Need a new computer - MacRumors Forums
Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Buying Tips and Advice

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Oct 27, 2012, 07:21 AM   #1
sk1wbw
macrumors 68020
 
sk1wbw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: North Carolina
Need a new computer

So my Windows box is about 4 or 5 years old, and it wasn't a ballsy box to begin with. So the wife said she'd help buy a new one for Christmas for me.

My main objectives are at least an i5 processor and an nVidia chip. RAM and harddrive specs are gonna be standard pretty much anywhere these days, so that's not an issue.

I found an Alienware which has these standards. The low end has an i5 and an nVidia chip with 1 gig of VRAM. 4 gigs of RAM and a 1TB drive. By the time I get it, Windows 8 will be standard. Is 4 gigs of RAM enough for Windows 8, or would there be a noticeable lag there?

Should I just spend some extra dough and get the Alienware desktop with 8 gigs of RAM instead?
sk1wbw is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 28, 2012, 04:21 AM   #2
mentaluproar
macrumors 65816
 
mentaluproar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
If you want OSX, buy a mac. If you want anything else, build it yourself.

www.newegg.com

enjoy.
__________________
Powered by OSX 10.9 Ocelot
Will someone please make a safari extension that gives us back the downvote button?
mentaluproar is offline   6 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 28, 2012, 04:28 AM   #3
LostSoul80
macrumors 68000
 
LostSoul80's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
4 GB should be plenty for Windows 8.
I'd upgrade to 8 GB of RAM for future proofing, even if they are a lot. It all comes to your use of the computer. Do you want a gaming computer? If so, having more RAM would probably help.
__________________
Automatic Fans: UltraFan
LostSoul80 is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:07 PM   #4
eric/
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ohio, United States
Quote:
Originally Posted by LostSoul80 View Post
4 GB should be plenty for Windows 8.
I'd upgrade to 8 GB of RAM for future proofing, even if they are a lot. It all comes to your use of the computer. Do you want a gaming computer? If so, having more RAM would probably help.
I would start with 6GB at least.

What's the budget and what are you planning on doing with it?
eric/ is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 05:30 AM   #5
Olwen
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Which type of Computer you need?

Kindly define your specification,
Olwen is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:15 AM   #6
stonyc
macrumors 65816
 
stonyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Michigan
Send a message via AIM to stonyc
What is your budget? That Alienware may not give you the most bang for your buck and building your own may in fact get you some better parts than the Alienware for a similar price.
stonyc is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:18 AM   #7
sk1wbw
Thread Starter
macrumors 68020
 
sk1wbw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: North Carolina
Sorry, I don't build them, I just use them.

I'm trying not to go over 7 or 800 or so and so far that Alienware has what I need and want. I don't do any gaming but I want an nVidia card, the POS PC I have now doesn't have one and it is very noticeable. I was wondering about the 4 gigs of RAM, but I might go with the mid range model with 8. We'll see.

Thanks for the input, too.
sk1wbw is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:27 AM   #8
Glockron
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Stay away from Alienware. They charge insane prices for things you can get much cheaper.

Building your own PC is super easy nowadays, and there are hundreds of guides online. By buiding it yourself you can customise the components to match your needs exactly.

Building your own rig is cheap too. Even if you use the same components and whatnot as the Alienware rig you're looking at, the price for you should be much lower. Keep in mind, Alienware's profits come exclusively from assembling parts (Software provided by Microsoft, Hardware by Intel/Amd, Nvidia, Corsair etc.) - and by assembling it yourself you slash this cost.

Plus - there's always the satisfaction of having built it yourself
Glockron is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:50 AM   #9
stonyc
macrumors 65816
 
stonyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Michigan
Send a message via AIM to stonyc
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk1wbw View Post
Sorry, I don't build them, I just use them.

I'm trying not to go over 7 or 800 or so and so far that Alienware has what I need and want. I don't do any gaming but I want an nVidia card, the POS PC I have now doesn't have one and it is very noticeable. I was wondering about the 4 gigs of RAM, but I might go with the mid range model with 8. We'll see.

Thanks for the input, too.
Building a PC is incredibly easy and there are huge dedicated communities that will help newbie builders like yourself.

http://www.hardforum.com Look in the general hardware sub-forum for advice on parts.
http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc My new go-to place, one of their members even built an automated parts picker based on price and performance needs.

