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best price on homebuilt system?

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August 11, 2007 5:39:20 AM

I have always built my systems for personal use or for those that wanted specific options on a computer. Over the last few years I no longer built for anyone but myself and that’s been over two years. After the last year or so, I have had several people complain about the cheap $300.00 dollar Dells and E-machine that were what I was competing with when pricing a system. My come back was always, you get what you pay for, but as prices are now so competitive, it’s hardly worth the head ache to for a tech call on a system that I barley made $100.00 bucks on. So I guess my question is there many of those that at one time built system and could make a worth while profit, still doing so?

I have one customer that is willing to invest about $500.00 bucks for a basic system that would consist of a tower with CPU/DVD Burner/Ram/Hard Drive/video card and 17” Flat Screen. I have been satisfied with Mwave for my computer parts for over 10 years and I am looking at several options, but it’s been over two years since I have built a system and from what it looks like with all the new changes, it will be way over $500.00 bucks to build a Bare Bones system with CPU, Ram, DVD Burner, Hard Drive/video card and LCD Flat Screen. I truly feel that most of what Gateway and Dell put out for these low end prices are nothing but junk. There is very little room to add an extra fee for building the system in order to make a $100.00 bucks or so. I don’t think that’s over charging considering if she goes to Dell or Bestbuy and makes a purchase, she will need me to setup and transfer the system files from her old computer and can I just as easily pick up about the same amount of cash, but I know that system is not anything close to what could be built and on top of that these Geek Squads charging $300.00 bucks to reformat and install Windows. Although I have not went through all the parts pricing and could be way off on what I think I could build a system like I used to build for myself which was usually around $1000.00 bucks or more .

I know there are very few questions on what I am looking for here, but basically want to see what most of you that like me; that at one time built systems that would out perform any off the shelf system for a fraction of the cost, but are now competing with these throw away systems that may do what most people need the to do. I am a graphic/video artist and there’s not much I can purchase off the store shelve that will perform what I need it to do. I went to a Mac setup back in 96, but still use and like a good PC, but have no intension on moving from XP Pro to Vista anytime soon and need a refresher course on what the best PC for the money would be these days!

Any suggestions will be helpful,
Thanks,
Mark

More about : price homebuilt system

August 11, 2007 11:18:55 AM

Very interesting question. And i do agree, the Dells that go for like $350 to $500 bucks are very not worth it indeed. Those machines usually are working off intergrated graphics and the CPU speeds are not all that great. A $500 build is possible and would out peform a dell for one big reason: the PC has room for growth. Dell PC's at that low range price usually have limitations like limited to ONLY 2GB of ram, and limited in sata ports and such. Well what if you wanted to upgrade to a 64-bit system and wanted to run 4GB of ram? New PC time and that's what Dell is banking on. Give 'em what they can afford now and if they want better make the PC they bought so limited they'd HAVE to buy better and will hopefully look to us to buy that better system.

And still even in the higher end Dell's it is such a pain to upgrade them. Forget about installing a better PSU or CPU. Dell and others do a great job at making internal parts hard to get at with thier carefully cable management. I remember trying to upgrade my 2004 Dell to a better graphic's card. This was back in 2005 and i wanted to move onto the newer 7SEries cards. Around 2004 was the time where cards were starting to use PCI-express and power from the PSU's much more. So i called Dell to ask just what kind of PSU i had. Trust me i didnt want to call them but when i opend the PC and attempted to get one peice of useful information off that PSU it had nothing but jibberish. I called Dell and was shocked to hear that the $1400 PC i bought in 2004 only had a 250W power supply. That meant there was NO WAY i was going to be able to use a 7series card in that machine at all. That was the last Dell i had ever purchased and till this day 3 PC's later i have and only built custom. Cause custom means you have room for growth.

As for the $500 PC. Here is a PC built for $500 with an OS.

