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Building Or Buy Built?


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#1 ill_Nino

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 04:27 AM

Basically, I want a new computer. But not just any, I want something that is strong, and will last me a fair while. I mainly want a new one because my current one is not worth having. I am willing to spend a fair amount on it - roughly AUS$1,500.

I however am still considering, which to do, build it or, buy it straight. People tell me it would be cheaper to build it yourself. (Which is logical I guess) But I have been doing a bit of research and found some computers, (Which is what I'm roughly looking for) for around the price I'm willing to spend.

I will list the what I would like in my New computer as follows:

1. CPU - Core2 Quad 2.4GHz.
2. Motherboard - XFX Socket 775 Motherboard with nVidia 680I Chipset.
3. RAM - I am still considering what I need. (Note: I will be doing a fair bit of Photoshopping, I have been recommended to get a 2Gb of 1066MHz RAM)
4. Graphics Card - A pair of XFX nVidia 8800GTS.
5. Hard Drive - A pair of 500GB SATA2 HD with a 16MB cache from Western Digital.
6. Monitor - Not sure what is possible and would be suited to this sort of PC.

However, this will cost me a bit more than I plan to spend, especially when I still need to get the Mouse & Keyboard.

I will also list a PC I have found that come already built:

The first has:
~ ASUS 22" VW222U Ultrafast 2ms 16:10 Widescreen LCD DVI, HDCP.
~ iCute Gaming Case with 25cm Cooling Fan, True 500W Power Supply.
~ Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz, 8Mb Cache CPU, Intel P35 Chipset Motherboard.
~ Corsair 4Gb DDR2 Memory, 500GB SATA HD.
~ nVidia GeForce 8600GT Dedicated 512Mb graphics (I can add $249 for 8800GT 512Mb)
~ Logitech Wireless Keyboard & Mouse.
~ Vista Home Premium 64bit.
~ Creative 2.1 Subwoofer Speakers.
+ 1 Year Desktop Warranty.

All this for a total of AUS$1,699, however I don't think I will need the Subwoofers.

I guess overall my main questions, would be:
1. For what I would like to have, would it be better that I build it, or find something similar?
2. What would your total estimate be if I were to buy the parts, and build it myself?
3. Is the PC advertised as good, better than what I have in mind?
4. In the PC advertised, it talks about the nVidia graphics, is it worth upgrading to the other one due to the price?

Thanks for reading this far, and for all your help/tips.

~ Nino

EDIT:
ALSO: Is it better to keep XP as an OS, or the New Vista?

Edited by ill_Nino, 09 January 2008 - 04:29 AM.


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#2 jgweed

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:18 AM

Some general considerations:
1. Building a computer yourself allows you to choose each part by brand, and you will receive documentation with each part. Many prebuilts use some generic parts that are difficult to replace should they fail.
2. Building a computer yourself makes upgrading (if you allow for it) much easier later.
3. Building a computer yourself is generally cheaper, especially if you research pricing for each component and take advantage of special offers, etc.
4. Building a computer yourself will take longer than buying one prebuilt.

Until SP1 is released and tested, I would avoid Vista and choose XP.
Regards,
John
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#3 Rocco5955

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 11:04 AM

I agree with jgweed on some points, but disagree on others.

Yes, building your own PC does allow you to choose parts on a component level, making it easier to troubleshoot and upgrade your system. It also makes you more familiar with the hardware of your PC, if you care about hardware, and geekish stuff like that. When you have the hands on experience of building your own PC, you have the knowledge of what went into the PC, which is not the same if you buy one.

Over the years, building a PC has become more expensive than buying one 'off the shelf.' Vendors, with their bigger buying power than I could ever have, get better discounts than I could ever hope for. True, they do tend to scrimp on some components to give you a computer for a small amount of money, but there are some vendors who will go the extra yard to give you an excellent system, with very good components for a decent price. Others just give you a cheap computer with cheap components. You get what you pay for.

Again, with experience, one learns what components are good, bad, and ugly. Tendency to stay with 'name brands' can be good, or bad. I remember when LiteOn first came out with CDRWs. They had good specs, and were quite reasonable. They had not been in the market for any amount of time, and so were virtually unknown. I bought one on a hunch that, due to the specs, they would be a good brand. Today, LiteOn is a leading player in this market, and that is due to the fact that they retain their high standards. On the other hand, there is HP, whose printers were once the workhorses of the industry, but have, in recent days fallen way short of anything one might consider. They seem to have used their good reputation to make more profits, and not profit the consumer.

When it comes to hard drives, which is a device that gets used all the time in your PC, I have stuck with one brand. That is Seagate. They offer a FIVE YEAR warranty, where other manufacturers only offer a one year warranty. Their products are constantly very good performers, and their prices are quite reasonable. This has been my experience over about 20 years of building PCs, and your mileage may vary.

When it comes to memory, I stick to the tried and true Crucial, Patriot, and other well known vendors. If you pay a little more for your RAM, you will find that it is more reliable than if you simply tried to save some money.

I would also stay with Windohs XP, until AFTER SP1 is out for Vista.

To wrap up, yes, a 'homebrewed' PC will take a bit longer to buy and put together than an 'off the shelf' model, but if you enjoy tinkering, you can find it to be a rewarding experience. The knowledge you will gain will out weigh the frustration you may suffer.

"Understanding is a three-edged sword." -- President John Sheridan


#4 Vaerli

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:04 PM

yeah, I'd go with building one yourself. If you're even thinking about it, its probably not going to be a big problem to build your own, and as they both said, you get to know your system well.

You confused me at first by putting AUS, because I thought it meant like Australian dollars or something...

I've actually been thinking about getting something that is much like you want. I've settled on building my own because i can choose exactly what I want, and you don't have to worry about really cheap parts.

I would show you what I'm looking at in the form of a newegg wish list, but i don't have that wishlist shared at the moment...

Q6600, 4GB g-skill, 8800GT, P5N-D motherboard
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