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What is a cheap site to build PCs on?

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April 16, 2006 2:12:58 AM

The subject explains it. Are there any cost efficient sites that'll get you a nice price for you computer? Alienware, Falcon, and others that I've seen are awful on the budget, and I am hoping there are others. If you know of any, please post, thanks.

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April 16, 2006 2:20:12 AM

Quote:
The subject explains it. Are there any cost efficient sites that'll get you a nice price for you computer? Alienware, Falcon, and others that I've seen are awful on the budget, and I am hoping there are others. If you know of any, please post, thanks.


Build it using Newegg.
April 16, 2006 2:35:46 AM

Quote:
NCIX.com is my favorite site for builds.


For Canada NCIX rocks! If he is the US Newegg is cheaper. :) 
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April 16, 2006 3:06:53 AM

Newegg is good. But, if you don't have time to build one or don't know how you can also order from www.monarchcomputers.com. A friend of mine got a custom computer built by them.
April 16, 2006 3:44:45 AM

Puget Systems

Works well and it even gives you some templates to work from. Just use the componant pieces and price them at either Newegg or Zipzoomfly.com
April 16, 2006 7:28:50 PM



You're high. 8O

Looking at your rig, and your recomendation, I'd take your advice with a grain of salt from now on. :oops: 
April 16, 2006 8:14:02 PM

Why not build it yourself to save some money and gained some experience. :D 
April 16, 2006 8:52:25 PM

Build yourself and buy most everything at ZipZoomFly.com

They are really cheap, good service from what I've heard, and free shipping. I mean, I like Newegg, but really, they kill you on the shipping.


DDay
April 16, 2006 9:47:54 PM

I have actually priced out the difference between ZZF and NE. The actual savings of what you "can" get from ZZF over Newegg, (for my rig anyways) is only about 20-30$. SO if you are dead set on saving whatever money you can I would recommend shopping for what is cheaper at ZZF whenever it's possible.

ZZF Will charge 60 dollars for an item that NE sells for 57 and 5 dollars shipping. So the savings are only a few bucks either way.
April 16, 2006 9:56:02 PM

Most of the time this is very true, but sometimes ZZF is much cheaper because NewEgg has a shipping cost of like $15 on something. This is rare, but I just highly recommend for people to shop around and not just immediatly with New Egg as many are inclined.


DDay


P.S. Use Toms Hardware store, which is basicly pricegrabber. Pricegrabber is great to check the prices of things including tax and shipping and compare. Also good for getting info on products.
April 16, 2006 10:04:17 PM

If you want to build it yourself, generally Newegg or ZipZoomFly have the best prices on components and both have a good reputation for quality. Personally, I've never had any trouble with either. Also, you can check Pricegrabber.com as well (they have a pretty decent computer section). ZipZoomFly usually edges Newegg out slightly because they have free 3 day shipping on most everything. However, Newegg has a better assortment and better info on their merchandise - the specs and the customer reviews are particularly helpful sometimes in making a choice.

As far as having something custom built for you, I can't say because I prefer to build my own systems. No matter where I look, I can never customize a PC as much as I want at a decent enough price to justify it. While building it yourself may be time consuming and very frustrating at times, it's fun, it's good experience and you know exactly what you're getting.
April 16, 2006 10:08:49 PM

Quote:
While building it yourself may be time consuming and very frustrating at times, it's fun, it's good experience and you know exactly what you're getting.


Nothing is as true as that. Building your computer gives you a unique perspective of it. If something goes wrong in the future, you will likely know what it is before even looking in the case. Of course if you don't want your computer to be more personal or important to you, don't build your own. You can simply go with a very non personal computer like a Alienware or Dell.

Your choice,
DDay
April 16, 2006 11:05:10 PM

Here's what I did, you might want to consider it also.

