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New pc: home built vs built by company

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July 20, 2012 6:05:11 PM

I am in the market for a new gaming desktop. My pc now is working fine but also is beginning to show its limitations. I have an alienware aurora now and I can honestly say that it was a really stupid buy. I paid close to $3000 for medium performance. Its ok but DEFINITELY NOT what I paid for. Its really easy to get roped into alienware when you don't know your way around computers (me).

I have decided to invest in a new pc and I don't want to make the same mistake twice so here I am! After searching the forums and the web, I have found two options: either make my own using newegg and websites of that nature or go to cyberpowerpc,ibuypower, digitalstorm etc to have them make it for me. Making my own sounds alluring because I can pick exactly what I want with no extra crap or extra charge. There are tons of videos and threads about how to put a pc together so I'm not worried about that but, what I'm concerned about is the lack of customer support that I would get with a regular pc company. If my pc started to overheat or slowdown significantly, I wouldn't know what to do or who to go to. Also I wouldn't have a "warranty" to be able to send it back and get a new one. With companies like cyberpowerpc, they will build it for me and offer warranties and customer support, but I will have to pay more than if I built it myself (I've heard anywhere from $200 to $1000) and I won't have the same flexibility as with building it myself.

My main concern is my lack of pc knowlegde. Buying from newegg sounds great, but I would feel kinda by myself if something went wrong. Can you guys steer me in the right direction? Thanks
July 20, 2012 6:20:22 PM

all parts should have a warranty, the only thing you don't get out of it is customer service if the parts are all bought separately. The advantages of building it yourself is that you pick ALL the parts yourself and can set yourself for future upgrades, at a generally lower cost(scales more as price goes up). Also when you get down to the VGA picking, pre built ones have a very limited amount of choices after you pick a specific model, (especially if you pick AMD VGAs) it will only allow you to pick "major brand" and that really can mean anything as "major" will be defined by them.
July 20, 2012 6:31:54 PM

So first off, it's not like anyone was born with the knowledge of how to build computers. Yes, it comes easier to some than others, but everyone essentially started not having a clue and worked up from there. You will not get any better at building computers if you just sit around not building computers.

That said, my personal high level opinion is that there is nothing quite like building your own custom computer. You pay a little more at the front end, but you have complete control over what goes into the computer and have the flexibility later on to save money by taking advantage of short-term sales various retailers have. The drawback is that to do this well, it requires a LOT of research and careful selection of parts.

Personally, I would say it comes down to whether or not you are willing to invest the time, energy, and money into doing a proper custom build. Along with assuming responsibility for being your own tech support when something goes wrong, and potentially being on the hook to foot the bill for any replacement parts. There's no shame in not being interested in that sort of thing, I know that after working as a hardware tech for about three years, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was more of what I was doing at work. I was happy to buy some brand name computer with an extended warranty, and that way I can make it someone else's problem if/when something breaks. I have long since migrated to consoles for the bulk of my gaming, having grown tired of the perpetual upgrade treadmill that is PC gaming. I can buy a console, and for 3-7 years (maybe more), any game I buy will be guaranteed to work on that console.

I think you kind of need to spend a little time thinking over whether or not you're willing to take on the responsibility of learning everything you need to know to build your own computer. There's nothing wrong with deciding that your time is more important to you than your money, and so buy a brand name computer. If you want to take on the challenge, then there are plenty of forums around, like this one, where you can ask questions and people will help out. You may want to consider the idea of building a cheaper, low end computer first, just to kind of get your feet wet so to speak. When you fry something (and let's face it, when you're starting out, it is a matter of when, not if) it will be relatively inexpensive so not as big a deal. Then you also have a spare computer around in case something blows up on your primary one, so you can be sure you have access to forums like this.
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July 20, 2012 6:35:16 PM

The tradeoff is often just cost

There are builders out there that let you pick out any specific parts. and if they don't have it they will order it.

A lot of these are mom&pop brick and mortar local computer shops will also do custom builds with any part you want. You can bring in a neweggs parts list, and they will say we'll match (or beat) that parts price and just charge you $xx to build and set it up and burn it in.

Online, I went with AVADirect which does this truly custom build. I wanted a computer exactly with certain parts. Their dropdown boxes have like 100+ selections each, or you can find the parts in their parts area and tell them to use that.

Maybe overwhelming so, their sales guys in their forums will recommend a build to you given whatever constraints/budget you give them. And you can feel free to cross-check with people here or other forums.

parts from avadirect average $10 more per component which are Fair prices, but not lowest price prices. And definitely not sale prices for bargain hunters who wait for components 1-by-1 to go on sale before acquiring all they need for their build.

But they are not ripoff prices either like charging $200 for an 8gb "upgrade"

In addition there's the ~$60build fee (configurator vs add up all the parts)+ shipping fee. This adds up quite a bit over if you were to DIY, but they need to make a living.

It takes time to build. With shipping, expect 4weeks before you got a box on your door versus you throwing it all together in an afternoon.

