General discussion


Home Built or Retail PC

By KTM99 ·
I'm interested in knowing the opinion of others. I'd like to know if people are buying or building their home PC's.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

1 vote for build your own

by maxwell edison In reply to Home Built or Retail PC

I had some fun with a similar question some time ago. You may be interested in seeing it.

I still build my own systems.

Collapse -

Still build my own

by TheChas In reply to Home Built or Retail PC

I still build my own PCs.
But, it is getting harder to justify doing it myself.

A friend of mine came across a web-tailer that sells custom configured systems with Windows loaded. The prices were less than he or I could find the same hardware for.
They use name brand hardware, most of it top grade equipment.

He refer's to them as Extreme PC. I cannot find their web site at the moment.

If for some reason I wanted to buy a built-up system, I would go to a local PC dealer and avoid the big-box stores and name brand PCs.

One BIG problem with most name brand PCs is that they are built as price point items. By the time you specify a system with decent graphics and sound, even Dell is at nearly the same price as you would have to pay for a custom PC at a local dealer.


Collapse - suprise me!

by GuruOfDos In reply to Still build my own

>But, it is getting harder to justify doing it myself.

Come on! You and I must have built hundreds of computers over the years, but don't you still get that warm fuzzy feeling deep down inside when you 'hit the button' and everything sparks into life and does it's thing?

There is something deeply satisfying to me in seeing all those '1s and 0s' running around in loose formation inside a bit of kit that I have lovingly assembled with my own fair hands.

Opening a carton from an impersonal assembly line just doesn't get my juices flowing in the same way!

Collapse -


by TheChas In reply to suprise me!


I fully agree that there is something special about putting everything together and turning on the switch for the first time.

My comment on "justification" was meant from the economic aspect, and not the whole experience.

If your reason for building your own PC is solely to save money, you can find dealers that will build you a custom PC at very attractive prices.

However, if you are building your own PC for the overall satisfaction, it's still the way to go.

Heathkit survived for a number of years after commercial gear became available at costs below the purchase costs of kits.
A large part of their success was the satisfaction that people get from completing a project and having it work.
Even so, it eventually came to pass that Heathkit could no longer produce a kit that would generate enough sales to make a profit.

There are MANY things that I do myself that most people pay others to do.
In addition to computers, I:
repair my own cars;
repair my plumbing;
perform home improvement;
do yard work;
repair and rebuild bicycles;

Yes, some of this is done to save money.
But, for the most part, I find that i do a better job, and get that all important satisfaction from a task well done.


Collapse -

I second Max

by GuruOfDos In reply to Home Built or Retail PC

Never, ever, ever buy a retail PC!!! For less money you can build a better one! Every time.

You are not paying for someone to assemble it, the store's overheads or their advertising campaign.

Look at any computer...what is the MOST critical component??

Power supply.....nope!

The motherboard, every time. Retail PC's always use the cheapest parts...that's how they make money. Why sell a $400 computer with a $100 mobo and make $20 profit when you can fit a cheaper $50 mobo and make $70 profit!!

Let's say a store sells a 3GHz you it has a cheap and nasty motherboard. It's the only way they can compete on price...apart from build quality of the case or a cheaper power supply. Now build your own with a decent a 2.6Ghz CPU, tune the board properly and I'll lay a month's salary that Sandra or other benchmarking programmes says your 'home built' has a better performance.

I have a retail PC that someone has just last week paid ?699 for in the UK (over $1000), with 3.02GHz CPU (and all the pre-loaded software) on the bench right now. It's in for a set of front panel USBs to be fitted, just in case you wondered!

Sat next to it is the one I just built for a colleague's son. It only has a 1.9Ghz AMD XP, but it has 512Mb of ram and a very good mobo running CAS 2.0 DDR400 ram at 400MHz. The chipset is tweakable in the extreme.

The 1.9 cost just ?250 ($420), but has a faster hard disk with double the capacity of the retail job.

The retail machine is using PC266DDR CAS 3.0 memory. The decent mobo in Baby Hector's Tower Of Fun has an 8x AGP slot with a cheap Leadtek WinFast A340T with 128Mb of 405MHz memory and RAMDACS running at 350MHz....the retail machine has on-board NVidia graphics running at the 166MHz RAM, 133 MHZ RAMDAC.