I bought a Compaq Presario PC, and as far as I've seen, no one can beat Compaq on prices. Interestingly enough when I tried to look up the prices of the components that came with the Compaq PC (on NewEgg), looking at the best deals available, they still somehow amounted to a little bit more than how much Compaq charged for their PC. So yes, amazing deal from Compaq! Dell doesn't use AMD so I don't even look at Dell at the moment. Here are the specs of what I got:

CPU: Athlon 64 3500+ (2.2Ghz)
RAM: 1 gig
HD: 200 gigs 7200 rpm SATA
Video Card: Really crappy integrated nvidia one (the only weak link).
PSU: Some 300 watt crap.
Came with Keyboard and Mouse.

This cost me about $550 total, shipping and all.

So now what I'm doing is upgrading the PSU to something like the Antec TP 430w and the video card to Geforce 7600GT. Both of these things together cost around $230 on newegg. Now I have a very good gaming machine and a great all around PC, all for a total of $780 or so.

Geforce 7600 GT is a good latest-gen midrange card, great bang for the buck, and the PSU I'm getting is enough to run it plus a little bit of overhead just in case. Unlikely that I'll ever upgrade this PC (except possibly ram to 2 gigs in a few months), as I will probably buy a new one in about a year and a half or so, for a similar price.

If you were to get a Geforce 7900GT or similar, you'd still be under $1000, and now u'd have a really kick-ass gaming machine. The 3500+ is basically the area right before the price becomes exponentially greater with only marginal performance increase. Considering the lifetime of this PC I didn't think dual-core was worthwhile just yet - but the next one will certainly be dual core, no question.

So basically I used a combination of purchasing a pre-built machine and manual upgrading after I got it to get a really good deal and a problem-free computer that works blazingly fast and does what I want it to do with no problems.

Just make sure to disable and uninstall all that useless software that is bundled with these PC's and runs on startup. I'm on a really limited budget, and I got the compaq PC right from a store (best buy), so no need to wait, except for the new PSU and GPU. I think I have a very good deal on my hands, and it's just one thing you may wanna consider doing as well. If anyone thinks that what I did wasn't a great idea though, let me know, since it's the first time I attempted something like this - so far though I've been impressed with the results and the cheapness of it all!

In fact, I wonder why more people don't do something similar? What is wrong, for example, with a computer from Dell or Compaq? If all the other parts are good/decent, and you can upgrade the terrible videocard they come with, why not? Similarly built computer from Alienware amounts to like 2x or 3x the price, and even more from Falcon Northwest, All American Computers, and others. So again, the absolutely unbelievable price you get from Compaq, combined with an additional videocard/PSU to replace the crappy ones it comes with, and it seems like u have a machine no worse than anyone who built theirs from scratch using equivalent components. Am I wrong?
April 16, 2006 11:08:43 PM

Except because its a compaq, you can't mess with the BIOS, meaning you can't OC. And the motherboard is probably a piece of crap. I'm just assuming here thouhg, so please, feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

DDay
April 16, 2006 11:17:05 PM

The best way to shop around is to go to http://www.pricegrabber.com It tells you how manny people sell certain item. It calculates the FINAL price with the shipping from all the stores. But MOST IMPORTANT it hass seller's rating. So, you find the cheapest price, check the seller's rating or even some reviews and but the item and you're all set.
April 16, 2006 11:24:31 PM

Quote:
Except because its a compaq, you can't mess with the BIOS, meaning you can't OC. And the motherboard is probably a piece of crap. I'm just assuming here thouhg, so please, feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

DDay


I dunno about whether you can overclock (though that wasn't my intention anyway, just wanted a good processor right out of the box with no alterations), I'll look into that. As for the motherboard, I admit I'm not really familiar with the its significance in terms of system performance, but I'm under the impression that it's much less than the CPU/Videocard/HD are. Because I'm not too familiar with motherboards, this is what CPU-Z tells me:

Manufacturer: ASUSTek Computer INC. 1.03
Model: Amberine M
Chipset: ATI RS 480

Decent? Tolerable? And even if "crappy", how bad could it be?

