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How's this HP Pre-made lookin'?


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#1 HeartBroken

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:01 PM

Hey everyone! After ch-ch-chugging through the recent SW:KOTOR freebie weekend, I've decided that one of our old rigs just cannot cut it anymore. We cannot nor do we know anyone that can build us one, plus the hassle involved with matching parts, etc., so I'm opting for a premade. Checked from Cyberpower to Falcon to Maingear to Alien and back, and think I've surprisingly landed with HP! (The cost to useful ratio of the other stuff was surprisingly bad.)

I had a few questions before hitting that beautiful "BUY MEH!" button, and as you guys know far more than I in tech stuffs, I thought of no better place to ask for an opinion than here.

Here is my planned setup:

Operating system Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium [64-bit]
Processor 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2600 processor [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache]
Keyboard and Mouse Premium HP keyboard and optical mouse
Memory FREE UPGRADE to 10GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM [3 DIMMs] from 8GB
Hard drive 2TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive
Secondary Hard Drive No secondary hard drive
Office software Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
Security software Norton Internet Security™ 2012 - 15 month
Graphics card 3GB DDR3 NVIDIA GeForce GT 545 [DVI, HDMI, VGA]
HeatSink Liquid Cooling Solution
Primary optical drive Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
Networking Premium Wireless-N LAN card
Productivity ports 15-in-1 memory card reader, 4 x USB 2.0 (front), 2 x USB 3.0 (top)
TV & entertainment experience No TV Tuner
Sound Card Beats Audio ™ -- integrated studio quality sound

Hope the copy/pasta isn't too hard on the eyes.

The cost is currently (pre-shipping) under 1,200, which, considering what is in it for a pre-made, I thought pretty dynamite. (I am aware it'd be cheaper if I could make it myself, please do no suggest I just make it myself >.<)

My *hope* was to be able to play games online on High (not necessarily Ultra) and stream footage at the same time from the same rig. How long will the GPU hold up running games on High before I have to dip to Medium? How about console games like PS3? (Pretty sure PC games would be far more demanding than simply streaming footage off a console, but asking just in case.)

-I need to create and render things, but my current rig that does this is SO old anything would be an upgrade.
-Gaming wise, as long as it doesn't lag I'm okay with it. I don't care if it has 10,000AA or resolution sizes large enough to make wall-screens jealous, if it has to run at 800x600 (eventually) I am not gonna complain as long as it doesn't lag. Pretty sure that this rig, while maybe not a total beast, would still put in a heck of a showing for a few (2-3+?) years before really having to hack down those graphic sliders.
-Streaming is something I'm curious about trying, and I'd like to have a PC strong enough to do so. I think it is, but I'm more than happy to admit I know little about that realm.

I'm fairly sure it all checks out, but I just wanted to make sure you guys did not find any glaring issues I should be worried about. Again, I know the GPU and processor isn't tippity-top line, but it should hold it's own for a few years. Plus the money I 'save' will go into streaming equipment, so it's a fair spread in my opinion.

Thoughts? (And early thanks for your input!)

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#2 NpaMA

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:40 PM

For the most part, the specs are good for what you want. However, that GPU is really limiting the PC IMO. I checked the HP site for the H8XT and the next higher GPU, the GTX 550 Ti, is much better.

It also looks like you are looking at the H9XT line. Which is fine, but the only real difference between it and the H8 line is the price, case, and cooling system. If those really matter to you, go for it - but if you don't care about that (like I didn't) then downgrading to a H8XT will probably save you ~$200 for the same performance overall. In fact, I priced an H8XT with a COre i7-2600, GTX 550 Ti, 2TB 7,200 RPM HDD, and 8GB of DDR3 memory at $979.99.

Also, you're making a good decision with HP. I just recently bought one (HP HPE H8XT - Intel Core i7, 12GB DDR3 memory, AMD Radeon HD 6850, 160GB SSD + 500GB internal HDD) and couldn't be happier. The PC is super quick, and HP shipped it in 2 days. I even had it before the "estimated" ship date.



EDIT: I noticed this:

My *hope* was to be able to play games online on High (not necessarily Ultra) and stream footage at the same time from the same rig. How long will the GPU hold up running games on High before I have to dip to Medium? How about console games like PS3? (Pretty sure PC games would be far more demanding than simply streaming footage off a console, but asking just in case.)


For playing games + streaming. GTX 550 Ti or even a Radeon HD 6850 is a must. You could probably manage some low quality games and streaming, but I really doubt that GPU you priced could handle a AAA quality game while streaming at even a playable (~30) FPS.

Edited by NpaMA, 10 April 2012 - 11:47 PM.


