Buying a prebuilt comp and adding a graphics card

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musashi1600
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Buying a prebuilt comp and adding a graphics card

Postby musashi1600 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:00 am UTC

I'd like to replace my current 5-year old gaming computer, and a plan I'm considering is buying a prebuilt computer (such as this), dropping in a new graphics card (such as this), and replacing the power supply to compensate (which I think should be about 700-800 W). I've never built a computer from parts before; everything I've used up until now has been either a second-hand PC or a Mac, so I'm hoping to simplify the replacement process while getting a rig that should be able to handle games that come out over the next 4-5 years.
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GeorgeH
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Re: Buying a prebuilt comp and adding a graphics card

Postby GeorgeH » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:08 am UTC

Point the first - that's an older dual-core PC. Not a good value, not a good buy. Look for a Sandy Bridge CPU; they're generally marketed as "Second Generation" CPUs and they have 4 digit model numbers (i3-2100, i5-2300, i7-2600, etc.)

Point the Second - 800W is crazy overkill, even for a 6950. Most OEM cases would start to melt if you put components that drew 700-800W inside them. I'd be very comfortable running a 6950 and a non-overclocked Sandy Bridge CPU on a name brand ~400W power supply. I'd be very surprised if it even drew 300W, but I'd like the margin a 400W PSU would give me. If you want to overclock consider stepping up to a ~500W power supply but I really wouldn't go much higher than that.

Point the Third - Building one from scratch isn't that hard, and can be kind of fun. Why not give it a shot?

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musashi1600
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Re: Buying a prebuilt comp and adding a graphics card

Postby musashi1600 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:19 am UTC

GeorgeH wrote:Point the first - that's an older dual-core PC. Not a good value, not a good buy. Look for a Sandy Bridge CPU; they're generally marketed as "Second Generation" CPUs and they have 4 digit model numbers (i3-2100, i5-2300, i7-2600, etc.)


So something like this would be a better buy if I decide to do this?

GeorgeH wrote:Point the Third - Building one from scratch isn't that hard, and can be kind of fun. Why not give it a shot?


That's what I'll probably do, considering I can get help from a couple friends who've built their own rigs. I'm just wondering if this is a feasible option.
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ajd007
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Re: Buying a prebuilt comp and adding a graphics card

Postby ajd007 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:21 am UTC

It's possible to do (just check the dimensions of the case because the 6950 is HUGE), but not practical and highly unrecommended. If you're gonna do that amount of upgrading, its much cheaper (and only a little bit more effort) to build your own rig from scratch.

Here's my list of pros and cons for building your own rig vs. doing what you suggest
Pros:
Cheaper (cut out the middleman)
Better quality parts (prebuilt machines typically use the cheapest possible parts inside)
You get exactly what you want: no more, no less
Don't have to pay for windows license if you already have a copy or are using Linux etc.
No preloaded bloatware
Pretty fun to do (although this could become a con if you're really bored by this stuff)
Cons:
Requires more effort in researching parts and putting the computer together (could become a pro/nonfactor if you're interested in this kind of stuff)
Multiple warranties from multiple vendors, vs. just one company to call if something goes wrong (although, with a company like Dell or HP, you can't really expect any help from their tech support, so this one really should be a pro)

I think this makes it pretty clear. If you would like help on selecting parts for a new rig, there are plenty of other recent threads detailing suggested builds. You can also detail your specific needs and budget here and we can help you out.

GeorgeH
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Re: Buying a prebuilt comp and adding a graphics card

Postby GeorgeH » Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:55 pm UTC

musashi1600 wrote:So something like this would be a better buy if I decide to do this?


Much better. From the specs it sounds like the world's cheapest motherboard, it's probably a crap HDD, and I'd rather see 8GB of RAM (in 2x4GB sticks, not 4x2GB sticks) but it's reasonable. If you're planning on keeping the machine for a good long while I'd also rather see a 2500K in a motherboard that can overclock it (P67 or Z68 chipset); the 2400 is far from a slouch, but a ~30% jump to ~4.5GHz will stay relevant for a longer period of time.

Making sure that a 6950 would fit is also very good advice. It'd probably fit with modifications (you might need to remove or cut away some HDD cages) but plug and play is always nicer.

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musashi1600
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Re: Buying a prebuilt comp and adding a graphics card

Postby musashi1600 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:28 am UTC

So in short, the prebuilt option is technically feasible, but not as cost-effective as building a computer from scratch. That's more or less what I figured.
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