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Thread: self build vs custom built

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    self build vs custom built

    I was wondering if there is much price difference now between a self build and a custom built PC by specialist? Plus you have the advantage of a warranty and in my case a hell of a lot better cable management

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    Self build is better imho. and the are so many good tech sites, and helpful forum members about, you also get the satisfaction of knowing you built it yourself.

    Another plus, is you get to learn how the pc is built, this will help should anything go wrong in the future. Most pc parts come with a 2 years warrantees, I think its a requirement within the EU these days.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    Best way is to price up the identical system using the same company. A good starting point is Scan who offer a wide variety of components plus custom build. I don't think the premium for labour is that high these days. You usually find the people who opt for self build either want to do it themselves or are on a strict budget so any extra on labour matters. I personally self build because I enjoy it and don't trust anyone else to do it since I'm quite particular.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    A big drawback of self-builds is trouble-shooting hardware problems - the number of threads asking for help on here is testament to that! I tend to run two reasonably up to date PCs so that I can swap out components if I encounter problems, sometimes it's the only way to diagnose a fault.

    I agree that it's enjoyable & quite rewarding to build your own system, & there's no substitute for being able to choose exactly which components you want to use. I don't think it works out much cheaper though, in the long run.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    There always the bundle option, that helps to get the base parts correct.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmyst View Post
    ... Most pc parts come with a 2 years warrantees, I think its a requirement within the EU these days.
    No, it isn't an EU requirement. That's a common misconception, due to the legal meaning of "warranty", as used in an EU directive, not being what consumers mean by the word.

    That "two year" thing means consumer rights, as embodied in the UK by the Sale of Good Act, must be for a minimum of two years. As it was already 6 years (Scotland being a bit different, but similar) in the UK, that two-year EU thing had NO impact here. It did in some other EU states, and dome other aspects of the directive impacted here. Just not that bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmyst View Post
    Self build is better imho. and the are so many good tech sites, and helpful forum members about, you also get the satisfaction of knowing you built it yourself.

    Another plus, is you get to learn how the pc is built, this will help should anything go wrong in the future. ....
    True enough. And I go self-build. The last pre-built PC I bought was, IIRC, 1984 or 85.

    BUT .... buying custom-built has advantages ... though tends to cost more. One advantage is if something goes wrong, one supplier is responsible whatever it is. Also, self-diagnosing problems can be hard if you don't have knowledge, or the time to learn, and a collection of spare bits to test with.

    Which route is "better" depends, IMHO, entirely on what the buyer wants. If he/she wants to learn, and optimise component choice, for the least money, and has the spare time, go self-build. If they want minimal hassle, a single-source supplier, a decent selection of component choice and to not spend time researching, sourcing bits and building, and then maybe fault-fixing, and have the budget and inclination to pay for these conveniences, then go custom build.

    It's horses for courses. No answer fits everybody.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    Self build is EASY PEASY... heck, even *I* can do it!!
    Faults are just something else to chat about on the forums...

    IMO, nothing beats learning it as you go, even if it's just enough of the basics to achieve tangible real world results. I even convinced a dedicated MacBoy to renounce the sins of Apple ownership and sat down to oversee him through building his own gaming PC. He loves it!!!

    Custom-build depends on who you use, I guess. Even the good shops make mistakes and things can still happen. Downside is when you have to post it all back.
    Some people have reckoned that they're not quite all that, too, especially if you're relying on them choosing the components... No experience of it myself, but that's the opinion of many builders I quite respect and a number of 'problem' threads on certain forums would concur.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    Quote Originally Posted by rob4001 View Post
    I was wondering if there is much price difference now between a self build and a custom built PC by specialist?
    To answer your original question ...

    Depends on who you get to build it, largely. A larger manufacturer will get a better price on components, but will likely also have a higher markup to cover their costs. A local or smaller builder might not be able to get such good prices on the internals, but might be more likely to absorb some of the higher price by cutting their personal margins. And remember that if you go for self-build, the shops you buy from are still going to have to pay for premises, and sales staff, and add some profit margin on themselves - so you're paying someone else for sitting between you and the distributor anyway.

    Hexus' system reviews often provide the cost of buying the components as a comparator: so you can get a good idea by having a read through http://hexus.net/tech/cat/systems/type/reviews/ From memory the difference is usually fairly small, but of course that varies.

    EDIT: just wanted to pull out a particularly good quote
    Total build cost for this particularly configuration at the time of writing is £1,423 including delivery, yet pricing up the individual components suggests that an experienced user could put together a very similar rig for just a little less. For the small premium, circa £50, you're getting a guaranteed 4.7GHz overclock and a three-year warranty from a long-standing UK retailer, with on-site support for the first 12 months.
    From the review of the Scan 3XS Z97 Vengeance 780

    The one thing I will say is that some "specialists" who build PCs are more specialists at lining their own pockets than at building PCs Don't trust any pre-built PCs that don't tell you the make and model of both the Mobo and PSU, which are two common areas to scrimp on.
    Last edited by scaryjim; 09-12-2014 at 03:04 PM.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    Well for a large part its a question of Cover vs Choice, would you rather have the peace of mind of a single warranty prebuilt system or the choice of parts according to your needs?

    Personally I have always been stuck in the second, for one there's normally a particular OS included in these, I go around the corner to avoid some of the stuff Microsoft has released over the years let alone pay for it. You may also already have some parts you might want to use, HDDs for example is something I often migrate from builds.

    You might not like that particular case, iffy motherboard or PSU like scaryjim mentioned or simply require a particular feature out of the box. When that happens customizing the system often offers very poor value and the cost added is normally superior than the price difference of the parts on the market.

