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Looking for a powerful PC at a low price {Merged Threads}

Looking for a powerful PC at a low price {Merged Threads}

Old Jul 24, 20, 10:04 am
  #46  
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There is a sale for thinkpads:

https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops...0/p/20SC0009US

Use code EXTRAFIVE for 5% more discount.
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Old Jul 24, 20, 1:33 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
How does the AMD Ryzen 7 chip compare with all the Intel i7 8 core? Is there any general reason to prefer AMD chips?
It is difficult to compare Ryzen 7 with Core i7, as they are not exactly Apple to Apple. It is just like you won't compare Toyota Corolla with Honda Civic for just the performance.

I used HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop to measure as it is the only desktop in the market that offer both choices. To compare, I align the configuration as close as possible between Ryzen 7 with Core i7. For Core i7 (10700), HP is selling it for $1,050. For Ryzen 7 (3700X), HP is selling it for $980. Based on publicly available benchmark data, Core i7-10700 has the benchmark of 17591 and Ryzen 7-3700X is 22740. So using Ryzen 7 will have almost 30% improvement in benchmark and yet $70 cheaper. So number-wise, it is a no brainer to picky Ryzen 7 over Core i7.

But does that mean you have to pick Ryzen 7 over Core i7? Not necessary. FWIW - the availability of Core i7 is overwhelming over Ryzen 7, which includes any used and refurnished computers (desktop/laptops). So with a performance trade-off, you may be able to save big on i7 over Ryzen 7.
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Old Jul 24, 20, 6:17 pm
  #48  
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Unhappy

Gary, thanks much for the very informative response. Armed with that info, I will go scouting for a deal now. However, if you (or anyone else) spots a deal in this neighborhood, please let me know.

One problem that I seem to be coming across is that most pre-built systems (which is what appears on the sales list) do not have much by way of memory; I would ideally like to have something with 64GB. In the old days you could configure your desired system and still get a good deal, but the good days seem to be over now.

Last edited by puchong; Jul 24, 20 at 7:34 pm
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Old Jul 24, 20, 10:17 pm
  #49  
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
One problem that I seem to be coming across is that most pre-built systems (which is what appears on the sales list) do not have much by way of memory; I would ideally like to have something with 64GB. In the old days you could configure your desired system and still get a good deal, but the good days seem to be over now.
RAM is upgradable in most non-Apple, non-super-thin systems (although some lenovos have gone to some RAM soldered and some upgradable). It is almost always cheaper to buy the minimum from the manufacturer and then upgrade.

If you want official/warranteed support for 64GB, you will pay a lot, but most laptops with 8th-gen or newer H-series processors, and essentially all desktops with 4 DIMM sockets back to the 6th generation, can go up to 64GB. If you're uncomfortable opening a case, if you're in any halfway urban area there will probably be a local shop that can handle the upgrade for you at a much lower cost than the from the factory upgrade.

Re: the Ryzen 7 processors, the AMD processors appear to be extremely competitive in performance, but I haven't seen enough to tell one way or another if they're comparable in battery life. For desktop CPUs, they're a no brainer - literally, the only good reason to buy Intel right now is if you get an exceptionally good sale. For laptops, just go read some benchmarks and decide for yourself. The big issue is that there aren't a lot of AMD laptops yet and most of the ones out there are relatively unattractive-for-general-use gaming models, or really recently introduced.

Given what you have mentioned needing, the one thing you will need to figure out is how much video card you want to invest in. An refurbished but in warranty 8-core Intel (9th gen, eg. i7-9700) desktop can be had for as low as $700 from the Dell or Lenovo outlet, and another ~$300-$400 will upgrade it to 64GB of memory. These would, at those prices, either have integrated graphics or a very low end graphics card.
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Old Jul 24, 20, 10:51 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
One problem that I seem to be coming across is that most pre-built systems (which is what appears on the sales list) do not have much by way of memory; I would ideally like to have something with 64GB. In the old days you could configure your desired system and still get a good deal, but the good days seem to be over now.
I would suggest 32GB first.

