Tech Buyer's Guru Forum

Tech Talk - Help, Musings, and Inspiration => Desktops (Pre-Built) => Topic started by: Ari Altman on March 03, 2014, 06:43:08 PM

Title: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on March 03, 2014, 06:43:08 PM
Here's the thread to discuss the "Desktop Buyer's Guide (https://techbuyersguru.com/desktop-buyers-guide)", updated quarterly on The Tech Buyer's Guru.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Krafko on August 21, 2016, 07:57:47 AM
When backpack PC's are gonna be a thing, are you gonna add them?
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on August 21, 2016, 08:32:21 AM
When backpack PC's are gonna be a thing, are you gonna add them?

When they go mainstream, that's definitely a possibility. All the backpack PCs announced so far are just prototypes. You can already build a powerful PC that will fit in a backpack, so the only reason you need a PC that will run inside a backpack (which requires special cooling and a battery), is to play room-scale VR. That means you're running the $800 HTC Vive, so it's a pretty niche audience.

Note that all backpack PCs announced so far will only run about an hour on batteries, which simply put is not ready for a mass audience.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: hhh2260 on December 28, 2016, 07:52:57 AM
The cyberpower pc you suggested in the article has similar specs with the $2000 build you suggest (http://techbuyersguru.com/2000-premium-gaming-pc-build) but the price is much lower. Does that mean the quality of the parts in the cyberpowerer pc is worse and it is unreliable?
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on December 28, 2016, 08:30:06 AM
The cyberpower pc you suggested in the article has similar specs with the $2000 build you suggest (http://techbuyersguru.com/2000-premium-gaming-pc-build) but the price is much lower. Does that mean the quality of the parts in the cyberpowerer pc is worse and it is unreliable?

Welcome to the TBG Forum, hhh2260!

You've asked a great question, and indeed, CyberPower PC offers some amazing values in pre-built machines, and the SLC8320BH (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1253983-REG/cyberpowerpc_gamer_supreme_liquid_cool.html/BI/20077/KBID/13837/kw/CYSLC8320BH/DFF/d10-v21-t1-x737323) is an exceptional example of that. That's why it's in the guide.

First of all, note that it's on sale and may go back up in price soon, at which point it won't be quite as amazing a value. But there are in fact a few areas where it cannot equal TBG's $2,000 Premium Gaming PC (http://techbuyersguru.com/2000-premium-gaming-pc-build). First, it uses a 480GB SSD that's half the size, and no doubt significantly slower than the 850 Evo 1TB, the fastest SATA drive available. Second, it's using a nice but cheap NZXT S340 case, which is no match for the $100 Phanteks Enthoo Pro in terms of cooling or ease of use. Third, it has a 1000W power supply, but it's likely a second-tier unit, almost certainly semi-modular and Bronze-rated, rather than the Platinum-rated fully-modular 750W unit in TBG's build that's a much better pick for a build like this. Finally, while not specified, the 32GB of RAM is almost certainly 2133MHz, rather than the 3200MHz kit recommended in TBG's guide. This will reduce performance by 3-5%.

So, there's nothing wrong with the Cyberpower PC at all, it's just that it uses cost-optimized parts, rather than performance-optimized parts, but they'll work fine. The great thing is that it comes fully assembled, and given its sale price, it's a serious bargain. If you don't want to spend the time building your own PC, this is a fantastic option.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: hhh2260 on December 28, 2016, 08:45:29 AM
The cyberpower pc you suggested in the article has similar specs with the $2000 build you suggest (http://techbuyersguru.com/2000-premium-gaming-pc-build) but the price is much lower. Does that mean the quality of the parts in the cyberpowerer pc is worse and it is unreliable?

Welcome to the TBG Forum, hhh2260!

You've asked a great question, and indeed, CyberPower PC offers some amazing values in pre-built machines, and the SLC8320BH (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1253983-REG/cyberpowerpc_gamer_supreme_liquid_cool.html/BI/20077/KBID/13837/kw/CYSLC8320BH/DFF/d10-v21-t1-x737323) is an exceptional example of that. That's why it's in the guide.

First of all, note that it's on sale and may go back up in price soon, at which point it won't be quite as amazing a value. But there are in fact a few areas where it cannot equal TBG's $2,000 Premium Gaming PC (http://techbuyersguru.com/2000-premium-gaming-pc-build). First, it uses a 480GB SSD that's half the size, and no doubt significantly slower than the 850 Evo 1TB, the fastest SATA drive available. Second, it's using a nice but cheap NZXT S340 case, which is no match for the $100 Phanteks Enthoo Pro in terms of cooling or ease of use. Third, it has a 1000W power supply, but it's likely a second-tier unit, almost certainly semi-modular and Bronze-rated, rather than the Platinum-rated fully-modular 750W unit in TBG's build that's a much better pick for a build like this. Finally, while not specified, the 32GB of RAM is almost certainly 2133MHz, rather than the 3200MHz kit recommended in TBG's guide. This will reduce performance by 3-5%.

So, there's nothing wrong with the Cyberpower PC at all, it's just that it uses cost-optimized parts, rather than performance-optimized parts, but they'll work fine. The great thing is that it comes fully assembled, and given its sale price, it's a serious bargain. If you don't want to spend the time building your own PC, this is a fantastic option.

Thanks a lot for the response. Your articles are very helpful.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on December 29, 2016, 07:35:54 AM
Well, believe it or not, that Cyberpower PC that was on sale yesterday is now listed as sold out and discontinued. Told you it was a good deal!

It might return, but if not, we'll have to wait for a replacement model to arrive, which likely won't happen until the release of Intel's Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K next month.

For now, I did find a substitute at the same $1,700 that the CyberpowerPC was selling for: the Asus G11CD (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1276883-REG/asus_g11cd_db73_gtx1080_i7_6700_16gb_512gb_gtx1080_w10.html/BI/20077/KBID/13837/kw/ASG11CDDB73G/DFF/d10-v2-t1-xASG11CDDB73G), which has similar specs, but drops down to a Core i7-6700 rather than the overclockable 6700K, while also dropping the hard drive. Not quite as good a deal, but sometimes a sale price like we saw on the CyberpowerPC really does mean "buy now"!
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Mcollin6 on March 30, 2017, 02:50:54 AM
Would love to see a gaming PC recommendation that is "silent" or "quiet" for all the people out there with 4K TV's in their home theater who would really love to use that screen for their PC monitor but don't want a screaming box of fans sitting in their living room.  Maybe if you knew the dB of the units at idle and under load that you currently recommend.     Thx!
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on March 30, 2017, 08:30:09 AM
Would love to see a gaming PC recommendation that is "silent" or "quiet" for all the people out there with 4K TV's in their home theater who would really love to use that screen for their PC monitor but don't want a screaming box of fans sitting in their living room.  Maybe if you knew the dB of the units at idle and under load that you currently recommend.     Thx!

Silence is definitely important when it comes to an HTPC. Of course, the more powerful the components and the smaller the case, the harder it is to achieve.

I think you'd find that MSI's Trident 3 (http://amzn.to/2oc7LaS) provides an excellent balance of speed and silence. MSI had chosen components that are fast but extremely efficient. CPU overclocking is not supported, but that allowed MSI to use a very silent CPU cooler. And the GTX 1060 is cool enough to run in laptops, but here gets an oversized cooler to allow quiet operaton.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Mcollin6 on April 01, 2017, 05:19:22 AM
The Artic version looks perfect but doesn't come out until later this month.    One of the things that. I am looking for in a box like this is the ability to turn it on using a remote.   My equipment is all hidden.   Would this take an aftermarket IR/RF power module like the silver stone remote power switch, or do you know of other options?
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on April 01, 2017, 06:18:48 AM
The Artic version looks perfect but doesn't come out until later this month.    One of the things that. I am looking for in a box like this is the ability to turn it on using a remote.   My equipment is all hidden.   Would this take an aftermarket IR/RF power module like the silver stone remote power switch, or do you know of other options?

The MSI Trident 3 Arctic (https://www.msi.com/Desktop/Trident-3-Arctic.html#productFeature-section) was just announced a few days ago. It does indeed look pretty awesome!

I've tested the SilverStone ES02-USB (http://amzn.to/2ntSPk4) remote power switch. It works wonderfully, but you need access to both a USB header and the front button power lead. Given that that Trident 3 is using a completely custom motherboard, I can't say for sure whether the power lead is accessible. There does appear to be at least one free USB header, however.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on July 18, 2017, 05:23:09 PM
This guide has been updated for Summer 2017. Note that the cryptocurrency tidal wave that wiped out worldwide stocks of all Radeon video cards and most GeForce video cards has clearly impacted OEMs as well, which means, for example, that we've had to work around the absence of systems with the RX 580 and GTX 1070 video cards. Even so, there are still some really great options out there for anyone looking to buy a pre-built system.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Hex7CD on August 29, 2017, 04:46:50 PM
Link in OP is broken.
Redirects to "http://desktop%20buyer%27s%20guide/" instead of "https://techbuyersguru.com/desktop-buyers-guide (https://techbuyersguru.com/desktop-buyers-guide)"
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on August 29, 2017, 05:01:11 PM
Link in OP is broken.
Redirects to "http://desktop%20buyer%27s%20guide/" instead of "https://techbuyersguru.com/desktop-buyers-guide (https://techbuyersguru.com/desktop-buyers-guide)"

