Building vs. Buying (pc desktop question)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by maflynn, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #1
    Yeah, I know this is a mac forum, but I've seen a number of threads about people building their own.

    I recently priced out an i5-750 build and it came in just in the mid 700s 800s. The GPU is the one expense that will probably change, I'm not sure if I want this model.

    Case...Antec900.........................100
    Psu ....Corsair 750W....................110
    CPU.....i5-750............................150
    MB......GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P...170
    Ram....4GB................................100
    GPU.....EVGA GeForce 9800..........100
    hd.......1TB.................................80
    Optical.......................................30


    There's various various sundry expenses that I'll be incurring as well, which may push it to the 900 dollar range.

    Now it appears, I can get an i5-750 based desktop from dell for around a grand. (I see I can get an i7-920 for similar prices with sales/coupons from dell).

    What advantage would be to build my own? I'm thinking the only thing is that I have full say on the parts, quality parts

    Edit - here's my new list

    Case Antec nine hundred two.............100
    Psu SeaSonic S12II 520...................70
    CPU Intel Core i7-930...................200
    MB GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R................200
    Ram G.SKILL PI Series 6GB...............189
    GPU XFX GS250XYDFC GeForce GTS 250......140
    HD Seagate Barracuda 500GB...............55
    DVD Sony Optiarc.........................30


    The new bottom line 984, the final price may fluctuate a bit because of rebates and some sundry expenses. So far the GPU is still the wildcard in this configuration. I'm not sure I have a good one. I'm doing research and trying to refine that which will affect the bottom line as well.

    So there you have it. For under a grand I can build out a good i7 desktop that rivals the power/performance of a MacPro that costs 2500 bucks :eek:
     
  2. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
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    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #2
    That, and usually price as well. Plus, IMO, building your own PC is very enjoyable. In fact, that's the one thing I hate about Macs. I miss building my own PCs. I loved doing it.
     
  3. ejb190 macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #3
    Well, if I add up your list above, I come up with $840, not "mid 700's". In addition, you forgot to include a copy of Windows, which will come with most of the Dell machines. That will even up the price comparison.
     
  4. barr08 macrumors 65816

    barr08

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    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #4
    I bought a Dell Studio XPS when the i7 had just come out through some sort of launch promotion, and while I was pleased with the performance, I quickly realized that the stock Dell parts just didn't cut it for high-performance computing. They worked fine, but a lot of options were limited - the CPU cooler couldn't handle overclocking, the case wasn't big enough for most upgrades, I had to play with the airflow to get decent temps, etc. None of these things were deal breakers, but once I ponied up and bought a new case and some new components, I finally got to see the full power of the processor.

    I also agree that building a computer is a fun and useful challenge. Understanding how a computer work seems right up there with understanding how your automobile works - it's great knowledge to have but most people don't possess it.
     
  5. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    you're right - not sure why excel was showing this, pilot error most likely.

    I'll edit my original post, so as not to further confuse anyone.

    Thanks
     
  6. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #6
    That is the main reason for building it yourself. Plus you have full control over the OS install, the OS disc and no extra garbage apps. Don't forget to add Windows 7 OEM to your build.

    I assume the Dell you are speaking of is the Studio XPS 9000. That motherboard you chose is going to be far more expandable have more features than the Dell's motherboard. It has overclocking ability, RAID 5/10, support for six hard drives, and USB 3.0. For ports it has more USB 2.0, Firewire, eSATA, Ethernet. As for expandability it has one more PCI slot and two PCIe x16 (one running at x8). The Dell has one PCIe x16 and it says one PCIe x8. If this is an actual x8 slot not a x16 running at x8 speed than you could not install two standard x16 video cards for SLI or Crossfire.

    There are some other gross mismatches I noticed. The PSU is much higher end than the Dell's. It is higher wattage and given the price likely modular and 80-plus certified or better. You should be looking at the $30 450w to 500w Sunbeam PSU's.

    Then there is the case I would be looking at the $40 to $50 cases as there are plenty sturdy built ones in that price range that have as little expandability as the Dell and limited cooling. The Antec 900 has 6 3.5" Bays vs the Dell's 3 and has 3 120mm cooling fans + 1 200mm vs the Dells single 92mm.

    The video card provided with the Dell is much lower end and the hard drive is also smaller. Once you start upgrading components the Dell becomes much more expensive than the do it yourself.
     
  7. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #7
    That's kind of what I figured, plus I think I'd do better with the quality of parts over what dell has to offer.

    I even found that I can pick up a i7-930 at microcenter for 200 bucks and the appropriate gigabyte motherboard for 200. The ram increase was for small as well. So I can baseline an i7 for over a grand which seems to be a great deal too.
    As for windows, I already have a copy of win7 non activated (64bit) hanging around I can use.

    I'm still kicking around the idea, but I'm kind of liking the idea of doing this and building out a monster machine. :D
     
  8. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #8
    DIYs are always fun. I suggests you do a DIY instead of a prebuilt. The skill and knowledge you gain from building your own computer is really valuable.

    Sure it may be a tad more expensive to hit the DIY road, but it's well worth it. Think of it as a small computer hardware class.

    You can't be serious....


    =-=-=-=-=-

    OP I forgot to ask, what are those prices from and what are the brand names of the parts you intend to buy. Also, Have you looked into ATI GPU offerings?
     
