New Gaming PC: Vantage or PCspecialist

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I am about to buy a new pc, mainly for gaming, and initiall was thinkin about ordering from mesh, but seeing all this negative feedback (not just on this site) I've decided to look elsewhere, and my two favourites are vantage and pcspecialist (dell and alienware seem somewhat overpriced)

now here are the 2 systems I configured:


Vantage (£2165 inc VAT)

System Case: Coolermaster Wavemaster Silver Case
Power Supply: 750W Quad 12v Rails SLi PSU
Motherboard: Asus P5B Deluxe Motherboard (Skt 775 Conroe)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.67Ghz
System Memory: 2Gb Corsair DDR2 800 Memory (2x 1Gb)
Hard Drive One: 500Gb Serial ATA300 7200RPM
Hard Drive Two: Please Select
Removeable Storage Devices: Floppy Disc Drive
CD Device One: DVDRW Drive (16x +/- Dual Layer)
CD Device Two: DVDRW Drive (16x +/- Dual Layer)
Video Card: GeForce 7950GX2 1Gb DDR +DVI/TV PCI-X
Audio Device: Creative SoundBlaster X-FI Xtreme
PCI Devices: Netgear Wireless Card 802.11g (54mbps)
PCI Devices: Please Select
Keyboard & Mouse Set: Logitech Multimedia Wireless Keyboard & Optical Mouse Set
Speakers: Creative T7900 7.1 Set
Monitor: 19 Inch TFT Viewsonic VX922 (2ms/DVI)
Operating System: Windows XP Home SP/2 - OEM
Office Software: Please Select
Utilities Software: Nero DVD Burning Software OEM
AntiVirus Software: Please Select
Additional Services: Please Select
System Warranty: Ad-Vantage 5 Years Return to Base Warranty
Additional Support Services: One Week Trial 24/7 Unlimited Telephone Software Support
Build Services: Standard 7 to 10 Working Day Build


PC Specialist(1910 inc VAT and Delivery)


CPU
INTEL® CORE® 2 DUO E6700 (2 X 2.67GHZ) 1066mhz FSB/4MB Cache
Memory
2048 MB CORSAIR DDR2-800 PC6400 - LIFETIME WARRANTY! (2x1GB)
Motherboard
ASUS® P5N SLI: DUAL DDR2, S-ATA, 2 x16 VGA
USB Options
SIX USB 2.0 PORTS (4 REAR + 2 FRONT)
Hard Drive
SATA II 500 GB HARD DISK @ 7200rpm 8mb cache
Second Hard Drive
NONE
RAID
NONE
DVD ROM/Combi Drive
16X DVD ROM WITH 48X CD ROM
CD/DVD Writer
Lightscribe 16x +/- DVD WRITER (8x +/- Dual Lyr) (40x CD-RW) (£23)
Graphics Card 1
1024MB GEFORCE 7950GX2 (DUAL GPU) PCI Express + DVI + TV-OUT
Graphics Card 2
NONE
Sound Card
SoundBlaster X-FI Extreme Music 7.1: £52
Modem
NONE, I WILL BE USING BROADBAND
Network Facilities
ONBOARD LAN & WIRELESS 108MBPS NETWORK CARD (£12)
Floppy Drive/Card Reader
1.44MB FLOPPY DISK DRIVE
Case
Silver Neon Bubble case + Neon Extreme Kit!
Power Supply & Cooling
600W Super Quiet Quad Rail PSU + 120mm fan & CPU Cooler (£79)
Operating System required
MICROSOFT® WINDOWS® MCE 2005 (inc. Genuine CD & licence) (£69)
Firewire & Video Editing
NONE
Monitor
HIGH END TFT: 19 INCH SILVER/BLACK: 8MS + DVI! (£149)
Keyboard
Logitech® Cordless Internet Pro Desktop Keyboard + Mouse (Black) (£17)
Mouse
NONE
Speakers
CREATIVE INSPIRE 7.1 T7900 SPEAKER SYSTEM (£65)
Printer
HP PSC 1410 PRINTER/COPIER/SCANNER (£56)
Anti-Virus
NONE
Office Software
NONE
TV Card
Digital TV Card (Freeview/Radio/Remote/Pause Live TV) (Special: £32)
Warranty
1 Year Return-to-Base Warranty + 1 Month Free Collect & Return





now I was wondering whether anyone has any experience with ordering from either vantage or pcspecialist? And is there something i should change about my specs? Or should I lower my specs and order from a better known company? ( I have a budget of around £2000)

any kind of input would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Some good hardware choices there However, if you have browsed through the site you may have noticed quite a few posts like your own. I will be honest, I've never heard of either manufacturer. I and others here always ask this question in a roundabout way.

Do you have enough experience to build your own?

If you do then you will without a doubt save money and can pick exactly what you want in your machine without being stuck with certain manufacturers choices. All it takes is a bit of patience and browsing the net for better prices.

If you machine is going to be primarily for gaming then I would suggest AMD's new'ish AM2 Chipset. AMD seems to be favoured by gamers and in conjunction with decent good solid Motherboard, RAM and GFX cards you would have a truely fantastic machine.

For example an AMD Dual core 4600 is now only £157 inclusive. These where selling for about £270 £280 a few months ago. Look Below;

http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/111292

Do you really need 500GB hard drives?

I'm sure you have sought advice from others, however I do suggest if you have tht kind of money to buy a new system with then you should look into buying all the parts yourself and if you aint got the experience to do it get someone else to build it for you. One of the main advantages is if summat goes wrong you wont have to send the whole computer back and wait sometimes weeks. Of course there are advantages of buying a full system aswell.

The choice is yours.....I guess. Good luck
 
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Thanx for the input. I went to overclockers.co.uk and selected similar/same sepcs (individual components) as on the vantage configuration, and it came to around £2000, so it doesn't seem like abig difference, and the vantage parts appear to be of decent quality. Also I don't think i am capable of building a pc myself, altough I do have a couple of friends who probably are capable, i'd prefer to have a professional do it (plus i'd feel like I have to reimburse them, seeing as it does seem to take some time)

Anyway I also stumbled on this site:

http://www.pcoption.co.uk/pcbaseunits/index5d_7900slip4con.htm

It seems to be very cheap, although the amount of options is quite limited...


then I was also thinkin about cube247 and this system:

http://www.cube247.co.uk/acatalog/LeonisST6.html

any ideas?
 
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Adywebb

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I can only comment on Cube247 - I have bought 3 machines from them over the past few years when they were called Computer Electronics, all have been great and have worked faultlessly.

There was a problem on delivery with one of them, when it was damaged in transit - one phone call later with no arguements and another was built and sent on its way.

They use good quality branded componants, and have a real person at the end of the phone if you have a problem.

One thing I do note is you need to ask them what make of PSU is fitted, and I have no idea how good these new Intel Core 2 Duo Deluxe Mobos are.
 

floppybootstomp

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Alright, how's this, comes to £1976.00 bung me fifty quid for putting it together and it'll come home at £2026.00. Or, of course, pay one of your mates some money.

Notes:

Most components will be superior to the Vantage and PC Specialist components.
Monitor has DVI input and 2ms response time.
You don't need two DVDRW drives, one will do, plus a DVD-ROM drive to copy from.
The MX-1000 laser mouse at £40.00 is ideal for gaming. For another tenner you could get the G7, which is even better.
The Logitech speaker system, in my opinion, sounds better than the Creative one you've chosen.
You could save £130.00 by using 2 x 250Gb drives instead of one 500Gb drive. You could also use the second drive for storage for all your photos, mp3's etc. That means if your OS crashes, you won't lose everything. You could partition of course, but 500Gb drives are expensive right now.
I've chosen a Lian Li aluminium case. It's black. You can get the same in silver. Or choose another case. It's just an example of a quality case.
Shop around and you may find cheaper, all these components sourced from just one supplier (overclockers.co.uk).

