Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Home Built Vs XPS

Last response: in Systems
Share
April 14, 2011 9:24:14 AM

Hi

I was bored today so Ive decided to ask you guys this and wanted to know what your opinions are on buying a custom built computer or just buy a dell XPS or Alienware, last time I checked they cost almost the same (if you choose same specs), so as a gamer what do you prefer to do and why ???

More about : home built xps

April 14, 2011 9:43:52 AM

homebuilt? i think you get better value for money most of the time... and it feels like its yours? customising alienware stuff is cool... but its not usually as customisable as when you build one yourself :) 
a c 104 B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2011 9:49:13 AM

Cheapest is to buy the components and build yourself.
Related resources
April 14, 2011 9:54:45 AM

rolli59 said:
Cheapest is to buy the components and build yourself.


Yeah but you dont pay that much difference $100 to $200 max on a $2000 gaming computer but lets face it the case Alienware sells is way cooler that any case you can get in the market
April 14, 2011 9:57:31 AM

jakewestgomila said:
homebuilt? i think you get better value for money most of the time... and it feels like its yours? customising alienware stuff is cool... but its not usually as customisable as when you build one yourself :) 


yeah that is correct but when you think about it Alienware offers you alot of options and you dont really run into as much problems as you get with the home built pc, plus you pay a little more but in the same time get more in return than a custom built pc
April 14, 2011 2:36:55 PM

While I would build one myself for the fun of it, most people should go buy one. The reason is most people cannot figure out what to buy, how to assemble it and how to tweak it.

These forums are flooded with people who cannot figure out which end of an AC plug to plug into the wall, which power cord to buy, what color power cord it should be and how much should they pay for a power cord :) 
a c 104 B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2011 2:43:03 PM

vvhocare5 said:
While I would build one myself for the fun of it, most people should go buy one. The reason is most people cannot figure out what to buy, how to assemble it and how to tweak it.

These forums are flooded with people who cannot figure out which end of an AC plug to plug into the wall, which power cord to buy, what color power cord it should be and how much should they pay for a power cord :) 

Yes but that is what applies to the Dell users (and other OEM's) as well when they post here looking for replacement cord!
OEM machines are just as trouble some and most people only buy the std 1 year warranty and then come here or other hardware forums!
a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2011 3:00:50 PM

About the only time I wouldn't be able to justify a self-build is if you absolutely don't have the time; you need a turnkey system and that's it.
Otherwise, I don't think you'll find much support around here for buying prebuilt. My own experience with service, on the commercial level, is dicey at best, with the third-party warranty techs I would not always trust to troubleshoot and fix a flashlight.
If you want a fancy case, your best bet is to buy a solid stock case and have at it as you please with a Dremel, foam, wood, foil, etc; fans, lights, paint, decals, and/or whatever else you might like.
April 14, 2011 4:26:28 PM

vvhocare5 said:
While I would build one myself for the fun of it, most people should go buy one. The reason is most people cannot figure out what to buy, how to assemble it and how to tweak it.

These forums are flooded with people who cannot figure out which end of an AC plug to plug into the wall, which power cord to buy, what color power cord it should be and how much should they pay for a power cord :) 


LoL Ive seen some of those but honestly, Since you can get an alienware for the same price and specs, why dont you that is my question?
a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2011 4:56:17 PM

AlienWare has some eyecandy, that's to be sure. Saw a demo box that had enough LEDs all over it to land a small jet, moving panels that would rotate up to vent the fans and some other fancy little mods. (I guess it's not a mod if it's a stock case)

There's an error in thinking you can get the same specs for the same price. You need to look very carefully and study what EXACTLY you are buying (or not buying, nor not sure what you're buying)

My main issue with production line PCs is they do not give you a lot of information- granted, most of their customers do not want this information, but when making the argument which is the better value, knowing EXACTLY what you're getting is very helpful.

I just went to Alienware/Dell and built out an Aurora.

