Tech Tip of the Week: Buying a Budget PC: DIY vs. OEM

By Julio Franco ยท 38 replies
Jul 8, 2010
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  1. Before getting started, we have to admit that going into this we thought our Budget Box would have a hard time competing with the subsidized bloatware-infested desktops peddled by massive system builders. As it turns out, that's not the case at all.

    Read the full article at:

    Please leave your feedback here.
  2. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,144   +911

    Man do you get a better proccessor on the DIY box, and power supply that is actually decent. overall very nice techspot! although I would change the motherboard for one with a better IGP or with the money left over to even reach the cheapest OEM equivilent you could stick a half decent graphics card in!
  3. Not to be rude......

    Your DIY box did "NOT" include the operating system, 1-200 USD.

    That would put it more expensive than prebuilt box's....

    Just saying.....
  4. MarkHughes

    MarkHughes TS Addict Posts: 143   +73

    Theres allways Linux :)
  5. grumpiman

    grumpiman TS Member Posts: 22

    Made me laugh... no O/S and keyboard or mouse (minor details). Another "objective" comparison between pre-built and buld your own. You guys ought to be selling used cars :)
  6. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    And if you do buy Windows 7 Home (which is under $200), you get the actual full version of Windows, not the crappy OEM system restore software that doesn't even have an actual Windows disc (if it even has any system discs at all). So, if down the road, you upgrade your motherboard, you aren't completely hosed like you are with the OEM pre-built units (which have licenses hard-locked to your OEM hardware). And if you'd like to do something like, say, slipstream your installation to include the latest service packs and such for easy re-installation, you can do that with your full version (but not the OEM disc version). I'd say the end benefits warrant a little higher price in the case of the OS here.
  7. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Did you actually read the article, or just glance at the comparison table at the top?

  8. foreverzero89

    foreverzero89 TS Enthusiast Posts: 217

    i have a sub 500 oem box that is better than all of those.
  9. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,144   +911

    They did say in the article that actually it would bring it to the same if not more than the OEM box, but if you lower the proccessor down to the same level as the ones in the OEM boxes it would be the same price but with 2 years extra warrenty and superior parts plus long term upgradabilty for the furture. Basically, unless you like throwing away your computers to get something slightly better than your last BUT is pre-made then the OEM's are for you, If you prefer something that will last longer and is upgradeable for the furture plus in making the PC would have better knowledge and understanding of computer hardware, then Making is the better way.

    Also on a side note you could easily upgrade the DIY computer with a new graphics card and do some decent gaming!
  10. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,144   +911

    I'm guessing its made by acer?
    Kidding, what are the specs?
  11. jackmei2

    jackmei2 TS Rookie

    to me, a budget box is something you are building to use just as a word processor or to surf the internet and email. I don't really care about upgradeability.... I just want it to run and run for a very long time. budget boxes are what I get for people that are doing just that, internet and email. they will probably use it for a long time and then by the time it becomes too slow (hopefully 5+ years), it will be way too obsolete to upgrade and you basically have to buy a new box.

    I mean really, how often would you realistically upgrade components on a budget box? if you are upgrading components every year on a budget box, then you know what? imho you should be building a box that has better components on it that will last longer, ie mid-range systems.
  12. just going on newegg i was able to put together:
    Sempron 2.7
    Biostar a785GE
    3 Gb memory
    350W PSU
    Asus cd/dvde burner
    500Gb 7200 HD
    Saphire Radeon HD 4670 512Mb
    Windows 7 premium
    -and keyboard and mouse
    for a grand total of
    this may not be an amazing system but it certianly out does any walmart special they sell down the road, and for less
  13. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,713   +855

    Up to about 3 years ago, I routinely hand-built budget boxes for friends and family who wanted nothing more than to surf the net, do a little word processing and maybe play a flash game or two. The pricing on individual components made the difference.

    Now these OEM boxes are coming with decent enough hardware plus an OS and a warranty to go that route. There are still some drawbacks - it's a 3-hour drill getting rid of all the crapware they come with and to tweak settings for optimization. But if you search the net (TechSpot's Pricewatch listings are a good place to look), you can find some decent deals under $500 for the basic user.
  14. For OS you could always transfer your exiting OS to the new hardware, which essentially means no OS upgrade. Many dont tend to save costs by transferring OS to the new hardware, and the EULA says you need to wipe out clean the OS from the original machine.

