PDA

View Full Version : is it cheaper to buy a complete desktop package or individual components?



hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 07:07 PM
Hello,

I will be be needing to get a new desktop computer. I was wondering whether it would be cheaper to buy the components separately and install myself or to buy the complete package.

Because of the work I need to do on it, I will need Windows 7.

I won't need to play video games.
I won't need high-tech audio card.


I will need a computer that can have a 2-screen setup (actually a 3-monitor setup is better).

The above is all the constraints I have to work with.

Update: budget for desktop is around $500.

Your comments are appreciated.

CharlesA
July 23rd, 2011, 07:10 PM
Cheaper to buy a whole system.

I recently built a new box that cost me almost a grand - OS included. Probably could have gotten a prebuilt with similar specs for around 600-700.

hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 07:13 PM
charlesA,
thanks for your reply. Interesting that it's more economical to buy a whole system. I was leaning toward thinking that it would be cheaper to buy the parts separately because you save on labor costs.

I guess i'm learning about the business of computer hardware.

hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 07:14 PM
charles, i did not mention in my post, but I would like to spend no more than $500. Maybe your $1000 system was for extreme gaming? 8-)

CharlesA
July 23rd, 2011, 07:26 PM
charlesA,
thanks for your reply. Interesting that it's more economical to buy a whole system. I was leaning toward thinking that it would be cheaper to buy the parts separately because you save on labor costs.

I guess i'm learning about the business of computer hardware.

If it's just being used for basic stuff, you might be able to get away with using older tech, since there isn't much need for "top of the line" stuff unless you are gaming or doing video/photo editing.

I found a decent machine for 375 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883147511) with OS, specs are fairly decent for the price and I doubt you'd come close to that price if you built one with similar specs.


charles, i did not mention in my post, but I would like to spend no more than $500. Maybe your $1000 system was for extreme gaming? 8-)

It was my new gaming machine, The video card was around 200 USD IIRC. >.<

EDIT: If you want to do a two or three monitor setup, that might be hard to do within your budget - since I don't think an integrated card can do that.

You'd have to add a card, but that's not that expensive.

murderslastcrow
July 23rd, 2011, 07:44 PM
If you have a good video card and a ton of RAM already (or a few 1 GB sticks that are fairly recent), it would make more sense to get a barebones system with a decent processor and just move the memory, graphics card, and hard drive over.

You can even get i7 barebones desktop on eBay for fairly cheap- this is the option I would choose. RAM is cheap as well. However, if you have to get a new HDD and video card along with the computer, just look for a good deal on a whole desktop.

hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 07:45 PM
thanks, charles. i guess that settles it: The complete basic desktop is cheaper than the sum of its components.

hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 07:49 PM
I have a six-year-old desktop with 1 gig of ram but no windows OS at all. I think buying Win7 or WinXP by itself would be pricey. It would probably be better than to just buy a complete desktop.

CharlesA
July 23rd, 2011, 08:02 PM
I have a six-year-old desktop with 1 gig of ram but no windows OS at all. I think buying Win7 or WinXP by itself would be pricey. It would probably be better than to just buy a complete desktop.
Yep, even an OEM copy of Win7 is going to set you back around 100 bucks.

The HP machine I linked to earlier has a free PCIe x16 slot, so you could add a different video card.

FuturePilot
July 23rd, 2011, 08:14 PM
Cheaper to buy a whole system.

I recently built a new box that cost me almost a grand - OS included. Probably could have gotten a prebuilt with similar specs for around 600-700.

I disagree. The computer I built was $700. See specs in sig. I looked up similar machines from HP, Dell, etc. and they all were about $300-400 more.

ninjaaron
July 23rd, 2011, 08:15 PM
Buying computer parts by the thousands is a lot cheaper than buying them one at a time. That's part of the reason it's cheaper. There is also the fact that some component manufacturers (like Intel or whatever) will sometimes give away newer products for almost free if they are going to be in a new and highly desirable machine because it increases the prestige of the component and will lead to more sales in the long term.