For 40% of the money, the 1.9 beats the 3.02 on EVERY benchmark that matters, except raw CPU speed...and runs every game we have tried a damn sight better!!!

Build your own. YOU know what goes into it and exactly how much it costs....and no fat cat retailer is taking their percentage for the priviledge of selling you a compromise from a nice shiny showroom!

I have a modest 2GHz AMD XP at home, with 4Gb of ram and an 80Gb ATA133 Seagate, DVD-RW/+RW, and Hauppaugue WinTV. Only the finest parts went in to it and it has been hand tweaked to perfection. I tried over 40 mobos before I found the one I liked best, and the mobo accounted for half the cost of the system. It's not a gaming machine, but is used as an analogue video editing system...where performance really counts. The day Dell, Packard Bell, IBM or HP can build a machine this good for the same money that does the same job as good as this one, I will gladly invite you round to my place and you can watch me eat it, monitor and all!!!

Collapse -

Guru is right

by maxwell edison In reply to I second Max

Not all P4-3.0 GHz systems are equal

In that Dell discussion we had, some people pointed to Dell's advertised systems that "seemed" comparable to what I was building. However, when we asked Dell for a customized unit that was as identical to mine as possible in every way, their cost was $1,200 more. Of course, theirs included the OS and some software that my system didn't include, but I don't upgrade to the latest and greatest OS anyway. (Still on W2K) Even counting the cost of boxed software, mine was cheaper - and better.

Collapse -

Actually you're asking the wrong people

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Home Built or Retail PC

The question as we are all IT professionals and mostly "Geeks" in others eyes we all will insist quite rightly to build you're own.

The units that you build you're self are always better as you buy the parts to suit the job required and don't consider all in 1 M'Boards because they absorb too much of the CPU usage and system resources. But they are cheep and most people buy on price alone and don't consider what they are paying for or more correctly don't know the first thing about computers anyway.

I regularly see my clients eyes glaze over when I attempt to answer a question they have asked along technical lines and a common comment is "Please Speak English!"

As you specifically asked about "Home" computers I'll just relate one comment that I made to a store manager who was advertising PC's from $1,200.00 AU "My reply was I spent more on M"Boards than what they where asking for a complete computer with an OS."

Does that answer you're question?


Collapse -

If you've even thought of asking the question...

by DC_GUY In reply to Home Built or Retail PC

Then you're a person who might enjoy hands-on engineering. A "geek" as one of the above posts less charitably put it, but I suppose if you don't mind being called a geek or even consider it a compliment, then you've accurately identified yourself. It's a young person's thing. As you get older and develop a broader perspective on life, you'll probably find that you're more interested in what you can accomplish with your tools than how they work or whether in some abstract sense they're as "good" as your neighbor's. I used to enjoy tuning my own car for maximum performance. Now I just want it to get me to my office reliably and safely (and with a really good stereo ^_^) so I can fulfil my responsibility as an "elder" of this "tribe" and do my bit to make the world a better place for the next generation. I feel the same way about my computer. Even though I was a developer for many years and could troubleshoot mainframe operating systems, I now resent the many hours I'm forced to spend being a software "mechanic," poking into the frelling thing to make it do what it was supposed to be able to do in the first place. My next computer will be a Mac. The entire Mac and OS/X environment comes with a label,"Warning: no user serviceable parts inside." That's the way I like my infrastructure.

Collapse -

Nothing to get jaded

by TomSal In reply to If you've even thought of ...

If you like to buy your systems or if you like to build your own custom boxes, does it really matter. Like anything do what you enjoy doing.

Their are worse things in the world to do then spend hours custom building your own pc..heaven forbid and there are FAR FAR worse things to be called in the world then a geek.

Also, as avid computer gamer (a hobby going on 20 years now for me) ... there is no other option, there is no question, there is no hesitation ...custom boxes are the way to go..period.

My custom built pc can smoke any pre-made (retail) box on the market with the same specs.

(I know I tested it against Gateways, Dells, Compaqs and even Alienware)

I guess its a "gamer thing"...but I enjoy building my own boxes over buying them "premade".


Collapse -


by TopesBlues In reply to Home Built or Retail PC

I went with a refurbished PC. Money is tight and I needed a newer PC to work with large .wav files. I wasn?t the latest and greatest as far as speed goes but it was a drastic improvement from what I had. I would have liked to have built my own but I got what I needed for a lot less money.

Related Discussions

Related Forums