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Is DIY really cheaper than pre-built?

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January 13, 2012 6:41:15 PM

Recently I've gotten the idea that I'd like to build my own system with parts of my choosing. My family's been asking me why when I have a laptop (Samsung R580-jbb2) and such. One of my main points is that it's cheaper when it's all said and done to have a DIY build then buying from somewhere like HP or Dell. In trying to prove my point however, I haven't been able to build a system in comparable price point to what an HP or Dell would be. I'm not putting top-of-the-line parts on my price comparison lists, like I'll opt for the cheaper of the choices for what is offered on newegg but it's still more than the pre-builts (not including monitors or speakers, etc but does include kb/mouse).

Any reason why this would be the case?

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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 6:49:47 PM

Quote:
One of my main points is that it's cheaper when it's all said and done to have a DIY build then buying from somewhere like HP or Dell.


It's not necessarily cheaper. The main benefit to a DIY system is that you'll get far, far better components than you would buying HP or Dell (who use proprietary and watered-down hardware most of the time). The other benefit is that your components will last a lot longer with fewer upgrade hassles and headaches than a pre built system would.

The only downside to a DIY system is that you're on your own for tech support and replacing parts that could be defective. But if you get the right hardware, the manufacturers are really good about honoring warrantys and RMA's most of the time.

Quote:
My family's been asking me why when I have a laptop (Samsung R580-jbb2) and such


I have a laptop and two desktops (one work/school, the other gaming/entertainment), tell them that if they think that's ridiculous... :lol: 

Quote:
I'm not putting top-of-the-line parts on my price comparison lists, like I'll opt for the cheaper of the choices for what is offered on newegg but it's still more than the pre-builts (not including monitors or speakers, etc but does include kb/mouse).


If you have a budget in mind I'd suggest filling this out and then we can go from there. There's tons of good options at every budget level that will give you far stronger systems than anything you can get from Dell or HP. Plus when you're ready to upgrade you will be able to with relative ease - Dell and HP make upgrading incredibly difficult.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 7:38:21 PM

A pre-built is going to be cheaper. Mainly because they get paid to load many different companies software on it.

Also if you build your own you have to pay $100 for a copy of Windows.

Either way, you get what you pay for, pre-builts are made with cheap parts and usually don't have much if any upgrade ability.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 7:50:33 PM

There's an ever-roaming price point where it simply makes more sense to buy off-the-shelf for certain needs. Wild swing at today: $368

Also comes down to your spare parts. Having a nice PSU and a few stout HDDs laying around is nice, as is a willingness to run a *Nix.
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January 13, 2012 8:02:56 PM

Best answer selected by tech_geek23.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b α HP
January 13, 2012 8:11:15 PM

The thing you are competeting with when you compare a diy and a prebuilt from Dell and HP is that they buy thier parts in bulk so they will get a cost for an item that you can't match. Say you wanted a power supply for $100 , they will probably pay $50 for that same psu or even less , who knows the deal that they have with these manufacturers and they get that deal because now thier psu is in a Dell computer and that's a lot of advertisement.
What you have to do is really search for the best price and try to get something on sale with a rebate and free shipping. That will let you get reasonably close to a prebuilt.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 8:14:28 PM

The advantage of building your own definitely is not cost.

Not sure where that myth comes from.

There are advantages though. As mentioned, one of them is to have better control over what is inside your computer.

That being said, at the high end it probably is cheaper to just build things yourself. I have seen OEM manufacturers asking for + $340 to upgrade from 8GBs to 16 GBs of RAM and + $140 to go from a 6450 to a 6770 video card. Neither the 16GB nor the 6770 are anywhere close to those figures if you buy them yourself as part of a new PC.

If you need exactly what is in the OEM PC, then you will come out ahead buying that. If you need anything different then probably not.

Also, just to clarify, you can only get a legal copy of Windows (for personal use) for $100 if you buy an upgrade CD and that requires you to already have a copy of XP, Vista which you will agree to quit using in the process.

If people are college students, often there are better deals as well for that.

If neither of those things apply (unless you are getting a shell shocker deal from Newegg or something) its not likely going to be possible to get a legal copy of Windows 7 for only $100.
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January 13, 2012 8:24:43 PM

Raiddinn said:

Also, just to clarify, you can only get a legal copy of Windows (for personal use) for $100 if you buy an upgrade CD and that requires you to already have a copy of XP, Vista which you will agree to quit using in the process.

....

