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[Toms] Build Or Buy? Five Sub-$500 Store-Bought Systems Compared

post #1 of 24
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Quote:
Have you ever claimed you could build a faster machine than top-tier vendors, but needed proof? We dig into five off-the-shelf sub-$500 configurations to figure out what they can and cannot do. The results probably won't surprise Tom's Hardware regulars.
Shhhhh!
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Shhhhh!
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Core i7 930 Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R XFX 5870 1GB 6GB G.SKILL PI 1600MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
120GB OCZ Vertex 2, 2x Hitachi 2TB (7K2000) Pioneer Blu-ray BDR-205BKS, Samsung SH-S243N Windows 7 Ultimate x64/WinXP Pro SP3 Samsung P2570 
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Logitech Elite Keyboard Corsair 850HX Lian-Li PC-B70 Logitech MX510 
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Gel 
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post #2 of 24
this is news?
post #3 of 24
Is this some sad attempt to build credibility? "Look the sky is blue, we didn't lie, its a fact, you can trust us."

Fail Article has failed.
M06
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AMD FX6300 Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 XFX 7950 - 3GB G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 2133 CL9 @ 1733... 
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WD Blue 500GB WD Black 1.5TB Crucial M4 128GB (OS) LG ODD 
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Deepcool Lucifer v2 Win7 Ultimate 64 bit Acer X223w (1050) LG 22EN33 (1080) 
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Sharkoon Tactix OCZ ModXstream Pro 700w Modular Corsair 300R CM Storm Xornet 
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M06
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AMD FX6300 Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 XFX 7950 - 3GB G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 2133 CL9 @ 1733... 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
WD Blue 500GB WD Black 1.5TB Crucial M4 128GB (OS) LG ODD 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Deepcool Lucifer v2 Win7 Ultimate 64 bit Acer X223w (1050) LG 22EN33 (1080) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Sharkoon Tactix OCZ ModXstream Pro 700w Modular Corsair 300R CM Storm Xornet 
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Steelseries Qck+ DOTA2 Edition Edifier e1100+  Sennheiser HD215 Plantronics Gamecom 307 
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post #4 of 24
Eh, they reached their conclusion and then in the conclusion rendered their entire conclusion relatively invalid by explaining that the comparisons didn't include the cost of a mouse and keyboard and operating system, which leads to another hundred dollars at least.

At that price point, for most users, I still cant recommend custom builds for that reason, too much of a percentage of the cost comes through in the operating system and time spend building, installing, configuring, troubleshooting, etc. Its just not worth the hassle and price for 95% of users out there...
MooCwzRck
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Intel Core i7-2600K 4.6Ghz Maximus IV Extreme NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 
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Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) Intel 510 SSD (2 x 120GB RAID 0) Western Digital Caviar Black (2 x 1TB RAID 1) Zalman CPNS 9900 NT 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Samsung 40" LED TV 6300 1080p Logitech K800 Corsair AX850 
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Cooler Master HAF X nVidia Edition Logitech M505 Monster Beats Pro's Creative External 5.1 Soundcard 
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MooCwzRck
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7-2600K 4.6Ghz Maximus IV Extreme NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) Intel 510 SSD (2 x 120GB RAID 0) Western Digital Caviar Black (2 x 1TB RAID 1) Zalman CPNS 9900 NT 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Samsung 40" LED TV 6300 1080p Logitech K800 Corsair AX850 
CaseMouseAudioAudio
Cooler Master HAF X nVidia Edition Logitech M505 Monster Beats Pro's Creative External 5.1 Soundcard 
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post #5 of 24
The thing I tell people is that your custom rig will come with minimum of a 3 year warranty on everything...with some having a life time, if you buy the right parts. (The CPU won't...but they don't go bad often.)

