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zircon

Looking for a new workstation, need advice.

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Yeah, I'm really happy with my DS3. Great overclocker...running my E6300 at 3.15GHz right now on stock voltage.

Lian Li does make amazing cases (it's what I wanted originally), but I couldn't justify spending an extra $100 or so on it. Ended up going with a Cooler Master Centurion instead (had a rebate ;) ), and it works just fine.

Zircon might want to consider the E6300 and E6400 as they are both excellent CPUs with amazing overclocking potential, but with a slimmer price tag. Also, good choice with the cooler master, not as good as Li-Lian of course, but still good nonetheless.

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No

Building a PC isn't that hard, it's like lego blocks these days. You said that you have installed a sound card right? Well then you are more than qualified :P

You're right, in that building a computer isn't hard. It's knowing the compatibility between your parts that's tough though. When it's factory built, they are stringent with compatibility, and all the parts have been tested likewise.

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SPCR has a nice quiet customized system you might want to look into:

http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/std/sku=spcr_quiet_core2.html

That looks overpriced and very inflexible regarding customisation. :(

It doesn't even offer even the most basic requirements Zircon has asked for, and the closest thing it has to my build is in the $2500 range.

You're right, in that building a computer isn't hard. It's knowing the compatibility between your parts that's tough though. When it's factory built, they are stringent with compatibility, and all the parts have been tested likewise.

Yep, but it's not too hard to get advice. Just go onto a hardware forum or the retailer forum (if they have an established community) and ask if everything is compatible.

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I'm actually just not good at putting it together. I've tried before, I needed to ask a friend for help last time I did (he is no longer in the area). Again, there's also the *general* support issue - if you DO have a problem and you can't troubleshoot it yourself, you have to rely on strangers on the internet as opposed to a help desk.

BTW noise is NOT an issue. I repeat, I do not care about noise at all. I do absolutely no recording. I wouldn't want to pay an extra cent for that.

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I'm actually just not good at putting it together. I've tried before, I needed to ask a friend for help last time I did (he is no longer in the area). Again, there's also the *general* support issue - if you DO have a problem and you can't troubleshoot it yourself, you have to rely on strangers on the internet as opposed to a help desk.

You have to ask yourself if general support is really worth it. How many times have you ever needed to call them? For me this was very rarely.

You can get support for you products with DIY. As long as you buy all "retail" as opposed to "OEM" (costs a tiny fraction more) you will get support and warranty for each individual product. Of course this isn't as good as general, but it should be enough as any problems you have tend to be limited to one product rather than spanning the entire machine.

Are you sure there is no one at your uni or around were you live who is a bit hardware savy? Even a tech support company might do the job :P However, if you decide to build you should really give it a go yourself. Just read some guides about system building like the one I post a little while earlier.

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Hey, whoever linked IBuyPower... I just scoped it out, and DAMN! VERY VERY VERY good prices! $1350 for a configuration that is just about everything I wanted...

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Be careful with ibuypower. They are cheap, but you pay the price.

http://cnet.nytimes.com/iBuyPower_Value_Pro/4852-3118_7-31417574.html?ord=numChildMessages+desc

Somebody here had a problem with them, I think it was Edgecrusher.

http://www.labbb.org/BBBWeb/Forms/Business/CompanyReportPage_Expository.aspx?CompanyID=13141649

A C from the bbb.

Not a company i would trust with my thousands of dollars.

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That's unfortunate - anyone have any other options? Surely there must be some place, some where, that offers custom PCs, isn't shady as hell, and doesn't charge $900 for $200 RAM.

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You could always get a MAC, lolz. You get pretty much screwed if you try to buy anything pre-built that isn't bog standard crap when it comes to PCs. Sorry for being the cynic :P

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That's unfortunate - anyone have any other options? Surely there must be some place, some where, that offers custom PCs, isn't shady as hell, and doesn't charge $900 for $200 RAM.

You can always try ebay. They have intel core 2 duo at fairly reasonable prices: link

I got my computer from ebay about two months ago and it works perfectly.

Also, if there are any small computer fixing shops around your town, you can always go there and ask for their prices for building a custom pc. If those prices are acceptable, then just purchase your items from newegg or some other place and then let them build it.

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OK, after continuing to do research, I think I found a good bet: AVA Direct. I did numerous searches online and they are generally highly rated and recommended, with very good tech support. I called 'em up and a tech/sales guy ran me through configuration a machine. Total, not including monitors, $2050 or so is what I ended up with. I decided to go with a lot of silent parts, which upped the price a fair amount - silent/acoustically treated case, replacement fan for the processor, silent video card, silent power supply, etc. I thought about it for awhile and I realized if I do want to record things in the future, I'd be better off proofing my stuff now rather than replacing it all later.

Total the markup seemed like $300 to $400 over getting things through newegg. Maybe even a little less. Plus there's a 3 year parts warranty and tech support. After reading an article on HardOCP reviewing AVA it seems like their tech is absolutely top notch too (eg. ordering replacement parts that were actually more expensive and absorbing the difference, remembering people by name, and so forth).

Of course I haven't ordered it yet. I still plan on doing more research before taking the plunge. But so far, this looks good.

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Yes, and I checked 'em out myself.

There's an Icetank CPU Cooler to replace the Core 2 Duo's fan, a Seasonic power supply, a Lian Li Classical Silent case, and a graphics card with no fan operation.

I was really impressed by this guy. There were several items that, in the default configuration, cost $200-300 more than what I ended up getting. At numerous points he made recommendations to downgrade things I didn't need. I never felt like I was being pushed into paying more for nothing.

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Sounds like a nice place.