Here are the specs:

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Matte Stealth Black Chassis with 525W Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply
Intel® Core™ i5-2500K (6MB Cache) Overclocked Turbo Boost to 3.8GHz
4GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz
1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460
1TB SATA 3Gb/s (7,200RPM) 32MB Cache
No Monitor
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
Single Drive: 24X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability

Dell Price $1,349.00 (plus $50 shipping)

Here are a few issues:

- 525W PSU (weak), unknown brand, very likely proprietary (enjoy swapping THAT out if it fails or you want an upgrade!)
- Unknown motherboard brand or specs
- Unknown RAM brand
- unknown harddrive Brand
- Unknown GPU brand
- Memory is not the only thing to look at when choosing a GPU. Not all 1GB 460s are equal. What am I buying, exactly? Dunno.
- unknown cooling or fan count



Then I went to newegg and built out the same rig (as best I could not knowing actual brands or specs in some cases)

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


Price: $$889.91 ($10 shipping)

Points:

- You can clock the processor yourself. Getting the 2500 to 3.8 is child's play anyway.
- More powerful PSU
- You can pick your own brands and know exactly what you are buying
- Can get a better case, more RAM, better board and fancy cooling and STILL be cheaper.

Now I don't know if this will hold true for every self-built vs production line out there, and in some cases I am sure the smarter money is on production line. But in this case you are possibly buying a lower end machine (imo you ARE paying more for less machine) if you go with the production line machine, and all you're buying is:

1) The name brand
2) The convience of having it arrived built (please note my husband's $3,200 Alienware arrived with DOA RAM)
3) The fancy case
4) tech support

To folks like myself, that's just not enough. I can built it myself in an hour, I do not require tech support, I don't care about a fancy case.

:) 
April 14, 2011 9:45:10 PM

wombat_tg said:
AlienWare has some eyecandy, that's to be sure. Saw a demo box that had enough LEDs all over it to land a small jet, moving panels that would rotate up to vent the fans and some other fancy little mods. (I guess it's not a mod if it's a stock case)

There's an error in thinking you can get the same specs for the same price. You need to look very carefully and study what EXACTLY you are buying (or not buying, nor not sure what you're buying)

My main issue with production line PCs is they do not give you a lot of information- granted, most of their customers do not want this information, but when making the argument which is the better value, knowing EXACTLY what you're getting is very helpful.

I just went to Alienware/Dell and built out an Aurora.

Here are the specs:

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Matte Stealth Black Chassis with 525W Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply
Intel® Core™ i5-2500K (6MB Cache) Overclocked Turbo Boost to 3.8GHz
4GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz
1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460
1TB SATA 3Gb/s (7,200RPM) 32MB Cache
No Monitor
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
Single Drive: 24X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability

Dell Price $1,349.00 (plus $50 shipping)

Here are a few issues:

- 525W PSU (weak), unknown brand, very likely proprietary (enjoy swapping THAT out if it fails or you want an upgrade!)
- Unknown motherboard brand or specs
- Unknown RAM brand
- unknown harddrive Brand
- Unknown GPU brand
- Memory is not the only thing to look at when choosing a GPU. Not all 1GB 460s are equal. What am I buying, exactly? Dunno.
- unknown cooling or fan count



Then I went to newegg and built out the same rig (as best I could not knowing actual brands or specs in some cases)

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


Price: $$889.91 ($10 shipping)

Points:

- You can clock the processor yourself. Getting the 2500 to 3.8 is child's play anyway.
- More powerful PSU
- You can pick your own brands and know exactly what you are buying
- Can get a better case, more RAM, better board and fancy cooling and STILL be cheaper.

Now I don't know if this will hold true for every self-built vs production line out there, and in some cases I am sure the smarter money is on production line. But in this case you are possibly buying a lower end machine (imo you ARE paying more for less machine) if you go with the production line machine, and all you're buying is:

1) The name brand
2) The convience of having it arrived built (please note my husband's $3,200 Alienware arrived with DOA RAM)
3) The fancy case
4) tech support

To folks like myself, that's just not enough. I can built it myself in an hour, I do not require tech support, I don't care about a fancy case.

:) 



Well I couldnt disagree with you about the power supply that comes with the Aurora and I am not sure that you can really upgrade the XPS that much but, the computer you made is not as good as the Aurora and when I did compare a Similar build I didnt see that there is much of a difference in the price, plus like you said you would get a fancier case and the customer service (and you can chat with them and they will provide you with most of the components inside the Aurora or area 51) and for some people they cant build the system like you , so you are getting what you want from them (even if your looking into upgrading the system in the future), try it just chat with them on the dell website and ask every question you might have and I am sure that they will provide you with an answer.
April 14, 2011 10:00:09 PM

I think at the low end you can buy a system for less than you can build it, and you get a warranty with it.

