Buy prebuilt or build it myself?

I have a list of parts to put together a new system because my old one is more than obsolete. However I then came across the Gateway DX4831-07, which is markedly similar in specs to my plans, and with a warranty, I would consider it.
I'm mainly wondering:
How fast and by how much will prices drop on components/the Gateway?
In your opinion, is buying the premade system worth sacrificing upgradeability and possibly risking cheaper parts?
I plan on running OSX86 on whatever machine I get, dual booting that and Windows.
Thank you in advance.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Not urgent. I'm willing to wait months if prices will drop dramatically.

BUDGET RANGE: Preferably around $800

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, programming, possible video editing.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS, monitor.



PARTS PREFERENCES: See list below.

OVERCLOCKING: If you recommend that I should.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1200x880 (is that right? I might have a digit wrong.)

• [Chassis] -- HEC 6K11BBX585 SECC Steel MicroATX

• [Motherboard] -- ASUS Maximus III Gene

• [Processor] -- Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield

• [Graphics Card] -- Radeon HD 5750 1GB Juniper

• [Power Supply] -- ???

• [Memory] -- Corsair XMS3 (2 x 2GB) DDR3

• [Internal Hard Drive] -- WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB

• [CD/DVD Burner] -- ASUS Black 24X DVD+RW

• [Display] -- I already have one. Nothing special.

• [Processor Cooler] -- Thermaltake W0319RU

• [Speakers] -- Already have.

• [OS] -- Hackintosh (OS X (86))/Windows 7.

I'm open to advice on any front. Thank you!
16 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about prebuilt build myself
  1. I would go for a custom build. That way you can make sure every part is quality: no cheapo PSUs or anything.

    Are you specifically trying to make it a smallish computer? Because there are cooling and space benefits in not using MATX.
  2. Problem is that manufacturer's builds have, well, manufacturer's parts. Anyone who has upgraded factory-spec comps almost always ditch stuff like PSU and fans first because they tend to be quite low-end.

    Oh, and there's the whole bit about putting your heart into your computer instead of getting some carbon-copied piece of junk :)
  3. I can definitely say the last prebuilt I opened up, low end parts, not impressed at all.
  4. Alright I'll take your advice on this one and build it myself.
    And no I wasn't really trying to build a small one. I'll pick out a bigger case, thank you.

    I'm now wondering: is that processor overpowered for this system? Would I be better off going with i3-530 or Phenom II X3 720 and spending the difference on a better graphics card?
  5. From a gaming perspective, I'd go for a 5770 on that monitor, but that's a pretty small res and it's worth considering an upgrade. For me going from my old CRT with a similar res to my LCD a couple years ago was amazing. All the units on RTS seemed so small :D

    I wouldn't recommend putting more than a 5770 with your current monitor, so you should be fine to keep the i5 if you go that route. But again, from a purely gaming perspective downgrading your CPU, then upgrading graphics and getting a new monitor (total expense will be higher though) is what I'd recommend here.
  6. To be perfectly honest i was asking this question myself not too long ago but after doing my research i started to realize Prebuilt from retail stores have a lot of useless stuff in them that usually wind up being replaced anyway. Also its a good experiance and you can learn a lot just from making your own.
  7. I've snagged a slightly larger monitor, but for the sake of cost, I'll still probably ditch the i5 and go for the i3 or Phenom (I've read about 5 comparisons and am still not positive.) If I take the i3 and overclock, would the Scythe SCMG-2100 be sufficient for all my cooling needs?
    Any recommendations on a case? I've seen plenty, but I'm looking for something cheap and reliable, and with enough space.
    A huge thanks to all of you.
  8. Once budgeting below an i5 750 I personally would look to AMD. It would not surprise me if with a cheaper AMD mobo you may even afford a Phenom II x4 CPU.

    But even if you cannot, I personally would go with an AMD x3 CPU over the i3 for the sake of the third core, as having more than 2 cores is becoming more important in gaming, and while the i3 has Hyperthreading and does well at the moment, I would prefer to have a CPU with 3 real cores myself.
  9. The AMD Phenom II X4 940 looks like it has excellent performance for price, correct me if I'm wrong.
    I'm looking at the MSI 740GM-P25 AM3 AMD 740G Micro ATX as well as the BIOSTAR A770E3 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD. Advice on whether or not these would be suitable?
    And still looking for recommendations on the case.
    Thank you all so much.
  10. Or I have the option of a combo Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H Motherboard & AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition.
    I don't know much about motherboard quality, so I'm relying on you.
    So: Which/What motherboard?
    What case?
    And will prices drop dramatically in the holiday season? Maybe you know from experience.
    Thank you all you've been beyond helpful.
  11. i wouldnt buy a stock compuer from the shop,they are usally crap and has low end stuff they just throw in and hoping some idiot would buy me self once and that is why i choosed to go custom build and in that way,you know what got in it and good to excellent high end computer parts.also too,make sure who ever your dealing with for new computer,make sure you ask some questions about it and see what the guy has to say and then go for your own study and find out whats best for your needs and compare with the guy you dealt with.say for instance,i went to one computer shop and have a look around and see what they sell,and i spoke to the so called experts in computers and really there just sales people and yet they do put computer together from my experience with the shop when i want to get a gaming pct,the shop is dcomp in sydney,australia,he reckons the 1600mhz memory ram is slower than 1333mhz ram,he also said that cavier green is better than cavier black,he also said that i only need dual core for gaming not quad,and also he said that i need high power supply like 650+ to run 5770 and i chosed to get 5770 super overclock and he reckons im burning the money,but i choose the performance over the money.and the products they sell is some thing like geil brands for memory ram and i asked for corsair dominator and he said no.and he also sold me the epson printer from his shop,and guess what,its *** and they dont sell parts for the printer either and the quality of the printing is i got the shits and said to my self,well i dont give a damn what they say,he'll go by what i want or i'll take the money some where after that i bought the canon printer instaed from dicksmith thats after i had a look around for it first and then made up my mind.and it was excellent printer and the quality is top notch after all that,i aint gonna let that guy take control of my choices i want in it.i've learned my lesson after that,so i hope this will help you people to choose wisely and shop around care fully.
  12. Do you need the computer to be small? Myself, not a big fan of small machines and micro atx boards, ther is a lack of airflow and the boards lose out on various sockets