    If you want an fair comparison of the OEM HW and Custom build HW, you need to minus the bundled OS costs which could be 10-20$ max ( OEM OS costs damn cheap and are rarely refunded )
  15. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,472   +126

    The system featured is ACER (emachine) Those go for $298 bucks at Walmart without the Monitor. OS is included, 2GB of RAM, Single Core AMD, Keyboard and mouse plus stereo speakers. But you can buy a factory scratch and dent Gateway (2009) model year 64-bit Quad-core with 4GB of RAM / upgrade to 8GB of RAM, 640GB SATA II, 10/100/1000 nic, HDMI ATI 3200 HD, 7.1 Dolby Digital HD sound, for only $235 bucks plus s/h. If you like to increase the HDD you have 7 SATA II ports and more. OS is Vista 64-bit with a free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Prem 64-bit. This unit doesn't come with the montior, keyboard, mouse and speakers are included.
  16. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    That only works if you bought a full license with your previous PC (in the case of Windows). If you bought an OEM (Dell, Acer, HP, etc.) and didn't pay extra for a full license option, then the license you have is non-transferable, period. There is a reason that OS is a tiny blip on the cost curve of the OEM units - they are given mass licensing deals to include OEM versions of Windows on their products, which are permanently locked to the OEM hardware.

    That's why most don't tend to transfer their OS - they can't. And Microsoft likes this deal, they make decent money on quantity sales of OEM licensing, then when you move to a different computer, you have to buy more from them. I'm not entirely sure how this all works with "upgrade" OS purchases, though... I know in the past, if you upgraded an OEM license of Windows, it was just an upgraded OEM license, and still subject to the same limitations as the original version. Has that changed? Anyone know?
  17. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 843   +38

    Not only do you still need to buy an OS and a keyboard/mouse (which you can get for really cheap), but you also have to remember that you have to buy the computer case (which you can also get for cheap).

    So don't forget to factor in those prices when looking at this.
  18. foreverzero89

    foreverzero89 TS Enthusiast Posts: 217

    Base processor: Core 2 Quad Q8200 (y) 2.33 GHz (95W), 1333 MHz front side bus, Socket 775
    Chipset: Intel G33 Express
    Motherboard: Manufacturer: Asus, Motherboard Name: IPIBL-LB,
    Power supply: 300W
    Memory Installed: 8 GB
    Memory Speed supported: PC2-6400 MB/sec
    Hard drive: 640 GB SATA 3G (3.0 Gb/sec) 7200 rpm
    Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n PCI Express x1 wireless card
    Network (LAN): Integrated 10/100/1000 Base-T networking interface
    Sound/Audio: Integrated High Definition audio, Realtek ALC 888S chipset, Supports up to 8 audio channels
    DVD +/- R/RW 16X 12X +/- DL LS 12X RAM SuperMulti SATA drive
    free upgrade to win 7.
  19. Dells come with fully functional operating system discs.
  20. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    I've had 3 Dell desktops and 4 Dell laptops over the years... None of them have come with OS discs, just their system restore and driver discs.

    Is this something they started recently? And, even if it is an OS disc, is it still an OEM license key that locks it to the hardware? Just curious.
  21. where the hell did you get that for under $500?...IS that with a monitor, etc. too?
  22. foreverzero89

    foreverzero89 TS Enthusiast Posts: 217

    no monitor, just tower and basic keyboard/mouse. FTMFW!
  23. ohhhh. very nice!
  24. Badfinger

    Badfinger TS Rookie Posts: 155

    I'm sorry but the time for on-board video is gone, it's going to get mixed with the CPU soon enough, stick any $30 video card in there instead of that GARBAGE for a huge boost, that's how pathetic that on-board junk is...
  25. the article brings up good points, but i think the article is still flawed. consider your average oem box buyer. if he were too lazy to bother with a diy setup, he's probably too lazy to do any serious upgrading. chances are, he plans to just dump the computer after 2 years or less and buy a new one. i'm one of those guys. the most i'll do is a ram upgrade and a video card upgrade. all oem boxes i've bought could handle that.

    also consider that most oem boxes are thrown in with other accessories (like printers should they be needed). i bought a gateway intel i5 750 with 8gb ram, 1tb drive, 300w psu, radeon 5570 1gb, dvd burner, wifi for around 900 bucks canadian. and they threw in a samsung 23" led monitor for an extra 70 bucks. that was a 350-dollar monitor they sold for 1/5 the price. i tried all the computer shops in my area and none could provide a similar diy system (as of may 2010). they'd be close, but not quite there (short 2 gigs of ram and 250gb of drive space and no vid card plus no os).

    and the most time i spent on it so far is changed the psu to a 500w so i'll be ready for a bigger vid card and added in the hd from my old system. in the future, all i'll do is maybe put in that new card and maybe upgrade the ram. maybe i'll throw in a bluray drive. that's it. 2 years down the road, i buy a new one.

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