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  Re: The frustrations of building a new PC 
 
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Dave Van Amburg Oct 30, 2008, 03:14am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 30, 2008, 03:39am EDT

 
>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Damn laptop keyboard is very frustrating with my fat fingers..... Didn't see this had posted until I posted the 'real' comments a few minutes later.....

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Dave Van Amburg Oct 30, 2008, 03:37am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
I just did a new build using a Gigabyte board that had the feature set I wanted including AM2-AM2+ socket and which would support the AM2 dual core processor I had available, but be upgradable to Phenom. It claimed to support DDR2 1033 *depending upon processor used. I tried two sticks of 1066 that I had assuming it would simply run slower with my current CPU, but kick up to full speed if I upgraded to an appropriate CPU.

Seemed pretty slow for no good reason, so I swapped in two sticks of 800 and the speed went up substantially. The memory is Corsair which I have had good luck with all along. I decided to just plug in 4 1Gb sticks of 800 and call it good for now.

The board seems pretty solid thus far (about 3 weeks) and I have expectations it will remain so.

In sorting through my MB options, I discovered a LOT of review comments about various manufacturers that were not pretty. Asus was a definite leader in the 'problem race'. This struck me funny, because I have had some very good experiences with Asus MBs until one I built up about 18 months ago for my son. I considered it an anomaly at the time.

And I have begun using the Eee Box pcs for clients needing modest performance at a low price and have had outstanding success with them. Since many of them are going into sites where they replace older computers, most people don't complain about the speed while doing email, lite surfing or using routine office productivity apps. QuickBooks takes noticeably longer to launch, but then performs well for data entry and most other tasks.

How Asus got the Eee so right while their MBs seem in a decline is a mystery to me. Granted I believe they are using different suppliers, but Asus is still responsible for design and ultimate QA.

Oh, well stuff like this just makes me appreciate folks like you all the more. Saving me many of the frustrations of doing my own QA on new products.

Thanks

dark41 Oct 30, 2008, 04:27am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Mike L said:
If you ask me, personally I think building computers is a waste. If you have the money to "burn" and if you're able to buy what you want and in one shot - as opposed to piece by piece - than it's worth it. Other than that, computers are such a commodity these days, it seems like the best idea is to go to your local Best Buy/Fry's and grab their weekly special.


Since we don't have Fry's or Best Buy, and I don't think they're in England either, your point seems moot for the OP. Also, since Sander is dealing with DDR3, I'm pretty sure you'd have a very hard time finding a retail system in the same league for close to the same price.

I agree that entry level systems are around the same price as building your own. But my experience is that it still costs half as much to build a medium to high end system as it does to buy it retail. In fact, we sell our medium/high end systems for much less than they sell for retail even after we add our profit, and our warranty is much better.

But hey, the more people like you who don't care to build their own, the more business for me. Ain't life is grand!?!? :)

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Sander Sassen Oct 30, 2008, 04:30am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Regarding cost it indeed still is a lot cheaper to build a high-end PC yourself. My system is using a QX9650, 4GB of DDR3, a P45 chipset motherboard, two 1TG HDs in RAID1, two SATA DVDRWs and a HD4870. If I can even find a system with that configuration readily built it'll be a lot more expensive than the sum of the parts. Obviously for low budget and entry level systems this is a different story, price comes down significantly when volumes go up.

Cheers,

Sander Sassen
Editor in Chief - Hardware Analysis
ssassen@hardwareanalysis.com
dark41 Oct 30, 2008, 04:48am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
It claimed to support DDR2 1033 *depending upon processor used. I tried two sticks of 1066 that I had assuming it would simply run slower with my current CPU, but kick up to full speed if I upgraded to an appropriate CPU.


Statements like that are a dead give away that you need to read more about computers before building your own system. There's a little more to building a computer than just matching parts that fit. You then need to tweak the settings to where they should be.

Gigabyte has the best BIOS in the world IMO.