Of course, if you went for an AMD 4800 dual core socket 939 CPU based system, you could probably save at least £500.00. It would be almost as good as the Conroe system but it is of course now old technology, it's not being manufactured anymore (how long will Conroe CPU's stay current?).

Anyway, here we go, this is a good system, it's almost criminal to spend £2K on components that will be inferior.

conroe.jpg
 
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thanx for all the input guys, but the more I look around at all the different online custom pc vendors the less i can decide where to get a new pc from. I stumbled upon this site yesterday:


www.eclipse-computers.com

wherew i configured following system:

http://www.eclipse-computers.com/systems.aspx?sysid=65800#

now they seem to use quality components, and list the brand of every component, the only thing I am worried about here is that there are a couple of negative customer reviews on eclipse, about delayed deliveries, etc...


I also reconfigured the vantage system, as they too seem to use resonably good parts (eg. the Gforce 7950 appears to be the Asus EN7950GX2, not 100% sure though)

anyway here goes:

Vantage (£1470 inc VAT)

System Case: Coolermaster Wavemaster Silver Case
Power Supply: 650W Akasa Quad 12v Rails SLi PSU
Motherboard: Asus P5B Deluxe Motherboard (Skt 775 Conroe)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4Ghz
System Memory: 2Gb Corsair DDR2 800 Memory (2x 1Gb)
Hard Drive One: 300Gb Serial ATA300 7200RPM
Hard Drive Two: Please Select
Removeable Storage Devices: Floppy Disc Drive
CD Device One: CD/DVD Combo Drive (52x32x52x16)
CD Device Two: DVDRW Drive (16x +/- Dual Layer)
Video Card: GeForce 7950GX2 1Gb DDR +DVI/TV PCI-X
Audio Device: Creative SoundBlaster X-FI Xtreme
PCI Devices: Wireless Card 802.11g (54mbps)
PCI Devices: USB2.0 Card
Keyboard & Mouse Set: Logitech Multimedia Wireless Keyboard & Optical Mouse Set
Speakers: Please Select
Monitor: Please Select
Operating System: No Operating System Required - I already have one
Office Software: Please Select
AntiVirus Software: Please Select
Utilities Software: Please Select
Additional Services: Please Select
System Warranty: Ad-Vantage 5 Years Return to Base Warranty
Additional Support Services: One Week Trial 24/7 Unlimited Telephone Software Support
Build Services: Standard 7 to 10 Working Day Build




Also a lot of people are recommending I use an AMD processor instead of Intel, but I thought the Core 2 had outclassed the AMD chips in benchmark tests?


@ floppybootstomp: thx for the offer (and advice). I'll definately consider your offer if after some time I still cannot ddecide where to purchase from. I also noticed you did not include any coolers, is this because they are not really necessary or ...?
 

floppybootstomp

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I didn't include a CPU cooler as the retail version of the Conroe chip I listed comes with a cooler.

If you wanted to use a better cooler consider models from Thermaltake and Zalman.

And the Lian Li case I specced has four 80mm case fans.

I notice you've come down in spec a bit from your original listing, notably with the CPU and Hard Disk.

Also the motherboard I listed is the deluxe version of the P5B, you've listed the standard board, which is £40.00 less.

I also notice you keep listing a sound card. The Asus onboard 5.1 sound is quite respectable and unless you're going to go for one of the top range sound cards I really don't see any advantage in a seperate sound card.

You've selected a Logitech Multimedia mouse/keyboard combo. If you're serious about gaming the Logi MX1000 should be considered a starting point, imo.

Why do you need a USB2 card? Not enough ports on the Asus?

You have also not included Operating System; Nero; Monitor; Loudspeakers. Have your requirements changed?

