PC building


Established Member
Hi all, its been a while since i built a pc (18months). I have a good friend whi I said i would help out and build him one etc etc.

His main uses will be basic web surfing and office stuff but he also would be doing some digital picture editing and alot of use with his DSLR and things like that. I used to build my pc's towards gaming and was wondering what is needed to make the new system nice and smooth witout overkill.

Advice appreciated.



Prominent Member
You won't be able to build him an office machine cheaper than just buying a Dell. It's honestly not worth it.

Gaming systems, Media Centre systems etc it's worth the time and effort. Office systems it's just not.

For example this is an average system, there are better deals towards the end of each month, or easter specials etc:

£390 when you knock back the warranty.

I can't build that for less than £500 and that's before you start adding postage and hassle.


Prominent Member
Yep I gave up building basic machines for people years ago you just cant do it cheaper than you can buy one. I saw an acer athlon 64 machine in tesco the other day for under 300 quid!!!! when you factor in dell give you a monitor aswell its really a no brainer!


Ex Member
Todays Daily Mail is advertising an E System for £298 at PC World with the voucher in the paper. That's with a 15" LCD monitor. You could get it and up the memory.

Lidl have also done deals lately. They have a basic PC for £400 with a 19" monitor for a further £130.


Prominent Member
The dell I posted is a AMD X2 3800 Dual core, 2gb RAM, 250gb HDD, 19" LCD monitor, Vista based system. For £390. I've not seen any supermarket systems come close to that


Ex Member
I'd probably go for Dell too. The only problem is a delay while it's built. Otherwise for value it's great.

(Oh I always build mine, but that's more of a hobby/gaming thing.)

Cable Monkey

Prominent Member
I can't post a link to a "why you should buy Dell" article. All I can do is listen to the guy I work with who bought from Dell and has been over the moon with the service they provide. He asked me, and knowing him I decided Dell was best for him. If your mate isn't a geeky PC head then Dell is fine for him.


Distinguished Member
I do not build PCs for just anyone these days. If its someone I know well then I don't have a problem in fact I actually quite enjoy building PCs whatever the spec.

Its when you build one for someone you vaguely know ...and then they seem to think that in addition to having gotten a nice PC built free of charge they are also entitled to a free lifetime support contract from yours truly for everything from ressurrecting their virus crippled unprotected machine to installing a plug and play printer for them.

I usually just tell these types to buy a dell.

The Dude

Distinguished Member
If you want great value, and excellent support, then buy yourself a Dell Optiplex.

The 3 year, next-day-onsite warranty they provide with Optiplex and Precision products is usually faultless. :)


Ex Member

hmm didn't check the spec and it came with no firewire. If this was important it might have been useful. I imagine if there was a PCI slot free you could add firewire on a card for about £10.

Using old IDE drives? Well I would have burned to DVD first or I assume that as they were in the previous computer why not tranfer information over a Cat-5 cable? Or these days information that I think I will need to swap around I put on an external hard drive.

The XP/Vista issue isn't going to matter now. He bought when XP was installed and is now using the free upgrade to Vista. Then had problems. First Vista would now be pre-installed and I presume the PC working when it left Dell. Second a lot of the above would be similar if you hadn't bought a Dell. Not every PC has firewire. Some just have a lot of USBs. I imagine other PCs other than Dell might not have an IDE interface. I don't know if the latest Mac would if it had SATA. So it doesn't strengthen his reason to switch and I'm sure other PCs might have had trouble with installing Vista over XP.


Distinguished Member
Why you Should Get a Dell

no its not a linky....heh....

BSOD: I've had more of these in the 3 weeks since i built my current PC than i've had in 4 Dell machines over around 8 years....

I've never owned a top end Dell that wasnt built like a proverbial brick *ahem* house......perhaps their newer range are less bulky, but then i seem to remember a lot of people moaning that Dells used to be too heavy and cumbersome....seems you cant please people whatever you do 'eh ;)

Only one of my Dell PC's needed repairing, that was the last one, unfortunately in transit the case fan had come loose (an internal side panel fan), probably hadnt been latched on properly, it must have knocked the graphics card which shorted the mobo.....(this was while it was being delivered to me).....anyhow, Dell took it back and replaced all the components except the drives and PSU (was quicker than waiting for a brand new PC which i got the option of....i had HL2 to play, what do you expect me to do?)....

games performance: never a problem, on the last PC especially i got lucky and the card was a restricted Ultra for a GT price, so ramped it up and saved £150-200 :)

Dell India technicians: speak to them as clearly and politely as possible, if you cant understand, say 'i'm sorry, I didnt manage to understand that, could you repeat it please a little slower'.......they will then fall over themselves trying to help you, even to the point of phoning you back so it costs you bugger all.....they appreciate people who dont instantly talk down to them......and some of them are actually technicians, the initial bloke will be using a manual, but may have some knowledge outside the immediate area, if he cant help his manager will actually be a proper PC technician....

media use: lots of software provided to help make media easy to use and it works pretty damn well......

office use: any PC pretty much can run office software so its hardly a make or break decision point...

overall, if you cant build a PC and want something well built and long lasting, a Dell PC will make better sense than most because you can spec it to your requirements, not just settle for whats in the box as per most shops ready built models, the backup service is excellent if you are polite and dont phone up angry immediately, and they are built to last.....it took a lightning strike to kill my first Dell :eek:

the only potential downside is the systems are locked....you cant overclock anything but graphics cards.......i'm not even sure if you could successfully upgrade the CPU in a Dell....i think it would depend on the model and mobo...you can upgrade all the other parts though, ram, sound, drives etc...

I'm well aware Dell dont have 100% happy customers, but when you consider the sheer volume they shift boxes in, i'd say they do a hell of a lot better job in customer service than some other companies......to put it simply, most people dont have a choice but to use, say DSG shops for electronics because they are the most numerous on the high street....however for computers there is a load of choice.....so why do most people go to Dell? they dont even advertise all that much in comparison.....simple, unless you are unlucky (and EVERY company has unlucky people) with a Dell PC you will get something decent......with other manufacturers, the chances of something not being so great is a lot higher....


Prominent Member
I can't post a link to a "why you should buy Dell" article. All I can do is listen to the guy I work with who bought from Dell and has been over the moon with the service they provide. He asked me, and knowing him I decided Dell was best for him. If your mate isn't a geeky PC head then Dell is fine for him.

I agree - and I could be described as a geeky PC head. I still find my Dell Dimension at home to be fantastic value for money and my Optiplex at work to be a great machine.

These days, I'd only self-build if I was after a specialist PC such as a gaming system or maybe I wanted to build a custom media center PC. Other than that, a company like Dell or other mail order business can usually make and deliver a PC usually for less than the cost of components. And you don't have all that faffing around trying to iron out glitches in the system


Ex Member
Go for a Dell, I'm using one and it's just as good as the overclocked system I bought except it feels more stable and has a lovely monitor with it.

It's still available I think, £478.99, plus a few percent off for Quidco.

Dual Core (Core2Duo E4300), 1GB RAM, 250GB HDD, Vista Home Premium, 22" Dell Monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables etc, DVD-RW, decent graphics card etc.

Tell him to get that!

The latest video from AVForums

⭐ Philips OLED+908 TV preview + Avid Accent amplifier reviews + Hi-Fi & AV News
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon
Top Bottom