Buying Components bits at a time...Need Advice Please!

I'm a newbie getting ready to build my first computer. I've spent about a year here lurking and reading up and the information that I've learned has really boosted my confidence. (I was originally going to buy instead of build...)

I won't be building immediately - maybe in the next 3-6 months at earliest, or maybe even a bit longer. I've been keeping track of prices for the last year and would like to buy components when deals come up that I can't refuse. However, I've noticed a seemingly serious drawback to that. What if I purchase something like RAM, Power Supply, etc. and it arrives DOA - since I'm not putting it together right away I would never know. As such, I can imagine it's not a very good idea to buy parts a little at a time.

New Egg has CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) for $101 after a $30 mail-in rebate. When I first started watching the price of this ram it ranged from $299-$317 and it was $234 as recent as February! So I really don't want to miss this 'while supplies last' pricing, but I'm worried about receiving defective RAM and not knowing it until some time later.

So that's the background...here are the questions:

1. Do you see buying in stages as a serious drawback? (Afterall, I could always wait until I'm ready and then buy everything together at whatever prices are available at the time...)

2. Is there a way to purchase things like RAM or a Power Supply and have them tested at a local PC shop? Would a PC Shop be able to tell without a doubt if the parts were good (and if they are good, can I assume they'll be good when I install them after sitting a few months without being used)?

3. For the PS, would purchasing a PS tester with it be a reliable way to know myself it was good or not?

I'm looking for as much feedback into this as possible and thank you in advance for your time. Please help me out here!

P.S. I ordered my case yesterday, so now I'm committed to building instead of buying! :D
5 answers Last reply
More about buying components bits time need advice please
  1. JUst remember most quality parts have long warranty, you can buy RAM and not use it for 5 years, and if it was defective, the maker would replace it.
    Buy good parts when prices are good. Know your timetable and think if that part is one you will use for sure or if by waiting you can find a better deal.
  2. Well maybe a weeks days or weeks is enough because if you wait for months then new things would probably appear.

    Anyway you should check for major price slash. Besides price slash, prices reduce at minimum rate and new hardwares would be released by the time you buy and you may have to wait again.
  3. I bought my current and last PC in this way and never got a defective part (wouldn't have been able to spend/save the better part of £1200 to buy my machine otherwise). A power supply tester is a fairly good investment as it should (in theory anyway) tell you if your PS is duff or not.

    I bought my parts by going for the cheapest things first (optical drives, cables etc...) while leaving the most expensive parts (CPU, GPU and Mobo) to the very last (and buying them as close together as possible and doing the build, pref. within 28 days), this way when it comes to building the machine if you've got a duff part and it's the one of the cheap parts you may be able to claim a replacement/repair under the manufacturers warranty (usually 12 months minimum depending on part) and if not then you've not lost a huge sum of money. If it's one of the expensive parts then you should still be covered by the store &/or the manu. warranty.

    I'd not worry about the offers, prices go up and down all the time and they're bound to have similar (if not better) offers at some point down the road (that's what's happened to me anyway).

    However seeing as I've built two machines in this way and not got a duff part once the odds are in favour of not getting duff parts (either that or I've been incredibly lucky).
  4. As someone else said, some things (like RAM) can be purchased with liefetime warranties, so those are OK to buy early. Only problem is, you will have to ensure RAM type and speed match the mobo and processor you get, so buying one starts to limit your other choices, unless you're already sure what you will buy.

    Item 2 and 3: some means of testing a new device is useful to detect DOA units. But it can't address the item that fails after 4½ months of use, etc. No good way around that for you. But one class of device that, in SOME cases shows failures too early but after significant use is power supplies. SOME (and you'll find lots of advice on which ones and how to avoid, etc) fail after 1-2 years. If you're lucky those ones might still be under warranty. A few mobo's have has such problems, also, but not so common.

    IMO, buying a power supply tester might cost you all the money you save by buying at a bargain price, so where's the gain? Similarly, be careful how much you spend with a local shop to test componenets as they arrive.
  5. Thanks for all of the advice. Who knows, I may do this build sooner than expected. (I think ordering the case triggered an impatience to get things done!) I have another question regarding Mobo/Heat Sink/Memory Compatibility but I'll create another thread for that...

    Thanks again!

    -J.
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