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My parents think buying a prebuilt computer is better than building one. Help me to prove them wrong!

Poll Results: Which is better: Prebuilt HP or Custom Rig?

 
  • 95% (84)
    Custom Rig
  • 2% (2)
    Prebuilt HP
  • 2% (2)
    Neither, get a Prebuilt Dell
88 Total Votes  
post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I have just graduated college, and I am looking to make a living doing freelance 3D animation work, and Video Editing. (Using 3dsmax and Adobe Software like After Effects)

I have never built my own computer before, but I have replaced hard drives, graphics cards, etc on other computers at work (What i dont know is how to put in the motherboard, processor, and heatsink etc)
I have never done that before, and I want to make sure i do it right.

Because of that, my parents want me to get a prebuilt workstation.

I have a NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti that I am defiantly going to reuse.

And here is the HP Z220 Workstation Build that my parents want me to get for $1900:
-HP Z220 Case
-Intel® Core i7-3770 3.4 GHz CPU
-8GB DDR3-1600 nECC (2x4GB) Unbuffered RAM
-2 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6G 1st Hard Drives in RAID 1
-16X SuperMulti DVDRW SATA Optical Drive
-Some Generic Un named HP PSU
-Some Generic Un named HP Motherboard

I know that for that price i could probably build something much better, or I could probably get around the same thing for much less.

So im basically wanting your advice for two different workstation builds.
The only requirement i have for them (unless its smarter otherwise) is to have 1TB RAID 1 drives:
- One for the same price as the HP Build ($1900)
- One with the best specs you could get for $1000-$1200 (Due to the money i have i will probably go with this one but still will consider the other one if i can find more)

(Since I am reusing the 660Ti as mentioned above i don't need another graphics card as mentioned above, neither build needs a card, but a mobo or processor with onboard graphics would still be good in-case my 660Ti fails one day)

Also just for fun i included a poll.
My System
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E6750 2.66GHZ Dell XPS 720 Motherboard NVIDIA 660TI 16GB 
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My System
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post #2 of 41
Biggest problem I have is that a prebuilt usually has a crappy motherboard... and the motherboard is literally the most important aspect of the entire build.

Your parents are falling into the trap of thinking there is some magically better warranty most likely. I spent 800 bucks and got a 3770K (the unlocked version you can OC), a sabertooth z77 motherboard, a very very nice noctua DH14 cooler, 16GB of ram, and a 1 TB hard drive.

I reused a bunch of old stuff, but you can throw in a dvd/cd burner, a copy of windows 7 or 8 (with a single monitor, I would get 8 personally, much better OS aside from the start screen) and a decent power supply, and you will be coming in under the 1200 mark by a lot.

Don't even get me started on what you can pick up for nearly 2 grand, assuming a GPU, monitor, and keyboard/mouse aren't factored in.
Gran Turing(0)
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Gran Turing(0)
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post #3 of 41
Does that HP include a monitor? Honestly, even if it does, you could get a top of the line watercooled PC and a 27" 1440P monitor for that much. Building a computer isn't that difficult. Just watch a few videos, and hunt around. Here's what you could get:

i7 3770k $250 after tax at microcenter
~$150 for a motherboard
max $100 for RAM
$100 for a 120gb SSD
$100 for single 1TB HDD
$100 for a case
$100 for a PSU
$320 for a korean 1440p pixel perfect monitor on eBay

Like I said, just hunt around and you can build a pretty sweet computer. Most of the fun in building a computer, is doing the research and then ordering the parts.
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Windows 8 Q-Nix 27" 1440p Matte Gateway 22" Logitech G15 
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G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series Kingston 120gb SSD Western Digital Raptor Western Digital Blue 
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post #4 of 41
Best way to prove them wrong would be to find everything the pre-built has for cheaper and show them the price difference.
post #5 of 41
Yeah I'd be going custom build for sure given your budget. I think the warranty is what attracts some people to pre-built PCs since it's just one phone number you call and the warranty covers the whole machine. But, custom machines will typically have a much longer warranty on each of the components (i.e. 3-years CPU, 3-years motherboard, life-time RAM, 5-years PSU, etc...). I usually shop at the Memory Express near me and they'll do a free diagnosis (as long as you bought the parts from them) and they'll cover the costs of RMA in the first year. I'd imagine there are some other shops out there that would do the same.

