Author Topic: Time for a new computer  (Read 752 times)

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Offline NorthSky

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Time for a new computer
« on: February 20, 2017, 03:24:55 AM »
So, it's that time again...

My Dell Inspiron 530 is eight years old; support for Vista is ending. It's time to order a new rig. Though it's a dinosaur by today's standards, the current machine has been solid and reliable. It runs FS9 OK, nothing amazing performance-wise. The word I've heard on the street is that HP builds a better quality computer than Dell these days. I've been looking closely at the Dell XPS 8910 i7-6700 with 16 GB of memory and either a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750i or 960 (the latter is an extra $200 for the upgraded video card and an extra 1 TB of hard drive storage). From what I can tell, this machine has received good reviews.

So, a couple of questions: Should I forget Dell and go with HP? I'm not familiar with HP's product lines so I'm not exactly sure where to start.

Also, I assume it is worth it to spend extra to upgrade to the GTX 960 - especially if I want to switch to P3D at some point. Other than financial considerations, is there any reason why the GTX 750i would be "good enough"?

This will be the most expensive computer I've purchased yet. I want to make a good investment, but I also don't want to over-analyze too much as I know that most desktops are a commodity these days. And I don't use the sim (or any other games) enough to justify a high-end gaming rig.

Regards,
Eric

Offline Dave YVRATC

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 03:32:06 AM »
 I wouldn't touch either a Dell or HP desktop. Save some money and have one built the way you want. Quality components throughout, then you know what you are getting. Even better and cheaper and fun would be to order the parts and just build it yourself.

 www.newegg.com  or http://www.ncixus.com/

Offline SteveLewis

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 03:49:16 AM »
Computers aren't all that hard to build; I've built my last 4 myself (of course, I went to Electronics "A"school in the Navy before I was commissioned.   But, have one built.,    You get exactly what you want and with only the programs you want installed.   Windows 10 is pretty good in the 64 bit version.    When you buy a Dell or HP, you get their programs installed and you have to install your own.   Might cost a couple of hundred more but you'd be better off with a custom build machine IMHO.

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Offline sticky1202

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 12:45:55 PM »
http://jetlinesystems.com/  did a great job on mine.

Jim
Jim

Offline jhaley101

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 02:44:58 PM »
+1

They built mine in 2013 and it's still running very smoothly through FS9/FSX/P3D installations. 

Can't say enough about the follow-up support they offer IF you need it.    They're Tampa Bay Lightning fans, otherwise I have no complaints :P

JH

Offline Sloeber

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2017, 11:01:56 PM »
Put some research in, and build your own. As said, you can put in whatever you want, and you get to know your system better, as well of the ways to upgrade it later on if need be. I've built my own pc's since I had the cash to build one, and before that I helped my dad build his.. which is over 25 years ago..
And with today's connectors it's even more a pieve of cake than it used to be..
Of course, you can also adjust things to the way your budget allows..
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Offline NorthSky

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 01:16:01 AM »
Thanks, everyone. These are good suggestions. I have three young kids and free time is at a premium, so I'm looking for more of a plug-in-and-play type of solution, as opposed to building a whole computer from scratch. Plus, it is not just a gaming rig - it will be for general use (Microsoft Office, TurboTax, Photoshop, etc.). The cost has to be reasonable (not $2,000+!).

However, the Jetline systems link is intriguing. Even my wife is on board with spending a little extra if we get a computer that will really last. I'll check it out.

Offline relfel66

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2017, 04:17:53 AM »
Northsky...building is the best and most cost effective way. It also gives you platform to upgrade easily in the future.

Even a prebuilt like this:  https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883102271.

A DIY Combo from Newegg will give you all the parts: https://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.3119159

You put it together or maybe get a friend or relative to build it for you if you dont have the time.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 04:22:48 AM by relfel66 »
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Offline Dave YVRATC

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2017, 04:34:36 AM »
I have three young kids and free time is at a premium, so I'm looking for more of a plug-in-and-play type of solution, as opposed to building a whole computer from scratch. Plus, it is not just a gaming rig - it will be for general use (Microsoft Office, TurboTax, Photoshop, etc.). The cost has to be reasonable (not $2,000+!).

 That is exactly the reason NOT to look at a prebuilt system, let alone some fancy brand name one. Costs are huge compared to when you build on your own. It's not like it takes more than a few hours to build it yourself. I promise, it's not rocket science. There's just no need to pay someone else to do it for you.  People often say that it's the support that you get when you get one from "so and so" etc etc. It's complete nonsense, I've been building my own pc's and those for many friends for over 12 years and have NOT ONCE needed any support. If you need to return a part which I have only had to do maybe twice in over a thousand various components, you take/send it back and they send you a new one.
 