I'm not trying to persuade you to do something you're not comfortable with... but building your own PC can be a highly rewarding experience that can not only save you a good deal of cash over proprietary systems, but can often net you better parts than what you might find in a similarly priced Alienware, HP, etc.

Oh, and I also noticed that you said that you don't do any gaming... in that case, an Alienware is probably even a worse choice for your needs. They are more likely to be overpriced for their components given that they are marketed towards gamers.

EDIT:
Take a look at this build on buildapc: http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/com...st_build_ever/

Compare that to the Alienware that you found, and I would guess that this build beats it component for component.

PLUS you get a 2GB video card, 8GB memory, and a 64gb SSD for your boot disk.

EDIT2: Forgot to mention that the build I linked didn't include Windows 8, you can get an OEM disk from Newegg for $99 extra, and if you have an EDU email you can probably qualify for an educational discount straight from Microsoft.

Last edited by stonyc; Nov 1, 2012 at 08:57 AM.
stonyc is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:10 AM   #10
aarond12
macrumors 6502a
 
aarond12's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Dallas, TX USA
Windows?

If you really want to get a new computer, build your own and use components that can be used to build a Hackintosh. This way, when you come to your senses, you can erase Windows and install Mac OS X.

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/search/label/CustoMac
__________________
Voted "Most likely to start his own cult" by my high school class.
aarond12 is offline   3 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 09:59 AM   #11
Aspasia
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Halfway between the Equator and North Pole
Check out Velocity Micro: http://www.velocitymicro.com/ and their holiday edition unit, for $599. Offers lots of customization options.

Like you, I don't want to build my own - but I don't want to deal with the crapware other manufacturers install or the low wattage power supplies Alienware and Dell use. So Velocity Micro is looking pretty good to me. My other option is having one built for me.

Also want no part of Windows 8, since I want my existing software to run on any new rig.
Aspasia is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 11:29 AM   #12
yg17
macrumors G5
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: St. Louis, MO
The hardest part of building a PC is buying parts that are compatible with each other (ie, buying the mobo with the right socket for your processor, etc). Thankfully that's also the easiest one to get help with thanks to forums like this or numerous other techie forums.

Putting it together is easy, there's not much to screw up. If it looks like it fits in there, and it does fit in there, that's where it goes. There's really no ambiguity, it should be painfully obvious figuring out where the RAM goes, where the PCI cards go, where the SATA cables go, etc, just by looking. If you have a screwdriver, a bit of common sense, and the ability to use Google if you do get stuck, you can build a PC.
__________________
Barack Obama is not a foreign born, brown skinned, anti-war socialist who gives away healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus.
yg17 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 10:01 PM   #13
sk1wbw
Thread Starter
macrumors 68020
 
sk1wbw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: North Carolina
Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll check it out.
sk1wbw is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 2012, 10:53 PM   #14
Plutonius
macrumors 68040
 
Plutonius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New Hampshire
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glockron View Post
Stay away from Alienware. They charge insane prices for things you can get much cheaper.
It's similar to buying Monster cables when you need a cable (i.e not a good value). As others have stated, avoid Alienware and build you own computer to get what you want for the best price.
Plutonius is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 2, 2012, 08:48 AM   #15
sk1wbw
Thread Starter
macrumors 68020
 
sk1wbw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: North Carolina
Actually, the Alienware that I saw at Best Buy had more specs for cheaper than the other computers listed here.

So now it's even worse as my internal cd rom drive in my computer **** the bed last night as I was burning an ISO image of Ubuntu. So now I'm in even a worse situation! LOL Dammit this pos I'm using is a horse and needs to be shot.
sk1wbw is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 2, 2012, 10:13 AM   #16
stonyc
macrumors 65816
 
stonyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Michigan
Send a message via AIM to stonyc
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk1wbw View Post
Actually, the Alienware that I saw at Best Buy had more specs for cheaper than the other computers listed here.

So now it's even worse as my internal cd rom drive in my computer **** the bed last night as I was burning an ISO image of Ubuntu. So now I'm in even a worse situation! LOL Dammit this pos I'm using is a horse and needs to be shot.
Have a link to the computer online? Because the i5 that I found on bestbuy.com didn't beat the one that I linked spec for spec.

