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Discussion Starter #1
tl;dr skip to last paragraph -
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I need a new PC and must spend several grand by year's end for tax reasons. I usually build my own, but have a multitude of health issues that result in being extremely weak especially right shoulder, hand, arm, plus scary random arm/hand spasms and general brain fog. I hate talking about this crap, but it's my reality for now. I built my first box back in the 486 era (though haven't built anything in 7 years) but for the first time in my life I'm questioning building a PC myself.
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I spent around $2500 on my current build and found pre-built quotes around $6500. Now maybe it's my weak shopping, but I'm seeing only around a ~$1k, at most $2k difference.

One of my worries with the limited timeframe is getting something important DOA and having to wait too long for a replacement to test everthing else. Yeah.. I guess I can probably test a graphics card in my current PC. Maybe RAM. I guess I can check if a PSU is totally dead with a DVM, but can't load it up unless I take the AX850 out of my current box... which is sadly on the floor and weighs too much to move.

And the worst thing is that the thought of even touching a $900+ CPU with the possibility of my hand jerking without warning fills me with fear. I held my breath handling the 980X and I really felt I couldn't tighten the Noctua cooler properly with my then much stronger hands and arms.

Sorry I'm using you guys to think through all this, but in my brain damaged condition, I have no choice. And I know you all are seriously pro custom self-build, which is why I felt I needed several paragraphs of babble to justify this. I'm not really sure how long I can put this decision off. If I do build myself I need to start sooner rather than later.

So I'm looking at Puget Systems and Falcon NW due to rep and location. Do any of you have experience, opinions, ideas, whatnot about Puget, Falcon NW or can recommend anyone else? I've looked at Digitalstorm, Maingear and Origin but the shipping sucks. Puget has a free ground shipping right now, though I might upgrade to air because I feel I might get better handling, tracking and chance of getting them to walk the thing up to my 3rd floor apt... but I could be dreaming.
 

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Ryzen Fan
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All fine companies in my opinion. Have you looked at Alienware?

Ask whoever you buy from to require signature for the package and it should be brought up to you. Either way you should be able to call the shipping company once it's in route to request that package be brought up because you are disabled, something I don't see you having an issue with.
 

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Meep
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Not entirely sure about the US, but here in Europe there are quite a few retailer that have an assembly service, its usually around €100-€150 on top of the parts for the assembly+OS install.

They might not do as much validation, or use specialize custom parts, like Puget for example does, but you'll at least be sure the system is assembled somewhat decently and that nothing is DOA. And the price will be much closer to what it would be if you build it yourself.

Edit: It seems that microcenter does this for $150, might be worth looking into?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Microcenter doesn't even list anything in Washington state, no less Seattle. Now that I think about it, my bro used their service for his first PC before he started doing it himself. But maybe they do the build thing through the web store, I'll have to check. And see what the shipping would be. It is tough wanting to hand pick all your components yet have someone else do the build... though I'm still scratching my head over the mobo and case choice would likely end up being way aesthetic.

It's sad that Seattle is a pretty decent tech city but has very few computer stores of any type. True to Amazon being headquartered here - most everyone buys through the web.

I lived in Germany for 4 years and 2 minutes by bike from me we had a great place called Snogard (dragons backwards
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). They were a hidden, non-chain, extremely geeky place. I miss them. They'd have built a system for me if I asked and been even more anal retentive than I am.
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I miss them.

Thanks for reminding me about that!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilles3000 View Post

Not entirely sure about the US, but here in Europe there are quite a few retailer that have an assembly service, its usually around €100-€150 on top of the parts for the assembly+OS install.

They might not do as much validation, or use specialize custom parts, like Puget for example does, but you'll at least be sure the system is assembled somewhat decently and that nothing is DOA. And the price will be much closer to what it would be if you build it yourself.

Edit: It seems that microcenter does this for $150, might be worth looking into?
Just talked to microcenter - they said they couldn't do it - the build service is only available through local stores.
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Puget Systems comes with a three ring binder and shows all your components were tested and who tested them along with benchmarks scores.
YouTubers who have done business with them JayzTwoCents , Barnacules Nerdgasm

Nerdgasm video showing the binder and opening his system and all the test done.

I hope this help you out.
 

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I've always been a fan of Falcon systems. The mach V is a thing of beauty and comes with almost every option imaginable (more options than Puget IMO). Puget has an extensive burn in testing program but with less gingerbread and options.

