Puget Systems - Computer Review - Quiet Gaming/Work PC

Balthazor

Gawd
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
688
Hello,

I recently acquired a computer by Puget Systems. I have experience with a few other boutique builders, including Falcon Northwest and Cyberpower, so I've experienced a broad spectrum of quality and customization. Puget Systems created a great product for me and will have my business in the future.

The choosing of components was very easy, thanks to Puget's excellent configuration tool, which includes details of the components and comments from Puget employees about the pros and cons of a particular option. You can save and alter a configuration after creation; expect a call or email from a customer support rep after you do this.

The options available are generally good, although I would've liked to see more options for motherboards, power supplies, cases, and custom cooling configurations. That's not to say they don't have a lot of options; they do. You can opt for mini-ATX boards, server boards with dual CPU sockets, liquid cooling configurations using up to 5 x 120mm radiators and CPU/GPU cooling options, and a wide assortment of cases.

I wanted a computer for my wife to use for work and do some gaming: a fast quad-core processor to keep up with her multi-tasking, enough RAM to handle her 8GB+ Outlook files, a high-end single GPU for gaming, an SSD for performance, and I wanted the overall system to be fairly quiet and cool.

Jeff from Customer Service contacted me after I saved my initial configuration, and he and William gave me some advice on how to optimize the system for what I was trying to achieve; this actually cut the price of the system by about $700 from my original configuration.

The final configuration was this:

Asus P7P55-M (Micro-ATX motherboard)
Intel Core i7 QUAD CORE 870 (Lynnfield) 2.93GHz
8GB RAM: 4 x Kingston ValueRAM DDR3-1333 2048MB
XFX Radeon HD 5850 1GB overclocked
Intel X25-M 34nm Gen 2 160GB SATA II 2.5inch SSD
Western Digital Caviar Black 1.0TB housed in a Smart Drive 2002C Enclosure
Lite-On 8X Blu-ray Player SATA (black) w/ Software
Antec Mini P180 Case (Black)
Corsair TX 650W Power Supply
CPU Cooling: Cooler Master V8
Quiet Case Fans Upgrade Kit (by Scythe)
Tuniq TX-2 Thermal Compound
AcoustiPack Acoustic Composite Sheets
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit OEM
Warranty: Lifetime Labor, 1 Year Parts

During the build process I had several specific requests that Jeff was able to pass on to the assembly team. The majority of my communication was done by email, and generally I got a response the same day.

As the system is assembled you can keep up to date by logging in to your Puget account. If components are backordered or delayed this is noted; in my case a slightly over-clocked version of the 5850 was used instead of a stock-speed version, and this was noted as well. In the case of extremely backordered components Puget will work with you to locate a suitable substitution and painlessly issue a refund if the final chosen component is less expensive.

As the computer is assembled Puget posts performance and thermal benchmarks; upon completion they send you photos of the outside and inside of the system, including thermal images of the system at idle and under load. This is nice, although I was surprised they didn't include a photo of the door open so I could view the placement of drives.

I was also curious as to why they would send photos of the system and then immediately put the system to ship; in my case I requested that they shift the Coolermaster fan control to an adjacent expansion bracket, but by the time I sent this request the system was shipped. Sending photos of the completed system is great, but it would be a lot more useful to customers to use that as a final 'check' before the finished product leaves Puget.

I was impressed with the protection given the system during shipping. Expanding foam is used inside to keep components from moving, and hot glue is used in particular locations to ensure connectors stay connected. The computer is placed back in the case manufacturer's original packaging, and then this box is placed in a larger shipping box filled with styrofoam peanuts, with about 3-4" of styrofoam padding surrounding the inner case box.

Excess, unused hardware is sent along with the system, as well as all documentation and a binder with useful information about the computer. I think this final touch could be improved upon; I was hoping the binder would contain the driver, BIOS, and firmware versions used in the shipped system, but this was not the case; they do include the specific manufacturer and part information for all included components, including minor additions like the brand and type of upgraded case fans used.

The system performs flawlessly. It is astonishingly quiet, even while gaming; you can barely tell it is on.