There is also the bloat-ware to consider. Companies pay OEMs to put in their programs just like they pay for ad space on television networks. That's part of the reason it's often cheaper to buy a computer with Windows than the same one with a free OS like Ubuntu or MeeGo. I'd really like to support OEMs who put Ubuntu on their machines, but it's hard to do when I can get the same thing for cheaper and just wipe Windows (or better yet, dual boot)

Swagman
July 23rd, 2011, 08:18 PM
There's no way you can compete "price wise" with the big box shifters, even if you choose the cheapest, crappiest components.

Which make you realise just how crap the computers the box shifters sell actually are !!

CharlesA
July 23rd, 2011, 08:42 PM
I disagree. The computer I built was $700. See specs in sig. I looked up similar machines from HP, Dell, etc. and they all were about $300-400 more.
Ouch. I did a quick search on newegg (where I bought the parts) and I found only one machine (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883229253) that almost matched the specs and it was 829 plus tax and shipping, so I think you are right. I probably got a better machine for around the same amount of money.

Thewhistlingwind
July 23rd, 2011, 08:47 PM
I'm pretty sure that up until a certain point it's cheaper to buy a prepackaged system, and that once you go past that point one should opt for parts.

Of course, theres more to consider than just price, after all, for some people assembly is part of the experience, and worth extra.

CharlesA
July 23rd, 2011, 08:53 PM
Of course, theres more to consider than just price, after all, for some people assembly is part of the experience, and worth extra.

Yep. Plus you know the exact model/type of parts you put in, which might not be the case with a prebuilt box.

markp1989
July 23rd, 2011, 08:58 PM
It depends on each machine, look around and see what you can find.

the pc in my sig cost (approx) in Sept 2010: most of the hw was brought on overclockers.com/forums or overclock.net

CPU, motherboard, mem : 300
case: 100
SSD: 90 (at time of purchase, it came from my old machine)
PSU: 80 (at time of purchase, it came from my old machine)
GPU: 90
total: 660


look around, if you're a member of any computing forums, many of them have classified sections where you can get very good deals on lightly used (or even new) hardware.

main advantage I see with building your self is that you can put more money on the parts that matter to you

hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 09:09 PM
should I care to know the exact parts, as long as it works? I'm not a techie fanatic. I just want to save on money.

hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 09:11 PM
thewhistlingwind,
as i'm going for a basic computer, going by your comment, it would probably be more economical to buy a prebuilt computer.

CharlesA
July 23rd, 2011, 09:17 PM
should I care to know the exact parts, as long as it works? I'm not a techie fanatic. I just want to save on money.

Shouldn't really matter as long as it works.


thewhistlingwind,
as i'm going for a basic computer, going by your comment, it would probably be more economical to buy a prebuilt computer.

Another plus with a prebuilt is that you can deal with them if you have problems with hardware or software, where if you build it yourself, you would have to deal with the manufacturer of whatever part isn't working.

Lucradia
July 23rd, 2011, 09:30 PM
I disagree. The computer I built was $700. See specs in sig. I looked up similar machines from HP, Dell, etc. and they all were about $300-400 more.

The specs in my sig (including what I need to get next month, to replace the harddrive and new CPU Cooler and new low volt memory) costs well over 1600 USD, all parts were ordered seperate.

This doesn't include the Power Supply (120 USD) and my DVD-Drive (came with my original system.) (HAF-X Case + extra top fan)

Thewhistlingwind
July 23rd, 2011, 09:30 PM
thewhistlingwind,
as i'm going for a basic computer, going by your comment, it would probably be more economical to buy a prebuilt computer.

Theoretically, yes.


should I care to know the exact parts, as long as it works? I'm not a techie fanatic. I just want to save on money.

I'm of the opinion that "If you didn't care before, why now?" If you need/want to care, then go ahead and do so, part of the point of a prebuilt is that you shouldn't have to. I bet a copy of windows would sink any savings on hardware anyway.

markp1989
July 23rd, 2011, 10:09 PM
if you're looking for a basic machine then one of these are worth looking at: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/267867

hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 10:51 PM
ebuyer.com is for UK. We're more interested in online stores for USA.