As you move up in price I think you can save money by building it yourself vs. buying it already built. Even the machines that my company has spec'd from a local builder came in a little less than if we had bought from Dell.

Also if you build it yourself you can get it exactly like you want. You can research each component and buy the performance and quality that you want, and you don't have to worry about getting anything that you don't want. Plus you will have a machine that is generic and upgradeable more easily. You can install the OS yourself and not have to worry about the machine coming with stuff installed that you don't want.

OTOH if you build it yourself then you have to deal with separate manufacturers, and maybe even separate retailers, for each component. If something doesn't work you have to figure it out yourself, send the component back and wait for a replacement, etc.

You have to decide which of these things is more important to you. Certainly on the pricing side you should be able to compare prices exactly.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2011 10:19:52 PM

Well Wombat, you spec'ed a 2500, which can't be overclocked, and two Earthwatts PSUs, but I know what you meant, and for the life of me have no idea why camels says it isn't as good as the Aurora; even if he noticed the i5-2500 vs. i5-2500K, it isn't true, and all your points about unknown parts are absolutely valid. The 525W PSU could be an Enermax, or it could be a Chokemax; not a chance I'd care to take. The GTX460 could be a SE model. No thanks.
April 14, 2011 10:44:27 PM

Onus said:
Well Wombat, you spec'ed a 2500, which can't be overclocked, and two Earthwatts PSUs, but I know what you meant, and for the life of me have no idea why camels says it isn't as good as the Aurora; even if he noticed the i5-2500 vs. i5-2500K, it isn't true, and all your points about unknown parts are absolutely valid. The 525W PSU could be an Enermax, or it could be a Chokemax; not a chance I'd care to take. The GTX460 could be a SE model. No thanks.


Im sorry mate but I should have been more detailed about my last reply to Wombat but I was in a hurry so I couldnt explain my point, When I said that the machine wasnt as good as the Aurora I meant the motherboard is not the same as what you get in an aurora I asked the people at dell about it and they gave me a certain model that I cant really remember right now as I saved it on my home computer and I am now using my laptop so Ill get back to you as soon as I get home, plus its not as upgradable as the Aurora and like I said before that you will not have the same case which provides better cooling, I am not denying that you will get a better price if you make it yourself and you get every thing you want and not things that you dont want but you have to pay for, but when I did the compared what I got to the Aurora I found out that you dont pay that much difference for the extra's, Sorry I couldnt reply to your first comment and Sorry if I wasnt able to give you a proper respond to this one as well but I will as soon as I get home (with all the details I got from dell).
a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2011 10:54:50 PM

Well, the $500 difference between wombat's build and the Aurora leaves room for rather impressive case and mobo upgrades, wouldn't you agree?
April 14, 2011 11:20:31 PM

Quote:
its not as upgradable as the Aurora


Wait, are you being completely serious? Dell only has a small selection of parts you can choose from. When building a machine on your own you can choose from any part that has ever been manufactured. Ever. And just because the Aurora case has some shiny flaps that go up and down as well as pretty lights doesn't mean that it cools well. Liquid cooling=better looking and better performance.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 14, 2011 11:30:05 PM

Lol, this is about one degree above a troll thread.

i5 2500k ($230)
ASUS P8P67 PRO ($190)
GTX 560 Ti ($230)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB ($65)
HAF 912 ($60) + fans and stuff ($25?)
Antec Earthwatts 750 ($80)
8 GBs G.Skill Ripjaws X 1600 MHz, CAS 8 ($120)
Some DVD drive ($20)

TOTAL: $1020

Um, you could add a CPU cooler and the fastest 120 GB SSD (Vertex 3) to bring this build UP TO the price of the Alienware.

That would give you:

Twice as much RAM, operating at higher frequency and lower latency (probably)
A 120 GB SSD
A better PSU
A much faster GPU

Or you could get a smaller SSD and make the case as pretty as you want. Or maybe you get something like the NZXT Phantom, or the Silverstone Raven. Those cases are pretty sweet.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2011 12:05:46 AM

Getting back to the OP, I think it's pretty clear that around here, almost everyone has lots of good reasons to build rather than buy.
April 15, 2011 12:37:03 AM

Onus said:
Well, the $500 difference between wombat's build and the Aurora leaves room for rather impressive case and mobo upgrades, wouldn't you agree?