And here's my RAM:
Samsung PC 3200 DDR-SDRAM with Timings: 3-3-3-8 (ok those I know aren't that great).

However, when you say "piece of crap" regarding the mobo, do you mean it hinders the performance of the other parts? And if so, then how bad can it be? I mean i'm still using a good processor, good video card, good PSU, decent HD/RAM etc. So just how much negative impact can my motherboard have?

More specifically, if you take the one I have vs the best one you can think of, and all the other parts being identical - would I get a big boost in FPS in games or other applications? Or will it be like 10FPS more? Again, as far as I know, it wouldn't be anywhere near the differences between processors and video cards, which is why I really never was worried about the motherboard being the best. But I may be wrong.
April 16, 2006 11:30:28 PM

Quote:
Except because its a compaq, you can't mess with the BIOS, meaning you can't OC. And the motherboard is probably a piece of crap. I'm just assuming here thouhg, so please, feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

DDay


I dunno about whether you can overclock (though that wasn't my intention anyway, just wanted a good processor right out of the box with no alterations), I'll look into that. As for the motherboard, I admit I'm not really familiar with the its significance in terms of system performance, but I'm under the impression that it's much less than the CPU/Videocard/HD are. Because I'm not too familiar with motherboards, this is what CPU-Z tells me:

Manufacturer: ASUSTek Computer INC. 1.03
Model: Amberine M
Chipset: ATI RS 480

Decent? Tolerable? And even if "crappy", how bad could it be?

And here's my RAM:
Samsung PC 3200 DDR-SDRAM with Timings: 3-3-3-8 (ok those I know aren't that great).

However, when you say "piece of crap" regarding the mobo, do you mean it hinders the performance of the other parts? And if so, then how bad can it be? I mean i'm still using a good processor, good video card, good PSU, decent HD/RAM etc. So just how much negative impact can my motherboard have?

More specifically, if you take the one I have vs the best one you can think of, and all the other parts being identical - would I get a big boost in FPS in games? Or will it be like 10FPS more? Again, as far as I know, it wouldn't be anywhere near the differences between processors and video cards, which is why I really never was worried about the motherboard being the best. But I may be wrong.

I'm not an expert or anything, but buying computers from a company like Dell, Compaq or what ever, you always get less then what you pay for. It's a fact. I'm sure you can custom build a system with better specs for less money. One thing you have to remember is that they HAVE TO make money off of you in adition of selling you just the hardware.
April 16, 2006 11:51:09 PM

Thats exactly what I'm saying. I don't know anything about this system specifically, or that motherboard (though I'm looking into it) its just that companys always want to make money, and they are always going to try to get more profit.


DDay
April 16, 2006 11:53:19 PM

That's true they do have to make money off of us in addition to just selling the hardware itself, but is it possible that they buy the same hardware for less than we could from places like NewEgg? I mean, they must have some special deals with hardware manufacturers to get discounts for buying in bulk etc?

But you may be right that it'll always be a cheaper/better option to build from scratch. I'd have to do some more detailed research :) 
April 16, 2006 11:55:53 PM

Of course they buy it for less, but they don't let on to us on that. They want to make something like a 30% margin or more if possible. So yes, they buy cheaper, but they will never give it to you for cheaper than you can buy it yourself. That is the great thing about sites like newegg also. They buy the parts in bulk as well, so its much cheaper to buy it from them, when they have a whole warehouse full of products, than it is to buy parts from your local computer store.

DDay
April 17, 2006 12:34:28 AM

Quote:
If anyone thinks that what I did wasn't a great idea though, let me know, since it's the first time I attempted something like this - so far though I've been impressed with the results and the cheapness of it all!

In fact, I wonder why more people don't do something similar? What is wrong, for example, with a computer from Dell or Compaq?


