Dell Build Advice

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Old 06 June 2012   #1
Dell Build Advice

Hello!

So. My Dell Precision laptop (M90) is a little bit (very?) old. So I've decided to get a new one.

After doing a bit of research I've decided not to go with HP, mainly because their shop site is so frustratingly poorly built/designed.

I also looked at Dell and Boxx.

It seems like I could get more bang for my buck with Boxx, especially since the components are more recent. Unfortunately, their current laptop offering has one major issue: it's shipping with a gaming card instead of a Quadro or FirePro. I looked up the SPECviewperf Maya score on the GeForce 675M which they are offering and it is very low (around 10fps). After speaking to them I found out that they don't offer the GoBoxx with a Quadro card yet because they haven't had it certified. They tell me it should be certified within a couple months, but the uncertainty and that time frame don't work for me.

In the end, I've been satisfied with my M90 which lasted 5 years (and still runs, but isn't as powerful as I need/like). I'm also very interested by the touch screen offering on the M6600. The fact that it can be used with a pressure-sensitive stylus is particularly interesting. Though it's probably not as nice as using my Cintiq, I feel like it would be a great alternative for when I'm not at my desktop.

So why am I posting here? Well, I just want to run my build by people that I feel might have some good input! I want to know if you have any suggestions/changes, or if you know of another company that I might want to look into. Keep in mind that though I'm currently in Canada, I'll be buying in the USA, since my parents live there and I'll be moving there to do a Master's degree soon.

So... here is what I'm currently thinking about getting:

Processor: Intel Core i7 - 2860QM @ 2.5Ghz
OS: Win 7 Pro 64bit
Media Bay 8x DVD +/- RW Tray Load (after seeing my friends' frustration with their Macs, I don't trust slot loading disc drives)
GPU:Nvidia Quadro 3000M
RAM: 8GB DDR3-1333MHz (2 DIMMS, so that I can later at 8 more if I deem it necessary)
LCD: 17.3" UltraSharp FHD (1920x1080) Wide View LED Multi-Touch w/Stylus
Primary Storage: 128GB Solid State Minicard Drive
Secondary Storage: 320GB 7200rpm HDD
Tertiary Storage: 320GB 7200rpm HDD
RAID: RAID 0, 3 drive total configuration, boot drive plus RAID volume
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Last edited by Raphaeltm : 06 June 2012 at 10:20 PM.
 
Old 06 June 2012   #2
Sounds like a good build to me- I was actually pricing out the same system- except was thinking about forking out for the dough at Newegg for RAM: it's 119 vs Dell's 400... and possibly doing the HDDs the same fashion= and just put my own barebones image of Win7 64 on it.... Let you know when it happens= tight on funds ATM so It'll prob be a few months.
CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8G) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Laptop Memory Model CMSX16GX3M2A1600C10
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CK Pinson
 
Old 06 June 2012   #3
Also- there is a coupon code for $50 off and another you can use with it to take off 30%- ends up being a steal!!! google Dell Precision Coupon Codes= it's one of those links... looks like a sketchy link but I just cut and paste the codes and they worked for me- brought it below Dell's discount.
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CK Pinson
 
Old 06 June 2012   #4
Thanks for the tips! I'll look into those!

I'm actually thinking of trading in the touchscreen for a better GPU. Especially after reading this review which suggests that the touchscreen is kindof awkward.

I'll be getting the Quadro 4000M instead
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Old 06 June 2012   #5
Nice find. I use my Intuos with my laptop- I place it on the keyboard and usually works out but sometimes depresses the keys beneath it. One of the reasons I was thinking about going Microsoft Surface Tablet- Because then I could just detach the keyboard. Not sure tho- have to wait and see- plus still considering the Cintiq. My current laptop was only 499 LOL at Stapples and you know what is not bad although it does not have a GPU. It's primarily for remote work to my company servers etc. This is why I am considering the Dell Precision. and the other reason why I am considering the Intuos 5 over the Cintiq, price and portability- but I've always wanted a Cintiq since the first one and until now haven't been able to afford one.

