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Build My Own or Buy a Dell?

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January 24, 2010 5:38:13 PM

OK so I purchased a computer from Dell over the holidays and due to a few delays in it's production I got frustrated and started researching how to build my own. Here are the details of the comp I bought from Dell:

Quantity Item Number Description

Studio XPS 8000
Studio XPS 8000, Intel Core i7-860 processor(8MB Cache, 2.80GHz)
8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz-4x2GB
Dell Consumer Multimedia Keyboard, US
Dell 22 inch ST2210 Widescreen Flat Panel
1024MB nVidia GeForce GT220
1TB Serial ATA II Hard Drive 7200 RPM
Dell Resource DVD with Application Backup
DELL WELCOME,Software Dimension/Inspiron
Dell Dock Consumer
PC-Restore, Dim/Insp
Windows Live Search,Multiple User Interface
Dell Owners Manual installed on your system,click on icon after system set-up to access
You have chosen a Windows 7 System
DELL-DOWNLOAD-FLAG
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Dell USB 6-Button Laser Mouse
ADOBE READER 9.0 MULTI- LANGUAGE
16X DVD+/-RW
Roxio 10.3, Easy CD & DVD
Cyberlink Power DVD 8.3 Playback
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
No Speaker Requested
McAfee SecurityCenter with anti-virus, anti-spyware firewall, 15-months
Microsoft Works 9.0, English
2 Year Limited Warranty
Dell Limited Hardware Warranty Plus In-Home Service [after Remote Diagnosis], Extended Year(s)
Dell Limited Hardware Warranty Plus In-Home Service [after Remote Diagnosis], Initial Year
Banctec Next Business Day In-home Service after Remote Diagnosis, 1 Year Extended
Next Business Day In-home Service after Remote Diagnosis, Initial Year
Software, Soft Contracts Dell In-Home
Dell Limited Hardware Warranty 7X24 Technical Support, 1 Year Extended
Dell Limited Hardware Warranty 7X24 Technical Support, Initial Year
2GB DATASAFE ONLINE 1.1 FOR SDO/DIM/INS/XPS
DATASAFE ONLINE 1.1 2GB
To activate your online backupaccount, go to Start, Programs, DataSafe Online
S and P Drop-in-Box Marcom forDHS Desktops
MediaShow Espresso Software Application
State Environmental Fee for display 15 inches, less than 35 inches

And if I were to build my own here is what I would most likely go with:

AMD Athlon x4 620
Asus M4A785TD-V
4GB G.Skill Ripjaws 1600mhz RAM
WD 1TB Internal HDD
Sony 24x DVD Burner
Gigabyte Radeon 1GB HD 5670
Haven't decided on case or PSU but I budgeted $150

SO... If I built it myself I'd half a way slower processor and Half the RAM BUT I would have good quality parts, 1600Mhz Ram instead of 1066mhz and a better Video Card.

The Price for the home build after getting Windows 7 Ultimate installed and buying a decent monitor is probably going to cost me around the same price ($1200 after all taxes and fee's)

I use the computer for LIGHT gaming (I play one game and the graphics aren't much better than Warcraft 3 lol) and mostly for downloading and processing Blu Ray Quality video.

and I'm planning on Overclocking the cpu so I figure if I went dell and it overheated or crapped out on me I could use the warranty to replace the parts?

WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE!

More about : build buy dell

a b à CPUs
January 24, 2010 7:03:10 PM

Build you own PC - saving yourself some money along the way. However you would be more prudent to skip the AMD option at the moment as the current Intel i5/i7 CPU's are superior in most cases.

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January 24, 2010 8:00:39 PM

Build your own:

1. much better parts/quality parts (instead of usually the cheapest used by Dell)
2. way more options
3. much better upgrade-ability (Dells use custom BTX cases and are hard to upgrade)
4. saves you money in the end
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January 24, 2010 8:12:51 PM

Build it yourself for the fact that you can upgrade easier and the quality of parts will be better
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January 24, 2010 9:35:41 PM

for the price of that dell you could build a much better machine than that if 1200 dollars is your budget then you should be able to build a nice core i5 based machine with the 5770, that will give you the best all all around performance and will last you for at least two or three years before you will need to change any parts and it will have better upgreadabilty
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January 24, 2010 10:05:12 PM

it is ALWAYS less expensive to build your own.
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January 24, 2010 10:11:02 PM

build your own
dell is overpriced
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January 25, 2010 6:11:06 AM

PierceScott said:

And if I were to build my own here is what I would most likely go with:

AMD Athlon x4 620
Asus M4A785TD-V
4GB G.Skill Ripjaws 1600mhz RAM
WD 1TB Internal HDD
Sony 24x DVD Burner
Gigabyte Radeon 1GB HD 5670
Haven't decided on case or PSU but I budgeted $150

SO... If I built it myself I'd half a way slower processor and Half the RAM BUT I would have good quality parts, 1600Mhz Ram instead of 1066mhz and a better Video Card.

