Tech Tip of the Week: Buying an Enthusiast PC - DIY vs. OEM

By on May 13, 2010, 3:42 AM
When it comes to buying a new desktop PC, any hardware buff will tell you there's nothing better than building your own machine. If not for the enjoyment of putting all the components together, then simply for the comfort that comes with knowing you are getting high quality parts.

However, going the homebrewed route isn't everyone's cup of tea. You have to research and purchase every item, assemble it all, and troubleshoot any issues along the way. The time and expertise required to build a new computer drive some to purchase pre-built systems from companies like HP, Lenovo or Dell but just how much would you be overpaying? Is it really worth the effort to build your own rig?


With that in mind, we've chosen three popular desktop series, configuring them as closely as possible to our own Enthusiast's PC. After the table below, we'll briefly dissect each offering to determine how it fares against our home-built machine.

Read our Tech Tip of the Week.




User Comments: 52

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Guest said:

It used to be fun to build your own box, back when all you had to do was plug in a few addon boards and connect a few cables, but these days, when you're practically breaking your fingers installing 2 kg coolers, it's becoming really annoying.

DIY is still good for those who cannot afford a high end machine in one go and those who want to customize their boxes to death, but for everyone else it's a useless effort. If I had the dough to get a high end machine, I would never lay a finger on a PC component again, even though I've been doing it since the 286 days.

kaonis92 said:

Last time I bought a pre-built pc was when i was 11 (2004!). One of the reasons I build my pc's myself is that I never buy all the components at the same time...

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I'm curious why the custom built system didn't have an operating system included.

Guest said:

I built my first machine back in 1999 and have never looked back. I'm up to version 9 of my rig which I call The Real Deal. Custom shop rigs a very overpriced and although great, the experience of reading reviews, checking the various vendors for prices, deciding on Intel or AMD, nvidia or ATI is priceless and satisfying. My Q6600 is still kicking and doing 3.5 on air.

nazartp said:

Response to the Guest at the beginning of the thread. Except for boutiques who offer a good range of the parts, but overcharge heftily, I can never get exactly what I want from any OEMs.

I've been building computers since '89. Every once in a while I will cave in, go buy a pre-made box, look inside and return it to the store. Majority of the boxes use PSUs inferior to the ones that I would choose, cases that lack sufficient airflow and not always, but quite often, very dumbed-down BIOS that allow only very basic tweaking. So to your point of not willing to lay a finger on a spare part, even if I would buy an OEM, I would need to change at least the PSU.

Talking about boutiques, I just do not feel like overpaying about 30% for their services. I have enough money, just can't find justification for their fees. I'd rather add another video card or spring for an IPS monitor.

Guest said:

I was actually going to build the PC I have now myself 2 years ago, and had selected all the parts. But when I brought the hardware list to my local computer store (and I mean local, as in small independent store), they offered to put it together for free. So I was lazy and had them do it. Even gave me a 1 year guarantee where if anything went wrong I could simply drop it off there and they'd fix it (much quicker driving downtown than sending it off to California).

Did change the video card, PSU and RAM later though myself. Quite honestly, even without the free PC building service offered by my local store, I'd say the simple cost savings that you get by not going with a pre-built PC is well worth going the DIY route, much like anything DIY nowadays.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Tekkaraiden said:

I'm curious why the custom built system didn't have an operating system included.

I agree and think bot including one was a mistake. Oem licences are not that expensive but the OS and the systemlevel warentee are often a major decisionmaking point to me. In general though I agree that for higher end rigs it starts to make sense to build yourself as the "options" are what kills you on the prebuilt computers. However for the entry to mid level machines you can early beat a prebuilt.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

compdata said:

Tekkaraiden said:

I'm curious why the custom built system didn't have an operating system included.

I agree and think bot including one was a mistake. Oem licences are not that expensive but the OS and the systemlevel warentee are often a major decisionmaking point to me. In general though I agree that for higher end rigs it starts to make sense to build yourself as the "options" are what kills you on the prebuilt computers. However for the entry to mid level machines you can early beat a prebuilt.

