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Build or Buy? I'm not sure

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January 6, 2006 10:06:38 PM

Recently I've been pondering whether to buy a new computer or build one from newegg. I was flipping through CGW and saw an add for the XG Xion 7000 from www.buyxg.com.
From the price, it appears that the computer is pretty cheap, but could I build the same thing for cheaper?
I already have a moniter available btw.

What are your thoughts? Build or buy?

Which will give better quality and price?

More about : build buy

January 6, 2006 10:29:12 PM

Always a popular question - build or buy? Likely to be another question that gets a lot of different responses, although I think most who inhabit these forums would agree that build is better. Without knowing exactly what you are looking for, I'll give you my opinion in generalities. From strictly a price point, the cheaper the machine, especially sub $1000, it's hard to save much, if anything, from a prebuilt. The larger vendors, like Dell, Gateway, HP, etc., are getting some mighty good deals on CPUs and Windows, making it tuff to compete pricewise in the lower levels. However, you may be able to come up with a better quality machine for about the same price as prebuilt below $1000. Above about a grand, and especially the more you spend, you are definitely better off building, from a quality and price standpoint. The best thing with a machine you build yourself, you get exactly what you want, and don't have to deal with the inordinate amount of crap software that the big vendors overload you with. Hope this opinion helps. I'm sure you'll get many others.

P.S. Newegg is a great place to shop, but they are not always the cheapest on everything. If you build, make sure you shop around for the best deals.
January 7, 2006 3:01:24 AM

If you decide to build, be sure to read the instruction manuals at least 2x through, especially if this is your first build. I know it sounds so simple it is almost idiotic, but you would not believe how many people permanantly screw their computers because of seemingly obvious things.

Ok, enough with my ranting, as to your question, I agree in most part with INeedCache. Unless you have a fairly good idea of what components you want and/or need, I would recommend to buy.

If you want to build, go for it, but be warned, it can become quite overwhelming to people not used to it on a daily basis.


Good Luck

-SiLeNt
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January 7, 2006 9:04:03 AM

Generally I build my own boxes, the ones I use for gaming. But for Christmas I bought my daughter a Dell for $800 that came with a 17 in. lcd screen and a printer. Fine for business applications. I couldnt hardly touch that price when building my own. At the same time I built a gaming box top of the line for $1800, that would cost $3000 or more if you bought it retail. What do you want your computer to do?
January 8, 2006 5:44:34 AM

Quote:
Generally I build my own boxes, the ones I use for gaming. But for Christmas I bought my daughter a Dell for $800 that came with a 17 in. lcd screen and a printer. Fine for business applications. I couldnt hardly touch that price when building my own. At the same time I built a gaming box top of the line for $1800, that would cost $3000 or more if you bought it retail. What do you want your computer to do?


I'm looking for a strong gaming computer with expandability. I'd like to throw in a good graphics card, 6600GT or upwards (maybe an ATI if necessary), and a socket 939 processor so it lasts some time. One of my main concerns is to make sure I build or buy a computer at the right time so it will last a while (let me know if I should wait for 64-bit programs or windows vista)

However, I'm not overly worried about the size of the hard drive, coolness of the case, and don't need an expensive processor. Maybe a 64-bit 3500+ will satisfy gaming needs?

So basically, I want a nice GFX card and a good mobo; without going too much into detail parts-wise.

As for experience, I've 'built' two computers from new and used parts and have done the easy stuff such as upgrading RAM and GFX cards quite often. It shouldn't be too tough for me to build anew, and I'd love to put together a new computer. My main concern is price.

It sounds like most of you beleive firmly in building - an idea I like. I just wanted to make sure I'm not screwing myself in doing so. I've made about 5 different lists of computer parts I would like to use for a new comp and am having a tough time comparing them to prebuilt systems.

As for dell, I have an undying hatred of them and wouldn't buy anything other than an office computer from those bastards (They ruined my lyfe!). I'm untrusting of Alienware as well. Some of the smaller computer companies seem to have some mighty good deals, however. It is those companies I'm focusing on. Some include ibuypower.com, tigerdirect.com, buyxg.com, widowpc.com (widow has slightly higher-end computers than I'm looking for).

