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Building vs. Buying a computer

There is a lot of debate out there and was wondering if it was cheaper to build your computer than to buy it? over time I know definitely it's worth building your computer but for how long? When paying for the initial price which is better? Which is better?
I say build it if your experienced. My grampa builds his own computers with spare parts from broken down ones, and he can make a brand spankin new one with onyl a few new parts to buy. HECK I used one of his homemade ones for YEARS till I had to replace it, and THAT was only because it got a nasty virus! Even right now I'm using another one of his homemade cpu's and it looks fresh off a conveyer belt in a factory!
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If you are going to buy everything, you are going to want to buy a computer (then wipe it, then re-install an operating system). It has been cheaper to buy a whole computer since around year 2000. To give you an idea:

Whole computer (from Dell):
PROCESSORS Intel® Core™ i5-750 processor(8MB Cache, 2.66GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 2 Year Basic Service Plan

MEMORY 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs
MONITOR 20" Dell ST2010 HD Widescreen Monitor
VIDEO CARD 1024MB nVidia GeForce GT220
HARD DRIVE 1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
KEYBOARD Dell Studio Consumer Multimedia Keyboard
MOUSE Dell Studio Optical Mouse

total price: $1,028.99

Intel® Core™ i5-750 processor(8MB Cache, 2.66GHz) price: $199.99
Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English price: $149.99
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs price: $83.76 for every 2 GB, total: $335.04
20" Dell ST2010 HD Widescreen Monitor price: $159.99
1024MB nVidia GeForce GT220 price: $56
1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache price: $132.99
16X DVD+/-RW Drive price: $64.99
Dell Studio Consumer Multimedia Keyboard price: $7
Dell Studio Optical Mouse price: $3

Grand total: $1408.99

cool computer with no power supply, motherboard or case for $1408 with expensive ram

A scratch built computer from newegg parts can be loads cheaper and much more flexible and upgradable than a prebuilt. Putting it together is like putting really sensitive legos together.
The hard part is buying parts that function together and finding a good deal on the parts, you gotta shop around and know at least some basics on things.

Down the line a prebuilt is pretty much good for scrap or some kind of one drive no-redundancy fileserver, most have little room to upgrade anything.

It all comes down to whatever is a better deal or what's more convenient for you though. I know at the time my pc was only 900 or so dollars compared to the 1200 dollar machines from dell. prebuilts could be cheaper now I have no clue
Building can cost SO MUCH less. I'm building one for my birthday, and it's going to have an Intel Core 2 Quad and a good gaming NVIDIA GeForce card. :3 And the best thing about it? It's gonna cost only around maybe $400+. I'm gonna have a GAMING COMPUTER for cheap. :D
I have no idea what to change my layout it to...
Originally posted by Cheeseum
cool computer with no power supply, motherboard or case for $1408 with expensive ram

I didn't feel the need to continue due to the fact that it was already more expensive. I could add those in if you really feel that it is necessary, but I really had no reason to. Also, even without the RAM (any RAM at all), it's still more expensive. Of course, I'm only talking about buying everything at full price. If you want to wait around for your computer for a while then go ahead and wait until you can find a good deal on all of your parts, then it might be less expensive, but if you want all new parts or you can't find a really good deal on any of them, buying a whole computer is less expensive.

Originally posted by Cheesum
most have little room to upgrade anything

I have never encountered that before. I've upgraded my computer quite a bit (RAM, video card, sound card, TV receiver card, HDD, even the CPU once), and it's always been good to me. Unless if you are talking about apple computers?
Apparently buying PCs is cheaper nowadays. The building them is a good learning experience though.
layouts suck
Building your own computer is a niche for a reason... largely because it's not worth it to the vast majority of the world's population. That being said, there are tons of benefits to doing so, and the negatives that people always point out are usually just misinformation.

First off, the parts that you buy when you build your own computer each have their own warranty, which is often longer than a PC manufacturer's warranty. Keep organized and that's not even a valid point.