#3 HeartBroken

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:20 AM

To be honest, I just went Desktop>Gaming and checked out the options from there haha The GPU was lacking but I was hoping it would be beefy enough to last awhile till I upgraded (that's why I liked the 10 RAM, bit of wiggle room). I actually *can* get the 550 with the H9T for the same price as the 545! I think I clicked it seeing 3GB instead of 1 and assuming the difference between 45 and 50 was minimal. My mistake.

I just went over their more advanced models in the gaming section and have to say I think I'm still at the sweet spot in cost. It isn't until I go up two tiers that a beefier GPU is available to be chosen (3GB AMD Radeon HD 7950 [Dual Bracket, DVI, HDMI, 2x mini-DP]) but by then the lowest price for the rig you can get is well over 2,000 and I'm right back at Falcon levels of cost. (No offense to HP, but if I was going to drop that much down, I might as well get a cool case with it hee hee)

Perhaps I should snag my initial list of items (upgraded with the 550 as you suggested) and maybe get a newer gpu off newegg when that time comes?

Also, when the 545 would more or less flounder at the task of streaming and you said to get the 550, will that be a noticable boost in power? For example, companies do the Required and Recommended lists. Is the 550 *required* and thus will still barely be up to the task, or is it closer to "recommended" where it not only stays afloat but does a decent or better job of it?

#4 NpaMA

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:15 AM

To be honest, I just went Desktop>Gaming and checked out the options from there haha The GPU was lacking but I was hoping it would be beefy enough to last awhile till I upgraded (that's why I liked the 10 RAM, bit of wiggle room). I actually *can* get the 550 with the H9T for the same price as the 545! I think I clicked it seeing 3GB instead of 1 and assuming the difference between 45 and 50 was minimal. My mistake.


Here is a link to the H8XT computer. You can custom build your options the same that you did with the "Gaming" line. It really is the same PC power wise, just the H9 has a different case, basically. H9 also has liquid cooling but unless you're into that stuff or suspect you need the extra cooling - it's a waste. Switching for "Gaming" to "High Performance" will most likely save you quite a bit.

http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?storeName=computer_store&category=desktops&a1=Category&v1=High+performance&series_name=h8xt_series&jumpid=in_R329_prodexp/hhoslp/psg/desktops/High_performance/h8xt_series

You can build it pretty much to the same features as your "Gaming" computer above. Put the RAM at 10GB, GTX 550 Ti GPU, Intel Core i7-2600 processor, etc. and it should come out cheaper. - Just trying to help you save a bit but obviously its nothing wrong with the "Gaming" computers.

---

Perhaps I should snag my initial list of items (upgraded with the 550 as you suggested) and maybe get a newer gpu off newegg when that time comes?

Yea. I would do that. Go with either a GTX 550 Ti or Radeon HD 6850 and then when the time comes where you can not play games that well - upgrade to a better GPU. One thing to consider is that you may want to go ahead and buy the "upgrade" to the 600 watt power supply on the HP site, since that price is cheaper then what you can buy at say NewEgg. But that's just future proofing your system more, and if you never upgrade the GTX 550 Ti, then it serves no purpose.

---

Also, when the 545 would more or less flounder at the task of streaming and you said to get the 550, will that be a noticable boost in power? For example, companies do the Required and Recommended lists. Is the 550 *required* and thus will still barely be up to the task, or is it closer to "recommended" where it not only stays afloat but does a decent or better job of it?

It's not really that it would completely fail at streaming, because honestly streaming does not take that much GPU power (more CPU since it has to encode the video to upload). However, it would decrease your FPS in games some which would in return, require you to lower your settings to a super low setting or make it unplayable. This is because the GT 545 is already "barely" meeting the requirements. In fact, I don't think the GT 545 could even handle many modern games on a medium setting.

This of course varies by game, so I cannot give a solid "no it won't work" or "yes it will work". Like for example, a GT 545 would easily play a game like Minecraft maxed out, but would probably fail doing anything above low-medium on a game such as Crysis.

Another huge benefit is the upgrade from DDR3 to DDR5 when going from the GT 545 to GTX 550 Ti.


----------------------

So I went ahead and priced the specs of a H8XT to what we discussed in this topic...


Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium [64-bit]
Intel® Core™ i7-2600 quad-core processor with Turbo-Boost [up to 3.8GHz, 8MB cache]
10GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM [3 DIMMs]
2TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive
No secondary hard drive
Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
Norton Internet Security™ 2012 - 15 month
1GB DDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti [2 DVI, mini-HDMI. VGA adapter]
600W Power supply
SuperMulti DVD Burner
Wireless-N LAN card (1x1)
15-in-1 memory card reader, 4 USB 2.0 (front), audio, 2 USB (top rear-facing)
No TV Tuner
Beats Audio ™ -- integrated studio quality sound
Premium HP keyboard and optical mouse

Final Price was $1,124. However, if you use coupon code MU7608 you will get an extra $50 off bringing the price (before shipping/tax) to $1,074.99.