Because Dell, HP etc... don't offer their computers with anything else other than Windows, as if you built the machine, you could put OSX on (although it would be difficult) Linux Distro or if your building a PC, the chances of you having a copy somewhere of windows is fairly high.

Anyway... I built a computer back in 2006 i think it was? back when AMD athlon X2's were ruling the roost until the Core2Duo's came out. I am stilling using my AMD to this day in my Gaming Rig, still runs Crysis due to the fact I can upgrade parts.

I would never recommend a pre-built system because almost all components are of inferior quality,

Motherboard is usually rubbish and BIOS is rubbish, Heatsink is usually bog standard and don't even get me started on the PSU's Dell use! Had a friend who's got a dell and wanted me to upgrade the graphics card so they can actually play games but in doing so we'd be way over the ammount of power the PSU supplied so I had to get him to buy a new PSU as well, even worse, When I call Dell about it they told me and I quote "Some of our systems are powered slightly differently compared to standard parts you can get in a shop, for example your model is powered backwards, you know, as in the power is sent in the opposite direction compared to a standard computer setup"

He then went on to say how it is superior to "component longativity" Meanwhile I put him on hold and was laughing my little ribs off! Then when he shut up I said i'm replacing the PSU anyway because he just told me utter "Sh*t" he then told me not to swear and that it would invalidate the warrenty and he was "100% certain" the computer would explode when I did it, So i did and guess what??

It worked! this was 2 years ago and it still runs Mass effect 2 and everything else fine!

So now I refuse to actually purchase dell desktops ever again, don't mind their laptops but desktops, always build, once you have you'll never look back!

LightHeart said:

Like Guest, a couple years ago, I went to my local independent computer store and worked with them to pick out all the componets and had them put it together and got a warranty. I got all the original boxes and materials that came with each componet. I have since upgraded the memory (no big deal) but have not had to upgrade anything else yet, though next thing will be the graphics card. It's a nice system and I'm quite happy I went this hybrid route.

Guest said:

I am very critical of this article, as it lists some very limited options. Firstly, you should have considered the New Gateway Gaming desktops (as rewied by yourselves). The cheaper one costs $1300 and has the same graphics card and superior processor. Frankly, you really missed one here. Furthermore, the new Dell hexacore machine also offers exceptional value for money, even with an HD 5870 for less than your machine. You have been, frankly, way too rigid about the machines you choose. A wider range would have been much better.

Oh, and by the way, there are no savings to be had comparing the Gateway rig you reviewed and your DIY rig. Furthermore, the hexacore system is even cheaper, and is definately cheaper than your enthusiast build.

xempler said:

I just built my first system last year. Took some time to do the research but once I bought all the parts it was FUN. And it's a 1000% better than any pre-built system I ever bought. I can pretty much run any PC game on it and runs smooth as butter.

Johny47 said:

After owning a crappy Dell laptop(Inspiron I think) a while ago that cost almost £350, I learnt quite easily off the internet how to build my own PC, sites like this one for a good example are great for learning the basics or more(I didn't know about techspot back then).

So I collected some basic but quite good quality parts and built my own PC, it wasn't all that powerful just a dual core system with 2GB of DDR2 and a mid range graphics card(at the time) and surprisingly it could run alot of games at a nice setting and it cost only a little more than the laptop I mentioned above which is great in my opinion.

Honestly if I had enough money I would love to buy an Alienware PC(I often customize a PC on their site just to see how high I can get it to cost, came to about £7K once =P) but I really love building my own, it's just a nice feeling after you put all the stuff together then switch it on and it works =)

Guest said:

I sure wish we made a thousand dollars on the F131! Our margins are much lower on that system.

I do not see a motherboard included in your specs on your home built, and you leave out the price of the OS. Also, our F131 chassis, a Silverstone FT01, costs much more than an Antec 900. And it's made out of aluminum, not plastic and steel.