The other thing that you have to remember is that Best Buy will sometimes sell their computers with the software that they shipped with... at they very least, there might be some lag time for when they install Windows 8 on their machines.

The other other thing you have remember about Best Buy is that their machines are going to come loaded with literally tons of crapware. Also, beware their Geek Squad "optimization" packages... if they're still doing that, whatever they install in almost all cases can and should be done by you... for free.
stonyc is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 2, 2012, 12:10 PM   #17
AlyseM
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mentaluproar View Post
If you want OSX, buy a mac. If you want anything else, build it yourself.

www.newegg.com

enjoy.
This! You shouldn't even consider alienware as something you want. Overpriced garbage.
__________________
Odoyousa.com
AlyseM is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 2, 2012, 12:45 PM   #18
zioxide
macrumors 603
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Massachusetts
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk1wbw View Post
Actually, the Alienware that I saw at Best Buy had more specs for cheaper than the other computers listed here.

So now it's even worse as my internal cd rom drive in my computer **** the bed last night as I was burning an ISO image of Ubuntu. So now I'm in even a worse situation! LOL Dammit this pos I'm using is a horse and needs to be shot.
Alienware sucks. They were marked up and overpriced for a long time, but since Dell bought them, they've gotten even worse.

You'll save at least a few hundred dollars building the same machine yourself.
zioxide is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 2, 2012, 03:14 PM   #19
sk1wbw
Thread Starter
macrumors 68020
 
sk1wbw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: North Carolina
Quote:
Originally Posted by stonyc View Post
Have a link to the computer online? Because the i5 that I found on bestbuy.com didn't beat the one that I linked spec for spec.

The other thing that you have to remember is that Best Buy will sometimes sell their computers with the software that they shipped with... at they very least, there might be some lag time for when they install Windows 8 on their machines.

The other other thing you have remember about Best Buy is that their machines are going to come loaded with literally tons of crapware. Also, beware their Geek Squad "optimization" packages... if they're still doing that, whatever they install in almost all cases can and should be done by you... for free.
Crapware I can uninstall, that's no problem. And I can maintain a computer, that is easy too.

Here's the one I was looking at. Alienware

I think I misread the lowend model. I thought it had an i5 but it doesn't. I'm not too much of a geek here, so I don't know the differences between the power supplies and some of the exact specs on CPUs.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by zioxide View Post
Alienware sucks. They were marked up and overpriced for a long time, but since Dell bought them, they've gotten even worse.

You'll save at least a few hundred dollars building the same machine yourself.
I know Dell doesn't make Alienware, they just bought the company. Has the quality really done downhill? I wouldn't touch a dell branded computer with a 20 foot cattle prod. I've had them and they are really ******. However, if you want an awesome Linux box, they can't be beat.
sk1wbw is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 2, 2012, 04:08 PM   #20
mentaluproar
macrumors 65816
 
mentaluproar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ohio, USA
Agreed. Dells run linux very well. Aside from that, they are nothing special.
__________________
Powered by OSX 10.9 Ocelot
Will someone please make a safari extension that gives us back the downvote button?
mentaluproar is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 2012, 07:37 AM   #21
stonyc
macrumors 65816
 
stonyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Michigan
Send a message via AIM to stonyc
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk1wbw View Post
Crapware I can uninstall, that's no problem. And I can maintain a computer, that is easy too.

Here's the one I was looking at. Alienware

I think I misread the lowend model. I thought it had an i5 but it doesn't. I'm not too much of a geek here, so I don't know the differences between the power supplies and some of the exact specs on CPUs.
Let's go spec-by-spec against the Reddit build that I linked, well at least as much as we can since Alienware/Best Buy are pretty sparse with some details:

