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dirtyharry50: Alienware
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DarrkPhoenix: Don't buy from Alienware. Their machines are usually stupidly overpriced for what you are getting. There are a fair number of places that you can order a pre-built computer from while still being able to pick from a good selection of parts and getting a decent price. Alienware is not one of these places.
I understand the sentiment, but Falcon Northwest, Alienware, and the other boutiques offer a lot more than just the PC for that price. You get a fully tuned rig, tested and guaranteed for a number of years to work, very often with on-site service for a year and a very good warranty that includes replacing with newer stuff at no charge if it fails and they can't get the old parts anymore. Yes, you can build the exact same machine for 50-75% of the cost yourself, but you are on your own getting manufacturer warranties working if something goes sideways. The premium is justified for some, not for others, but it does have a reason for being there beyond 'buying the label'. :)
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DarrkPhoenix: Don't buy from Alienware. Their machines are usually stupidly overpriced for what you are getting. There are a fair number of places that you can order a pre-built computer from while still being able to pick from a good selection of parts and getting a decent price. Alienware is not one of these places.
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PCGameGuy: I understand the sentiment, but Falcon Northwest, Alienware, and the other boutiques offer a lot more than just the PC for that price. You get a fully tuned rig, tested and guaranteed for a number of years to work, very often with on-site service for a year and a very good warranty that includes replacing with newer stuff at no charge if it fails and they can't get the old parts anymore. Yes, you can build the exact same machine for 50-75% of the cost yourself, but you are on your own getting manufacturer warranties working if something goes sideways. The premium is justified for some, not for others, but it does have a reason for being there beyond 'buying the label'. :)
Exactly.
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Elmofongo: How much money do I need to aquire a Desktop WIndows 7 PC capable of playing Crysis 3 at maximum settings, because if it can play Crysis 3, it can play Battlefield 3, Far Cry 3, The Witcher 2, Arma 3, and possibly games that uses Unreal Engine 4.


(I am planning on getting my own desktop for next year)
1200-ish USD. It depends whether you really demand the extra RAM or the fancier mobo or not.

If you weren't asking for "highest settings" you could probably get away with under 700.

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Menelkir: Since the last couple of posts mentioned them, does anyone build desktops with optical drives anymore? I don't think i have touched a PC DVD in years.

And just now i realize that i have had my laptop for two years and i have never, never once opened the disc tray.
Yes, DVD burners are still pretty damned convenient for data backup. Burned DVDs still play in a wide range of devices as well. I know you can install most Linux variants from USB now days, but can you install Windows that way? That would be another reason if not.

They're bloody cheap (20 bucks) and there's always space for them.
Post edited December 20, 2012 by orcishgamer
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DarrkPhoenix: If you don't have an optical drive then how do you use that $100 Windows disc you bought to install on your computer?
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hedwards: I don't bother with DVD drives any more, I own one USB2 drive from Samsung, that I plug in on the rare occasion that I need one and I use it with all the computers in the house.

Admittedly, this is more cost effective if you have several computers, or if you keep it for years, but I've found that I plug it in so infrequently that the annoyance is worth it.

Also, doesn't Windows now support install from a USB stick? As long as one has access to a computer with a drive and a USB stick, that should work.
Yeah, with all the business machines I've been doing recently it actually gives it a nicer looking price on paper if you take out the optical drive, and for this business I just load windows with a external iOmega DVD drive and put the companies software on via usb.

Reminds of the comic in the paper today, where this granny was complaining because her grandson had given her his wishlist on a USB stick with links to the vendors websites. :)
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PCGameGuy: I understand the sentiment, but Falcon Northwest, Alienware, and the other boutiques offer a lot more than just the PC for that price. You get a fully tuned rig, tested and guaranteed for a number of years to work, very often with on-site service for a year and a very good warranty that includes replacing with newer stuff at no charge if it fails and they can't get the old parts anymore. Yes, you can build the exact same machine for 50-75% of the cost yourself, but you are on your own getting manufacturer warranties working if something goes sideways. The premium is justified for some, not for others, but it does have a reason for being there beyond 'buying the label'. :)
Those kinds of guarantees are basically in the same category of ripoffs as extended warranties. The vast majority of part failures are simply the part being DOA; any place putting together a machine for you will catch this when they try to install the OS and the machine doesn't work, and if you're building yourself you'll catch it just as fast and be able to RMA the part without any problems. If a part fails but isn't DOA then the failure rate typically follows the bathtub curve- either it fails within a couple of months (in which case you can either RMA it or it will still be under the manufacturer's warranty), or it fails after several years, in which case it wouldn't be covered by those guarantees you're paying a premium for anyway. The number of parts that fail in that intermediate period where the parts are no longer covered by standard warranties but are covered by those kinds of extended guarantees tends to be very small. Because of this those kinds of guarantees that you described are a great deal for the companies offering them, but a rather lousy deal for anyone who happens to pay a premium for them.
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orcishgamer: I know you can install most Linux variants from USB now days, but can you install Windows that way?
You can, though you probably need to find a program to "burn" the .iso to a usb first. Have done it a couple of times, but they are so rare that each time I look for a usb burning program from scratch.
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PCGameGuy: I understand the sentiment, but Falcon Northwest, Alienware, and the other boutiques offer a lot more than just the PC for that price. You get a fully tuned rig, tested and guaranteed for a number of years to work, very often with on-site service for a year and a very good warranty that includes replacing with newer stuff at no charge if it fails and they can't get the old parts anymore. Yes, you can build the exact same machine for 50-75% of the cost yourself, but you are on your own getting manufacturer warranties working if something goes sideways. The premium is justified for some, not for others, but it does have a reason for being there beyond 'buying the label'. :)
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DarrkPhoenix: Those kinds of guarantees are basically in the same category of ripoffs as extended warranties. The vast majority of part failures are simply the part being DOA; any place putting together a machine for you will catch this when they try to install the OS and the machine doesn't work, and if you're building yourself you'll catch it just as fast and be able to RMA the part without any problems. If a part fails but isn't DOA then the failure rate typically follows the bathtub curve- either it fails within a couple of months (in which case you can either RMA it or it will still be under the manufacturer's warranty), or it fails after several years, in which case it wouldn't be covered by those guarantees you're paying a premium for anyway. The number of parts that fail in that intermediate period where the parts are no longer covered by standard warranties but are covered by those kinds of extended guarantees tends to be very small. Because of this those kinds of guarantees that you described are a great deal for the companies offering them, but a rather lousy deal for anyone who happens to pay a premium for them.
I agree to disagree on this one, my experience with a Dell XPS laptop that was over 4 years old when it had a failure convinced me that not all of them are the ripoff they seem. Granted, if I had never used it it would have been money in their pocket, but so is auto/life/home insurance when you don't use it. Some prefer the safety net, others take life's risks as a given. :)
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PCGameGuy: I understand the sentiment, but Falcon Northwest, Alienware, and the other boutiques offer a lot more than just the PC for that price. You get a fully tuned rig, tested and guaranteed for a number of years to work, very often with on-site service for a year and a very good warranty that includes replacing with newer stuff at no charge if it fails and they can't get the old parts anymore. Yes, you can build the exact same machine for 50-75% of the cost yourself, but you are on your own getting manufacturer warranties working if something goes sideways. The premium is justified for some, not for others, but it does have a reason for being there beyond 'buying the label'. :)
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DarrkPhoenix: Those kinds of guarantees are basically in the same category of ripoffs as extended warranties. The vast majority of part failures are simply the part being DOA; any place putting together a machine for you will catch this when they try to install the OS and the machine doesn't work, and if you're building yourself you'll catch it just as fast and be able to RMA the part without any problems. If a part fails but isn't DOA then the failure rate typically follows the bathtub curve- either it fails within a couple of months (in which case you can either RMA it or it will still be under the manufacturer's warranty), or it fails after several years, in which case it wouldn't be covered by those guarantees you're paying a premium for anyway. The number of parts that fail in that intermediate period where the parts are no longer covered by standard warranties but are covered by those kinds of extended guarantees tends to be very small. Because of this those kinds of guarantees that you described are a great deal for the companies offering them, but a rather lousy deal for anyone who happens to pay a premium for them.
Depends on the particular item the warranty is on. I've never had an extended warranty for a laptop fail to pay for itself. My current laptop might be an exception, but I've already received a free replacement of the HDD. So, we'll see if it continues the trend, but the same goes for my brother and my family.

