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Why build your own desktop?

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July 30, 2009 4:11:43 AM

After hours and hours of researching my build for a new gaming desktop I just happen to come across this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Can someone explain to me why not just buy this as it would cost the same to price out and build anyway? Other then the fact that it probably is more fun to build your own if you are into that type of thing......

More about : build desktop

July 30, 2009 4:15:03 AM

Because it is poorly proportioned, you dont need 9GB of RAM, that actually gives you a performance hit, it uses lower quality parts than most people would use in their own build, that 750 watt PSU is overkill for a GTX260 and likely a cheap chinese one that only gives 750 peak not continuous, and when you build your own you have better upgrade paths available and dont have to worry about stupid proprietary parts(Dell). Plus its fun and you know your computer inside and out(literally).
July 30, 2009 4:19:29 AM

hunter315 said:
Because it is poorly proportioned, you dont need 9GB of RAM, that actually gives you a performance hit, it uses lower quality parts than most people would use in their own build, that 750 watt PSU is overkill for a GTX260 and likely a cheap chinese one that only gives 750 peak not continuous, and when you build your own you have better upgrade paths available and dont have to worry about stupid proprietary parts(Dell). Plus its fun and you know your computer inside and out(literally).


So remove some RAM? Never heard that too you can have too much PSU Wattage only not enough? If you don't care about having fun building one or want to bother with it and don't care too much about upgrading because after 3 years you may just buy a whole new rig anyway is it hard to argue that I have a valid point? I mean look at what you get for $1100 out of the box.
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July 30, 2009 4:29:16 AM

Actually its 1200, and i just parted it out, you can save over $100 by doing it yourself and using high quality parts, much higher quality than gateway uses. Too much PSU power isnt a bad thing just a waste of money, why pay extra for something you are never going to use? The 9GB of ram prevents it from working properly in triple channel mode so it gives a performance hit.

Even if you do get a whole new rig every 3 years, if you build it yourself you can keep the case and PSU for multiple builds saving you about $150 per build. If you just want a computer that runs and requires minimal skill to get set up then yes a prebuilt is for you, especially if you dont care about upgrading either. Personally i just think its a waste to drop 1200 on a totally new rig every 3 years when i could spend 400 every 2 years or so to bring it back up to the level i want.
July 30, 2009 4:41:26 AM

Why ask the question when you have already decided about the purchase...Sure, Dell will sell you an inexpensive computer with the cheapest and least expensive components to put that computer on your desk. My computer is in a standard ATX case, my RAID hard drives are connected to a dedicated RAID controller, the power supply is 1000 watts+. If I decide to upgrade in three years, I buy a new CPU, motherboard, and memory...that's IT! Putting it together yourself means you need to know about the hardware and what you want it to do... So just buy the Dell because you don't know JACK!
July 30, 2009 4:45:55 AM

I agree with hunter315. And about having to much power. PSU runs best at its rated wattage so to many watts and it would make it run less efficient. But if this is what you like get it. But i like to build them. I guess it is a pride thing. And if there is a problem i fix it and know its fixed. no need to let the shipping company's bounce the good parts around a second and third time. But everyone chooses a route based on there time and level of understanding. Anyway Good luck
July 30, 2009 4:54:49 AM

Hey Crazy V,
"And about having to much power. PSU runs best at its rated wattage so to many watts and it would make it run less efficient."

NOT... It's called headroom, the max the PSU can handle while being pushed, (or pulled)... The better PSU's have an efficiency rate over 80%, don't spout facts without knowing them...
July 30, 2009 5:00:28 AM

Actually he is right, but they run most efficiently at about 50% of capacity, take a look at some PSU reviews like this one, see what happens when it gets an extremely low load like an idling HTPC would put on it? The efficiency drops to 74% from 90% at 50% load.
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
Which is why you dont want to drop a 1000 watt PSU into a HTPC, aside from it being a waste of money.
July 30, 2009 5:04:19 AM

If you have to ask "Why build your own desktop?", then you aren't ready to build your own desktop IMO. The more you learn about computers and the components in a computer you'll never want to buy a pre-built again. I know I never will.
July 30, 2009 5:17:20 AM

If the PSU is 80+ certified then it should run at 80% efficiency regardless if it is utilized at 20%, 50% or at 80%.

I build my own because it is part of being a smart buyer/consumer. If I want something, I should know about it. If it would be fit for my needs and my budget? Is the quality of parts not jeopardized? Am i not being deceived? etc.

But if you're one of those people who says "Hey, I got a problem with my PC. Got to call 911 for help." Then go, buy a preconfigured pc. It would still work anyway.
July 30, 2009 5:56:39 AM

WHY....better hardware....more options.....better warranty.....best of all you decide the system that you put together, granted it may take some time in researching what to get....when you are done with your build it's a good feeling.......just my opinion that's all
July 30, 2009 6:12:59 AM

I was just asking what everyone thought I am going to built my own because to me I am very excited about it... Was just throwing it out there unaware that they don't use "quality" parts in the pre built gateway machines... I know an Alienware with the specs I want would cost $2000-2500 and I will be able to build it for around $1200.
July 30, 2009 8:23:26 AM

it's a hobby, one that happens to also save you money!
July 30, 2009 8:42:15 AM

^ and gives you experience in 'f***ing up something worth your months paycheck.'
July 30, 2009 12:48:19 PM

"Why build your own desktop?"
Many reasons, but if you need to ask, you are not ready to.

The only thing you gain with a prebuilt PC is a warranty.

And power supplies? The efficiency generally peaks at around 50% - 70% of rated output. And then you have Corsairs that are generally so conservatively designed that they will happily put out 120% of their rated output (a shameless plug for Corsair :) ).
July 30, 2009 12:58:39 PM

marcellis22 said:
Hey Crazy V,
"And about having to much power. PSU runs best at its rated wattage so to many watts and it would make it run less efficient."

NOT... It's called headroom, the max the PSU can handle while being pushed, (or pulled)... The better PSU's have an efficiency rate over 80%, don't spout facts without knowing them...


Read some reviews. Learn something. Just throw a 1000 watts in every PC that should do... OK! And that's an 80% efficiency of its rated wattage. If your not pulling around 80% of the rated output at load than its to BIG. Not 80% of what you think you need / want. Point is if you have to ask do so. But if you ask and don't want to hear what others have to say with an open mind don't. And just buy the piece of ...p.
July 30, 2009 1:22:46 PM

masterjaw said:
If the PSU is 80+ certified then it should run at 80% efficiency regardless if it is utilized at 20%, 50% or at 80%.


Actually the 80plus specification checks only at 3 load points, 20%, 50%, 100%. If there are any dips in between it would still pass the 80plus certification. Check on some of the graphs of reviews of 80plus (bronze or silver) psu's, you'd see that the graph doesn't really floor at 80%.
http://www.80plus.org/80what.htm

With an 80plus psu you are just guaranteed that your psu at any load the efficiency would be pretty good and because of that the parts would usaully be higher quality thus last longer.



Also @OP, if you don't know much about computers you buy prebuilt period. If you have the time and patience you'd build them yourself because:
1. You'll know on what parts you skimped on and know that you were only fooling yourself.
2. You'll know the parts that are of good quality and you know what to expect in terms of reliability and overclocking.
3. Usually you'd save a few hundred or thousand dollars as you don't need to pay the salary of the ones who build the pc.

For me I like to estimate my cpu load to around 70% of the psu, as a 700W~1000W psu is too expensive for me. Since I usually buy 80plus, I have some confidence that I am running more efficiently than generic psus. :D 
July 30, 2009 5:47:36 PM

I just find it fun to go out and spec out a computer and do all the research.
July 30, 2009 7:25:47 PM

My first computer was a NEC prebuilt, my 2nd a "custom order from ABS," and my 3rd a Compaq prebuilt. The NEC was my first learning computer. By the time the 2nd came around, I had learned enough to order what I needed... but not put it together myself.

A Christmas price discount put the Compaq prebuilt (with a 3 year complete warranty) at the same price point as another custom order.

2 years ago, I decided to start building them myself due to the ability to get better quality and faster components, including warranties with each component. Since then, I've built an "enthusiast" gaming pc for myself, an "enthusiast" gaming pc for a friend, and 2 "mainstream" gaming pcs for other friends.

