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View Poll Results: Best for price?
Dell/other company 0 0%
Home build 19 100.00%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:16 PM   #1
Damascus
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Price? Dell vs. custom build

For the price, which is better:

Buying Dell computers or building a custom one?
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:17 PM   #2
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building, hands down
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:18 PM   #3
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Do you need a screen?
If so: Dell might be a better option.
If not: Built your own.

Building your own is better and cheaper 90% of the time. If not more.

What's your budget?
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooga View Post
Do you need a screen?
If so: Dell might be a better option.
If not: Built your own.

Building your own is better and cheaper 90% of the time. If not more.

What's your budget?
I don't really have one, since I just wanted to know if building would generally be better than buying one from Dell, HP, etc...
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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Usually custom is cheaper but not as much as some dick heads like to think.

If the two are fairly compared at cheapest prices custom will be cheaper, usually. But you never know, you may find a great deal company built comp.

Do a test:
Pick a good deal PC and try to match that with good deal bits.

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Old 03-01-2009, 08:04 PM   #6
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There are a couple of things that make custom worth the effort IMO.
  1. You can specify exact brand and model of the components used (power supply, mobo, drive, ram, video card)
  2. Little (or no) risk of proprietary components where drivers are not made publicly available
  3. You get to decide what makes sense as far as cooling and fan noise (I've had many upset customers with Dell Dimension desktops who wished they'd had that option)
  4. You get to look ahead at what expandability you want and make sure that your components meet that expectation (#of Sata ports, actually having IDE ports, e-Sata, etc)
  5. First-hand knowledge of what went into the system as well as driver version (which can be helpful if troubleshooting is needed)
  6. No surcharge for warranty...it's built-in

For my money that's part of why I build my own...that I and I've done it for a very long time...I know how it was put together and have peace of mind there.

edit: for those of you thinking of arguing that #2 doesn't happen...it does. I've had two systems in the last month in this situation. One was an HP Media Center edition wherein ASUS entered into an agreement with HP not to make the drivers available ever and they aren't made available via HP's site...the generic chipset drivers from Intel weren't sufficient to allow XP to be installed generically. Fortunately the recovery disks could still be ordered from HP....
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:31 PM   #7
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Dell skimps on stuff. A lot. Most of the headaches I've had with my computer repair job have been because of Dells.

For instance, I managed to get my roommate a used Dell computer (GX280, I believe) for free since he didn't have one. It has a nice Radeon X300 graphics card (plays FF decently) and supports 4GB of DDR2 RAM. Not bad, right?

Yeah. It came with one IDE cable that was just long enough to go where they wanted stuff to go - forget about expanding. Minor gripe.

The power supply? 150 watts. 150 watts. They provided the bare minimum of power. He can't buy a new graphics card, nor can be buy a new power supply because Dell uses their custom shit that fits in their small formfactor case.

Even if Dell could save you a couple hundred bucks in the short term, it will cost you in the long term. Build your own computer.
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:37 AM   #8
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Even if you don't build it yourself, you can get a good custom built or barebones computer off of newegg or tigerdirect....
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:16 AM   #9
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what if dell goes under? how can all of those people upgrade their comps if there's no company?
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:25 AM   #10
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With any OEM, you pay for the contracts they sell you for warranty and support, instead of paying for the hardware.
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:46 AM   #11
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what if dell goes under? how can all of those people upgrade their comps if there's no company?
What are you talking about? It's easy to upgrade, you go to the store, buy the part, open your computer, put in new part after taking out old part if necessary, close computer.
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Demasu View Post
What are you talking about? It's easy to upgrade, you go to the store, buy the part, open your computer, put in new part after taking out old part if necessary, close computer.
please read above posts before replying
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:05 AM   #13
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please read above posts before replying
I did, and I don't see anyone talking about dell upgrading your computer for you. Which means your post doesn't make sense.
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:56 AM   #14
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Don't get a Dell. Just don't. As has been said (mainly by Imhi) it's a really bad deal. They give you barely enough for what you need to do and everything is custom fitted so... you're probably not going to be able to fit something other than what is in the case inside of it.

Spend the slight extra amount for a custom built+monitor and save yourself the worry and the long term cash.
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:17 AM   #15
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what if dell goes under? how can all of those people upgrade their comps if there's no company?
They buy from a different company. It's not like you send in your Dell computer now and say: "DELL! MAKE THIS BETTER!", not sure why you'd expect anything different when they go under.
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Old 03-02-2009, 08:36 AM   #16
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Especially in the long run building your own pc will be cheaper.
Obviously you need to really think about what you want in your pc but generally you will always be able to recover the case, if you're lucky you'll also recover your PSU, optical readers and writers, and a HDD.

Which means you're next upgrades will only require a new mobo, memory and gfx card and normally you can do this gradually as well.

