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Need a new PC

  1. #1
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Need a new PC


    The one I'm using right now is one that was fairly "high end" when my cousin built it for me in 2004. It's on it's way out, and time to upgrade to a 64 bit system.

    He's prepared to build me another, but this time I really don't need as much. My PC is used primarily for web surfing and e-mail, some photo work, and rarely some AutoCad work. I do NOT use a PC for music, very little video (nothing beyond short YouTube-quality stuff) and I'm just never going to be a gamer. This is the specs he gave me for the one he suggests:

    Case -Coolermaster 3-5.25, 1-3.25 bays external,5-3.5 bays int. 400W PS 80+
    RC371KKA400
    1
    Motherboard - Intel mATX Media Series
    BOXDH77EB
    1
    Processor Core i5-3470 3.2 GHz 6 MB Cache 4C 4T turbo Boost
    BX80637I53470
    1
    Memory DDR3-1600 4 GB Modules
    KVR16N11/4 or CT51264BA160B
    2
    Video
    Intel® Graphics Technology
    Incl
    Video
    optional PCI Express x16
    Incl
    Hard drive 500GB 7200/600 SATA 6Gb/s 7200 16 MB cache
    ST500DM002
    2
    DVD ± RW Dual Layer DVD Writer/Rewriter 22x w/Lightscribe
    IHAS424-98 or equiv.
    1
    Sound
    On Board Intel® High Def. Audio
    incl
    Keyboard Std. USB Black
    KT800U2
    1
    Network Card
    On Board 1000/100/10
    Incl
    Operating System
    Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
    1
    Assembly
    No additional charge

    Now he's adding a legit MS-Office "Home & Business" package (he's a MS and Intel retailer) for $179, and I can upgrade to Windows 8 for about $15 over the purchase of the Windows 7 Pro.

    Form those who know PC's, is this more computer than I need (hard drives to be mirrored), not enough or just about right? And why?

    Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Back marker... jwm2k3's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    I have an Alienware of similar vintage to yours. Got a friend who's an IT guy, he just installed Windows 7 Pro 64bit (was on XP 32bit) and upgraded my video card (I am a gamer!) and man I'm happy!

    Once you get your new rig, you're gonna be pleased as well, its nice to have a quick, smooth running computer. Good Luck!

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  3. #3
    Lifer
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    Sounds like enough...price should be floating around $500-650 not including the office for a good deal..

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  4. #4
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Actually, it's quoted at $875 + $179 for the MS-Office software. Is he hitting me too much? Is there a better bargain out there?

    I really like my cousin and he's got an adopted kid to support now so I may go with him unless I really can save more than $200.

    This old box has to go. It's a Pentium 4 with 320GB and 1GB memory. S_L_O_W to fire up and work applications now because the hard drive is getting sketchy. No worries, he's already backed up everything.

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    Last edited by SprintPoser; 08-11-12 at 10:49 PM.
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  5. #5
    Lifer
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Its hard to say exactly unless you compare part to part... here's an example at good 'ol microcenter downtown boston.

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0396986

    In this case it is a branded HP machine.. it's a core i7 which is better. It also has double the ram, and double the hard drive that your cousin is offering. It is amazing how cheap the boxed computers go now a days. I am NOT saying that if you go with a separate built computer with perhaps a better motherboard, maybe a stronger power supply... but in all reality, you just said it.. you're going to be surfing the web and doing the occasional photoshop or something to that effect. For $599.99 you can certainly save yourself money, get a computer with at minimal a faster cpu, more ram, and more hard drive. You could also consider using openoffice, which is a freeware program that works almost the same as office.

    Again, I'm not trying to sink a custom computer, but in reality you can get a great deal just walking into the right store (like microcenter) and if you know what you are looking for. Same goes with the software. I myself use the office, its available to me, and free.. but on my own home computers I like to use the openoffice just by principle of an open source software... and have never had problems with compatibility or function.

    And the computer that I picked I just clicked on their flyer by dumb luck on a price of $599.99 I'm sure for $529 or somewhere else you can get the core i5 system you were originally thinking of. That's where they get you.. keep on adding a couple bucks more and the computer gets better....

