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camel
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Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:58 pm

Hi folks.

This site seems to be mostly about building PCs yourself, but do any of you use any custom builders? (Does my head go on a stake just for asking such a sacrilegious question?)

I built my last system a while ago (Core i7-940), and... been there, done that. (Every single part I ordered from Gigabyte had to be RMA'd, at least once). I'm not anxious to do that again. Before that I always bought systems configured through Dell, but their selection and system configurability has diminished greatly since the last time I bought from them 20 years ago. (They're not even selling the latest Skylake-X processors, and, according to two online chats I've had with them, they have no plans to do so.)

I'm looking for recommendations for, and feedback about any custom builders the gerbils here like (and don't like).

One builder I'm especially interested in hearing about is eCollegePC, if anyone here has dealt with them. I'm asking about them in particular because they have the highest rating on resellerratings I've ever seen, for any company, not just PC builders. And yet, when I used your in-house Google search, I couldn't find a single instance of anyone here mentioning them.

I'm not here to shill for this builder. I'm honestly interested in feedback about any and all builders.

Thanks!
 
ludi
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:13 pm

If you're going to pay someone else for a custom build, find a local builder with good reviews; they need your money more than some online vendor, and will provide the right-now support you deserve in exchange.

Otherwise, if it's been about ten years since your last build (i7-940, you said), well, a lot has changed in the meantime. Might be worth another go, starting by a look-through of the latest TechReport System Guide. :-)
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hkuspc40
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:53 pm

I really recommend against custom builders. If you want to just buy a PC then buy one with a solid warranty (like a Dell). I'd be surprised if you got the same level of service for the same amount of time. If a Dell breaks, you call them, and they fix it. Done. That won't happen with a custom machine whether you built it or someone else built it.

Edit: Just looked at their Alienware machines... i7-6800k is their base and that's gonna be blazing fast for 95% of the population for the next 5 years. So I'd really weigh what you need it to do. Do you really need a 7900k? I plan on using my 4790K for at least another 3 years...
Last edited by hkuspc40 on Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:57 pm

I (mostly) used this one last time:
techreport.com/review/15941/tr-christmas-2008-system-guide/8
(Was going to do a fancy link, but the forum won't let me post links yet.)
 
camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:08 pm

hkuspc40 wrote:
Edit: Just looked at their Alienware machines... i7-6800k is their base and that's gonna be blazing fast for 95% of the population for the next 5 years. So I'd really weigh what you need it to do. Do you really need a 7900k?

I was actually thinking a 7820X was the sweet spot for the most future-proof CPU I can get right now.

And the fact that Alienware isn't even offering SKL-X yet, while so many others are, is intolerable. Alienware used to be a respectable, cutting-edge builder, until Dell bought them out. Now it's just another Dell with an Alienware badge. And I don't need no stinkin' badges...
 
hkuspc40
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:13 pm

Yeah Dell is just an example. I've been building my own since 1998. Like I said, it's really about what you need it for (gaming, work, multi-threaded, etc.). Good luck :)
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:45 pm

Several of my co-workers have been pleased enough with CyberPower PC to order from them more than once. They have a good selection of high-quality parts and the price that they charge for the assembled system isn't a lot more than you'd spend buying the components by yourself (especially if you take advantage of any current deals or no-cost upgrade options).
i7-6700K, NT06-Pro, GA-Z170N-Gaming5, 32 GiB, RX Vega56, SM951, 5TB HDD, Blu-ray, FTZ01, SX600-G, C32HG70, RK-9000BR, MX518
 
Kougar
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:55 pm

camel wrote:
And the fact that Alienware isn't even offering SKL-X yet, while so many others are, is intolerable. Alienware used to be a respectable, cutting-edge builder, until Dell bought them out. Now it's just another Dell with an Alienware badge. And I don't need no stinkin' badges...


I'm not sure any system builders are offering Skylake-X stuff yet, so don't be hasty blaming Alienware for that one. Supply is still limited on those chips. In fact Alienware and AMD did some exclusive where Alienware will be the first system builder to get Threadripper parts for the August launch.

If you are set on Skylake-X then it will be faster to build your own, or find a friend that (really, actually) knows what they're doing to build it for you. I wouldn't expect Skylake-X to reach system builders until August

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Several of my co-workers have been pleased enough with CyberPower PC to order from them more than once. They have a good selection of high-quality parts and the price that they charge for the assembled system isn't a lot more than you'd spend buying the components by yourself (especially if you take advantage of any current deals or no-cost upgrade options).