Thank you for catching that - I probably would have never realized it!
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Shinrouen on February 01, 2018, 11:07:04 PM
Hi there,

I've been looking through many of your guides and I've been questioning whether or not it would still make sense to build my own custom PC. With the cryptocurrency craze I have not been able to price anything remotely close to the budgets listed nor even find stock available which has lead me to search for pre-builts instead. While I will miss the overall satisfaction of building my own I just don't think that will be feasible anytime soon.

With that said would you be able to pinpoint a decent rig that can fit my needs? I'm heavily drawn to the Corsair One but I have also been looking at Origin Gaming Neuron Mid Tower setup. I know those are two vastly different systems (SFF vs Midsize) but having a very nice case that can be displayed in a work environment is important to me aesthetically. It is just that a part of me is thinking that may be overkill for my productivity needs.

I utilize my system primarily for two functions: daily trading activity/portfolio calculations and video editing. On the trading front I primarily use a proprietary trading platform that appears to be a memory hog. I currently have a 32" curved monitor and would like to dual screen in the future. Typical programs include MS Outlook/Word and Excel with multiple line calculations running. A lot of what I do is web based so Google Chrome with over a dozen tabs open continuously is typical for me. Throw on a little Spotify or Youtube running in the background and that sucker is pretty much what I have running.

On another front I am also getting into filming educational videos for uploading onto a website. I'll be filming in 4k and will need to run software to edit the video, insert graphics and all the rest of the good stuff. All of this will be uploaded onto a website and ideally I would not close out of any of the above programs while working as I have a tendency to multi-task. With the exception of the trading platform-I don't mind closing that up.

I haven't played games on the PC in over 3 years and while I would like to, it just isn't that big of a deal. Productivity is priority #1.

Running everything super fast is extremely important to me. Waiting for Windows to load up and be ready for use can be aggravating and waiting patiently for Chrome or Outlook to load is not something I want to do. If this can all be packed into a quiet form factor case then I think I've found technology heaven.

If there is anything you can recommend that will accomplish those needs I will be greatly appreciative. I have only built gaming PCs in the past (not on one currently) so I just don't know what type of power is needed for productivity usage. If you're able to provide me with different price points such as prebuilt at $1000, $1500, and $2000 that would be fantastic.


Thank you.

Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2018, 09:55:00 AM
Hi there,

I've been looking through many of your guides and I've been questioning whether or not it would still make sense to build my own custom PC. With the cryptocurrency craze I have not been able to price anything remotely close to the budgets listed nor even find stock available which has lead me to search for pre-builts instead. While I will miss the overall satisfaction of building my own I just don't think that will be feasible anytime soon.

With that said would you be able to pinpoint a decent rig that can fit my needs? I'm heavily drawn to the Corsair One but I have also been looking at Origin Gaming Neuron Mid Tower setup. I know those are two vastly different systems (SFF vs Midsize) but having a very nice case that can be displayed in a work environment is important to me aesthetically. It is just that a part of me is thinking that may be overkill for my productivity needs.

I utilize my system primarily for two functions: daily trading activity/portfolio calculations and video editing. On the trading front I primarily use a proprietary trading platform that appears to be a memory hog. I currently have a 32" curved monitor and would like to dual screen in the future. Typical programs include MS Outlook/Word and Excel with multiple line calculations running. A lot of what I do is web based so Google Chrome with over a dozen tabs open continuously is typical for me. Throw on a little Spotify or Youtube running in the background and that sucker is pretty much what I have running.

On another front I am also getting into filming educational videos for uploading onto a website. I'll be filming in 4k and will need to run software to edit the video, insert graphics and all the rest of the good stuff. All of this will be uploaded onto a website and ideally I would not close out of any of the above programs while working as I have a tendency to multi-task. With the exception of the trading platform-I don't mind closing that up.

I haven't played games on the PC in over 3 years and while I would like to, it just isn't that big of a deal. Productivity is priority #1.

Running everything super fast is extremely important to me. Waiting for Windows to load up and be ready for use can be aggravating and waiting patiently for Chrome or Outlook to load is not something I want to do. If this can all be packed into a quiet form factor case then I think I've found technology heaven.