The outcome:
I was very happy with my build. got exactly what i wanted, everything neat and tidy and well done in my opinion. Folder on my C:\ with benchmark screenshots and burn-in results).

So you get what you pay for. the lower priced higher volume shops like Cyberpower get lower customer support and ratings for a reason, with less selection. But they get the stuff out to you faster and cheaper.

Places like avadirect or mom&pop stores can get you exactly what you want but it might be more expensive



A lot of it is time is money.
While this is a hobby to some people, and they enjoy the build.

Taking cost and price out of the consideration, I personally just want the computer so I can use it. I can afford it now, so I'll just pay someone else to build
July 20, 2012 8:57:43 PM

Would AVA be the best choice in terms of rigs that people will build for me? Better than companies like ibuypower?
July 20, 2012 9:14:29 PM

i liked them better than ibuypower/cyberpower, but more in the you get quality components (so far as in that you get to pick exactly the components you want), and their build quality was great in my opinion.

you also pay more though...and it's slower then cyberpower.

But also, these companies change over time. What is true now, may change later 1 or 2 years down the line as the fate of that company goes up or down. I used to use monarch computers, but as their company got into financial trouble, the last people who ordered from them probably got screwed a bit.

look at resellerratings for reviews, or also poke and search for other threads reviewing cyberpower/avadirect or any of the others. Usually in the Prebuilt forum


Right now, I would recommend a friend to buy from them. At least check it out or go through their configurator or post on their forum to see what the numbers turn out to be.

There is also nothing wrong with looking around locally either just for a smart geek/friend, or a mom&pop store..
July 20, 2012 9:31:48 PM

Build it. Its dead simple.
July 20, 2012 9:59:49 PM

Smeg45 said:
Build it. Its dead simple.


Its not "dead simple." I'm a chem E student and I don't exactly have the time to verse myself in all the intricacies of computer hardware and build it. I need to balance the positives with the negatives. Would people on this forum be able to tell me EXACTLY what to buy to get the kind of performance I want with my budget? If yes, then I might seriously consider building my own
July 20, 2012 10:03:30 PM

xB01S0NxBARRYx said:
Its not "dead simple." I'm a chem E student and I don't exactly have the time to verse myself in all the intricacies of computer hardware and build it. I need to balance the positives with the negatives. Would people on this forum be able to tell me EXACTLY what to buy to get the kind of performance I want with my budget? If yes, then I might seriously consider building my own



essentially yes, if you filled out this page, people on the forum will attempt to help you find a build that fits your budget. be sure to be very concise on what you need though(like monitors and OS). there can be some bickering here and there on what part might be better for what purpose but in the end you get to decide what you would rather have.
July 20, 2012 10:05:31 PM

What to buy is actually an easy question.

You can surf any of the threads and people will say here's my awesome build.

Or post a new thread with the template at the top with your budget and purpose and poeple WILL tell you EXACTLY WHAT TO BUY if they were you, if that's what you want.


Your original question seemed more along the lines of whether you have the afternoon to actually put together the parts, install and setup windows, and burn-in and make sure everything works and troubleshooting any issues including warranty stuff should it not go smoothly
July 21, 2012 12:06:20 AM

Yeah sorry about that. This part has me worried though. Cl Scott said that I should buy a not so good computer to get the feel for building one so I don't fry anything. The thing is, i don't want 2 computers and I don't want ok quality stuff only to rip it out and put in great stuff. Making the jump from a basic graphics card on my Alienware to a gtx 690 (a friend has one in his alienware and it looks pretty beast to me) sounds great but I don't want to fry it, which from what I'm hearing, sounds very likely
July 21, 2012 12:10:54 AM

ok, if you are gunshy that you're going to fry yourself just changing a graphics card, then yes, you'll probably mess up the more crucial parts like mobo and cpu mounting.

Sounds like you are in college. My advice is befriend some of the CS majors and/or EE students who might be enthusiasts in this area and they can help you (or willing for a small fee) to do some of this with you hands on.
July 21, 2012 12:39:11 AM

Ok thanks for the help guys. I'm gonna wait and see if I can find somebody to put it together
July 27, 2012 9:26:04 PM

xB01S0NxBARRYx said:
Its not "dead simple." I'm a chem E student and I don't exactly have the time to verse myself in all the intricacies of computer hardware and build it. I need to balance the positives with the negatives. Would people on this forum be able to tell me EXACTLY what to buy to get the kind of performance I want with my budget? If yes, then I might seriously consider building my own


There are no intricacies. This isn't 1995. Your doing chemistry, so you have a brain, figure it out. It isn't hard.
August 3, 2012 2:59:38 AM

Pc's are an awful lot simpler than they were way back when

That said a good compromise would be to find a friend who builds their own machines and ask them to guide you through the process in person

You'll learn a lot and feel better about what's under the hood

I used to own a large regional ISP and I've built several dozen machines but for mission critical servers I still went with either supermicro or higher end dell servers

Matthew
August 3, 2012 3:06:37 AM

Yes, the prospect seems daunting at first, but all you need is a screwdriver. It's easy if you follow the directions.
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