    The board you picked with the combo is a DDR2 board I believe, so is old technology, I would avoid that

    For a mobo with everything (USB/Sata III, Crossfire capability) you are looking at at least about $119.99

    My opinion for a build would be:

    Phenom II x4 955 - $159.99

    GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H - $139.99

    G Skill 1600mhz, CL7 4GB 2x2GB RAM - $109.99

    Asus 5770 - $149.99 ($129.99 after rebate)

    Samsung Spinpoint F3 - $74.99

    Corsair 750W - $109.99 ($89.99 with rebate)

    Any DVD drive, approximaetly $22

    Case - Antec 300 - $54.99 (64.98 including shipping)

    Total: $831 before rebate
    Rebate total: $791

    Be aware that the PSU I went with is wildly excessive for your build, I picked it because with rebate it is a good price and it can withstand any upgrades you may do over the years (it could power 2 x 5870). You can save some money by dropping to an XFX 650w which is $79.99 after rebate.

    Also, this is a build without using combos, I have no doubt that using combos you will save even more money on newegg and can have spare cash to get a custom cooler in your budget
  13. That is an absolutely gorgeous reply, thank you.
    I'm afraid to say however, that since I started this thread, my budget has decreased slightly. I'm shooting now for the $600 range, if that's possible. I was looking at the Phenom II X4 955 but decided that the extra $50 didn't seem absolutely necessary over the 940.
    Your advice on the motherboard is still helpful. In interest of saving money, would the ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard be appropriate?
    And thanks for the harddrive suggestion. Looks fantastic, along with the case. I appreciate the help.
  14. Best answer
    It's a good looking motherboard, the only downside to it is the fact it cannot XFire, how important that is depends on you. if you ever get a bigger monitor you will either need to get a new graphics card or but a second 5770 to Xfire. If you would rather just get a more powerful card in the future then losing the Xfire on mobo is no big deal at all, though obviously the upgrade to a GPU will be more expensive than buying another 5770 - on the other hand you may have the money to afford that in the future where as now you don't.

    But, to save some money:
    CPU - RANA x3 440 and mobo - $184.98

    Asus 5770 + 600w OCZ PSU - $149.99 after rebate

    Samsung Spinpoint F3 500gb (instead of 1TB) - $54.99

    G Skill 1600mhz, CL7 4GB 2x2GB RAM - $104.99 (As above)
    Any DVD drive, approximately $22
    Case - Antec 300 - $54.99 (64.98 including shipping)(As above)

    New build Total: $581.98

    If you want more HDD space, you can afford the 1tb Samsung again (it is currently only $69.99) and that would bing your total to $596.98

    The only thing missing is a CPU cooler to use instead of the stock one if you wish to OC, but you can always add that anytime.

    If your budget allows, you can edge closer towards a Phenom 955, in fact the 940 willl likely only cost about $40 or so more.

    The beauty of this build is the CPU can easily be upgraded when you need to without replacing the mobo as any of the latest CPUs will work in the socket(thats the great thing about AMD)

    It has XFire on the motherboard as well as USB/SATA III, so it is ready for the latest technology and should you choose to add an extra 5770 in the fture you can.

    Don't be put off by the RANA 440 only being 3 cores, it is a great little chip and if you cannot afford a phenom x4 then this baby is a great option. The big difference in gaming performance between a dual and quad core is the addition of a 3rd core, the 4th is not all that useful, so the x3 chip is a nice one
  15. Great advice. I'll probably stick with this configuration.

    GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4 AM3 AMD 790X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard and AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz - $184.98
    with the option to keep the same motherboard and upgrade to the Phenom II X4 945 - $244.98

    ASUS CuCore Series EAH5770 CuCore/2DI/1GD5 Radeon HD 5770 1GB and OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W combo - $149.98

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB harddrive - $54.99
    And the option to upgrade to the SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB - $69.99

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 - $104.99

    ASUS Black 24X DVD+RW
    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $69.95

    And possibly the Scythe SCMG-2100 for overclocking - $42.50

    This puts me at $564.89 minimum (no tax, possibly more for shipping) and $682.39 maximum (no tax, possibly more for shipping). Thank you so much for the advice, it's clearly made a big difference.
    So I guess all I have left to ask is whether or not upgrading the the Phenom is worth it (all opinions welcome) and whether or not prices usually drop around the holiday season.
    Thank you.
  16. Best answer selected by Serrian.
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