Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Entry level desktop system - DIY or pre-build?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    200
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts

    Entry level desktop system - DIY or pre-build?

    Ok, investigating options for a mate who wants a basic system for web and office apps. Obviously, being an enthusiast, i'd like to do the build myself, and have done so many times before, but not really sure if its worth it.

    Here's what you get for £349 from dell:

    DELL Dimension C521
    AMD® Athlon™ 64 Processor 3800+
    Genuine Windows Vista™ Home Basic - English
    Dell™ 19" Value Flat Panel (SE197FP) - UK/Irish
    512MB DDR2 533MHz Memory
    250GB (7200rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive with 8MB DataBurst™ cache
    16 X DVD +/- RW Drive
    Integrated nVidia® GeForce® 6150 LE graphics

    Now the cheapest I could spec a comparable system from scan was £375, with the following components:

    AMD Athlon 64 3200+ S939 OEM £37
    Asus A8V-VM-SE VIA K8M890 £29
    250 Gb Western Digital WD2500JS Caviar SE £43
    512MB Elixir Major DDR PC3200 (400) £21
    17" LG 1780Q Silver/BlackTFT £99
    Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 £7
    Antec NSK4400 ATX £46
    Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN £19
    Logitech S100 2.0 Speakers £5
    Microsoft Optical Value Pack V2 £12
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic 32Bit £54

    A couple of BIOS tweaks and I could get it running at 3800+ speeds quite easily, so performance should be very similar.

    The pros for the dell system is that its quiet, looks good, well made and good value. Main con is that upgrades are limited.

    I think it wouldn't be easy making the self-build as quiet as the dell, and its not gonna look as pretty.

    Anyone have any suggestions on improving my build so that I can convince myself its worth doing?

  2. #2
    Will work for beer... nichomach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Preston, Lancs
    Posts
    6,133
    Thanks
    527
    Thanked
    137 times in 98 posts
    • nichomach's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 95W
      • Memory:
      • 16GB DR3
      • Storage:
      • 1x250GB Maxtor SATAII, 1x 400GB Hitachi SATAII
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Zotac GTX 1060 3GB
      • PSU:
      • Coolermaster 500W
      • Case:
      • Coolermaster Elite 430
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 20" TFT
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media Cable
    TBH, you really can't undercut the big OEMs for entry level kit; they simply have purchasing power you don't. There's also the issue that if you build it, you'll have to support it (and get the grief when they knacker it). Your mate could have the Dell and spend the difference on getting Vista Home Premium instead of Basic. As an aside, I'm wondering why you've gone for the C521; as you note, upgrades are limited - wouldn't the E520 make more sense? OK, it's not as skinny, but it'll take a full height graphics card, and it still looks OK.

  3. #3
    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Internet
    Posts
    19,158
    Thanks
    732
    Thanked
    1,604 times in 1,043 posts
    Totaly with Nicho on this one, for desktop entry systems even I use Dell.
    One support call off a user can wipe out any profit made from a system. Its just not worth it
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    200
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    well its not like i'm running a business, just doing it for a mate really. not too bothered about helping him out if it goes wrong

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    103
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    www.dell.co.uk

    Can't be beaten sub £350, or very difficult anyway.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    2
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    TBH, it's likely to be cheaper to buy prebuilt and you're going to be restricted on what components you can add due to price.

    BTW, the prospect of running Vista with only 512mb of RAM scares me. Even XP likes to have more than that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    200
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    yeah, i only used 512mb to get a comparison with price. Anyone have any opinions on asus barebones? there's a few socket am2 for about £70 which seems like good value

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    103
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    Quote Originally Posted by haloman View Post
    TBH, it's likely to be cheaper to buy prebuilt and you're going to be restricted on what components you can add due to price.

    BTW, the prospect of running Vista with only 512mb of RAM scares me. Even XP likes to have more than that.
    Agreed. A workmate tried to install Vista on a basic work machine (cost cutting) and he came across nothing but problems. However, on a decent machine there are very few.

    Result: work lost 2 days productivity from one of the highest members of staff & we still don't know if our product is fully compatible with vista.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    2
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    Also, I notice it hasn't been mentioned, but you can get an extra 4.5% before VAT via Quidco, and an extra £10 off via Quidco before 10th December. That's an extra ~£18 off the cost of the Dell machine even after paying Quidco their £5 cut, and with the extra £30 you could add more memory.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    3,050
    Thanks
    248
    Thanked
    33 times in 31 posts
    • amjedm's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus A8N-Sli Premium
      • CPU:
      • Athlon X2 4200 S939 + Scythe Ninja rev A
      • Memory:
      • 2GB Corsair DDR PC3200
      • Storage:
      • Samsung T 160GB Sata in Scythe Quiet Box
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Nvidia 6600 256MB + Cooling Mod
      • PSU:
      • Enermax Noisetaker 485 (fanless) - lower chamber P180 fan doing the PSU cooling
      • Case:
      • P180 (modded - easier cable routing, front and rear grills cut)
      • Operating System:
      • XP Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • LG 22" WTQ?
      • Internet:
      • O2 8MB (Standard)
    I was looking to do a cheap build but ended up buying a complete base unit second hand -

    Athlon 64 3200 S939
    Winfast Nvidia 6100 Motherboard
    80GB HD
    512MB
    DVD RW
    480W Antec PSU
    XP Home COA

    £120 inc delivery

    Only way you'll beat Dell's price is if you buy second hand IMO.

