 555 which is the rated speed if the 3.6ns RAM MSI put on the card. It is performing admirably.

Charles.
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