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Thread: Should I build or buy a pre built system

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    Should I build or buy a pre built system

    I am currently looking for a new pc and I am thinking of building it myself rather than buying a pre built pc. Any help to nudge me in the right direction would be appreciated.

    My current pc is an
    athlon xp2400+
    1gb ddr2 ram
    6600gt gfx card agp
    ide hard drive
    asus a78nx mboard

    as you can see its an old system. I have upgraded the gfx card and added a 2nd hard drive over the years. I have also had a bit of a tinker inside the case removing the ram and last week I removed the old cpu and replaced it. The replacing of the cpu got me thinking that I should really look at building the pc from a cost point of view rather than buy pre built.
    Plus it would be very good to be able to put a system together and get more experience at building.

    Are the pc's of today harder to put together? This is what's holding me back, I spend a good few hundred pounds and fry a cpu or make some other rookie error and there goes my money.
    Any cpu's/components very tricky to install? I am still not 100% on the cpu and heatsink fitting but I have done it on the system above so I am more happy to try it now.

    Or should I just go pre built?

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    If anything, PCs of today are considerably easier to build yourself. Practically everything is keyed and labeled, so the only way you'll break/short anything, is if you belt things into place with a hammer when they 'dont fit'. And the quality of component manuals have never been better.
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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    If anything, PCs of today are considerably easier to build yourself. Practically everything is keyed and labeled, so the only way you'll break/short anything, is if you belt things into place with a hammer when they 'dont fit'. And the quality of component manuals have never been better.
    lol thanks for the reply, now do they supply the hammer or can I just batter it in with one from the toolbox

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    I agree, they are easier than ever to build and the only real problem is if a part is DOA and you have to starting sending stuff back.

    I wouldn't really consider a pre-built PC these days, I like to know exactly what is in it and what I can expect from those parts.

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    I'd agree with all the above, but one caveat - if you have problems getting all the components to work with the operating system, it is down to you to fix it! Basically component iontegration) With a pre-built system, you get a system warranty - if you self build, while the components themselves will have a warranty - the system doesn't.

    However in 'real life', unless you are building anything really exotic, you shouldn't have many problems, and there is a wealth of experience here to help ypou through anything that might happen.

    As for damaging components during installation, one retailer (and I never thought I'd say this because it has caused controversy) offers insurance on against damage during assembly, for a small premium. (The controversy is because it is an opt-out system, rather than opt-in) That might give you some peace of mind.

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    It's all about striking a balance between what you want to do and what you want to spend, really.
    I've been building PCs for years but I also treated myself to a pre-built system a few years ago from Vadim.

    The disadvantages of a pre-built include cost and lack of familiarity. That's to say it'll generally cost you more to have someone to build a system for you and because you didn't build it yourself you'll tend to be less familiar with the layout and contents of your PC. The advantages are that someone who does it for a living has put it together (maybe even overclocked it etc.) so it saves you time and hassle. My Vadim rig was superbly built but the motherboard blew on it (a horrible, horrible EVGA 680i mobo and my experience with EVGA means I'll never buy another thing from them again. Ever. Gits.)

    Anyway, self-building is nothing to be afraid of. There are plenty of guides and advice you can find online (not least in a place like this.) The advantages are that you will probably spend less and know your system much, much better if you build it yourself. Disadvantages are that you may have to shop around (I can't remember one build where I managed to source all the parts of a PC from one shop at a time) and of course you may make mistakes. We all do it, I once knackered an AMD cpu with a heatsink but I would say the chances of making a serious blunder are fairly low so don't let that put you off.

    I'm typing this on one of my homebrew systems; it was a gaming rig and now it's an HTPC! Upstairs is my Vadim, largely unchanged except for the motherboard. I would say to weigh-up what you want to spend and how much time you are free to invest in your system. Self-builds can be frustrating at times(bloody computers are frustrating!) but they're also informative and satisfying. If you're thinking of a pre-built why not have a look at someone like Scan's 3XS systems? They are lovingly put together and never suffer from one of my particular failings as a self-builder: cable management.

    Whatever you decide, have fun and keep us posted!

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    i would go to build root mate. i havent bought a pre built pc for about 6 years now and probably never will again.

    plus you have the satisfaction of being manly and building something.
    kids tv just isn't the same anymore

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    Build it yourself, you'll know your PC if you have any problems in the future and a big plus is that you can Overclock it if you want, especially useful as it gets older and newer applications get more demanding. Pre-Built systems tend to have a locked Bios so you can't change any of the CPU/RAM speed settings.