We do appreciate being included in articles like this, thank you!

Chris Morley

MAINGEAR

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have done partial upgrades to computers for a years now, but it wasn't until about 2 years ago I built my own. I will agree there is more time spent in it, but to an extent I enjoy looking at the parts and reading the reviews.

After going the DYI route, and putting everything together from scratch I don't think I will ever buy an OEM computer again. The ability to customize your machine, and keep on a budget when doing it DYI is unmatched. And I will admit you don't get a warranty with it, and you have to do wall your own work, but you get such better parts.

Even just upgrading an OEM computer to match mine I don't think you would ever get the same performance. OEM use too many cheap products that the average consumer doesn't care about (like Mobo and PSU).

And you don't have to deal with all the bloat-ware. You only have what you install on it! For desktops you just can't beat DYI. Period.

Guest said:

As my office PC, i always bought it OEM, something under $400 on sale. And it has had done the job great for years.

As my main Server/gaming rig/media encoder etc etc... i have always built it from scratch.And i will do so till the end of my days.

-KGB.

nazartp said:

Guest said:

I sure wish we made a thousand dollars on the F131! Our margins are much lower on that system.

I do not see a motherboard included in your specs on your home built, and you leave out the price of the OS. Also, our F131 chassis, a Silverstone FT01, costs much more than an Antec 900. And it's made out of aluminum, not plastic and steel.

We do appreciate being included in articles like this, thank you!

Chris Morley

MAINGEAR

Chris, they have it baked in into the price - if you check the building guide, they use a $110 ASRock motherboard. And I don't think they allude that you make $1,000 on each machine - they mention that you do not build those out of charity and you provide post-sale service. It is a question of investing your own time into research, build and support vs. buying from a company like yours. Time or money, basically.

Self-built rig is not for everyone. It requires sufficient technical expertise as well as willingness to take risk of something going wrong and forgoing any technical support.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I haven't bought a pre-built machine in years and years. You look at any of those OEM rigs and there is always some component that just isn't up to snuff - and usually it's the PSU. Another problem is they come loaded with crapware. You have to spend a full day just deleting all the junk they want you to buy and cleaning up the hard drive before you can even use the damn thing. Lastly, a lot of the hardware has been made proprietary to that manufacturer and you can't just go out and get replacement parts. You HAVE to go back to the manufacturer for replacements/upgrades.

I like the fact that I know exactly what is in my box, that they are all quality components with the latest drivers/firmware upgrades, that I can swap any of those components out with newer ones with ease, and that I've loaded on the hard drive ONLY what I want to be on it.

Having said that, I've encouraged a number of friends who are ready to upgrade to purchase the refurbished e-machines you see advertised all the time (very often posted on TechSpots "Pricewatch" deals section). You get a pretty big bang for your buck (normally around $400). And for the casual user who just wants to check e-mail, watch YouTube videos and do an occasional letter, these machines are perfect for that.

Guest said:

I built my own back in 2007 or 2008. EVGA board with 680i chipset, EVGA 8800GTS. When it came out, MB was lauded as best thing since apple pie. Then 9 months down the road, started having issues. Sound issues, memory controller issues. When you build your own, you have to diagnose and fool with your own support. Never again! Way easier to pay a little extra and make it be someone else's job, if their is a problem. The time you save is well worth the extra money. That is why I bought Maingear. I want strong customer support as well; no risk.

Lurker101 said:

My first desktop build, after migrating from a few latops was my first, from scratch build and I loved every second of building it. Thanks to building it myself, I know every square inch of my machine, which makes diagnosing any faults a breeze.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

I am very critical of this article, as it lists some very limited options. Firstly, you should have considered the New Gateway Gaming desktops (as rewied by yourselves). The cheaper one costs $1300 and has the same graphics card and superior processor. Frankly, you really missed one here. Furthermore, the new Dell hexacore machine also offers exceptional value for money, even with an HD 5870 for less than your machine. You have been, frankly, way too rigid about the machines you choose. A wider range would have been much better.