Offline NorthSky

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2017, 05:21:14 AM »
All right, you guys have put me on a new path. relfel66, good links to NewEgg. I like what I'm seeing. Thanks!  ::cheers::

Offline Techmen

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2017, 06:14:30 AM »
Check out the pcper.com Hardware leaderboard as they update the best hardware bang for buck at different price points which you can use as a start point for your build if you go down that road.
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Offline Per Ardua Ad Ars

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2017, 12:02:21 PM »
What I did for my FS machine was buy a baseline setup and add components (I run only FS9, so self-assemble was the way to go to avoid getting locked in to components I didn't fancy). When people say "self-build" these days they really only mean self-assemble. The "build" part comes from working out what components are viable in the setup, and the strength of the PSU - which will be the critical component if you are pushing the graphics hard, for example. You may be surprised as to what wattage you end up needing.

We're a world away from the old system of figuring out motherboard jumper settings and arcane stuff to make sure memory is being written and read using the correct timings, etc. A lot of the BIOS and OS stuff is sniffed out automatically these days. Nobody ever needs to know what an IRQ is.

I bought my base system in the UK from Mesh Computers, chose a case, PSU, a mobo, and left it at that. Oh, also asked for Win7 Pro rather than an OS that updates itself without my say-so! It meant that Mesh couldn't test the unit before sending it out (without processor or memory that is difficult) but I got a nice workable baseline for my pick of components. Mesh have a nice configuration system that measures power consumption and advises when you are pushing the PSU too hard for the components you select.

Doing it this way meant that the bits I was least comfortable with (mobo settings, installation into the case, setting up the PSU) was all done for me, and the hardest part for me was the processor installation (with the cooler - which I also got from Mesh) and the faffing around with thermal paste etc.

I'd chosen a mobo that allowed me a long upgrade path, and bought some bottom-end components (processor is fairly modest) some high-end (memory is extremely fast but can't be run at full speed until I upgrade the processor, which is still scary expensive) and ended up with a system I can live with very nicely. I had a few blue-screen problems until I figured out that I had to run my hi-speed memory at about half-speed, but in the end I have a nice stable system that I know inside and out.

Dell, HP and so on are all trading on dependability, so they stay middle-of-the-road because they're trying to appeal to everybody and also limit their need to support cranky customers - so they play safe. They're great for business and home-office types for whom the box is secondary to the work it has to do. People complaining about their systems are almost always wanting to extend them beyond what Dell, Hp, etc are targeting them for. Mesh were rather disorganized over delivery, though; I got a temporary contract flying a B200 out of Biggin and needed the system delivering to an address close to there at about a week's notice, and it still went to an empty house across country..

I have scrapped a lot of my computers over the years, so components like DVD/RW, soundcards, etc I have lying around waiting for new boxes to be installed in, unlike memory, they don't get obsolete so quickly. I have 2 or 3 Frankenputers around the house. If you can live with the base components on today's mobos (e.g. Intel built-in sound) then you can even live without a soundcard these days, even if graphics will always need a card. It at least means that with a bit of planning you can grow the system incrementally, which is what I choose to do.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 12:08:37 PM by Per Ardua Ad Ars »
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Offline Sloeber

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 05:17:57 PM »
I usually do the same. Although you get the hang of it if you'd done it a couple of times. Network card is integrated, sound is integrated. Video card has to be put in, but the rest is all there, if you don't have any special wishes. I was talking with a buddy a couple of days back, he's more or less into IT, and he put together a system with a Z270 chipset, I5 processor, 16 Gb RAM, an M.2 SSD for boot, a big SSD (SATA) for data, and a GTX1060 video card for 1200 euro. And that guy really knows his stuff.
Point being, with the M.2 slot being implemented all over the place (because its FAST), you'd have it in there already. That, and the fact that Dell and HP are brands...for which you have to pay.
Do some research, and figure it all out at your leisure. There's tons of hardware sites with in-built configurators, that also cross-check whether all your selected parts work well together. Run that on a couple of different sites to verify, and you'll be happier than when you buy a middle-of-the-road thing..
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Offline Per Ardua Ad Ars

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2017, 05:08:28 PM »
When I was picking a video card for my system I didn't go right to the top end because of course there's a crazy price premium that you know will erode away the moment the next big thing comes along, but you can still opt for one you can live with, knowing that down the line you can upgrade in place because in theory you picked a long upgrade path.

The thing that surprised me most was the built-in graphics chip. There's no way I would depend on one for FS, but I tried running the sim with it (I think the designation was something like Intel 4400 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eZXKfVzAuE[/color] and it wasn't too shabby provided you stayed away from clouds! The comparison websites put it in direct competition with cards that I remember as being very desirable not that long ago.

Having said that, I went quickly to an addon card.
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Offline bumblB

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Re: Time for a new computer
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2017, 10:53:32 PM »
When I first left the big name dealers, I went to a local computer shop to have them build it.  Better choice of components, probably saved 1/4 or 1/3 the price, even after the $250 for his time.  Having the parts list helped show how little effort is really involved.  Now I'd never buy a pre-built desktop.