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Buy or Build?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Laskina, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. Laskina

    Laskina
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    Looking to get a PC to sit next to my plasma and wondered if I should buy a pre-built HCPC or build one myself (I have built PCs in the past so not adverse to doing it if ness).

    What I need the PC for ...

    1. Playing Hi-Def videos (via DVI prefered)
    2. Play streaming TV from internet (from this Sony Box)

    I don't plan to use it for anything else (like recording TV or playing DVDs) but the streaming TV requires a software installation so a standard media box (like the Show Center) isnt an option.

    Is there a pre-built system you would recommend or would building one be the better option. I dont have a budget but what to keep cost to a minimum.

    Thanks in advance :)

    Nick
     
  2. phillfyspoon

    phillfyspoon
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    I have allways built myself that way I know what is going in my machine and can mix and match and choose a nice case etc it is much more satisfying too.

    If im going to build a new pc i check out tomshardware.com for the latest benchmarks on mainboards, cpu's etc in my price range it is a great source.
     
  3. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    If you build it they will come....

    to watch the nice picture show.

    Build definately. You control everything that way and can upgrade/add bits and bobs/ with full knowledge of the system.
     
  4. mattwakeman

    mattwakeman
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    Having just started down the HTPC route if I was doing it again I would buy....
    a really good dvd player. ;) I keed...

    Building will give you more pleasure and more control but both involve huge amounts of tinkering to get to where you want them to be. But I imagine that building will give you that extra little buzz to know that what arrived was bits but now is a machine capable of impressing your friends and family as well as being able to magically eat all of your spare time...
     
  5. Astaroth

    Astaroth
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    Up until a short while ago I would certainly have said to build your own now I wouldnt be as sure.

    I have to admit not to being into the whole HTPC thing but taking PC in general there are an exceptionally large number of potential combinations of chipsets etc which makes picking out a combination that will work best - a pc isnt always as good as the sum of its parts or just as good as its weakest link.

    Have to say I am going back a few years but the last PC I built had the top components I could afford in it and was aimed at mainly server/ graphic processing duties but also bought a top of the range g.card for 3d gaming. According to all the manufactures the parts should have worked perfectly together but the reality was that I was never able to get more than 50% of the performance from it without making the system unstable.

    There is a certain amount of fun of building it yourself, you can "impress your friends" when it is working well but it is a major headache when things play up and you have no one who is really interested and no one to blame but yourself. At least with prebuilt machines you know they have tested the hardware combinations and know they work.
     
  6. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    Putting all the extreme top end (i.e just out)bits together wouldn't be my favoured tactic. Far too much chance of instability etc.
    Leading edge is bleeding edge.
    Come down a notch or two and it gets cheaper, stable and more predictable.

    If you are the only one who has ever put the combination of 'A' Mobo 'B' Graphics 'C' disk drives 'D' DVD 'E' TV card 'F' sound card together then you are taking the pain for everyone else - and just think of the combinations possible.
    Its good you post about your experience with the 'top end'.
    Its a bit late to help (or to save you any money) but commiserations.
     
  7. kingo

    kingo
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    I would defo build myself, I build on a regular basis for friends and family with no problems at all, only advice I would give is if building a htpc using a real slim case can cause problems with trying to cool them down and keep them quiet due having a lot of parts crammed into a small narrow area.

    Highly recommend asus mainboards with amd 64 soxket 939 use an ata 100 or 133 g/drive to try and keep noise from it at a minimun, always use after market cooling fans you can get them from www.quietpc.com/uk/ as its going to be in your living room. I find that most components these days are of a good standard and are pretty much all compatible with each other and bios setup is mostly auto so not many probs there. dont go with the high end geforce cards the consume fast amounts of power and make one hell of a din when on full load, my advice get an ati radeon x800 gto card not to much money and capable of playing any game and future game to come.

    Building yourself gives you total control and saves money not to mention you know the quality parts you have put in your machine. :thumbsup:
     
  8. Laskina

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    thanks for the advice guys :)

    kingo - the spec you mention - is it good for big HiDef video file playback? Cheers
     

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