Oh, and by the way, there are no savings to be had comparing the Gateway rig you reviewed and your DIY rig. Furthermore, the hexacore system is even cheaper, and is definately cheaper than your enthusiast build.

We didn't include the Gateway FX series because it isn't customizable on the company's website. It simply varied too much to provide an apples to apples comparison with our Enthusiast build. Likewise, the Dell machine uses an entirely different platform.

A quick breakdown comparing our machine to the $1,300 Gateway FX6831-01:

Yes, for $1,300 the Gateway rig is an incredible value for someone lacking the time or knowledge to build their own PC. It indeed offers a slightly better processor (i7-860 -- which slightly boosts the i5-750's clock and adds HT), the same GPU, more storage space (1.5TB), 4GB more RAM, a Windows 7 license, and it even throws in a basic keyboard and mouse. However, it doesn't include a solid-state drive, a Blu-ray drive, a dedicated sound card, and no PCIe x16 slots are available.

I just configured a build identically to the Gateway on Newegg (Windows 7, 8GB of RAM, 1.5TB HDD, 750W PSU, keyboard/mouse and all) -- it came out to $1,216. That's $84 cheaper before combo deals, rebates and other discounts -- not to mention that I slapped it together in less than ten minutes, so there are probably better value parts. It also ships without bloatware, most of the parts have a lengthier warranty than one year, and again, components like the PSU, motherboard and chassis are almost surely superior. So again, home-built prevails.

Guest said:

The Guest at the bottom you made a rookie mistake in your build. Never buy an Nvidia motherboard! So i can see why you would prefer an OEM machine.

Alot of research has to go into component selection when building, you need to browse thru forums looking for issues with certain boards and memory. The first computer I built was a 386 many moons ago been doing this for along time. I have never bought an OEM machine and never will. For those of you considering building your own, please try to get a much information as possible before you start selecting component either thru guides like this on internet or even just joining a forum and asking for advice from advanced builders!

DryIce said:

I don't know if there are many people like me, but even if building my own computer was slightly more expensive I would still build it myself because it's fun. Call me weird, but I really enjoy shopping around for computer parts that give me the best value for my money, and I love putting them together into a working machine.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

You are far from alone in that respect, DryIce.

Guest said:

That is what makes you an enthusiast and separates you from the mainstream crowd.

Guest said:

i too love to tinker with pc's. Regardless of price difference i would build my own purely for the pleasure. Plus I have piece of mind knowing i have used components that are good quality.

Not everyone has a bottomless wallet, me included, so its nice to be able to build a beast of a machine over time instead of needing to remortgage my house to buy it one go.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

With the wealth of information and videos on the internet there isn't really an excuse for any slightly tech-savvy person to defer to OEM manufacturers. Support, warranties, etc. are very overrated because you'll spend £10 in phone bills and wait weeks for a replacement. Also by the time a component fails, it will have probably depreciated to half its value and would be more efficient just to buy a newer part.

Plus as mentioned above you would be missing out on the sense of self-fulfilment, and I don't think it just applies to "enthusiasts" either.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I very rarely put together a whole new computer. Usually I just upgrade the motherboard, CPU and RAM, and keep the rest of the components the same. Back in the old days you could upgrade just the CPU or RAM, keeping the same motherboard, but all these newfangled chipsets ended that.

But when I put together my system about a year and a half ago, I was going new from top to bottom, having decided I would keep my old system intact and use it as a second computer. I shopped around for the equivalent components, and it always came up more expensive, and most importantly I did not know what kind of motherboard, RAM, or PSU that I was getting. And then I end up having to pay for some visual crap that I don't want. I just put it all together, and still was about $500 less than the equivalent system OEM.