How much are you looking to spend, and what's your primary use case for the machine? That would help us to recommend what might work best for you.

As far as pre-built vs DIY, DIY is only better if your health and time allow for it. I've got family members with health issues and I know what a strain the holidays are for them - adding in a build project would not be something I recommend they do, so you shouldn't feel bad buying a machine that was built by someone else's hands.
 

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Hardware Princess
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Falcon Northwest is by far the best, especially with those custom paint jobs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post

tl;dr skip to last paragraph

And the worst thing is that the thought of even touching a $900+ CPU with the possibility of my hand jerking without warning fills me with fear. I held my breath handling the 980X and I really felt I couldn't tighten the Noctua cooler properly with my then much stronger hands and arms.

So I'm looking at Puget Systems and Falcon NW due to rep and location. Do any of you have experience, opinions, ideas, whatnot about Puget, Falcon NW or can recommend anyone else? I've looked at Digitalstorm, Maingear and Origin but the shipping sucks. Puget has a free ground shipping right now, though I might upgrade to air because I feel I might get better handling, tracking and chance of getting them to walk the thing up to my 3rd floor apt... but I could be dreaming.
Those boutique builders aren't shipping "pre-builts," at least not 99% of the time. They're custom building per order, and offering some consulting services along the way, which is an entirely different process than cookie cutter pre-built PCs rolling down an assembly line.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SavantStrike View Post

I've always been a fan of Falcon systems. The mach V is a thing of beauty and comes with almost every option imaginable (more options than Puget IMO). Puget has an extensive burn in testing program but with less gingerbread and options.

How much are you looking to spend, and what's your primary use case for the machine? That would help us to recommend what might work best for you.

As far as pre-built vs DIY, DIY is only better if your health and time allow for it. I've got family members with health issues and I know what a strain the holidays are for them - adding in a build project would not be something I recommend they do, so you shouldn't feel bad buying a machine that was built by someone else's hands.
Sorry too many wordy posts all over forgot I didn't mention this here... Cinema4D mostly. Photoshop, Illustrator and other misc Adobe apps. Some VR if I get lucky.

The mach V looked tiny to me at first - too small (I think I also saw some mislabeled Tiki pics). I've since found the actual dimensions and better pics and it's a decent size. I've drooled over their custom paint jobs since they started. Too bad I either have not enough $ or a family member who paints cars and insists on doing it himself (not that I've taken him up on it).

Falcon is more expensive and farther away - but at least just in Oregon. Ground is $118 (vs free from Puget) and 2-Day $192. I end up at $5,500 pretty fast though.

It's a tough choice. That Mach V is pretty cool. I have to look at how hard it is to add stuff to it. I don't want to pay surcharges for simple things like mass storage HDs. I'll just get a 2TB WD and add another huge drive or 2 later by myself. And more RAM. I can start with 32GB but would like 64 in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here's more info:

I use mostly Cinema 4D with Photoshop, Illustrator and other misc Adobe apps, maybe some VR.

I'm looking at:

i9-7900X, 7920X or 7940X. 7960X would be nice but starts to get too $. 7980XE is just too much $ for small perf increase

Good mobo with strong VRMs to handle LavaLake-X
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GTX 1080 Ti - one to start. Maybe add another later.

Can start with 32 GB RAM but ultimately want to upgrade to 64

Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB at least - would like 1TB

Some fast WD HD for mass storage. I'll add more myself later on. I've had good luck with WD and had a friend who worked for Seagate...lol.

A case that at least isn't ugly.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by everlast4291987 View Post

Puget Systems comes with a three ring binder and shows all your components were tested and who tested them along with benchmarks scores.
YouTubers who have done business with them JayzTwoCents , Barnacules Nerdgasm

Nerdgasm video showing the binder and opening his system and all the test done.

I hope this help you out.
Thanks! I'll watch that and the other associated vids tonight.

They are the closest and most cost-effective. Also having a sale on shipping. If I hadn't been out of work for so long maybe I could easily spring for FalconNW, but as it is Puget is very, very strong competitor. Only negative so far is that I received no reply to an email I sent [email protected] inquiring as to who I could ask various questions and explained my situation... which was probably a mistake, as I was ready to fall over at the time and it got too long. Somehow editing and summarization are the first of my faculties to go. Maybe I scared them off. But if I was sharp and in good form I wouldn't need them in the first place.