So if I have the knowledge, am looking for quality parts with expandibility, and want to save money on a 900-1200 dollar system (minus the monitor), would you suggest I build or buy? 8)
January 8, 2006 7:36:23 AM

I'd still suggest you build, you'll just need to be thorough in finding the best prices to save much money at that price range. The ability to have expendability when you build yourself is a big advantage even if don't end up saving any money, as most of the prebuilt machines, especially the larger vendors like Dull, errr Dell, do not give you that. I've seen some Dell towers without floppy drives that require you to buy the floppy drive from Dell, since without the cage they supply with it, you could not install one in their proprietary case. And those floppy drives don't come cheap. Reviews that I have seen of Dell's so-called gaming machines are lukewarm at best. Go for it.
January 8, 2006 1:47:30 PM

well my suggestion is this..........if you want a nice computer forget about one with expandiblity because by the time you want to upgrade your stuff will be crap no matter what you buy. Im not one of those fools that will say that you computer is obsolete after you buy it cause that is just garbage however if you are interested in gaming then you are better off first buying those components that will not be outdated right away such as case, keyboard, mouse, speakers, soundcard (xfi wont be outdated anytime soon), monitor (go with crt if you are gaming as lcd blows for gaming). Then save a little and buy the rest of the stuff at one time so that you get the newest and best stuff and nothing is older. Btw if you are thinking of gaming 6600 is the entry level card and is a bare minimum. I would spend the extra 150/200 and get a 7800gt. Anyways dude, good luck.
January 8, 2006 3:51:29 PM

Absolutely agree with Ineedcache. I've been building machines for years and I can tell you first hand that building them is usually better. One of the biggest problems with buying a machine is you'll get one good part such as a good CPU and the rest of the parts are junk. To me, its just as important to have the processor support on the board to get the information from point A to point B. Good chipsets, drives, cooling, graphics etc are all important. At least if your building a machine, its your baby and no one else's. You know exactly what's in it and how it works. I always read up on the hot MB's out there and what chipsets they use. Then go from there. Also, the costs associated with building your own vs. buying one are usually astonishing. Especially if your a gamer and photographer such as myself. Good luck with your choice and keep us posted as to what you decide to do. Never know, you just might find a great deal from one these companies that you can't pass up.
January 8, 2006 4:49:25 PM

One disagreement I have with Gahleon is about the LCD vs. CRT argument he presented. A little offtopic I know, but I dont want you to make the wrong choice 8) . CRT monitors are undergoing a MAJOR phasing out in the market, and many monitor companies have stopped producing them altogether. With low response times and good refresh rates of 60Hz standard, LCD is now equal to, and, in many cases better than CRT. If you are into gaming, a LCD monitor with a response time of under 10 miliseconds (ms) will suite you perfectly. If you want to go a bit higher end (ie. pro/fanatical gamer) you could look into a monitor with a 2ms or 3ms response time (check out viewsonic or samsung for the best choices)

Sorry Gahleon, but your ideas are outdated by at least a year, if not more!

Also, tigerdirect.com is not a pc building company, it is more of a HUGE retailer (comparable to NewEgg). The PC's they sell are made by other PC vendors (such as hp or emachine, yuck) most of the time.

As to the question of buy or build, i say build. for $1200 you can put together a pc with guts that would cost you $2000+ from a good company.

Check out Falcon NorthWest or VooDoo (can you say EXPENSIVE?) for pc's too (probably will find voodoo out of your league, but worth a look), if you are interested in buying.

-Good Luck-
January 8, 2006 5:00:59 PM

Quote:
(go with crt if you are gaming as lcd blows for gaming).


Seeing as you can get some pretty good deals on LCD this season, I have to disagree on this point. If you get a 17/19" LCD it will be an extra inch bigger than the equivalent CRT. Your eyes won't get as strained, and it saves space on your desk.

Anyway, my point is, especially if your not an expert at games, I would find it extremely unlikely that you would see a difference in quality between a decent 8ms LCD and a similar CRT. I heard this kind of rant a lot before I changed my 17" CRT for a 17" LCD, but I must say I see absolutely no difference in gaming quality, other than the advantages I mentioned earlier. If FEAR, HL2, Quake 4 etc. don't show any problems, then I'm happy enough.

As for the OP, it's a varied bag. Generally, I would only advise pre-built if you're going to stick to surfing/word processing etc., and will have no need to ever open your box. Therefore, most likely a pretty cheap system. Sometimes Dell buying parts in quantities with numerous zeros at the end does have *some* advantages :) 

If, however, you want to game, and perhaps upgrade, and don't have the money for Alienware/Falcon Northwest type systems, then build it yourself. It generally isn't that hard, and lets you know exactly whats in your system.

