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Build my own or buy ready made?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Brogan, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I really need to replace my PC but I keep putting it off as, well mainly, I can't be bothered.... :D

    I would upgrade my current machine from Win ME to XP but I have a Raid mobo and XP doesn't recognise my boot disk as it's plugged into one of the Raid ports.
    Apparently I need to flash my BIOS but the last time I did that, my mobo died so I am reluctant to try it again (besides which, the instructions for doing it were translated very badly into English so I doubt whether it would work anyway).

    So, in the interests of maintaining my fat gut, is it generally cheaper to build your own PC these days or buy ready made.

    I wouldn't actually need a fully specced system as I already have a TFT monitor, 4 hard disks, CD, DVD, sound card, speakers, router, etc.

    So basically, all I want is a decent mobo/cpu, PSU, some more RAM, decent video card, Windows XP OS and that's about it.

    Are there any places that will supply (and build) a system as basic as this or am I stuck with getting off my fat backside and doing it myself?
     
  2. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    I will now be building my own from now on as I've done it a few times now and there's nothing to it really. You can generally save a little bit of money but the components you purchase are chosen for the job you have in mind. You choose the parts yourself so you know if they're quality or not. With a pre built system all you're aware of are the specs and we all know good specs doesn't necessarily mean a good or quality buy. It's not too difficult to build your own and it gives you a good sense of achievement when it's all up and running smoothly. All you have to make sure is that you have done your homework and buy parts that are compatible with each other. You also get the benefit of learning more about pc systems and you're then in a better position to have an idea of how to fault find and correct a problem yourself.

    If your into your gadgets and like to know how things work then i'd recomend you build your own system. If on the other hand you can't be arsed buy an off the peg machine but make sure it's going to do the job you want it to do. There are some very good deals about which ever way you go and your money will go a lot further than a few years ago.

    All you basically need is cpu, mobo, and memory kit and possibly an new case /power supply. A lot retailer do good deals on bundles. Try www.overclockers.co.uk or www.komplett.co.uk or www.microdirect.co.uk as these genrerally have some good bundle available for very reasonable prices.

    I noticed Dell have a purpose built gaming rig available now that doesn't look too bad:)
     
  3. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I should have clarified...I have no problems with building my own system and have done so in the past.
    In fact, my current system, although it was bought as a ready-made system, has been extensively changed so that the only thing that remains is basically the case.

    Having said that, that was about 3 years ago and things have moved on considerably since then, as I have found since I started investigating upgrading various bits and pieces.

    My query was more to do with the cost rather than the actual work involved (although anything which saves me burning off valuable calories is welcome...:D ).
    Is it still generally cheaper to source your own kit and build it yourself (including the XP OS and Microsoft Office software) or can you get it cheaper ready-made?

    As far as the spec' goes these days, I think a lot of places are actually detailing the exact hardware they use, rather than just the spec's so you know exactly what you're getting, unlike the situation a few years ago.

    I guess I'm just being lazy...:rolleyes:
     
  4. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    IMHO you answer your own question when you list the items you already have :) .. since you're at home building a machine yourself I'd find it hard to think it'd be cost effective to buy a ready-made one.

    If you were looking for a whole system then I think it'd be less clear-cut, especially when you throw in things like DVR capability, digital TV tuners etc. etc., it all starts getting complicated with more chances for device-driver conflicts et. al.

    Paying a bit of extra money to avoid the tedium is now my choice.

    However, if you buy from someone like www.overclock.co.uk (not the same place as Hawklord mentioned) for a very small fee they'll mount and burn in a CPU and memory on to a mobo so you get to choose the components with the added advantage that they get to debug any problems .. that's what I've done with the last two systems I put together and for me at least it worked very well. :)
     
  5. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Thanks for the link. :smashin:
    That may be a good compromise as they get the hassle of sorting out any problems and I get a working basic system which I can then just add all my bits to.
     
  6. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Just had a quick play on that site and it's not as cheap as I thought it would be...!

    Here's my provisional kit and this doesn't include monitor, speakers, sound card, etc. so it works out to be quite expensive.

