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How are pre-built PCs priced the same or barely more than their CPU alone?

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April 10, 2012 6:25:03 PM

Hello,

Simple question: How are some fully-built computers the same price, barely more, or even cheaper than, the CPU they contain alone? Take this for example: http://www.ascendtech.us/acer-vm670g-uq9400-windows-vis...
This PC is $275 and contains a Q9400, which by itself goes for $200-350 when you google it for price.
a b à CPUs
April 10, 2012 6:31:41 PM

Because big box manufacturers build around the cases they choose and will often strip down the BIOS and delete features from the CPU and motherboard to cut costs. They also include watered down GPUs and don't use standard form factors which makes upgrading difficult or near impossible.

When you buy the retail product - you're buying the full unedited version. I like to think of it in terms of going to see the movie in the theaters vs. watching at home on cable - if you watch it at home, they edit the living ---- out of it, where if you watch it in the theaters, you get the full unedited version. You pay more but you get more. That's the difference in buying big box vs. building your own.
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April 10, 2012 6:41:47 PM

But wouldn't they still have to pay the CPU and motherboard manufacturers the costs? For example, if they bought a Q9400 to put in the machine, and then strip down the BIOS, they still had to pay for a powerful quad-core processor, correct?
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April 10, 2012 8:32:16 PM

deaf to light said:
But wouldn't they still have to pay the CPU and motherboard manufacturers the costs? For example, if they bought a Q9400 to put in the machine, and then strip down the BIOS, they still had to pay for a powerful quad-core processor, correct?


They do but they also get bulk discounts like most PC vendors do. Sure - they water down the hardware and you're stuck with proprietary, cheaply made components.

There's vendors out there like Falcon Northwest, Origin, and Digital Storm that know PCs and know hardcore PC users and they build their systems accordingly - but you pay huge premiums for them vs. what you get from say - Dell, HP, or Gateway.
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April 10, 2012 9:02:21 PM

Thanks for the information... So just to get this straight: the PC in the link in my OP advertises to have a Q9400. Aside from BIOS features being locked, how is it a watered down Q9400? If a user was not planning on overclocking, an Intel Q9400 is still an Intel Q9400, right?

The main reason I ask is because I told my friend (not a power user/overclocker) I could build him a PC much cheaper than him buying a pre-built one... but after seeing some of the prices of the pre-builts... I'm not so sure I could purchase a chassis, motherboard, CPU, RAM, power supply, hard drive, and DVD drive altogether for less.
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April 10, 2012 9:08:44 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the information... So just to get this straight: the PC in the link in my OP advertises to have a Q9400. Aside from BIOS features being locked, how is it a watered down Q9400? If a user was not planning on overclocking, an Intel Q9400 is still an Intel Q9400, right?


Sort of - it's not the same CPU you'd get by purchasing it - say off eBay or Newegg. A lot of manufacturers get the products tailor made to their specifications so it won't work anywhere else. They do this with included software too.

Quote:
Thanks for the information... So just to get this straight: the PC in the link in my OP advertises to have a Q9400. Aside from BIOS features being locked, how is it a watered down Q9400? If a user was not planning on overclocking, an Intel Q9400 is still an Intel Q9400, right?


That all depends on what the budget of the build is - you can go as low as $600 or as high as $6,000. Just depends on what features you want and what you ultimately want out of your system.
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April 10, 2012 9:16:47 PM

deaf to light said:
Thanks for the information... So just to get this straight: the PC in the link in my OP advertises to have a Q9400. Aside from BIOS features being locked, how is it a watered down Q9400? If a user was not planning on overclocking, an Intel Q9400 is still an Intel Q9400, right?

The main reason I ask is because I told my friend (not a power user/overclocker) I could build him a PC much cheaper than him buying a pre-built one... but after seeing some of the prices of the pre-builts... I'm not so sure I could purchase a chassis, motherboard, CPU, RAM, power supply, hard drive, and DVD drive altogether for less.