The Price for the home build after getting Windows 7 Ultimate installed and buying a decent monitor is probably going to cost me around the same price ($1200 after all taxes and fee's)

I use the computer for LIGHT gaming (I play one game and the graphics aren't much better than Warcraft 3 lol) and mostly for downloading and processing Blu Ray Quality video.

and I'm planning on Overclocking the cpu so I figure if I went dell and it overheated or crapped out on me I could use the warranty to replace the parts?

WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE!


That build shouldn't cost you more than $1000, including windows 7, a monitor, and a new case, if you shop at the right places and don't buy a $150 PSU (which would be excessive, to say the least).
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a b à CPUs
January 25, 2010 11:56:23 AM

Asking whether to buy or build on a computer enthusiast website and forum is like asking if women are available at a brothel.
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January 25, 2010 5:54:17 PM

TheDuke said:
build your own
dell is overpriced


not always, sometimes the ultra low end is hard to beat sometimes inpossible at the time)

though for this budget, build your own, even if it seems like you are getting the same parts for the money (which i doubt) they usually are higher quality and don't have restrictions (ie OC'ing)
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a c 471 à CPUs
January 25, 2010 6:05:08 PM

Well...

You posted a Build / Buy question in an enthusiast forum, so all responses have been "BUILD".

My recommedation is to "BUILD" as well, but you need to realize the following:

1. You are your own tech support. Of course you can alway post technical question here @ THG.

2. You are responsible for mailing out all warranty cards and dealing with the brand names should something fail within the warranty period.

3. You should feel comfortable and be patient enough to put something together by yourself. Again, you can always post questions here...
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January 25, 2010 6:26:49 PM

Ill repeat the already over emphasized answer

BUILD YOUR OWN ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
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January 25, 2010 7:25:33 PM

the question is, has he ever built a machine before,

then i would choose neither and go for a company who builds pcs..

the main disadvantage of dell is they have hardly any upgrade scope.

I personally would built my own and certainly aim higher on the spec list that you have...

thats my opinion but the rest is up to you.
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January 25, 2010 7:41:38 PM

The specs seem low for the price range you are looking at. If you are going to go store bought I would do something like this because you can choose your parts: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saving/show.aspx?id=2415163

I would say build your own but going with a 620 after looking at an i7 just doesnt seem right. I would step it up to the PII 955.
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January 25, 2010 8:53:43 PM

For the cost of that Dell machine you should be able to build your own i5 750 or Phenom II 955 machine, paired with at least an HD 5770.
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January 25, 2010 8:53:52 PM

building your own is ALWAYS better. Save money and have some fun building. BRAND computers like dell or acer are OVERPROCED. They give you good cpu and ram, but shitty PSU and GPU.
If you live in canada you might want to try selling your computer on KIJIJI, if in USA then craiglist.
Or to save yourself a headache just sttick with it. Its ok.
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January 25, 2010 9:31:16 PM

nah I can still return the computer from dell which is what I've decided to do for sure, I've never built one myself but I'm an electrician so I'm no stranger to wires and and troubleshooting, I'm now deciding whether it's worth it to go with the AMD Phenom II X4 955 or stick with a Athlon X4 620 considering my uses are somewhat light, but I'll be posting yet another thread to do with that =/
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January 26, 2010 6:01:35 AM

PierceScott said:
nah I can still return the computer from dell which is what I've decided to do for sure, I've never built one myself but I'm an electrician so I'm no stranger to wires and and troubleshooting, I'm now deciding whether it's worth it to go with the AMD Phenom II X4 955 or stick with a Athlon X4 620 considering my uses are somewhat light, but I'll be posting yet another thread to do with that =/


go for a 955 they are far faster and one of the better processors out their from AMD. Its around a £100 more
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January 26, 2010 9:51:47 AM

crazy359 said:
but shitty PSU

What is a 550 watt " Goldenfield " ?
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January 27, 2010 9:19:43 PM

LOL......its not GOOD but decent. I also got a 500w coolermaster eXtreme but im using it on a server now
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January 27, 2010 11:14:25 PM

Like everyone else I would build my own, I do know how it feels to not be very familiar building my own system but I recently learned how to do everything 100% and my knowledge with computers has gone up a lot, i'm really glad I built my system, it feels like an accomplishment and I didn't need to spend a lot of money, my last system was a dell and I regretted having purchased it. Just stick to these forums and order the parts from newegg, i'd go with a high end cpu if you are willing to spent over 1,000$ it would be smart to do so, that way you will be set for the next few years, and even in a few years it will be considered a decent system.
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January 28, 2010 12:35:22 AM

If it is supposed to be mainstream, I have a $710 dollar PC setup that is:
Fast (2.5GHz Dual Core)
Reliable
Silent - LITERALLY!
Upgradable, but needs a larger power supply due to limited connectors

In my opinion, Dells are some of the worst PCs you can buy, and I also will never buy a desktop from Lenovo, Dell, HP, or any of those PC companies again.