Just don't have them ship watercooled systems. I was sent a Hadron Hydro mITX rig by them. They used compression fittings and still the loop wasn't secured properly, so multiple tubes popped off the barbs in transit. Imagine a giant sealed plastic trashbag with a PC inside soaking in a liter of steaming coolant for a week. :P
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:31 pm

The last system that I helped spec out for a co-worker came with a CoolerMaster Seidon liquid cooler. He claims that it is so silent that he couldn't tell if the PC was turned on or not.
i7-6700K, NT06-Pro, GA-Z170N-Gaming5, 32 GiB, RX Vega56, SM951, 5TB HDD, Blu-ray, FTZ01, SX600-G, C32HG70, RK-9000BR, MX518
 
Kougar
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:47 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
The last system that I helped spec out for a co-worker came with a CoolerMaster Seidon liquid cooler. He claims that it is so silent that he couldn't tell if the PC was turned on or not.


Hopefully that doesn't mean the pump was off. :lol: It's funny how often people don't realize the CLC isn't working until after something breaks. That being said I wouldn't worry about a CLC system springing a leak during shipment, so I guess there is that.
 
blahsaysblah
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:49 pm

camel wrote:
One builder I'm especially interested in hearing about is eCollegePC, if anyone here has dealt with them. I'm asking about them in particular because they have the highest rating on resellerratings I've ever seen, for any company, not just PC builders. And yet, when I used your in-house Google search, I couldn't find a single instance of anyone here mentioning them.

I'm not here to shill for this builder.


They absolutely do not have the highest rating on reselleratings. Not even close. 93 reviews? Its just a standard small mom and pop shop. Open monday through friday. Cant find them on any list there without searching them by full name.

One user I'm especially interested in hearing about is camel, if anyone here has dealt with them. I'm asking about them in particular because they have the highest rating on techreport I've ever seen, for any person, not just random posters. And yet, when I used your in-house Google search, I couldn't find a single instance of anyone here mentioning camel.

I'm not here to shill for this user. But they are pertty awesome. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Back on a good topic about mom and pop shops, i agree if you can find a good local one, they are definitely worth it to send relatives/acquaintances to versus Best Buy,...

Also, building an expensive longevity build off a 1st generation platform with big changes, at same time entire market is flooded with new stuff. That's just asking for hurt. Besides, PCI-E 4.0 is next year?, that would be pretty important to a high end build. Especially if you want it to last 5-8 years.
 
camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:09 pm

Kougar wrote:
I'm not sure any system builders are offering Skylake-X stuff yet, so don't be hasty blaming Alienware for that one. Supply is still limited on those chips. In fact Alienware and AMD did some exclusive where Alienware will be the first system builder to get Threadripper parts for the August launch.


I have compared system configurations from MainGear, Falcon Northwest, Digital Storm, iBuyPower, Puget, OriginPC and about a dozen others. Every single one of them is offering SkyLake systems TODAY, with ship dates ranging from 3 weeks for most of them, all the way down to 5 days for eCollegePC.

But now, considering the other comments, I'm afraid to even mention the latter anymore, as it looks even to me like I'm an agent for them.

Thanks for the feedback.

Edit: One more thing
lifehacker.com/five-best-custom-pc-builders-1664766332
(still can't post real links :\ )
 
blahsaysblah
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Re: Custom Builders

Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:08 pm

My issue is, ive heard of every single of the other guys you mention. Even been to some of their sites over the years. Ive never once heard of that mom and pop shop. And that article you linked. It was exactly the type of paid adverts from back in the day. Sneak in a random article on the net. 2014, magically same time as they get BBB certified. Paid PR campaign? Anyway, watch how its done.

In Virginia? Try out Computer Upgrade King, i ordered what seemed to be a too good to be true deal so i assumed fudged clearance/open box, and it was(edit: tgtbt, not fudged), but they let me keep it. Not only that, i ordered two. I have both, ASRock Deskmini 110W mini-STX PCs with i7-7700, 32GB RAM (2nd one with 2 1TB SSDs which i sold both(one to local Virginia guy near them), to make tiny profit($49 total)money for lost drives, its just no cost effective to have SSD mirror array for backup, not my cup of tea). Insane price. The first one actual shipped with faulty power adapter or MB, cant tell, ive lost HDD and SSD drives trying to root cause. Anyway, even though they lost money on both, they are letting me RMA it. They're paying for shipping. At the time with first ones issues, i thought they had fleeced me, but it was actual honest mistake in pricing.