If neither of those things apply (unless you are getting a shell shocker deal from Newegg or something) its not likely going to be possible to get a legal copy of Windows 7 for only $100.



Well you could opt for the OEM version of Windows 7 on Newegg which is $100 but of course that means you can't install it again if you were to upgrade your mobo and are relying on yourself for end-user support. (if that's the case, then why can you get help from Microsoft if you buy a system from HP or Dell or somewhere?)
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 8:27:50 PM

Tech_geek23 said:
Well you could opt for the OEM version of Windows 7 on Newegg which is $100 but of course that means you can't install it again if you were to upgrade your mobo and are relying on yourself for end-user support. (if that's the case, then why can you get help from Microsoft if you buy a system from HP or Dell or somewhere?)


I generally use the OEM versions. I know Microsoft has some weird legal clause in their user license that states that you can't use the OEM version unless you sell your computer to somebody else, but there's no way they can actually prove or enforce that.
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January 13, 2012 8:35:13 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I generally use the OEM versions. I know Microsoft has some weird legal clause in their user license that states that you can't use the OEM version unless you sell your computer to somebody else, but there's no way they can actually prove or enforce that.


exactly, why spend $100 more for the retail version when you can buy OEM and save some $$ and you still get support from Microsoft despite saying that the builder has to offer the support if OEM Windows is installed. Only disadvantage is you can't upgrade your mobo (as for some reason Microsoft has determined that to qualify as a "new computer". But if you're upgrading your mobo, you're also likely upgrading other parts for compatibility, which is then pretty much building a brand new system.

and, if you don't mind offering me your advice on building a budget gaming/performance PC, my thread is here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/332903-31-1000-gaming...
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 8:39:34 PM

Tech_geek23 said:
exactly, why spend $100 more for the retail version when you can buy OEM and save some $$ and you still get support from Microsoft despite saying that the builder has to offer the support if OEM Windows is installed. Only disadvantage is you can't upgrade your mobo (as for some reason Microsoft has determined that to qualify as a "new computer". But if you're upgrading your mobo, you're also likely upgrading other parts for compatibility, which is then pretty much building a brand new system.

and, if you don't mind offering me your advice on building a budget gaming/performance PC, my thread is here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/332903-31-1000-gaming...


Exactly! The funny thing is that you're building the system yourself - and if it states that the builder must be able to provide support, then wouldn't you be able to provide your own support? :lol: 

And my favorite part is that what determines a "new computer"? Is it a new format? A new part? New hard drive? They're not very specific on that one, but I should probably quit giving them ideas. :lol: 
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 8:45:59 PM

The reason to spend $100 more is so you are using a legal copy of Windows. Just sayin.

They probably won't take you to court over it, but they can. Jammie Thomas probably didn't think she would have the RIAA take her to court and sue her for 1.92 million dollars either (they did so successfully).

Its all good to be the beneficiary of piracy as long as you aren't the one person the company decides to make an example out of.

In any event, most people already have a legal copy of XP or Vista so an upgrade CD for $100 is usually good enough and completely legal.
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January 13, 2012 8:52:25 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Exactly! The funny thing is that you're building the system yourself - and if it states that the builder must be able to provide support, then wouldn't you be able to provide your own support? :lol: 

And my favorite part is that what determines a "new computer"? Is it a new format? A new part? New hard drive? They're not very specific on that one, but I should probably quit giving them ideas. :lol: 


Right, otherwise you'd be buying retail likely because you're not a diy computer person and if that's the case you're probably buying it from Best Buy or somewhere and you'll end up spending more on the product itself to begin with and money for gas to get there when to order from the 'egg it's cheaper in that respect too as for retail from both, including shipping (and tax at bb), it comes to $193 from the 'egg and $217 from bby. Those numbers are for retail versions although bby does offer the OEM online and as a "ship-to-store"
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January 13, 2012 8:54:09 PM

Raiddinn said:
The reason to spend $100 more is so you are using a legal copy of Windows. Just sayin.

They probably won't take you to court over it, but they can. Jammie Thomas probably didn't think she would have the RIAA take her to court and sue her for 1.92 million dollars either (they did so successfully).

Its all good to be the beneficiary of piracy as long as you aren't the one person the company decides to make an example out of.

In any event, most people already have a legal copy of XP or Vista so an upgrade CD for $100 is usually good enough and completely legal.



But it is a legal copy of Win7, just look: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 13, 2012 8:59:07 PM

At super low price points, no, it generally won't be cheaper. The cost of Windows will typically put you over the top.