I suppose it I had more money, I might buy an OEM computer with a proper water cooling set up, with good components and good warranty. That's really the only thing I would buy a complete computer for, is a warranty.

tonylukac said:

With the sale prices in the Chicago Tribune for OEMs and the troubles I had in building my ASUS, I wouldn't build one again. First was the UV cathode's ballast causing the motherboard not to post 1 out of 3 times. Then, there was the Seagate hard disk firmware problem, which took 1000 clicks of the mouse to find the fixing firmware on their website; it wasn't one of the serial numbers in their list so they wouldn't let me have it even tho the firmware upgrade fixed its problem. Then, the Radeon tv tuner video card drivers don't work with the chore I had in mind; converting my vhs tapes to dvd. It records tv via antenna ok, but sound on vhs tapes is choppy and unacceptable. Lucky I had a lot of time 2 winters ago to build it. How do those computer shops do it (for free)? There is a purpose for those Indian support people and that is to support something like this. I am in the business and I would never assemble a computer for free. I wouldn't expect Fry's to either.

tonylukac said:

You also forgot that most OEM computers on sale come with monitors and printers at a significant discount.

Guest said:

Last year, after having built my own PC's for both myself , family members and friends for 10 years I found myself wanting a new gaming rig and having no motivation to build it myself. After doing some research I decided to buy a machine from ibuypower.com. I chose them over Alienware as more component choices were available.

I was able to use the same process in picking components as I would when building my own machine. A wide variety of choices is available for each component starting with the case, then it's on to choosing PSU, HD, MB, RAM, video, sound, cooling options ect.

I ended up with a high quality PC built to my own specs, I just didn't have to build it myself. The build quality is outstanding, a better job than I could have done myself, as I don't build machines everyday like the techs do at ibuypower or any of the companies mentioned in the article.

There are many companies similar to ibuypower that offer a ton of customization options, good prices and quality. I think when so many choices are available in the marketplace it comes down to motivation. If you want to tinker and build your own, go ahead, you can do so and build a machine for a price that is competitive with most system builders.

Guest said:

I've built the last 5 rigs I've owned. I would never consider buying a rig built by a commercial vendor. I was burned a few times in the 90's buying systems that had a lot of crap I would never need nor use. I finally learned a lesson and started building my own rigs. Much cheaper, (dollar wise), than they can be purchased ready-to-go from some mass marketing venue. And, it's fun putting a rig together yourself.

Guest said:

Personally I love building my computers and to be honest it's not overly complicated to put part A in the part A slot even if some manual reading is required for newbies. The more difficult aspect of computer building is customizing with water and case mods and to some degree o/c optimizing.

Simply if your afraid to put your hands inside of a computer your still better off choosing the parts and getting it built by a wholesale for $100 or whatever. That way you can choose every part of the computer and get a good cost rate on the parts without having to put it together yourself. Keeping your warranty.

- If it works out cheaper to buy a prebuilt computer than go for it

- If the prebuilt doesn't have the parts you want go for your own parts and get the pros to build it for reasonable price.

- If you want a great looking custom build but don't know how to build it you'll be up for some money and labor costs to get a pro build e.g alien-ware or other high end custom builders.

Nevercheck said:

Guest said:

I sure wish we made a thousand dollars on the F131! Our margins are much lower on that system.

I do not see a motherboard included in your specs on your home built, and you leave out the price of the OS. Also, our F131 chassis, a Silverstone FT01, costs much more than an Antec 900. And it's made out of aluminum, not plastic and steel.

We do appreciate being included in articles like this, thank you!

Chris Morley

MAINGEAR

Ty for responding, dont often see actual responses from the suppliers, and yes i agree, Motherboard is an expensive and very critical component

Also, what about upgrades or extras? Does the dell have 2pci-ex1 slots for... say TV tuner cards or wireless cards?

Motherboard upgrades are important, even if you buy an oem system, are you never going to want to upgrade your graphics? is that even possible? the components that arent included in some of the builds are important...what about custom cooling? not necessarily water cooling or passive, but just extra fans. When i Build computers, i always put at LEAST 2 extra fans in, and often replace the fans that come stock (often too loud and aftermarket fans, if you look closely for them have an extended lifespan) in cases. So as this is a good guide, i dont think that it is complete.

