Building a PC vs. buying one

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Fapcop

kiwifarms.net
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Sep 15, 2016
Heya fellow spergs!

Macs and especially OS X keeps getting worse and worse, so I’m thinking about getting a PC.

The thing is…. Is it still a nobrainer to build your own PC as opposed to buying a new/refurbished one, or are the savings negligible?

I don’t need it for anything crazy, some general light browsing/video editing and gaming. (Just you know: 1080p 60 fps. Doesn’t need any crazy 1000$ GPU.)

Also: Does anyone have recommendations for a classy case/finished machine? I absolutely loathe the “gamer esthetic” with see through case and goddamn lights everywhere.)
 

themasterlurker

Custom title If specified, this will replace
kiwifarms.net
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Nov 18, 2020
I would advise not buying prebuilts or building at your on at this time, as the prices are so similar at this point, laptops with similar specs are floating at around $1k.

You could also try buying components that are a little older from eBay, maybe an i5-6600k with a 1060 or something.

The gamer aesthetic is impossible to get away from, just turn the LEDs off if you don't like that, or buy a seperate case and attempt to move the components to it (This will void your warranty and new cases have strange layouts where the power supplies are hosted in the back now)
 

Boss Nigger

Part Legend, Part Devil, All Man
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Mar 6, 2019
Id say you have to build a pc at least once, from then on you can go the prebuilt route. but for the love of all that is holy, if you do go prebuilt do your research as if you were to build it yourself.

some companies like maingear have earned their reputation for good builds. and they charge out the ass for it. if you want something no nonsense prebuilt i suggest looking into puget systems. they make shit that is rock solid and will last.

for cases: Fractal makes the best once, and you can get all metal sides
 

The Mass Shooter Ron Soye

Do it for Null
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We're nearing the point where APUs could handle 1080p 60 FPS at decent quality, no discrete GPU needed at all. 680M graphics in mobile Rembrandt is not quite there, and a desktop version hasn't even been announced yet, but this could be viable in the next 2-4 years.

If you did get a GPU, I doubt you would need anything above an RX 6600 which is as low as $250 right now.
 

Kramer on the phone

Amber Heard did nothing wrong
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Aug 7, 2021
just buy one, but from a quality retailer. microcenter had such cheap prices that during the GPU crisis people were buying the pre-builts because you essentially got the rest of the computer for free.

the "build one" meme is from over a decade ago before lots of people/places caught on or catered to gamers hard. obviously building your own will be cheaper than alienware, but not that much cheaper than a newegg one. beyond that the warranty is a godsend, but overall after the huge price increase in ram and before the GPU crash it was probably cheaper to buy one. especially because if you build your own you might get into a "ill wait for a sale/get a good deal" mentality people get with clothes or other high item purchases.
 

Smaug's Smokey Hole

Closed for summer
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Sep 7, 2016
The only prebuilt gaming computers you should buy is office computers on the cheap and that's for one reason: they're cheap!
They tend to come with a WinPro license(find the sticker on the case/service tag with the key) which already saved you some money, then buy more ram, an SSD and a GPU (maybe a new PSU depending on the GPU) and you are good to go. It won't be that different from Dells/HPs/Lenovos prebuilt gaming systems with the added benefit of not looking as tacky.

Looking at an online marketplace for five seconds I found a $150 Optiplex 7010. Certainly not the best... but it is an i7-3770, 16GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Nvidia Quadro K2000 and Win10Pro(a license MS wants 200 bucks for. You can even re-use it on a future computer and there won't be a need for shady key-resellers). Squeeze in a better graphics card and it will work perfectly ok for your use cases until you see components you like at a price you find is fair.
 

Judge Dredd

Senior Layout Artist
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Aug 23, 2018
I'm in the UK so I don't know if my advice applies, but from what I see pre-builts are still more expensive than building your own, but they aren't the complete rip off they used to be. If memory serves, I saw one during the GPU crisis was a £100 mark up over building your own, which was still £100 you could save, but hardly a rip off. There are rip offs are still out there, but you can get some okay deals if your know what you're looking for.

As for the case, you might be sol there. Even budget cases these days have glass side panels and RGB.
 

mandatorylurk

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Dec 16, 2019
if you have a Micro Center nearby, buy their store brand Power Spec. It's the best bang for the buck of prebuilts and no bloatware and they honor the warranty well. At most all you would need to do for anything extra is buy more sticks of ram and/or a hard drive, and if you're worried they'll install it for you.

