New pc, what components, brand name, etc. for you

If you were buying a new system, tell us everything you would want on your system:
Which brand of processor and speed and why.
How much ram and why.
Type of hard drive and why.
Which brand name on the system since brand name affects which motherboard you may get inside. Which brands have an Intel motherboard, or Nvidia. Which brands will give you a generic motherboard with questionable lifespan.
All in one or not, and why, and what is not included if you do not get an "all in one."


Exclude any warranty you'd get as an add-on, monitor, mouse, keyboard, O/S,
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nickg5Asked:
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Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
Building a computer is all about what you're intending to use it for.  No sense in paying for a Lamborghini if you're only going to use it to drive around town.

With that said - I usually buy on the high end side and let the computer depreciate over time.

Some things to do and not do:

I'm a fan of intel over AMD.  The i* chips got rid of the frontside bus which allow for faster transfer between RAM and the cpu.  Faster is better, the bigger the l2, l3 cache the better.

Ram, I went with 16GB (expandable to 32GB) later on.  Stay with the 1.5v ram as anything over that can shorten the life of the cpu.  Faster ram is better.

Hard Drives:
2 - an SSD system / boot drive (at least 128GB, preferably 256GB) and then a normal data drive.  SSD offers a lot more performance but you sacrifice storage capacity.

Brand names for Mobos - Asus / Gigabyte / MSI

Video Cards - Nvidia over intel, especially if you're SLI (the crossfire bugs are still an issue as far as I know).

Definitely not an all in one.  If one thing goes on that, you have to throw the whole thing out.  Versus I just had my data harddrive fail and I'm able to RMA that while still using the rest of the computer.

I normally use tomshardware.com for reviews on the latest and greatest hardware.  The nice thing about them is they do an analysis on value . . . eg: are you really getting what you're paying for.

Hope that helps.

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nickg5Author Commented:
Kyle:
Ram, I went with 16GB (expandable to 32GB) later on.  Stay with the 1.5v ram as anything over that can shorten the life of the cpu.  Faster ram is better.

Hard Drives:
2 - an SSD system / boot drive (at least 128GB, preferably 256GB) and then a normal data drive.  SSD offers a lot more performance but you sacrifice storage capacity.

Brand names for Mobos - Asus / Gigabyte / MSI

...........What is 1.5V ram?
So you'd get an HHD and an SSD?

What about brand name on the outside like ASUS, Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo.
Dells are lower cost though same specs on ram, processor, hard drive.
How do you know what brand motherboard you get and how does the brand name on the outside of the tower give you clues about the life time of all the internals?
Kyle AbrahamsSenior .Net DeveloperCommented:
Are you talking about a pre-built computer that you buy from a company or are you talking about building your own?  


Ram currently comes in two flavors . . . 1.5v and overclocked 1.65v.   The 1.65v are faster but they burn out the cpu.


When you buy from a company you are limited to what they put on their website for what brands you're getting.  I've had a dell that lasted 10 years (my previous computer) and I've seen them crash in 2 years . . . it's really the chance you take when you're not customizing your own build.

And correct, I get an SSD and a HDD.  If you only have the choice of one better to buy the SSD so the OS comes pre-loaded with the computer from the mfg and then you can buy the HDD and throw it in yourself.
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rindiCommented:
As was already mentioned, it really depends on that you will be using the PC for.

Basically the brand doesn't matter, although Lenovo is usually meant for business use and therefore more expensive but also a little better in Quality, while Acer usually is the lowest quality of them all. But most of the brands have low-end and high-end models, so it doesn't really make much of a difference. Also the components they use are more or less the same.

If I were to get a PC, I'd look at the price first. If something is missing I'd then add that myself later. I'd also try getting a PC without any pre-installed OS, as that should be cheaper and gives me the choice of what I want to install. But such PC's are hard to get, almost all that are available have an m$ OS installed for which you pay a hidden extra for.
nickg5Author Commented:
Save music and videos.
Investment program requiring lots of ram.

Store bought system.
Dell is alot lower cost than other brands with the same HD, i5, ram.
Someone said the no name brands can have no name motherboards.

Assume store bought system and assume everything but video games.
rindiCommented:
There is no such thing as "No Name Mainboards". They all come from the same few manufacturers, and they all have cheaper and more expensive boards. Normally it is easier to maintain no-name branded PC's, as the boards used are standard boards that can easily be found on the board's manufacturer's home site, while many boards that are used by Dell, HP etc., are special models that were made by the board manufacturer's for that particular PC, and if you look on their site and try to find info or drivers for that board, you'll find nothing, as it is a special OEM version they built for Dell or HP.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
If you buy a brand name like Dell you don't have much choice with the components.