Edited by NpaMA, 11 April 2012 - 04:22 AM.


#5 HeartBroken

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:41 PM

I'm staring at the H8 and H9 and you are right, they are virtually the same. (I gotta admit, the H9's case does look a lot better though haha) They both have pros and cons when compared to one another, but you are selling me on the H8. Both offer ways to buffer, as you put it "future proofing" for a new GPU (liquid cooling vs higher wattage power supply), so I guess the only thing I'm wondering is:

Will fans alone be enough to keep an GPU upgrade cool?

I know certain GPU models tend to run hot compared to others, so I mean in a general sense would a lack of liquid cooling hamper the rig, or would air/fans alone be more than up to the task? I was only interested in the liquid cooling in the first place to give the rig another fail-safe that I didn't have to worry about, but if I don't need to worry about the circulation in the first place that would have been overkill anyway.

Also, I built the PC the same way you did but somehow ended up at $1,109.99 after the instant rebate.

Operating system Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium [64-bit]
Processor Intel® Core™ i7-2600 quad-core processor with Turbo-Boost [up to 3.8GHz, 8MB cache]
Memory 10GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM [3 DIMMs]
Hard drive 2TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive
Secondary Hard Drive No secondary hard drive
Office software Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
Security software Norton Internet Security™ 2012 - 15 month
Graphics card 1GB DDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti [2 DVI, mini-HDMI. VGA adapter]
Power Supply 600W Power supply
Primary optical drive SuperMulti DVD Burner
Networking Wireless-N LAN card (1x1)
Productivity ports 15-in-1 memory card reader, 2 USB 2.0 (front), audio, 2 USB (top rear-facing)
TV & entertainment experience No TV Tuner
Sound Card Beats Audio ™ -- integrated studio quality sound
Keyboard and Mouse Premium HP keyboard and optical mouse

Did I forget to add something? Also, I'm assuming that coupon code option pops up after you hit "Add to cart"? (And where did you find it? Was it on an ad I missed on the site?)

#6 NpaMA

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:59 PM

The difference in price comes from this:

15-in-1 memory card reader, 4 USB 2.0 (front), audio, 2 USB (top rear-facing)


and...

Productivity ports 15-in-1 memory card reader, 2 USB 2.0 (front), audio, 2 USB (top rear-facing)


You just had the 4 front USB ports in your original post so I went ahead and priced it with that. If you don't need all 4, then you can keep it at the one you priced (2 front ports).

I know certain GPU models tend to run hot compared to others, so I mean in a general sense would a lack of liquid cooling hamper the rig, or would air/fans alone be more than up to the task? I was only interested in the liquid cooling in the first place to give the rig another fail-safe that I didn't have to worry about, but if I don't need to worry about the circulation in the first place that would have been overkill anyway.

I have the standard "fan" cooling and it works fine. In fact, CPU under load is normally mid-high 30s C and GPU under load is normally low 60s C. The GPU I have is rated up to 110-120C, so as you can see it works fine. The best advice I'd give is to keep your computer where it can get good air flow. If you have it setting on a desk, on a table, or in the floor make sure the vents aren't covered up and its nothing within 3-5 inches of the vents.

Liquid cooling would probably keep it cooler but normally unless you're running SLI/CrossFire cards or overclocking - fan cooling can handle it fine.

Did I forget to add something? Also, I'm assuming that coupon code option pops up after you hit "Add to cart"? (And where did you find it? Was it on an ad I missed on the site?)

After you hit "Add to Cart", it will be a place on the right side where you can select your shipping, tax, and coupon code. It's a coupon code I had back when I ordered mine in February of this year. Surprisingly, it's still valid. I originally got it from HP's official facebook, I believe.

Edited by NpaMA, 11 April 2012 - 05:02 PM.


#7 NpaMA

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:20 PM

I know you may have already ordered, but I was emailed a 20% off coupon code for any HP desktop thats over $899. It's SPRINGSALEDT

It's free for anyone to use and it brings the PC we were discussing down to $1,019.99 before taxes/shipping.

#8 HeartBroken

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:13 AM

Haha, it's all right, man. Bought it yesterday mornin' and your first coupon worked just fine. Ended up still getting free shipping so with taxes it came out to just under 1130. Considering what is in it, it's premade for me, and the lack of shipping charges I still think that is an awesome, awesome steal of a price for a guy that can't make it by hand. With the other instant rebate it was like 19.6%+ off anyway, so no worries bud. Just can't wait for the rig to arrive now. Already boning up on LoL and streaming guides to pass the time XD

Many thanks for all the assistance, NpaMA! Glad to see I was on the right track, but special thanks again for both finding the superior build *and* those coupons of yours! Better PC overall for certainly a better price; could not ask for more.

Hats off to ya'!




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