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Thread: Pre-packaged vs. home built systems

  1. #16
    Banned [shawn@localhost /home]#'s Avatar
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    well the main thing behind building your own computer is mainly the final product you get.

    if you buy a computer from like compaq or something and its an Athlon, i can almost GUARAUNTEE that they put it together with a KT266 chipset mobo, uses PC133 SDRAM with integrated 4mb video card and integrated sound card (integrated sound cards are actually pretty good sometimes) and although the box of the compuer has 5 expansion slots you will open the box to find out that the mobo will only support 2 PCI slots and like 2 ISA sots so you really only get 2 NEW SCHOOL expansion possibilities (LAN cards are PCI so its really only 1 slot left)

    the big thing is reliability too, if you buy stuff yourself you know you wont try to stiff yourself like put Windows ME on it like most computer companies do and have a simple $10 cooling system that breaks down exactly 1 minute after your waranty expires

  2. #17
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    norad
    sifting through the thread I can see that individual tastes play a part. my nephew and I built a 1.7P4 systme with the asusP4t board,IBM 75gb deskstar HD,creative soundBlaster platinum with livedrive II,256 Rdram,a geforce2 card, pci modem in june2001
    all for about $1800, at the time the comparable ABS performance model PC was about $200 more.
    however use OEM materials to cut costs and plan on searching for support to debug the system, no seller to call for whatever support is needed, and many manufacturers don't support OEM purchases. Buy retail and lose alot of your savings.
    You probably want some software so figure the cost when purchasing, remember new OS some of your old software may not work.
    The "junk" included by Dell and Compaq works(compaq's 8000z will get you DVD-R for about $2000), and you can get OEM versions of retail equipment in Pc's from ABS or alienware etc. and yes you will pay more, but if you custom build and it doesn't work you pay to fix it.
    that said our custom built in june ran perfect from the first boot!
    The choice comes down to your time vs your money either way can get you an awesome computer.
    good luck

  3. #18
    Ultimate Member Strawbs's Avatar
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    I would say I have medium knowledge of computer hardware, and I built my own last time, It was top of the line (and you will probably want top of the line everything) and I added a Scanner, Printer and a web cam, The total cost was pretty much the same as a factory job, But it ran like a two legged donkey, compatability issues ruled the day, and it crashed forever. I now have a factory M\c and it runs fine.
    The morale of this short story is : if you want to learn about computers=build your own, If you just want to compute=Buy one.

    Best Regards

    Strawbs

  4. #19
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    I'm learning MUCH more than I anticipated, so much so I am going to be asking more questions of you "wizards".
    To "fredb" whats ABS stand for, Anti-locking Brake System? [just kidding about definition] but sreious about acronym, what is it?

    To "Strawbs", Thanks for "The moral of a short story", : build to learn, buy to enjoy.

    This is one "Pandora's" box I dont regret opening! THANKS-THANKS-THANKS

  5. #20
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    One need also bear in mind that the parts you pick may not be compatible. As I mentioned in another thread, the firmware of my 7200 rpm drive was not compatible with Windows NT 4.0. Before replacing the hard drive, I needlessly replaced the motherboard. There was the dollar cost of that mistake and the wear and tear on sanity and relationship with whoever has to hear you cursing. These things add up.

    But the best reason to build your own is that it gives you bragging rights. You can say that you too didst dwell in the land of the wise and mighty (start overclocking and you can call yourself brave as well).

    Speaking of whom, sysopt.com would be my first resource when it comes to avoiding glitches like incompatibilities. Never again would I attempt a home-built system w/out first asking for advice in the form of a proven parts list.

  6. #21
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    Usually computer bundles come with the cheapest periphials. Most customers only look at processors Hz, RAM, and HDD space. You usually get bottom of the barrel video cards, sound cards, etc.

    On the other hand building it yourself takes some research if you don't already have an idea of what you want & you will not save money doing it this way either.

    PS: Don't buy dell or gateway.

  7. #22
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    SMU_DORK:#1 Regarding your imput, I must be under the wrong impression by thinking peripherals as devices that provide auxiliary functions such as : printer, scanner etc? #2 "Dont buy Dell or Gateway", why on earth would you make this recommendation?
    Gratitude, NORAD





  8. #23
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    Something people usually don't factor in when figuring the cost of building vs. built system is software. The built system may come out to be a few hundred dollars cheeper at first. Then add $100 for an OS, $150-$200 for an office suite.

    Finally, there are the 'value added' features, that is, things that add value beyond the simple hardware of a computer. For example, Dell has their EducateU which (I think) is free and offers courses on how to use your computer. You also get tech support to some degree and a warranty.

    On the down side, as people have said, major upgrades are a pain (or impossible). You can add a new video card easy but are hosed if you want a new mobo. Also check the system documentation online before you get it to make sure it has expansion slots (some have no AGP slot for example) and the like.

    Personal preference? If someone asks me to build a computer for them, I tell them to get a Dell. If they ask me to _help them_ build a computer I'll usually do that. At home, I have one Dell and one build your own. Its just a convenience vs. performence thing I guess...