Crush much, sure, backed by facts.

You on other hand are throwing out easily verifiable falsehoods. I went to resellerratings, It has 10/10 rating, but than so do Newegg and B&H Photo(and a million 1 review companies), and they have thousands of reviews. Yours has 96 reviews, after 17 years of business. You literally cant find your company in any of their quick links without using their search bar to search by exact company name. You said they are the highest rating youve ever seen. Come on. It's OK. You've given value elsewhere in thread. If you said, you found them before and have a crush on them ever since and cyber stalked them. That's fine. Give us the story.
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Custom Builders

Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:44 am

Kougar wrote:
I'm not sure any system builders are offering Skylake-X stuff yet.
https://www.cyberpowerpc.com/page/Intel ... Gaming-PC/
https://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Cyb ... nfigurator
Reseller rating: 9.2/10. B&H has a higher rating, at 9.7/10, but they don't assemble custom PCs.
i7-6700K, NT06-Pro, GA-Z170N-Gaming5, 32 GiB, RX Vega56, SM951, 5TB HDD, Blu-ray, FTZ01, SX600-G, C32HG70, RK-9000BR, MX518
 
DPete27
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Re: Custom Builders

Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:09 am

I bought my first computer from iBuyPower.com and was very happy with it. I still check their site on occasion and they certainly are competitive on pricing compared to a do-it-yourself approach. I'd wholeheartedly recommend them to someone looking for a built-to-order aftermarket PC.

hkuspc40 wrote:
I'd be surprised if you got the same level of service for the same amount of time. If a Dell breaks, you call them, and they fix it. Done.

HA. Yeah, they will if it's within the 1 year of support that you get (unless you pay through the nose for extended service plan). Otherwise you're SOL. They won't even talk to you on the phone without you paying.
iBuyPower gives 3 years standard warranty service which includes 3 years labor and 1 year parts. I believe when I bought my first PC back in....2004(?) I got lifetime tech support also but I'm not up to date with what they're offering now and I cant find anything worded like that on their website.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
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ChicagoDave
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Re: Custom Builders

Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:56 pm

What exactly do you use your computer for that makes you think you need an i7-7740X ? That's a very expensive processor that requires a very expensive motherboard.

Unless you do really heavy duty computing (CAD/CAM, video rendering, running multiple VM's) I highly doubt you need an "X" series processor. And despite the much more expensive motherboard you'd need, you still are restricted to the same number of PCIe lanes as the consumer line. I think you'd be much better served buying an i5-7600k or i7-7700k and a $100-$150 z270 motherboard.

Can't comment on builders as I've built my own for over 20 years.
 
camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:37 pm

camel wrote:
I was actually thinking a 7820X was the sweet spot for the most future-proof CPU I can get right now.


According to Anandtech's review, the 7740X is just a 7700K on a new die to fit on X299 boards. In addition, x299 motherboards are only slightly more than Z270 boards. On many tests I've seen, the 7820x is 50 - 100% faster than a 7700K. I need that much power to play Elite Dangerous in VR. :-)
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Custom Builders

Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:50 pm

Don't go X299. It won't be much faster in games, maybe slower. The appeal of X299 is high core counts, PCIe lanes, and memory bandwidth in the more expensive chips. You wouldn't get those on the lower end chip.
 
Vhalidictes
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Re: Custom Builders

Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:02 pm

camel wrote:
camel wrote:
I was actually thinking a 7820X was the sweet spot for the most future-proof CPU I can get right now.


According to Anandtech's review, the 7740X is just a 7700K on a new die to fit on X299 boards. In addition, x299 motherboards are only slightly more than Z270 boards. On many tests I've seen, the 7820x is 50 - 100% faster than a 7700K. I need that much power to play Elite Dangerous in VR. :-)


The highest single-threaded performance available for gaming is the 7700K (properly overclocked). Anything else is at best a waste of money; Most HEDT systems would end up being slower for gaming.
 
camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:01 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
The highest single-threaded performance available for gaming is the 7700K (properly overclocked). Anything else is at best a waste of money; Most HEDT systems would end up being slower for gaming.


