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Building a PC....
#346317 04/27/11 12:26 PM
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I know several of you have built your own PCs. I was looking on Newegg's site recently at PC kits, and I'm not getting any sense of any real savings. It seems like I would do as well buying an HP or Dell when it's on a good sale.

I'm looking to replace my Photoshop PC with one that has a reasonably fast processor, moderately-sized Primary drive (500GB is fine), standard DVD drive, a good-sized case that has room for a separate media drive, a good video card and 8-12GB of RAM. That's all pretty standard except for the RAM and maybe the upscale video card. What bugs me about Dell's site is that if you're choosing a setup with 6GB of RAM and want to up it to 12GB, that's like a $200+ upgrade charge....when you're really only adding another 6GB. I can buy a full 12GB matched set from Newegg for a total of ~$150.

Still, though, it seems to come out about the same in the end. I can get a Dell spec'd as I want, a lessor HP but replace the power supply, add a nice video card and the RAM, or build one from a kit, and the pricing seems about the same.

So what's the advantage of building one? Am I missing something?


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Re: Building a PC....
MarkSJohnson #346329 04/27/11 01:54 PM
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I built mine about 2 years ago. My cost, about $2,000. Obviously, I didn't build mine to get it cheaper, although, I probably could have, but that was not my goal. I wanted as reliable and fast a computer that $2,000 would buy at the time. After 2 years, I'm still satisfied with my decision. It's fast and reliable. Also, having just experienced having a $2,000 laptop's motherboard go out on me right after the warranty expired was another reason. I wanted something that would be relatively easy to fix.

Re: Building a PC....
MarkSJohnson #346335 04/27/11 02:53 PM
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My honest recommendation is to go with a Dell but get the minimum RAM, and then order the rest from crucial.com or newegg.com. You don't get to deal with just one vendor for support if you build your own box.


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Re: Building a PC....
pmbuko #346347 04/27/11 03:57 PM
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That's what I was leaning towards.

Is there advantages to the RAM being "matched"? In other words, if I get a system with 6GB but want 12GB, should I buy the 12GB or just add 6GB more to the 6GB supplied?

(Assuming, of course that the RAM type/speed, etc... is the same and there are available slots)


::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::
Re: Building a PC....
MarkSJohnson #346348 04/27/11 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
So what's the advantage of building one? Am I missing something?

There really isn't much (if any) cost savings building your own machine. The only way it works out is if you're trying to do something specialized and it requires you to either buy too many features you don't need, or pick from a high end line from the manufacturer.

What you do get when you build from parts is the ability to have exactly what you want, and have a machine made from standard parts, not the fully integrated system you'll get from a big name maker. The problem with the latter, that other than adding RAM and swapping a hard drive there's not much you can do with mass market PCs. They usually only have room for two HDs, and one optical drive. Their power supplies are often custom, and can't be replaced except with an identical part. Sometimes even if you don't order the maximum RAM the machine can be configured with, they'll still fill all the slots with smaller modules. So while technically you can upgrade the RAM, you have to throw out all that you already have. You also get the satisfaction of doing it yourself. smile

That said, it is ofter still easier to get a pre-built machine, use it until the warranty expires and then buy a new one. Even ones built from parts can only be upgraded so far before the new parts aren't compatible with the motherboard any longer.


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Re: Building a PC....
ClubNeon #346353 04/27/11 04:12 PM
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Mark, no, as long as the sets are matched within themselves, you're fine. In other words, if the system uses triple channel RAM, you'll want to use 3 of the same kind, but the next 3 can be of a different kind.


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Re: Building a PC....
Ken.C #346358 04/27/11 04:54 PM
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Awesome.

Thanks to all of you for the information!


::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::
Re: Building a PC....
MarkSJohnson #346360 04/27/11 05:13 PM
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As always, I think the professional geeks got it covered.

Another issue is the OS. It seems like when you build your own machine, that extra $100 for Redmond throws the value proposition off. When Dell is selling basic machines for ~$300-400 including W7, how can you compete?

That being said, the machines I've built have been noticeably more reliable than the ones I've bought from Dell. But I tend to keep stuff past obsolescence.


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Re: Building a PC....
tomtuttle #346361 04/27/11 05:16 PM
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My home built ones have been highly variable in terms of reliability. Then again, I was buying performance/overclocking parts, so I think they put more testing into making it fast than making it reliable.


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Re: Building a PC....
Ken.C #346362 04/27/11 05:20 PM
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Certainly, compatibility of parts is the biggest obstacle in discouraging me from doing a build. Well, that and time....


::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::
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