You can choose the processor (by selecting a different model) and how much memory and how much storage  it has but that's about it.  You've got no choice on whose components go into the machine.  So if you want a Seagate hard drive and Crucial memory in your brand name computer, sorry, you don't have that option.

As for the motherboard the brand names contract out to someone in China.  And quality depends on how the brand name negotiates with the contractor.

If you build it yourself or have someone build it for you THEN you can select your components.  But that's expensive compared to wandering into a store and making a pick.  You can't compete with a brand name's purchasing power.

As suggested above (and I'll concur):
Intel processor
16 Gb of memory (expandable to 32 Gb)
SSD rather than a hard drive

and you can get that from a brand name.
nickg5Author Commented:
List of motherboard manufacturers:

    Acer
    ACube Systems
    AMAX Information Technologies
    AOpen
    ASRock
    Asus
    Biostar
    Chassis Plans
    DFI (industrial motherboards), stopped producing LanParty motherboards in 2009
    ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems)
    EPoX (partially defunct)
    EVGA Corporation
    First International Computer
    Foxconn
    Gigabyte Technology
    Gumstix
    IBM (only for their mainframes)
    Intel
    Lanner Inc (industrial motherboards)
    Leadtek
    LiteOn
    Magic-Pro
    MSI (Micro-Star International)
    PNY Technologies
    Powercolor
    Sapphire Technology
    Shuttle Inc.
    Simmtronics
    Supermicro
    Trenton Technology
    Tyan
    VIA Technologies
    Vigor Gaming
    XFX
    Zotac

By no name I meant the ones above that 99 out of 100 people have never heard of. If we want a motherboard that last 2 years maybe we choose >>  ???
If we want a motherboard that will last 5-7 years, then ??

I see Intel on the list. Does the average person desire an Intel or one made by Tyan? We'd guess Intel.
We'd like a decent motherboard. Is that the most expensive component on a system?
rindiCommented:
If it was for a server, then a tyan would be good. Intel boards tend to be conservative in their features and I wouldn't normally buy them.

Most of the cheaper PC's use foxconn or Asrock boards. But neither are really bad. All of them should last 5 years easily. Normally you'll find that other parts like disks or PSU's will fail much earlier. If you need a good board, make sure it uses solid state and not electrolytic condensators.
nobusCommented:
your question about pc's covers nearly the whole PC market
in order to get answers that suit you, you have to specify
-budget  -->determines high, or low end system
-what the system will be used for
-are you looking for a brand name PC -  or will you assemble it yourself
-specific needs -eg games, or special software
nickg5Author Commented:
At this point the system may be store bought. 95% chance.
Under $1,000 which does include $999 which are prices of some systems here in the USA at Staples or Best Buy which will likely, 95%, be the purchase location.
We had a friend build one for us and we lost the motherboard twice and buying a new system every 3 years is not good.

No video games.
Video and music storage, investment software requiring minimum 4 ram and about 80Mb of hard drive space.

We know J.H. prefer Lenovo. Others have tried and like ASUS.
Neighbor is set on Dell only because he knows someone that has a Dell.

Best Buy sells:
Dell, HP, ACER, ASUS, Lenovo, Apple (too expensive), Alienware and CyberpowerPC, CybertronPC, Dell, iBuypower, Zotac, GIGABYTE, Intel®m Intelm Shuttle, Gigabyte, Kaser, Syber, LG, Samsung, Gateway, Xi3, AOpen, Foxconn, Lasko, Super Micro, Viewsonic, Wyse.

Staples sells:
Acer, Asus, CHIP PC, Cyberpower, Dell, Dell Wyse, GIGABYTE, HP,  IBM, iBuyPower,  Intel,  Lenovo,  LG,  NEC,  Omitron, Samsung, Shuttle, Supermicro,  TG,  Viewsonic, WYSE, Zotac.



Picking the name brand processor is easy.
There are only 3-4. We assume the HD may be Seagate or WD.