Secondly, pre-built computers are built straight to the important specs... Yeah you might have 8GB of ram, but the timings suck and they have no heatsinks. Yeah, you've got the 1TB hard drive, but every hard drive in existance has different read/write rates and be sure that you're getting the worst in the barrel.

Okay, now let me list an effective PC. This one's going to be straight from Newegg, not sitting around waiting for sales. Note, this does include combo deals, etc., but you have to be retarded not to use them when buying your PC off newegg...

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor

Combo'd With

ASUS P7P55 LX LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard

Price together: $290.98

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

Combo'd With

Palit NEAT2400FHD01 GeForce GT 240 1GB 128-bit DDR3 Video Card

Price together: $159.99


Price: $23.99

Acer X213HBbd Black 21.5" 5ms Full-HD Widescreen LCD Monitor

Price: $159.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM Internal Hard Drive

Price: $74.99

Logitech 967973-0403 Black PS/2 Standard Deluxe 250 Desktop

Price: $18.99

Antec TruePower New TP-550 550W Power supply

Combo'd with

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Price: $129.98

And... the game changer....

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - OEM

Combo'd With

OCZ Vertex Turbo OCZSSD2-1VTXT30G 2.5" 30GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Price: $204.98

Total: $1063.89
Total after shipping: $1075.78
Total less mail-in-rebates: $1055.78

See... this is an EFFECTIVE computer.

So let's see, what did you get upgrades on....

+Full HD, 1920x1080 monitor
+Quality of motherboard
+Speed of RAM
+Case Quality
+24-X burner
+GT240 up from GT220
+Oh, yeah, I threw a boot drive in there... that's only a major speed increase

But what did we leave out...

-Useless extra amounts of RAM (I've run 15-20 programs at once on 4GB sans lag)
-Useless extra hard drive space (unless you're a pirate)
-Some dell logos

So you get a computer fully built with quality parts that also includes a solid state drive, upgraded video card and monitor, and better case for less (since Dell will charge you tax on top that $1029 price tag)

Seem more reasonable now?

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Yeah, but is it cheaper over time with all that stuff and will it last? Will upgrades be cheaper? Is quad core an option or should duo processor work the same? Is over-clocking an option to look
Well, if you actually want a good computer, build it. If you want a cheap computer, buy one. Barring deals, building one is more expensive, but it will run far better than one you buy off the shelf, so it depends on where your priorities are really. An upgrade is an upgrade. They cost the same no matter what computer you currently have (exception being DDR1 costs much more than DDR2 [if I recall correctly], but we're assuming the computers are the same if you buy/build it), so that really shouldn't even come into play.

Oh, and no, please don't over-clock. Unless you have some kind of liquid cooling or something, it's a minimum speed boost for a large risk. While you can usually get it to a safe level, if you screw up and over do it just for a little bit your hardware is gone and you need to buy another one.
Build it, you get every option at your disposal, and there's no chance that you'll be tricked into getting something you won't want.

REMEMBER: If your building, GET A GOOD POWER SUPPLY! If you get a cheap one <$20, it'll die, get a >=$50 one, and make sure you have enough wattage to supply your cards.

Get a motherboard with at least 2-3 RAM slots (ddr3 or ddr2 reccomended), PCI and a PCI Express 16x slot.

Get a 5870 Radeon, or something like that.

Get at least 4gb of RAM (ddr3 or 2)

Get a powerful processer.

Get a GOOD fan.

Overclocking is optional, but isn't absolutely necessary, because it can overheat and break your computer. If you must overclock, get a really good cooling system.
Originally posted by Desert-Fox
Get a 5870 Radeon, or something like that.
WRONG! Get something by NVIDEA instead. Way higher quality.

But as a general note. Building is powerful. And it's fun. Remember to have somebody who knows a lot about building with you though. There's stupid things like how cables are supposed to be turned, or how Hard Drives are supposed to be placed. If you care about every little detail you'll get a very good and stable computer.