You really don't understand volume discounting, do you? Intel sells millions of CPU's. They give pricing discounts per thousands purchased. You, the consumer, are buying ONE cpu. You are paying for the packaging and the distibution of that ONE cpu. That goes for motherboard manufacturers, case manufacturers and microsoft selling a license to an OEM. Retail price for Win7 is ~$270. OEM's pay ~$40 for the same thing.
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April 10, 2012 9:26:23 PM

Im gonna prob say these are used parts as q9400 is like a 7 year old processor.. Not horrible but I would not spend any money on it now. This guy prob gets like 100 used procs for 50 bucks a peice uses referb motherboards ram is dirt cheap 320 gig sata drives dirt cheap and prob still makes 50 bucks off each one.

Thent
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a c 172 à CPUs
April 10, 2012 9:27:22 PM

Right. It is the same CPU chip.
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Best solution

a c 86 à CPUs
April 10, 2012 9:28:04 PM

a q9400 is a superseeded CPU and the manufacturer is trying to flog them of cheap to get rid of them, but on the other hand, many people still have socket 775 motherboards they may wish to upgrade the cpu only, and the only option for them is to buy at rediculous prices as they are hard to find and havn't been in production for a long time. Even used core 2 quads still fetch a reasonable price on ebay. Its like buying parts for a car made in 1980, they still cost the same as parts for a new car despite being old technology. But you could go out and buy a brand new amd fx 4100 or core i3 2100 which would cost you around $100 and outperform the q9400.
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April 10, 2012 9:45:15 PM

iam2thecrowe said:
a q9400 is a superseeded CPU and the manufacturer is trying to flog them of cheap to get rid of them, but on the other hand, many people still have socket 775 motherboards they may wish to upgrade the cpu only, and the only option for them is to buy at rediculous prices as they are hard to find and havn't been in production for a long time. Even used core 2 quads still fetch a reasonable price on ebay. Its like buying parts for a car made in 1980, they still cost the same as parts for a new car despite being old technology. But you could go out and buy a brand new amd fx 4100 or core i3 2100 which would cost you around $100 and outperform the q9400.


Yeah retail prices on eBay are quite ridiculous - I was trying to find a Q6600 but eventually gave up because I couldn't find any for less than $300 - if I'm spending that kind of money I might as well get a 2600K.
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April 10, 2012 9:55:04 PM

It would be prohibitively expensive for them to have a custom set of q9400's made. I've never even heard of that happening.

Between bulk discount, the company scrambling to get rid of them, and every other part in the machine being a steaming turd, you get the low price.

AMD's Llano chip may also have something to do with it. You can put together an APU machine with all quality parts for the same price. (the A6-3650 is almost as strong a processor as the q9400, and the integrated graphics are of course way better)
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April 10, 2012 10:13:17 PM

quilciri said:
It would be prohibitively expensive for them to have a custom set of q9400's made. I've never even heard of that happening.

Between bulk discount, the company scrambling to get rid of them, and every other part in the machine being a steaming turd, you get the low price.

AMD's Llano chip may also have something to do with it. You can put together an APU machine with all quality parts for the same price. (the A6-3650 is almost as strong a processor as the q9400, and the integrated graphics are of course way better)


I know the motherboards are custom made. So are the GPUs but I'm pretty sure they use a different set of CPUs than we can buy at like Newegg for instance. If you look at like what Dell sells for instance - the same Core i5-2300 isn't even an option - instead they sell the i5-2320: http://www.dell.com/us/p/popular-desktop-deals.aspx?c=u...
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a b à CPUs
April 10, 2012 10:13:40 PM

case doesn't look too bad, though :) 
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April 10, 2012 10:16:12 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I know the motherboards are custom made. So are the GPUs but I'm pretty sure they use a different set of CPUs than we can buy at like Newegg for instance. If you look at like what Dell sells for instance - the same Core i5-2300 isn't even an option - instead they sell the i5-2320: http://www.dell.com/us/p/popular-desktop-deals.aspx?c=u...



ummm....not sure which one you can't find, but....

I5 2320
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I5 2300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Extremely unlikely that any CPU in a prebuilt is custom.

Motherboard can be custom. But it's more likely very cheap tweaks on a cheap-to-begin-with template.

