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Best Pre-Built Desktop PCs: All-in-ones, gaming, SFF and budget picks

By Jos ยท 20 replies
Mar 14, 2016
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  1. When buying a new computer you basically have two options: you can either buy pre-built or you can build one yourself. In general the latter will almost always result in better value, performance, and upgradeability -- perhaps the only exception being basic entry-level computers. But going the DIY way also requires knowledge, research and free time.

    If the process of picking parts and building something yourself sounds right up your alley then our PC Buying Guide is a great place to get started. If you need something that works out of the box and is backed by its manufacturer’s service and warranty, or are simply looking for something to recommend to your less DIY-inclined friends, then this is for you.

    We've weighed dozens of expert reviews against our own research and tests, to bring you our picks for best pre-built all-on-ones, gaming systems, small form factor and budget PCs.

    Read the complete article.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,462   +1,741

    Same as on their phones - iLoveHandles :)
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,175   +3,264

    Nice article, all I had to do was skip the inclusion of Apple.
  4. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    Rather than saying that the DYI route requires knowledge it should more properly say 'the DYI route also allows the acquisition of knowledge as you build so this is another good reason to go DYI.' The more computers you build, the more you will learn about them and their components. We all start somewhere. You don't have to know how to build a computer to learn to build computers, no one is an expert on their first build.
  5. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,317   +539

    I'm sure there are people who say the same thing about servicing their own cars - but I'd prefer to pay more and have a dealer or mechanic fix my Camry for me...

    And some people don't have the time to learn how to build their own rigs - nor do they have the time to "waste" screwing up their first few builds until they get it right... This article was clearly labelled for those who can't/won't build their own.... Let it go :)
    vhfan and cliffordcooley like this.
  6. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +423

    It could have said that but it didn't because the article isn't about encouraging or advocating DIY PC building. It is about pre-built computers so there is nothing wrong with that statement, IMO. I also want to make clear that DIY PC building is more than assembling the PC. There is the necessary knowledge of the compatibility of all the component parts and the appropriateness of the selected components to the intended purpose of the PC. Mind you, I'm not saying anyone is saying anything contrary to this but rather I just wanted to make the point.
    Not to be contrary but if you spend enough time in these forums you will come across plenty of people who come here seeking help for first time build problems. Sometimes it is indeed something they have inadvertently screwed up. Perhaps you personally don't know of any who did so but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
  7. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,795   +1,009

    You are comparing a car to a computer. Just think about that for a moment and come back if you figured out one is MUCH easier to build.

    Computers are modular and require zero tools and minimal knowledge to put together. Just like a pre-built computer it would be so easy to go to some place like PCPartPicker and put together a system that will work.

    I'm not saying that building a computer is for everyone but it's far more accessible then Car Repair / Tune-up.
  8. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,795   +1,009

    I would change that to a "anything that can drive a screw". I put together my first PC years and years back with a butter knife. Seemed to be a good substitute for a screwdriver.
  9. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,023   +2,895

    Now why would any slightly technical individual bother with a pre-built?
  10. Peter Farkas

    Peter Farkas TS Addict Posts: 251   +79

    iMac has supreme build and display quality, but under the hood it is mediocre at best and if you take the price tag (especially here in Europe) into account it is a low value offer in my opinion.
    But, if someone needs that 5K display and wants to have a PC that decorates the living room without bothering about the price it is really the best offer out there. I also love that build design but for the purpose I use my PCs it is useless. :(

    I would say it is the deal for rich artists at the moment.

    If there was one with a non-M GTX980/970 version with win 10 pre-installed, I might even consider it. :D (just joking...)

    Also, the pleasure that building your own rig gives is priceless. I have been building my own PCs for 20 years now. I love to do it and happy to do it for friends and family as well.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  11. 3volv3d

    3volv3d TS Addict Posts: 155   +59

    I have built my own PC's for a while, I always make mistakes, I know what I am doing, I just, rush, and forget something or like my most recent build RMA the PSU because it's all of a sudden just died mid build... to find somehow the mobo cable came out the PSU end which you can't see too well in a H440 case.

    So my first tip is... don't start a build at 1am when you are tired, just because you can't sleep.

    That being said, All-in-ones, and net-top / sff PC's, you buy them if you need some kind of "kids homework station" or "media pc" things you don't tamper with too much. But you don't buy a gaming rig for example. Just no. Can't think of anything worse than a parent getting a cheap gaming rig, with cheap generic parts in for their kid to not be able to play games, and end stuck on Minecraft which is, just no again...

    Go big or go home people. Build, Learn, and enjoy the reward.
  12. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Posts: 441   +113

    Alienware and Budget don't belong anywhere near each other.
  13. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,317   +539

    They wouldn't.... But there are a LOT of people who aren't even remotely technical, and they want something pre-built....

    Also, there are people who just don't enjoy building their own, and have plenty of money - or feel the extra money is worth not having to build it themselves....

    Lastly, there are those who have TONS of money and actually feel it is beneath them to do virtually ANYTHING by themselves - that's what they have "people" for...

    This article isn't saying that buying a prebuilt is a good idea (in fact, I think it's clear that the writer would suggest DIY), but for those who want it prebuilt... This article is for you.
  14. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,317   +539

    The skill involved was not my point.... It was the principle.... I know people who would laugh at any "fool" who takes their car to the dealer and gets gouged for an oil change... It's the same principle people here are using when saying "why buy a prebuilt when you could DIY"...

    And while I'm the PC type - I build my own but couldn't change my oil if my life depended on it.... There are "car people" who couldn't build their own PC but change oil and tires without a problem
    misor likes this.
  15. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,317   +539

    Well, they do actually.... Look at the price of the PC he listed in the article....
  16. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,795   +1,009

    I agree. It's not right to call people out for not building their own PC. I just wanted to point out that the barrier for PC building is lower.
  17. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,023   +2,895

    Each to their own, eh...
  18. Julian Maples

    Julian Maples TS Rookie

    You are so absolutely right about the iMac. It IS the best. But it is even better when you run Windows on it. And you can pick up refurbished models at very reasonable prices. And it doesn't go wrong. I have had fast gaming machines that overheat to the extent you can't hear yourself think. Get a refurbished I7 iMac.

    CURLUCKY TS Rookie

    TOTALLY AGREE.........
  20. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 382   +77

    does that include the effort required to open the sexy device and add some reasonable storage to it minus the iPrice? Sexy is nice in pictures, but begins to suffer with a Heap o' TBird external drives lying about, Just to store a Bit o' data at a remotely acceptable speed. MHO, CRAP storage @ ~Two kilobux is iReality, welcome to the monkey-house. I cannot Wait to do 4k video work on a decade-old data storage device.
  21. theruck

    theruck TS Booster Posts: 113   +24

    None of the pictures shows any electric cables. perhaps some new wireless technology techspot forgot to write about

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