CharlesA
July 23rd, 2011, 10:59 PM
Newegg and tigerdirect are the two I know of.

markp1989
July 23rd, 2011, 11:15 PM
ebuyer.com is for UK. We're more interested in online stores for USA.

I was linking to the machine as an exapmle, I used ebuyer as it is a site I know.

just so you know the internet doesn't end at the US coast.

hanzj
July 23rd, 2011, 11:23 PM
Yes, of course. Just thought it was good to inform you of location. 8-) Thank you for your input.

Bandit
July 23rd, 2011, 11:27 PM
charlesA,
thanks for your reply. Interesting that it's more economical to buy a whole system. I was leaning toward thinking that it would be cheaper to buy the parts separately because you save on labor costs.

I guess i'm learning about the business of computer hardware.

It is more economical to buy a whole system in most cases. But you have to look at what your buying. IMHO a home built PC performs much much better and is more stable in most cases then a pre-built system.

It falls under you get what you pay for..

Bandit
July 23rd, 2011, 11:30 PM
Yes, of course. Just thought it was good to inform you of location. 8-) Thank you for your input.

I am a tight wad, I use Newegg and Tigerdirect. I dont use just them, but I do bounce between those two the most looking for the best buys.

BTW some of Tigerdirects pre-builts are built with little better parts then your average E Machine and perform very well..

Frogs Hair
July 23rd, 2011, 11:39 PM
If you have some components , such as , a monitor , key board , and mouse , a bare bones kit can be a good deal .

Advantages include , no preloaded software , no OEM provided drivers that lose support after 3 years and sometimes less . This is nice if you are planning to dual boot with Windows. No other operating system to deal with if it is a Linux only computer .

Lightstar
July 24th, 2011, 01:23 AM
I've always built my computers from scratch since I was 14 (29 now).

Back in the days, building your own saved you a lot of money. Seriously, I've built some desktops that cost me $800 and the same system was 1200-1700 in stores.

These days though, it costs more to build your own.
I still build my own. Only for the reason that I know what's in it, I know there wont be compatibility issues, etc.
I built this one a year ago, I think the next one I might buy pre-built and tweak it a bit.

I chose nVidia video card for better linux support, and one that can easily have more than one monitor.

Asus motherboard because it's a brand I trust, it also has ExpressGate linux ;)

A non-OEM heatsink to make sure my temperature stays cool even if I ever chose to overclock.

A good quality and quick HDD, a cheaper slower one for data storage.

Modular Power Supply so that I don't have useless wires in my pc case, only those I actually need. Powerful enough to support more hardware if I chose to expand.

A case that supports more fans, front eSata, audio, usb

These things don't always come standard ya know? When you know what you want, it's hard to find a pre-built system that will match your ideal. I would have had a super hard time finding a computer for me. So I built it from parts.

Mr. Picklesworth
July 24th, 2011, 01:36 AM
A whole system is typically cheaper, though one benefit to building your own is you can get a good warranty for each part in your computer. So, if your hard drive fails you probably have a three or five year warranty so you can pick up a replacement from the manufacturer. When you get it all built from HP or some such, you usually get a one year warranty from the one manufacturer, and that warranty is usually a real pain.

Also, if you think you might reuse the parts in the future, you will just about always get a better case if you buy separate parts.

markp1989
July 24th, 2011, 03:15 AM
Also, if you think you might reuse the parts in the future, you will just about always get a better case if you buy separate parts.

very true, a quality case (and psu) can usually be reused when you upgrade.

a lot of OEM PSUs are normally just good enough to run the system they sell you, so it can often limit future upgrade potential.

with my last upgrade all I replaced was the CPU, motherboard and RAM, the rest I carried forward from my previous system.




Yes, of course. Just thought it was good to inform you of location. 8-) Thank you for your input.

no problem, sorry if I came across a bit abrupt in my last reply, was in bad mood.

wolfen69
July 24th, 2011, 03:50 AM
I disagree. The computer I built was $700. See specs in sig. I looked up similar machines from HP, Dell, etc. and they all were about $300-400 more.

I'm with you on this. I can build a killer rig for 600-800 that would easily be over 1000 prebuilt.