What do you all think of this...

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by diorio, Dec 29, 2002.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
    If I could buy pc components with these specs: 2.1ghz processor, 512 mb of RAM, 128 video card, and 40gb hard drive for about $550, would everyone understand my not buying a mac? I haven't decided totally one way or the other yet, but these components have pretty good specs and are relatively cheap online.
  2. macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    Cd Burner?
    Go for it man, it's a nice price and everything.
    128 MB Video card I suppose right, GeForce or ATI 9700 I'm sure right?:D
    Make sure it is not just a POS comp that was built without screws.
    I've seen thoses amazingly.
    Is it a name brand with *some* tech support and stuff, or is some random guy building it for you?
    Have fun anyways.
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
    I forgot to include the DVD/CDRW in there, thats included in the $550. Anyway, my brothers friend is A+ certified and will order the parts for me. He told me what all of the brands were last night, but I didn't write them down. Hopefully it is not a bunch of crap, I trust my brothers friend, so I doubt he'd let me waste my money.
  4. macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2002
    Well that certainly is a good price but it's a good idea to check out the brands of the components and search for reviews or discussions about them. My cheap pc motherboard died last night and it was only a year old. Not a big deal for me because when I bought it I figured, heck it's cheap so if it blows up no big deal. :)
    I would bet that price includes a really cheap motherboard and video card, I would recommend an asus motherboard and a geforce 4 ti4200 at the minimum, they may add about $150 to the total but it will probably be worth it.

    I highly recommend those looking for cheap pcs to also buy a mac so you still have a computer to use when the cheap one blows up or needs windows reinstalled. :D
  5. macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2002
    For that price I can tell you that the Video Card is not a 9700, as that alone retails for around $360 bucks. I would also check Reseller Ratings first and make sure you purchase from a reliable Vendor. Cheaper is not always better in the PC world, especially if you have to spend 5 months going back and forth trying to get
    A.) Your product or
    B.) Your money back from a dishonest vendor.

    I would only order from the top 10 on that site, Newegg is good for parts, Monarch is good for systems and some parts depending on where you live and how the shipping comes out.
  6. macrumors 68020


    Oct 28, 2001
    Greensboro, NC
    if you don't already own a mac, get the mac.

    if you already have one of decent power, get the pc.
  7. macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    The Mac desktops just can't compete in price with these "white-box" build-it-yourself PCs. I myself am thinking about building a gaming machine. At TigerDirect.com I can get "barebones kit" for $225 that includes a motherboard with: 1.7GHz Athlon, 266MHz Bus, 5 PCI slots, an AGP 4x slot, 3 DIMM slots (one 128MB DDR DIMM included), up to 4 IDE drives, and integrated sound, all enclosed in a case with 6 drive bays. Ugly? Sure, but it's going right under my desk. Add an ATI Radeon 9000 Pro 128MB for $130, another 256MB DDR RAM for $60, a 40GB HD for $80, a DVD-ROM drive for $42, and CD-RW drive for $47. So for $584, from a reputable vendor, I could get about what you're getting (except with 384MB RAM instead of 512MB).

    I would say that what you're getting sounds like a great deal, but I would be most wary about the graphics card. If it's not ATI or NVidia, then you can't be sure that a game will support it. I know I've seen 128MB video cards using the "SiS" chip for as low as $50, but I don't really know how compatible the SiS chip is with games.

    Also be forewarned: you should only buy a white box PC if you genuinely enjoy tinkering with your machine. I do, which is why I look forward to building my own gaming machine. In fact, I first got into Macs two or three years ago when I helped my girlfriend upgrade her Beige G3 (now sporting a 500MHz G4 upgrade, 784MB RAM, a 40GB HD, a DVD-ROM drive, a Firewire/USB PCI card, and a ATI Rage 16MB video card. Runs Jaguar great, though at 1/2 the speed of my new iBook).

    If you're building a gaming machine, then go for it. Though I still maintain that if you're not a hard-core 3D PC gamer and can spend $1300, the 12.1" 800MHz iBook is still the best overall computer money can buy.
  8. macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2002
    Hmm I would not exactly call Tiger Direct reputable cheap, and spam aholics yes:p
    Even with all the spam emails the send out the still have a horrible rating:rolleyes:
  9. macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    Hmm...I dunno, I can only speak from personal experience. Anecdotally, I and my friends have had nothing but good experiences with TigerDirect. I've also had good experience with ProVantage.com, which sells everything under the sun, but as far as I can tell doesn't sell any "barebones kits" (though they sell the mobo, case, and CPU separately)
  10. macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    If you're going to be honest, you're going to have to buy a full version of an OS. If you choose a Microsoft product, that will be at least another $100.00.

    If you choose a Unix variant, way to go!
  11. macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Does the motherboard have sound? Ethernet?

    USB? Are you getting a mouse? keyboard? monitor?

    Not even Dell can compete with the white boxes. But they do add value in the integration and support services for those who can't do it themselves. Your brother's friend is not charging much for his time. I suppose it's educational...
  12. macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    I built a cheapy PC, even had some parts lying around. And I had nothing but trouble with it. Yes I'm A+ certified, and know what I'm doing. I've done this stuff before. If you're going to buy something, don't go cheap. Power Supplies are extremely important, so don't go cheap (learned that the hard way). You don't want to end up with something loud, either. Might I suggest, as others have, Newegg.com. You can find some good deals on places like Pricewatch.com, but not all dealers are reputable. High shipping charges, bad service. You don't want to get screwed.