I am currently finishing an "enthusiast" gaming pc for another friend (an i7 920 build), and I am about to order the components for 2 other systems. (An office/net use pc for my mother and a home theatre pc for myself.)
--------
For all of these, the OPs method of comparing what you get from a mainstream maker (Dell, HP, etc), to a "custom order" maker (ABS), to building from components has been done. Since that Christmas special so long ago, several hundred dollars has been saved on every gaming pc build. (And, for the builds for friends, I tell them upfront that I pocket any/all mail-in rebates from the components as "payment" for my time.)

For the "about to be ordered" components, the price difference is much lower. However, the difference with these systems is their quality, overall loudness, and "future-proofing."

With a computer from a mainstream maker, you cannot... in the future... typically upgrade:

1. The case (Motherboard mounting holes are drilled incorrectly.)
2. The Motherboard (See above)
3. Easily upgrade video cards (Due to the lower powered Power Supply)
....

In short, a mainstream computer is built to never be touched except for the potenial adding of a 2 sticks of ram, an extra hard drive or two, and maybe an extra DVD drive.

From a custom maker, you fix the above issue.

Thus, if the OP wants the comfort of a complete unified warranty from a company he can trust, I say go for it. (I did with ABS in the past, and I don't regret the decision.)

However, if you are ready to "take the dive" and build... including possibly repairing and diagnosing issues mostly on your own with limited/possibly unreliable Internet forum help... then take the plunge as well.

There are benefits to the 2nd and 3rd approaches. I, however, will never buy another "mainstream" maker desktop again. (Maybe one day we'll be able to build our own laptops too.)
October 5, 2009 7:42:10 PM

I sort of have the same question that this post suggested, which means judging from most people's responses, I might not be ready or capable yet (I wish I was though, this sounds fun). If I were looking for pre-configured, is there something in the middle? i.e. pre-configured HTPC machines that smart people such as yourselves put together for a living/hobby? I would be open to paying a little premium for something parted together like that. If so, can people post some resources on here? Thanks!
October 5, 2009 8:41:34 PM

Why build your own desktop? IT'S FUN!! *_* Besides, its a good learning experience and a hobby. (b^_^)b
October 5, 2009 8:44:37 PM

Can you read simple sentences? Can you follow picture instructions? If you answered yes to both you can assemble your own computer.

There are system builders out there who only charge a small premium but it really depends on your area. There are plenty of videos on the internet that will walk you through how to build your own system, its really not very hard as long as you can follow directions and actually read through the manual.
October 5, 2009 10:19:40 PM

^+1

I'll admit, I was very intimidated the first time I built a PC, but as Hunter says, if you read the manual (I did 5 or 6 times before I started) and understand what the pictures mean (compare the motherboard diagram in the manual to the actual board), it's really not that hard.

-Wolf sends
October 6, 2009 8:58:52 AM

Wolfshadw said:
^+1

I'll admit, I was very intimidated the first time I built a PC, but as Hunter says, if you read the manual (I did 5 or 6 times before I started) and understand what the pictures mean (compare the motherboard diagram in the manual to the actual board), it's really not that hard.

-Wolf sends


I did not mean to come across like I am worried about being able to follow instructions. I generally do alright at that. It is more about making the right decision for each part to purchase, then making sure I have everything I need (cables, parts, etc.). I guess it is more about the confidence to make the right choices for a system that does what I need it to do, rather than being able to construct the pieces. For example, I do want to pursue an HTPC build. I want to do it right away, actually. I put a post here on Tomshardware.com (see the link below) looking for suggestions for my build. If you care to give your two cents worth or offer a different combination that what one of the other posters has suggested, I will soak it all up. Thank you.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/272321-31-htpc-shoppi...
November 22, 2009 4:04:35 AM

I did my first build as a college freshman 3 years ago. I knew nothing about computer hardware, I had only owned a hand-me-down laptop. I researched for about month. Now three years later, that same computer is still running fine. (besides the motherboard failure last summer). I was on a budget but needed more power than a laptop could provide for the same price. I spent $900 three years ago and it is still as good as $1200 laptops now. Right now I am tryinng to hold it together until I graduate so I can build a new one. Like I said I was on a budget, so I bought some mediocre parts, which are starting to fail.

I would say the only drawback to doing my own build is that now I am known as the computer expert among my friends and family. They all come to me for help. It gets annoying, but I am usually happy to help.

Just remember not to use a magnetic screwdriver... :) 
!