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View Full Version : Build a computer or buy a HP workstation



LuckyStudio 13
05-06-2012, 08:15 AM
A friend told me that if you want reliability, do not build your own PC because all those diff components might not work 100% together. Money is a consideration because a pro workstation like the new HP Z820 is $$$$$$$$$. I am planning to go either with Media Composer or CS 6.

mcgeedigital
05-06-2012, 08:56 AM
Other options include Origin:

http://www.originpc.com/genesis-pro-desktop-features.asp

ProMax One:

http://www.promax.com/s-150-promax-one-features.aspx

Maingear:

http://www.maingear.com/solutions/custom-computer-workstation.php

Either way you are going to pay to have someone else build it for you and have support.

I ended up building my own and am pretty happy with it.

LuckyStudio 13
05-06-2012, 09:35 AM
Matt, are u running Media Composer or CS 6 ? Quadro Nvidia GPU ?

mcgeedigital
05-06-2012, 09:43 AM
I am running both. With Resolve as well.

2 Nvidia 580 cards.

David Jimerson
05-06-2012, 09:44 AM
A friend told me that if you want reliability, do not build your own PC because all those diff components might not work 100% together.

They will if you do your homework and buy the right components.

LuckyStudio 13
05-06-2012, 10:06 AM
They will if you do your homework and buy the right components.

Which is the most critical link ? Motherboard with GPU ? If so, I might get an Nvidia board to go with the quadro ?

mcgeedigital
05-06-2012, 10:13 AM
You don't want an onboard GPU, get a MB with as many x16 PCI slots as you can.

Also make sure that your power supply is beefy enough. 1000W and up minimum with multiple Nvidia cards.

LuckyStudio 13
05-06-2012, 10:20 AM
Matt, you running Red Rocket ??

Jester2138
05-06-2012, 11:58 AM
A friend told me that if you want reliability, do not build your own PC because all those diff components might not work 100% together.

If you know what you're doing a custom built PC will ALWAYS be more reliable than a pre-built PC, for two reasons:

1) You get to pick the best brands and components for every part. Manufacturers will pick cheaper and lesser-known RAM and PSU brands and such to save money (while still touting "8GB" or "750 watts" or whatever it is without mentioning what brand the part is). You, on the other hand, can be smart and buy top-quality in every part because every part can cause the whole system to fail. As a result, a well-built custom PC is ALWAYS better than a pre-built.

2) Since you know every part in your computer, any required maintainance is really easy and you don't have to deal with customer service. If a part fails, just replace it yourself.

All that is predicated on your being knowledgable about, for example, what makes one 4GB stick of RAM better than another 4GB stick of RAM. If you aren't, and aren't willing to learn, then a custom-built can be much more trouble than a pre-built.

mcgeedigital
05-06-2012, 12:57 PM
Matt, you running Red Rocket ??

Absolutely.

Victor Nhat Nguyen
05-07-2012, 05:24 PM
I would like to learn about building my own pc and is planning to build one over the summer. However, where's a good place to learn?

Jester2138
05-08-2012, 08:30 PM
I would like to learn about building my own pc and is planning to build one over the summer. However, where's a good place to learn?

This video is great and very detailed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPIXAtNGGCw

David W. Richardson
05-08-2012, 08:49 PM
The biggest problem with building your own is that most people don't think they need to bother with an anti-static strap and mat. They build computers without those things, and "they work just fine". What they don't realize is that the static has weakened some of the electronic components. So weeks or months later, the PC starts to behave strangely. They assume they have a virus or some sort of software incompatibilities, but nothing seems to fix it. What's really happening is those weakened components are slowly -- ever so slowly -- beginning to fail.

Personally, I've bought HP workstations, added memory and video cards, and edited away quite happily. Usually that's a lot less pricey than building a PC -- buying Windows is quite expensive. But you certainly can build a perfectly good editing PC. Just make sure you use the anti-static strap and mat.

Jester2138
05-09-2012, 08:43 PM
The biggest problem with building your own is that most people don't think they need to bother with an anti-static strap and mat... Personally, I've bought HP workstations, added memory and video cards, and edited away quite happily. Usually that's a lot less pricey than building a PC -- buying Windows is quite expensive...

Well, I've never used the strap or mat and never had any problems. I do, however, make sure to touch metal and properly degauss myself or whatever it's called before touching computer parts.

I've never heard anyone claim that building one yourself is a lot more expensive than buying a pre-built. I've found just the opposite to be true in my own experience and many others agree with me.

Postmaster
05-10-2012, 12:16 AM
Yeah, since HP has no magic sauce, they have to use the same of-the-shelf parts as everyone else does.
Critical components are

Board - make sure you got enough PCI lanes and RAM slots
RAM - make sure you got the right one (double/triple) and the timing and specs are right for the board.
Power: at least 800w, 1000 if you want to run two graphic cards.
RAID: If you want a RAID, get a card for that, onboard chips work only to some degree.