The intergrated GPU is not. It's only used in pre-built machines, but it is used in HP machines, Lenovo machines, etc....
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a c 172 à CPUs
April 10, 2012 10:19:34 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Yeah retail prices on eBay are quite ridiculous - I was trying to find a Q6600 but eventually gave up because I couldn't find any for less than $300 ...

That is because those of us with working Q6600's aren't getting rid of them. Except for advanced gaming, it is still a very capable CPU.
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April 10, 2012 10:30:46 PM

jsc said:
That is because those of us with working Q6600's aren't getting rid of them. Except for advanced gaming, it is still a very capable CPU.



actually amazon/ebay are selling mostly new socket 775 chips, not used ones.
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April 10, 2012 10:41:59 PM

quilciri said:
ummm....not sure which one you can't find, but....

I5 2320
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I5 2300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Extremely unlikely that any CPU in a prebuilt is custom.

Motherboard can be custom. But it's more likely very cheap tweaks on a cheap-to-begin-with template.

The intergrated GPU is not. It's only used in pre-built machines, but it is used in HP machines, Lenovo machines, etc....


That's why I don't usually recommend systems pre built because of the built-in GPUs - they're likely to be watered down by manufacturer drivers and things of that nature.
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April 10, 2012 10:56:36 PM

Things are worth what people are willing to pay for them... A Q9400 is worth $250 for the same reason old baseball cards are worth more than the paper they are printed on, someone is willing to pay for it...
It's worth as a processor is questionable as you can buy a more capable processor for gaming for less than half that price. See the i3 2100 or FX 4170 at a full 2 tiers above the Q9400.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

The Q9400 is a good upgrade option for some users as you just pop it into a 775 socket and you have an instant performance boost with almost no hassle. So people are willing to pay big $ for it even though less expensive, more powerful options are available.

They don't have to pay the CPU manufacturer for old parts they have gathering dust in a warehouse... They paid for it years ago and likely have already written it off as a loss. The value to a system manufacturer of an old CPU is small, especially one that no one is interested in buying. They just want to offload that old gear on some unsuspecting consumer that thinks they are getting a great deal. The fact is the consumer is getting hosed with a 7 year old setup that uses a dead socket with no upgrade path.

The other option is to dump the old stock in a landfill and write it off as a loss.
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April 10, 2012 11:02:04 PM

to the OP. If you're trying to get your hands on a Q9400, the pre-built seems your best option. Grab the CPU and cannibalize the rest for spare parts. Thinking about picking on up myself to replace my mother's E6600, and using the case, RAM and *maybe* the PSU for an HTPC.

I look at it this way.

Case looks to be worth about $30-40 if it was retail.
Cheap RAM, probably about $15
Cheap PSU, $25
16x DVDR almost worthless, give it $5
motherboard worthless.

You can consider this a new Q9400 for ~$190 if you have a use for the rest of the parts.

That Having been said, you could get an entry sandy bridge processor (pentium G series) and a decent motherboard for $190.
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April 18, 2012 5:46:44 AM

Thanks, everyone!

Quote:
You can consider this a new Q9400 for ~$190 if you have a use for the rest of the parts.

That Having been said, you could get an entry sandy bridge processor (pentium G series) and a decent motherboard for $190.


I was thinking of doing that until I realized a decent motherboard and and new CPU is cheaper. They really know where the demand is... people trying to upgrade their systems either because they're too lazy to replace the motherboard... or too lazy to research what a good price/performance motherboard and new socket CPU is. That's the toughest part... I built my PC a about 4 years ago, and spent a ton of time researching all the products on the market at that time. Now I'm spending hours all over again finding out what all the new products are. It's such a pain in the ass.
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April 18, 2012 6:57:15 PM

Well... Throw together a budget and open up another thread in new systems homebrew. Tom's community loves showing eachother up on who can build the best price/perf system.
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April 19, 2012 11:13:04 PM

Best answer selected by deaf to light.
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April 19, 2012 11:13:30 PM

Quote:
Tom's community loves showing eachother up on who can build the best price/perf system.


LOL +1 to that
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