OTOH, most other things it's a complete waste of money.
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orcishgamer: I know you can install most Linux variants from USB now days, but can you install Windows that way?
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JMich: You can, though you probably need to find a program to "burn" the .iso to a usb first. Have done it a couple of times, but they are so rare that each time I look for a usb burning program from scratch.
The Windows 7 USB/DVD installer tool. It's available for free from the Windows store last I checked, and even though it says "Windows 7" in the name, it will work with any legitimate ISO of a recent Windows version. I haven't tried it with XP, but I have used it for Server 2008 and 2012 and Windows 8 builds...and with Windows 7, of course. I think I even used it with Vista once.
Post edited December 20, 2012 by Tallin
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Tallin: The Windows 7 USB/DVD installer tool.
Thank you. As I said though, I do it quite rarely (once every 6 months? every 12?), so by the time I need it again, I'll probably have forgotten about it :/
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JMich: You can, though you probably need to find a program to "burn" the .iso to a usb first. Have done it a couple of times, but they are so rare that each time I look for a usb burning program from scratch.
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Tallin: The Windows 7 USB/DVD installer tool. It's available for free from the Windows store last I checked, and even though it says "Windows 7" in the name, it will work with any legitimate ISO of a recent Windows version. I haven't tried it with XP, but I have used it for Server 2008 and 2012 and Windows 8 builds...and with Windows 7, of course. I think I even used it with Vista once.
That's interesting. It definitely should work with any ISO, unless of course MS is using non-standard bootable discs, but that's rather unlikely, just because it has to be bootable by the standards that the BIOS has.

I was pretty sure that MS had a utility for doing that, seeing as it's more and more common for computers to once again be without an optical drive. My laptop doesn't even have space for one.
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hedwards: That's interesting. It definitely should work with any ISO, unless of course MS is using non-standard bootable discs, but that's rather unlikely, just because it has to be bootable by the standards that the BIOS has.
The basic question is if it's reading the bootable sector from the iso or if it writes one from a selection of them. If it's from the iso, should work with any bootable image, if it's from a selection (think old sys command) then it will only work with what it currently has.
Start at 1,500 and go from there. I don't know where some of you pick up your parts ;)
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orcishgamer: I know you can install most Linux variants from USB now days, but can you install Windows that way?
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JMich: You can, though you probably need to find a program to "burn" the .iso to a usb first. Have done it a couple of times, but they are so rare that each time I look for a usb burning program from scratch.
Actually, not sure about 7 or Vista, but with 8 I just copied the files from the ISO to my USB key (moved all files off it first) and it installed alright.
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PCGameGuy: I agree to disagree on this one, my experience with a Dell XPS laptop that was over 4 years old when it had a failure convinced me that not all of them are the ripoff they seem. Granted, if I had never used it it would have been money in their pocket, but so is auto/life/home insurance when you don't use it. Some prefer the safety net, others take life's risks as a given. :)
Dell offered a warranty service that extended out to over 4 years? I certainly wouldn't have expected that. If you can get a warranty that actually extends out that long then I can certainly see it being worth it, since at least for laptops at 4 years you'll start hitting the edge of that bathtub curve I mentioned. Warranties for shorter periods of time (2 years or less) are still usually ripoffs though.

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hedwards: Depends on the particular item the warranty is on. I've never had an extended warranty for a laptop fail to pay for itself.
Then it sounds like you've gotten lucky (or would that be unlucky?). Remember that the companies offering these warranties have all the data on how many claims they have to deal with and can easily compare the associated costs to how much money they bring in on those warranties. Do you think they'd still be offering those warranties at the current price if they weren't making money off of them?

The caveat to that is, of course, if you know your own use patterns are going to be outside the norm and greatly increase the chances of your laptop failing within the warranty period.
Post edited December 20, 2012 by DarrkPhoenix