  9. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #9
    I don't mean the OP should want the cheap PSU. Just that comparing a premium grade $110 750W PSU to the bargain basement grade 475W unit in the Dell for a price comparison does not make sense.

    Other factors for the OP to consider is future expandability. When the Dell is obsolete you replace the whole system. For the do it yourself you can keep the case, hard drive, DVD burner and PSU. While replacing the Motherboard, CPU, RAM and Video Card.
     
  10. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #10
    Ah! I see your point now
     
  11. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #11
    I used to build all my computers, which is why I eventually just started buying macs. The DIY systems always seemed to have some little glitch or bug or horribleness or incompatibility. Hell, BTO systems from major pc manufacturers have the same issues but at least they provide a comprehensive warranty. If you enjoy computers DIY is a fun way to go, particularly if you like problem solving, but if you just want a computer to use it's the pits.
     
  12. wywern209 macrumors 65832

    wywern209

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    do you rly want to know?
    #12
    OP. i highly suggest going with an ati gpu because nvidia has been in a slump as of late.
     
  13. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #13
    Slump? Try "bake itself" GPU line...
     
  14. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #14
    The best part is the ability to make sure good quality parts are going in IMO.
     
  15. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #15
    The problem with ATI is they have horrible linux drivers. I'm better off with nvidia drivers with linux
     
  16. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #16
    If the OP is going to use Windows, then Linux drivers should not be a problem that prevents him from buying ATI cards.
     
  17. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #17
    Being as you quoted the OP I think its safe to say he might want to use Linux. :D
     
  18. rnelan7 macrumors 6502

    rnelan7

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    #18
    Here is my .02

    Do you consider yourself a computer savy person? Will you be able to fix the computer when it breaks or has a problem? Dell will offer support and will come with a valid license of Windows 7. However, I built my own computer five years ago and I've been itching ever since to build another. Why do you ask? Getting all the raw parts and building it yourself is very satisfying. If something goes wrong you typically know why and can fix it. You can also tweak the computer how you want and easily upgrade it. It is really something you can be proud of.
     
  19. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #19
    Very true.

    The parts used in even the Apple desktops are pretty much on the crap end of the scale compared to what DIY buy. Apple parts are much closer to Dell than what a good DIY system would use.

    I built my first desktop just about 6 years ago and learned a lot from doing it. I have rebuilt the system once since my first MOBO was bad when I got it and I RMA it. This force me to completely rebuild it.
    Since the day I built my PC I have built 3 or 4 other desktops for friends. It just the first time that is scary and some times it helps if you have a friend who has done it before in the past to help you along
     
  20. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

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    SF
    #20
    I always build my own. I've been building my own computers since around '94 and the only one I haven't built myself was the very first one that my parents purchased in '92. I can do a much better job building a computer for myself than some pos generic Dell. Btw, if I was going to buy a desktop, Dell would be at the bottom of my list. Most of their desktops and laptops suck with a passion.

    For the build at the top here are a few fixes:

    1. The GeForce 9800 is an obsolete clunker at this point. Spend a few more and get at least a GTX260. It will be far faster for not much more money. I have 2 of those in SLI and game at 1900x1200 without major problems
    2. You don't need a 750W supply to run either of the mentioned cards. A decent 600W will do. Of course if you plan to do up the videocard later on to something serious it may help but if you plan to stay at the midrange a 750W supply is a waste of money
    3. For the hdd I would go with a WD Black series drive. If this is your only drive you want it to be fast and Black series delivers
    4. Personally I'm not a huge fan of Antec cases, had a Sonata before and hated it for being very cramped and hard to work in. But this is obviously subjective

    The rest looks ok but you should read detailed motherboard reviews. I hear Gigabyte boards are all the rage now although my conservative choice has been Asus for many years now. But reviews tell it best.
     
  21. TSE macrumors 68030

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    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #21
    I find AMD with ATI homebuilt rigs a lot better bang-for-the-buck personally.

    I can build a Phenom II desktop with 4 GBs of RAM, a 500 GB HD, an ATI Radeon 5850, DVD Drive, 600W PSU, Windows Home 7 Premium all for around 600-700 bucks.
     
  22. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    Pa
    #22
    Agreed. I just build my friend a $300 PC, and it's not super fast, but it's a fully functional PC. She loves it.

    I have a new desktop I built myself, but then I hooked up 2 monitors and this thing just keeps going. It's almost like I have a new computer. It's a very rewarding experience, and as long as you use higher end components with good driver support, you don't experience any small hiccups.

    the only hiccup I have is my keyboard doesn't work after I resume from suspend... but it's a 10+ year old logitech wireless keyboard without Windows 7 support, oh well.

    Buying v Building... Dell's are more expensive, aren't as upgradable, but come with a warranty. Building yourself is cheaper, but you don't have a warranty to fall back on. But you can reuse components saving you money on your next build.
     
  23. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    #23
    I never had a problem building macs of course I didn't build mine new (about 90% old parts from recycling warehouses) but what I have pushed out of a G4 motherboard has been impressive for the low amount of cash I've invested.
     
  24. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #24
    All the components I have ever bought typically come with 1 to 3 year warranties (some claim lifetime). Turnaround seems to just as quick as shipping a computer whole off to a manufacturer.
     
  25. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #25
    Exactly.... DIYs are much better if you want something done right. Performance and/or gaming builds usually benefit from Intel, but if you are just wanting a normal computing PC, then an AMD build will be more than sufficient.
     

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