These are the reasons that I personally would not pursue that course of action:

1) The motherboard - this is IMO THE most important part of a computer (power supply being a close second and case being third with regards to airflow and inner design). When I'm building a system, this is the piece I spend the most time researching and mulling over. The other components pretty much serve just 1 purpose and you know what you're getting. The motherboard has to make sure all of these pieces communicate properly with each other as well as with the software you're using (to a degree in conjunction with the OS). I am in agreement with DDay from experience with working on Dell, HP/Compaq & Gateway computers, I can say that they generally use some kind crappy, custom made piece of sh!# motherboard geared towards keeping the user from changing or tweaking the system to keep inexperienced users from screwing something up and having call in the warranty. I guess if you don't mind not having much control of your computer outside of the OS you're ok; but if you try to add or change components, WATCH OUT!!

2) In regards to the software that comes with pre-made computers, I swear you can never get all that crap off without formatting the damn drive. I usually advise my friends if they buy a Dell, HP, etc. to demand a clean copy of the OS (since you pay for it) and then format the PC and re-install the OS. Computer runs 10x faster after doing this.

Quote:
I'm not an expert or anything, but buying computers from a company like Dell, Compaq or what ever, you always get less then what you pay for.


3) This is absolutely true.
A64 3500+ - $201
Motherboard - $70 max (doubt it was that much)
HDD - $83
Memory - $82
Case & PS - $70 max (again doubt it was that much)
Mouse & Keyboard - $30

That totals to $536; did I miss anything, maybe $10 for a FDD or CD. So that puts you a little under $550. Sounds like you may have gotten about what you paid for, but I seriously doubt the mobo or case/ps cost $70. Case in point though, I'm still not sure how you're pricing it higher than $550 on Newegg unless I'm missing something.

Don't get me wrong here, there's nothing wrong with your computer and your strategy may work for people who don't want to risk building their own computer from scratch and who don't mind not having total control over their PC. But generally when buying a pre-made system, you are going to pay at least $300-400 more than what you could build the same (or slightly better) system for. This obviously is not as exagerated for budget systems, but the higher you go, the wider the gap. And I'll admit, you can get some good deals from the big boys if you don't mind 3-4 generation old components and/or mix between old and new components.
April 17, 2006 1:32:13 AM

My rig is better than yours! :lol: 
April 17, 2006 3:02:59 AM

M'kay. You win. 8)
April 17, 2006 3:48:13 AM

Go with Newegg hands down.
April 17, 2006 4:08:33 AM

Why would be helpful. I mean a bunch of people have already explained why NE isn't as good idea as for instance ZZF.

DDay
April 17, 2006 1:27:17 PM



I want what joe's smoking. Granted, some Dell rigs use quality hardware, you still need to nuke and pave the O/S right out of the box. But those specs, joe. That's a joke, right? I'd give away a pc that crappy.
April 17, 2006 1:42:33 PM

I work for H.P., but I wouldn't buy a pc from them, or any other manufacturer. No matter the price you pay, you could do FAR better buying the components yourself, and slapping it together. Why? Every pc manufacturer (except the bleeding edge ones- you know who they are) pawn off obsolete hardware on their preconfigured systems. You might get the latest processor, and maybe a current chipset, but something, somewhere, will be compromised. Guaranteed.

And if I told you what HP pays per unit on that hardware, you would defecate your Dockers.

When you price a custom build, and check the same rig on a big vendor's site, you see a savings of a few hundred dollars. What you don't see is what they paid for said parts. 15% comes to mind. But hey, that's business. Can't knock 'em for that.

So, if you have the knowledge to put it together yourself, and do a LOT of research first, you'll come out way ahead.

Some may argue about warranties. Truth is, if your pc craps out, the manufacturer will undoubtedly refer you to the component provider anyways, and that will be covered under THEIR warranty.