Couldnt agree more and lets say that you can get a mobo for $200-$300 and a decent case for $150 wouldnt the $150 extra be worth it if you had better cooling, Service and already built PC? thats the whole point i want to reach, if you pay a little extra you get more (and I dont care about the LED's) ?
April 15, 2011 12:47:21 AM

PudgyChicken said:
Quote:
its not as upgradable as the Aurora


Wait, are you being completely serious? Dell only has a small selection of parts you can choose from. When building a machine on your own you can choose from any part that has ever been manufactured. Ever. And just because the Aurora case has some shiny flaps that go up and down as well as pretty lights doesn't mean that it cools well. Liquid cooling=better looking and better performance.


yes it is limited but the more options you have the more you run into trouble, after reading in the forums for a few weeks Ive seen many people facing problems with their computers (some are just stupid), and many have bought Alienware-Dell-HP and have not faced any of those problems, and Ive not heard anyone complain about the Aurora overheating and I dont care about the lights, but when you buy a $1500 Gaming computer why not get and Alien instead of a custom built one when you get better service ?
April 15, 2011 12:58:34 AM

camelsmaycry said:
yes it is limited but the more options you have the more you run into trouble, after reading in the forums for a few weeks Ive seen many people facing problems with their computers (some are just stupid), and many have bought Alienware-Dell-HP and have not faced any of those problems, and Ive not heard anyone complain about the Aurora overheating and I dont care about the lights, but when you buy a $1500 Gaming computer why not get and Alien instead of a custom built one when you get better service ?


You did NOT just say that Alienware has good service. Alienware is a branch of Dell. Dell has the WORST customer service in the industry.

And anybody who has the brains to assemble their own rig is smart enough to figure out what's wrong with it and deal with the issues themselves.

I actually have a friend whose Alienware stopped working in a lightning storm. It literally took them three months to get the thing fixed. First they thought it was the PSU (I consulted my friend and told him it was definitely the mobo, but did Dell listen, nooo...), then after like three weeks they sent a technician to replace the PSU, and mind you it wasn't some off the shelf part either. Then they decided that since it still didn't work my friend had to ship his machine to Dell, while he footed the $80-100 bill, and get it repaired. It took two months to come back to him in the mail.

If he had assembled the machine himself he could have RMA'd the motherboard and gotten a replacement within a few days.

So don't tell me they have great customer service. Actual experiences>crap you read.
April 15, 2011 1:16:56 AM

PudgyChicken said:
You did NOT just say that Alienware has good service. Alienware is a branch of Dell. Dell has the WORST customer service in the industry.

And anybody who has the brains to assemble their own rig is smart enough to figure out what's wrong with it and deal with the issues themselves.

I actually have a friend whose Alienware stopped working in a lightning storm. It literally took them three months to get the thing fixed. First they thought it was the PSU (I consulted my friend and told him it was definitely the mobo, but did Dell listen, nooo...), then after like three weeks they sent a technician to replace the PSU, and mind you it wasn't some off the shelf part either. Then they decided that since it still didn't work my friend had to ship his machine to Dell, while he footed the $80-100 bill, and get it repaired. It took two months to come back to him in the mail.

If he had assembled the machine himself he could have RMA'd the motherboard and gotten a replacement within a few days.

So don't tell me they have great customer service. Actual experiences>crap you read.


I guess I could be wrong there mate, But I started this to see if I should get one or not so I guess Im going custom Built :)  thanx
April 15, 2011 1:23:09 AM

Glad I could sway you!
April 15, 2011 5:25:17 PM

I built a computer back in 2000. I saved money vs a store bought (or internet bought) version and was able to use qaulity components. I had zero issues with that computer. It just got outdated and, in fact, was being used by my kids as late as 2 years ago. Eight years on a computer with zero issues is not a bad run. In between 2000 and now I have bought computers from both HP and Dell and have had numerous issues. I chose not to build to save time. At least HP has terrible customer service. Each time I had a problem it took numerous calls to India (averaging about 1 hour per call) and 3 times sending in the PC to get fixed. I also tried the Geek Squad. Also terrible. I ended up telling them what the problem was. I will never buy a desktop again. I will only build. In my exoerience you pay more for crap components and get a sub par computer.
!