To build or not to build?

I am looking at buying a new PC but I can't make up my mind about wheter to build the machine myself or to buy a complete system. I am price-sensitive but I tried choosing components from and the total price was not that different from the price of a similar from Dell. Am I missing something obvious here or Dell prices are really good these days? I use Linux and Dell forces me to buy Microsoft crap I won't use, but even so, the price is really attractive. Thanks!

P.S. Can I just decline the EULA and get a refund for the Microsoft software bundled with the computer?
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  1. Quote:
    P.S. Can I just decline the EULA and get a refund for the Microsoft software bundled with the computer?


    <font color=blue>If you don't buy Windows, then the terrorists have already won!</font color=blue> - Microsoft
  2. About a month ago I was in the same boat as you. I've built my computers from 1990 till I bought my Dell. I took alot of pride in my craft! So you may ask why? The reason, price, quality and price. I couldn't build a system comparable to Dell's specs (4400) model for the same price.

    The Dell prices are VERY competitive when you compare apple to apples. Dell as far as I can tell uses good quality components. Of course sometimes the brands do vary in the parts. For example, I received a WD hard drive with my Dell but I'm sure they use another brand(s) as well.

    But I was afraid they may cut a corner here or there (5400 instead of 7200 RPM drive etc.) since it wasn't their 8200 series. I was surprised I did get a 7200RPM drive.

    They were using Williamette P4's for awhile on the 4400 but that might change. I know they use Northwoods on the 8200.

    One piece of advice. Dell does seem to charge a premium on certain items, such as RAM and Video Upgrades. For example, they wanted $169 for 256 DDR RAM. That's crazy considering I just paid $69 for 256 MB RAM of Crucial Memory.

    One final word is that if you do upgrade the Dell's RAM be sure to get a good brand. They are picky as I found out the hard way.

    Finally, I'm 99% for certain that you can't get a discount for not wanting Windows. I understand your concerns too.....I wish I could tell them to keep Windows, Works and all of the other useless you know what.

    Sorry for the ramble!

  3. I've bought Dell. Nothing really wrong with their PC's, but last I checked you could do better. They might have a deal right now that you can't beat on your own of course. Their cases, motherboards, and powersupply are proprietary (at least they were), so it is a bit of a hastle to upgrade later. It limits you at least.

    Nonetheless, do you have a PC now? Do you feel comfortable opening it up, pulling stuff out, and putting it back in? Have you done minor upgrades like installing a CD-RW and memory before? If so, then I would seriously consider building your own system. Look into both AMD and Intel and see which one you like better. Remember that if you go with Dell you're stuck with Intel.

    Remember that if you build your own PC you have to pay a fortune for software, in which case buying from Dell isn't such a bad idea, but if you don't need software, you should be able to build a much better system on your own compared to what Dell offers. Dell will usually throw in some garbage videocard or memory to make the price reasonable.

    <font color=red>God</font color=red> <font color=blue>Bless</font color=blue> <font color=red>America!</font color=red>
  4. are you looking for monitor/keyboard/mouse/speakers etc. too? Or just the box?

    Anyway, I just did a little comparison for you:


    Item Price Shipping

    Soyo Dragon Ultra $159.00 $50.00
    P4 2.0A Retail $300.00
    256M OCZ PC3000 $84.00
    Enermax CS-A1QX-02 $50.00
    40GB IBM 7200 $75.00
    16X DVD $48.00
    GeForce 4MX Tvout $90.00
    Floppy $15.00
    KB, Mouse $40.00

    Total: $911.00

    Dell Dimension 4400 2.0 without monitor:

    1206, plus usually about $100 shipping.

    Granted I'm probably a little off here and there (you can't decline speakers, etc) but you get the point. If you're going to go linux, you'll save yourself 2 or 300 bucks.

    <i>It's always the one thing you never suspected.</i>
  5. if your going with a dell, only buy when you have good discounts, like a p4 2ghz with much good stuff gor like 600 after mailin and other rebate
  6. Ignore the Re:***

    It cost OEM's less money when they put refurbished parts into their "new" systems, also it can cost less they buy bulk. But you never know which deal they got so good luck with them.
  7. Have you called Dell in person? You'd be surprised the amount of haggling the folks over there are empowered with...they can come down even on the sale prices ;)

    And with the poor luck I've had lately with online parts vendors, I'm ready to give that method up until I get enough volume to get a distribution contract with a reliable mass vendor. These online jerks don't want to play neither honest nor ethical.

    If I don't get my 90THz AMD Quadraplex system soon, I'm afraid I may just combust right here.
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