Regardless of brand, if you choose to buy a prebuilt, I would do asone of the above posters mentioned:

FDisk, Format, Reinstall, Do-Dah, Do-Dah...
April 17, 2006 2:46:40 PM

Quote:
I work for H.P., but I wouldn't buy a pc from them, or any other manufacturer. No matter the price you pay, you could do FAR better buying the components yourself, and slapping it together. Why? Every pc manufacturer (except the bleeding edge ones- you know who they are) pawn off obsolete hardware on their preconfigured systems. You might get the latest processor, and maybe a current chipset, but something, somewhere, will be compromised. Guaranteed.

And if I told you what HP pays per unit on that hardware, you would defecate your Dockers.

When you price a custom build, and check the same rig on a big vendor's site, you see a savings of a few hundred dollars. What you don't see is what they paid for said parts. 15% comes to mind. But hey, that's business. Can't knock 'em for that.

So, if you have the knowledge to put it together yourself, and do a LOT of research first, you'll come out way ahead.

Some may argue about warranties. Truth is, if your pc craps out, the manufacturer will undoubtedly refer you to the component provider anyways, and that will be covered under THEIR warranty.

Regardless of brand, if you choose to buy a prebuilt, I would do asone of the above posters mentioned:

FDisk, Format, Reinstall, Do-Dah, Do-Dah...


That's what I was thinking. I think all of us here will agree that when it comes to warrantie, components are usually covered thru the manufacurer and not the company who sold you the computer. Also, most of the problems people have with their PC is software related and could be easily fixed with some knowlage. But most people don't know how to handle that and that's why they go with companies.
April 17, 2006 3:06:21 PM

I had my pc built at velocitymicro. highly recommended.
i think i could have saved $200 if i had built it myself.

It is definately more satisfying and cheaper to build your own pc,
but i didnt have the experience or the time to build one myself.
April 17, 2006 4:20:27 PM

I haven't had time to look at the article in detail, but the current month CPU (Computer Power User) magazine had a nie article on the lesser-known system builders that were worth looking at. i don't know if the article is available online...I just bought the print magazine yesterday.
April 17, 2006 4:53:24 PM

Quote:


3) This is absolutely true.
A64 3500+ - $201
Motherboard - $70 max (doubt it was that much)
HDD - $83
Memory - $82
Case & PS - $70 max (again doubt it was that much)
Mouse & Keyboard - $30

That totals to $536; did I miss anything, maybe $10 for a FDD or CD. So that puts you a little under $550. Sounds like you may have gotten about what you paid for, but I seriously doubt the mobo or case/ps cost $70. Case in point though, I'm still not sure how you're pricing it higher than $550 on Newegg unless I'm missing something.


OS +$200 :D  I don't mind pre-built ones (don't customize through them though, that will generally cost ALOT more) except for Gateways. I have had more Gateway displays fail out of the box (Not to mention 2 that came w/o ram and one that didn't have the CPU fan power cable connected). They're not bad if you don't want to spend time fiddling with things other than removing all the pre-loaded crap on them.
April 17, 2006 5:25:12 PM

I like Monarch Computer, but their pricing can fluctuate. Sometimes its less than Newegg, most often is about the same or a little more. I like the "combo's" MB, processor, and RAM. They also pretest this combo, included free 30 day tech support and offer warranties that used to be :(  inexpensive. If you plan on OC's skip the warranty. The "combo" page is not all inclusive, you can get items from anywhere on the site, not just from the pull down menu's. You can request a product such as an unlisted MB. Often they will build it and test it for no additional cost.
April 17, 2006 5:35:44 PM

I have two perspectives:

1. If you are looking to build your rig then go with either Newegg.com or ZipZoomFly.com. They provide competetive prices and quality service. And also with building it you get to know your system very specifically, but also if you experience is limited then you'll probably spending countless hours on forumz looking for a solution.

2. If you are looking to get a cheap system custom/configured and built for you then I would recommend cyberpowerpc.com. Components are priced close to those of newegg and ZZF only adding some labor charges, which is expected. Free shipping too. Also, if there is a part other than a case, mobo or cpu that you can find cheaper then you dont even have to add it and but seperately and install yourself.


