iBUYPOWER - Ordering Impressions

iBUYPOWER is easy to find. Their company website comes up immediately from a web search, and often links to retail systems at other sites like Newegg or Wal-Mart appear as well. The third hit that I got was to Resellerratings.com, a popular site that ranks primarily tech businesses based on user feedback. Their six-month rating there is 5.42/10, with a lifetime rating of 6.76/10. To some degree these numbers can be taken with a grain of salt (Dell has a ratings of 1.57/10 and 4.16/10, Gateway 1.39 and 2.00, Alienware 5.83 and 7.10, etc.), but often the customer feedback is useful to read through. Most of the complaints stem from shipping concerns, but there were quite a few happy customers, and iBUYPOWER responded to several of the complaints.

Going through their website can be overwhelming, even for enthusiasts. There are a large number of base system configurations (19 Intel, 21 AMD), and a huge number of individual options for each one of those systems.



Which one do I want…?

Their cheapest "base" Intel system is the Paladin 515-SLI starting at $909. Immediately it's easy to be confused, as the case (the first option) comes "w/420W power supply", but option 3, "Power Supply", is selected as 500 Watt. Besides that complaint, working through the rest of the list shows a large variety of options. There are satellite speakers for $2, and a sub/satellite combo for $4 (600W PMPO! - I find myself doubting the quality of these). You also get some freebies thrown in; T-shirts and games are available for most configurations. The "Help me choose" options are not helpful in the least, as most simply list every specification for every item in the list. This is information overload in the extreme and doesn't provide simple comparisons.

A brief list of Pros and Cons regarding the website layout and content is as follows:

Pros

  • Website easy to find
  • Huge array of choices
  • Generally competitive pricing
  • Fair shipping rates

Cons

  • Huge array of choices! Can be confusing and contradictory in areas
  • Website is visually busy
  • "Help me Choose" is unhelpful
  • Some low-quality items
Index Specifications
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  • OblivionLord - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Im still not convinced that Crysis is cpu bound at high res considering the poster only went from 4x to 2x AA. That really isnt a whole lot of decreased eyecandy as opposed to Very High to High to Med. Lets also take into account that tri and quad SLI do not scale as well as 2-Sli. I really wouldn't come to a conclusion that it is CPU bound and I also don't buy the thought that the higher the res, the more physics are involved. Reply
  • bupkus - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    just what I was looking for... a three headed chicken.
    Yah, I could use that, too.
    Reply
  • bill3 - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Okay not exactly great, but my brother bought an $1100 Q6600/Vista64/8800GT/2GB RAM system from them and it's been superb. Personally it actually seemed to be the same cost as buying from newegg. And the wiring was freaking immaculate. I think it's worth it if you dont want mess with building your own, installing Vista, etc.

    A couple caveats, if you need more Ram grab it seperate from newegg, they overcharge you for additional RAM, and personally I would either make sure the build contains a good power supply or get one seperatly yourself.

    Reply
  • bill3 - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Oh and one major advantage at these places, is that you can hand pick your own name brand components.

    Contrast that with say, Dell..
    Reply
  • strafejumper - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    the reviewer seems peeved that there is no anti-virus on his gaming rig.

    i understand this. However not everyone uses antivirus. There was a period where windows was particularly vulverable and i was getting viruses by just viewing a jpg or by just going to a website without clicking anything. I tried an antivirus then, and was disapointed.

    1. I chose a popular one, norton, and i got a virus anyway. The first thing the virus did was screw norton up royally.

    2. I wanted to avoid a virus from slowing down my gaming computer, when i installed norton what was the first thing i noticed? the computer was slower...!?

    3. Still found that i was vulnerable to adware, to prevent adware as well i would have to download another app that would slow down my computer even more!

    4. The anti-virus was a resource hog. Memory, cpu, even caught it using bandwith to download updates in the middle of my playing a game online! This is the opposite of what i want, i want absolutely nothing running while i am gaming.

    For all these reasons im almost always without anti-virus its not for everyone - i just go stick to major websites and most email services such as yahoo automatically scan email attachments. So for a few of us who are careful and are able to spot shady exe's its possible to survive without.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Actually, I think the problem is that there are 50 processes *without* any security suite running. I actually uninstall any security suites as the first step of every laptop/system I review/use, though I'm sure some people like the "freebie" (never mind the nagging that comes 3 months later). Reply
  • strafejumper - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    i bought one prebuilt system for my first pc and have been building my own since then.

    the most important thing for me, and what would make me consider buying prebuilt such as ibuypower, is gettting a tried and tested system that totally works out of the box. So many hardware / driver issues / bios settings issues can potentially come up when you build yourself, even seemingly silly things like picky HDDs that only would work with certain IDE cables and motherboards that shipped with a cd with bad drivers (incompatable with XP sp2) have ruined my builds for long periods while i tested every little thing.

    Prebuilt is supposed to avoid all this crap and work out of the box. When anandtech reports bluescreens and hiccups in games i just stop right there, no point in buying a prebuilt if its not very very stable out of the box. Imagine after you fix some of the problems, you get a virus or something and then use the restore cd, you are restoring it to a state where it is unstable...
    Reply
  • Maffer - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    SP1 does not matter much. It installs all nvidia recommended multigpu-hotfixes which I had already installed. Same crashes remain after installing SP1 if I use any other driver than 174.31 or 174.51 (these also worked before installing SP1). 174.51 is just a bit faster overall than 174.31. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    Did you guys bother to check to see if SP1 was installed? I know part of the review was to see how the machine ran out of the box but even some of the errors on the problems page indicate the OS was not updated. Even if iBuyPower didn't update the OS it probably would've been a good idea to do so since there's no less than half a dozen *CRITICAL* hot fixes for that system related to 4GB, Vista, video driver TDRs, SLI, virtual memory allocation etc. Reply
  • Maffer - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    Yes, these systems are for 2560x1600 resolution. I run 780i system with watercooled GTX SLI-setup to play with 30" screen. So far I found 174.51 *leaked* beta drivers to be the best solution for games (DX9 & DX10 SLI works without any crashes). "Minor" problem is that SLI must be disabled to play video in fullscreen mode or the system will freeze immediately. Problems vary with different systems though, these are just examples. Reply

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