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Old April 5, 2012, 04:16 PM
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Question Canadian Custom PC Builders

Hi there, long time reader, first time poster.

This summer I'm planning to upgrade my rig, and I am debating from whom to buy the new one. I've put machines together in the past but frankly I would rather get someone else to do it, possibly warranty it, and save me the headache.

I have had good success with Memory Express in the past. They are local to Calgary, do a good warranty, and seem to do a decent job of putting a machine together.

But there are also boutique builders that I would consider too. I often read reviews of systems from the likes of Puget Systems and think "ooh, they are doing a good job selecting components and putting together systems, maybe I should get one" but the shipping is going to be $250+ and then I have to worry about getting dinged another 5% or more for customs, brokerage, etc. It seems a big hassle.

So I'm wondering if there are other places in Canada that do custom systems, and if anyone has recommendations? Here's the "tell us what you want" stuff:

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.

Gaming (StarCraft II, SW:TOR, Diablo 3). Photo editing, from RAW, with Lightroom. Video streaming, both of gaming and Skype video conference type stuff.

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread

C$1500.

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.

Canada preferably. If not Canada, please help me understand how a system builder will get me my system, and what my shipping and customs liabilities will be.

4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.

Clearly Intel for the CPU. No particular preference for graphics, although it seems like an Ivy Bridge + ATI 7000-series or NVidia 600-series would be best. I have used NVidia cards for years and am happy with them, but I am not wedded to the brand.

5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.

Cruical M4 256GB SSD. If I buy a new system I will likely just get a spinning hard drive and add in my SSD myself.

I have keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc. Just looking for price on the PC itself.

6. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.

I would definitely like to overclock. Not to insane speeds, but basically what I can get without a voltage bump. I have a Q9450 running at 3.2 right now (default 2.66).

7. What resolution will you be using?

1080p for gaming, although I have multi-monitor for desktop use. Would like to stream gameplay at 720p, which my Q9450 @3.2ghz cannot manage.

8. WHEN do you plan to build it?

Probably build as soon as Ivy Bridge comes out, or upon availability of NVidia's $300 midrange 600-series card. Or right now if you talk me into a 2600k because Ivy isn't much of a step up :-/

9. Do you need to purchase any software to go with the system, such as Windows or Blu Ray playback software?

Need Windows, must come with a CD or be licensed to be reinstalled. I zap my rig periodically and reinstall.

Thanks in advance everyone!
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Old April 5, 2012, 09:55 PM
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Your going to get dinged not only shipping but labour to... your paying someone to build your computer... Honestly just do it yourself it's the whole fun of it or go buy a dell.

Plus you can price match everything to memory express saving you even more money, so you can potentially make a better $1500 computer if you build it yourself versus if you have someone else build it for you.
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Old April 5, 2012, 10:23 PM
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Well, Memory Express charge $70 to build the thing, that includes a year's warranty, and while building the PC is fun, it's easier for me to write it off as a business expense if I buy a whole PC rather than parts.

The price matching idea is great - I saw some of that in other threads, so I'll definitely price match against New Egg or NCIX or something if I do go with Memory Express.

I'm having trouble finding any Canadian system builders that aren't hocking overpriced rigs, though. I'd even think about a small local thing, someone who builds a relatively low volume of systems.
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Old April 6, 2012, 09:59 AM
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There is a small company called ComputerRack based out of Calgary I have dealt with the SE owner Joel and he has built three mid range machines for me a couple years ago and I still have them. The SE store is located just behind the memory express and there is another one in the north. I'm not sure the labour costs but I have seen a lot of business guys there and you can set up a business account with him if you need.

Hope this helps, sorry I didnt realize this was a work computer.

Regards,
Chomie.
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Old April 6, 2012, 10:03 AM
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click items on ncix, check out, choose build option for $50, giggle like a school girl when a huge box arrives in the mail, play games.
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Old April 6, 2012, 10:16 AM
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I'd stick with MemExpress then. $70 is not bad to put together the PC for you and like you said you get a year warranty out of it. Don't bother with getting it shipped otherwise you're wasting money on shipping if you can get it locally. Also, rather than buying a prebuilt machine you can choose what parts you want in it.
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Old April 6, 2012, 10:22 AM
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as adzsask said ncix charge 50$ to build it for you
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Old April 6, 2012, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samhell44 View Post
as adzsask said ncix charge 50$ to build it for you
Yea plus shipping
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Old April 6, 2012, 02:29 PM
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I got helped my buddy build his through the canadian NCIX, he price matched everything and we saved him a very good amount of coin some $350+. The also did the build for him at $50, so the final price was the build + $50 + taxes and the shipping was based on the items he purchased not any different surcharges or anything added. He said they did a pretty good job, though he did have to add the second fan to the Hyper 212+ himself(no biggie and they did use the extra thermal paste he bought and used it properly) and plug in the one case fan himself (again no biggie) he decided to use his own OS, but they did do a good job on wiring(not top notch but pretty clean, he was happy) and they did do a quick run through to make sure it booted and such, and repalced one kit of ram for him that didnt post properly.

I would take a look at the mentioned memoryexpress, or NCIX. I would steer well clear or cyberpower/Ibuypower and some of the other boutiques, they usually charge alot more then what you can pricematch to, and you generally will end up paying a premium for fancier name brand parts if they do it. O and cannot forget the one company that decides to take ALL the branding off everything, so you may not really know what is there, they even went so far as stripping the voltage/wattage rating off the power supply in another freinds case(I do not recall if it was Cyberpower or Ibuypower or another boutique, but I would go over them with a VERY fine tooth comb) I love NCIX personally, have not once had any major delays, nothing damaged/missing etc.
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Old April 6, 2012, 06:52 PM
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Hey everyone, thank you for your thoughtful replies. I've always been happy with Memory Express' work (reasonable cable job, stand by their warranty) and with the price match to NCIX or New Egg that'll really help. Closer to the time I'll post a parts breakdown, see what you folks think of various choices.
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