When you install your OS - download all drivers and board software - the stuff on the CD is mostly outdated.
Also update your BIOS.

Hand massage your OS. Turn off everything you donīt need.
When you have a perfect running system with all programs and all, mirror it to a spare drive.
So you can always go back if the computer is acting up, without spending a whole day on that.

Frank

GavinAbe
05-10-2012, 12:19 AM
There is no need to pay high prices on prebuild products like HP, these day's your needs are different and day to day work changes , products update on a monthly or even daily with prebuild product s then today faster upgrade paths are locked in and cost a lot more than a self build PC . if you use Avid and Adobe then go to Avid forums and see what hardware the users use and for Adobe look at http://ppbm5.com/ for now , fined similar or same spec hardware.

David W. Richardson
05-12-2012, 09:27 PM
I've never heard anyone claim that building one yourself is a lot more expensive than buying a pre-built. I've found just the opposite to be true in my own experience and many others agree with me.

What makes it cost more is the need to buy a full copy of Windows to install on it.

In the good old days, you could just move the hard drive from your old PC into your homebuilt with the latest motherboard, processor, etc. But these days if you bought a PC off the shelf, the version of Windows it's loaded with is extremely hardware-specific. Which means it very likely won't work if you put that hard drive into a new machine with a different motherboard, processor, etc.

Mind you, this all assumes the builder is buying all new parts -- case, power supply, motherboard, processor, RAM, hard drive, DVD burner, media card reader, sound card, video card, network card (if it's not integrated), etc. The more of this stuff you take from your previous computer, the less your new build will cost -- naturally.

RAM is cheap. Hard drives are cheap. But a full version of Windows 7 Home Premium can run from $100-$180 just by itself. The 64-bit Professional version goes between $140-$250. These are Amazon prices -- no doubt you can do a little better elsewhere. Still, the cost of purchasing a full version of Windows is a factor.

unadog
05-19-2012, 02:09 PM
For my last PC, 3 years ago, I started with a $500 Dell box.

That got me a running tower case with an i7 920 with 6 GB of RAM, Win 7, Raid controller, a 640GB HDD, etc.

I added multiple hard drives and a graphics card. I just added 24GB of RAM in 3x8GB, for a total of 27GB for $180.

I have never paid more than $500 for a base PC. I usually buy a name brand at a great price, because they get a quantity price discount on the CPU and the Win 7 OS, as mentioned.

Recently, for example, there was a Dell XPS 8500, i7 3700 Ivy Bridge, with a 24" IPS monitor for $1,000 - $150 rebate, or $850 net.

The CPU at New Egg alone costs $350. Add in the $150 mentioned above for the OS and $350 for the monitor, and you basically get everything else for free - case, motherboard, power supply, DVD+- drive, base RAM, etc. (I actually know a guy who is building a box with the same CPU, and he is going low end on a number of items to keep it under $1,000 without a monitor.)

Now obviously you will want to add a graphics card, RAM, HDD's, and maybe a bigger power supply (depending on the graphics card.) But it is definitely worth the time to watch the deals and wait for the right offer , instead of paying retail for the components.


From Techbargains 2 weeks ago. Watch for a similar deal:

************************************************** ***

Dell XPS 8500 Core i7 Quad-Core IVY BRIDGE Desktop + 24in Ultrasharp IPS LCD +
$150 GC $999

AMAZING DEAL! Dell Home has the Dell XPS 8500 Intel Core
i7-3770 Quad-Core Ivy Bridge Desktop Computer for a low $999.99 Free Shipping.


Tax in most.

BONUS $150 Dell Gift Card with purchase (arrives in
10-20 days via email, carries a 90-day exp)

BONUS Dell UltraSharp U2412M
24

************************************************** ************

Good luck!

Best,
Michael

Mark Williams
05-19-2012, 03:11 PM
I was going to build my own but decided against it since 100% functionality was quickly needed and I didn't know how to fine tune componets for maximum efficiency. I got my system built by avadirect.com to use with Edius. The folks on the Edius forum helped me spec it out then ava added their technical expertise. My system using high quality components was around $1,600.

Jester2138
05-21-2012, 05:22 PM
Double. See next.

Jester2138
05-21-2012, 05:23 PM
What makes it cost more is the need to buy a full copy of Windows to install on it.

What makes you think I wasn't factoring the cost of Windows into my original statements?

