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Home build vs prebuild

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October 20, 2008 3:50:56 PM

Well this is a tricky one; I am the guy who build his own systems for the last 10 years or so. For myself I'd never change that. Now the time has come that my parents need a new system. And I don't really know if I want to build another system for them because of all the support and the hassle when something goes wrong.

But is there really an altenative? That's where you guys join the play. I need input from users who bought prebuild systems like Dell, HP and what more there is. I am looking for something that's as bloatware free and well configured as possible, so I can just clean it up a little and then it's ready to go. Furthermore it needs a good warranty plan. And did I mention that it must not cost all the world? Probably around 1000-1500ish bucks.

If such a thing exists good; if not I'll just build it myself.

More about : home build prebuild

October 20, 2008 4:07:53 PM

If you have a budget of $1,000 to $1,500 I don't think you'll have a problem with a pre-built or a home built system. I think what needs to be answered first is what they intend to do with the system.

Do your folks do any gaming? (lol you never know). Video editing, etc etc.

Most of your pre-built systems will use some integration, which means your CPU and RAM will probably be used for video processing, and audio. If all they want is to pay bills, email, internet and stuff, then it won't matter.

But if they need a performance system, you'll either need to find a company that give you options for more customizing or build it yourself.
October 20, 2008 4:08:40 PM

Doesn't matter if you build it or buy it, they're gonna call you when it cr@ps out anyway - so save the money and put them together something stable without any of the bloatware.

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October 20, 2008 4:16:04 PM

mford66215 said:
Doesn't matter if you build it or buy it, they're gonna call you when it cr@ps out anyway - so save the money and put them together something stable without any of the bloatware.



+1. Those ARE the facts!!!!!


You will just have to listen to them complain while their system is shipped to the manufacturer for 2 weeks of repair instead of you going to the local shop or getting a part from -insert online store here- and getting a replacement part to fix it in a day or 3.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2008 4:23:06 PM

Man, do this. Get a nice Dell system with a 3 year warranty, the one where the guy comes out and works on it. I know a couple of those guys and it's amazing how quick they are. I mean myself, I'm a computer tech, but we had troubles in a computer lab where I work and those guys were there within a day or 2 and replacing parts. You might have to jump through a couple of hoops, but to save you a headache and if your folks aren't computer savvy, it might be worth it.
October 20, 2008 4:26:01 PM

Are you kidding? For $1500 they can buy their dream rig from HP or whatever. In my experience, no matter how good a system you build, it's not worth it for a relative. Something always goes wrong, usually the kind of thing you'd spend 5 minutes on to fix if it was your own rig. But to a non technical person (no offense to your parents) those little hiccups look the same as a major malfunction.

Like most electronics, if the prebuilt works for a week, it will probably work for years.

But seriously, you could get a prebuilt system from Dell for under $1000 - a Studio Slim Desktop with quad core q6600 and a 20" monitor, one year warranty for $950

A basic AMD HP rig can be had for $650 including a 19" monitor and an extended 2 year warranty.

No doubt you can build something nicer for probably 1/2 to 2/3 but I'm skeptical. There is little profit in computer manufacture and the big players lose all of it if anything goes wrong. A Dell employee told me once if they have to RMA anything - even a keyboard, they risk losing the entire profit margin. In other words, they lean towards reliable not fast or cutting edge.

I know everyone has a horror story but I worked in a hospital filled with crappy old compaqs, probably over a thousand of them. They were always filled with lint dust from the linen, had to go around and blast them out when their cooling fans started to make too much noise. I never saw one fail (not very scientific of course). They were all on 24/7 and in a hospital where charting is all done by computer, it's not OK for a a PC to die on you. They recently began upgrading everything to Dell slim desktops. Think about it. My brother works for a major insurance company's IT department and they use support tens of thousands of Dells around the country.

Any homebuilt system will have problems because unlike Dell/HP you are trying to combine 20 components that have never been combined before. It's always fun but not for your parents!
October 20, 2008 4:26:20 PM

You might go with a pre-built from a local shop that has in home warranty service. I live in a pretty small town and we have 2 local shops that do "in home repairs". One even has classes in using computers for noobs.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2008 4:42:42 PM

Only problem with local pre-built is that they can go out of business and your left with NO support. I'm not saying that is a good option, but if your Parents move, where do they get their support from??? That would be back onto your shoulders. I'd probably go with the pre-built if they don't live close, otherwise I might consider building it yourself (if you want to deal with the support).
October 20, 2008 4:47:20 PM

You should look into dell small business computers as well.
October 20, 2008 5:13:50 PM

Quote:
You should look into dell small business computers as well.


I agree with that. My sense is that Dell's small business comps are not as loaded down with crap you don't want/need. In return, they increase the price a bit.

Also, I can speak first hand to Dell's uber-warranty (in-home service parts labor everything) . You really get what you pay for. They don't ask any questions. Broken LCD screen on my laptop? Replaced next day. Charger stopped working? New one arrives, literally, the next morning.