For all that is good in the world do not buy a Dell. They've gotten worse and worse.
 

K-Hole

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Joined
Dec 21, 2019
The thing is…. Is it still a nobrainer to build your own PC as opposed to buying a new/refurbished one, or are the savings negligible?

It's worth considering NOT building your own anymore, I would say, depending what you want it for. There are several sources that might be better, considering...


I don’t need it for anything crazy, some general light browsing/video editing and gaming. (Just you know: 1080p 60 fps. Doesn’t need any crazy 1000$ GPU.)

That helps to know. General light browsing is neither here nor there, unless you have a 100 tabs of porn open. I'm assuming not. Video editing suggests higher RAM count. Gaming suggests faster single core clock speeds and not so much reliance on multi-threading. You'd probably do better with a machine with a half decent GFX card as well if you want to do video shit. You can go a long way with on-core built in GFX chips, but they are not ideal. Again, it depends how heavy you want to get with the video editing. Higher end gaming also benefits from a better GFX card if you can run to the expense. Thing is, everyone is looking for bang for buck cards like this and that is what makes them 'unobtanium'. So you really have to make do with cheapest shit that will get you by, or bite the bullet and pay through the nose for a higher end solution.


Also: Does anyone have recommendations for a classy case/finished machine? I absolutely loathe the “gamer esthetic” with see through case and goddamn lights everywhere.)

As someone already mentioned: Fractal Design - https://www.fractal-design.com/

They run the polar opposite of Gaming cases that tend more towards the fucking monolith in 2001 A Space Odyssey. I got an R4 and couldn't be happier. Think they don't make them no more but they still do the R5 - a classic - https://www.fractal-design.com/products/cases/define/

Expensive especially if you want the tempered glass options and whatnot. But a basic case from them is doable, and that does provide a lot of options for expansions later on. I'm on my third build of this R4 I'm using right now. Got six drives in it. It's fairly quiet for what it is, but it's nowhere near 'silent' as some claim.

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It did used to be the case that building your own machine would save you a fair amount of cash. It may even be the case that building your own machine will save you some cash still, in this day and age. I don't know. I only know about my particular niche which is audio. It's not too far apart from video shit though as it needs high RAM counts, fast hard drives, and a fairly fast CPU to munch all that data. These days I would consider buying from a company like Scan in the UK. They test all the machines, and they already have a wealth of knowledge to start with. They will give you a machine that works. Ok, prices start over a grand. But if you were building a machine like that yourself I don't think you could build it much cheaper, have it tested, and have a warranty on it as well.

The thing is they can source certain components cheaper than what you will ever find them for. GFX cards especially. A lot of people say you really don't need a GFX card for audio. But it does 'technically' take some of the load of the CPU and may provide you with greater options for using other extra monitors. It depends.

Also, I've built so many computers (not that many really compared to some) that I'm kind of bored with it. Sure, it does cost a little more buying from a 3rd party - all that testing and also shipping out to you needs to be paid for - but for what extra you spend you can save on time and having less stress. If I had the money right now I'd buy a machine from Scan, but alas I don't have a spare couple of thousand bucks plus for the machine I want. I'll save up for it. I've opted to just upgrade my old computers instead. I'm still mainly win7 with a bit of winX, so there is method to my madness.

Scan can build you a gaming machine, a video editing machine, an audio machine, a general purpose business machine. Yes of course they charge for that, even taking in to consideration they get components cheaper than us chumps. There is the website to pay for. Bricks and mortar. People on the phones to sell. People on the phones to take complaints. People to assemble components. People to buy components. People to manage it all. People to test the machines once built. Etc. etc.

So if you really know what you are doing and you have the time and the patience and the will, yes, you can still build your ideal machine for cheaper than what they can, shipped out to you.

I looked at the cost of building an adequate machine for my needs that was a step above what I have now and came to the conclusion I would rather just buy from Scan. Not much more expensive for the benefits I would gain. If I had the cash I'd buy one of their lower end audio machines with a few upgrades built in. I still probably will at some point. Buying components and assembling them and testing them is a PITA after a while, and if you can stretch to a few extra bucks, it's worth it to have someone else take the load for you.

I realise this hasn't really answered your question. Other more knowledgeable people are better prepared to give you a more astute answer. I'm just posing a few 'what if's'.

It's a funny time in the computer world. Chip shortages. Only just about recovering from hard disk shortages. Price of GFX cards through the roof. Supply chain issues.

Couple all that with the fact that Moore's Law has just about broken down now.



