• Just a heads up for those of you who use Tapatalk to access NCH&F. I will be removing support for that app effective immediately. The reasons are many, but the primary one is that it allows spammers to post here without first being authorized to do so. This, coupled with their increasingly aggressive and invasive ads and pop ups, has caused us to remove them from the site entirely.

Computer Build Help For Kid

gremcat

Twelve Pointer
Kind of odd ? but my 9 yo going on 20 is a brainiac. We need a home pc since both mine are technically work and they keep locking more stuff down. I can work around but trying to play nice these days.

Im thinking of building something for my kid and others in the house. I’ll probably get a newer Surface at some point for myself. For him/them thinking the tower with the visible panel. I can’t recall any details on building really and don’t know what the best components are these days. Some reason Alienware comes to mind. I’d like good graphics card so if I use it I don’t get bogged down. I run a P51 for a work laptop so something about that speed I think is adequate but I’m not a Gamer, just run a few softwares that need processing power and graphics or they get painfully slow. Think SW, business Modeling, Studio 5000, CAD, that sort of stuff. Guessing I’m pushing $2-3k but hoping I can get in a little over $1k in a station instead of portable.
 

TheCloudX

Eight Pointer
Contributor
I've built for the last 10 years. PC Part Picker is a good site to get an idea of what parts are good right now as well as their price. Two years ago when GPU's were hard to come by, I bought an Alienware for my wife (she's a gamer). It was cheaper to buy that than build. I think it was just a hair over $1k. i5, 16gb, and 1080 GPU. I swapped the 1tb HDD with a 2TB SSD. All in cost was about $1200 or so. Building, at that time, was going to be north of $1500. She uses it about 3-5 hours a day doing everything from normal web browsing, MS Office, to hardcore gaming. It's never given us a lick of issues. It replaced her 5 year old Dell she bought before we met. Dell also has good deals regularly.

These days, if a prebuilt is within 10-15% of what it would cost to build, I rather go with the prebuilt even if it was more expensive. Is Alienware over rated a bit? Yes, but for what we paid, it was a deal and we've been happy.
 

hunter

Eight Pointer
Contributor
I have gotten my last two computers from www.ibuypower.com. You can buy ready made, build from scratch or swap out parts to suit your needs. No complaints on mine. First one lasted ~10 years and still serves as a back up. They are primarily aimed at gamers but offer lots of options to dial up or down as needed. I recommend selecting a case with a lot of cooling capacity regardless of what you plan to use it for. Pretty sure that is one of the main reasons why my first one lasted so well.

PS - Agree with TCX that sometimes it is cheaper to buy versus build yourself. Plus they do a burn in before shipping and should catch most common problems then. Nothing like building your own computer and then spending a week or so trying to find out what is causing a problem.....
 
Last edited:

Homebrewale

Old Mossy Horns
Buy already built is probably cheaper than building your own but there is some education value in letting the kid build one.
 

Firedog

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Kind of odd ? but my 9 yo going on 20 is a brainiac. We need a home pc since both mine are technically work and they keep locking more stuff down. I can work around but trying to play nice these days.

Im thinking of building something for my kid and others in the house. I’ll probably get a newer Surface at some point for myself. For him/them thinking the tower with the visible panel. I can’t recall any details on building really and don’t know what the best components are these days. Some reason Alienware comes to mind. I’d like good graphics card so if I use it I don’t get bogged down. I run a P51 for a work laptop so something about that speed I think is adequate but I’m not a Gamer, just run a few softwares that need processing power and graphics or they get painfully slow. Think SW, business Modeling, Studio 5000, CAD, that sort of stuff. Guessing I’m pushing $2-3k but hoping I can get in a little over $1k in a station instead of portable.
First thank you for your business.. that P51 put food on my table and the follow-on versions still do (P15 Gen2 comes out later this year)

My son just bought himself a gaming rig, he bought a Legion. I think his was around 1500 when he got done with the keyboard and fancy mouse.. we gave him a gaming monitor for his birthday (if you are going to game the monitor, kbd, and mouse are very important from a reaction and refresh rate perspective. Gaming graphics (GeForce from NVidia) are fickle in that they change very rapidly.. (6 month life cycles on cards is not unheard of) and with each new one you have different drivers etc to worry about. Warranty is another issue with most gaming rigs.. they are designed to run fast and hot and not for a long time.

You can build yourself a custom rig even through a lot of Big OEMs.. most of the pro towers now like P340 (sticking with Think) will allow you some GeForce graphics options that give you the best of both worlds.
 