I took your advice and ordered a 7700K system instead (from the builder Whose Name We Dare Not Speak), as follows:

Image

Any good or bad comments? Any interest in unboxing photos when I get it next week?

Edit: The GTX 1080 Ti (major brand) turned out to be the Gigabyte Gaming OC model.
Last edited by camel on Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
ChicagoDave
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Re: Custom Builders

Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:46 pm

I'd personally go for a larger main SSD - at least 512gb. I'd also get a second SSD but probably better off buying and installing that yourself than buying from the builder. You can get 500gb Samsung 960 EVO drive for around $225...well worth the investment.
 
DPete27
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Re: Custom Builders

Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:30 pm

I agree. 500GB SSD would've been my recommendation.

Monitor?
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
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camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:16 pm

ChicagoDave & DPete27 wrote:
I'd personally go for a larger main SSD - at least 512gb. I'd also get a second SSD but probably better off buying and installing that yourself than buying from the builder. You can get 500gb Samsung 960 EVO drive for around $225...well worth the investment.


I have a monitor, SSD and two HDs I am migrating to the new system. Then I'll see what I can get for the rest on eBay. And then I have to decide, HTC or Occulus (or something else).
 
DPete27
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Re: Custom Builders

Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:39 pm

Not a 1920x1080 monitor I hope!

Just for fun, I priced up that same system on iBuyPower = $2,150 w/o the fan controller and optical drive (both not worth it IMO).
Last edited by DPete27 on Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
HTPC: A8-5600K, MSI FM2-A75IA-E53, 4TB Seagate SSHD, 8GB 1866MHz G.Skill, Crosley D-25 Case Mod
 
camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:41 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Not a 1920x1080 monitor I hope!


Actually it's 16X10, but... why not 1920X1080?
 
DPete27
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Re: Custom Builders

Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:47 pm

Because a GTX1080Ti is MASSIVE overkill for 1920x1200 (assuming 60Hz also). A GTX1070 would have been more than enough for $300 less.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
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Re: Custom Builders

Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:12 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Because a GTX1080Ti is MASSIVE overkill for 1920x1200 (assuming 60Hz also). A GTX1070 would have been more than enough for $300 less.

Not when the OP said this:
camel wrote:
And then I have to decide, HTC or Occulus (or something else).


Basically you need to at least double the rendering power for the same resolution. Granted a 1080Ti may still be enough even for 1440p with VR.

Besides, the OP already ordered. This happens time and time again: what kind of feedback can we possibly give when the order is already on its way? If we say the config sucks then what? :o
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camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:17 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
Not when the OP said this:
camel wrote:
And then I have to decide, HTC or Occulus (or something else).


Basically you need to at least double the rendering power for the same resolution. Granted a 1080Ti may still be enough even for 1440p with VR.

Besides, the OP already ordered. This happens time and time again: what kind of feedback can we possibly give when the order is already on its way? If we say the config sucks then what? :o


Like my last system, I plan on keeping this for at least 5 years. Who knows what kind of technology will come out in that time? And the GPU horsepower required to drive it?

And, I do plan on getting another monitor. But I really like this one. Plus, the aspect ratio of 16X10 is better than all these el cheapo 16X9 screens everyone is settling for these days.
 
Vhalidictes
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Re: Custom Builders

Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:22 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Because a GTX1080Ti is MASSIVE overkill for 1920x1200 (assuming 60Hz also). A GTX1070 would have been more than enough for $300 less.


Well, the good news is that it's cheaper over time to overspec the system a bit and hold onto the parts.

The absolute cheapest option is "2nd best" technology, like a lower-end but current HEDT platform and the cut down top-tier video card. In today's environment that would probably mean i7-6800K and/or Ryzen 7 1700 (special case since all Ryzen 8C/16T CPUs are the same) with a GTX 1070.
 
camel
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Re: Custom Builders

Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:47 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Just for fun, I priced up that same system on iBuyPower = $2,150 w/o the fan controller and optical drive (both not worth it IMO).


I have found tons of negative comments about iBuyPower. I challenge you to find even one single negative report about eCollegePC. Just one!

Also, after doing some more research, I asked the builder to remove the fan controller (since the temperature monitor can't read tCore or tJunction) and got a card reader

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