Go into it (hit delete while posting).
Hit cntl/F1 to get the advanced BIOS options.
If it's a newer board, go into the MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T.)
Find the memory multiplier (most likely System Memory Multiplier (SPD)), and set your 1066 memory to run at 1066MHz (will show in 'Memory Frequency' right under the Memory multiplier). The multiplier setting could be 2, 2.4, 2.5, 3, etc.., depending upon your CPU) to match 1066MHz in the memory frequency.

It'll now perform as advertised. Your problem was never the hardware. It was a PEBCAC (problem exists between computer and chair). :)

EX38-DS5
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HIS IceQ4 HD4850
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Cambridge Soundworks 500w 5.1
G5, Antec 1200
Mike L. Oct 30, 2008, 03:25pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 30, 2008, 03:29pm EDT

 
>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
dark41 said:
Since we don't have Fry's or Best Buy, and I don't think they're in England either, your point seems moot for the OP. Also, since Sander is dealing with DDR3, I'm pretty sure you'd have a very hard time finding a retail system in the same league for close to the same price.


Well, I was speaking in general with regards to the average Joe who could care less about what the latest and greatest products are out on the market from various manufacturers. Obviously the system Sander is building cannot, and will not be found in your local electronics retailer due to the type of parts being used. At the same time, you're 'average Joe' wouldn't even know the difference let alone use those high-end parts to their full potential.

I agree that entry level systems are around the same price as building your own. But my experience is that it still costs half as much to build a medium to high end system as it does to buy it retail. In fact, we sell our medium/high end systems for much less than they sell for retail even after we add our profit, and our warranty is much better.

But hey, the more people like you who don't care to build their own, the more business for me. Ain't life is grand!?!? :)


LOL. I have built my own computer and computers for others, but the value is far less than what you can get at a retail store for the exact same price as those computers almost always include a monitor and/or printer if the special of the week calls for it. Granted the most important aspect that you're saving on is the software when you purchase a retail computer, so it's even more of a bonus.

The point I'm attempting to make here is that while yes, building your own computer pays off in the end, it is simply not a cost effective option. You have to think about the types of people who build computers. Who are they? They're gamers, enthusiasts and people with money to burn because they can't think of anything else better to do with their time. Those are the people whom building a computer for in the end will benefit because they have the funds to sustain their hobby. Take the avid computer gamer for example. Purchasing a ready-made computer for himself or herself is not a reasonable option as they're continually upgrading their PCs in order to support the latest and greatest in video game developments. For someone who games on occasion while spending the majority of their time on Facebook, building a computer wouldn't make any sense for them. Get what I'm trying to say, now? It's not a right or wrong situation, it's a who-will-be-using-it situation.

Sander Sassen said:
Regarding cost it indeed still is a lot cheaper to build a high-end PC yourself. My system is using a QX9650, 4GB of DDR3, a P45 chipset motherboard, two 1TG HDs in RAID1, two SATA DVDRWs and a HD4870. If I can even find a system with that configuration readily built it'll be a lot more expensive than the sum of the parts. Obviously for low budget and entry level systems this is a different story, price comes down significantly when volumes go up.

Cheers,


Again, this just coincides with what I was saying above. Since you put the system together yourself, you purchased exactly what you wanted. For everyone else out there, they don't know what they want; nor could they care less. They buy what's available to them and what will be enough to support their habits.

___________________________________________
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dark41 Oct 31, 2008, 02:31am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Mike L said:
The point I'm attempting to make here is that while yes, building your own computer pays off in the end, it is simply not a cost effective option.


That statement contradicts itself.

And the point I'm making is that your point is wrong. Only on a crap system does your logic hold true. If you knew how much retailers mark up components and systems you'd never buy from them again. But the bottom line is that while people like the prices of low/entry level systems, no one likes their performance.

Gamers make up about 5% of the PC market. Home builders make up closer to 15% of the PC market. People who build generally don't do so because they have unlimited funds, rather they do so because they can get a much better system for the same money.