CPU: Same
RAM: Same amount, could nitpick about brands/reliability but won't for now
HDD: Same amount/speed, see RAM for additional comments
GPU: The video card in the Alienware is a generation behind, I would have hoped for at least an Nvidia 6XX by this point... that said, the 7850 is a superior card to the 545 by a good deal (source: http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/g...s-cards,1.html), check the various benchmarks there for more details, but simply put you are getting a current-generation video card with 2GB of memory versus a last-generation video card with half the memory
PSU: I don't know Dell's OEM for power supplies, but PC Power & Cooling is very well respected brand for PSUs. There are better choices out there that I have personally gone with for my recent builds, but you could do a lot worse than the one linked in the Reddit build.
Peripherals: personal preference, but for the most part we'll call this a wash

Other:
For $150 less, the Reddit build beats that Alienware you linked in its GPU by a huge margin, and I would trust the PC Power and Cooling PSU to last longer and be more efficient than something Dell shoved into their computer. Then let's not forget:

In that Reddit build, you are also getting an SSD.

Let me say that again, for $150 less... you are getting a better GPU, likely a better PSU... AND AN SSD. Sorry for the caps.

I'm sorry, but that Alienware is just a bad deal. Even when you add the cost of Windows 8 to that Reddit build, you'll still save $50 or so and have significant upgrades in some of the core components.
stonyc is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 2012, 10:36 AM   #22
monokakata
macrumors 6502a
 
monokakata's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Hilo, Hawai'i
Quote:
Originally Posted by aarond12 View Post
If you really want to get a new computer, build your own and use components that can be used to build a Hackintosh. This way, when you come to your senses, you can erase Windows and install Mac OS X.

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/search/label/CustoMac
"come to your senses" is maybe a bit rude, but this is very good advice.

When I was building PCs I always used Asus mobos, but Gigabyte (highly favored by the Hackintosh crowd) is an excellent company and you won't go wrong with their stuff.

If you never think about running OS X on what you have, you've lost nothing, so it seems like a no-brainer to me -- especially given that you've come to a Mac place for advice.

Building is way easier than you might be thinking (as others have said). It's just snapping parts into place, except for fitting the CPU and its thermal paste. But even that's not really difficult.

This week I had to change out a video board on a PC I built for a friend in 2004 -- I used first-line components and a really nice Lian Li black "quiet" case, so it's been going along happily since then. It's not nearly as quiet as my Mac Pro, but the PC Power & Cooling power supply is pretty quiet.
monokakata is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 2012, 09:15 AM   #23
stonyc
macrumors 65816
 
stonyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Michigan
Send a message via AIM to stonyc
The CPU isn't even that hard if you get a retail box... paste comes pre-spread and the retail cooler is quite respectable these days. Referring to Intel CPUs.

RE: My previous post, you could even take the SSD out and save an additional $80... which then puts that Reddit build approximately $230 under that Alienware that you linked, OP. That's not chump change you'd be saving there... considering that the components listed are probably equal to or better than what were in that Alienware.

And, also consider that those parts in that Reddit build could be switched around for some even better parts still... and STILL come under the price point for that Alienware.

It's not about "coming to your senses"... it's your money, you do what you want with it... but I think it's pretty conclusive that you'll get a lot more bang for your buck, and most likely save some money at the same time, to build your own computer with parts that meet or exceed the parts in that Alienware.

It's also a good learning experience... seriously.
stonyc is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 2012, 10:16 AM   #24
stonyc
macrumors 65816
 
stonyc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Michigan
Send a message via AIM to stonyc
Let's build a PC here, I'm sure others could find alternatives to the parts I picked for better bang/buck... but I've had good experiences with these brands:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/mBoo

CPU
Not knowing the exact part in the Alienware, we're going with the i5 because you were enamored with the i5 originally. Plus, we want to match or exceed the Alienware part-for-part as much as possible.

CPU Cooler
None needed, the retail CPU kit will come with a pretty respectable CPU cooler itself. If you want to go after-market but still get some good price/performance... the Cooler Master Hyper Plus has been my go-to cooler for my past 2-3 builds ($30 at Newegg).

Motherboard
I've had good experiences with ASRock. Gigabyte and Asus are also good brands. I've not had much experience with some of the other manufacturers out there. You're getting one of the most recent chipsets here which should give you a measure of future-proofing. You don't get SLI or Crossfire with this board, but you said that you didn't game much, so no biggie. You can expand up to 32GB of memory if you ever chose to...

Memory
I like G.Skill, and at $37.99 you're getting to 2x4GB modules which leaves you room on that ASRock board to quickly expand to 16GB for only another $37.99.

