build vs. buy: which is [less expensive]?
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Author:  magicconch [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:06 am ]
Post subject:  build vs. buy: which is [less expensive]?

Hello, it's been about a year since I built a PC, and up until now my focus was purely performance. Well I am interested in a silent PC, but am feeling lazy. My question is if I build a system, would I save a lot of money over buying a comparable system from puget? I remember the small companies who focused on gaming pcs were far more expensive then building a gaming pc oneself. thanks.

Author:  Plissken [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:20 am ]
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It's still the same, you can save quite a bit of $$ if you DIY.
I just built a system for about $1400 (including OS). For kicks I went to the Puget website and configured a nearly identical system, and it came out to around $2600.

Author:  magicconch [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:40 am ]
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I had a feeling it was still the same. oh well, at least i can customize it while I am at it. $1400 is quite an achievement, even moreso if you included Vista, did you post the configuration somewhere?

Author:  autoboy [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:19 am ]
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This is only true for gaming PCs. Standard PCs under $1000 are still cheaper if you buy from the big box guys. Especially when you consider the software, monitors, keyboards, printers, etc that come with it. Most are not quiet though.

Endpcnoise.com also sells quiet PCs that are designed by MikeC, the founder of this website.

Author:  angelkiller [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:04 pm ]
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I've had different experiences. Normally, building is more expensive than buying. Of course when buying the same core components. (CPU, GPU, HDD, Optical Drives,etc.) My opinion is that system builders skimp on other places that DIYers wouldn't. EX, When you're looking for a PSU, Are you going to get the $20 400W generic model? Or are you going to get that $60 330W Seasonic. The system builders are gonna get that $20 PSU. Even though you are going to get less Wattage, you have a much more reliable PSU. Same deal with the memory. You're probably gonna get some generic models or some that failed at higher timings/speeds.

You also get a whole lot of knowledge of how a PC works, and how to rapair it. You won't get any knowledge buying from Dell. (You'll get a headache from Tech Support though) I'd recommend building, you get more reliable parts and experience that you won't learn reading.

Author:  Plissken [ Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:23 pm ]
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magicconch wrote:
$1400 is quite an achievement, even moreso if you included Vista, did you post the configuration somewhere?

No, I didn't post it anywhere, and it was including XP Pro. Here it is:

Antec P180B ATX Mid Tower Case          $79.99
Corsair HX520W PSU                      $88.40
ASUS P5B Deluxe Motherboard             $178.99
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz          $185.00
Noctua NH-U12F                          $40.00
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound        $5.99
Crucial Ballistix 2GB kit DDR2-800      $244.99
Gigabyte 7600GT Silent Pipe II          $116.99
Samsung HD501LJ 500GB Hard Drive (X2)   $279.98
ASUS DL DVD -R/+R/RAM w/ LS             $33.99
ASUS DVD-ROM                            $19.99
XP Pro SP2b - OEM                       $139.99

Total                                   $1414.30

Shipping was a few more bucks, but many items shipped free (including the case). Everything was bought at Newegg except: the case at Fry's, the PSU at Best Buy, the RAM at ZZF, and the HSF (un-used) from someone on these forums. Price shown after rebates on the case, RAM, and video card. I used the keyboard, mouse, and monitor from my old system.

I'm not done modding with it yet, but so far it's extremely quiet compared to my old system. Thank you SPCR!! :D

Author:  jhhoffma [ Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:47 am ]
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When I first started building PCs back in '98, it was quite a bit cheaper to build yourself and get a better system in the process. In fact, I made a bit of cash on the side building (and teaching how to build) computers for people I worked with. Only downside was guess who they called for tech support?

Now however, the average users' system does not need to be very powerful (well before Vista anyway) and the big boxers can beat any DIYer in a dollars match. I cannot (or will not) build a PC for $300 like Dell can, not and have any confidence in its reliability. However, the big attraction for DIY for me has always been the customization. I can tailor a system to my exact needs, and pick out the components I want down to the smallest detail.

That is where DIY shines.

Author:  BrianE [ Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:42 am ]
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I also think it depends on what you are buying. Gaming machines are the most expensive pre-built and it doesn't really seem to matter where you buy them. On the other hand, basic entry level systems can sometimes be very inexpensive from larger brands when they have promotions and rebates. A few months ago Lenovo had a really great deal on a system after a rebate. Once you factor in the cost of XP (roughly $100 Cdn) it was actually much cheaper then the pre-built systems local shops were selling, which themselves were only a little cheaper than buying separate parts yourself.

The only thing is it's harder (or impossible) to fully custom build it with replacement heatsinks, fans, etc. if you don't just build it yourself. Ever since I've had the need for custom parts and construction I haven't bought a new assembled system from anyone since I bought one of those famous 450MHz PII Celerons.

The upside of buying from a big brand name is that they can give you tech support (and a longer warranty) if you aren't very computer savvy.

Author:  psiu [ Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:53 pm ]
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As others are saying, at the bargain basement level DIY can not compete with the big names. Now the custom places (whether gaming, silence etc) end up costing more than an equivalent DIY project, though remember they have taken the time to test all components, make sure they work, offer warranty etc. For most of us on this board, I would imagine the time and effort...well, heck, it's like a hobby for us, not work! I like tinkering with my machines (well, until about the 5th time I rewire the case and end up with my original setup :P).

Dell > me

Dell--probably better big numbers (GHZ! GBZ!!! MOOorEE!11!)
Me--quieter, probably longer lasting components, no uneven bottlenecks (like a Dell may have a great CPU, crappy videocard, slow (but lots of) RAM).

Dell--teh suck
Custom shop--winner with warranty and fully installed working OS (not, you know, that I dislike hunting down drivers and making sure everything is happy together).
Me--probably better specs than a custom shop but no warranty or support ;)

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