I totally think you are right about the touchscreen capabilities-

Money better spent on GPU upgrade or even RAM.
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CK Pinson
 
Old 06 June 2012   #6
Really should consider the minimum RAM and maybe even HDDs because you could buy them much cheaper at Newegg= 256 GB SATA III SSD runs 250 (Samsung) and RAM I've already proven=

Dell wants 460 bucks for 16 GB O 1600 MHZ and Newegg for more premium RAM 119

100 to make your primary HDD a 128GB SSD

310 per 320GB 7200 HDD- NEWEGG- WesternDig 750GB HDD for 105

So you spend 720 on Hard drive upgrades alone. for 455 at Newegg you get a 250GB SSD boot and 2x750GB HDD granted the MOB supports it but it should since they have the options at Dell- if not- choose a smaller pair. So that saves you 260 and gives you nearly 2 TB (1.75) space vs 760GB

460 for RAM. DAM for 119 saves you 341

You could save 601 bucks and give you 1 TB more storage space. Not to mention better parts.

This is the route I plan to take- just have to look into all the compatibility angles but that's not too hard. So for that kinda money savings you could still opt for the touch screen or another larger Dell IPS panel to dongle to, something I've thought of
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CK Pinson
 
Old 06 June 2012   #7
Yeah, I'd considered grabbing stuff off of newegg. Especially because of the steep price on the HDDs.

Right now my main problem with that is that it's convenient to have dell set up the raid and the msata drive. Though I do know how to put things together (my desktop rig was built by myself from the ground up) with a laptop, I prefer not to meddle, just because I find them more complicated.

That is a lot of saved money though...... =\
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Old 06 June 2012   #8
Just so youre aware, you realise that thing will weigh an absolute ton right? 17", 3x harddrives, the bulky power supply
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www.3dfluff.com
 
Old 06 June 2012   #9
I hear ya, not for everyone. I am doing this kind of stuff on laptops and desktops all the time at work.

also he is right about it weighing a ton but it does come with better gpu options than the 15. Even the 15 weighs quiet a bit.
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CK Pinson
 
Old 06 June 2012   #10
well its just given the variables, price, speed, weight... I cant see any reason I would ever go for 3x harddrives in a laptop, especially when theyre just mediocre 300gig drives. Id look at a single 500gig ssd instead. Itll be far lighter, use less battery, run much faster... Given a 512 gig ssd is 300 inc tax, I dont see how 3x harddrives beats it in any way.
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Matthew O'Neill
www.3dfluff.com
 
Old 06 June 2012   #11
Originally Posted by imashination: Just so youre aware, you realise that thing will weigh an absolute ton right? 17", 3x harddrives, the bulky power supply


Yeah. I do. But that's not really much of a consideration for me. The point isn't really to have something ultra portable so much as to have a full-powered workstation I can drag to multiple locations. (Didn't do it on purpose, but the word "drag" is particularly appropriate here, isn't it? xD )

However, the primary drive is an msata drive. So it shouldn't add much weight.
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Old 06 June 2012   #12
Originally Posted by imashination: well its just given the variables, price, speed, weight... I cant see any reason I would ever go for 3x harddrives in a laptop, especially when theyre just mediocre 300gig drives. Id look at a single 500gig ssd instead. Itll be far lighter, use less battery, run much faster... Given a 512 gig ssd is 300 inc tax, I dont see how 3x harddrives beats it in any way.


Thanks for the response

First off, I like separating my data and my OS/Software. Makes it easier to manage OS upgrades and software changes (I like formatting and reinstalling the OS about once a year). For that reason, regardless what type of drive I choose, I would need at least two.