I am very happy with my purchase from Puget, but this level of service and quality finished product doesn't come cheap. Expect to pay about 30% more than if you put together a system from its component parts. It is worth it, to me; I don't have the time or inclination to assemble and test systems any more. So if that sounds like you, I would certainly recommend Puget Systems for your next computer.

Final price of system as configured: $3,281.88

 
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Balthazor

Gawd
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
688
So far the SSD is great. I upgraded to the current firmware without incident (it was released while the system was being shipped.)

It is absolutely silent, and my boot time from hitting restart is around ten seconds. Programs start up quickly. And 160 GB is plenty of space for my purposes; once I installed Office 2007 (Access, Excel, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher) and Company of Heroes with all expansions I still have over 90GB free.

I changed all of the user data folders (documents, music, pictures, etc) to the 1TB drive.
 

Pdwe

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
308
So you really should load games etc on storage drives and just OS and office excel on SSD. After Effects program should go on storage not on ssd

What about internet security software malware stuff how can you aviod defrag issue with SSD drives.

I ordered a Intel 160 SSD drive.
 

lathode

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 23, 2007
Messages
1,441
Ouch on the price considering that is a low end budget mobo. But if I was to buy a system instead of build one I'd probably go with Puget as well. I would rather support a small US company than a giant that outsources support to India.
 

bigddybn

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 21, 2006
Messages
7,261
That's about a thousand dollars over retail prices for that stuff not counting any MIR or discounts. I've never really understood builders like this. The customers that are educated enough to appreciate the value in some of these components are typically more then capable of building the machine. Is the thousand dollar premium just for sheer laziness? There really is nothing special about that build other then the components used.
 

Balthazor

Gawd
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
688
That's about a thousand dollars over retail prices for that stuff not counting any MIR or discounts. I've never really understood builders like this. The customers that are educated enough to appreciate the value in some of these components are typically more then capable of building the machine. Is the thousand dollar premium just for sheer laziness? There really is nothing special about that build other then the components used.

I noted the approximate markup over retail in my review. Boutique builders cater to those that don't have the time or inclinication to assemble the system they want, and can afford to have someone else do the work. Boutique customers are willing to pay for someone else to procure and assemble components, troubleshoot problems, and warrant the finished product. And Puget performs these functions very well.

I simply don't have the time to do it myself. My wife and I juggle numerous responsibilities, and time is my primary constraint; saving time is worth it to me. But if time isn't a constraint then you can certainly build yourself a system using the same components with substantial cost savings.
 

HAQattaq

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 25, 2005
Messages
282
I simply don't have the time to do it myself. My wife and I juggle numerous responsibilities, and time is my primary constraint; saving time is worth it to me.

But yet you have time to pick out each component and post about it on the Internets? That is a heck of a mark up.To each his own i guess.

Thanks for sharing.
 

B34M3R

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
256
It's less of a markup than getting your car worked on. I just paid about $300 to have a $60 part installed on my truck. Was it worth it to me not having to spend hours dismantling the rear end? Yes.
 

Balthazor

Gawd
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
688
It is like any service. Sure, I can probably figure out to install new plumbing or electrical fixtures and do it myself for less, but I prefer to pay for someone to do it and warrant the finished work.
 

polonyc2

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 25, 2004
Messages
19,020
I think the markup is a lot more then 30% vs building it yourself...but as far as custom gaming builders, Puget is hands down the best
 

Riddlinkidstoner

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 12, 2006
Messages
4,146
Puget is right around the corner from where I work. Nice people. Excellent choice. Enjoy!
Posted via [H] Mobile Device
 

archdevil

n00b
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
5
I noted the approximate markup over retail in my review. Boutique builders cater to those that don't have the time or inclinication to assemble the system they want, and can afford to have someone else do the work. Boutique customers are willing to pay for someone else to procure and assemble components, troubleshoot problems, and warrant the finished product. And Puget performs these functions very well.

I simply don't have the time to do it myself. My wife and I juggle numerous responsibilities, and time is my primary constraint; saving time is worth it to me. But if time isn't a constraint then you can certainly build yourself a system using the same components with substantial cost savings.

What a polite answer for a bit of a provocation.
 

Balthazor

Gawd
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
688
Politeness is often the bulwark against flaming / trolling, I've found. Although it is so tempting, at times, to take the bait!
 
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