Also should have used the more masculine form of my real first name so I didn't sound like some neurotic chick in this era of feminist brouhaha she said he said she said BS. I'm a total tomboy with a low enough voice to talk to people on the phone and still have them think I'm a guy...LOL. I'm more macho than a lot of guys I know here.
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Discussion Starter #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SavantStrike View Post

I've always been a fan of Falcon systems. The mach V is a thing of beauty and comes with almost every option imaginable (more options than Puget IMO). Puget has an extensive burn in testing program but with less gingerbread and options.

How much are you looking to spend, and what's your primary use case for the machine? That would help us to recommend what might work best for you.

As far as pre-built vs DIY, DIY is only better if your health and time allow for it. I've got family members with health issues and I know what a strain the holidays are for them - adding in a build project would not be something I recommend they do, so you shouldn't feel bad buying a machine that was built by someone else's hands.
Whoops sorry - worried about being too wordy and I forgot I didn't mention this here. I added another post with details.

Thanks! I was feeling pretty bad about it. Then asked myself how bad I'd feel if I screwed up a $1k CPU. It's just extra annoying because I used to do really fine detailed work. I did custom inlay on guitars for a few years when I had my "I need to work with my hands" mid-life crisis...LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mypickaxe View Post

Those boutique builders aren't shipping "pre-builts," at least not 99% of the time. They're custom building per order, and offering some consulting services along the way, which is an entirely difference process than cookie cutter pre-built PCs rolling down an assembly line.
That's true... I couldn't really buy something off the shelf. But it's pre-built as in not built buy me. If this is the wrong sub forum, I'm sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post

If you buy prebuilt unfortunately I believe the only full systems with delid CPUs are OCUK's.
Ugh... if I don't OC - and I won't on this one until it someday becomes a non-work machine, I hope I don't need to delid? I'm guessing shipping from the UK would be even worse than from the east coast.
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I read all the crap about Skylake/LavaLake-X and heat and paste instead of solder, etc. It was rather disconcerting, but then I remember people trying to fry eggs (unsuccessfully) on 980X's when they first came out. I buy OC-worthy mobos for the future and in hopes of getting better spec'd components, etc. I post here because you guys are are very detail oriented and at least 7 years ago, seemed to be the place with the most and best info. But I'm not OC'ing this build straight out of the gate. If I get really good performance out of this new box maybe I'll OC my old 980X.

Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post

Ugh... if I don't OC - and I won't on this one until it someday becomes a non-work machine, I hope I don't need to delid? I'm guessing shipping from the UK would be even worse than from the east coast.
wink.gif


I read all the crap about Skylake/LavaLake-X and heat and paste instead of solder, etc. It was rather disconcerting, but then I remember people trying to fry eggs (unsuccessfully) on 980X's when they first came out. I buy OC-worthy mobos for the future and in hopes of getting better spec'd components, etc. I post here because you guys are are very detail oriented and at least 7 years ago, seemed to be the place with the most and best info. But I'm not OC'ing this build straight out of the gate. If I get really good performance out of this new box maybe I'll OC my old 980X.

Thanks.
It's toastier than normal but if you won't be overclocking I would try to undervolt the thing anyway for power savings.

Anything higher than i9-7900X and I would say you should look into watercooling it if you're going to use AVX (let alone AVX2 or AVX 512) workloads. Cinebench doesn't seem to use AVX so it shouldn't be a major concern.

I'd use CyberpowerPC (similar to ibuypower) as a baseline since their pricing seems to typically be the lowest as a larger retailer. A system with a true liquid cooler from XSPC or Swiftech , i9-7920X or i9-7940X, 4x8GB RAM, and a GTX 1080Ti costs about $3.5K.

Make sure whichever prebuilt manufacturer you choose they don't use the MSI X299 Tomahawk , X299 SLI ,or X299 Raider with an i9. Even a boutique maker such as Origin , Maingear, or Digital Storm will do that.

