Discussion Up for a new desktop and need advice?

jrscpu2204

Junior Member
Feb 3, 2022
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Hello All, I’m new to this forum so please excuse my feeble questions! I’ve repaired and diagnosed computer issues and software related issues better than most, but am at no level here at this forum.
I purchased a 2012, Dell XPS Studio 9100. It’s served me well. I maintain it well including blowing out the chassis and power supply yearly, No failures and I have the latest Win 10. Of course Microsoft says it’s not Win11 capable( I’ve read its requirements and this current model looks like it could handle it). A few years ago, at a local thrift store, I came across a ABS computer that had a brushed aluminum case with extruded aluminum front. It was stunning and it was even more well built internally. ABS had no history but I can basically date it because of WinXP sticker which dates between 200-2006 or so? It was capable of loading and running Win 10. What impressed me was its sturdy construction and for its time, it’s leading edge components.
My Dell XPS Studio is nicely built too. I went to some reviews of the new Dell XPS series and a prestigious computer mag said it was pricey but they noted the physically, it’s chassis was flimsy, considering it’s asking price. Anyway,, here is my question. I need help picking a pre-made computer that will possibly fit these specs : Win 11 installed, a beefy chassis will expandability. At least 24 GB ram like what I have now. Currently I hav two 1 TB WD hd’s. The XPS Studio 9100 had two drive bays and I have to recordable blue ray drives ( I haven’t found Any chassis that has that 2 bay capability. I’m not a gamer and don’t over-clock or need water cooled GPU’s. I’ve always found the later might deliver performance, but long term durability is usually is always going to be an issue. HD tech has gone to solid state and I need advice as to their durability.
I basically asking for advise. I’ve looked at ABS Gladiator’, Corsair One’s & Dell’s Alienware R13’s. All are more than I’ll ever need or want for a long term use product! If someone can pass along some advice, I would deeply appreciate all responses. Again, I apologize, if I’m in the wrong forum category in advance! Thank you!
 

In2Photos

Golden Member
Mar 21, 2007
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Just want to verify. Do you want 2 drive bays for the Blu ray drives? If so that's going to be tough in a prebuilt. Optical drives are not popular any more and manufacturers have basically eliminated them as options.
 

jrscpu2204

Junior Member
Feb 3, 2022
10
2
36
Just want to verify. Do you want 2 drive bays for the Blu ray drives? If so that's going to be tough in a prebuilt. Optical drives are not popular any more and manufacturers have basically eliminated them as options.
Yes, if feasible. Those Blueray drives are from 2012. I could opt for 1 new one. Having 2 cut time down in making a copy, 1 did the reading & the other would burn.
After reading the Dell XPS reviews, the new chassis is flimsy. They concentrated on the MB & components but put the stuff in a tin can. The 3 manufacturers I mentioned, Dell’s Alienware R13, Corsair One & ABS Gladiator “look” good but I haven’t looked inside them, The GPU’s alone are in excess of $1500! Water Cooling is necessary to wick off the intense heat but if a leak developed, what a disaster that would be. My current Dell is a quad 4. Intel i7. 920@2.67ghz. Win 7 allowed me max out with 24gb of Kingston Ram. There was 2 higher model that was a 6 core model but this one served me well. Basically, I would like to improve with the current tech but not go as far as a Gamer model. I’m more concerned with quality. 24 Gb of ram is tame by todays standard. When I did Mac out at 24GB of ram, it never hurt to go higher in my estimation and will look at 32-64gb options on the new one. Thanks for replying!
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,009
9,879
126
See my thread in Cases and Cooling, about the Apex A1 case, being a clone of the Rosewill Stryker M. It's a high-airflow case, can accommodate water cooling (240mm AIO), and it still supports dual 5.25" optical drives.
 