TheCloudX

Eight Pointer
Contributor
First thank you for your business.. that P51 put food on my table and the follow-on versions still do (P15 Gen2 comes out later this year)

My son just bought himself a gaming rig, he bought a Legion. I think his was around 1500 when he got done with the keyboard and fancy mouse.. we gave him a gaming monitor for his birthday (if you are going to game the monitor, kbd, and mouse are very important from a reaction and refresh rate perspective. Gaming graphics (GeForce from NVidia) are fickle in that they change very rapidly.. (6 month life cycles on cards is not unheard of) and with each new one you have different drivers etc to worry about. Warranty is another issue with most gaming rigs.. they are designed to run fast and hot and not for a long time.

You can build yourself a custom rig even through a lot of Big OEMs.. most of the pro towers now like P340 (sticking with Think) will allow you some GeForce graphics options that give you the best of both worlds.
Firedog, do you work for Lenovo/Think? I'm a big fan of Think. The X1 Extreme is the best laptop I've ever owned. The thing is a beast.
 

waitup

Four Pointer
Much like @TheCloudX , I bought an Alienware a couple of years ago because it was cheaper than building. Got it as a Black Friday special, and my buddy who was going to help me build said the $1600 I paid was a couple hundred less than he could build a comparable machine for. I'm going to be looking for one soon to run some home automation and a NVR for security cameras on. I think I'm going to get a refurbished model. You can get a top of the line Dell, HP, or Lenovo from 2015 for $300-$400 online with a warranty.
 

Firedog

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Much like @TheCloudX , I bought an Alienware a couple of years ago because it was cheaper than building. Got it as a Black Friday special, and my buddy who was going to help me build said the $1600 I paid was a couple hundred less than he could build a comparable machine for. I'm going to be looking for one soon to run some home automation and a NVR for security cameras on. I think I'm going to get a refurbished model. You can get a top of the line Dell, HP, or Lenovo from 2015 for $300-$400 online with a warranty.
A top of the line 2015 is like buying a top of the line buggy if you are shopping for a new car. The tech advances since 2015 are hard to believe looking back. Not saying they will not do the job, but how fast and well I would question.
 
Last edited:

waitup

Four Pointer
A top of the line 2015 is like buying a top of the line buggy if you are shopping for a new car. The tech advances since 2015 are hard to believe looking back. Not saying they will not do the job, but how fast and well I would question.
Absolutely agree. It may be worth looking into a newer refurb for OP though, and in my use-case, many people are running the software on a Raspberry Pi, so I think an i5 or i7 processor with 32GB of Ram and an SSD should be pretty fast and work well for that. I know just enough about computers to be dangerous though, so please correct me if I am wrong.
 

Firedog

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Absolutely agree. It may be worth looking into a newer refurb for OP though, and in my use-case, many people are running the software on a Raspberry Pi, so I think an i5 or i7 processor with 32GB of Ram and an SSD should be pretty fast and work well for that. I know just enough about computers to be dangerous though, so please correct me if I am wrong.
there is no right or wrong.. it is all shades of grey in the space. Amount of memory is one thing and 32GB is above average.. but the i7 of 5 years ago will not hold a candle to the i3 today and that 32GB of memory is operating at about half (or less) of the speed because of the system architecture. When it comes to the OP and a gaming discussion those things become even more important as it effects the game play.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I sell high end graphics workstations for a living.. I spend most of my time working through exact workloads with customers in order to right size the solution for job.. that said I will always lean towards the latest tech with the most upgradability in order to future proof the solution and make it last the longest in a world that is changing exponentially every year. Examples, Win10 uses 32% more CPU power than Win7 did and that is just the OS.. Office 365 uses up to 85% more compared to Office 2016 and it has built in GPU utilization (call it visualization if you will) that is up over 1000% (that is not a typo or have an extra 0) Softwares are being written today to take advantage of todays hardware and yesterdays software is not really available... so if you try to run new software on old hardware.. your trying to pull a huge trailer with a Yugo.. it might pull it, until it doesn't.
 

DozerD

Four Pointer
Not to hijack, but seems to be some knowledgeable folks discussing PC’s. Question, would upgrading to a new PC from an xbox one to game make my gaming experience that much better? The reason I haven’t switched is I have very marginal internet (average 25 up, 1.5 down). Is it worth the upgrade with those types of speeds?
 

waitup

Four Pointer
there is no right or wrong.. it is all shades of grey in the space....
Understood. Thanks for the clarification and numbers. As I said, I know enough to get myself in trouble about this stuff. I'll step back and follow OP's discussion as it may be relevant to my needs as well.
 

Steelshot

Four Pointer
A lot of times you can catch dell refurbs dirt cheap on dells page. Unless you really want a dedicated pc with some crazy stuff in it, buying one maybe just as good
 
Top