Synergy6
January 8, 2006 5:32:16 PM

i would build, look at my system below it cost me 1,300 pounds(uk), if i had ordered exactly the same PC it would of cost 1,700 pounds and the pre-built one came with worse RAM and a crappy Motherboard.

i would say build, i dont know why the guys are arguing about CRTs and LCDs considering you have told them twice now that you have a monitor....GUYS HE HAS A MONITOR!

so far ive bought 1 PC, and built 3 been doing it since i was bout 12 and im now 19, the pre-builts come with loads of rubbish on them wich mean they dont run as fast as they should..

the only concern i would have is the operating system, you gonna use windows or linux, linux is free, windows :twisted: will set you back some(unless you know where to look you can get it free too...shhhh.) 8O <- btw this message board does not affiliate with any sort of copyed stuff...or some silly crap like that.
January 8, 2006 6:54:38 PM

Sorry if it sounded like arguing :)  I know the guy has a monitor, I was just pointing out what I believed to be an error of judgement in a previous post.
Synergy6
January 10, 2006 4:51:30 AM

Quote:
i would build, look at my system below it cost me 1,300 pounds(uk), if i had ordered exactly the same PC it would of cost 1,700 pounds and the pre-built one came with worse RAM and a crappy Motherboard.

i would say build, i dont know why the guys are arguing about CRTs and LCDs considering you have told them twice now that you have a monitor....GUYS HE HAS A MONITOR!

so far ive bought 1 PC, and built 3 been doing it since i was bout 12 and im now 19, the pre-builts come with loads of rubbish on them wich mean they dont run as fast as they should..

the only concern i would have is the operating system, you gonna use windows or linux, linux is free, windows :twisted: will set you back some(unless you know where to look you can get it free too...shhhh.) 8O <- btw this message board does not affiliate with any sort of copyed stuff...or some silly crap like that.


I must comment that your machine is excellent. It definitely has some great specs. What is the pounds to dollars conversion btw? I'm too lazy to look it up and am sure someone knows...

As for the windows, I own an xp pro CD Wink wink no affiliation etc etc. Not the 64-bit version though :( .

Don't worry about the monitor thing :) . I don't mind the arguments, they teach me alot of things about monitor shopping and value. I have an old hp pavilion f70 lcd. It's nothing special, but it will do until the good monitors get a little cheaper. I'll put the old compaq on the lower-quality CRT (a lady gave it to me for fixing her computer) in my brother's bedroom.

Yeah I'm definitely going to build. There are some great sites but I really like the idea of *knowing* my machine, as was mentioned. Plus, I grow weary of the alphanumeric motherboard names on compaqs and dells. I agree that the mobo is a very important part of the computer, probably moreso than the RAM or processor.

I keep hearing Dual Core processors are not good for gaming. Is there a way to get up to 4000+ on a non-X2 processor? Is it cheaper? I should probably check newegg after this post (where I'll probably find out doh!).

I'm also a little afraid that I won't be able to 'enable' dual channel on my RAM. I had thought all PC3200 on the proper motherboards automatically was dual channel, but I recently read a confusing post that said dual channel doesn't always work. Is there anything I need to know about that?

Agree about the 6600 thing. What graphics cards should I probably invest in? Is the money leap from 7800gt to 7800gtx truly worth it? Should I wait for ATI's 48 pipe card to appear?

Anyone suggest any good mobos?

I'll be out researching, and will let you all know what I end up doing! It might be a week or two though. Thank you all so incredibly much for your input and time. What an awesome and supportive community. I need to get to work!
January 10, 2006 6:25:27 PM

Quote:
What is the pounds to dollars conversion btw? I'm too lazy to look it up and am sure someone knows...


straight from google

1,300 British pounds = 2,297.36 U.S. dollars

Quote:
I recently read a confusing post that said dual channel doesn't always work. Is there anything I need to know about that?


itll work, youve got to use similar RAM though the timings and speed need to be the same, if you buy a stick of Corsair 1GB at 2.5-3-3-6 then you will need another Corsair 1GB at 2.5-3-3-6 for the best chance that Duel Channel will work...ive seen ppl use different types of RAM but your really playing with fire if you do that.

Quote:
Agree about the 6600 thing. What graphics cards should I probably invest in? Is the money leap from 7800gt to 7800gtx truly worth it? Should I wait for ATI's 48 pipe card to appear?


build the rest of your system first then put the rest of the money into the GFX and buy the best one you can get.

Quote:
I keep hearing Dual Core processors are not good for gaming. Is there a way to get up to 4000+ on a non-X2 processor? Is it cheaper?


now this is of much debate recently the advantages of duel core is the multitasking and games have just started to be patched to perform better on dual core systems...its up to you. as for a 4000+ CPU i would get something a bit less you dont really need lots of processing power for games and if you are encoding etc then you should go dual core... for a single core i would go for a 3800+ or 3500+(?) and overclock it.
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