You will have to really pay alot for a three year warranty from Dell and the like...I don't think the cheap ones even offer anything other than a one year. I can't even begin to count all the 18 month old computers I've replace out hardware on for people.
My System
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
2600K @ 4.7GHz Asus P8P67 B3 GTX 580 EVGA Hydro Copper 2 GTX 580 EVGA  
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveOS
4x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws bunch of 'em Blu-Ray For movies Windows 8.1 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
24.4" Hans G HH251 X2 Yamakasi DS270  Blah 1000watt Super Flower 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Built into Desk Microsoft SideWinder X8 Comfy one... Creative Extreme Gamer 
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My System
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
2600K @ 4.7GHz Asus P8P67 B3 GTX 580 EVGA Hydro Copper 2 GTX 580 EVGA  
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveOS
4x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws bunch of 'em Blu-Ray For movies Windows 8.1 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
24.4" Hans G HH251 X2 Yamakasi DS270  Blah 1000watt Super Flower 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Built into Desk Microsoft SideWinder X8 Comfy one... Creative Extreme Gamer 
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post #6 of 24
Looks like they picked some of the worst systems. If I had to recommend to someone on a tight budget Walmart has some pretty decent AMD rigs right at the $500 mark that include LCD monitor and all.
 
Black Thunder
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AMD Ryzen 7 1700X Processor  ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero (WI-FI AC) Not Sure Yet  Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR4 3200 White LED  
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Crucial MX300 525GB M.2 SSD  Toshiba X300 4TB Desktop 3.5  LG WH16NS40 Super Multi Blue 16x Blu-ray Disc  Corsair Hydro Series H110i Extreme Performance... 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Corsair Corsair Air Series AF140 LED Quiet Edi... Windows 10 Pro AOC 2757 27" 1080p IPS Monitor  Seasonic SS-760XP2 Platinum 
Case
Cooler Master Mastercase Pro 5 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD FX-8320E @ 4.1GHz Asrock 970M Pro3 mATX XFX Radeon RX 460 4 GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Gr... PNY Anarchy 16GB Kit (2x8GB) DDR3 1866MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SAMSUNG 850 EVO 2.5" 250GB SAMSUNG DVD Writer SH-224FB Scythe Samurai ZZ Rev.B CPU Cooler Windows 7 Pro SP1 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
AOC 27" I2757FH IPS LED HD Monitor Zalman ZM-K200M USB Keyboard EVGA 500W 80 PLUS Certified Power Supply Thermaltake Urban S1 Mini Tower Computer Case  
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Zalman ZM-400M USB Mouse Jeecoo Mouse Pad 320x270x3mm Non-slip Rubber Ba... Z313 Multimedia Speaker System  AzureWave Broadcom BCM94352HMB/BCM94352 802.11/... 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Marvell 6282 Processor( 1.60GHz 256KB) Marvell 88F6282 SoC 256MB DDR3 1600 MHz Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB  
OS
LenovoEMC LifeLine 4.0 
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Black Thunder
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X Processor  ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero (WI-FI AC) Not Sure Yet  Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR4 3200 White LED  
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial MX300 525GB M.2 SSD  Toshiba X300 4TB Desktop 3.5  LG WH16NS40 Super Multi Blue 16x Blu-ray Disc  Corsair Hydro Series H110i Extreme Performance... 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Corsair Corsair Air Series AF140 LED Quiet Edi... Windows 10 Pro AOC 2757 27" 1080p IPS Monitor  Seasonic SS-760XP2 Platinum 
Case
Cooler Master Mastercase Pro 5 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD FX-8320E @ 4.1GHz Asrock 970M Pro3 mATX XFX Radeon RX 460 4 GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Gr... PNY Anarchy 16GB Kit (2x8GB) DDR3 1866MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SAMSUNG 850 EVO 2.5" 250GB SAMSUNG DVD Writer SH-224FB Scythe Samurai ZZ Rev.B CPU Cooler Windows 7 Pro SP1 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