If there is anything you can recommend that will accomplish those needs I will be greatly appreciative. I have only built gaming PCs in the past (not on one currently) so I just don't know what type of power is needed for productivity usage. If you're able to provide me with different price points such as prebuilt at $1000, $1500, and $2000 that would be fantastic.


Thank you.

Hello, Shinrouen, and welcome to the TBG Forum!

You are right that cryptocurrency has made it really difficult to build a gaming PC, but what you're talking about really isn't a gaming PC, it's a trading PC. You could actually get away with building a PC using just onboard CPU graphics or an HTPC-type GPU, which you can in fact buy today. Here are two examples of systems that would work really well for you:

(1) The High-End NAS System (https://techbuyersguru.com/900-high-end-nas-itx-build) - take this and upgrade to 16GB of RAM (http://amzn.to/2DVGyNQ) and a Core i5-8400 CPU (http://amzn.to/2GFVb9F), for a total of around $1,050.
(2) The Stock Trading PC (https://techbuyersguru.com/1300-stock-trading-pc-build) - take this and downgrade from the unavailable GTX 1060 3GB to a GTX 1050 (https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GTX-1050-2G-OC/dp/B01M67EF75/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1517593986&sr=8-4&keywords=gtx++1050+2gb&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=75ab18755b765c107ee15ed9ea93d4b3), for a total  of around $1,250.

One question I have is which model of 32" monitor are you using. Depending on the resolution and available connectors, you may need a specific video card to drive the setup (or drive two of them if that's your ultimate goal).

For your purposes, I definitely would not be looking at pre-built system in the $1,500-$2,000 range, as you'd end up spending a lot more than necessary to achieve your goals, and potentially you'd get short-changed in RAM or fast storage just to get an unnecessary gaming video card.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Shinrouen on February 02, 2018, 01:24:03 PM
Ari,

Thank you for the warm welcome and your response.

The monitor I am using currently is the Sceptre 32" 1080P Curved Monitor.

(https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074NJVQ4D/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074NJVQ4D/ref=as_li_ss_tl?&imprToken=uwD4OA-KMcXkI7nJaY-Jrw&slotNum=0&ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=bfac8e6ba9530d4efe98438c4db13886))

I read through both the Stocking Trading PC Build and the NAS set up and again I just want to say I love your guides and especially the stylish form factor cases you choose. In my situation, with the addition of 4K video editing, is the GT 1030 capable of only 4K output or would it also be capable of 4K video editing? I notice that in the Stocking Trading Build it incorporates the GTX 1060 3GB.



Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2018, 02:11:04 PM
Ari,

Thank you for the warm welcome and your response.

The monitor I am using currently is the Sceptre 32" 1080P Curved Monitor.

(https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074NJVQ4D/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074NJVQ4D/ref=as_li_ss_tl?&imprToken=uwD4OA-KMcXkI7nJaY-Jrw&slotNum=0&ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=bfac8e6ba9530d4efe98438c4db13886))

I read through both the Stocking Trading PC Build and the NAS set up and again I just want to say I love your guides and especially the stylish form factor cases you choose. In my situation, with the addition of 4K video editing, is the GT 1030 capable of only 4K output or would it also be capable of 4K video editing? I notice that in the Stocking Trading Build it incorporates the GTX 1060 3GB.

You actually don't need a GPU at all to process 4K video. That can be done by CPUs alone. But if I were to suggest a best path for you, it would be to pick up a system with a GTX 1050 2GB, which has plenty of GPU horsepower to accelerate video processing. Of course, the trickle down effect of cryptocurrency mining is that even the GTX 1050 is sold out, even though it's worthless for mining, because everything above it has been bought up by miners. Rather than pay an inflated price to a second-tier vendor, you can backorder this MSI GTX 1050 model (https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GTX-1050-2G-OC/dp/B01M67EF75/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1517609186&sr=8-5&keywords=gtx+1050+2gb&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=948f3f99847cce973d7a7c89bf295c79) from Amazon for a decent price. With its combination of a DisplayPort Version 1.4 port and an HDMI Version 2.0 port, it will run any dual-monitor setup you can throw at it. The 1080p monitor you have can even be run off its DVI port (which will not work at 4K).

Note that a GTX 1050 won't fit in the $900 NAS build, as that system needs a single-slot video card, so go for the Stock Trading build with the GTX 1050 substitution. Remember, the GTX 1060 is essentially impossible to buy today, and the only reason it was in that build was for the triple DisplayPort outputs, which would allow the use of three 4K monitors.

Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Shinrouen on February 02, 2018, 03:35:31 PM
Thanks as that helps a lot. I'm going to throw one more final wrench in the cog and see what you think.

I've priced out based on availability the Stock Trading Platform and it has come out to right around the price you mentioned: $1200 pre tax for all the components listed.

I have the opportunity to purchase this new for $1120

https://www.samsung.com/us/computing/windows-desktops/tower/artpc-pulse--core--i7---256gb--sdd----1tb--hdd--dp700c6a-a01us/

What are your thoughts if you don't mind sharing?
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2018, 03:52:14 PM
Thanks as that helps a lot. I'm going to throw one more final wrench in the cog and see what you think.

I've priced out based on availability the Stock Trading Platform and it has come out to right around the price you mentioned: $1200 pre tax for all the components listed.

I have the opportunity to purchase this new for $1120

https://www.samsung.com/us/computing/windows-desktops/tower/artpc-pulse--core--i7---256gb--sdd----1tb--hdd--dp700c6a-a01us/

What are your thoughts if you don't mind sharing?

Wow, that system looks amazing! I'm surprised I've never heard of it, as it's not new - the CPU it uses, a Core i7-6700, was released 2.5 years ago. That being said, it's nearly as fast as the Core i5-8400 I recommended earlier in this thread.

If you like the looks of it, I'd probably jump on that deal. No, it's not as powerful in terms of the CPU or the GPU as anything I've recommended to you, but it's probably the best looking PC I've ever seen, and at $1,120 it's actually a good deal too. Ultimately, it depends how much you value the building experience and the ability to modify the PC down the line, versus the unique design of this system (which is likely very hard to upgrade).
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Shinrouen on February 02, 2018, 07:03:49 PM
Yeah I was very surprised as I looked pretty extensively through the SFF market for prebuilts and that unit was very rarely reviewed or advertised. Probably not the best marketing job Samsung has done.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2018, 08:51:16 PM
Yeah I was very surprised as I looked pretty extensively through the SFF market for prebuilts and that unit was very rarely reviewed or advertised. Probably not the best marketing job Samsung has done.

I've visited the Samsung booth at CES the past three years, and in fact had a private tour this year. They've never once shown off a desktop PC, and this year, they didn't even have a PC section in their booth.

I'd say that was a one-off experiment, and if you like the design, it would certainly be a unique option.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Jodensai on March 07, 2018, 10:30:45 PM
I知 surprised that you recently recommended the Corsair Pro over the Elite. In your most recent small form factor guide you recommended the elite and on the newest desktop buyers guide you recommend the Pro. I don稚 understand. I begin to doubt at times how much I should trust the guides. How much thought is really going into these buyers guides? I知 not attacking you. I just come here because I want the best when it comes to my PC needs. Maybe I知 wrong. Maybe the difference is so negligible that you were simply saving people money. Just curious is all. Thanks.
Title: Re: The TBG Desktop Buyer's Guide
Post by: Ari Altman on March 07, 2018, 10:43:41 PM
I知 surprised that you recently recommended the Corsair Pro over the Elite. In your most recent small form factor guide you recommended the elite and on the newest desktop buyers guide you recommend the Pro. I don稚 understand. I begin to doubt at times how much I should trust the guides. How much thought is really going into these buyers guides? I知 not attacking you. I just come here because I want the best when it comes to my PC needs. Maybe I知 wrong. Maybe the difference is so negligible that you were simply saving people money. Just curious is all. Thanks.

The reason is simple: The Elite is out of stock, and frankly, it's a bad value. Corsair upgraded the CPU from a 7700K to an 8700K, and the RAM from DDR4-2400 to DDR4-2666, while adding $200 to the price. This is costing Corsair an extra $20 in components, and it should have come in at the same price.

Now, had the Elite actually not sold out the day it was released (it was essentially a paper launch, because Corsair clearly doesn't have enough 8700K CPUs on hand), I might recommend it, but even then, if a guide is targeting a specific pricepoint and Corsair misses it, it won't get a recommendation.

If that helps explain the situation and you're interested in buying a Corsair One (https://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-Compact-Desktop-i7-7700K-VR-Ready/dp/B073XW2FPZ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1520617624&sr=8-4&keywords=corsair+one&th=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=6535d68ecb86bd9f1ceaf305151cf16d), please use the links in any of the guides where it appears to help support this site. Just note that the Pros are now selling out as well, and the Elites continue to be unavailable.