I realise this is open to debate. But anyone who has had to buy a fuck ton of hard drives in the last few years will know that the price has been just about constant in recent memory. If you want to go over 6TB, then things start getting expensive. Been like that for years now. Also CPU speeds have not got faster per se, they have just become more parallel, with more cores.

Enough about that. If you can build this dream machine of yours yourself and you have the time and skill, you can game the system. If you can't do that and have a friend who can do it for you, then great, but he'll probably want some kind of 'payment' also. Getting a company that knows what they are doing like Scan will cost more, but saves on heartache and stress.

I think the options of buying those second hand systems are a viable solution. But keep in mind that extra RAM for those old systems might be expensive. DaVinci Resolve which is free needs something like 32GB of RAM to run properly IIRC, and you'd be hard pressed to find a machine with that in it. Then again you might. Only you know your system requirements. Only you know how much you can afford to spend. Only you know the time and stress you can take on board to achieve your goal.

Not the answer you were looking for. But you really won't get any better from anyone else, because that's just the way it is. These people have worked all this shit out to a fine art, never mind science. You and a million other people have asked this very same question. And they have spent good time and money making sure you never come up with an answer. Good luck.
 

Buff Wellington

Get beefy bitch!
True & Honest Fan
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Jan 28, 2021
If you are going to build something on the cheap, going a gen or 2 back is totally fine right now, here is a complete build without a monitor for 830.92 USD that will destroy anything on 1080p and not look or run like crap.
note: video card is a little more expensive to give you 12GB memory and DLSS for some future proofing. There's room for upgrades here, but this would be totally fine.


CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($132.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte B550M DS3H Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Kingston NV1 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($69.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 12 GB XC GAMING Video Card ($267.99 @ EVGA)
Case: Fractal Design Meshify C ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Walmart)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA GA 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($69.98 @ Amazon)
Total: $830.92
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available

if you want to spend a little more, grab a dark rock pro 4 cpu cooler and maybe a WD Black 4TB storage drive as addons. PWM fans are also lovely but not really needed for a budget build.
 
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DNA_JACKED

Pronouns are Ni/Gg/Er: proud transracialwomankin
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Jul 19, 2017
I suggest build. On top of getting far higher quality parts (even good mass produced OEM hardware is cheap as hell) and being able to build it to your specifications, you also know its built properly and no corners were cut. Custom AIB pre builts are notorious for cut corners and cheaping out in mostly invisible, but annoying ways.

Right now GPUs are getting cheap, and the CPU market is flooded with good choices. You can find sales and combo deals as the market tries to purge old inventory.
We're nearing the point where APUs could handle 1080p 60 FPS at decent quality, no discrete GPU needed at all. 680M graphics in mobile Rembrandt is not quite there, and a desktop version hasn't even been announced yet, but this could be viable in the next 2-4 years.

If you did get a GPU, I doubt you would need anything above an RX 6600 which is as low as $250 right now.
APUs have been "nearing the point of good enough" for 10 years now. As they get more powerful games get more demanding.

APUs are good for tiny builds but even a cheapo dGPU will not only spank an APU at, well, anything really, it can also be upgraded without having to also replace your CPU. CPUs last forever nowadays, having to replace it for a slightly faster APU is rather wasteful.
 

K-Hole

kiwifarms.net
Joined
Dec 21, 2019
Always build. You get to use the components you want to. You also don't have to deal with the bloatware that companies place on pre built units.

You've totally ignored all the disadvantages to doing this. Yes, build if you can. Time, money, experience? Then build. If not, then buy. We aren't just talking about big re-sellers like Dell, we are talking about smaller sellers too.

As for 'bloatware' - the example company I gave of Scan in the UK will provide you a system with no OS, assuming that you will provide your own OS when system is delivered. Wink wink. Of course they test for just WinX - they aren't going to test for Win7 at this point - you are on your own. But you will know they put that WinX OS on there and tested for it and then stripped it off before selling and giving the machine to you. It's like another 100 bucks or so for that WinX OS.

They sell all their systems with an option of having NO Operating System at all. But they test for the current OS it will be expected to run on. There is no OS, therefore there is no software, therefore there is no 'bloatware' to be had. At least if you choose that option.

And many people do have their own legit keys for whatever OS they decide to put on there. OK, not always, but that is not the responsibility of the computer builder, Scan, in this case. I am not shilling for them. Lots of reasons not to go for them in fact, but I won't go in to that here. No doubt they are a big PC builder in the UK though.