  11. #11
    Mostly Harmless
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    347
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    The only way you are going to beat dell is if you don't need an OS.

    The benefits of a self build are you get to choose a good case, psu, motherboard and cooling setup. Other than that their buying power will always make them cheaper.
    "You've gotta laugh when you fall off a sofa!"

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    103
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    Quote Originally Posted by amjedm View Post
    I was looking to do a cheap build but ended up buying a complete base unit second hand -

    Athlon 64 3200 S939
    Winfast Nvidia 6100 Motherboard
    80GB HD
    512MB
    DVD RW
    480W Antec PSU
    XP Home COA

    £120 inc delivery

    Only way you'll beat Dell's price is if you buy second hand IMO.
    But the only problem is that leaves you with no guarantee or anything to fall back on.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Lake District
    Posts
    69
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked
    0 times in 0 posts
    • Lakeuk's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte P965-DS4
      • CPU:
      • Core 2 Duo E6600
      • Memory:
      • 2Gb standard spec
      • Storage:
      • 2 x 250Gb, 1 x 160Gb plus external 320Gb for backups
      • Graphics card(s):
      • fanless 7600GS
      • PSU:
      • 450watt standard came with case
      • Case:
      • Antec Sonata II
      • Monitor(s):
      • Samsung 940BF - 19" 2ms
      • Internet:
      • Demon 8Mb
    I generally use the rule that if the budget is less than £500 (inc monitor) then it's best buy straight from someone like Dell. One thing I hate about buying PC's is the crappy recovery cd's you get instead of the original media.

    Whats you mates budget?

    Looking at Dell it seems there prices have changed (gone up ), but the spec options are different (Vista Premium,1Gb memory, 160Gb HHD)

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    195
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked
    19 times in 12 posts
    If you're not limited to the C series for space reasons then you can get a better deal for the money (assuming £350 is the budget):

    PROCESSOR Intel® Pentium® D 915 Dual Core Processor (2.80GHz, 800MHz, 2x2MB)
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista™ Home Basic - English
    SUPPORT SERVICES Collect & Return, 1 Year Service only
    MONITOR Dell™ 19" Value Flat Panel (SE197FP) - UK/Irish
    MEMORY 1024MB Dual Channel DDR2 533MHz [2x512] Memory
    HARD DRIVE 160GB (7200rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive with 8MB DataBurst™ cache
    OPTICAL DRIVE 16X DVD+/-RW Drive
    GRAPHICS CARD Integrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3000

    Price: £351.32 Including VAT & Shipping

    This is using e-code: 305-D03E02b

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    3,050
    Thanks
    248
    Thanked
    33 times in 31 posts
    • amjedm's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus A8N-Sli Premium
      • CPU:
      • Athlon X2 4200 S939 + Scythe Ninja rev A
      • Memory:
      • 2GB Corsair DDR PC3200
      • Storage:
      • Samsung T 160GB Sata in Scythe Quiet Box
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Nvidia 6600 256MB + Cooling Mod
      • PSU:
      • Enermax Noisetaker 485 (fanless) - lower chamber P180 fan doing the PSU cooling
      • Case:
      • P180 (modded - easier cable routing, front and rear grills cut)
      • Operating System:
      • XP Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • LG 22" WTQ?
      • Internet:
      • O2 8MB (Standard)
    Have you see the AMD X2 3800 Acer base unit from Comet? Mate at work bought it after I recommended it

    160GB HD
    1GB Ram
    DVD RW
    etc. for £300

    + Daewoo 17" TFT from Scan at £88 (on Today only).

    I've just bought another one - it's got DVI as well as std connection. Bargain for the price IMO.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Keeping your system healthy and secure
    By Paul Adams in forum Software
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-10-2004, 09:35 PM
  2. I'm REALLY sorry...
    By Steve in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 12-06-2004, 03:24 PM
  3. System build: revised specs
    By Merlin in forum PC Hardware and Components
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 28-10-2003, 07:24 PM
  4. System build: revised specs
    By Weng in forum PC Hardware and Components
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 27-10-2003, 07:46 PM
  5. Shall i build this Shuttle system?
    By Jimmy Little in forum PC Hardware and Components
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 15-09-2003, 01:39 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •