I've been a Mac user for a few years now; unfortunately, the gaming scene isn't all that great, and I'm not willing to shell out $2000 for a mediocre Bootcamp-based "gaming rig." I've decided to switch back to Windows, but I need help picking my new computer (I'm not too keen on the idea of building my own).
I want to spend from $1000 to $1400 (includes a large ~24" monitor), and so far I'm interested in the following computers:
HP Pavilion Elite m9517c-b Bundle PC
AMD Phenom™ X4 9550 Quad-Core Processor
• 2.20 GHz, 2 MB L2 Cache + 2 MB Shared L3 Cache, 3600MT/s System Bus
NVIDIA GeForce 9100 Chipset
RAM: 8 GB (4 x 2048 MB) PC2-6400 DDR2 SDRAM memory
HD: 1 TB Serial ATA 7200 rpm
HP Pavilion Elite m9517c-b Bundle PC (FQ575AA) specifications - HP Home & Home Office Products
My local CostCo sells this PC along with a high-def 25.5" screen for $1300. I won't pretend to know much about what this all means, as this would be my first gaming PC -- from what I can tell, "NVIDIA GeForce 9100 chipset" means the video card is integrated? I should steer clear from that, right? I also heard that the motherboard is locked on most premade computers, so I won't be able to overclock it? The specs on this thing are way above anything else I've found in the same price range, so it's hard for me to look away.
I'm also interested in the Alienware brand, since I hear their computers are resilient and particularly easy to upgrade. That said, I don't know what the difference is between their Aurora and Area 51 750i models.
(modified) - $1129 + cost of 24" monitor ($300?)
AMD® Athlon™ X2 5200+ 2.7GHz Dual Core 2 x 512KB L2 Cache
Alienware® 750 Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply
Single 512MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 9800 GT
4GB, Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 x 1024MB
Alienware® Approved AMD® 790FX Motherboard
HD: 500GB SATA 3Gb/s 7,200RPM 16MB Cache
Much more expensive, and all I get is a decent video card and power supply. I lose 500 GB on the HD, 4 GB of RAM, and a lot of power off the processor. Still, the few people I've asked have all told me to go with the Alienware over the HP. Is HP really that bad? I'm open to any other alternatives.
Edit: I've decided to build rather than buy premade. If you're willing to help me out, check further down the thread, or just click page 2.