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For a non performance computer, is it still cheaper to build now a days or just buy a pre-built?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've been tasked with building a cheap computer for someone basic internet and office just like most people. And I've been looking at prices of me building one with new non-used parts versus buying a pre-built. And to be honest the price difference really isn't that big for a similar spec'd machine or even more in some cases. So that now I'm wondering for non performance and non specilaty builds, is it worth the time?

For example here is a build on newegg vs one that bestbuy has:

Bestbuy: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+Pavilion+Desktop+/+AMD+A-Series+Processor+/+6GB+Memory+/+1TB+Hard+Drive/3368384.p?id=1218396586658&skuId=3368384

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152173
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157277
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320036
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371003
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226063
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103951
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986

Which with tax and shipping came out to 610.36 with a 10 dollar MIR and with b/g wireless vs bgn in the hp.

Sure there are things you can switch out to make cheaper but it still would be more expensive. Even when subtracting about 50 dollars for HDD inflation, it still costs more. Then there is the issue of warranties since this person isn't going to know about different MFGs with warranties and what not like we do.
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post #2 of 29
Edit: Read your post fully. Challenge accepted.

Quick 'n' dirty

1. The biggest difference is you're able to choose your own parts.
If you snipe some great deals you could end up with higher quality parts than a pre-built.

2. Current HDD prices are overinflated or will be @ 5900k RPM (Green LOL) which is bad for running OSes.
Prebuilt systems will also overcharge you for SSDs as boot drives.

3. Prebuilts usually come with OSes like Win 7.
You could get your own for much cheaper during sales. (In fact Newegg had several in the last couple weeks).

4. Dells,HPs, etc Prebuilts usually come with crappy PSUs (compared to one you could shop for yourself)

So what do you do?

Look for a pre-built that doesn't include HDD, SDD, or OS usually branded as 'DIY'.
Find out if they use nice PSUs
Hopefully you'll get a nice deal with some parts you'll actually want to have.

Newegg has a section called DIY combos.
Generally they do the same 4 things I mentioned.

Seriously. Do it Yourself. Asking other people here will only confirm that.
Edited by SpiritGear - 11/19/11 at 10:20pm
 
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post #3 of 29

You could build a PC exactly like that HP Pavillion but with some better things such as better parts quality, overclockability, smaller size (form factor) and even better performance (i.e. proper dual channel RAM) for the same price.  I actually created a similar build list today for a Canadian customer with the full deal, for under $500.  American prices can only get better than that.

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
See the thing is, this is not for me. This is for me to give to someone and I will not be giving them support with this. The crappy psu isn't an issue since this isn't going to be doing anything that requires power to that degree. It just needs to be able to turn on. It won't be overclocked or anything. This is strictly for them to get on the internet and do word docs. Only reason the APU is there is cause it will help out with HD playback for like youtube or if for some reason light gaming which this person does not do. IF they do game its like facebook games.

I have no problem building it my self. I get enjoyment out of putting one together. But for such a basic computer that once I give it to them they are on their own with no support, would it be smarter for them to go with a pre-built in the event something does go wrong?
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post #5 of 29
The biggest difference is warranty. I can build a PC for about the same cost or ever so slightly more than a cheap prebuilt and it will come with a good warranty on all the parts at no extra fee. That cheap machine you get from Walmart will have a one year warranty on it. I find myself fixing a lot of them at about a 18 months old too.

Plus when you build one and the person has an existing machine you can some time reuse a few things.
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post #6 of 29
Here is what I'd do. Chances are they won't have much installed on it, so it's why I go with an SSD. You can easily install windows and several programs on a 40GB SSD.

Item sources: Newegg

LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer - Bulk - Black SATA Model iHAS224-06 LightScribe Support - OEM

NZXT Source 210 S210-001 Black “Aluminum Brush / Plastic” ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

BIOSTAR N68S3+ AM3 NVIDIA MCP68S Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

SeaSonic SS-300ES Bronze 300W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Pareema 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model MD313C80809L2

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Corsair Force CSSD-F40GB2-A 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

$412.73 shipped.