The effectiveness of the Icetank depends greatly on the fan that it is used with. With the stock fan, it is capable of outperforming every other heatsink in its class, and it is a good cooler even with the stock fan at 5V. Unfortunately, the stock fan is noisy and undervolts poorly, which means that many people will want to replace it with a better one if low noise is a priority.

When our favorite low noise 92mm fan was used, the Icetank fell behind heatsinks that are both cheaper and smaller. This indicates that the Icetank is not a good performer with low airflow; its excellent performance at full speed requires all the air it can get. The Icetank is best used with a medium speed fan that undervolts well. It is more at home in a quiet high performance system rather than one where silence is the priority.

I suppose thats what you were looking for, just figured id throw it in.

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That place sounds pretty great. Link?

Edit: nm, goggled it and it looks great. It's kinda warming to see somewhere that isn't a total rip off.

Judging from their review from hardocp and customer reviews they really seem to care for their customers.

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That place sounds pretty great. Link?

Edit: nm, goggled it and it looks great. It's kinda warming to see somewhere that isn't a total rip off.

Yeah seriously. Nice to know that there are more than a couple honest retailers out there.

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Would you mind posting the complete specs of what you ordered, Zircon? I'll possibly be getting a new machine sometime in the next 3-6 months or so, and while I realize the machine will be cheaper and better components will likely be available over that time, I'd like to have a good starting point.

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Would you mind posting the complete specs of what you ordered, Zircon? I'll possibly be getting a new machine sometime in the next 3-6 months or so, and while I realize the machine will be cheaper and better components will likely be available over that time, I'd like to have a good starting point.

Sure, here you go.

+ GAMING PC, Core 2 Duo SLI Gaming System 1 $2034.04 $2034.04

# INTEL, Core™ 2 Duo E6600 Dual-Core, 2.4GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 4MB L2 Cache, 65nm, 65W, EM64T EIST VT, Retail

# NMEDIAPC, ICETANK CPU Cooler, Socket 754/940/939/AM2/775/478, Copper/Aluminum

# ASUS, P5N-E SLI, LGA775, nForce 650i SLI, 1066MHz FSB, DDR2-800 8GB /4, PCIe x16 SLI /2, SATA RAID 5 /5, HDA, GbLAN, FW /2, ATX, Retail

# CORSAIR, 2GB (2 x 1GB) XMS2 PC2-6400 DDR2 800MHz CL5 (5-5-5-12) SDRAM 240-pin DIMM, Non-ECC

# ASUS, EN7600GS SILENT/HTD, GeForce™ 7600 GS, 512MB DDR2, PCIe x16 SLI, VGA+DVI, TV-Out, Retail

# WESTERN DIGITAL, 74GB WD Raptor®, SATA 150MB/s, 10000 RPM, 16MB Cache

# SEAGATE, 500GB Barracuda 7200.10, SATA II 300MB/s, 7200-RPM, 16MB cache

# RAID, No RAID, Independent HDD Drives

# MITSUMI, Black Internal 1.44MB 3.5" Floppy Drive

# SAMSUNG, Super-WriteMaster SH-S182M Black 18x DVD±R/RW Dual Layer Burner w/ Lightscribe, IDE/ATAPI, OEM

# LIAN LI, Classical Silent PC-6070Bplus II Black Mid-Tower Case, No PSU, ATX, Aluminum

# SEASONIC, S12-600 Power Supply, 600W, 24-pin ATX EPS12V, Dual +12V, SLI Certified

# MICROSOFT, Windows XP Professional Edition SP2b w/ Free Upgrade Coupon for Vista, OEM

# MICROSOFT, Wired Keyboard 500, Black, PS/2

# LOGITECH, Optical Mouse, USB/PS2, Black

# GAMING PC, Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

Along with 2 20" Sceptre monitors from Costco (came out to a little over $500 total for those), a $300 PowerCore Element DSP card, and hopefully a $400 Creamware Luna II soundcard.

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Just got the new comp today. I plugged in only the basis (net, monitor, keyboard, mouse) and it looks like it runs BLAZING fast. Also it's basically 100% silent. Will be installing more after midterms...

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Now that I've been using it for a couple days... here are my thoughts (on AVAdirect);

+ System is lightning fast!!! Unbelievable compared to my old one (which isn't even that old).

+ Packaging extremely secure.

+ Came with all the cables I needed, as well as the discs for the presinstalled software.

+ Windows was "burned in" and pre-configured with minimal settings. Out of the box it went right to the desktop within 30 seconds. Nothing extraneous - just Windows built in stuff (eg. firewall, update), the motherboard stuff (nVidia tuning, graphics card tuning, audio), and Nero DVD/CD software.

+ Absolute stability so far. No crashes!

+ Very clean + sturdy case.

+ When I spoke with tech support about installing my PCI cards and new hard drive, the rep was very helpful.

- System took 11 business days to ship. I got it on day 13. According to their documentation, it's supposed to be on your doorstep within 10 business days (10 was the upper limit). Total it took 19 days from the time I ordered for the PC to arrive.

- Wiring is perhaps a little too tight. When I opened up the case to put in my IDE hard drive, I found all the enclosures + drivers bolted firmly in place, and all the wires tied to various parts of the case. The location of the IDE port was obstructed by some tied wires, meaning I would have to undo all their wiring to install it. I decided to buy an external enclosure instead.

- No room for full-size PCI cards, making my investment into the $300 Powercore Element useless. This is even after I said that I was going to use full size cards and needed the space.

Overall, I'm very happy with the machine. I'm only frustrated at the "cramped" nature of the case which made it impossible for me to install my old hard drive and my PCI card. The slightly extended shipping, according to the guy who assembled it, was due to a bad mobo - I'm glad they caught that while burning it in!!!

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