I have built many computers, varying from High-end watercooled massively overclocked gaming systems to HTPC's and gateways (not the brand) If you ARE buying an oem system, you dont pay just for parts, you pay for the support, and if you know little to nothing about computers or hardware, i would spend the extra money and have someone else build you a rig that has little risk involved.

Also noticing, i understand why the OS wasnt included, it is not the same price everywhere, and not fair to add on to price, or if you have an old os you will install, it is free. But what about free software with the OEM? Do any of them include say MS Office? that in itself could be a costly upgrade. What about the (free) Antivirus programs (although often just a trial) Just a thought...

Anyways Big fan of Techspot, read a ton of articles, but rarely respond, but this article is great start to what could be tedious if you started looking for every single component, but this is a good basis.

Let me know if i am way off base here, will check soon...

-Hardwarenerd

Guest said:

Omitting the motherboard is the biggest flaw of your article.

As I am sure you are aware, prices range from less than $100 to mare than $500 for a P55 motherboard, which can make a significant difference.

Without knowing which motherboard is used in those builds; I say it is apples to oranges.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Jeez folks, give us a little credit. We absolutely did NOT exclude a motherboard from the price. To quote an earlier comment by nazartp:

Chris, they have it baked in into the price - if you check the building guide, they use a $110 ASRock motherboard. And I don't think they allude that you make $1,000 on each machine - they mention that you do not build those out of charity and you provide post-sale service. It is a question of investing your own time into research, build and support vs. buying from a company like yours. Time or money, basically.

Perhaps it was a mistake leaving it off the table in this tip but it was certainly factored into the price.

nigelle said:

There are some characteristics that I do not accept : hidden partition for recovery, tattooed machine where you have to keep together at least your motherboard and your disk and your Windows. This eliminate many PC manufacturers. Others that I don't like : bloat ware installed and difficult to completely remove (Norton or MacAffee), recovery CD/DVD (instead of genuine Windows), low quality components (as the disk in my daughter PC changed before 3 months).

So I insist to choose myself the elements of my configuration and I check in specialized sites their performances and reliability.

We are lucky to have in Paris, Montgallet street with approximately 30 PC components shops in less than 200 meters and at least one serious company with good reputation (out of Paris for lower labor cost but with a shop in Paris) that sells on internet components or assembled PC (fixed cost for assembly) with 2 years warranty : that means some competition and not too high cost... As I am lazy and have a bad back, I buy to this company an assembled PC with my list of components.

Unfortunately in France 1 US dollar = 1 Euro in the PC industry...

Badfinger said:

I can still put together a more than adequate system for MOST Windows users for under $1000 especially if an OS is already licensed and doesn't need purchased.

--

Good Linux PC, a lot less $.

--

My system is a E8400 CPU on a P35 mobo, a 5850 video card, 64bit 7, 6 gigs of DDR2-1066, Turtle Beach Riviera sound card, 7200RPM SATA HD's, and I am perfectly content.

I am knowledgable about tweaking Windows however, so I suspect I have my bloat probably better contained than 99% of users, which definitely helps.

Guest said:

Just built one new i7 recently. I think a majority of high end gamers prefer to build their own rig. It's like street creed; want to be a street racer, gotta get the hands dirty. Boys in Lambos are the ones usually buying pre-build sets - kind'a for show - probably can't even play a decent game. I'd say if anyone can fix an IKEA furniture, they can certainly build a PC. The real skill lies in the neatness and heat management.

arkantos said:

there are people like me that is fascinated with assembling things, I will still go with the DIY.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

Sorry, i'm too thrifty...and newegg service is so much better. Definitely building mine, fun too and give you the most control.