Beside - if you buy a desktop that is large enough, it is almost certain it has 4 memory slots for you to do expansion.
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Old Jul 24, 20, 11:35 pm
  #51  
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
Gary, thanks much for the very informative response. Armed with that info, I will go scouting for a deal now. However, if you (or anyone else) spots a deal in this neighborhood, please let me know.

One problem that I seem to be coming across is that most pre-built systems (which is what appears on the sales list) do not have much by way of memory; I would ideally like to have something with 64GB. In the old days you could configure your desired system and still get a good deal, but the good days seem to be over now.
Some PC makers let you configure to order, but you’ll get charged so much for large RAM capacities that it’s just not worth it. Confirm the system is capable of the RAM you want, buy with the standard config and upgrade the RAM yourself... you’ll save hundreds and RAM upgrades are so easy for desktops.
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Old Jul 25, 20, 7:18 am
  #52  
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Just get any a DELL XPS DESKTOP with minimum specs with a late generation i7, and then kit it out with what you need. You can get one for under $700, or even under $500 if you hit the right sale, it will come with 16GB of RAM, install another 48GB for under $160, it will probably come with a 1TB hard disk, you could swap that out for an SSD if you wish (A 1TB SSD should set you back around $100). The graphics card that comes with it will easily support 2-3 monitors. You can do almost the same with any "box", just I tend to find the Dell's a bit more robust for this sort of thing. So you can do/get what you want for under $800-900.
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Old Jul 25, 20, 6:59 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by hfly View Post
Just get any a DELL XPS DESKTOP with minimum specs with a late generation i7, and then kit it out with what you need. You can get one for under $700, or even under $500 if you hit the right sale, it will come with 16GB of RAM, install another 48GB for under $160, it will probably come with a 1TB hard disk, you could swap that out for an SSD if you wish (A 1TB SSD should set you back around $100). The graphics card that comes with it will easily support 2-3 monitors. You can do almost the same with any "box", just I tend to find the Dell's a bit more robust for this sort of thing. So you can do/get what you want for under $800-900.
Thanks and a few more questions:
  1. Do all Dell XPS come with additional free memory slots or do I have to replace the existing memory cards with higher capacity ones?
  2. If it comes with only a SATA hard drive, will there be a slot available to add a SSD? How many can I add?
  3. If it comes with a generic Intel HD Graphics card, can I replace it with one of my choice? I have experienced a previous PC which had the display card soldered in!
  4. Is there any difference in intrinsic product quality between Scratch and Dent models and Refurbished models?
  5. Finally, I have a 10% discount if I order it atdell.com/amex; however, I cannot find the same computers that I see at outlet.us.dell.com. Does anyone know a workaround - obviously the deals on the outlet site are better!
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Old Jul 25, 20, 9:09 pm
  #54  
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
Do all Dell XPS come with additional free memory slots or do I have to replace the existing memory cards with higher capacity ones?
All Dell XPS desktops are micro towers, i.e. a full-size MB. So it should have 4 memory slots with at least 2 empty slots available. To maximize the memory, you may have to upgrade the existing memory as well.

You can check the manual before buying so that you can confirm the MB is suitable for you.

Originally Posted by puchong View Post
If it comes with only a SATA hard drive, will there be a slot available to add a SSD? How many can I add?
It is model dependent. Early XPS models do not come with any specialized ports, i.e. SATA only. Later models come with mSATA or M.2. So before you buy any SDD, make sure you can confirm what kind of ports it has.

Also - even with SATA, Dell is known to use caddy to hold hard drives. So you may have to buy a adapter or use adhesive to secure the drive.

Originally Posted by puchong View Post
If it comes with a generic Intel HD Graphics card, can I replace it with one of my choice? I have experienced a previous PC which had the display card soldered in!
Intel HD Graphics is a chipset within the CPU, which is not something you can remove. The BIOS setting should be able to prioritize (if not, you should be able to change it).

Note - if the last letter of i7 model ends with F, that CPU does not come with the Intel HD Graphics.

