General discussion


Already built PCs or Custom built PCs for Business?

By jfuller05 ·
Do you prefer Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. for business? Or does your boss have you build PCs from scratch to save money?

Personally, in my experience, I've ordered parts and built PCs for fellow employees in different divisions, but I couldn't help wondering if ordering a workstation from Dell or HP would have better results in the future (warranty).

What are your thoughts?

Do you build a workstation to save the company money? Or do you go through a manufacturer to buy a workstations?

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'Saving money'

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Already built PCs or Cust ...

Depends on how many systems you have to keep up with. Building from scratch costs often don't include your labor, time you could spend doing other support tasks. They don't include the cost of stocking spares, parts vendors stock for warranty-supported systems.

We build systems only in very special cases, usually systems that perform diagnostic tests on the products we manufacture.

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Sacrificing time/extra parts for money

by jfuller05 In reply to 'Saving money'

Too true about stocking spares, and warranty-supported systems.

I built a computer just for Security (surveilance cameras) and it saved the department a considerable amount of money than if they went with Dell or HP. Also, the Director of the department wanted me too. So, I pushed tasks back and built the computer for him so his budget wouldn't bust.

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by mafergus In reply to Already built PCs or Cust ...

I have always supported purchased PCs as the baseline and customized machines as the exception. It's a lot less hassle that way and I am still amazed at some of the issues that will spring up. Being able to go back to a vendor when you have bizarre issues has been a lifesaver. It is significantly better then having to battle each vendor and fighting the fingerpointing game. I have been there and it's a lot easier to say "(insert major hardware vendor here), make this work", vs getting the video card vendor, the PS vendor and the motherboard vendor to all work on the same problem and not just point fingers.

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Depends on your situation

by jck In reply to Already built PCs or Cust ...

If you have a full-time PC tech that handles just building/maintaining/repairing PCs, building them can be a cost saver.

I can piece together a PC from parts online to the same spec as PCs you can buy from Wal-Mart and other places, and I can build them cheaper. And, I get no wholesale, reseller, or government discount.

Match that with a $9-11 an hour techie, or even better college interns who are working free every can actually save over buying the PC from a manufacturer or retail outlet.

You figure a 3-year warranty from Dell is an extra $150.

If you deploy 150 PCs per year plus fix 25 @ 2-3 hours of labor each. That's enough to pay for your techie and save you on the warranty plus cost savings on the actual hardware.

As well, most PC parts can be gotten with at least 3 year manufacturer warranty...some have 5 year, 10 year, or "limited lifetime". And, stocking a few extra parts is not that big of an issue, unless they are custom top-notch things. And even then, you pay through the nose for them from Dell or HP or Gateway.

So, you can actually end up ahead in certain cases.

But if you're in a small shop, going the pre-config route pays off usually.

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If we had a high demand

by jfuller05 In reply to Depends on your situation

for building PCs, yeah that would be a cost saver. That would also be a fun job. That is one of my favorite parts of IT, building computers.

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Me too

by jck In reply to If we had a high demand

It's kinda cool to see how many PCs you can have on the bench building at once.

One time, when I was in college and was a lab assistant, I saved the business school money by building the PCs for them. I had 11 lined up at once installing MS-DOS 5, putting Novell 3.12 on them, etc.

I was king of the world...or at least I felt like it.

Heck, today I had to go downstairs and figure out a problem that the hardware/network tech people didn't want to have to deal with.

It was a corrupt shortcut. Go figure.

I should log that as a budget waster when I have to go down at twice the cost of a tech. :^0

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Cost Saver? Possibly. Job Saver? Not so much.

by brian In reply to Me too

Being in the Bay area, where a *decent* apartment is over $1,500/month, labor does not come cheap. I can't get a tech for $25/hr, at least not one who can spell Windows.

I'm also not ordering more than 2 systems a month, which also limits the costs savings dramatically. I've had massive labor reduction as a cost savings instead.

Most people let the factory build their cars to order, instead of building one themselves. From my viewpoint, I'd rather spend an hour on the high profile tasks to improve my personal value to the company, instead of spending an hour on building a box.

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From a service stand-point

by mjd420nova In reply to Already built PCs or Cust ...

It is far easier to service a unit that is built by a well known mfgr than something thrown together in an attempt to save money. Non-standard parts tend to get repaired with more non-standard parts and makes it more prone to failure over the long term.

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Building work?

by lars_honeytoast In reply to Already built PCs or Cust ...

*sigh* If any of you have time to build computers during your shift, I question your worth as an employee to the company.

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Custom Built or Preconfigured?

by brian In reply to Already built PCs or Cust ...

I utilize Dell as a vendor, mostly because I don't have time to deal with homebrew configurations.

Warranty is just a start. Technical support of components has been very useful, having the drivers for all of your hardware in one location doesn't hurt either. Parts returns is no big deal when you have one source to contact. Dell is the one holding the parts in stock too, so your overall costs either level out or go down. My favorite part has been when a motherboard needs replacing in a laptop, and they send a tech to install it for me, as well as return the parts to Dell so I don't have to.

For the most part, one stop shopping helps much more than getting someone that specific video card so he/she can play 1942 that much faster. (BTW - Dell will "add on" customizations, if you talk directly to a salesperson, as my desktops now come with "selected" video cards.)

No matter what, it's a tipping point kind of scenario - how many are you doing, what kind of time impact is it having on your other work, and what real advantages is custom building providing your people?

For myself, I am still purchasing MS Office Suite from another vendor, and installing it, as my demand isn't high enough to support volume licensing.

Take a hard look at the savings to hand build, then price out something preconfigured. The difference is your time. What's it costing the company for you to perform the extra search, pricing comparisions, future repairs/returns, and actual build? Is it paying for itself?

The other half is, "What is it costing the company?" Could your efforts be spent elsewhere on higher priority tasks?

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