Guest said:

Been building my own PC's for over 15 years and worked out I can build the same system for up to 4 or 5 hundred dollars than most of the big name companies charge

Guest said:

Hm..

i7 930 @ 4,2 GHz

3x2GB CSX 1600 CL9 (or 8 or 7, whatever I choose)

HD 5770 HAWK MSI - 950 to 1050 MHz on GPU

Foxconn BloodRage X58

40GB SSD from Intel (fast one) + 1TB SeaGate

Auzentech Bravura 7.1 (best soundcard for headphones and music and gaming in one package)

850W Corsair HX

I dont think you cant even buy this completed. :) Thats exactly why I build my own PCs, and friends.. and other ppl ones.

It work flawless, its really fast.. well, except graphic card, its perfect. :) But Im more PhotoShop user, than gamer.. so its ok.

Buying OEM, is ok if you dont understand PCs, but if you do and you have some time.. its better to do it yourself.

KBerger said:

DIY is what I prefer, for all the above mentioned reasons. And in MY location DIY is the best option almost in all areas of life.

Buying a pre-built system is, in my opinion, only preferable if you're buying a Mac, and that's what I recommend to the people torturing me with questions about the best pre-built desktop.

HP, unfortunately, hasn't impressed me as one delivering that surpisingly good quality. On one occasion the CD-Drive of a HP branded desktop couldn't read a genuine MS Win2000 installation media... even though it was a Japanese version of Windows, I see no difference.

Guest said:

Hey!

I do agree that you ARE able to save some money building your own rig, but let me tell you that OEMs can compete with custom built ones. Why? Let's see.

Example:

Look at an Alienware Aurora.

Yes, I know it costs 300$ more than custom built rigs but you have to take this into consideration too. Aurora's come with High Quality water cooling, neat design features on cases that a cutom builder can never replicate ie.custom lights - not the cheap looking ones, high quality cases, good looking inside and out, WAY better cable managment, easy upgrades, great design, and you save a way lot of time, as you know, not everyone has the leisure to build one.

Also, don't forget that they also include the OS which is a 64-bit W7, mouse, pad, keyboard, and a one year warranty. Let me put it to you this way. If you build a pc and something goes wrong, you'll have to call up different companies for different parts, while if you buy from an OEM, you just tell them what's wrong to your computer and let them figure it out themselves, saves you a whole lot of time and they might even replace a part or even the entire rig. I have built custom rigs and I think OEMs are better with pre-built because of the bundles they have with it. I think the misconception is when you guys search for PCs from OEMs that aren't meant for true gaming.

I mean c'mon. I think if you guys do more research on OEM products and their benefits it's definitely something to think about. Honestly, you don't want to find gaming pcs on HP, DELL, or GATEWAY. It's more like ALIENWARE, IBUYPOWER, CYBERPOWERPC, MAINGEAR, all which are meant for gaming. Basically. it's like Lexus from Toyota, Acura from Honda and the likes. I basically am the type of person who would spend their time on much more productive stuff than build a pc. Just play the game when I want to, and not worry about anything with it.

Guest said:

Built my box almost 2.5 years ago now and dropped $1.2k on it - it was a Barebone kit, which I had to supply my own OS, cooler and optical drive. frankly, all but three of the components tanked within a year - not all at once though.

First the Mobo, then the Hard drive, followed by PSU and finally the RAM went. The mobo was XFX (780i), Hard drive was some random company that you don't think of when it comes to Hard drives, the PSU was a 600w Ultra components and the RAM was 2gb DDR2 XFX.

The only parts that survived were the 8600GTS Over clocked by EVGA (and even though it's been replaced, it still works beautifully - I was getting 60FPS in COD:WaW settings high), the Q6600; which I'm still using - not OCed, and the Case; Aluminus by Ultra Products - but it's a case, not much to break, though the HDD racks leave many things to be desired. Like not falling out randomly.

right now my machine looks like:

Q6600

EVGA 790i ULTRA

4Gb Corsair DDR3

EVGA GTX 260

750Watt XIGMATEK PSU

320Gb Hitachi

750Gb WD Caviar Black

All said and done - the machine probably would have cost me $1.5k-ish had I just bough all the parts right away. But because I messed around with the Barebone first (1.2k, when only about $500 of it kept working) I ended up having to spend an additional 1.5k to replace the mobo, PSU, RAM, and the HDD (with the Caviar Black) - the GTX and the additional hard drive were recent additions - bringing the total I spent on this rig close to 3k when the parts only worth 1.6kish.