I have to buy at least one drive from Dell, otherwise I can't order the computer. Dell is charging $970 (i know. ridiculous.) for it's 512GB SSD. So there's no way I'm buying that from them. What I really want is the little 128GB msata drive (to leave the two main drive bays available). And they're not charging a whole bunch for that. However, they require the selection of at least one other drive if I choose the msata. I could just get one 320GB drive, and then replace it with, or add, a 512GB SSD from Newegg, but even with the cheaper prices on Newegg ($400), that would cost me more than just adding a second 320GB drive and having it installed in a RAID 0 array. Since I tend to fill up drives very quickly it just seems like this is the cheapest way to get good performance and a good amount of storage.

I will definitely be keeping your advice in mind though! It's definitely true that if I can find a way to get a 512GB SSD for cheaper without having to buy the dell drive, that would be a great option.
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Old 06 June 2012   #13
At the very least save the near 400 on RAM and do that yourself- it's way to easy to install- honestly RAM and HDD are very easy- especially if you're just doing additional HDD and not the boot drive-

Heat would be my main concern with additional HDD- SSD dont get hot like the regular HDD but still- also consider that the HDD bay is on the bottom of the laptop= more heat in your lap, green hdd are as fast but they conserve energy therefore may not produce as much heat; however, I noticed that if I have connected to one in a while then do- the first time usually takes additional seconds to access it (map).

You could always order the SSD for the boot then add blank HDD for storage or raid later- usually just a matter of a small Phillips screw here and there- also need the SATA connection adapters- cheap...

I doubt Dell uses different MOBs per machine so all should be well. Like was mentioned above- one large HDD would be better than 2 for power and heat alone- think battery life...
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CK Pinson
 
Old 06 June 2012   #14
Originally Posted by CKPinson: At the very least save the near 400 on RAM and do that yourself- it's way to easy to install- honestly RAM and HDD are very easy- especially if you're just doing additional HDD and not the boot drive-

Heat would be my main concern with additional HDD- SSD dont get hot like the regular HDD but still- also consider that the HDD bay is on the bottom of the laptop= more heat in your lap, green hdd are as fast but they conserve energy therefore may not produce as much heat; however, I noticed that if I have connected to one in a while then do- the first time usually takes additional seconds to access it (map).

You could always order the SSD for the boot then add blank HDD for storage or raid later- usually just a matter of a small Phillips screw here and there- also need the SATA connection adapters- cheap...

I doubt Dell uses different MOBs per machine so all should be well. Like was mentioned above- one large HDD would be better than 2 for power and heat alone- think battery life...


Good points there.

I don't usually have a problem with installing stuff, especially since the HDDs are usually easy to just slide into their bay. I don't know what I'm doing with an msata drive though, so I'm a little bit worried about having to install that.

After checking out RAM pricing, I'm definitely going to buy that off of Newegg.

I'm still in a bit of a dilemma as far as the hard drive goes though. By having the msata drive installed by dell, I'm forced to get another drive from them, minimum $240 which I won't be able to get back.

If I knew how to install an msata drive, I would be fine with ordering the bare minimum 320GB drive and getting an SSD and msata SSD after the fact, but I didn't even know msata existed until I decided to get this thing! :P
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Old 06 June 2012   #15
Are you sure about them being mSATA? Only heard of a few MOBs with mSATA- one I recently worked with was Asus's P8Z77-V Premium which had mSata built into the board (32GB) and I believe this standard supports a max of 64 GB-

From the manufacturer::: ASUS goes one step further and includes a PCIe 3.0 switch to enable quad-CF/SLI support despite the limited number (16) of PCIe lanes Intel's LGA-1155 CPUs provide. ASUS' board features all the bells and whistles including a 32GB Marvell based Liteon mSATA SSD

I highly doubt Dell uses a high end board with mSATA built in- not likely. To keep pricing down they tend to use cheaper RAM and HDDs- at least in the mainstream ones I am constantly repairing (Not to fault Dell, we have a lot of idiots toting these around).
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