Lots of people have mentioned AMD as they are much better value for money and perform well. Intel may have won benchmarks in recent like for like comparison tests but if I had to choose right now, a dual CPU AMD 4800 Socket 939 Processor for less than two hundred quid is a bargain so that's what I'd go for.

Also, no real advantage as yet from DDR2 memory and socket 939 boards' memory is cheaper. As are the sckt 939 motherboards.

So, all in all, better performance from an AMD system for much less money. As I mentioned before only disadvantage is socket 939, in computer retail terms at least, is old hat. But how long will Conroe CPU's be top of the range?
 
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I've come down on the spec a little to be able to afford a better monitor (eg Dell2007FP).


About the Socket 939 mainboards, I was just wondering about upgradabilty options in around one year from now? Would that be an issue? (Also when I buy something new (especially when it's for £2000) I just prefer it to be reasonably new technology, but that's just stupid old me...

Next question: When configuring my pc on vantage i clicked onto more info for the Gforce 7950 and under further specifications following extract is listed:

ASUS Splendid
ASUS GameLive Show
ASUS GameReplay
ASUS OnScreenDisplay(OSD)

does this mean that it would be the ASUS EN7950GX2?

So I configured an AMD system on vantage (AM2 based). I left out the OS before, as i was planning on buying Windows XP MC from Overclockers, but i just read up on it, and apparently it's a real mess to install...


Vantage (£1450 inc VAT)

System Case: Coolermaster Wavemaster Silver Case
Power Supply: 650W Akasa Quad 12v Rails SLi PSU
Motherboard: Asus M2N32-SLi Deluxe Motherboard (Skt AM2)
Processor: AMD 64-Bit Dual Core X2 4800+ (Skt AM2)
System Memory: 2Gb Corsair DDR2 800 Memory (2x 1Gb)
Hard Drive One: 300Gb Serial ATA300 7200RPM
Hard Drive Two: Please Select
Removeable Storage Devices: Floppy Disc Drive
CD Device One: CD/DVD Combo Drive (52x32x52x16)
CD Device Two: DVDRW Drive (16x +/- Dual Layer)
Video Card: GeForce 7950GX2 1Gb DDR +DVI/TV PCI-X
Video Card Two in Sli: Please Select
Audio Device: Creative SoundBlaster X-FI Xtreme
PCI Devices: Please Select
Keyboard & Mouse Set: Please Select
Speakers: Please Select
Monitor: Please Select
Operating System: Windows XP Home SP/2 - OEM
Office Software: Please Select
AntiVirus Software: Please Select
Utilities Software: Please Select
Additional Services: Please Select
System Warranty: Ad-Vantage 5 Years Return to Base Warranty
Additional Support Services: One Week Trial 24/7 Unlimited Telephone Software Support
Build Services: Standard 7 to 10 Working Day Build


and following parts from overclockers:

SP-052-CL sSKUs = sSKUs + 'SP-052-CL' + ';' sTempProd = '[atc1.SP-052-CL/'; Creative I-Trigue 5.1 5600 Speakers - Retail (SP-052-CL) sTemp = ''; sTempProd = sTempProd + 'atm1.' + sTemp; sQuantity = sQuantity + sTemp + ';'; £99.95 sTemp = '£99.95'; sTemp = sTemp.replace(/£/,''); sTemp = sTemp.replace(/./,'.'); sTemp = sTemp.replace(/,/,''); sPrice = sPrice + sTemp + ';'; sTempProd = sTempProd + '/atm2.' + sTemp + ']'; arrProd[iLoop] = sTempProd; iLoop++; £99.95MO-010-DE sSKUs = sSKUs + 'MO-010-DE' + ';' sTempProd = '[atc1.MO-010-DE/'; Dell Ultrasharp 2007FP 20.1" Performance LCD Monitor - Midnight Grey (MO-010-DE) sTemp = ''; sTempProd = sTempProd + 'atm1.' + sTemp; sQuantity = sQuantity + sTemp + ';'; £299.99 sTemp = '£299.99'; sTemp = sTemp.replace(/£/,''); sTemp = sTemp.replace(/./,'.'); sTemp = sTemp.replace(/,/,''); sPrice = sPrice + sTemp + ';'; sTempProd = sTempProd + '/atm2.' + sTemp + ']'; arrProd[iLoop] = sTempProd; iLoop++; £299.99KB-066-LG sSKUs = sSKUs + 'KB-066-LG' + ';' sTempProd = '[atc1.KB-066-LG/'; Logitech Media Keyboard Elite - Retail (KB-066-LG) sTemp = ''; sTempProd = sTempProd + 'atm1.' + sTemp; sQuantity = sQuantity + sTemp + ';'; £14.99 sTemp = '£14.99'; sTemp = sTemp.replace(/£/,''); sTemp = sTemp.replace(/./,'.'); sTemp = sTemp.replace(/,/,''); sPrice = sPrice + sTemp + ';'; sTempProd = sTempProd + '/atm2.' + sTemp + ']'; arrProd[iLoop] = sTempProd; iLoop++; £14.99KB-039-LG sSKUs = sSKUs + 'KB-039-LG' + ';' sTempProd = '[atc1.KB-039-LG/'; Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse - Retail (KB-039-LG) sTemp = ''; sTempProd = sTempProd + 'atm1.' + sTemp; sQuantity = sQuantity + sTemp + ';'; £33.99 sTemp = '£33.99'; sTemp = sTemp.replace(/£/,''); sTemp = sTemp.replace(/./,'.'); sTemp = sTemp.replace(/,/,''); sPrice = sPrice + sTemp + ';'; sTempProd = sTempProd + '/atm2.' + sTemp + ']'; arrProd[iLoop] = sTempProd; iLoop++; £33.99Subtotal£448.92 VAT£78.57 sTax = '£78.57'; Total£527.49



That would take me to ~ £2000


Actually I have one more question: Is there a big difference between 667 and 800 DDR2 Memory?


PS I can't thank you enough for all your advice
 
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Hiya Will


I also came to this site asking for advice on whether or not I should buy from PC Specialist. In the end I took the plunge, and they have started building my machine today. They have responded to my emails within minutes and were also very helpful on the phone (if it helps, the PSU is made by FSP, a question people here advised me to ask). I decided to buy the machine minus the graphics card, and to get that separately. Believe it or not, that has knocked around £200 off the end price, and even I can put a graphics card in (normally I'm completely and utterly useless with these machines!)

They advertised their lead times as being 10-15 days on their site. After 11 working days I rang up to check if everything was all right, and they told me that currently they have a huge amount of orders in due to the recent release of Intel Duo Core. Their lead time is currently 16 working days, and today is the 14th working day since I ordered it so it seems about right considering they need to test it still.

So pre sales questions were dealt with quickly, and prices seem good to me. If you don't mind waiting a few days before buying, I will post to let people know how well the machine works when it gets here (or how well their customer service works if it doesn't work!)
 

floppybootstomp

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Will-1 said:
About the Socket 939 mainboards, I was just wondering about upgradabilty options in around one year from now? Would that be an issue? (Also when I buy something new (especially when it's for £2000) I just prefer it to be reasonably new technology, but that's just stupid old me...

If you're going for current technology and you can afford it, I'd probably got for the Intel Conroe chip myself, though it is a very tough choice.

Who knows what the upgrade options will be in one year from now. Socket A boards are now extremely hard to find for systems less than two years old.

You can only save a significant sum of money in this instance by choosing Socket 939. I'd bet you couldn't tell the difference between similar AM2 & Sckt 939 systems.

Will-1 said:
Next question: When configuring my pc on vantage i clicked onto more info for the Gforce 7950 and under further specifications following extract is listed:

ASUS Splendid
ASUS GameLive Show
ASUS GameReplay
ASUS OnScreenDisplay(OSD)

does this mean that it would be the ASUS EN7950GX2?

I haven't got a clue :)


Will-1 said:
Actually I have one more question: Is there a big difference between 667 and 800 DDR2 Memory?

I'm not 100% sure on this one but unless you intend to overclock, probably not.
 

Adywebb

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floppybootstomp said:
If you're going for current technology and you can afford it, I'd probably got for the Intel Conroe chip myself, though it is a very tough choice.
I agree with Flops on this Will, it is a tough choice - but I would go for the Conroe.

The E6600 is probably the best bang for your buck in the range I would say, it is the cheapest in the range that has 4MB L2 cache - it exceeds the AMD 64 FX-62 in most benchmark tests and beats the AMD X2 4800 and X2 5000 hands down in all areas. It is also highly clockable if you're into that sort of thing.

Price wise you should get the E6600 for around £250 (the E6700 is around £380) which when you compare it to the AMD X2 4800 at around £216, I would say the E6600 wins hands down.

For the Mobo the Asus P5B Deluxe is a cracker, so that Vantage system isn't bad in my opinion - would like to know the make of the DVD-RW, and ditch the Audio card unless you really feel the need.

Don't know anything about Vantage as a company, or how good they are though...

:thumb:


EDIT: Did a bit of googling and found reviews and comments on Vantage for you HERE - I'm sure if you search around you may find more ;)
 
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muckshifter

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Hmmm ... lets play "the numbers game". ;)


Intel Core Duo design ... which is in itself based on Pentium M ... which is based on Pentium 3 architecture.

So Intel has actually done a bit of a U-turn here. no?

The T2300 DC ... is a 667MHz bus speed with a bus core of x10 ... err, that's a 66MHz procesor init, no?
laughingsmiley.gif



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I spent £1427 on a scorpius system from cube247.co.uk with a few upgrades which was delivered on time today, and what a disappointment so far!. The Windows XP CD was missing which I had paid for and understood they would also install for me, also missing remote control for sound card (audigy 4 should come with remote especially as the cube247 upgrade is £20 more expensive than buying the card separately from another supplier). The twin 19" TFT monitors dont look like the ones in the image on the cube website, although they are of the same spec, these ones are made by hannsg (no i have never heard of them either)

Tomorrow my Win XP OS should arrive, but I took everything out of the box today to see what my money got me - and to my surprise the case is damaged!, theres a dent in the side with the case bent out towards the top - yes someone obviously slapped this unit together, banged it, and QC let it go through.. Im hoping that once I try to boot and install windows XP that the bang didnt cause something inside to be damaged although it seems likely given the wack it must have been given to get the dent. You can see a photo of the damage here - http://www.netevolution.co.uk/cubepc.jpg

I read so many bad reviews about workmanship and customer service of MESH computers that I decided to skip their bargain prices and pay that bit extra to get a quality product - Im starting to wish I had taken a gamble with MESH.

I have emailed cube247 this evening, I see on forums where customers have complained that cube seem to do things to remedy the problem, I hope to get a positive response from them tomorrow to ease my disappointment, preferably something better than posting the base unit back and paying the postage myself ontop of the £1427 they have already made out of me.

Sad start considering how excited I was, and that it was delivered on time (most of it...)
 
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one more thing to illustrate todays frustration

additionally, I have found that although the cube247 website is peppered with sales pitches like "2048MB DDRII 667 Corsair Memory - The World's Premium Memory!", I found that my computer does not have the corsair memory I paid for, but memory from some small Taiwanese outfit called PQI, same capacity and clockrate of memory - but lower standard, and over £50 cheaper if you were to buy both brands of memory separately.

Just to confirm, that this is day 1 and cube have not yet had an opportunity to respond to my emails of dissatisfaction yet, but I need a place to vent and if I get a positive resolution as several previous dissatisfied customers have done, I will naturally post how they righted the wrongs of this sale.
 

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