Custom Build PC buying experience.

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Redcrown Senior Member • Posts: 1,810
Custom Build PC buying experience.
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Time for me to buy a new "Photoshop" PC to replace my 7 year old Puget system. I want to share the experience.

I'm fairly tech savy, but I'm old and have forgotten more tech than most people know. So, I started by consuming tons of research about performance of key component alternatives (CPU, GPU, Memory, Storage), mostly via YouTube videos. After settling on choices, I visited these custom PC builders: Puget, DigitalStorm, OriginPC, CyberPowerPC, and iBuyPower.

I have been very satisfied with my old Puget system and the support I received over 7 years of ownership, including help solving problems when I upgraded the monitor, memory, and GPU 5 years after purchase. And Puget is the main source for research on Photoshop/LR performance on various hardware. But Puget has a reputation of being "pricey", and in the current market their price eliminated them from consideration. While all the others came in around $3,000 for my config, Puget was $4,500. No amount of support can justify that differential.

DigitalStorm look good initially, but I sent them a message via their website saying I wanted to buy a system and asking a few simple questions. They never responded, and were thus eliminated. If a company won't even answer a sales inquiry, I don't expect any worthwhile tech support after the sale.

OriginPC led the pack initially, until I checked reviews. Finding and evaluating reviews is difficult. All candidates had the full range from glowing praise to harshly worded condemnations, with many questionable sources. But OriginPC had overwhelming negative reviews, many on their own Facebook page.

CyberPowerPC also looked good. But I sent them a similar message, saying I wanted to buy but had a few questions about the case, LEDs, cooling, and sound, and asking for recommendations. I first received an automated reply saying "due to overwhelming demand, we won't ship for 4 to 7 weeks after purchase". Nobody else has that problem. In fact, every component of my config is shown as immediately available on Amazon. I suspect CyberPowerPC has a staff problem, not enough workers to build systems.

A day later I received another reply from "Willis L" at CyberPowerPC that only said "case selection is mainly personal preference just pick the one looks best for you." Now, I'm a Boomer and I can smell a Millennial a mile away. So, I translated that reply to "Hey, man, like whatever dude." My version of "whatever" was to look elsewhere.

The iBuyPower had some sale items, so their price was the best of the lot, with the exception of memory. I found I could config their system with the minimum 8GB RAM stick, throw it away, and add 64GB of Corsair Vengeance from Amazon ($260) and save $450 over buying their generic 64GB.

I called iBuyPower with my basic questions, and after a 6 min wait got to a live sales rep. He gave concise, complete, and honest answers to my questions, plus some helpful advice. For example, they alone have an option to ship the GPU separate, uninstalled, if you are confident you can install it yourself. He said they have a lot of trouble with GPUs coming loose in shipping because they are now so big and heavy and not well supported.

So iBuyPower got the business. The only major negative was they only provide Windows 11. No Windows 10 option. I'd rather avoid Win11 for another year, given all the negative reviews. They promised 5 to 10 day build time. After ordering, I started receiving daily emails with updates on my build progress. Obviously an automated update system, but I appreciated the warm, fuzzy feeling.

I received the system today via UPS, 11 days after ordering. Installed the GPU and memory, no problems. Booted up and made it through the Windows 11 initialization and setup process, without a Microsoft account thanks to the many Youtube hacks. Now I'm off on what will probably be a few days cleaning up Windows, installing beaucoup softwares, and loading +500GB of data.

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