Can't choose which system - advice please!!

  Horik 20:02 21 Apr 2008

I can't choose between 2 systems; I'm buying a new pc with a budget of £750 tops (including delivery). The new system will be mainly used for wp applications, internet browsing, email and gaming (games like Civ4 and Footy Manager) (including some low demand online gaming).

System 1: Dell XPS 420.
Viiv E8400 Core 2 Duo Processor
Vista® Home Premium - English
3072MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM
Logitech™ Cordless Desktop™ MX®3200
Dell™ 19" Silver Wide Flat Panel
SINGLE 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT card
750GB (7200rpm) Serial ATA/100 Hard Drive with 16MB DataBurst™ cache
19-in-1 Bluetooth Media Card Reader
DVD +/- RW Drive (read/write CD & DVD)
Integrated HDA 7.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Dell™ A525 Speakers with Subwoofer
Microsoft® Works 9 - English
Base Warranty - 1 Year XPS Premium Hardware Support (incl. Gaming and On-Site Support)
Total price: £698.94

System 2: Arbico CD 8400XL
Coolermaster Elite 330 Case
650W standard PSU
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU
Standard Heatsink & CPU Fan
Asrock 4Core1333-GLAN Motherboard
3GB (3 x 1GB) Kingston 667Mhz DDR2
512MB nVidia Geforce 8800GT PCI Express Graphics Card
Integrated 7.1 Channel Sound Card
320GB SATA 7200RPM Hard Drive
20x Dual Layer DVD +/- Rewriter
Integrated 10/100/1000 Network Card
19" Hannspree New York, Black, Widescreen, 700:1, 5ms, DVI/VGA, TFT
Std Keyboard & Optical Mouse
Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (32bit Version)
AVG AntiVirus
Nero Burning Rom
2 Years Return To Base Warranty (1st Year - Parts & Labour, 2nd Year - Labour Only) - included in price
Total price: £740.10

Any advice welcome; both deals seem to have their good and bad points.

  GaT7 00:08 22 Apr 2008

The chosen systems, including graphics card card is overkill for your needs. I could suggest a suitable one for quite a bit less.

Also consider buiding it yourself (click here), but if that's not an option & you still want to stick to your budget...

I would go for this Dell XPS 420 click here, remove the monitor, but select the 3Gb RAM upgrade & Logitech MX®3200 upgrades = £494, or £473 with cashback (click here)

Then get a larger 22" monitor with DVI, a 500Gb external hard drive* & better 2.1 speakers: click here, click here & click here = £217 (use free del click here for the price)

Total price = £711, or £690 with cashback. G

* Making it 1TB in total, but only if you require the extra space. You could just save the money & get the above for ~£655, or £634 with cashback

P.S. Read the Logitech MX®3200 user reviews at Amazon click here - some have complained that the letters are too small

  Horik 02:23 22 Apr 2008

Thanks for that Crossbow.

I'm getting on in years and, to be honest, I'm not confident enough in my ability to build my own - I simply don't have the experience, which is why I'm looking for a pre-built system.

Your suggested modifications to the XPS 420 are interesting and seeing as I doubt I'd need the external hard drive (realistically I think I'd never even get close to using 500GB), it could be even more cost effective.

My one big problem with Dell though is the 1 year warranty as opposed to Arbico's 2 year warranty.

Since I wrote the original post I've come to realise that I probably don't need the 8800GT graphics card either, as I don't play any really graphically demanding titles - a 512MB 8600GT would probably suit my needs quite adequately.

The mrs is always nagging me about the noise my pc makes, so I'm currently considering buying the Arbico system - but saving money on the graphics card by switching to the 512MB 8600GT and instead buying quieter PSU, heatsink/fan and hard-drive, and switching the RAM for 3GB of Corsair 800Mhz memory.

  pc613 12:18 22 Apr 2008

If you want a quiet pc I would go for the coolermaster Cosmos 1000 full tower case. It's been designed for silent (well almost)running, the down side is the price and the size of the case(59cm high) but reviews say that you could put it on your desktop and not hear it. Would save you changing the psu/fan/harddrive

  donki 12:57 22 Apr 2008

A note on the warranty, in my experience if somethign is goign to go wrong it will happen within a year. I have to aggreee with crossbow, they are serious machines and will run anything you can throw at it. Im not a big fan of laptops but for your needs one would be perfect. easily stored, very quiet and you can waste away playing football manager in bed with the with long asleep :).

  djsigma 22:05 22 Apr 2008

Have a look at this Dell system: -

click here

It's actually a better spec than the XPS you mentioned IMO, minus the fancy case of course, plus it comes with a 22 inch LCD. Select the Logitech EX110 keyboard/mouse combo and for some reason it reduces the price by £3. The total price is £612.18 including V.A.T. and delivery, and if you sign up for a free Quidco account you should be able to get £26.05 cashback, taking the price down to £586.23.

The price includes £75 in Dell discounts - both of these offers expire tomorrow, so if you want one, be quick. I know it's on the business site, but just put your own name in as the name of your business and the order will go through. I bought one last week and there were no problems. It might be overkill for your needs, but if you get one at least you shouldn't have to worry about upgrading it for a long time!

  GaT7 22:25 22 Apr 2008

djsigma, that's overkill for the OP's needs - see first few lines of his initial post & also his 2nd post. G

  Horik 22:39 22 Apr 2008

Yes, I've cast an eye over the Vostro 400 a few times over the last few days; the only reasons I didn't go for it was the mini case and because I thought the quad processor would be a bit of a waste, considering the usage I have in mind.
Mind you, the price is very tempting! The only real reservation I have with Dell is the PSUs in their systems - I've heard rumours that they're a tad basic and liable to conk out (dunno how true this is).

To muddy the waters further, I've also been looking at some Cougar systems (especially the Extreme 8800).

*sigh* I guess I'm getting close to 'make your mind up' time and I seem to have more choice than ever!

If anyone who owns a Dell could give me a definitive opinion on their PSUs, I might just be able to sort this mess out and make a decision.

  Woolwell 22:51 22 Apr 2008

I look after 6 Dell's of varying ages from 2 to 6 years old. They are not used for gaming but none of them have caused any problem.
The only snag that I had was one for myself which was dead on arrival and had a mix up of spec as well. But they did a refund reasonably quickly. Indian call centre though.

  Horik 22:51 22 Apr 2008

You're comment to djsigma is relevant and correct - but he reminds me of another point:
Whichever system I buy I don't intend to replace for around 4-5 years if possible. Therefore I don't want to find out a couple of years down the line that my system can't play the latest versions of the games I like to play - who knows what system requirements Civ6/7 or Footy Manager 2011/12 might have?

  djsigma 22:51 22 Apr 2008

That's why I said "it might be overkill". :P

The difference between an 8600 and 8800 graphics card is about £80 at the most - that's if you choose the cheapest 8600 card available. Even if you take £80 off the price of the Arbico system, you still pay more for a computer with a slower processor, smaller hard drive, smaller monitor and inferior graphics card. You could even add the 3 year warranty to the Dell at £74 and it would still be cheaper.

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