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  6. #6
    Lifer
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    Re: Need a new PC

    http://dealnews.com/Dell-Opti-Plex-3...ng/602703.html

    See, here is one that's more comparable in spec to the original computer by dell at $499. Although its a mini computer (some people like the super small sizes.. personally that just makes them harder to find replacement parts). But you get the idea.. a deal can be had if you look around.

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  7. #7

    Re: Need a new PC

    People still pay for office?

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  8. #8
    Lifer
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    Re: Need a new PC

    It doens't scream overkill to me. You could probably get away from 2GB RAM if you were really trying to cut costs, but 4GB is becoming pretty standard these days thanks to bloat. I'd agree that $875 does seem a tad high. I did some rough numbers on your stuff and it fits the bill. Mobo is $120, CPU is $200, Call it $100 for the case, $50 for RAM, $140 for the HDD's, you're at $610 right there. I just bought an OEM license Win7 Premium for $90, so thats $690.

    I like the mirrored drive set up, but there's a catch to this. It will protect you against ONLY drive failure. If you lose your data because the system starts corrupting data it is writing, or someone starts deleting shit on you, it is not protected. Drive failure is probably the most likely event you need to mitigate against, but just don't be thinking you'll be safe from the rare but possible event that someone or something toasts your data.

    The machine is probably going to be more machine than you currently need. However, that's mostly because there has just been so much change since your last 2004 computer, that a mid-leve configuration has quite a bit of power. I don't think you're getting equipment that is way overpowered, and should keep you going in the future. If you don't use office much, consider open source alternatives that are free. They are NOT as good as Office, and if you depend on Office regularly, I wouldn't recommend it. But for basic usage, $180 for an Office package you won't use much is a lot of money. http://www.openoffice.org/

    As for that old machine, if you want to keep it as a second computer, give it to a friend or make it your kid's system, upgrade that ram!!! It should be dirt cheap on ebay. Max out whatever the motherboard will support, probably 4GB. Then reformat/reinstall XP and I bet it'll be decent. Though after you use your new machine, you won't be able to tollerate it

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  9. #9
    Rider. Just a rider... DucDave's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Not comparing specs, but Best Buy Sells HP, Dell and other brands of Desktops all day long for under $500.00....

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  10. #10
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Thanks to all for the input. This is what I was looking for.

    The proposed PC is not 4GB of RAM, but 8GB. I certainly understand what a mirrored drive does and does not do, as I've lived without one all my life and it is now that the single drive I have is failing. I have no intention of keeping this computer, nor the previous one he built me in 1998 that is sitting dead next to this one. I'm looking to reduce clutter, not add to it. I have no young children to gift it to, so both of these need to to be recycled.

    A Dell or and HP would absolutely be out of the question. My parents made the mistake of buying an HP, and the depth of the HP hooks in that proprietary BIOS and within the operating system were just mind boggling. When the motherboard, in it's non-standard configuration failed, HP no longer made parts. We bought a mini-sized Acer with 500GB HD, 4GB RAM and Windows 7 Pro (no Office) for $349 out of and internet seller that my cousin recommended. Even the Acer came loaded with free startups of Symantec and one other program, and it was a bitch getting those off the machine. The PC's my cousin builds, tests, and benchmarks before shipping come clean, and get free lifetime tech support that speaks New England English.

    The Dell problem relates to their incessant marketing that is the exact proportional opposite of intensity to their product support. When my two sons had bought Dell products because of Dell's "easy financing", they learned what mistake they made. The PC's were unreliable, had many proprietary bits, and support totally sucked. Meanwhile, Dell's marketing kept pestering the McDonald's workers to upgrade, spend more money, and get deeper in debt to them. The boys (now 22 and 31) hadn't talked to me before diving in, so learned valuable lessons the hard way.

    By contrast, I pay just a little bit more from my cousin, and got super-high quality PC's for both myself and my wife. On both machines, the only problem has been cooling fans that needed to be replaced. See, we have the PC's in an "extreme" environment; there's three 100% indoor cats here and we both used to smoke in the house. My cousin told me that this machine I'm using now is going to be on display at his shop in RI, to show people "what not to do". Remarkable that it's been used for hours very nearly every day and lasted this long.

    As for free "Office" software, you get what you pay for. The real stuff actually works better, WAY better. I have Open Office, and it's buggy.