Motherboard
ASUS P5LD2: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813131048
Price: $87

Case
Rosewill R6422 w/350W PSU: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811147048
Price: $26

CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E4400: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115014
Price: $126

Video Card
EVGA 7200GS: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814130097
Price: $37

Memory
Corsair 1GB DDR2 667: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820145568
Price: $43

Hard Drve
Western Digital 160GB Drive: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136062
Price: $60

DVD Drive
Lite-On DVD Burner: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827106050
Price: $30

Operating System
Windows XP OEM: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16832116056
Price: $90

GRAND TOTAL: $499.00



August 11, 2007 11:40:05 PM

Something like this would work. $300 t0 $500 machines will have on board video so I didn't include a card. You could also shave a few dollars with a cheaper case and Athon 64 rather than a X2 CPU. Also went with a Retail DVD burner that came with Nero in case she needs burning software. While this can be upgraded it's unlikely that anyone buying a $500computer including the monitor is going to do much upgrading.
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
http :/ /www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813138052
http://www.newegg.co m/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819103068
http://www.newegg.com/product/produc t.asp?item=N82E16820211064
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1 6821152005
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...
http :/ /www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827106050
Total $312 without the monitor or Windows
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August 14, 2007 2:21:33 AM

Thanks for the input and yes I will try and put a system price together for this friend/customer. The lady is an old friend of my mothers and I didn’t want to get caught in-between what is for the most part, free tech support for the life of a system that a made a quick $100.00 bucks by building, but she always calls me when something goes wrong anyway so I may as well pick up a little cash! I did go by and look at Best Buy and some of the HP stuff that’s out there. I can see there is no need in trying to build one for less than $800.00 bucks and if that’s more than she wants to spend…I will just send her to Dell and wish her the best of luck. I have never purchased a computer off the shelf and it seems a bit scary when not knowing what’s really on the inside of the box and the kid does well enough to know the difference between Power Supply and a USB port.
Thanks,
Mark
August 14, 2007 11:21:58 AM

markpilkinton said:
Thanks for the input and yes I will try and put a system price together for this friend/customer. The lady is an old friend of my mothers and I didn’t want to get caught in-between what is for the most part, free tech support for the life of a system that a made a quick $100.00 bucks by building, but she always calls me when something goes wrong anyway so I may as well pick up a little cash! I did go by and look at Best Buy and some of the HP stuff that’s out there. I can see there is no need in trying to build one for less than $800.00 bucks and if that’s more than she wants to spend…I will just send her to Dell and wish her the best of luck. I have never purchased a computer off the shelf and it seems a bit scary when not knowing what’s really on the inside of the box and the kid does well enough to know the difference between Power Supply and a USB port.
Thanks,
Mark


Would agree that if you need to include a monitor, you're better off buying off the shelf if you want to spend much less than about $800. These machines work and you can replace or add RAM as well as optical and hdd. PSUs may be harder to replace but there are companies out there selling HP, Dell, etc compatible PSUs. I think sometimes we forget that most people want a machine to surf, E Mail, use Word, and play solitaire. They want to turn it on and have it work and will either pay an outrageous price for repair or call a friend. While I don't think this is the best approach, it doesn't mean it doesn't meet their needs.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 14, 2007 1:31:19 PM

Here's a system I just spec'ed for a friend looking for rock-bottom cheap:

Rosewill R604-P BK 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #: R604-P BK
Item #: N82E16811147058

$39.99 -$5.00 Instant $34.99

GIGABYTE GA-MA69VM-S2 Socket AM2 AMD 690V Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #: GA-MA69VM-S2
Item #: N82E16813128043

$59.99 $59.99

FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX400-PN ATX12V 400W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: AX400-PN
Item #: N82E16817104953

$43.99 -$4.00 Instant $39.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Brisbane 1.9GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model ADO3600DDBOX - Retail
Model #: ADO3600DDBOX
Item #: N82E16819103046

$61.50 $61.50

A-DATA 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1908K - Retail
Model #: ADQVE1908K
Item #: N82E16820211064

$45.99 $45.99

NEC Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive - OEM
Model #: FD1231H-302
Item #: N82E16821152005

$6.99 $6.99

Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: WD800JD
Item #: N82E16822135106

$42.99 $42.99

Subtotal: $292.44
=======================
She has a monitor, KB, rodent, and a CD drive. She needs the floppy; 80GB is enough. A few bucks could be probably be shaved on the case and even PSU, but I would not in good conscience recommend either.
A local shop has a less-competent machine for closer to $400 that includes the O/S, but has half the RAM and doesn't have the floppy.
August 14, 2007 2:13:03 PM

if you want to make money, first you have to lose the intel baggage. lol.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 14, 2007 2:23:00 PM

@zen, that is a pretty good deal; too bad it's Vista instead of XP, but probably wouldn't matter.
!