Moral of the story - avoid barebones like the plague. Just because the parts have been picked out by someone who works in the industry doesn't mean they are good or will work well together.

I'm not the only one that I've talked to that's been burned by a Barebone kit purchase.

It'll cost around the same all said and done as buying the parts separately, but when you buy the parts individually, you get exactly what you want and, provided you've done your research, everything will work together.

Guest said:

You realize that just like how Toyota now own Lexus, Dell now owns Alienware?

they used to be good - and not they are starting to sub out high-qual parts for cheaper ones - to increase their profit margins.

Guest said:

Well said nazartp.

RealXboxMaster said:

burty117 said:

compdata said:

Tekkaraiden said:

I'm curious why the custom built system didn't have an operating system included.

I agree and think bot including one was a mistake. Oem licences are not that expensive but the OS and the systemlevel warentee are often a major decisionmaking point to me. In general though I agree that for higher end rigs it starts to make sense to build yourself as the "options" are what kills you on the prebuilt computers. However for the entry to mid level machines you can early beat a prebuilt.

Because Dell, HP etc... don't offer their computers with anything else other than Windows, as if you built the machine, you could put OSX on (although it would be difficult) Linux Distro or if your building a PC, the chances of you having a copy somewhere of windows is fairly high.

Anyway... I built a computer back in 2006 i think it was? back when AMD athlon X2's were ruling the roost until the Core2Duo's came out. I am stilling using my AMD to this day in my Gaming Rig, still runs Crysis due to the fact I can upgrade parts.

I would never recommend a pre-built system because almost all components are of inferior quality,

Motherboard is usually rubbish and BIOS is rubbish, Heatsink is usually bog standard and don't even get me started on the PSU's Dell use! Had a friend who's got a dell and wanted me to upgrade the graphics card so they can actually play games but in doing so we'd be way over the ammount of power the PSU supplied so I had to get him to buy a new PSU as well, even worse, When I call Dell about it they told me and I quote "Some of our systems are powered slightly differently compared to standard parts you can get in a shop, for example your model is powered backwards, you know, as in the power is sent in the opposite direction compared to a standard computer setup"

He then went on to say how it is superior to "component longativity" Meanwhile I put him on hold and was laughing my little ribs off! Then when he shut up I said i'm replacing the PSU anyway because he just told me utter "Sh*t" he then told me not to swear and that it would invalidate the warrenty and he was "100% certain" the computer would explode when I did it, So i did and guess what??

It worked! this was 2 years ago and it still runs Mass effect 2 and everything else fine!

So now I refuse to actually purchase dell desktops ever again, don't mind their laptops but desktops, always build, once you have you'll never look back!

LMAO.....Burty you awesome dude. Again, I 100% agree with you on this. I couldn't say it better than you...lol

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Yesterday I Couldn't Even Spell "System Integrator", Now I Are One...!

All of you are aware that all the computer manufacturers' "system integrators" are doing, is shopping for the same parts we do, then putting them into cases that are too small and poorly ventilated to boot.

Well, except for Bestec PSUs and Tri-Gem motherboards. Nobody in their right mind would buy them and put them in any case whatsoever, whether well ventilated or not. Yet verily, "system integrators" do exactly that.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Indeed captain, that pretty much wraps it up. Along with seeing more profit upfront (charging more for less), I imagine it also pads margins in the long-term via systemic obsolescence heh. I rarely see OEM systems with warranties beyond one year unless you pay through the nose. Once the machine fails -- and it will, probably sooner rather than later with the corners they cut -- the consumer is basically forced to buy another computer.

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