    Assembly wise its quite silly how easy it has got over the years, friendly cases, clearly identified and accounted screws, all different physical connecters, motherboard headers, operation out of Box and intuitive Bios. Even OS based overclocking applications have become fairly decent, honestly changing the dust bag/filter on the hoover seems harder sometimes.

    The answer to the value question is harder, it really depends on the offers available at the time, what I found is that with some smart shopping you will invariably find one or two parts on offer that will tip it well in favor of self build.

    But ultimately the major draw back of self build remains, if it doesn't work when assembled do you have the required tools to diagnose the issue? yes or no? and if no how lucky do you feel

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    I'd also say it depends on what you want to do with your pc.

    for a basic pc, internet, office, email, watching dvd's/video streams then a fully pre-built off the shelf unit will often beat any price you can build it yourself unless you've got a bunch of parts laying about already.
    Windows OS cost can be a major hit to the budget if you want to self build a basic pc.
    When you throw in gaming or specialist build, then things change, time is a factor here too not just price, the time you spend researching components, as well as building and installing the OS. So some people are more willing to pay for that time saving, peace of mind and less hassle if any thing goes wrong.

    For people who complain about the added cost of a custom build, think about this you'll probably spend at least 5 hours in total research, sourcing, building, installing and testing for a new self build, so think what you'd call a fair hourly wage is for yourself (UK mean average is £13.60 so add on at least £68 to your build for your time)

    For interest have a look at my zoostorm thread http://forums.hexus.net/pc-hardware-...-zoostorm.html it's a great one for off the shelf vs self build costings because zoomstorm uses stock parts for this, I'm not sure about their normal desktop units, but that unit was pure off the self and the total saving for self building would of been about £10

    My approach has always been starting with a good pre-built then slowly upgrading it out of existence over time, so you not so much self build as rebuilding, some bits stay some go as you upgrade.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    Quote Originally Posted by Mama Sumae View Post
    ....

    Personally I have always been stuck in the second, for one there's normally a particular OS included in these, I go around the corner to avoid some of the stuff Microsoft has released over the years let alone pay for it. You may also already have some parts you might want to use, HDDs for example is something I often migrate from builds.

    You might not like that particular case, iffy motherboard or PSU like scaryjim mentioned or simply require a particular feature out of the box. When that happens customizing the system often offers very poor value and the cost added is normally superior than the price difference of the parts on the market.....
    Well, as Scaryjim said, it largely depends on who you get to build it. There are large-ish companies, or very small operations. I would be one of the latter. Or I would have been in past years, anyway.

    I've been known to sit with people, listen to what they want a machine FOR, advise on a configuration to suit, recommend components and justify WHY those components have been picked, and spec the machine, including any re-usable bits the customer already has.

    However, I'm not a retailer, and didn't want to be. So, either they buy the bits themselves, and I can suggest where to get them at a good price (and from a reputable supplier), or I can get them on their behalf, but at cost, as their agent. I do not buy and resell components, nor do I warranty them .... or add a margin on them. Hence, the 'agent' thing.

    I do stand behind my expertise, be it advice or build, but not component failure. A machine will be delivered working, and demonstrated, and what's paid for is my time, not the hardware. Any subsequent issues that are my fault will be dealt with at my cost BUT if it turns out to be hardware failure or, more commonly, "user error", my hourly rate applies, and customers know that before we start.

    There are different types of "custom" build, and "specialists".

    Oh, and just on the off-chance anyone might be thinking of asking, no, I don't do it any more. Or not other than for existing contacts anyway, and even that, rarely. I have neither the time nor inclination. But I can't be the only one that did, or does, do this. Can I?

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    @OP

    Why not just say what type of machine (gaming/Office) and give a budget, And let the boffins around here find you a great deal.

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    Re: self build vs custom built

    Hey, this is my first post on this forum,

    And I couldn't find any general "welcome yourself" thread to get my 1st post virginity out of the way (after a very brief skim-read) so I thought I'd add my thoughts to this:

    Generally, going to a specialist PC retailer can cost you anywhere between £60-150 (or more) to have your system built, cable-managed and tested on top of the price of the components themselves, however it is true that self-building a PC these days is very simple, pretty much everything is a "one plug fits one whole" scenario so there's not really a lot you can do wrong.

    However you also have to bear in mind that some people for the sake of the aforementioned ~£100 maybe don't have the time to research and build their own, this is where pre-built PC's come into the limelight. Sure, you pay a premium, but if you buy from the right retailer, you get a professional, fully functioning PC with BIOS flashed, drivers installed and ready to go and a nice tidy looking system.

    Some people will always find it easier to pay for the convenience.

    I would strongly suggest giving it a go... it really isn't that difficult, I'm sure you folks have heard this before but "read the manual" applies, and unlike some shoddy, poorly translated instructions on how to build a shelf you buy off ebay, component manuals are normally pretty comprehensive and easy to follow.

    My foot note is this, retailers such as Scan offer insurance policies that cover installation damage and the cost for this normally is very little in comparison to the cost of the individual components, so look at it this way, you build your first PC, it's successful, you save £50-100 build charge for having it done by you.

    then 20-30 years down the line when you've built/upgraded your new PC's hundreds of times, that £50-100 you save turns into thousands.

    Not to mention if a component fails (like a HDD, some faulty fans etc) you'll have a much better understanding of how/what to replace instead of taking it to the expensive PC shop down the road that charge you for the HDD and then another £30 to unplug your old one and plug in your new one!


    (Also: sorry for the long post..)

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