    Case: Coolermaster Centurion Silver (CAC-T01) (£34.68 )
    Power Supply: Thermaltake Xaser Silent Purepower 480W PSU Black (£45.05 )
    Motherboard: Asus P4C800-E Deluxe Intel 875P Canterwood Motherboard (£112.00 )
    Memory 1: Corsair XMS3200C2 Pro TwinX (2 x 512Mb) 1GB Dual Channel Pack (£226.86 )
    Memory 2: None
    Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3.0E Ghz 800Mhz Prescott Processor OEM (£135.52 )
    Cooler: Coolermaster Jet 4 P4 Socket 478 Cooler (£25.93 )
    CD-Rom: None
    CD Writer: None
    DVD-Rom: None
    DVD Writer: Pioneer DVR-107 8x DVD±RW OEM Black (£53.73 )
    Floppy Drive: None
    Hard Drive 1: Western Digital Caviar 7200RPM 250GB 8MB SATA OEM (£130.51 )
    Hard Drive 2: None
    Graphics Card: Sapphire Radeon 9800Pro 128M OEM (256-bit version) (£121.00 )
    Monitor: None
    Keyboard: None
    Mouse: None
    Operating System: Microsoft XP Professional OEM inc. Service Pack 1A (£83.08 )
    Build Type: Overclock Ltd System Build, Setup & Test (£39.00 )
    Case Fans: None

    Total: £1,007.36 (+VAT & Shipping)


    It's almost worth buying a ready made system and flogging off the bits I don't want...
     
  7. KraGorn

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    Sorry, I misunderstood what you were after, having said above:

    I figured you just needed a working mobo/CPU/ram basically.

    However, price isn't everything, as you mentioned before, this way you get to choose the components individually.
     
  8. Brogan

    Brogan
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  9. KraGorn

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    Pretty good value, Dell's prices are very attractive at present with their "Summer Deals". You'd need to make sure they can deliver, because IIRC that chipset is one of those Intel recalled large batches of in the last week or two .. note that Dell page says these are due to ship July 12th, may or may not be connected.
     
  10. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Just looking at the mo' but some of their discounted prices look like great offers.
    Here's another one - part no. ZRBRCYEE

    Even if it doesn't have all the parts you want, it's a good basis for building on and a lot cheaper than buying all of those parts individually...
     
  11. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Well somebody obviously thought they were good deals....they've all gone!
     
  12. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Well after several hours of investigation, I have concluded that it is indeed cheaper to buy ready-made from the Dell factory outlet.

    A P4 3GHz CPU, mobo, 1GB RAM, 9800 Pro video card and PSU comes to about £800.

    I can get a Dell Dimension 8300 which consists of a P4 3GHz CPU, mobo, 1GB RAM, 9800 Pro video card, PSU, 120GB hard disk, XP Pro, modem, DVD, DVD R/W, MS Works (oxy moron?), mouse and keyboard for £870 delivered.

    After flogging off some of the bits I don't want I'll still end up with more kit and at a cheaper price.
     
  13. andy572

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    You've added rather more than your first post suggested, Brogan! :smashin:

    One thing I did notice within the list was the cost of the RAM :eek: Is there any reason why you feel that you have to buy a dual-channel 'kit'? When building my Athlon box, I bought two sticks of Geil 'Value' RAM of an equivalent spec to the Corsair. I've been running this in dual-channel mode and encountered no problems with either performance or stability (even with overclocking). I mention this just in case a self-build is still tempting and you return to the idea of keeping costs down :laugh: Oh yeah, that 1GB of Geil RAM is (and was) very nearly fifty percent of the price of the Corsair - which, in any case, seems rather expensive if VAT is to be added, too.

    Dunno if that was of any use to you, but it has certainly proved entertaining to observe your progress. Next stop, Alienware! :D
     
  14. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Not really....in my first post I stated I wanted: "decent mobo/cpu, PSU, some more RAM, decent video card, Windows XP OS"

    Those items alone come to £900 (with the OS) so it doesn't make any sense to pay that for just those items when I can get a complete working, tested system for the same price.

    As for the RAM, if I knew what a dual channel kit was I could probably answer the question... :D :confused:
    In both cases - the CPU/mobo/RAM bundle and the Dell site, they only offer 1 type of RAM so the price is fixed as far as that is concerned.

    Ho-hum, back to the drawing board...

    Watch this space for the next thrilling installment of "Brogans search for the cheapest, fastest, most powerful PC in the world..." :rotfl:

    P.S. What's Alienware? (or is that an in joke?)
     
  15. Hawklord

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  16. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Just put together a quick system and it comes to around £1,500 which isn't too bad.... :D
     

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