    It's doubtful I'd buy an off-the-shelf machine. They all seem to have something I don't want or need, lack something I do need, or have proprietary format hardware that about all you can do is add memory or drives.

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    Last edited by SprintPoser; 08-12-12 at 08:51 AM.
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  11. #11
    Everybody to the limit!
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    Re: Need a new PC

    I'd suggest paying a little extra to add a 128gb or 256gb ssd. You can fit you programs and os on that and use the 500gb for your por...err, data. The computer will run a lot snappier with the os on the ssd.

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  12. #12
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Honclfibr View Post
    I'd suggest paying a little extra to add a 128gb or 256gb ssd. You can fit you programs and os on that and use the 500gb for your por...err, data. The computer will run a lot snappier with the os on the ssd.
    Forgive my out-of-date computer lingo knowledge...but what is "SSD"?

    No porn on my PC! If I want that, I have a willing wife of 31 years waiting for me at anytime (as long as it's dark in the bedroom.)

    BTW, I think part of the reason the price seems high compared to other off-the-shelf PC's is the quality Intel components everywhere and the high-end DVD writer/reader he's adding for quick non-volatile backups.

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  13. #13
    Lifer
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    Ssd is solid state drive...pretty badass, faster than the 7200 rpm sata drive.

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  14. #14
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Thanks for explaining. It's something that will have to be budgeted for an upgrade later, as I'm a little over my $1K budget total now.

    I'm not worried about absolute speed. For my applications the one I have has worked OK from 2004 until very recently. The new one is bound to be at lightning speed compared to this, even without the Solid State Drive.

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  15. #15
    Lifer
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    Ask your cousin, you'd be surprised that the price would fit your budget...say got a 320 gb hard drive instead of a 500 gb sata

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  16. #16
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    I can build you a much better PC for less than that, if you're interested. As in I can gather the specs for you.

    As an aside, I would strongly recommend you go with a dedicated graphics card even if you aren't going to be playing games. Intel integrated graphics are absolutely terrible, and you can get a much more powerful video card for as little as $50 these days.

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    Last edited by SRTie4k; 08-12-12 at 08:43 PM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member AVI8_636's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Honestly for what you're looking for, you could build a killer PC and spend less than $600 out the door. I built my gaming PC for under $650 and it's already 2 years old but has a ton of room for expansion. I can run Battlefield 3 on full high graphics/resolution without it ever skipping a beat. I just recently built my brother in law a computer for basic web browsing, word processing, school work and light gaming for his kids and it's a great PC

    Here's the specs of that one:

    1 x ASUS M5A97 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
    1 x Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    1 x PNY VCGGT4301XPB GeForce GT 430 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Video Card
    1 x OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom
    1 x Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
    1 x APEX SK-393-C Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    1 x AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
    1 x CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model TW3X4G1333C9A G
    1 x G.SKILL 4GB Micro SDHC Flash Card w/ SD Adapter Model FF-TSDG4GA-C4
    1 x LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

    That was WITH a legit copy of Windows 7 and new case. The cost of that one was $625 shipped with $50 of mail in rebates. For under $600 you can't beat it, especially if you're on a budget and don't need anything over the top.

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  18. #18
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    SRTie4K,

    On this old computer he built for me is an ATI Radeon graphics card and it's pretty good for it's age. What's out there now? I rather like ATI's stuff, they still around?

    AVI8_636,

    Thanks for the offer, but I'm only interested in an Intel motherboard and processor. It's what I have now and it's been bullet-proof for 8 years of severe duty. The first couple of years I had it I was still bringin it up to the track for my photo business, and that's what I call severe service. I do know Western Digital drives are really good though, as that's what's in this current PC.

    My cousin is an authorized MicroSoft and Intel retailer, certified for all levels of networking and fixing stuff. That I have a dependable, assured support system behind the machine should there ever be a problem, is important and has value to me. I foresee having the new computer for 4-5 years, so it must last that long.

    I wish to have legal Win7 Pro and legitimate MS-Office as I do now with my older software. Support for a new user of Win7 (or 8) might be important, and he doesn't mind spending time to show me tips and tricks. I do appreciate your offer though, thank you.

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  19. #19
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    As a few additions, that motherboard is going to be very expensive. Intel branded mobos are generally $50-100 more than other brand mobos.

