Is it cheaper to build your own?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom Garvey, Nov 25, 2001.

  1. Tom Garvey

    Tom Garvey Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been looking into a new computer.. It is said that it would be cheaper and better to build it yourself.. So the last few days I've been attempting to put a system together. This is what I've come up with at newegg.com...
    $22*EVERCASE E4252W005, Intel P4/AMD, 10-Bay Truely Screw less ATX MID Tower Case. BEIGE
    *24-Inch, Teflon Coated, IDE True ATA100, Flat Cable for IDE Hard Drives, CD ROM, DVD ROM or CDRW, 3-Connector, 66/100, 24 Inches Long. Please see image.
    $121*ABIT KG7 AMD761 ATX MOTHERBOARD
    $96*AMD ATHL THUNDERBIRD 1.2GHz 266MHZ
    $59*OEM ATI RADEON 7200 64MB 4X/2X AGP
    $57*ENERMAX EG365P-VE( FC ). 350W Power supply for AMD K7 & Pentium4. Fan on/off controlled by M/B ~ Real "Sleeping Mode" support. Meet AMD K7 and Intel 2.03 Version. Dual cooling fan design
    $84*(2) CRUCIAL MICRON 256MB 32x64 PC 2100 DDR RAM
    $9*SONY 1.44MB 3.5 INCH INTERNAL FDD DRIVE
    $87*WESTERN DIGITAL WD300BB CAVIAR 30GB 7200RPM - Hard Drive
    $43*3COM US Robotic v.90 56K Modem
    $96*LITE-ON LTR-24102B-01 24x10x40 CDRW
    $95*HERCULES GAMING THEATER XP - Sound
    $100*Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    This system will cost $930 shipped. In pieces.. right?
    Now I look in todays circular (Staples) and there is a Compaq Presario for $899.98 and it has...
    AMD Atholon 1.3GHz
    512MB RAM
    80GB Hard Drive
    56K Modem, 10/100 Ethernet
    DVD Drive
    CD-RW Drive
    Windows XP
    Now.. I don't know all the details like.. which sound & video cards and such are in the Compaq, but is the computer from newegg.com better than the Compaq or worth the trouble for basically the same price? What about warranty.. each piece would have its individual warranty?
    Please help me understand...
     
  2. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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    IMO, the computer from Newegg is better simply because it's NOT a Compaq...
     
  3. Tom Garvey

    Tom Garvey Stunt Coordinator

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    Joel.. I could appreciate your opinion if it were backed up a little...

    I've heard that Compaqs are very good machines..
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    You're using name brand ram, they're probably not.

    They're using the stock IDE cables, you're not (BTW- almost every MOBO comes with cables).

    They're using cheap video, probably onbaord on the Mobo, you're using Radeon.

    They're using cheap OEM sound, probably on mobo- you're using name brand sound.

    Their harddrive is probably a lower RPM and probably even ATA66, yours is ATA100

    And best of all, yours isn't compaq! Their stuff is all proprietary designs, so upgrading is a pain in the ass... they probably don't even use standard screw config on the mobo, so you can't even replace the case!

    -Vince
     
  5. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Brand name computer will always pale in comparison to a build your own/bought from a PC store computer.

    Brand names always use proprietary components. Sometimes you can do some upgrading but there is always a limit. And that limit is usually the motherboard which is SO proprietary that it's not even funny. You'll have NO chance in hell getting a standard mobo in a brand name computer once it comes time to upgrade.

    Add to this, they almost always have cheap ass components (RAM, video, audio)

    But, I'd have to say that by far, Compaqs are the worst of the brand name computers that I have encountered. Any company that stores the BIOS on the Hard Drive have completely gone insane.

    Anyways, hope this helps. If you don't actually want to build it yourself, just hunt around and find a good PC store and get them to build it for you.
     
  6. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    I never recommend brand-name desktop computers over self-built machines.
    We had an Olivetti machine several years ago. It was impossible to upgrade. None of the components were standard (except the monitor, keyboard and mouse). Parts were extortionate too.
    Different story with laptops though. The big-name brands seem to be the best here - probably because of the intricacy of cramming all those parts into a little case.
    Why on Earth would Compaq store the BIOS on the hard drive[​IMG]
     
  7. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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  8. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Tom,

    I see that you took my adivice from your other thread and dumped the SB Live in favour of the Hercules card. If you want to save a couple of bucks, go for their Fortissimo III card. It doesn't have all the DD/multichannel sound goodness of the GTXP but it's still a solid card and has WinXP support.

    Well, you can't go wrong either way. And you also can't go wrong with building your PC yourself.
     
  9. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    From a price only standpoint, it is probably not worth building your own PC. However, the quality of stuff that a home-built PC has inside of it compared to a brand name PC of similar price is higher. Plus you know exactly what is in your computer and you can say you built it yourself.
     