And it sounds like you'd be able to build a PC from scratch, IMO. If you're comfortable working on graphics cards, hard drives, etc... you'd be OK building your own. Of course there will be a few more things to learn, but it's not any worse than you've already done. smile.gif
post #6 of 41
Just wait till a little while down the road when you want to tweak or upgrade and you hit that OEM roadblock, or far later down the road when something fails and you have to buy a refurbished part or one that costs 4X what it should because it's proprietary. I'll never buy a prebuilt again, unless it's a barebones entry level machine that I never plan on upgrading or doing anything with...and even then it better be one heck of a deal.
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post #7 of 41
Obviously building it yourself would be cheaper, but a compromise would be going with a custom system integrator like Puget Systems...
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post #8 of 41
Very similar build to what your parents are wanting, with ability to overclock since it is aftermarket parts...

( I put this together in like 3 minutes, just wanted to match the OEM HP build)

i7 3770k - 3 yr warranty - $329.99
2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws 1600 - Lifetime - $37.99
(2) 1TB WD 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s - 2 yr - $129.98
Samsung DVD Multi Drive - 1yr - $18.00
MSI Z77A-GD65 Motherboard - 3yr - $179.99
Corsair CX500 - 3yr - $59.99
Any case - varies - $100
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit OEM - $189.99

TOTAL = $1,045.93

I gave HP the benefit of the doubt by spec'ing a 500W PSU, more than likely, it has a 450W or less.

At least this is something you can show the parents and say, "Hey, dont waste $1,000, I can build the same system with better warranty for half the price."

And if they insist on spending $2,000, show them this instead...

Enthusiasts Dream Machine with Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core CPU, EVGA GTX 680 Video Card, 16GB Memory, 256GB SSD, 4TB Hard Drive, Blu-ray Drive, Wireless Adapter, Liquid Cooler, Windows 8, COOLER MASTER HAF XB Case and 750W Power Supply - $1,975.99
Edited by Baskt_Case - 5/21/13 at 4:08pm
    
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post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLSimpson View Post

I have just graduated college, and I am looking to make a living doing freelance 3D animation work, and Video Editing. (Using 3dsmax and Adobe Software like After Effects)

I have never built my own computer before, but I have replaced hard drives, graphics cards, etc on other computers at work (What i dont know is how to put in the motherboard, processor, and heatsink etc)
I have never done that before, and I want to make sure i do it right.

Because of that, my parents want me to get a prebuilt workstation.

I have a NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti that I am defiantly going to reuse.

And here is the HP Z220 Workstation Build that my parents want me to get for $1900:
-HP Z220 Case
-Intel® Core i7-3770 3.4 GHz CPU
-8GB DDR3-1600 nECC (2x4GB) Unbuffered RAM
-2 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6G 1st Hard Drives in RAID 1
-16X SuperMulti DVDRW SATA Optical Drive
-Some Generic Un named HP PSU
-Some Generic Un named HP Motherboard

.......

Hmmm, surprised that people who already posted here don't have a problem with this.

OP, getting a generic no-name brand PSU to power & protect all your valuable components is the biggest no-no.

Look up this database for PSU in the 400-500w range that's on sale in your country & get it.
Also, don't limit yourself to just Corsair or Seasonic, there might be very good deals out there from that list.
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post #10 of 41
What kind of rip off is that workstation anyways?

Custom build all the way unless you need the warranty.

For example: My school needs new computers and a 5 year warranty. They settled for a $600 intel build ($900 if not in bulk), it has a low power i5 and no GPU.
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