Motherboard make is very unknown in all those choices above on brand names and those are brand names of the computers sold at those stores.
rindiCommented:
Alienware belongs to Dell and are high-end PC's and expensive (similar to Lexus which is the high-end Toyota).
nickg5Author Commented:
Well, we see systems with the same ram, processor, HD, and the price differences are hundreds of dollars. Dell are far cheaper than the others = ? quality parts inside or Dell only makes 1% profit on theirs.

Custom built will be too expensive most likely and which motherboards are in all those brands above leaves a wide door of uncertainty on which one to buy.

Or just buy one and hope it does not die.
rindiCommented:
As I pointed out earlier, in my point of view I'd go for as cheap as possible. It just isn't worth paying more than necessary for a PC. Even expensive PC's can break down now or later, and once the warranty has ended you'd either have to replace or fix it, and repairing an expensive PC could be more expensive than repairing a cheap one. Besides, even if you don't want to replace a PC after 3 years, that is a long time in the IT world, and you can expect that your model is hopelessly slow compared to the new models available then.
nobusCommented:
in general, Dell (and other brands) have different production lines
-consumer pc's - low to high end
-business PC's - also low to high

so in your case, it would be a Branded pc  - less than 1000$
does that include everything?  monitor, keyboard + mouse?
i would suggest the brands known to me
Dell, HP, ACER, ASUS, Lenovo , GIGABYTE, Intel

if possible, look for an SSD,  and at least 8 GB ram + i-5 CPU
on this page, you can input your desires for cpu ram etc..:
http://www.dell.com/us/p/desktops#!facets=153558~0~8739391&p=1

look what you find there  - and do the same on the other's sites
nickg5Author Commented:
Nobus:
From the top, tower only.

But some at those two stores do include a keyboard and mouse as freebies. Since their value is near zero.
nobusCommented:
on the link i posted, there are some models around 700$ - with 1TB drive; if you add an SSD of 256 Gb - you have anice system
nickg5Author Commented:
Let's ask another question.
Of all the brands sold at Staples or Best Buy which ones would you choose?

Nobus chooses these: Dell, HP, ACER, ASUS, Lenovo , GIGABYTE, Intel
Rindi would go low cost since higher dollar systems can die too.

Once you choose a brand, what brand of motherboard would you want?
(since hard drives are not that expensive and people can change their own, Ram can be added or removed if desired to have a lower "v" and power supplies are low cost parts).

So, brand name on the outside and motherboard on the inside would be my top priorities. Since we have good choices for processor, and ram.
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I'd say Apple and IBM would not be on my list due to cost.

If we can find a very top of the line system at one of those stores, in the $850-$975 range, and we can catch a sale which happens quite often, and then we add on about $230.00 in gift cards which effectively cost us nothing, then a $950 system could cost us under $500 = good deal.
nobusCommented:
i found nearly all of the modern systems very reliable, compared to systems before 2010
in fact  - this year i'm out of pc work, no customers any more..
so i would not concentrate on the brand - in or out (unless you wabt a specific one) - but on what you get
rindiCommented:
I don't care about the board. You can't choose it anyway if you buy a brand PC. I would prefer one with solid state caps as I mentioned, and maybe with 4 and not just 2 memory slots, but without opening the PC you don't know what is inside unless you have the time to lookup every model on the internet.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  So, brand name on the outside and motherboard on the inside would be my top priorities. Since we have good choices for processor, and ram.

If you go brand name on the outside you have NO choice for motherboard on the inside.

If you build one yourself (or have someone do it) then you DO have the choice.  But this costs more.

For brand names you only have minimal choice:  Dell or HP.  Acer makes rubbish (my opinion).  Lenovo is another possible but I don't know them enough.  

The rest of the names you've mentioned aren't relevant.  eg Shuttle make small niche boxes, Gigabyte do motherboards and laptops, Intel do motherboards, etc ...

Go either Dell or HP.  They make systems that range from low to high end.  Reasonable support.
nickg5Author Commented:
We'll be buying a new system early 2017. We'll evaluate what processors are there at the time. Maybe i7 is the most powerful from Intel and maybe not.
Ram was know we need maybe 12 or more. Hopefully by then SSD will be more in use than it is now. We'll look for a solid state motherboard.
I'd guess the seller can tell us what motherboard is inside. Those stores do repairs so taking the cover off to identify the motherboard should not be an issue.

We do have one good shop locally and we'll see what a custom built would cost. But, based on frequent sales at those stores, and about $230 in gift cards we may have by then, we should be able to get a $950 system for near $500 which should give us a good one.
nickg5Author Commented:
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