    I find it fun shopping round for components to get a good deal, you can choose your own style of case and get a lot of satisfaction (and potential frustration tbh) from it.

    As everyone has already said, its not hard when all the components work and it only takes a couple of hours to build one and make the cabling neat
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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    Always built my own as i always source parts second hand and works out alot less than a pre built system,build u own if u have any probs im sure someone of here could advise u.

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    Okay I think I am going to go down the amd route for a processor

    should I go for

    AM3 x3 720 £120

    AM2 x4 940 £165

    or go for the

    AM3 X4 955 which is the priciest at around £200

    I am not in a great hurry to build and will do it over the next 30-45 days. I will leave the processor as late as possible to buy unless a great deal is available.

    I mainly want to use my pc for photoshop and some good gaming would be nice (I am pretty certain my gfx card will be a 4870 1gb or a 4830/4850/4770 in xfire/ x2 (although I may not get the graphics card immediately) & ram will be 4gb).

    I have not started to look at the am3 boards yet can anyone recommend a good one that I would be able to get xfire gaming from. The cheaper the better I see that most have on board graphics which could do nicely if I wait for the price of the 4870 to drop a little more.

    Looking over the processor list again the do the am3 processor with the ddr 3 memory perform so much better than the am2 processor and ddr 2 to justify the higher cost?
    Or is it just that the am3 and ddr 3 give you more future proofing? i.e. if i get x3 720 just now with am3 board I can drop a later am3 processor in and use ddr3 whereas I can/can't? use an am3 processor in an am2+ board ( I can but I cant get ddr 3 with an am2+ board is that right?)

    I have ruled out the intel chips because I want the i7 920 but its just too pricey to get with mobo and trip channel ddr 3 (if anyone can find me a i7 920, motherboard and ddr 3 memory for £300-400 i would take that!!). The only viable chip looks to be the q6600 in my price range as it seems to be a good overclocker however intel are moving away from those to i7 and i5 from what I can gather.

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    I haven't had a working PC since October... believe me, there are some excellent reasons to buy prebuilt.

    On the provision that you know exactly which components are going into it, such as with Scan, and you are satisfied with the price paid for them to build it, test it, and fix it for 1/2/3 years after purchase, there's no reason not to do it.

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    If you are confident about building a PC yourself then i would say go for it!

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    The current AM3 Phenom II processors do not show much performance improvement with DDR3 RAM TBH.

    However if you do want to go the DDR3 way the AM3 motherboards have dropped in price a lot!

    AM3 based system

    Around £363 in cost:

    Phenom II X4 955BE ~ £201

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    Asus M4A78T-E ~ £108

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    4gb DDR3 RAM ~ £54

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/4GB-(...d-CAS-9-9-9-24

    Since the X4 955BE is a AM3 processor it can also be used in a DDR2 AM2+ 790GX motherboards too.

    AM2 based build

    Around £273 in cost:

    Phenom II X4 940BE ~ £160

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    The Phenom II X4 940BE is an AM2+ processor so it cannot be used in a DDR3 AM3 790GX motherboard.

    Biostar 790GX motherboard ~ £75

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Biost...ID-OnBoard-VGA

    4gb DDR2 ~ £38

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    I would probably go for the second build as it is better value for money.

    The £90 saved could go towards a better PSU or graphics card.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 04-05-2009 at 02:23 PM.


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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    Definitely build your own PC..if you know what you're doing!
    More fun and easier to upgrade too.

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    Thanks to scan's deals of the day I know have the following problem

    intel core 2 quad q9550 & 4gb (2x2gb) corsair twinx xms2 cas 5-5-5-18 £224.24
    which seems a good price.

    Does anyone have this cpu and how does it perform?

    I am thinking of this or the amd x4 940 and combo that cat-the-fifth suggested.
    If scan had dropped that processor mobo combo I would have been all over it.

    I think with the adding a mobo on the intel build I can get that at about £20-40 more than the amd set up.

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    Re: Should I build or buy a pre built system

    I would go AMD for a new build, as they are such good value at the moment
    That intel isnt bad, but once you add another 100 for a decent board
    It is an extra 50 over the 720 setup
    And considering you can unlock the 4th core on the 720, and still probably clock it to 3.6G, its the setup to go for
    Even if you dont unlock the 4th core, you will probs then be able to clock it to nearer 4G
    I have a 720 on its way as we speak, my first AMD, such a great cpu.

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