Self building is simply the best way to get a system in your office.
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January 28, 2010 1:25:51 AM

ulysses35 said:
Build you own PC - saving yourself some money along the way. However you would be more prudent to skip the AMD option at the moment as the current Intel i5/i7 CPU's are superior in most cases.



I'm thinking of a new build soon and can't or haven't decided which CPU to go with yet. I was leaning towards an Intel C2D quad core, but don't really understand or know the difference between the C2D quads, the i5 or the i7's. Then there's the AMD quad's also and I was researching or thinking about an AMD Phenom II X4 955 as a possibility too.

I'm not a gamer, but I trade stocks and currencies online. I currently have 2 monitors and will have 2 more soon for a total of 4. Financial trading is mostly all 2D charts and moving charts and feeds. One monitor will play a live TV feed of financial info. You have to be fast when trading currency, the market changes so quickly. I have a graphics card that will play 4 monitors from one slot, the PNY Quadro NVS 440.

The i7's still seem a little pricey, but are they the most future proof right now? What are the i5's? Can any of the AMD's compete with them or will they be obsolete soon?

I'm currently running XP Pro but will probably upgrade to Win 7 64 bit.

I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts or opinions on which direction to go with this.

Anybody know why the price of RAM seems to have gone up lately. Any chances of it coming down soon?

Thanks all.
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January 28, 2010 1:43:02 AM

the i7 is well worth the price. get an i7-920 for $300 youll be happy you chose it.

otherwise get an i5 or an i3. the core i's are apparently the best processors.
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January 28, 2010 6:38:12 AM

Bluescreendeath said:
Build your own:

1. much better parts/quality parts (instead of usually the cheapest used by Dell)
2. way more options
3. much better upgrade-ability (Dells use custom BTX cases and are hard to upgrade)
4. saves you money in the end

Number 3 is not true anymore. Since 2008 at least (whenever Dell started referring to their desktop line as Inspiron), Dell has gone back to traditional ATX case design. The Dell XPS systems stayed BTX for another year after that I think, but now, all the systems are back to ATX.
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January 31, 2010 1:28:13 AM

FORGET ABOUT DELL!! ITS A FAIL!!!!!
sorry for spazing but screw dell and any brand names.
go custom
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January 31, 2010 5:16:01 AM

garyhope said:
I'm thinking of a new build soon and can't or haven't decided which CPU to go with yet. I was leaning towards an Intel C2D quad core, but don't really understand or know the difference between the C2D quads, the i5 or the i7's. Then there's the AMD quad's also and I was researching or thinking about an AMD Phenom II X4 955 as a possibility too.

I'm not a gamer, but I trade stocks and currencies online. I currently have 2 monitors and will have 2 more soon for a total of 4. Financial trading is mostly all 2D charts and moving charts and feeds. One monitor will play a live TV feed of financial info. You have to be fast when trading currency, the market changes so quickly. I have a graphics card that will play 4 monitors from one slot, the PNY Quadro NVS 440.

The i7's still seem a little pricey, but are they the most future proof right now? What are the i5's? Can any of the AMD's compete with them or will they be obsolete soon?

I'm currently running XP Pro but will probably upgrade to Win 7 64 bit.

I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts or opinions on which direction to go with this.

Anybody know why the price of RAM seems to have gone up lately. Any chances of it coming down soon?

Thanks all.



I too have wondered why ram is going up in price.

Less than a year ago I bought 4gb of ddr2 1066. After the mail in rebate the price was about $40. Today, I think I would have to pay much closer to $100 for the same thing.

I don't believe that in a recession, there has been such a change in supply and demand that the price of ram nearly doubled in less than a year.

My guess is that this has to do with deficit spending and the balance of trade. Deficit spending requires the government to issue bonds, bought abroad, lowering the value of the dollar overseas. That means we pay more dollars for ram imported form over seas.

I would be delighted for an economist out there to tell us what the real answer is.

By the way, I believe we are also seeing upward creep in the price of mother boards and psu's. Is the start of general inflation?