I make a living from building systems. We don't sell low end systems. I'm happy to refer anyone wanting a $800 system to retailers. Many people are sick of being told that an $800 system will do the job for them by a salesman at the local electronics retailer who knows nothing about computers, only to find out the system doesn't meet their expectations. 90% of our customer base went retail first and are now looking for something that actually performs as advertised. Retail shops can't touch our systems for price and features.

Our typical high/middle range system is sold for $1650 AUD and includes: E-SATA, RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, and 10, 10 USB slots, C2Q, 2x1GB DDR2-800, 512mb graphics card, Corsair PSU, 20x DVD, 22" monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, surge protector, OS of their choice, internet security suite for 2 yrs, full 2 yr warranty (except where stated otherwise) plus 3 yrs on CPU and 22" monitor and 4 yrs on RAM and PSU, and NO gimmicks, no advertising, no spyware, no shareware, no trial crapola.

These components can be bought by anyone online for about the same price.

A similar system from Dell costs $2700AUD and comes loaded with ads and shareware, and you'll pay considerably more ($400) for the "extended" warranty. There is no retail shop in AU that beats Dell's price, let alone comes close to ours.

The better the system, the more people can save by building themselves, period.

Saving $1500 for a mid range system isn't cost effective? Are you a politician? They seem to have no concept of cost effectiveness either. :/

EX38-DS5
E8500@4.0GHz (445x9, 1.40v) TRUE Black
Corsair HX620W
2x2gb Kingston HyperX 9600
HIS IceQ4 HD4850
2X1TB F1s (RAID 0) XP Pro/Win7 Ult 64
Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1
Cambridge Soundworks 500w 5.1
G5, Antec 1200
Mike L. Nov 02, 2008, 02:36am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Nov 02, 2008, 02:54am EST

 
>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
dark41 said:
That statement contradicts itself.


No. It doesn't. The problem is, you're reading too much into what I'm saying without giving it enough thought. Either that, or you're having trouble trying to articulate your points.

Only on a crap system does your logic hold true. If you knew how much retailers mark up components and systems you'd never buy from them again. But the bottom line is that while people like the prices of low/entry level systems, no one likes their performance.


This is what I call a statement that is contradicting. Coming from someone who owns their own business, you're trying to make it sound as though retailers have a profit margin that is almost unfair to the consumer. Do you not mark up your products? Do you not add a profit to the goods and services that are being sold? If not, then I truly have no idea how you've made it this far. Money has to be made somewhere; and everyone knows that if you're going to buy something from retail, than be prepared to pay big bucks for it.

Secondly, nowhere did I say that a prebuilt computer had better performance than a custom made one - at least that's what I took from your statement above. If someone buys a computer that's prebuilt, it means they don't know any better. And by not knowing any better, they wouldn't know what to compare it to. Hence your statement referring to, "no one likes their performance", is wrong. Extremely wrong.

People who build generally don't do so because they have unlimited funds, rather they do so because they can get a much better system for the same money.


Your statement is telling me that people who have an unlimited supply of funds choose not to build a computer - even if they could - because they can get a better system for the same money!? This doesn't make any sense to me. I'm not sure if it was a typo, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. In any case, people who have unlimited funds prefer to build a computer because they can custom make one for themselves that a retail store would never carry.

I make a living from building systems. We don't sell low end systems. I'm happy to refer anyone wanting a $800 system to retailers. Many people are sick of being told that an $800 system will do the job for them by a salesman at the local electronics retailer who knows nothing about computers, only to find out the system doesn't meet their expectations. 90% of our customer base went retail first and are now looking for something that actually performs as advertised. Retail shops can't touch our systems for price and features.


Obviously a retail store wouldn't be able to match the price at what you sell your computers for, that's just common sense. You run a privately owned business as opposed to a franchise (big difference there). Yet the fact of the matter is, you're still adding a profit. You buy your products wholesale just like the retailer does. To me, it just seems like you're trying to make the retailers out to be the bad guys. Would you sell me a computer at cost? Heck no. And neither would an electronics retailer.