    You do not need mirrored drives; it's a waste of money IMO. 3.5" mechanical HDD's are extremely reliable these days (I've been running on the same 3 for over 8 years now, and they're still going).

    refer back to my previous comment about the video card. Invest in a dedicated, if the very least an onboard dedicated. The cheapest dedicated video card is light years faster than Intel integrated.

    You don't really need 8GB of RAM. Windows 7 runs just fine on 4 (if you're looking to cut costs). If it were me, however, I would still go with 8GB to future proof yourself.

    Finally, you don't need the latest Ivy Bridge processor to future proof your PC. A Sandy Bridge (socket LGA 1156), a Nehalem (socket LGA 1366), or even an AMD Phenom II (socket AM3, the processors of which are backward compatible with AM3+ mobos) processor/mobo will do everything you want for years to come and will cost much less.

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    Last edited by SRTie4k; 08-12-12 at 09:28 PM.
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  20. #20
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by SprintPoser View Post
    SRTie4K,

    On this old computer he built for me is an ATI Radeon graphics card and it's pretty good for it's age. What's out there now? I rather like ATI's stuff, they still around?
    Do you know the model? ATI is still around and still producing graphics cards, although they're owned by AMD now.

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  21. #21
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    He's told me that he's going to an integrator's convention this week where suppliers show up with all kinds of deals. I've advised him to seek out a better video card, as he did last time.

    Thanks!

    EDIT: Currently running a Radeon 9600, was good 8+ years ago.

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    Last edited by SprintPoser; 08-12-12 at 09:34 PM.
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  22. #22
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    FWIW, I just built pretty much the same system with cheaper components at <$500.

    Quote Originally Posted by SprintPoser View Post
    EDIT: Currently running a Radeon 9600, was good 8+ years ago.
    I would upgrade that. It's pretty darn old and not up to the task as far as future-proofing yourself, especially if you consider Windows 8 is pretty much focused on graphics.

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    Last edited by SRTie4k; 08-12-12 at 09:36 PM.
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  23. #23
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Here's my build. Total cost from Newegg, $491.64 shipped. That's without software.

    Rosewill Blackbone Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    Item #: N82E16811147023
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$10.00 Instant
    $49.99
    $39.99


    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    Item #: N82E16822136769
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    Recover Your Data(expand for options)
    -$10.00 Instant
    $84.99
    $74.99


    CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    Item #: N82E16817139026
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    -$5.00 Instant
    $20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
    $49.99
    $44.99


    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9S-4GBRL
    Item #: N82E16820231310
    Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
    $21.99


    ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    Item #: N82E16813131724
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$4.00 Instant
    $74.99
    $70.99


    Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K
    Item #: N82E16819116504
    Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
    $229.99

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  24. #24
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by SRTie4k View Post
    As an aside, I would strongly recommend you go with a dedicated graphics card even if you aren't going to be playing games. Intel integrated graphics are absolutely terrible, and you can get a much more powerful video card for as little as $50 these days.
    Really? For general purpose computing (read: not games) who gives a damn. I have a couple desktops with either integrated or nearly antique GPUs and no complaints here.

    IMO I buy my graphics setups based on how many noisy little fans they have. Zero wins my money.

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  25. #25
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new PC

    I'm well aware I can buy the parts and put it together for less money than what my cousin would charge me. He's got a legitimate business, a roof over his working head, pays his retail sales taxes and insurance, has an employee (down from 6 before the recession) and is a genuine good guy. I'm going to buy from him, period. My original inquiry was less about price (it's not even in the OP), more about is this less, more, or just about right for my needs.

    What I've gotten so far is great information, much of which I agree with. I' probably can drop the mirrored drive, as I've never needed one before so don't need one now. That's especially true with that fast DVD reader/writer making backups, or I have a 250GB USB hard drive here doing nothing. I'm going to first see if the on-board graphics do what I need, and if I'm not happy either of us can throw a graphics card in there.

    Am I spending too much? Perhaps, but I don't like fixing PC's and he's really good at it. When I have a question, he's there to answer. I place high value on the level of support I get with his computers and the overall quality of the build. When he tells me to wait until after the convention, that's a signal that a price drop is coming. All the better.

    Thank you all for the education. If you need a little something machined, I'm your man. If I need a little computer advice, I know who to ping here. Thanks!

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