Oh yea, and throw in this wireless adapter, +$20:

TP-LINK TL-WN722N Wireless Adapter High Gain IEEE 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Up to 150Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128 bits WEP WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES)

I use it and love it.
Edited by pLuhhmm - 11/19/11 at 10:49pm
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post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
They don't have one that I can take parts from. Ok to put this in context. I live in NJ this person lives in Brooklyn NJ ( a 3 hour+ drive depending on traffic) . Once this person gets this computer, I will not be able to help them out. I'm building this as a favor for someone. So for example if they have a mobo go within 7 months, me being a full time college student, I will not be able to do anything to help them. So this computer for most intents and purposes needs to be stable for as long as possible without my intervention.

The reason I ask about a pre-built is in the event parts go bad, they 1 person who can help them with all their needs and provide phone support and all that great stuff.

With a custom build, the warranty is usually longer than 1 year but they have to talk to separate people to get any warranty cases filled. And this person is not going to go inside of their computer and start pulling parts out and shipping them. If anything she is afraid to open the case (similar to how I wouldn't dare touch anything under the hood of my car cause I don't know what I'm doing).

As for the SSD 40GB won't be enough since windows takes up like 20 already and they are gonna have music and pictures. I already have a 500 GB drive that I can put in there.
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post #8 of 29
In my opinion microATX/miniITX rigs are the best for non-performance scenarios. A good options is also fusion from AMD, it is really a great bang for the buck.

microATX/miniITXs are small, power efficient, quiet, elegant and get the job done.

The thing is, I have never seen people selling branded microATX/miniTX builds.


Another elegant option are those monitors that already come with the computer inside them. There are drawbacks, but it also something I would consider. I bought one last year for my grandmother with a touch screen. She loves it and also uses the monitor as a TV on her room. She basically uses it to skype and messenger, browsing the internet and playing games like solitaire biggrin.gif
Edited by EduFurtado - 11/19/11 at 10:53pm
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by matty0610 View Post

They don't have one that I can take parts from. Ok to put this in context. I live in NJ this person lives in Brooklyn NJ ( a 3 hour+ drive depending on traffic) . Once this person gets this computer, I will not be able to help them out. I'm building this as a favor for someone. So for example if they have a mobo go within 7 months, me being a full time college student, I will not be able to do anything to help them. So this computer for most intents and purposes needs to be stable for as long as possible without my intervention.
The reason I ask about a pre-built is in the event parts go bad, they 1 person who can help them with all their needs and provide phone support and all that great stuff.
With a custom build, the warranty is usually longer than 1 year but they have to talk to separate people to get any warranty cases filled. And this person is not going to go inside of their computer and start pulling parts out and shipping them. If anything she is afraid to open the case (similar to how I wouldn't dare touch anything under the hood of my car cause I don't know what I'm doing).
As for the SSD 40GB won't be enough since windows takes up like 20 already and they are gonna have music and pictures. I already have a 500 GB drive that I can put in there.

Erm.. Windows does not take up 20GB.. I have a system with 40GB Intel SSD next to me that has three games, multiple programs, and windows 7 ultimate on it... Also, just put that 500GB in for storage, but whatever. If it was my dad or whoever, that's what I'd build. They'll love the snappiness of the SSD.
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post #10 of 29
I'll also accept the challenge.

1.5TB 7200 32MB Seagate Barracuda: $100
CM Elite 330: $40
Antec Basiq 350w: $30
Win7 Home Premium 64-bit: $100
Biostar A75MH: $70
AMD A6-3500 $100
Kingston 2x4GB: $40
Lite-On DVD burner: $20
Newegg 3-day ground: $10

Total: $510

Not only do I undercut HP's prices by $10, I add an extra 500GB of HDD space and tossed in another 2GB of ram. Oh right, and you can under-volt and/or overclock with the build-your-own too.

So is it cheaper to build it yourself? Yes.
Would I recommend it to anyone who isn't good enough with computers to live without a warranty? No.
Edited by KyadCK - 11/19/11 at 11:01pm
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