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Just How Much Extra Are You Spending On That Fancy Pre-built?

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September 30, 2011 3:35:30 AM

I'm posting this because I haven't seen anybody do this, or maybe just post something like this.

About a year ago I embarked on a little side project of which the goal was to see just how much you could save by building your computer yourself with parts ordered without a commercial buyers account from retailers such as NCIX.ca or Newegg.com instead of going to a site like iBuypower or Cyberpower.
I chose three of the competitors computers to try to emulate the best I could myself. Bear in mind that these companies *would* have commercial buyers accounts and would subsequently get each part for cheaper than I ever could.

The first computer was the Velocity Micro Raptor Signature
This computer I spec'ed to the max their site would allow and that came to a total of: $9,742.00
Built exactly (other than the case, they use their own, I used a $216.74 Lian-Li case to prove my point further) my computer cost $6,285.73 and saved me $3,456.27!

Similar story when it comes to iBuypower's high end of high end computers. $8,773.00 from them, $7,426.99 by yourself, $1,346.01 savings.

I also tried to build a computer from them for as close to $1000 before ship/tax as I could and came up with a $1003 computer that I would be satisfied with from Velocity Micro. I ended up build the same thing for $761.91 saving me $241.09!

My point here is not that these companies are bad, everywhere has horror stories, its that you can save huge amounts of money by doing it yourself.

Alternately, if you just happen to run a small country or two and have no time whatsoever to build one, NCIX.ca will build whatever you have in your shopping cart for $50, be it $500 or $5000 worth of parts.

Anyway, just posting this so people know some actual numbers, I've got a build for every single computer Cyberpower, iBuypower, Alienware, Vlocity Micro, and most other computer assemblers offer so if you think this information could be useful, just let me know, I'll be happy to share.

-allix24-
September 30, 2011 4:24:11 AM

Interesting analysis. It looks like a pretty classic 20% markup they are charging to acquire and integrate those systems. That's about what I'd expect to see. Does your analysis include any of the support options that might have been included with those high-end machines? On some of the entry-level boxes the purchase of the OS also becomes significant.
September 30, 2011 4:42:39 PM

larkspur said:
Interesting analysis. It looks like a pretty classic 20% markup they are charging to acquire and integrate those systems. That's about what I'd expect to see. Does your analysis include any of the support options that might have been included with those high-end machines? On some of the entry-level boxes the purchase of the OS also becomes significant.


One of the choices I had to make when starting this was whether or not to include operating systems into the equation. I decided that although I would never be able to come close to the companies bulk buying abilities, that I would anyway. I used a single use OS pack of whatever flavour they used. I did not select any options such as their overclocking or silencing packs, as those can be done in many different ways. I did select and warranty other than the standard 30 day return/exchange policy that comes standard.
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September 30, 2011 5:21:38 PM

The standard 30 day warranty from a pre-built will, in many cases be inferior to the warranty you get from buying parts yourself.
For example, the warranty on many graphics cards and ram will be lifetime.
The warranty on other parts will be perhaps a year or two.

You get support from the builder, if they are good at it.
But, you may well get better support from these forums.
September 30, 2011 10:45:20 PM

geofelt said:
The standard 30 day warranty from a pre-built will, in many cases be inferior to the warranty you get from buying parts yourself.
For example, the warranty on many graphics cards and ram will be lifetime.
The warranty on other parts will be perhaps a year or two.

You get support from the builder, if they are good at it.
But, you may well get better support from these forums.



This is exactly what i tell people when they ask me why I don't just buy a pre-built. Problem is that many people are scared to open up the side of their case and check to see whats actually broken. When i built the computer I'm sitting at I made sure to buy parts that had good warranties, but thankfully I haven't had to use them as good warranty's tend to only come on good quality parts.
October 3, 2011 6:32:27 AM

Also the larger and more expensive it is your looking at high tax and super expensive shipping! its ridiculous man!
October 3, 2011 11:47:48 AM

I did make these calculations myself last year with Alienware and was astounded at the lack of personalization options and blatant price gouging.

Not only do you not get the option to get the exact model, for the parts that are even there on their options list, they charge you a lot more than what the online retailers list 'em for. That's just sickening.

Pre-builds only make sense at the entry level. That too for general home/office usage IMO.

The moment your budget hits 400+, they start making less and less sense. If you're the slightest bit curious 'bout the internal workings of a PC, log on to the net, watch videos, read tutorials and then after checking out and seeking advice on multiple forums, just dive in and build your own.

Of course, you've gotta make time for DIY no matter how busy you are. Not only will you learn, once you fall in love with it, there will be no looking back :) 

The sweet spot for the time starved or the technologically uninclined is the ncix deal IMO.

Else for E-mail, Facebook and Netflix or indeed for official purposes, just get an E5xxx/Regor 2xx/Rana 4xx pre build for ~300 odd from a reputable OEM. Will serve you well enough for years to come unless you're really unlucky.

I cannot imagine any man who's ever build a PC with his own hands will ever go back to buying a pre-built one no matter how busy he is.
October 3, 2011 12:19:51 PM

Its a good post...

BUT...

I thought that was common sense.
October 3, 2011 1:15:10 PM

lewza said:
I thought that was common sense.
I thought common sense was not that common.
!