  9. #24
    Member SEALTEAMTHREE's Avatar
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    A few reasons I will NEVER buy a computer from a manufacturer again:

    1) At the top, that annoying "Dude, you're gettin' a Dell" kid that I want to beat with a tire iron.
    2)All comanies presently use Intel CPUs exclusively. Regardless of what the Intellians say, the Athlon T-bird and XP beat out the P4, plus you can *overclock* easily with AMD chips.
    3)I hate waiting for hours for a tech to pick the line up at your friendly "technical support" line. You have found this website, and given how many computer savvy people post here, you can easily find a solution to your problem within a day at the most, and a few hours at the least.
    4)The actuall skill involved in building your own system. Anyone who sees a dell commercial and can use a phone can get a dell. Your computer that you build with your own hands is one-of-a-kind. Plus, it doesn't have "dell" or "gateway" or "HP" written all over every component it comes with.
    5)You get made fun of at LAN parties
    6)You can open and mod your case without voiding your warranty (modding-putting a window and backlight the inside and be able to see inside-you have to see it to appreciate it).

    If you're going to build a computer, you should at least research what you're doing before you start. The reason the above poster's home built computer ran like a "two-legged mule" is probably because he didn't research his components for compatablilty. Some video card manufacturers cards won't work with some motherboards or chipsets, for example. A good rule of thumb when installing your AGP and PCI cards is to go: Video (AGP), space (PCI 1) Modem (PCI 2) NIC (PCI 3) Sound (PCI 4). I worked in a computer store for a little over a year when I was in highschool and that method worked every time. Another reason is why pay more for an upgrade? I recieved a Dell ad in the mail the other day, and they charge $75 to go from a 30 GB HDD to a 40 GB. The average price difference between a 30 and a 40 is more like $15 at a mom and pop computer store (try to stay away from Best Buy or Circuit City-the salesmen will try to get you to buy either 1)the more expensive component or 2)try to get you to buy a pre-assembled computer by offering you special discounts or by throwing in something else for free. The only items you should buy at a chain retailer are monitors and speakers), so why pay $60 for some bored assembly line worker to mount the bigger drive for you? Do yourself a favor and build a computer. The money you'll save down the road when you upgrade your current system will outweigh any headaches building one will cause.
    Last edited by SEALTEAMTHREE; 11-26-2001 at 10:20 PM.

  10. #25
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    I agree with SEALTEAMTHREE.
    Tech support usually requires being put on hold for quite a long time and after the wait, you'll sometimes end up talking to some guy who doesn't really know how to fix your problem.
    Also, the "break the seal and you lose the warranty" can be a pain in the **** sometimes.
    And, being made fun of at LAN parties...LOL

  11. #26
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    Tech support for those in the know MAY be useless, but for those who dont know pc troubleshooting, its priceless. In regards to SEALTEAMTHREE's comment #3[tech support], I have no doubt this site has those who can fix problems, but thats assuming my problem doesnt interfere with getting on line. How can web site assistance help if my keyboard, mouse, modem or whatever keeps me from connecting? I have had two years experience as a pc "dummie" and as a tech support user. Tech support has taught me the Abc's of pc's while fixing MY screw-ups as well as the manufactures. Lets remeber here folks, there are always two sides to a coin, be thankful you are on the side of "knowing"! P.S. I do admit that after logging 32 tech phone calls, I had to wait as long as TWELVE MINUTES once.[ouch]

  12. #27
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    norad
    sorry ABS refers to www.buyabs.com a site to buy abs pc's they rate well with pcmag and pcworld reviews.
    compatability issues aside once you build a computer the cost of upgrading will outstrip the new ready built faster than you think.
    I have one with a voodoo3 video card, and an aureal soundcard probaly state of the art for a few weeks a short year and a half ago now ancient and defunct companies. upgrade the two components? not without a new motherboard, get anew motherboard? might as well get that faster CPU lookout i've just built another PC might be able to use the modem and case but the new motherboard is probably ATA 100+ so the hard drive is now old too!! wonder if that power supply is big enough?
    With the prices where they are and going down not up its an even tougher decision.
    HEy look at www.499pc.com they have a pretty sweet deal on a dual palomino (AMD athlon4 1900+) with tyan tiger board ina lian-li case yes they throw in some "junk" but quite a barebones starter set, or complete pc to start with and dual processors to boot!
    yep the possibilities are endless but stilll relate to do you want the knowledge and fun of knowing why it workss and sometimes why it doesn't which comes from building your own, or do you just want to use it to do stuff then the less than top but working is good enough
    good luck

  13. #28
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    Build your own !! IF you buy all your software and so on it will actually cost you a little more maybe even a lot more, BUT, you will have quality components that will last and will be tailored to do what you want to do not what some company wants you to do. Upgradeability is a big deal. Very few machines sold these days have room for growth. Another problem with "store bought" machines these days is power supplies. Almost all makers (especially the cheaper ones) are using undersized PS's that lead to major problems down the road. Integrated video is a major pet peeve for me, it looks great when theres almost nothing loaded on the machine, but after you've had it a few weeks and start loading a few games or more robust apps suddenly the video is totally inadequate, and guess what, its not upgradeble because there's no AGP slot on the integrated motherboard.

  14. #29
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    The only issues here are time and lazyness...
    if you have the time and a little inclination do it, build it yourself, its quite rewarding (and in some cases a challenge, to crack that conflict or driver problem).

    But if you a lazy *rse with little or no time get some bod at dell or gateway to build it for ya....cant always say that they iron out all the problems that you may come across but they try!! (at a price that is)


  15. #30
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    ....this might help.

    If you need links for additional research or information regarding this: Refer to the Beginners Section at this site.

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