Contrary to popular belief, an "$800" system would do most people just fine. The reason those people are giving you any sort of business is because they're coming to realize that more can be done on a PC than just surfing the internet. As I mentioned in my previous post, it's based on a "who-will-be-using-it" case.

Our typical high/middle range system is sold for $1650 AUD and includes: E-SATA, RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, and 10, 10 USB slots, C2Q, 2x1GB DDR2-800, 512mb graphics card, Corsair PSU, 20x DVD, 22" monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, surge protector, OS of their choice, internet security suite for 2 yrs, full 2 yr warranty (except where stated otherwise) plus 3 yrs on CPU and 22" monitor and 4 yrs on RAM and PSU, and NO gimmicks, no advertising, no spyware, no shareware, no trial crapola.


I have to admit, that's pretty good. But guess what? I can purchase a system with very similar specs to that of what you're selling, too. Granted it wouldn't have exactly what your systems have, but it'd be close enough. Is it cheaper? In some cases, yes it is. So it's a win-win situation.

The better the system, the more people can save by building themselves, period.


Wrong again, my friend. You know why? It's because you're comparing two completely different scenarios to each other and trying to pass them off as the exact same thing. Computers that are prebuilt are made one way and are not meant to be upgraded because the person who bought it doesn't plan on upgrading - hence the use of mATX motherboards. Computers that are custom built can be made any which way and will continue to be upgraded so long as the person who built it sees fit. This equals more money upfront and in the long run. What's cheaper, a Q6700 or a QX9770? Enough said.

There's a reason why prebuilt computers cannot be compared to a computer that someone built for themselves. It's because - and I've already said this before - those who buy a prebuilt computer do not know any better. According to them, "it'll do". And what's being done on it is not much to begin with. For example, if you're someone who does a lot of video/audio/picture editing, the thought of a prebuilt computer would never pass your mind. Either you would build it yourself, or go to someone who can make it for you (such as yourself).

Companies such as HP, Acer, Dell etc. could never satisfy the habits of those who use their computers for much more than what the average person does. For everyone else, it's as simple as swiping their credit/debit card on a Point-of-Sale machine and walking out the store.

___________________________________________
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dark41 Nov 02, 2008, 03:13pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
...you're trying to make it sound as though retailers have a profit margin that is almost unfair to the consumer.


That's exactly my point. Retailers set their prices according to what other retailers are charging and what people will pay. Value doesn't enter into the equation.

Do you not mark up your products? Do you not add a profit to the goods and services that are being sold?


No, we don't mark up our components and we don't add a profit to our services. We charge a fee for labor. It's based upon time, not components or component prices. So the better a system is, the cheaper it is by comparison for our customers, which is totally the opposite of how retailers work. If someone gets an upgrade or repair from us, they only pay for our time and what we paid for the components. Any savings we get from component prices fluctuating is passed on to our customers. And that's exactly how we've made it this far. We can undercut the prices easily of any retailer and still make a good profit. :)

I have to admit, that's pretty good. But guess what? I can purchase a system with very similar specs to that of what you're selling, too. Granted it wouldn't have exactly what your systems have, but it'd be close enough. Is it cheaper? In some cases, yes it is. So it's a win-win situation.


I doubt you know just how good it really is. You're in Canada, and comparing sytems you can buy for the same price? Um.. I'm in Australia where the AUD is .66 of the USD now. I don't think you can touch a system for the same price as ours with similar options retail here. If I were building in the USA, our systems would be sold for about $1200 with the same components, and again you couldn't touch anything close retail there.

Companies such as HP, Acer, Dell etc. could never satisfy the habits of those who use their computers for much more than what the average person does


Apparently you haven't looked into high end systems from Dell, HP, or Acer. EG: Look into a Dell XPS. It's basically their high end system and can be customised to be just like ours. The difference is... price, and theirs are loaded with trial versions of software and advertising that ours aren't. They charge over twice as much for the same system. But they can sell you anything we can, for a price.

But you stick to what you know and I'll stick to what I know. I'll be retiring in a few years and you'll still be knowing more than I do. I can live with that. :)

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Cambridge Soundworks 500w 5.1
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TamTheBam Nov 02, 2008, 04:52pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC

I'll tell ya, and have to admit that when everytime I do a new build from scratch.. Is**t
my pants when it comes to turning on that PSU! Because there's a fear in the back of
my mind that there could be a defective hardware. I'm too hyped to get the OS installed.
I don't want to have to wait a few more days or a week to get an RMA, etc, etc, etc.

Fortunatley, that's only happened once way back in 2001 when I bought the wrong RAM.
Should been buffered or unbuffered. Can't remember. But it wouldn't boot. I was so
inexperienced at that time. Never forget that dull moment aaaargh!

....I'm back, but only as a part-timer... :)
Restring Nov 23, 2008, 12:09pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
Lawrence O. Wilson said:
To avoide compatabile and DOA issues, I purchase from Directron.com and have them test
my ordered parts before shipping. They charge between 3 - 8 Dollars, but that eliminates
ugly issues!

Lawrence O. Wilson
lawrenceowilson@yahoo.com


AMEN!! I've used Directron numerous times for the same reason. Besides, if a problem does arise, the "Testing Fee" covers return shipping, and their return assistance is just as good as NewEggScuse. If you ask, they will assemble a multi-component order and test them together, update mobo BIOS to latest, etc.

As for DDR3 RAM, it's overpriced, and based on this review from Tom's Hardware:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ram-speed-tests,1807.html

it's money ill spent. The latencies and cost don't justify using it.

BoT Nov 23, 2008, 02:21pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
i think the main issue with compatability conflicts is that many manufactures do not adhere to industry standards. the vast majority of ddr2 and ddr3 memory does not conform to jedec standards and even worse, manufactures go so far to mod the specs that it virtually can not be recognized. motherboard manufacturers do the same by modding northbridge, southbridge and memory controller specifications.
so at the end of the day, if you have a pair of memory stick and your performance motherboard which should on paper at least be compatible but the real world looks different.
this has also a lot to do with the industry politics and the different manufactures mingle or not mingle with each other. hence, you find sli memory and crossfire memory.

i usually keep a set of sticks around that are jedec spec or pretty close to it. they are usually slow and cheap because nobody wants them but if i have problems with a mobo and memory it allows me to throw those sticks in and make the necessary adjustment in bios to get the other sticks working.

You can either be part of the problem or be part of the solution.
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Fitz58 Nov 23, 2008, 02:36pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: The frustrations of building a new PC
The original start of this thread was for compatibility issues, but much has been added for pro's and con's of build or buy . So I thought I'll add my 2 cents to that. Below is a price list of what my Quad system costs me:
Q9450 = $ 264
GA-EP45T-DS3R Bios v.F3 = $165
4GigsDDR3 Corsair XMS3 1333C9DHX = $210
PCI Express 2.0 Asus HD 4670 512MB = $80
HDD Drive #1 - ST3320620AS (298 GB) = $60
PSU Logisys 650W ATX12V = $49
There are other components that I carried over from the a previous build ,but because I was unable to got to work for a few months (due to an injury) I had time to hunt down the best prices I could find (a few of the parts prices also reflect Mail in rebates) so it all was not a bulk purchase from one source. All in all $828 is a lot of money, but I figure I'm good for at least a year and a half (as usually I upgrade every 9 months or so) before I start getting the itch to upgrade again.

Q9450@3000 MHz (8 x 375)W/Scythe Ninja & 120mmFan130CFM
GA-EP45T-DS3R Bios v.F3
4GigsDDR3 Corsair XMS3 1333C9DHX
PCI Express 2.0 Asus HD 4670 512MB
HDD Drive #1 - ST3320620AS (298 GB)
HDD Drive #2 - Maxtor 6Y200P0 (189 GB)
PSU Logisys 650W ATX12V
M

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