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Building a computer does not have to be expensive!

Aside from fear, one of the excuses that I keep hearing from people as to why they don't want to build a computer is that it is expensive. They do their research online and get inspired by these stunningly beautiful computers, then they find out that they cost about two months paycheck and that's the end of it. I have been building computers for quite a while and it saddens me that people would shy away from building their own rig because of the price, when there are other avenues to secure the parts that they need.

So where do you get cheaper parts?

I am a cheapskate and about 75% of my computer parts are used or discounted items. I suck at writing so I will just put everything in bullet points.

Overclock.Net - Or any good tech forum that has a marketplace. Aside from getting tons of valuable information, OCN members sell very good items in the marketplace at a decent price. It is not always the cheapest out there but it is definitely cheaper than buying new biggrin.gif The biggest benefit buying in tech forums is that there is some sense of confidence that the item is in good working condition and most likely was taken cared of properly. And if for some reason something goes wrong, you can always reach out for help from the member in troubleshooting or may even give a refund.

Local electronic stores - Be on the look out for sales, refurbs, or open box items. The great thing about buying in your local store is that you can always return it if the item turned out to be a piece of crap (always check the store's return policy). I have recently scored an ASUS P8Z77-V PRO for $50 because it is a display item, and an Antec Kuhler 620 for $25 because its mounting brackets are missing and with a few bent fins. Both items are in great working condition still. Another benefit is that most local stores do price matching.

Online stores - Newegg for instance releases some sort of discount items almost daily. You may get 10%, 15% or if you watch their shell shocker deals, sometimes you can get more. Be wary though, sometimes online shops will say that their item is on sale but in reality it is not. Sometimes these shops will boast a 20% discount then when you check another website like Amazon or Tigerdirect, you will find that they have the item priced just the same. Always cross check with several websites and with your local stores.

eBay - Sure you can buy used items but I am always wary about the quality of the item that I will get. And most of the time you pay for returning the item so it's a big PITA. The only reason why I use eBay nowadays is to just bid on an item. Sometimes people will start an auction for a dollar, 10 days have past and you will see that it is still a dollar and if you are lucky, you will get the item for a dollar. Things like these doesn't happen often but sometimes it is worth it. Here's one rant from an OCN member http://www.overclock.net/t/1345368/rant-shouldve-just-burned-my-money.

Craigslist - Last on my list and I rarely buy anything here. My main concern is safety and the ability to return the item. The only time I used Craigslist is to buy a case locally. Other than that I stay away from it.

Beware: The biggest disadvantage of buying used items is its warranty. If you buy a product that is out of warranty then it died after two weeks, you are most likely stuck with it and you just have to cry over the money that you spent. This is the price that you have to pay for being cheap. I do not mean to scare you but you just have to be ready to take this loss if the product that you bought failed.

If you have any money saving tips, let me know biggrin.gif



All of the items above were bought with high discount rates or in used condition except for the CPU, the Asetek cooler and the hard drives.

Comments (12)

Always cross check with several websites and with your local stores.

i couldnt agree more with this! its how to make the biggest savings.
Not realistic, this probably took you weeks to get the pieces and trust me not everyone is going to try to treasure hunt for the discounts, time is money.
I am not sure what you mean by "not realistic" but if this is something that someone does not want to try, then obviously this guide is not for them because there is no need for them to save money.
You're right about the online retailers, but as far as getting the same motherboard you did for around that price is like finding a needle in a haystack, that is why I said it's not realistic. With the economy being how it is, I don't think the chances for great savings at any retail location are that good.

Used, sure. Open box, maybe. $50 for a $200 motherboard, not likely.

Not criticizing your writing, just sayin'.
I know what you are saying. Finding deals really takes a while and involves a lot of patience.
Another thing I generally do when building a less expensive gaming rigs, is to use hardware that is a generation or two older. Still great stuff, and most of it has been thoroughly reviewed. Makes a huge difference. Instead of paying over 2 grand, you can build for anything 500 and up, still getting a fast gaming rig. Just realize there are some parts you should not skimp on, like the power supply!
^The only problem with this situation is the cost of ram...moving one level behind in terms of ram is always expensive even though rest of the hardware could be had cheap and would be impressively powerful! The other thing I have noticed is previously in the past used stuff could be had cheaper now everyone wants to squeeze every penny out of the next person when it comes to used. Imagine this I come from a poor developing country and prices for used stuff on our end are supposed to be higher considering weak currency, customs duties which cause the product to have a inflated price when new. But in many cases prices for the same used components on overclock.net are pretty much equal to local used prices I get in my country.

Now this is strange we never see the same thing in terms of 2nd hand cars they will cost more brand new and will hardly depreciate to the extent that they do in the US. For example in the US one could own a 30 year old car in running condition for $1k or even cheaper lol the only affordable car from that time in our country would be some failed japanese model car whilst a corolla from that time would still do $2k!

For example even to this day Pentium D processors command somewhere around 10-15 bucks on the forums here and locally in my country no one wants to do anything with them anymore I am amazed how people still sell those on overclock.net.
Nice guide. I like to buy motherboards and hard drives new, everything else could be used, etc. The key thing with building a rig in this manner is patience, you need to wait for the right deals to come by.
Also do an ebay search for completed listings as you'll get to know the market value of your component. Then you can decide if the price you see on offer somewhere really is a bargain.
I built a rather nice gaming PC for $800. If you keep your eyes open there are deals to be had. I just picked up a new bottle of Thermatake coolant for 99 cents. Microcenter has a GeForce 560ti for $130. They also have a Steel Series Ikari gaming mouse (I own it) for $17.

I bought a toshiba 500gb portable hard drive (new) for $40 last year. I frequently hit pawn shops to buy hardware and sell on ebay. I bougth an ssd out of a computer for $20 and sold for $60. I bought two a Seagate and WD hard drives for $20 each and sold for $80 & $50 on Ebay.

I always buy stuff at Best Buy using their price match. They are the best with returns, so I always find the best deal and shop there. What they do not have I drive down the street to MicroCenter or Tiger Direct.
Golden rules on ebay
1) Set your maximum price and don't exceed it.
2) Avoid sellers with less than 10 feedback unless it all positive, recent and for computer parts.
3) Ask the seller detailed questions if you feel they have not mentioned something eg "have there been any issues or problems with this item?"
4) Avoid sellers with a lot of feedback who suddenly stopped selling like 10 months ago then started again. This can be a hijacked account.
5) Read the description carefully to avoid the scam where people think they are buying an Iphone but it turns out to be only a box!
6) Try making a "Buy It Now" offer for a quick sale.
7) Use Paypal payment for protection.
Oh and...if you are looking for a particular item and you have an Android phone, set the App to alert you when new items are listed!
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