I'd probably price it out like:
i9-7920X
X299 motherboard such as Asus X299 Strix XE, Asrock X299 Taichi XE / OC Formula (ideal 2 boards), Gigabyte x299 Gaming 7 Pro, etc
4x8GB RAM or 4x16GB
Samsung 960 Evo SSD 500GB or larger
Quote:
PCPartPicker part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/RqdywV
Price breakdown by merchant: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/RqdywV/by_merchant/

CPU: *Intel - Core i9-7920X 2.9GHz 12-Core Processor ($1089.49 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: *Alphacool - Eisbaer 240 63.9 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($149.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: *ASRock - X299 Taichi XE ATX LGA2066 Motherboard ($315.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: *Corsair - Vengeance LED 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4-2666 Memory ($354.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung - 960 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($236.91 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($299.00 @ B&H)
Video Card: *Zotac - GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Mini Video Card ($712.88 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Phanteks - Enthoo Luxe ATX Full Tower Case ($158.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Plus Gold 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($99.89 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit ($136.88 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: *Phanteks - PH-F140SP_BBK 82.1 CFM 140mm Fan ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $3569.98
Seems there's a couple hundred dollars premium on the Falcon NW.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post

... Seems there's a couple hundred dollars premium on the Falcon NW.
Awesome info! Thanks so much!

When I built my current PC 7 years ago I saved over $4k vs Dell/Alienware and they didn't even the latest components available. Now when I do price compares to buying things on Newegg and Amazon I never get near that kind of savings. That made me feel a little better about all this.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey gang, what do you guys think of Digital Storm?

A friend of my reminded me about them. Two friends of his got DS systems and love them. I had wanted some more advanced water cooling, but confused DS with another builder and thought they were on the east coast. I wrote them off because shipping would be murder. Turns out they're actually in California. And NorCal, not San Diego - so not horrifically far. $300-400 might seem trivial to some on such a build, but there are good builders on both coasts, so there's no point.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
In case any one is following along or wants to comment, here's my compare of similar builds at the moment:

Puget Systems: $5549

Fractal Define R5 Titanium: 9.1" W x 17.8" H x 20.5" D, 36 lbs?
Intel Core i9-7940X
Gigabyte X299 AORUS 7
Crucial 32GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
1TB Samsung 960 Evo
8TB WD Gold
Quiet Case Fans - usually Noctua
EVGA SuperNOVA P2 850W
Noctua NH-U12DX i4

----------------------------
Falcon NW: $6050

Mach V Chassis: 24.1" H x 21.5" D x 8.7" W - 55lbs

Intel® CoreTM i9-7940X

Asus® PRIME X299 Deluxe

Asetek® Liquid Cooling 570LC

32GB RAM - 4x8GB - 2400MHZ
GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti 11GB
1TB Samsung® 960 Pro [no option for cheaper Evo]

Western Digital Red Pro - 8TB HDD - SATA
EVGA SuperNOVA G3 - 750 Watt

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Digital Storm Velox: $5607

Velox Chassis: 19.5" L x 9.25" W x 22.2" H; Weight up to 45Lbs
Intel Core i9-7940X (14-Core) 3.10GHz
ASUS ROG STRIX X299-E GAMING
32GB DDR4 3000MHz RAM Digital Storm Performance Series
1000W EVGA SuperNOVA G2 [sale]
1TB Samsung 960 EVO
8TB HGST Ultrastar He8 - Enterprise Edition
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB
Cooling: H20: Stage 2: Digital Storm Vortex 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler (Sealed)
Chassis Fans: Corsair HD Series RGB [sale]
Remote Controlled Advanced LED Lighting System (Multiple RGB Color Modes)

----------------------------
Digital Storm Aventum 3: $6237

Aventum 3 Chassis: 25.7" L x 10" W x 28.3" H ; Weight up to 75Lbs
Intel Core i9-7940X (14-Core) 3.10GHz
ASUS TUF X299 MARK 2
32GB DDR4 3000MHz RAM DS Performance Series
1000W EVGA SuperNOVA G2 [sale]
1TB Samsung 960 EVO
8TB HGST Ultrastar He8
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB
H20: Stage 2: Digital Storm Vortex 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler (Sealed)
Chassis Fans: Corsair HD Series RGB (14 Fans Total) [sale]
Digital Storm LED Lighting System
Digital Storm Thermal Management Control Board & Software

Maybe should upgrade this mobo, however I'm probably least likely to get this one. It's gar-freakin-gantuan. Which, on one hand, is pretty cool, but on the other (the hand that has to move it...LOL) sucks.

Yeah, I drooled over all those beautiful hardline water cooled setups. But if I end up having to shipping ground, it could be too fragile. It'll be a lot of work to add anything new to the system. And in the end, they're more show-ers than go-ers. I'll print out a big color photo of something cool and stick it on the side of the case...LOL. And if I end up making my old Monolith into a GPU render box, maybe I'll mess around with fancy water cooling on that next year when I feel better, if the thing starts to melt down under more than one 10-series card.
 
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