Sunday, October 22, 2006


It's coming about time to upgrade my computer. Morbo has served me well for many, many years now, but the last real upgrade it got was a new video card two and a half years ago. I'm actually considering the idea of buying a pre-built machine this time. A year ago this would have sounded insane—why buy when you can build?—but maybe it isn't. I've heard recently that it can actually be cheaper to buy from Dell than to build yourself, due to their wacky bulk hardware deals. I'm skeptical, as that has never, ever been the general case, excepting perhaps insane doorbuster Christmas sales. But, it's worth looking into, I suppose.

I think I want to wait until DX10 video cards come out. I don't really know anything about PCIe... I assume that I can't use an AGP card in the meantime while I wait for DX10 cards to exist. If I could, I'd buy sooner rather than later. Let me know if you know either way, so I don't have to do the research myself. :)


Anonymous said...

Unless you have something specific you need more computing power for NOW, just wait until the market is in a state where you feel good about doing it all at once. It's much more satisfying to build an entirely new system than a MOSTLY new system. Wait until those cards are out, THEN start your research, THEN buy everything all at once. Do you really want to spend $1000 on a bleeding edge system, build it, turn it on, and find that your games are BARELY faster than before because you're still using your old video card? NO!

Note that this advice is based totally off my psyche and what gives ME the most satisfaction.

Also, I'm pretty sure the "Dell is cheaper than building it yourself!" is only the case if you go with a fairly low-end, "Desktop" class system. The faster gamer-class stuff usually comes with quite a price penalty.

Travis said...

That's the general plan. But, I have a better video card than CPU; if everything but the video card were available, I'd be willing to reuse the old video card for a month or two while waiting for a new one. I can definitely get use out of a new CPU anytime. It's at least an option.

It probably won't matter anyway. I don't have any pressing need to upgrade, and the one game I'm excited about right now is World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. After that would be Dark Messiah Might and Magic and Command and Conquer 3, and by the time I'm ready to devote my energy to something else, I'm sure technology will fall into place...

Anonymous said...

I'm not totally sure that Dell is cheaper than building it yourself. Also, when you do look into Dell, don't forget that they do give discounts to Microsoft that might make a difference.

Personally, I find great satisfaction in building a computer myself. That way you can place all the hardware in it that YOU want. And you don't need to worry about voiding any warrantees if you discover that a specific piece of hardware isn't working all that well for you and you replace it. Also, another thing to keep in mind about buying a prebuilt machine is that it will ship with software that the company feels you need. Yes, you can reformat it once you get the machine, but if you already own most of that's really silly to buy it twice. And I've seen many computers that have a ton of junk programs on it, that they really bog down the computer (and thus need a reformat right off the bat!) Of course, I am sure you are more knowledgeable about stuff than about 80% of the people out that might not be an issue.

Wow - I have more knowledge in this area than I really should!

Travis said...

"Back to the kitchen, woman!"

Kerjo said...

I considered upgrading over the summer, but I bought a cheap video card upgrade. I'm simply waiting until DX10 cards are out to start looking at new stuff again.

Luke said...

My most recent desktop purchase was a Dell, and that was the first time I optend for the pre-built. I jumped only because the stackable coupon deals made it too good, and I was able to go to dual large LCDs, new Nvidia card, and giant hard drive for truly less than I would have spent putting it together myself.

I won't say I'm displeased. But I also probably wouldn't do it again. I had the have the power supply replaced 3 times within the 1 year warranty and have the RAM replaced once.

Having built enough systems for myself and others, I just don't anticipate having to go through the same garbage with my custom-selected, top-shelf components.

But, it's leveled out now and has been working well since they got me a nice Delta power supply.

As for my next purchase, I'm pretty sure I'm throwing in the gaming towel and will be getting a notebook. Notably, an Apple notebook.

As for you video card question, you're essentially right. There do exist PCIe + AGP motherboards to serve precisely your (perhaps) desire. You can play w/ you AGP card until you buy a hot new PCIe card. There's nothing _wrong_ with these combo mobos, but you do sacrifice some slots, and you greatly limit your selection, often not being able to buy the truly hot boards that are all the rage (as those are always dedicated, purist boards).

Travis said...

Thanks for the informative reply... "timely" though it may be.

Luke said...

Ha ha. Well, yeah, what can I say? I hadn't looked at this in awhile. :)