View Full Version : To build or not to build

04-23-2014, 09:02 AM
Iím still in turmoil about getting a new system and how I should go about it. This may very well be my last system, so I want it to be a real power horse. To make this simple, letís not look at specific parts because I still havenít made a final decision on what they will be. I do know that my plans are to include a high end CPU (or two), Nvidia graphic card, 32-64 GB memory, 4 drives, cooling, power supply, etc. I have priced out some configurations at several highly rated boutique shops where the price falls between $5500 and $8500 depending on the configuration. I see many posts on these boards about individuals building their own systems. I have someone at hand that has built a dozen systems or so that has offered to help me build this system, but Iím a bit scared to do so. The boutique builders offer lifetime support and 3 year parts warranties for everything in the box. If I build this with my friendís assistance, I can save $1000 to $2000, but I have no such warranty or support, which scares me. Isnít it risky to build a system that is this expensive on your own? Iíve looked at the feedback where people by parts and it would appear nearly 40% of the parts are bad based on the reviews. Thoughts?

04-23-2014, 10:03 AM
Speaking from personal experience (having built our own systems in the past) and now having 50 or so HP workstations, buy a HP workstation, get 3 year on site next day support and never look back.
Unless you're a hobbyist and are interested in the computer building itself.


04-23-2014, 10:11 AM
I say BUILD! I don’t like the idea of a company like Dell or HP telling me what I need.

I've built my own systems for the last 10 years. Yes, going without a full warranty is risky, but I think it’s worth it. Each part you buy has its own warranty so if that part goes, you’re still covered. Another good thing is if you want to upgrade, there is no system wide warranty to void so you can do what you want.

The main advantage is you get exactly the system you want. I got an AMD FX95 series, 4.71Ghz with 8 cores and I use it for everything I have. Lightwave, Poser, Real Flow, Bryce, and others. I gave up on premade systems because they never had the power I was looking for. I went with AMD because although Intel’s chips are better going toe to toe, they are so much more expensive that I feel you get much more CPU power for you money with an AMD.

The experience of building your own system will give you knowledge to better figure out what is wrong if you have a problem. And since you say you have a friend who had done this, you’ve always go somebody you can ask.

Good Luck,

04-23-2014, 11:12 AM
building your own system is more rewarding, easier to upgrade, more reliable.. and faster in the long run, I build a new system every 3 to 4 yrs, and have had store bought systems, they just do not have enough poop for what I use them for.. LW and 3dmax, AutoCad etc etc.

my 2 cents worth..


04-23-2014, 11:29 AM
Research, research, research!!! Then build it yourself. http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/buildapc

I just chose parts from Puget Systems and everything has worked perfectly since 2007. System needs updating obviously, but still works great.

04-23-2014, 03:38 PM
I have always built my own systems as well and I'd also recommend it. Sure, there's safety in getting a brand workstation with the support but my experience is also that you don't get the flexibility and power unless you go for something really extreme. Warranty can also suffer since putting non-certified stuff in your branded workstation can woid support or warranty in some cases.

Do you want dual CPU's or will one powerful one do? Memory is not that expensive and don't spend money on the fast specced memory sticks (2400 Mhz and above) since it doesn't affect performance - especially not for the premium price you pay for them. Get a premium motherboard from a respectable brand with all the right connections. Don't forget Thunderbolt since it seems a lot of great stuff is coming for it now and in the future - maybe as a PCIe card instead of being tied to the motherboard, gives you more flexibility in choosing a MB. Just look at the Thunderbolt drives that was announced at NAB. Good stuff! Don't skimp on the PSU either, I've seen too many PC's crashing because of bad power supplies. Seems like you need both one/two beefy CPU(s) and a great GPU to handle a multitude of tasks in different programs. Also cooling wise there's a good bunch of closed-circuit watercoolers out there now that is easy to install and performs very well. Just a few things off the top of my head that I myself can recommend.

It can be tricky to pick out the parts that you need but I would go for the 'friend' option assuming he's good at what he does :)

And as the others said, it's cheaper in the long run and easier to upgrade with all the new and better stuff that's coming out. I'm looking forward to new Intel multicore CPU's coming in the future since I haven't found a replacement for my Intel Hexacore 970X yet. Wish I had the money for a Geforce Titan but working with my GTX680 for now and it's doing an ok job with rendering.

Best of luck with your new beast when you get it :-)

04-23-2014, 04:25 PM
The other consideration is that the warranty is only good if the company still exists. Small businesses come and go quite quickly. That said have been happy with Dell, HP, Cyberpower and Microtel. Have upgraded memory, video cards and storage drives in all with no problems. My 980x is still up in the high end for 6 core, 12 thread Intel processors.

Good luck and have fun.

04-23-2014, 06:29 PM
Thanks for all the guidance. Actually, Puget Systems is one of the companies I was looking at hazmat777. They seem pretty well priced and have been in business since the early 2000's I think. Falcon Northwest was another company in the mix, but Puget Systems has some dual Xeon set ups which I liked. To answer your question BitBoy about CPUs, I would really like to get a dual Xeon 2670 or 2680 system, but I just don't know if I can afford to go into that price range. Even if I build it, I would probably end up in the high six thousands somewhere or a little higher. Because of that, I started thinking about the i7-4960 (no overclocking) and I think that would do me fine while bringing down the price. Maybe I could get a Titan with the savings. I use ZBrush, 3ds Max, and have 3dCoat. I like using LW with VPR but I don't like waiting on VPR with larger scenes and objects. I also use TFD in LW. I want a system that doesn't lag terribly when moving the camera. I want zip, zip. :-) The 4930s seem to be a really good bang for the buck, so I thought maybe going to the 4960 would get me just a little bit bigger bang. The duel xeon system is the dream, but it just might stay that way. I think I'd be very nervous putting together a dual xeon system as well. However, I might price out a dual xeon and a 4960 system starting with the same parts Puget System says work together and see where I end up. Then make adjustments based on your feedback. Again, thanks for everyone's input.