My big complaint about Dell is that they no longer (if they ever did) provide a full system restore disk. You know when you get into a situation where you're just sick of trying to clean up after Windows so you just put your documents, musicc, movies, etc. on some removable media and wipe the slate clean? Doing that is a pain in the ass with Dell.

I'm interested in these other comments because I'm considering building a general purpose rig for my brother for his birthday.

October 20, 2008 5:41:55 PM

^
Most large manufacturers don't give you restore disks. Dell still does include them in their alienware line.

HP/Compaq, Dell, Sony and more all have an application where you make the disks out of 2-3 blank dvd's. (i think Toshiba's come with disks?)
October 20, 2008 5:48:44 PM

Ones, in a impulsive day, i bought a PACKARD BELL prebuild system. it was cheap!! it had a Q6600, 8300GS, 500hd WD, 2 gig ram. so i thought getting a 8800GT and 4 gb ram would be fine
but from day 1 i've got BSOD! what happend? the HD was broken. from FIRST boot it was always crackling, and making rare noises. so i took it back to shop, they didn't want to give me a new one, so i demanded my money back.

the mobo i remembered was a FOXCOM one, don't know if it was good, and the cpu cooler was a coolermaster....

so if you get a prebuild one, don't get a Packard HHHHHell

but even don't get a HP!! they build their own GPU's and you can't find some nvidia drivers suport, so you will be stuck with the hp update ones! and they also suck. maybe go with ACER prebuild or DELL. i only seem to hear great things with dell!

October 20, 2008 5:51:57 PM

My inlaws have purchased from Gateway in the past and they have the worst customer service I have ever experienced. I would vote for Dell if anyone were to buy a prebuilt system.

I built their last machine for them and they are happy with it. Once it's all set up and running, there really aren't that many hiccups considering all they do is email and some surfing.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2008 6:04:13 PM

I bought my parents a Gateway for Christmas about .......heck 8 years ago.
They have had a couple of problems, moniter went bad after only a couple weeks, and after 2 years the hard drive died. Both case's Gateway came to the house the VERY NEXT DAY and in short time had them up and running...no questions asked, no problem. Told them the moniter was bad, they brought a brand new one still in the box with them. Told them the HDD seems to have died, they brought a brand new HHD with them.

Anyway, I thought Gateway's service was outstanding.
October 20, 2008 6:11:49 PM

I would absolutely stay away from HP/Cpmpaq.
Go with Dell and buy the telephone support service package.
But guess what Mom and Dad will still call you for help so get used to it.
October 20, 2008 6:20:46 PM

i got a dell e521 last year andi had the option to select to have adware or not i selected the correct one and i got minor ads like just the virus one thts it and mayb one more, and i got the restore disk, there support from what i xperience ,mine was the online chat thing etc it was good ... so i say prebuilt dell , i think ur worried that if u built it then it messes up they blame u and u have to deal with more crap
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2008 6:39:10 PM

mford66215 said:
Doesn't matter if you build it or buy it, they're gonna call you when it cr@ps out anyway - so save the money and put them together something stable without any of the bloatware.


Very true.

lunyone said:
Only problem with local pre-built is that they can go out of business and your left with NO support. I'm not saying that is a good option, but if your Parents move, where do they get their support from??? That would be back onto your shoulders. I'd probably go with the pre-built if they don't live close, otherwise I might consider building it yourself (if you want to deal with the support).

True. Two custom building shops in my area ran out of business or moved locations last year.

bobbknight said:
I would absolutely stay away from HP/Cpmpaq.
Go with Dell and buy the telephone support service package.
But guess what Mom and Dad will still call you for help so get used to it.

Imo, I wouldn't buy from either of them. I recommend with that budget going over to Falcon NW (their customer service imo, is unrivaled) The FragBox 8500 is only $1500 See: http://www.falcon-nw.com/config/fragbox_preconfigured.a... ( a bit pricey, but you have to pay for the quality and the customer service). You can build the same speced PC for ~$1100-1200.
October 20, 2008 8:49:20 PM

jitpublisher said:
I bought my parents a Gateway for Christmas about .......heck 8 years ago.
They have had a couple of problems, moniter went bad after only a couple weeks, and after 2 years the hard drive died. Both case's Gateway came to the house the VERY NEXT DAY and in short time had them up and running...no questions asked, no problem. Told them the moniter was bad, they brought a brand new one still in the box with them. Told them the HDD seems to have died, they brought a brand new HHD with them.

Anyway, I thought Gateway's service was outstanding.


It must be Gateway US, I'm in Canada and Gateway treated us like crap.
October 21, 2008 9:24:04 AM

Thanks guys for all the input; I think I'll look into the dell small business offers a little more closely... And the big warranty plan doesn't sound too bad either...
!