You need to be very clear on what you want in a pc of course. I built mine specificaly to be able to run as many virtual machines running at the same time to be able to do the testing I need to while still being ready to run a game though not necessarily in the highest detail.
So I spent the most money on my mobo since I needed to be able to upgrade cpu and memory after a couple of years.

The benefits of buying a prefab pc is ofcourse you don't need to think about it that much and everything is preďnstalled if you're into that sort of kinkyness.

The downside of building your own pc is that you need to properly plan this and investigate the hardware you want to buy will work as you expect it. (Though I guess most people who build their own pc's find this actually one of the most fun parts). Another downside can be that if you really want to get the cheapest deals, you won't buy the parts all at the same store, and if one of them is late with delivery for a couple of weeks, you'll have almost a full pc there, apart from one component and it could be you can't build it, while all that stuff is standing there.
Another can be Dead On Arrival parts(or stuff you break while building the pc), most companies don't really make a big deal out of a RMA, but it costs extra time again.

The downside of buying a prefab from a big vendor is you have absolutely no control of what parts are used, you can be sure they are the cheapest ones and upgrading might be a bit harder.

As with most things, there is a middle road if you are intimidated by doing all that work and then assembling everything yourself, you should go to the local independant computerstore and see what they are offering.

Most pc-stores are in some kind of group through their distributor which allows them to get some of the benefits of the big chains while still being independant. Hardware-wise this translates into good custom offerings with decent components which are only a good 50 to 150 euro cheaper then doing it yourself(depending on which point in time hardware wise). Since these people do assemble those pc's themselves on demand, you can always state your specific wishes and ask that person to take those into account.
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:45 PM   #17
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In all honesty - everything said here depends. Are you looking to buy the $399 bargain computer with monitor and what not? Or are you looking to buy/build an actual gaming computer?

If you're only looking to spend $399, Dell is the way to go, but I caution you - you get what you pay for with those cheap ass computers. The manufacturers install less-quality components in these computers and typically knock the RAM down quite a bit (maybe 512mb or 1gb max on a vista machine) AND they install a plethora of garbage software that you don't need. However, even if you already have the OS disks, it would be quite difficult to build a computer and buy all the components you need (cpu, motherboard, ram, hdd, cd rom, power supply, case, monitor) for such a low price.

Now, on the other hand, Dell knows what it takes to build a good gaming computer.. and they charge you for it. Their XPS line is a perfect example of this. A XPS model desktop from Dell that may cost $1000 can probably be built for about $600 or $700 through newegg (and that's the site I'd go through.. great prices - fantastic customer service - they're really the whole package). Now, with newegg you have the ability to buy 'open box' products. If you read the fine print, newegg specifically states that these have been opened and returned by customers and are in full, 100% working condition but may be without some of the original accessories. When building computers, I typically only buy the open box components, if at all possible, and have never not received all of the original accessories. The last motherboard I bought was originally $250 and I got it for $175 open box - a fantastic deal. Video cards, RAM and processors all carry the same type of deal. If it's any consoloation, I would stick with MSI for the motherboard - I have never had a problem with any hardware from them and they have some great software which allows you to monitor the internal health of all your components, temperature, fan speed, voltages which also allows for easy overclocking if you were so inclined.

If you want, dude, list what you want to do and I can maybe piece a few things together for you to help you out - give you some prices?
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
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newegg (and that's the site I'd go through.. great prices - fantastic customer service - they're really the whole package).
While we may differ on choice of manufacturer for parts on this we are 100% in agreement. Newegg goes above and beyond and they empower their customer service reps to go outside of policy if the situation warrants it.
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:03 PM   #19
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Here is an ~$300 HOME computer I've been working on. With a few tweaks you can build a decent gaming rig out of this.

$300 Family Computer

EDIT: I will say that high-end XPSs are very nice computers. But I personally like the FUN of building a computer. Plus, it's cheaper
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:27 PM   #20
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While we may differ on choice of manufacturer for parts on this we are 100% in agreement. Newegg goes above and beyond and they empower their customer service reps to go outside of policy if the situation warrants it.
Yeah, newegg is pretty badass. Are you an asus guy? I've had so many problems with them that I won't use them any more. I've been with MSI since 2001 and coulnd't be happier.

Hey - If price is not an object (lol) go get a Mac Desktop Pro!!! Quad Xeon quad core, up to like 32gb of ram - 4tb of HDD - DO IT NOW! That is, of course, if you want to spend around 4k, haha.

That will be my next computer - a Mac Pro... but for now, I just have to settle with my custom built tower - AMD Phenom 9850, MSI K9N2 Diamond motherboard, 4gb DDR1066, 160gb 10,000rpm WD Raptor HDD, Nvidia 9800gx2 vid card... it screams - and my macbook pro.
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