Here's a Dell (who has very cheap prices) build for $900. It's the basic XPS 8500 with i7 3.4GHz quad-core, 8GB RAM, and an AMD GPU. http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/print_summary_details_popup.aspx?~lt=print&c=us&cs=19&l=en&model_id=xps-8500&oc=dxdwps2&s=dhs&fb=1&vw=icon&leadtime=5/22/2012&showleadtime=True

Here's my build of a nearly identically-specced computer for $935. Also keep in mind that these are retail prices for all the components. You could easily significantly lower the total cost by using combo-discounts and the like. I avoided them to show how close the prices are even without them. I'm also not counting the many mail-in discounts available on these parts. So the price could be a LOT lower than $935.

Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157296
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116502
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428
GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127606
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341049
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042
HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136697
CD/DVD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204
Win7 64bit: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986

The non-CPU and GPU parts are going to be far more reliable and high-quality than the stuff Dell will give you. You're not going to have to deal with Dell as a company or the pre-loaded bloatware. If you want to upgrade a part, it'll be super easy and more straightforward. If a part fails, you can easily replace it without worrying about whether it will mess up your specific Dell parts. You'll also have the satisfaction (and know-how) of building and maintaining your own computer on your own.

So you've got all that added value, plus the option of lowering the total price even further by using the many, many discounts offered.

unadog
05-22-2012, 04:59 PM
I don't know if you saw my earlier post, but the net cost on that Dell with a 3.7 Ghz Ivy Bridge CPU that retails at $350 and a 24" monitor was about $500, net of the $350 monitor. So ann additional $150 over just the retail CPU cost for the rest of the computer.

I'm not arguing - suit yourself - but for others - you could buy the Dell, upgrade the GPU & power supply, then just upgrade the RAM & HDD's as you would anyway. That is what I have always done.

Though for those that want to do a build - I know it is a lot of fun. Different strokes.

Have fun!
Michael

Jester2138
05-23-2012, 01:38 PM
I don't know if you saw my earlier post, but the net cost on that Dell with a 3.7 Ghz Ivy Bridge CPU that retails at $350 and a 24" monitor was about $500, net of the $350 monitor. So ann additional $150 over just the retail CPU cost for the rest of the computer.

That's a massive discount that you won't find very often. Similar deals are offered occasionally on individual parts, too. I kept discounts out of my comparison because they aren't helpful in deciding which is consistently cheaper.

Gary Huff
05-23-2012, 01:47 PM
In the good old days, you could just move the hard drive from your old PC into your homebuilt with the latest motherboard, processor, etc. But these days if you bought a PC off the shelf, the version of Windows it's loaded with is extremely hardware-specific. Which means it very likely won't work if you put that hard drive into a new machine with a different motherboard, processor, etc.

I don't exactly see the case in which you have a copy of Windows that came with your computer in the first place. If you purchase off-the-shelf, you are lucky to get anything more than a recovery partition on your primary hard drive, let alone discs. If you do happen to have such, you're either keeping the computer you originally purchased (in which case you need a new copy of the OS anyway) or you're selling (in which case you can't just keep the discs and re-use the serial number).

The only scenario in which this is plausible is if you happened to own a pre-built desktop, and the computer is completely broken, and you happened to have an actual Windows install disc that came with the computer. In that case, as long as the serial number is valid, you can re-install on your new machine. If anything, you might have to spend a few minutes on the phone with Microsoft, but most people get their issues taken care of when it comes to validating their install as long as they have a actual serial code.

Jester2138
05-24-2012, 07:56 PM
The only scenario in which this is plausible is if you happened to own a pre-built desktop, and the computer is completely broken, and you happened to have an actual Windows install disc that came with the computer. In that case, as long as the serial number is valid, you can re-install on your new machine. If anything, you might have to spend a few minutes on the phone with Microsoft, but most people get their issues taken care of when it comes to validating their install as long as they have a actual serial code.

Yes, Windows is Windows is Windows. The issue is the licensing by Microsoft. Retail copies can be moved around ad-nauseaum as long as it's only ever on one machine at once. On the other hand, OEM copies of Windows (for instance, those that come with a pre-built) are licensed for only one computer, ever. You're not supposed to be moving those installs around. However, effectively, you can. Microsoft knows that sometimes components change in a computer and so they have an allowance for that. However, there's no way for them to tell if you simply switched a few parts or are building an entirely new computer. In these distributions of Windows, certain underlying changes in hardware, such as a new motherboard, prompt Windows to ask for new validation, which you can get for free by calling Microsoft and requesting a new code from a computer voice (they don't even ask for any kind of proof that it's still the same computer).

However, Windows 7 is always the same software no matter how it's licensed.

David W. Richardson
09-28-2012, 09:36 PM
However, there's no way for them to tell if you simply switched a few parts or are building an entirely new computer.