Just my thoughts on this.
April 17, 2006 5:40:02 PM

For pre-built systems from Compaq and other places that are cheap ($400-600), they will always hit you with a micro-ATX mobo. This means very little upgradability. However, I speced out a pre-built from ABS, through NewEgg, and then upgraded that. I got a ASUS A8N-VM CSM, which is definatley not a POS motherboard. The only reason I went that way, though, is because it was for someone else and I didn't have time to make one myself.

I believe that Tom's did an article on the $500 gaming machine awhile ago, so even though the information is out-of-date, the basic idea was that it's basically impossible to make anything good out of that kind of money when you have to but an OS and other software for it. At least that's the way I see it. There is just too much hedging on parts and you end up with something not worth it.

For anyone looking to spend more than $800, though, building it yourself is the way to go. The difference between homebuilt and prebuilt only gets higher as you up the budget. The parts I'm buying for my own PC come out to $1450, whereas a similar Dell (with an Intel dual-core) would cost $2300.
April 17, 2006 7:52:50 PM

Quote:
OS +$200 :D 


Damn, knew I forgot something. Ah, what the hell, he probably got XP Home and you can get that for $70 OEM. They probably didn't even give him a CD (so I consider that not actually having the OS anyway). Besides, I was probably on the high side on some of the other hardware anyway. Point is, the lower you go, the closer you get to what you paid for because they're just trying to liquidate their old crappy inventory. Good call though.
April 17, 2006 8:41:39 PM

jncs.com is good. Their pre-built are Asus and they will not try to sell you more than you need. You can also buy bundles, i.e., a motherboard, CPU, and memory, which are assembled. All you have to do is install screw in the mobo. This is what I did with my first build because I was intimidated at the thought of buildin my owng. Later learned that putting in the CPU and memory into the mobo was the easiest part, have built from scratch since.
April 18, 2006 4:45:50 AM



I want what joe's smoking. Granted, some Dell rigs use quality hardware, you still need to nuke and pave the O/S right out of the box. But those specs, joe. That's a joke, right? I'd give away a pc that crappy.

Well, its definately not my primary computer, if that's what you mean. :wink: It may be satirical, but then again I might be serious....Which one (or both) do you think it is?

I agree with the reformat, but who cares? Anyone who would shy away from a hell of a deal just because they would have to reinstall the OS to get rid of all the added "features" shouldn't be on a computer hardware forum. For a regular computer user, the Dell oem XP install is fine, but I agree with you that anyone who understands performance would find it annoying.
April 18, 2006 4:59:05 AM

Quote:
For pre-built systems from Compaq and other places that are cheap ($400-600), they will always hit you with a micro-ATX mobo. This means very little upgradability. However, I speced out a pre-built from ABS, through NewEgg, and then upgraded that. I got a ASUS A8N-VM CSM, which is definatley not a POS motherboard. The only reason I went that way, though, is because it was for someone else and I didn't have time to make one myself.

I believe that Tom's did an article on the $500 gaming machine awhile ago, so even though the information is out-of-date, the basic idea was that it's basically impossible to make anything good out of that kind of money when you have to but an OS and other software for it. At least that's the way I see it. There is just too much hedging on parts and you end up with something not worth it.

For anyone looking to spend more than $800, though, building it yourself is the way to go. The difference between homebuilt and prebuilt only gets higher as you up the budget. The parts I'm buying for my own PC come out to $1450, whereas a similar Dell (with an Intel dual-core) would cost $2300.


I don't think mATX is as much of a limiting factor today as you think it is. Perhaps SLI isn't available, but other than that new mATX boards are similar to their ATX brothers.

I agree with the high-end prices ($800 and up): it's better to build at that point than buy OEM. Somewhere below that point, the OEMs begin to have the upper hand and after a certain price point it suddenly becomes pointless to argue buy vs build, as the OEM wins by as much as $100 and has superior quality at that price point (eg. the $300 Dell).
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