  10. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Another issue on the "build your own" front, and why I often suggest it to other is... if you have an older PC, you can harvest parts from it!

    I've got the same floppy drive that I got with my first pentium machine back in 1995. My current computer has the same CD-Burner that I used with my last tower, same Zip Drive and network card too! I added a Hard Drive, but my old 10 gig is in there as a secondary.

    At first I also used the old modem, soundcard, and ram chips- but all have eventually been replaced. The videocard came from a garage sale, $5. All the cables, screws, fans and whatnot just got recycled from my old machine. I completely overhauled my performance from a 366 Celron to a 1 gig athlon- but for about $170 to start and some small upgrades throughout the year.

    I often suggest building to current PC owners, because often all they have to replace is the MOBO, Processor and sometimes the case and this often involves an investment of around $200. Much better to recycle whatever you can and build around the parts you have!

    -Vince
     
  11. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    And if you buy a good case to start with, it should technically last you through years and years of upgrades.
     
  12. Tom Garvey

    Tom Garvey Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the feedback..
    Andy, Yes I took your advice on the Hercules card and the 1.2 processor. I don't understand what you mean buy saving a couple hundred for the other card.. when this card costs $95? Besides, the more I read the more I'm deciding to get into this HTPC stuff [​IMG]
    Vince, Are you saying I don't need to purchase the cable? Will each item (CD, DVD, floppy, etc.) come with a cable?
    A few more questions...
    Is there anything else I need to purchase to build the machine... fans, screws? Is the case decent? Is there any other recommendations for changes? Is the motherboard.. power supply okay?
    As far as HTPC goes.. Will there be onboard DD decoding? What kind of outputs and inputs will there be?
    That's it for now [​IMG]
    BTW.. I went and edited the original post.. putting in the prices for each item. Any comments as far as whether I could do better elsewhere..
     
  13. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    Tom, most CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, FDD, mobos and HDDs come with their own data cables if you buy them in the RETAIL box (at least they used to).

    Screws come with the case. Check specifics on the case for fans; you may need to buy one. If the PS if AMD certified, you'll be fine.

    For a HTPC, DD decoding is done outboard. You need a soundcard with S/PDIF out that can handle DD/DTS and a software player that is capable of sending the AC3/DTS bitstream to the soundcard.

    Newegg.com has always done well with me; their prices are good also.
     
  14. Tom Garvey

    Tom Garvey Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Johan..

    As far as this OEM (original equipment manufacturer.. right?) and Retail stuff goes.. Do I need to pay attention to this?

    Crucial Ram says "OEM/NOT RETAIL BOX"

    ATI Radeon & Western Digital just say "OEM"

    Hercules says "OEM BOX"

    Processor says "OEM Version Stepping AXIA"

    ABIT Motherboard says "Retail"

    Does this all mean something.. different?
     
  15. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I totally agree with the others that while some prebuilt systems might be cheaper they are cheaper for a reason...quality parts cost money. I also agree that I always recomend people avoid compaq like the plague. I've seen lots of different PC's and you quickly get a feel for what some companies are using for parts on I have never liked the compaq's design or parts list...beside they are a royal pain in the butt to work on and forget about upgrading
     
  16. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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  17. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Tom,
    Retail boxed Drives and Mobos come with cables. OEM boxed don't (usually). YOu don't really have to pay too close attention to OEM/Retail- but at least know the difference, and that often OEM materials don't include any sort of documentation- they are simply an item in a white box...
    I would say your probably don't need to buy the IDE cables, my Abit KA7-100 came with cabling when purchased in a retail box- so you probably won't need to buy a special one.
    You won't need to buy screws, probably, every case I've ever bought came with a bag full of them. You will probably need fans- most cases have a spot for an 80mm case fan at the front, and few of them include one. You will ABSOLUTELY need a processor cooling fan... so figure out the slot type and start shopping for one. PCpowercooling.com has some really nice SILENT processor fans- but they're a bit pricy- you can find a decent cheap on on newegg or tigerdirect for under $6.
    PCpowercooling also sells silencer 80mm fans, if you want quiet.
    I'm assuming your prices listed above are without shipping? Here's some alternatives:
     
  18. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Supporting Actor

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    Vince

     
  19. JohanK

    JohanK Second Unit

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    Sam, I know it does for an Intel mobo I was checking out yesterday if drives are on same IDE controller (defaults to slower drive); not sure if this carries over into all mobos but I would suspect that it does (seems like a BIOS issue). If drives are on different controllers, it shouldn't.

    I'm just guessing here so don't take my word for it.
     
  20. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    As everyone mentioned, the big PC makers use proprietary (and often very cheap) parts. I would rather pay the same amount and know the names of my components than have Compaq/HP/Dell put something together for me. And I have seen horror stories from ALL those manufacturers, not to pick on any one, but all.
     

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