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To build or not to build....that is my question

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May 25, 2012 4:59:19 PM

Ok...so here is my problem. I need to get a gaming computer for my son but I know nothing about computers. He plays online and wishes to have a pc that can handle games like diablo 3, etc. Do I purchase pre built or customize build at cyberpower or like sites? Please advise me on which computer to buy or give specs to help me build. BTW, I would like to stay around $1200, but could up budget if needed. Thanks

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May 25, 2012 6:30:33 PM

I always build, and have been doing it for years. But I also understand that it is not for everyone. So, I am biased but here's my suggestions.

The bonus to building is you get exactly what you want / need, and you choose the quality of parts that go into your system. Plus you can build it to look like what you want.
However building is not without it's challenges. There are a lot of parts, and while 99% of the time everything is going to work, things happen.

The biggest thing that you get with a pre-built system is support. It is tested before being shipped out, and generally comes with a warranty. If you are not a technically inclined person, this can really be helpful.

Yes, you will pay a bit more for premade, but depending on how you feel about it, sometimes the extra support is helpful.

If you decide to build, there are great communities like this one with a lot of talented individuals who can help to walk you through problems you might encounter.
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May 25, 2012 7:16:02 PM

an i-5 sandy bridge or ivy bridge is going to handle most games today and not break the bank. your better off buying one high end card. most of today high end cards will run todays and games that come out for the next few years without breaking a sweat. you want to buy 8g of rams at 1600 speed. your not going to see games or the os load fatser with 1800-2100 ram. staying as close to intel stock speeds will keep you if you build from pulling your hair out if the pc wont boot or crashes. buy a good name brand power supply if you think your son might put in another gpu then buy a larger ps. most 650-750w ps that are 80 rated will run two card set up. with the cpu toss out the intel cpu cooler there junk. the best coolers now use a metal plate and screws. there abut 20-30 online (212) model. some of the better gaming cases now just came out on toms front page. sit down with your son...ask what he looking for in the gaming unit...looks or speed. if i was building a gaming unit i toss in a good ssd like the new intel 330..it not going to be top of the line fast but it a name brand that tests there hardware before it ships.
all so how loud the rig is. (i been to some lan partys that the pc sound like there ready to take off.). newer gaming cases like the r300 use a main large fan in front for push-pull set up. i use a large 140mm entermax heat sink on my i-5 rig. with the asus thermal software it runs at 300rmp (27c). doing web...in games max out at 600-800 rpm and the cpu never gets above 50c. the most noise it the gpu fan when it ramps up. some peole uns the h80/h100 sealed unit for even lower sound from a case. if your son wants plug or color lighting in the case look to ebay there are vendor that make 4 pin molex to led light strips for under 10.00 then look to buy a on off switch connected to a molex..the number one beef with some people is they cant turn off these case lights.
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May 25, 2012 7:37:29 PM

Initially, it never crossed my mind to build a PC as I've never done one before. However, after taking some time reading this forum, you start to see other people having the same concerns, decisions and budget consciousness when buying/building a new PC. After reading lots of threads, my confidence grew and my ignorance lessened. I decided to build my own PC and was very happy I did.

Grab a cup of coffee (or beer?) and take your time reading thread topics in the 'Systems\New Build' and 'Systems\Prebuild' forums. You'll find that there are lots of info, opinions and assistance here for which you'll find value and relevance to your situation. I'm actually amazed on what type of PCs people put together for almost half the price I put into mine lol.

As a first time builder, it was not as difficult as I had anticipated. Just be sure to take your time, read the manuals and ask an experienced friend to help you out. It quickly becomes clear the appreciation in having that flexibility and getting exactly what you want and for a better price than what you'd pay for a prebuilt PC.

As previous posters have said and others will say, you will find an abundance of opinions and assistance here. I think I know why this is the case as I am one of them too. Building PCs is fun, but expensive so we have to vicariously live through you hehe. Choosing the parts and finding the right combination is actually half the excitement. Building the PC can be a test of patience and skill, but gets outweighed by the anticipation of first turning it on.

I'm already getting the itch to upgrade certain parts in my new PC and it's only been a month!
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May 25, 2012 7:43:35 PM

If you have a Phillips head screwdriver and know how to use it, you can build a PC. You mentioned "handl[ing] games like diablo 3, etc.", I don't know if "etc." means "other low-end games" or "all the latest games", but in any event, you can put together a nice rig for either for $1200 if you build it yourself.
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May 25, 2012 7:48:38 PM

I just recently built my own PC and I gotta say: I had a blast doing it. However, in choosing PC parts it is necessary to do alot of research, especially if you are a first-time builder (as I was). Don't let that scare you though. There are plenty of resources for you to use, including this forum. (here is another such guide: http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/f3efg)

The advantage with building your own PC is that you will save money and the PC is built to your (or your son's) exact specifications, but as previously said, if you are not tech-savvy you may not want to do it. But you could get SOOO much more for $1200 if you build your own PC then if you bought a prebuilt one.

Although this seems scary at first, it will feel so great to press that power button, and you hear the fans start spinning, and the all-important "beep".

haha i already want to build another one!!!
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May 25, 2012 8:12:12 PM

There's no doubt that you can get a better system building it yourself at the same budget, but with custom builds come certain risks as well, namely dealing with possible defects, malfunctions, DOAs, and compatibility issues that just doesn't get the machine going as it should. Putting the hardware together is the easy part, which most people talk about, but it's the less talked about part, the software side of things, that give the beginners most trouble. If you are not too certain about figuring things on the monitor and understanding what to do in the BIOS, don't waste your time and just buy your son a pre-built one, it'll come with a warranty so even when it stops working you can simply pick up the phone and yell at the vendor to fix it, and your son will think you are a great powerful man.

Custom building a PC seem very appealing, but nothing is really that easy in life, with pc building comes a lot of studying and information that you have to digest and comprehend, it takes more time than most people are willing to admit to.

Take me for example, I'm very familiar with building custom PCs, but whenever I build one I have to follow up on the latest trends all over again, so I don't get into buying the parts until I do the research for 2 weeks or so.

Beginners have to start somewhere to get their feet wet of course, but I recommend that you do it when you have to build one for YOURSELF, and not your son, so that you'd feel less pressure to deliver, and also able to do it at your own pace. The last thing you'd want to see is your son's disappointed sad face when your novice-built system breaks down just a week later and you have no customer service to fall back on.
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