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Build your own vs prebuilt – show me the money

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  • Homebuilt
  • Build Your Own
  • Prebuilt Systems
  • Systems
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May 11, 2012 7:56:04 PM

I think most everyone on the forum says build it yourself and I understand for some that can be rewarding but I’m looking at it solely from a money perspective.

If you take an online builder (like Digital Storm) you can specify a fairly wide range of components. I thought I’d go ahead and build the type of rig I’d want on their site and it comes to about $2,500. I then went newegg and added all the same components to my basket and the price difference was maybe $200. Now of course that is cheaper and cheaper is cheaper but for me the time and frustration of building it (never built one before) is probably worth the $200 difference.

So my question is, is this typical? As in the savings of building it your self is less than 10% of the purchase price of prebuilt? Now if it was 20% - 30% savings well then that starts making me think it’s worth the hassle.

More about : build prebuilt show money

a b B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2012 8:03:39 PM

I'd be interested in actual parts that you compared. There is less of a markup on more common (and lower end) parts, but often higher end parts are marked up quite a bit.

Sure, $200 is only 10% of the purchase price, but couldn't you use that $200 to have an even better computer?
May 11, 2012 8:05:32 PM

You contradict yourself by saying "it's solely from a money perspective" and then blowing off $200 like a fart in a blizzard. The hardest thing about building a computer is picking the components and you've already done that. Once you've built your first one you'll realize how silly you sound on this forum, IMHO.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2012 8:06:47 PM

did you factor in the price of combo sales when building the same exact computer on newegg?
May 11, 2012 8:08:16 PM

There are a few possible reasons why the savings might not seem that great at first sight.

-Online builders sometimes do not specificy exact model of certain parts such as hard drive, psu and so on. The parts might be good but might be on the cheap end then some of the quality parts usually reccomended.

-Online builders do not always give you 100% customisability, When building yourself, you can easily select every part to your need which could save money.

-The ability to find the best deals for each part from different shops, and select the best value for money parts will increase savings.

-10% savings is pretty decent anyway

And, for most people, the satisfaction of building the computer is great enough even without savings. But when you know, you have build something yourself and saved money along the way, then it does feel great.
Of course if you just want a new computer for a good price, the hassle might not be worth it.
May 11, 2012 8:16:56 PM

200 bucks?

Lets see gtx 560ti vs gtx670?

next question please?

Seriously there are a lots of videos and guides on how to build and a place like Toms...it is not hard to build one.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2012 8:25:11 PM

normally when comparing computers from a prebuilt site vs building it myself I generally seem to be saving ~20-30% (or much more if doing a high end build and comparing it to a Mac). But unless we are given a parts list of the Digital Storm PC then there is no way for us to know what the reason is for your particular case.
Perhaps they are having specials on some parts you are selecting? Perhaps you are building a low end 2011 with less overhead, when a high end 1155 would actually be faster (depends on your exact usage).

Building your own PC is not only for saving money, it is also about building something the way you want it built. Personally I like to do a bit of video editing, which means that I want slower/quieter RPM drives than most prebuilt manufacturers provide, it also means a lot more copper due to larger passive or low RPM heat-sinks and fans which may or may not be available.
It also means that I provide my own warranty, which is no big deal for me as I have built systems myself for ~13 years, and helped my dad build systems when I was a kid, but if you are a relative novice then it can be a major headache to fix things yourself compared to slapping a shipping label on the box and sending it out for a few days.

Anywho, generally speaking, after the cost of OS and things, a base model system of whatever level will tend to be within ~5-15% of what you can do yourself (if doing an extreme <$400 build manufacturers can even be cheaper than what you can build yourself). If you tack on a lot of upgrades then the gap simply gets wider and wider as you go.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2012 8:26:58 PM

People like to build custom computers because its cheaper as well as fun. Theres a satisfaction of choosing all your parts, putting it all together, and having it work.
However, some people could care less as long as their computer is fully functional. Money doesnt seem like a problem to you because youre considering a $2500 computer. So if building a computer doesnt excite you, theres nothing wrong with buying a premade one (assuming all the parts are high quality) or having somone assemble it for you.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2012 8:46:07 PM

I'd double-check those numbers. I just did a similar comparison to the build I just completed with as close as I could get it at Cyberpower (who is considerably cheaper than Digital Storm). Cyberpower would have cost me an additional $400 on a $1500 build so it was roughly 26% more.

You could check pcpartpicker and see if you can drive the DIY price down some from straight up newegg. Also, do you have a Microcenter within a short drive? They have crazy instore deals.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2012 8:51:16 PM

I dunno, I think DIY you might appreciate the machine more. You know exactly what's in it, and you had to work to put it together. So therefore you know everything about it. Also as others said, with manufacturers, you may not know what you are getting on some parts, and if there is a problem you are at their mercy.
May 12, 2012 12:46:31 AM

ram1009 said:
You contradict yourself by saying "it's solely from a money perspective" and then blowing off $200 like a fart in a blizzard.


First I've heard of this great analogy and I fully agree. $200 is certainly nothing to sneeze at and that money would be better off spent on a better kit or peripherals.
May 12, 2012 2:35:38 AM

I really didn’t mean to offend. I know most on here are probably pretty good with PC’s or enjoy tinkering and getting their systems just the way they want. I get that.

Every time I’ve messed with a pc whether its installing a new GPU, adding RAM or a new HD something always seems to not work right (well except for RAM that’s just easy) and it just pisses me off instead of “hmm well let me try this and see if it works” instead.

I guess I was just expecting a much higher difference from the prebuilt price to the component price. I’ll get the list of parts from Digital storm and newegg and post them, perhaps I missed something.

Right now I’m going to shutdown and start testing my memory banks to see if I have bad DIMMS or bad slots. Joy!

This is what’s prompting me to investigate building/buying a new machine.

And while $200 is nothing to sneeze at I agree, I just know spending hours trying to build a PC and flinging a lot of curses my kids shouldn’t hear is worth it for me. If its $500-800 well then perhaps some aggravation is worth the savings...everyone has their price.
May 12, 2012 3:39:14 AM

I saved a ton on mine using a combo of microcenter and newegg.

At the time I spent about 900 bucks and it was easily comparable to 1400-1500 systems.

I found my OS on Craigslist for cheap, I'm a super bargain shopper though. If you do it right and save everywhere you can, you can save a ton.

I also didn't have any problems once built, been together for months and it starts up and runs perfectly every time
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 12, 2012 8:22:17 AM

I have another thing to add to what everyone else is saying about cheapness.


I went ahead and got a nice case (NZXT Phantom), it cost 130 bucks, kinda pricey, but I can use it for several builds. I don't expect any reason to buy a new one for at least 10 years. Power supply, I bought a decent one, 5 year warranty on it, and a good PSU again can last 10 years. I've got 2 hard drives, a SATA III 500GB and a SATA II 2TB, sure maybe in my next build SSDs might be priced more to my tastes, but I doubt SATA is going to be EOL anytime soon.

If I do another build say every 3 to 4 years, these are parts that I won't have to purchase again. So money is saved here in the long run.
!