AOC 27" I2757FH IPS LED HD Monitor Zalman ZM-K200M USB Keyboard EVGA 500W 80 PLUS Certified Power Supply Thermaltake Urban S1 Mini Tower Computer Case  
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Zalman ZM-400M USB Mouse Jeecoo Mouse Pad 320x270x3mm Non-slip Rubber Ba... Z313 Multimedia Speaker System  AzureWave Broadcom BCM94352HMB/BCM94352 802.11/... 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Marvell 6282 Processor( 1.60GHz 256KB) Marvell 88F6282 SoC 256MB DDR3 1600 MHz Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB  
OS
LenovoEMC LifeLine 4.0 
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post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDub07 View Post
Looks like they picked some of the worst systems. If I had to recommend to someone on a tight budget Walmart has some pretty decent AMD rigs right at the $500 mark that include LCD monitor and all.
Like my above post...don't expect them to last more than 18 months. They might last for 10 years too, but I'd rather spend slightly more and know I am good for a while if anything breaks.
My System
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
2600K @ 4.7GHz Asus P8P67 B3 GTX 580 EVGA Hydro Copper 2 GTX 580 EVGA  
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveOS
4x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws bunch of 'em Blu-Ray For movies Windows 8.1 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
24.4" Hans G HH251 X2 Yamakasi DS270  Blah 1000watt Super Flower 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Built into Desk Microsoft SideWinder X8 Comfy one... Creative Extreme Gamer 
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My System
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
2600K @ 4.7GHz Asus P8P67 B3 GTX 580 EVGA Hydro Copper 2 GTX 580 EVGA  
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveOS
4x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws bunch of 'em Blu-Ray For movies Windows 8.1 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
24.4" Hans G HH251 X2 Yamakasi DS270  Blah 1000watt Super Flower 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Built into Desk Microsoft SideWinder X8 Comfy one... Creative Extreme Gamer 
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post #8 of 24
My father a few years ago, when the Phenom IIs jsut came out, bought a Pre-Built computer for around 600 bucks it came with the monitor i have now, and a 920 PhII, with a decent MSI Mobo, and a copy of windows Vista 64-bit. He jsut put in his own VIdeo Card, Sound card and added a bit more memory. ANd put it in his case, of coarse, it was cheaper to do that than to build it seperately, and he still OCed everything a ton, just the same.
post #9 of 24
useless article.
As ROCK!
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window 7 22 inchs acer side winder x 6 POS Corsair ax 750w 
CaseMouse
Antec 9 hundreds 2 Razer death adder 
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As ROCK!
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k 4,8 Ghz 1.435v 4,6 ghz 24/7 Asrock p67 extreme 4 Ga-Gtx 560 ti 960 mhz 4200 mhz mem 4G RipjawsX 1600 mhz 8-8-8-24 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
window 7 22 inchs acer side winder x 6 POS Corsair ax 750w 
CaseMouse
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post #10 of 24
Under 500$ it is a bit harder to justify building your own rig.

I just tell people to keep in mind that anytime a pc cost less prebuilt it raises the question how did they build it cheaper than you can?

They had to cut corners somewhere and its usually in the quality department..
Chimera
(13 items)
 
  
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Phenom II 955 MSI 890 GXM Gigabyte 6870 reference (Two of em) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Western Digital Caviar black 750 GB Sony Optiarc 24x Dvd/Cd Rewriteable Win 7 64 bit Samsung 23" SyncMaster 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
xArmor U9BL Corsair 750w Corsair 650d Logitech G600 
Mouse Pad
Vespula 
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Chimera
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Phenom II 955 MSI 890 GXM Gigabyte 6870 reference (Two of em) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Western Digital Caviar black 750 GB Sony Optiarc 24x Dvd/Cd Rewriteable Win 7 64 bit Samsung 23" SyncMaster 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
xArmor U9BL Corsair 750w Corsair 650d Logitech G600 
Mouse Pad
Vespula 
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