In2Photos

Golden Member
Mar 21, 2007
1,385
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Yes, if feasible. Those Blueray drives are from 2012. I could opt for 1 new one. Having 2 cut time down in making a copy, 1 did the reading & the other would burn.
After reading the Dell XPS reviews, the new chassis is flimsy. They concentrated on the MB & components but put the stuff in a tin can. The 3 manufacturers I mentioned, Dell’s Alienware R13, Corsair One & ABS Gladiator “look” good but I haven’t looked inside them, The GPU’s alone are in excess of $1500! Water Cooling is necessary to wick off the intense heat but if a leak developed, what a disaster that would be. My current Dell is a quad 4. Intel i7. 920@2.67ghz. Win 7 allowed me max out with 24gb of Kingston Ram. There was 2 higher model that was a 6 core model but this one served me well. Basically, I would like to improve with the current tech but not go as far as a Gamer model. I’m more concerned with quality. 24 Gb of ram is tame by todays standard. When I did Mac out at 24GB of ram, it never hurt to go higher in my estimation and will look at 32-64gb options on the new one. Thanks for replying!
My PC is also an i7-920 with 24GB of RAM. I'm running a slight overclock at 3.6GHz though.

If those 2 drives are necessary then you may have to build your own using the case Larry mentioned or maybe something like a Fractal Design Focus series or something. You can use Newegg to look for cases that support optical drives.

From there you would just need to pick your parts and we can help with that as well. What will you use the PC for exactly?
 

jrscpu2204

Junior Member
Feb 3, 2022
10
2
36
Thank you all for your reply's. I'm 70 years old and just had heart surgery so I'm not likely to tackle a complete
component build from scratch.
I'm realizing that this whole forum is geared toward entire builds, but I was having difficulty in finding the right
category here at AnandTech to put my first post in.
Having the older Dell XPS Studio XPS 9100 and that earlier ABS computer which was probably built somewhere
between the years 2000-2006, I was hoping to buy a pre-built computer that was higher end leaning but not
going into the Gamer category. I was going to have Dell build me one of the New XPS Studio's but I'm glad I did
some research and was informed how lousy the physical chassis are.
I'm hoping, my recouperation goes well, and hopefully I could consider doing one from scratch as you folks
suggest. I know that's the best of both worlds because you are in total control of the quality put in.
I had telephoned the ABS computer factory, but they had no records going back that far and couldn't even identify
the beautifully brushed aluminum chassis. It had plenty of cooling with blue LED lighting on the internal fans. it
had dual-GPU Nvidia cards and the original owner had Windows XP installed. At its time, it must have been a
barnburner but I was able to load Window 10 on it with ease.
Please, keep up the suggestions and I will carefully look into those options. Again, a pre-built model is more
in keeping what I currently need. I just don't want to waste a whole pile of cash on a cheaply assembled model.
Thank you all, again!
 

In2Photos

Golden Member
Mar 21, 2007
1,385
1,443
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Something else you could consider is using an OEM like powergpu to build one for you. You can tell them what you are looking for and they can help put together something for you. They cater to the gaming industry but could certainly build what you are looking for.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,009
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Yes, there exist commercial, custom, one-off bespoke PC builders. Or check out any non-chain local PC shops. In a pinch, Microcenter will do custom builds, too, in-store.
 

OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
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You still haven't actually mentioned what you do with your computer, which makes making recommendations difficult. You state that you are not a gamer. OK, so what else would you do with a dedicated GPU? If an integrated GPU is good enough for what you do, then why not just get something like a high-end laptop? Or a NUC or other mini pc? Any new computer these days can run Windows 11, and can run most desktop software with ease. So unless you are doing a lot of video editing or Photoshop or 3D modelling, there is no reason to get a big and bulky desktop machine.

Also, there is a reason many cases don't come with a lot of 5.25" bays. Optical drives are rather obsolete, what with all the solid state storage and multi-terabyte hard drives around. You can always just get an external optical drive if you really need one.