Video Card
We're going to hammer that Alienware into the ground, so say hello to your XFX 7850 with 2GB of video RAM. XFX recently changed their warranty, but is still top-of-the-heap in terms of video card manufacturer warranties. Great company. An Nvidia 545? Hahahahahaha... oh, seriously?

Storage
YMMV with regards to hard drive brands... some swear by Hitachis, some swear by Samsungs. Western Digital is a known, respected brand and we're going with the Black edition to help keep your photos and videos safer... I have a 5 year old WD Black 500GB that is still kicking...

Which brings me to the SSD... you want something to keep kicking for a long time... how about a kick to the face?!?! The Samsung 830's are still top-of-the line until their new models come out... and we're not mucking about with a 64GB drive here... we're going to 128GB. Put your OS and programs on this drive, store your pics, vids and documents on that WD Black... best of both worlds, my friend.

You want to save some money? Fine, kick that SSD to the curve... you can live with that WD Black... but seriously... once you go SSD, you will never go back.

Case
It's a case. It holds your stuff. You want to keep your components nice and cool... if you wanted to go a little higher end, have a look at Corsair. They have done a great job in design ever since they entered the case market. Lian Li is also another well-respected name... some of their lower-end cases aren't as smooth as their higher-end cases, though. Cooler Master is another good name. Antec has been around the game for a long time, they know what they're doing.

Power Supply
650W is honestly, over-kill for your machine. But like I said before, we're going to hammer that Alienware into the ground... and I meant it. Gold has been tested the most, Silver second, and Bronze should meet and exceed your expectations. You could drop down to 400-550 watts and still comfortably supply power to your components, but at most you'll save maybe $20 under the one I included. Other good names in the PSU game: Antec, PC Power and Cooling, Seasonic, OCZ, and Silverstone.

If you can spend the extra to go modular, it's worth considering... tidier cables = better air-flow = cooler PC. But if you invest a little time in tidying your cables (zip ties are your friend here!), you can achieve a nice environment for your internals.

DVD
It plays stuff. If you want to step up to Blu-Ray, expect to spend about $50-60 or so to get into the entry-level Blu-Ray burners. A little less for just a player.

The Bottom Line
$813 after promos and rebates.

$730 without the SSD.

Budget another $100 or so for Windows... either way, you're looking at $913 to completely blow that Alienware out of the the water, or $830 to meet and/or exceed that Alienware part-for-part.

Either way, that Nvidia 545 is a deal-killer at that $899 price point... You're paying $899 for 1-2 year old technology, when for that same price or even less you'll be getting current-gen technology on each and every component in your machine.

SSD or no SSD, this computer will take whatever you throw at it and laugh in your face for a good long time.
stonyc is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 2012, 04:51 PM   #25
Vampire5003
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Texas
IMO my custom watercooled PC cost me less than 1k to build. I loved it! Seriously it is not hard to build a PC, its easy than replacing the belt on your car or chasing after a loose dog. There are even youtube videos that go step by step, but overclockers and Tom's Hardware also have great tutorials. I had a M14X and it was definitely from Dell, because the damn thing had the blue screen of death once or twice a week! It was awful! I spent $1400 on it! I regretted that purchase, and that's what led to me DIY PC's and Mac's .


Thomas
__________________
27" iMac Late 2012, 3.2GHz, 24GB RAM, 1TB HD
Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 - Black
iPad Mini 16GB - White and Silver
Vampire5003 is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Buying Tips and Advice

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
ios 7: trust this computer same every time I plug into same computer KOTULCN iOS 7 11 Oct 24, 2013 03:39 PM
Using a Pre-installed OS X on one computer for another computer muffinman OS X 9 Jul 8, 2013 08:14 PM
Resolved: Apps backed up on different computer, how to get them to current computer? JoshMKB24 iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting 6 Jan 24, 2013 06:06 AM
Can drag/drop movies onto iPad2 from computer #1 but not computer #2 ???? redgtxdi iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting 0 Jan 21, 2013 06:24 PM
Transfer iPhone to new computer (without old computer's files) Dreamer2go iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting 1 Sep 25, 2012 09:18 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:40 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC