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Thread: Recommended system retailers?

  1. #1
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Recommended system retailers?

    5 years ago I bought a machine from Dell. It's still running great, and has gradually morphed into the thing in my sig.

    But time is ticking and I'm feeling the need.. the need for speed (*short interlude while script writer is dragged outside and bludgened with a wet kipper*) ahem.. I need something with more umph, especially now I've got into game development and do a fair bit of compiling and intensive work.

    Back in the day, I found Dell excellent - I managed to get a cheap system that nonetheless had strong components in all the critical parts that I needed. And it was upgradable. The service was fantastic and when I did have problems the first one was sorted out excellently over the phone (problem with the nvram needing to be flushed) and the second one (broken gfx card) was amazingly dealt with - they replaced the card with a top range model - and it wasn't even their card that broke! But I've since heard rumours that their support is less great these days. Which is a shame, because I'm now tempted by the cheap XPS gen 5 machines. However the one problem I still have with Dell is the custom motherboard/case/PSU which limits future use.

    So setting Dell aside, which other systems would you recommend? I want good quality components at around DIY prices - the case especially is important to me as it's probably the part of the computer that is going to stay the same throughout the life of the machine.. and likely longer - I would look to keep the case and change internals as much as I can. But I also want to be able to choose the components carefully to meet my specific needs/cost-performance requirements. At the same time I don't want to be lumbered with extra things I don't need - so I want to be able to save money by removing the monitor option for example.

    Cheers,

    kalniel

  2. #2
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    I've got a Dell machine here at work and have added a card or two to it without worrying/calling Dell about any of it. If you want the machine to be covered under warranty, then it had best be all through Dell. Dell's site DOES include mention of available expansion slots, and so far my experience suggests that they may underestimate the expansion potential rather than overstate anything (like some machines not mentioning an AGP port where it is present). Generally you can build a comparable machine for a similar price if you shop around, and will then KNOW that you can upgrade anything about it and that ALL of the components are hand picked. My recommendation is that you check for any required slots, call them if it isn't listed or is vague, and if they seem to be missing then learn to build the machine yourself and check scan and ebuyer (+ others) to build the machine from hand-picked components.

  3. #3
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    I am in a very similar position to you. Looking for a new 'all bells and whistles' pc - in the past have owned dell and evesham.

    I have spent some time seeing whether dell or evesham could meet my expectations via a mass-market pc maker or whether I should pay a bit more for a custom build.

    The dell xps 600 (new model) is frankly too expensive if you price it on their website(although I did haggle a discount on the phone with them). The dell machine has several bepsoke components eg motherboard/power supply/cooling as well as other bits which are dell modified eg the dell audigy 2 zs soundcard. All this means that upgrading or getting recent driver updates might well be a chore. Also all dell home tech support is now through india - not a good thing.

    Evesham use standard components but you are still restricted re what is on offer and their pricing is again not that cheap. Some options they offer are just plain nasty eg the system cases.

    As I have decided on a custom build have checked out people like alienware,armari but keep coming back to looking at a scan 3xs custom build. Price up your dream pc through their comprehensive webchoice and you will be surprised at what a great machine you can get for a reasonable price. I have never used scan and am a naturally cautious buyer so I continue to research opinions on the company - so far all the feedback I have got has been excellent. Also I note the extended warranty is insurance backed which is good in these times of several pc makers going bust.

    Check out the scan 3xs builds options - they are worth a look. If I do buy one of their systems I will post my experience on hexus in due course.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps
    Thanks for the replies. The scan 3xs systems look nice, but I have exactly the same problem as with many other system builds - I can't get the right motherboard. The scan intel systems all seem to use the rubbish i915 chipset (apart from the expensive nvidia sli one). I would really like something with an i945 or i955 motherboard so I can upgrade in the future.

    The new dell is too expensive, but have you seen the XPS gen 5? It was on offer a while ago and you could get a nice system pretty cheaply (and had the i955 chipset! ), but as I said I'm looking for alternatives to Dell this time around.

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    I emailed scan sales about including different spec components for the custom builds from the options listed. They said you can modify the components via a sales rep after the order is placed - not sure if this includes the motherboard which is listed as a core item. It might well be worth emailing them re your list of desired choices and see what they say.

    Have to say I am surprised at your continued loyalty to intel systems. I have always used intel but will be going amd this time round - frankly the current p4 intel chips just cannot compete on performance and technical excellence. Next year might well be different when intel launch some new desktop and dual-core processors.

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    Resident abit mourner BUFF's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps
    Quote Originally Posted by asdicus
    Have to say I am surprised at your continued loyalty to intel systems. I have always used intel but will be going amd this time round - frankly the current p4 intel chips just cannot compete on performance and technical excellence. Next year might well be different when intel launch some new desktop and dual-core processors.
    Oh I'm steadyfastly unloyal to intel - the pentium III was a successor to my much loved AMD k6 system. But there wasn't a better processor than the p3 at the time.

    I agree the p4's are mostly terrible. But for my specific use of computers at the moment I'm sad to admit that a hyper threading intel chip with plenty of cache (something like the 640/650) really is the best value for money. If the X2 3800 ever came down to a reasonable (read, mainstream ) price then I'd jump on it straight away.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps
    Quote Originally Posted by BUFF
    Thankyou.. sadly at time of writing it doesn't seem to work - looks like their SQL server is down/lost connection and there's a bunch of PHP errors too.

  9. #9
    radix lecti dave87's Avatar
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    • dave87's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • Memory:
      • 8gb DDR3
      • Storage:
      • 240gb SSD + 120gb SSD
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus HD7950
      • PSU:
      • XFX 600w Modular
      • Case:
      • Lian Li PC-A05FNB + Acoustipack
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • 2x Dell S2309W (1920x1080)
      • Internet:
      • BT Infinity Option 2
    Dells are only difficult to upgrade if you plan on replacing the motherboard/processor/ram etc, as the motherboards are custom designed, and then the cases are custom designed for the motherboards. Otherwise things such as adding in a PCI card or other accessories should be little hassle. I have a dimension 5000, not added anything yet, but had a poke around inside and they seem pretty 'normal' in the right places.

    Dave

  10. #10
    Studmuffin Flibb's Avatar
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    • Flibb's system
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    On some models the power supply is also custom (note the some bit), so it can be a problem upgrading graphics cards later on if the new one draws a lot more power. There was a company providing cables to allow standard atx psu to be used in dell systems. Personally I would go DIY, even a noob should be able to shove a rig together carefully in 2 hours.

  11. #11
    radix lecti dave87's Avatar
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    • dave87's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus
      • CPU:
      • i5 3470k under Corsair H80 WC
      • Memory:
      • 8gb DDR3
      • Storage:
      • 240gb SSD + 120gb SSD
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus HD7950
      • PSU:
      • XFX 600w Modular
      • Case:
      • Lian Li PC-A05FNB + Acoustipack
      • Operating System:
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    They still have molex connectors, so for graphics cards you could jus rig up a converter no? mines got an x300 or x700, cant remember which, but doesnt really matter, its an office machine not used *unless desparate* as a gaming machine. I still think custom builds are the best, and not as scary as it seems. Jus get someone whos done it before to help you, or carefully doing it yourself, sounds you have a reasonable level of competance with computers, you should be fine. (I custom built my first PC after ripping others, mainly older ones, apart to find what goes where, once you know that you're sorted)

    Hope this helps

    Dave

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    not posting kempez's Avatar
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    Why don;t you check out www.kustompcs.co.uk and then drop a mail to: sales@kustompcs.co.uk

    They'll custom-build a system to your spec and requirement. Very good build quality, pre-modded if you like, and the BEST service on the web.

    Trust me, you won't be unhappy
    Check my project <<| Black3D |>>
    Quote Originally Posted by hexah
    Games are developed by teams of talented people and sometimes electronic arts

  13. #13
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps
    Yep it's only the motherboard, case and PSU that are custom on DELL. I've upgraded just about everything else.

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