Finally, if Windows isn't an absolute requirement, you can always get a Mac. The M1 chips are great, and their build quality is quite good.
 

jrscpu2204

Junior Member
Feb 3, 2022
10
2
36
I just recently started to do Astrophotography. The files a extremely large AVI’s and one program called Registax, needs quite a bit of memory and also creates large AVI files, so that 24GB of ram comes into use and I have a couple of large 256 GB USB drives to store images I keep. My 2 older laptops with dual core CPU’s choke on those Astronomy processing programs. The Dell XPS Studio 9100 is the only computer that can handle it.
 
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OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
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From my research, it seems that Registax does use multiple cores, but doesn't use the GPU, which is typical. So the good news is that you don't really need to spend extra for a high-end gpu. Given the crazy market for GPUs, this will allow you to save some money that you can put to something else, like more storage.

One company that you might look at is Titan Computers, as they build workstations. In particular, one caught my eye: the C261, which is a mini-ITX system. No need for a massive case.
https://www.titancomputers.com/Titan-C261-Intel-i5-i7-i9-Alder-Lake-Series-p/c261.htm

It comes standard with a 12600K and air cooling, which will be fine for this CPU. The standard gpu is a T400, which is fine for your use. In fact, the integrated GPU will probably be fine for what you do. Later, if you do decide to get into gaming and the GPU market reverts to some level of normalcy, you should be replace it with a faster card. Just get a larger SSD: minimum 1TB. You should also get a larger external drive. A 256GB drive isn't that big. A cheap 2.5" SATA SSD in 2 or 4TB would work nicely for offline storage and/or backup.
 

jrscpu2204

Junior Member
Feb 3, 2022
10
2
36
When I bought the Dell XPS Studio 9100, I was trying to buy toward the higher end in order to
delay the inevitable obsolescence that plagues all of us. The Intel i7 was just out and there were
two versions. One was the Quad Core, and the other was Six Core model. Having Windows 7 installed,
allowed me to max out the Ram. The company I bought it from, had stuffed in about 16gb of this
unknown brand and when I bought the 26 GB Kingston Ram, that peculiar issue disappeared afterwards.
The graphics card is a Nvidia GeForce GTX250 which is ancient by todays standard. I rather stick with
an installable graphics card, so if once again, I could upgrade in the future. I used FabDVD for the Blueray
use and the two Blueray drives made copying an easy task. Reliability is key mostly.
I did just check out that Titan Computer and its looks like they have some very serious lines of computers.
Their commitment to quality looks impressive too. I could go with the lesser
i7 models too and save quite a bit.
I'm in that just going to have to keep researching and you folks have given some really solid advice.
 

Tech Junky

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2022
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I rather stick with
an installable graphics card, so if once again, I could upgrade in the future.

Installable GPU = dGPU (these are your RTX / Intel Xe cards)
Integrated GPU = iGPU (this is built into the Intel CPU)

two Blueray drives
Getting 2 or a 2nd external drive would work too for when you need to make copies $25/ea

i7 models too and save quite a bit.

Well, the biggest hurdle at his point has been 12th gen giving the most bang for the buck when it comes to leaps in tech revisions. Going from PCI 4 to PCI 5 doubles the bandwidth for cards being used and likely won't be revised again and available for use for a few years. There's also DMI 4 which doubles the speed of aux lanes off the CPU. There's a couple of options on the MOBO side that have built in Gen 5 M2 slots for NVME drives that aren't' even out yet but, would keep you from having to install a PCI card adapter to use one.

Raptor Lake the next gen coming up only slightly improves things vs a major leap from 10/11th gen to 12th gen.
 

OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
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max out the Ram.
These days, most systems start at 16GB, and 32GB has become almost mainstream. That is a crazy amount of RAM for most people, and you can always choose to go with 64GB, although at that point you seem to be just wasting money.

I rather stick with
an installable graphics card, so if once again, I could upgrade in the future.
Every desktop motherboard has a slot for a graphics card, so just choosing to use an integrated GPU doesn't prevent you from getting a dedicated graphics card later on. Especially these days, when video card prices are insane, you will be wasting hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars on something that you won't use. Doesn't really make sense.
I used FabDVD for the Blueray
use and the two Blueray drives made copying an easy task.
I gotta ask: what are you copying? There is a reason that optical drives are going the way of the floppy. They don't really make a lot of sense these days, with cheap USB thumb drives, multi-terabyte external drives, NAS storage, etc.

I bought an external blu-ray drive for emergency use, since my computers have shed their optical drives over the years, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've used it over the past couple of years.
 

jrscpu2204

Junior Member
Feb 3, 2022
10
2
36
I hear you about the GPU's that are out today! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw some going between $1500-2000 range and I'm sure certain other might go higher. I would still like to get a decent one that's installable but like you said, not anything exotic. The Ram requirement, I'll take your word too. 32GB is probably enough but I'll check how much the 64GB ones go for.
I emailed the Titan Computer C/S group, basically telling them what I told you here. I'll let you know what they suggest.
About the Blueray drives I have. One is a HL-DT ST BD-RE WH10L30 and the other is a HL-DT ST DVDRWBD CN20N. One was a Sony and I believe the other a LG. I've had both since 2012 with no problems. I think, I also have a portable Blueray recorder too for back ups but I haven't
used it much
Another question I been meaning to ask is, have any of you had any thoughts on the new Windows 11 yet??
I had a good friend that says he hates it. Like most new releases, they tend to be a bit buggy. The Microsoft Updates says the Dell isn't meeting their requirements to install the Win11. One parameter says the CPU isn't compatible and not supported. That was a surprise!
 

jrscpu2204

Junior Member
Feb 3, 2022
10
2
36
Thanks for the tips. Again, I not looking for a Gaming type computer.
My current Dell XPS Studio 9100 was probably one of the first editions of Intel's i7. It's served me well.
I think the Intel i7's are up to their 12th or 13th generation?? I'm sure they are more advanced than mine.
There's also the Intel i9. I don't know if either of these new chips require the advanced water-cooling or
just a fan-cooled heat sink? I'm sure water-cooling is more efficient, but the idea of a leak bothers me!
 

Tech Junky

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2022
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12th gen is the current release aka Alder Lake

I use an air cooler for the same reason but use a graphite pad instead of paste. The temps are fine with AC despite the hype of WC systems supposedly being needed.

13th gen Raptor Lake will probably hit the market in Nov

I7 vs I9 is just a smidge lower in performance for $100-$150 less

ADL introduced a few key features DDR5 / PCIE 5
DDR5 vs DDR4 biggest difference is price as the performance right now is the same until DDR5 makes some innovative change that makes it "better"

).

Basically it comes down to this....
i3 - basic / entry level
i5 - mainstream
i7 - performance
i9 - extreme

K - unlocked
F - no iGPU - requires a card for video output
 

Pohemi

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2004
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Thanks for the tips. Again, I not looking for a Gaming type computer...

...I hear you about the GPU's that are out today! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw some going between $1500-2000 range and I'm sure certain other might go higher. I would still like to get a decent one that's installable but like you said, not anything exotic.
Are you wanting a dGPU "just because"? It's been explained already why you don't really need one for your uses, but it seems like you didn't catch that, or chose to disregard it.

It's your prerogative to buy a GPU of course, but the prices on them are no joke if you don't really need it for anything. The 11th and 12th gen i5 and i7 CPUs have a newer revision of integrated GPU called Intel Iris Xe, and it should be more than enough for your uses. It will handle anything but gaming, including 4K video.
About the Blueray drives I have. One is a HL-DT ST BD-RE WH10L30 and the other is a HL-DT ST DVDRWBD CN20N. One was a Sony and I believe the other a LG. I've had both since 2012 with no problems. I think, I also have a portable Blueray recorder too for back ups but I haven't
used it much
I'm still not sure what you use them for though (besides the external for backups as stated), or why you need to keep them in a new system.

FWIW- I just ordered a NUC 11 with an i5 earlier today to serve as an HTPC and Plex server. I will be utilizing the Iris Xe for graphics, but I also don't game.