As has been stated, there are still plenty of advantages:
-Ability to choose high quality components that exactly suit your need
-Easy upgradability
-Ability to achieve MUCH higher performance at the same or similar price points by overclocking
-Price comes into play when you're looking at premium systems. That's where the OEMs really have to make their margins whereas they make almost nothing on cheap computers. Take a cursory glance at gaming computers on retailers' websites and the price you pay for what you get is absurd. No one should ever market a $800-$1000 PC with a GT520 as a gaming machine. Tom's $500 SBM builds would handily beat 90% of any <$1000 "gaming PC" sold by the big OEMs.
-Also knowing your way around a computer is a valuable skill that you pick up as you research components and assemble your PC.
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January 13, 2012 9:06:51 PM

soloburrito said:
At super low price points, no, it generally won't be cheaper. The cost of Windows will typically put you over the top.

As has been stated, there are still plenty of advantages:
-Ability to choose high quality components that exactly suit your need
-Easy upgradability
-Ability to achieve MUCH higher performance at the same or similar price points by overclocking
-Price comes into play when you're looking at premium systems. That's where the OEMs really have to make their margins whereas they make almost nothing on cheap computers. Take a cursory glance at gaming computers on retailers' websites and the price you pay for what you get is absurd. No one should ever market a $800-$1000 PC with a GT520 as a gaming machine. Tom's $500 SBM builds would handily beat 90% of any <$1000 "gaming PC" sold by the big OEMs.
-Also knowing your way around a computer is a valuable skill that you pick up as you research components and assemble your PC.


Do you happen to have a link to what Tom used in his $500 SBM build? (btw, what does SBM stand for, sorry)
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January 13, 2012 9:08:14 PM

Raiddinn said:
Yes, that copy of Windows 7 becomes legal the moment the computer is sold.


technically speaking you are correct, but couldn't oneself justify that they are "selling it to themselves"?
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 9:08:50 PM

System Builder Marathon

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/core-i5-fx-6100-overclock...


Tech_geek23 said:
technically speaking you are correct, but couldn't oneself justify that they are "selling it to themselves"?



You can say your name is Santa Claus if you want, that doesn't make it your legal name.

The legalese of the license agreement is very specific to what constitutes distributing the software and it is not ambiguous to any good lawyer. Feel free to contact a lawyer and ask him whether selling it to yourself is legal according to the license.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 9:30:37 PM

Tech_geek23 said:
Well you could opt for the OEM version of Windows 7 on Newegg which is $100 but of course that means you can't install it again if you were to upgrade your mobo and are relying on yourself for end-user support. (if that's the case, then why can you get help from Microsoft if you buy a system from HP or Dell or somewhere?)



That's not true, all you have to do is call the number that comes up on the screen during install and get a code. You don't even have to talk to anyone it's automated.

Ive installed my vista on 3 different motherboards (not at the same time obviously) and only had to call once.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 9:39:34 PM

geekapproved said:
That's not true, all you have to do is call the number that comes up on the screen during install and get a code. You don't even have to talk to anyone it's automated.

Ive installed my vista on 3 different motherboards (not at the same time obviously) and only had to call once.


I think you are violating the OEM EULA.

In your defense, if the replaced motherboards were deficient in some manner, and the new motherboards were of similar chipset, I think you would be alright.
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January 13, 2012 9:50:33 PM

Wisecracker said:
I think you are violating the OEM EULA.

In your defense, if the replaced motherboards were deficient in some manner, and the new motherboards were of similar chipset, I think you would be alright.


I've read of people doing just that, well claiming that their mobo was "faulty" but in fact were upgrading it and asking Microsoft for a new activation code. I did read this on a support forum on Microsoft's website not too long ago.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 11:17:14 PM

Microsoft won't give them a new CD key, but they will erase the current information and let you re-register brand new sometimes if you give them a sob story and they feel like being nice.

Even MSFT has a customer service sort of mindset once in a while.

As long as you can prove you own a legal copy of windows usually they don't try to screw you, since they want to encourage that sort of thing, so they don't enforce the terms of their license agreements to the letter even if they are legally able to.

From the customers point of view, if they have a legal key and they only want to use it on one PC then they should be able to, so this isn't an unusual sort of request either IMHO.

Anyway, the point is that they work with you if you genuinely want to do things a legal way and some artificial limitation on their side is stopping you.
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