    I don't think anyone (maybe the zealots) would blame you for going PC in this situation.

    Just remember that there is a reason it's cheaper.


    Might I suggest an Asus, Chaintech, GigaByte, Leadtek, or Soyo MB (no ECS). An ENHANCE ENP-0735 350W Power Supply (quiet and powerful). Definitely go with the Retail CPU, too. DON'T GO OEM. Trust me. A nice Lite-On CD-R/W. Good memory. Etc. I came up with ~ $650.

    Do some research on the parts (and make sure he's willing to provide tech support).
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
    Thanks everyone for your information. I will try to make sure that the video card is ATI or NVidia. I'm not sure what site my brother's friend is using, maybe pricewatch. My brother's friend is really into computers and components, and has built several for himself, so I'm sure he's buying from reputable dealers. I'll probably pay him for his troubles.

    Hopefully. It's just so much cheaper to build a pc yourself if you know where to buy from and what you're doing.
  14. Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    It's been a while since I last decided on a custom configuration for a PC, but I've always had success and truthfully, the price wasn't that much cheaper than a Mac.

    Configurations given me have always been cheap where they should not have been and gave me repeated grief later.

    There are a lot of good parts out there but be careful and enjoy it when it's done.
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
    Yes, they're not that much cheaper in the end. I might opt to spend a few hundred more for better parts.
  16. macrumors 68040

    Feb 24, 2001
    Sounds like a good deal, but as has been said parts that cheap are liable to failure. The graphics card sounds a little odd as ATI or Nvidia cards at that size tend to be expensive. Be warned that if it isn't an ATI or Nvidia most games and a lot of graphics software will cease to function.

    The OS is another issue, I wouldn't run the comp at all if it has XP home. If it does not then be prepared to spend $99 to upgrade it.

    And finally be warned that a white-box PC= Upkeep. It is inevitable that some sort of problem will crop up on a regular basis and unless you have computer experience or the builder is willing to maintain it for you then it may be a bad idea.

    White box PCs are mostly for hardcore gamers and engineers. I am actually considering building one and installing Linux on it.

    BTW, is there a monitor included in the deal? You may want to consider the fact that all bottom line Macs include monitors in the deal.

    The bottom line is this. If you need the extra money and are willing to suffer the pains of a white-box PC then go for it. If you are willing to spend more money to get a more stable computer and the support of a company then buy a Mac.
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
    Before I buy this, I'm going to make sure it has a reliable video card. I am mostly considering this because a: it is relatively cheap, and b: the specs are excellent. I know in the end you get what you pay for, but I trust my brothers friend.

    There is no moniter included.
  18. macrumors G4

    Jul 18, 2002
    I accidentally my whole location.
    Sound like a pretty good deal.

    Are you going to be using this for games or what?
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2002
  20. macrumors 68030


    Aug 4, 2002
    Madison, Wi
    All I know is that a roomate I had about a year or more ago built his own PC, even spent more money then you plan on, and had nothing but issue after issue with it. And yeah he knew what he was doing to, he even provides computer support for Sony (not that it really means much because a lot of those guys are dumbasses.) If it's a money issue then maybe that's what you have to go with, hopefully it won't end up being a waste of money in the end, you could save up some more money though and wait and buy the mac.....
  21. macrumors 68040

    Feb 24, 2001
    White box PCs always have component failures. A PC that cheap with those specs becomes even more prone to failures and repairs. You can either add on to the price for better components or for replacements for the cheap ones.

    I would only run a white-box PC if I had built it myself. Only get it if you absolutely need to run Windows and if you need the extra money. Otherwise buy a Mac or even a name-brand PC.
  22. macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2002
    My only comment is that if you buy or build a 4 or 5 hundred dollar machine, it's going to last you a year or two, and then it will be junk. I went with apple because I have friends who have 2-3 even 4 year old machines they still use daily, love and never have problems with.
  23. macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    go for it man. i have been very satified. personally i like having a nice mac and a pc. when im talking, feel like doing some web page building or imovie i head to the powermac desk. when im in the mood for playing some doom3 or blowing up some people in battlefield i head to the pc. just make sure you know what you are doing. i have had only one problem with my pc and that was because of something i didnt know, i didnt buy a right part. i bought the right part and the computer has been working fine ever since. i would recommend going with a p4. athlons are very cheap but with my past experiences i have had only problems with my athlon. and from working at a mac dealer that also does mac and pc service. most of the pcs that come in with problems tend to be compaqs and computers with athlons.

  24. macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    Whitebox experience

    My brothers is into this build it yourself computer. Currently, he is running a version of Linux (god knows what) on a overclock AMD chip rated at 733 mhz (he said it is running at ~1.2 Ghz). There are three CD bays on the tower, two of which were punch out. He has a fan (this fan is use to cool human beings LOL) blowing air into the CD bays. I couldn't laugh knowing that it would upset him!:D

    I swear, he hates Microsoft more than any Mac zealots I know!
  25. macrumors 68040

    Feb 24, 2001
    diorio, do you need the extra money? If not you might as well just get the Mac. As everyone has said they break down constantly and I'm not sure if you know enough about computers to fix it yourself.

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