Originally Posted by puchong View Post
Is there any difference in intrinsic product quality between Scratch and Dent models and Refurbished models?
Not really. Keep in mind - they can be returned if you are not satisfied. And they are always in working condition. It still has a full 1-year warranty.

Originally Posted by puchong View Post
Finally, I have a 10% discount if I order it atdell.com/amex; however, I cannot find the same computers that I see at outlet.us.dell.com. Does anyone know a workaround - obviously the deals on the outlet site are better!
Dell Outlet discounts are independent from the "main" Dell. So no. Even Dell employees don't get discounts from outlet.
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Old Jul 26, 20, 3:40 pm
  #55  
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
Do all Dell XPS come with additional free memory slots or do I have to replace the existing memory cards with higher capacity ones?
Current XPS will have 4 slots, and a 16GB configuration could be any of 1x 16GB DIMM, or 2x 8GB or 4x 4GB. If you are buying direct from Dell, it should specify the config. Desktop RAM prices are at (or near) an all time low, so even if you replace all 4 the cost is not high (Amazon shows 2x 16GB DDR4 desktop ram for $119 for the pair). Mixing sizes is (usually) OK, so if you had 2x 8GB you could add 2x 16GB for 48GB total

If it comes with only a SATA hard drive, will there be a slot available to add a SSD? How many can I add?
Depends on the specific model, but typically they will have 2-4 HD bays, and most will have a motherboard slot for an NVMe SSD. If not, if you have two PCI-E 16X slots, you can use a converter in one of them and the graphics card in the other.

If it comes with a generic Intel HD Graphics card, can I replace it with one of my choice? I have experienced a previous PC which had the display card soldered in!
Already answered by garykung; as long as you have a 16x PCI-E slot, you can add your own graphics card. The XPS will all have one; if you look at the Optiplex business models, avoid "micro-tower" and "small form factor"/"ultra-small form factor" as those will not have full size card slots.

Is there any difference in intrinsic product quality between Scratch and Dent models and Refurbished models?
Scratch and dent models will have cosmetic damage, but will be fully functional. Refurbished will be like-new.

Finally, I have a 10% discount if I order it atdell.com/amex; however, I cannot find the same computers that I see at outlet.us.dell.com. Does anyone know a workaround - obviously the deals on the outlet site are better!
In general, the discounts will be separate between outlet and new sales, and each of outlet and new will have both Home/Home-office and Business channels, which have somewhat different models available. IMO it always pays to shop both, unless you can only find what you're looking for on one side. For the type of desktop you're looking for, the XPS desktops on the home side are mode likely to be cost effective for what you want than Optiplex or Precision on the business side but both are worth looking at.

A lot, as I think I said up-thread, will depend on what size video card you want/need - there are some frequent and deep discounts on the Optiplex models but they usually don't have a big enough power supply to use an arbitrarily large graphics card, whereas the XPS and (pricier, workstation) Precision models will usually have a fairly large power supply. Other than for putting in a large aftermarket graphics card, that won't matter.
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Old Jul 26, 20, 3:44 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Also - even with SATA, Dell is known to use caddy to hold hard drives. So you may have to buy a adapter or use adhesive to secure the drive.
example: https://amzn.to/2COPadG

It still has a full 1-year warranty.
Or three years on some models; it will say on the listing, and a 3-year warranty is more common on business line machines.

You can also buy up to a higher warranty while purchasing.

Dell Outlet discounts are independent from the "main" Dell. So no. Even Dell employees don't get discounts from outlet.
Although they run very frequent sales, generally rolling between percentages off a given group of models and a tiered "percent off all models above price x," and the outlet pricing is generally very competitive.
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Old Jul 26, 20, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
Already answered by garykung; as long as you have a 16x PCI-E slot, you can add your own graphics card.
I have something to add on the display card.

1. XPS desktops no longer support SLI (this was available pre-Core i CPU era) as it only has 1 PCI-E 16x now. My last XPS Desktop, which was from Core 2 era, did support SLI.

2. As soon as you won't do anything fancy, XPS PSU should be able to support whatever display card you intend to use. XPS interior is quite spacious. So it usually does not require water-cooling (even it was once an option) and any extra fans. The use of SSD will even help the power situation.

Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
if you look at the Optiplex business models, avoid "micro-tower" and "small form factor"/"ultra-small form factor" as those will not have full size card slots.
Optiplex usually comes with 4 different sizes, depending on the models - MT (Mini Tower), DT (Desktop), SFF (Small Form Factor) and USFF (Ultra-Small Form Factor).

If you end up buying a Optiplex, keep in mind that Optiplex PSU is not as powerful as XPS (Optiplex is practically Inspiron). So you will have to consider a new PSU as well. Also, given the odd size of Optiplex, depending on the size you purchase, a commercial replacement may not be available.

Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
Scratch and dent models will have cosmetic damage, but will be fully functional. Refurbished will be like-new.
While that is Dell's official description, in reality, scratch and dent rarely have any noticeable cosmetic issue.

Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
IMO it always pays to shop both, unless you can only find what you're looking for on one side.
Definitely yes.

I am using XPS 8700 with a Core i7. I purchased it in new in a deep discount, about $600+tax. My friend, who was a Dell employee at the time, purchased the same model, same configuration, but certified refurnished in a few weeks later. He ended saving $100 more than I do. And he did not have any extra discount as employee.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 6:21 pm
  #58  
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Thanks everybody for helping me out in choosing a PC. I ordered a XPS from the Outlet store and will have to add more memory once I get the PC; it is an Intel i7 with a 256GB SSD + SATA drive. Unfortunately, I did not get much of a deal because I needed it soon and could not wait for a better sale to come around.

But I really want to thank everybody who patiently helped me with information and tips.
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Old Aug 1, 20, 7:25 pm
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Sorry, I am back! While I wait for my 16GB XPS to arrive, I thought of buying some additional memory. I would have bought it from Dell, but since the PC was a 'Scratch & Dent' model, they refused to add extra memory to the PC. My questions are:
  1. Is it better to buy 32 GB in 2 x 16GB DIMMs or better to buy a single 32 GB DIMM or does it not make a difference for performance purposes?
  2. I looked at several online sources for the extra memory including Corsair (cheaper) & Crucial, using their online tool for buying the right upgrade memory. Is there any preference between these two?
  3. Is there something that I have perhaps overlooked and if so, what would be the best way forward?

Thanks much
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Old Aug 1, 20, 9:33 pm
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
Sorry, I am back! While I wait for my 16GB XPS to arrive, I thought of buying some additional memory. I would have bought it from Dell, but since the PC was a 'Scratch & Dent' model, they refused to add extra memory to the PC. My questions are:
  1. Is it better to buy 32 GB in 2 x 16GB DIMMs or better to buy a single 32 GB DIMM or does it not make a difference for performance purposes?
  2. I looked at several online sources for the extra memory including Corsair (cheaper) & Crucial, using their online tool for buying the right upgrade memory. Is there any preference between these two?
  3. Is there something that I have perhaps overlooked and if so, what would be the best way forward?

Thanks much
1) Two 16GB sticks will outperform one 32GB stick, but the difference is not all that substantial for actual use (as opposed to benchmarks).

That said, one 32GB stick leaves you the option to upgrade to 64GB, provided your system supports it. That’s probably my preference.

Edit: Didn’t realize this was a desktop, not a laptop. 2x16GB still leaves you with 2 free slots so you can still take advantage of dual channel now while leaving open the possibility to upgrade to 64GB. Also my comments below re: disassembly don’t apply.

Might be worth peeking at the service manual... some systems make both RAM slots easy to access via a door on the bottom. Some only make one slot easily accessible, while the other slot lives on the other side of the system board, requiring you to take off the palm rest and/or keyboard to get at it. Dells have tended to be on the friendly side when it comes to RAM accessibility, but if you’ve got any nervousness about opening up your system it’s worth knowing what you’re getting yourself into.

2) You can’t go wrong with either Corsair or Crucial, they’re both very solid brands.

Last edited by javabytes; Aug 2, 20 at 10:07 am
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