I once bought a pre-built Micron computer from Best Buy. (Yes, it was a few years ago.) It came with a 20GB hard drive pre-loaded with Windows. It also came with the recovery disk to re-install the platform. When the 20GB hard drive failed, I bought a 40GB drive to replace it -- and the recovery disk refused to load. I forget what the exact error message was, but the upshot of it was that it detected a 'non-Micron' hardware platform. It would only load if I used a 20GB hard drive. Had nothing to do with licensing. Micron's version of Windows was tailored to only load on that specific hardware setup.

Since then I've had other Windows versions -- from HP, Gateway, eMachines, etc. -- that would not load on any PC other than the one they came with.

Of course, if you buy Windows off the shelf, most likely you won't have those problems. I've never bought Windows, so I have no experience with that.

Egg Born Son
09-29-2012, 07:44 AM
A friend told me that if you want reliability, do not build your own PC because all those diff components might not work 100% together. Money is a consideration because a pro workstation like the new HP Z820 is $$$$$$$$$. I am planning to go either with Media Composer or CS 6.

A pre-built computer has ALWAYS skimped somewhere. I really tried to buy a pre-built for the first time but in the end I couldn't find one that had end to end quality. I saved over 40% building myself and have an absolute beast for my money. If you can do lego you can build a PC. Put aside half a day, read the instructions, if you get stuck then ask us for help. You will never feel afraid of a computer again after you've built one. Select your parts list, put it up here and we'll tell you whether it is good.

If you're unsure, the easiest way to match the parts is to stick with a single brand for the key parts (ASUS is a good one and makes many parts). Then you know they've been tested together. That said, I haven't experienced a parts mismatch in 20 years (and that was an IRQ conflict in the dark ages). Get Western Digital or Seagate for storage, Samsung 830 series, Intel or Crucial for SSD. Buy a case without a power supply and get a Corsair Enthusiast 750W PSU at a minimum or 850W-1000W if you plan on getting one of the more powerful GPUs or intend to overclock. Bronze or Silver certification and you'll be okay. Don't skimp on the power supply, it's important. G.Skill or Corsair RAM. Pick one brand and model of RAM, get it all in the same pack and you can't go wrong. 4x8GB (32GB) or 4x4GB (16GB). 16GB is more than enough, 32GB is future proofed, and doesn't cost a great deal more. Don't worry about C9 or C10 and other numbers, DDR3 and total GB is all that matters. C9 is nice but performance differences are unnoticeable.

Get an intel chip, no question. AMD has surrendered the high end to focus competing in the middle range, targeting gamers and overclockers. Intel i7 for video editing (about the only activity that actually utilises 4 hyperthreaded cores). Watching 8 threads, each working at close to 100% at 3.9GHz is a beautiful thing... Intel i7 2600K or 2700K for Sandy Bridge (older), i7 3770 or 3770K for Ivy Bridge or if you want to spend a little more and get hex-core than i7 3930K or 3960X (will double the cost from i7 3770 easily for not much more than 30% improvement). The i7 3820 uses the hex-core motherboard but is only 4 core and outperformed by the 3770, I don't see the point of it.

Windows 7 professional. Some software is still 32-bit. I'm told it won't run on Win 7 Home edition.

The latest Ivy Bridge technology has been priced very reasonably compared to Sandy Bridge, only a few dollars more. I recommend it. I usually build a generation behind for the cost savings but this time I built the absolute latest parts for less than $150 Australian more than the previous generation would have cost and I have been very impressed. Once I get my graphics card (Asus GTX570) it will have cost me about $1600 here in Australia all told (if I go for the GTX670 about 200 more), from what I hear the same will be around $1000 in USA. Price includes decent basic monitor.

It runs fast, cool (never been above 50C/122F even under stress test, alarms don't trip until 80C/176F - i only have two standard fans in the case, I have them set to come on at 30C, unless I'm gaming or editing I have entire sessions where the case fans never even turn on!), low power usage and reliable. When I get a GPU it may get hotter in the case but the chip could run even cooler if its not handling graphics any more. We'll see.

Even without a graphics card installed I've been seriously impressed with the Ivy Bridge on-chip graphics. Don't get me wrong, you will need a separate GPU but I haven't felt the need to rush into it since I'm not rendering clips longer than 15 minutes atm, typically less than 5 minutes. I'm playing 2011 games on this thing on medium or better settings! This is unheard of in the past! No onboard GPU has ever been worth the price of admission but the on-chip (GPU is in the die now) Intel HD4000 seems to outperform the GTX430 when matched with my motherboard's Ivy Bridge graphics acceleration feature (supposedly 40% performance boost).

Consider building your own. It's worth it. But if you're really unsure then go with HP or Dell, someone who provides support and warranty.