Come on guys tell me I am wrong. In the mean time I going to fasten my money belt in preparation for a bumpy ride.
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January 31, 2010 5:48:00 AM

I agree with ulysses35. This AMD Cpu that I have is one big disappointment. Unless things change with them, stick with Intel.

As far as Dell vs. Custom, the best answer I can give is that Dells are only good if you know your way around a computer or know someone who can solve the problems for you, otherwise their customer service sucks.
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January 31, 2010 7:05:14 AM

I agree i5s and i7s are better for video processing, but if you bought any CPU and it's a "big disappointment", you obviously didn't do your research properly.
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January 31, 2010 7:30:31 AM

smithereen said:
I agree i5s and i7s are better for video processing, but if you bought any CPU and it's a "bi disappointment", you obviously didn't do your research properly.


You know there is such a thing as giving a company a chance. Maybe you should cut back on the personal attacks. :pfff: 
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February 1, 2010 1:42:26 AM

joefriday said:
Number 3 is not true anymore. Since 2008 at least (whenever Dell started referring to their desktop line as Inspiron), Dell has gone back to traditional ATX case design. The Dell XPS systems stayed BTX for another year after that I think, but now, all the systems are back to ATX.


I don't think number 4 or possibly 1,2,3 or 4 is true anymore. I have been 'building my own' for the past 15 or so years but lately I've been tempted to buy a built system. I went to the dell website and for $899 get a i7-920 system, 3gb ddr, 500gb drive, dvd writer, nvidia geforce 310 with windows7 home premium. I went to newegg and priced an equivalent system and end up in about the same price range.

In the next couple of weeks I'm going to get a new system and I'm still sitting on the fence
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February 1, 2010 7:06:54 PM

NathanSuite said:
You know there is such a thing as giving a company a chance. Maybe you should cut back on the personal attacks. :pfff: 


He is right. You can’t attack a company because you didn’t do your research. If you are spending under $200 for a chip AMD is the way to go.
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February 4, 2010 1:12:26 AM

crazy359 said:
FORGET ABOUT DELL!! ITS A FAIL!!!!!
sorry for spazing but screw dell and any brand names.
go custom


I can't agree more.
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February 5, 2010 1:26:57 PM

^^ I could.
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February 10, 2010 3:41:14 AM

The main problem with OEM computers is, most OEM's don't like the end user to make modifications to thier designs, wether it be overclocking to upgrading the CPU or the mobo and even in my case the PSU, and therefore make it VERY difficult to improve the performance of " thier " system due to " propriatary specifications and parameters ". I agree with most of the recomendations here so far, look at the i7 920, Corair has the best PSU in the industry, be wary of Asus mobo's, there have been quality issues creeping up lately as well as with Creative sound cards. The biggest question I have is, if your doing " light gaming " do you really need a $500-$600 graphics card when 2 ATI 4670's in Crossfire would be more than adaquit to meet your needs?? Bottom line, build your own, at the very least, knowing every technical aspect of the rig you build will give you a much better understanding of what your system can and cannot do, as well as better diagnosing ability should something screwy happen.
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February 10, 2010 3:52:15 PM

Pierce, I'm curious to see what you decided. I built my last machine 4-5 years ago and have parts on the way for a new computer (arriving TODAY!).

Here's what my research found when making the decision (prices include the cost of a decent LCD monitor):

-Low End Computer ($300-$500): Pre-built is cheaper at this pricepoint, especially with OEM copies of windows 7 going for $100.
-Mid-range Computer ($600 - $700): Same price to buy or build, but you get to choose the components if you build it yourself.
-High End ($800+): You save a lot of money if you build, because the mark-ups on better processors and graphics cards is huge at this price range.

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February 10, 2010 4:00:30 PM

By the way, for $800 shipped you can put together a nice Quad Core machine (Core i5 750 or AMD Phenom II X4 955). Add another $150-$250 for an LCD monitor. I know, because I just purchased the parts for my build.

My own machine went the AMD route and came out to $750 including Case + Power Supply (Antec Sonata), 4 GB of PC1600 RAM, AMD Quad Core, Radeon HD 5770 graphics, and 1 TB Western Digital HDD. I already had a nice 24" monitor from Christmas.

Check prices on Newegg. Post a potential configuration here on Tom's Hardware and let people help you out. Folks here gave me great advice on my own build.

EDIT: By the way, this same build configured on Dell's website (using a Core i5 650 for performance parity) would have cost me $250 more once tax and shipping were included. $250 is a lot of dough. Plus Dell would only have included only a 1 year warranty at that price, whereas every part in my new build has a 3 year to lifetime warranty.
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