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

By Julio Franco ยท 52 replies
May 13, 2010
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  1. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    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.
  2. TJGeezer

    TJGeezer TS Enthusiast Posts: 385   +10

    The first DIY project I ever tried involved putting a brand-new, $250 Seagate 25MB HDD into my Xerox-brand 8086-based XT. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I'm old.) My wife and I did it together and felt so much satisfaction that, when 286's came out, we bought a big roomy case and built our own from scratch. We learned some things - like, I was better researching the components and finding parts in the bins at the San Jose Fry's store, but she had a better instinct for fitting it all together - where to run the wires, how the clip works on that memory stick, whether to apply some force or stop and take a closer look.

    I don't think we've ever not had a system build in progress since then. I suppose we're just natural-born geeks or something. A long time ago, I stopped comparing the costs with what a prebuilt machine would cost. Somewhere along the way, that kinda stopped being the point.

    One of those builds in particular still stands out in memory. It was in the late 1990s, putting together a machine for middle-of-the-road use with business apps. After I checked outputs on the used PSU I forgot to unplug it and when my wife hooked up the mobo all the magic smoke came out. The office stank of burning epoxy for weeks, but at the moment when the smoke started to rise my wife and I looked at each other, and started to laugh. I don't think we stopped laughing for at least ten minutes. I mean- we'd been waiting to see the magic smoke for more than 10 years, and when we finally did, the main thing we noticed was how awful the magic smelled.

    Hey, bang for the buck, or making the box your own motorcycle-style, or winning your geek credentials, or whatever - that's all fine. We build our own because it's fun.
  3. Ok, I've been building computers going on 15yrs now and have seen quite alot of changes along the way....I like to refer to it as your classic car vs. the newer cars scenario, back in the day manufactures all over the world took pride in there work and made sure they were putting out a product that would last. Well in today's world you get what you pay for period, If you go to Walmart or any of those other big box stores and buy a computer for 300-700 and think your getting a good deal well I'm sorry to tell you but your grossly mistaken...A 300-700 dollar computer equals a 1yr warranty with crap components that will more than likely not last the warranty period. I personally enjoy building PC's for myself as well as for my customers. No matter what type of machine I'm assembling from your run of the mill PC to your Enthusiast level gaming rig it's the pure satisfaction of taking pride in my work and building something that's gonna last that makes me love what I do. Now I'm not saying you can't get a quality built box but be prepared to pay twice what you would to build a comparable PC yourself. In this article even though there built PC was more expensive take note that the parts they used were high-end, name brand components, the majority of components in the other PC's i.e. "Motherboard, PSU, case, Fans, ram ect... are off-brand and more than likely built to the same quality standards as they're 300 dollar machine.

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