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better to buy or build a desktop?


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#13 p0tter

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 11:29 AM

If the computer is NOT for YOUR personal use these are my thoughts:

You dont personally want to go through the trouble if there are problems with hardware or software. Its alot easlier to let Dell handle low end office builds.

This is speaking from experience, Ive build desktops and its not worth the time or money when you get a call about little problems that are the users fault (virus;s, spyware etc).

This is $379.00 @ Dell (without Tax)

PROCESSOR AMD Athlon™ 64 3200+ edit
OPERATING SYSTEM & TV-TUNERS Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition edit
UPGRADE TO WINDOWS VISTA No Express Upgrade to Windows Vista Selected edit
MEMORY 512MB Single Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz - 1DIMM edit
HARD DRIVE 80GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™ edit
OPTICAL DRIVE 16X DVD-ROM Drive edit
MONITOR No Monitor edit
VIDEO CARD NVIDIA GeForce 6150 LE Integrated Graphics GPU edit
SOUND Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio edit


A legal copy of XP will cost about $100 alone.

#14 Thasp

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 12:10 PM

Prebuilt systems suck.

Look inside the cases of consumer level dells, the HDs get put in isolated bays so not only do they get no air, but the heat stays trapped in them. Prebuilt system usually make sure to use western digital to ensure quick failure, because names like CAVIAR make people think of quality, while they're really buying a piece of crap. :)

They get such awful PSUs, that make rosewills and thermaltakes look like Seasonics and PCP&P models. This also ensures quick failure.

It's as if they're designed to fail.

You can be your own tech support, too. I am 99% sure you're smarter than the guy on the other end of the phone. You by yourself, at least. With this forum, and others like it, you're even more ahead of the curve.

If it's for someone else, who is not computer literate, I recommend Dell. They'll ruin their computer's OS before the hardware has any issues. Then say it's slow, stop using it for a year. Then finally decide to buy a new fast computer to fix the problem. They'll ruin the new PC and it'll start all over again, until they grow a brain or stop using computers.

Fixing other people's computers is an awful job. It took me an hour to tell someone over the phone how to get a dll into their system32 and system directories in windows. People lose all common sense when dealing with a computer. I don't even as recommend parts or a brand unless I know the person has a working brain, because the second I do, they'll somehow hold me accountable for their system being messed up when they download SPANISH_XXX_ANAL_****_BLOWJUB_CUM.AVI.MPG.exe off of kazaa that installs 30 worms on their system.

I once had a Dell laptop and actually knew more about what was going on than most of their techs. On one occasion I informed the tech what was wrong, he agreed; but their parts dispatcher decided it was something else and shipped the wrong part; Augh another call to Dell to straighten it out.


My old Inspiron 8200 was a waste of money, I never actually used it portably. I moved it six times.. once to a family member's house, once to the side of a pool, once from kitchen to basement, and another time from kitchen to a bedroom.

Three HDs died, the LCD went bad, it came with a dying graphics card, the motherboard died one time after it shut down, the CD burner stopped working, the modular bays no longer can hold a drive.. I did use it everyday, but it was moved around less than the average desktop.

I feel your pain. They sent me the wrong CD drive once, wrong HD another.. god awful company.

#15 radodrill

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 01:06 PM

My old Inspiron 8200 was a waste of money, I never actually used it portably. I moved it six times.. once to a family member's house, once to the side of a pool, once from kitchen to basement, and another time from kitchen to a bedroom.

Three HDs died, the LCD went bad, it came with a dying graphics card, the motherboard died one time after it shut down, the CD burner stopped working, the modular bays no longer can hold a drive.. I did use it everyday, but it was moved around less than the average desktop.

I feel your pain. They sent me the wrong CD drive once, wrong HD another.. god awful company.


Mine was an Inspiron 8000
It went through 1 HDD, 1 DVD-ROM (Replacement is now flaky as well), 3 MBs (1 was defective when shipped from them and had to be re-replaced), 1 LCD (they first shipped out the case part rather than the screen), and 1 palmrest assembly.
Not to mention a few batteries that they wouldn't cover under warranty.:mad:
Good thing I got 3yr onsite service:rolleyes:

Dealing with Tech support is horrendous. If at all possible I build my own systems.
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#16 Scott P

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 01:31 PM

For a gaming build, I'd go with one you build. There are plenty of threads around here where people with simlar needs spec'd out what they wanted. Are you looking to re-use anything like the monitor, speakers, etc?

AMD Phenom II X4 965 C3
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#17 taowulf

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 02:30 PM

If you are a power user or want anythign close to decent performance, build your own.

If grandma wants to email pics of grandkids and look for old fogey porn, get here a cheap dell with some serious spyware and AV proection.
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#18 Thasp

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 05:30 PM

Mine was an Inspiron 8000
It went through 1 HDD, 1 DVD-ROM (Replacement is now flaky as well), 3 MBs (1 was defective when shipped from them and had to be re-replaced), 1 LCD (they first shipped out the case part rather than the screen), and 1 palmrest assembly.
Not to mention a few batteries that they wouldn't cover under warranty.:mad:
Good thing I got 3yr onsite service:rolleyes:

Dealing with Tech support is horrendous. If at all possible I build my own systems.


99% of what I have to RMA is not stuff where the failure was a freak accident, but rather, where the original product just sucks. Nothing is more true for the Inspiron 8*** series.

Did you like how the thing was made of cheap plastic, and was heavy and thick in spite of being 3K+? :) I found this to be one of the standout features.

I hope we've convinced the OP to build his own. :D

#19 radodrill

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 05:40 PM

This supports my RMA theory.. 99% of what I have to RMA is not stuff where the failure was a freak accident, but rather, where the original product just sucks. Nothing is more true for the Inspiron 8*** series.

Did you like how the thing was made of cheap plastic, and was heavy and thick in spite of being 3K+? :) I found this to be one of the standout features.

I hope we've convinced the OP to build his own. :D


Yeah; It was pretty cheap for a ~3K unit (and heavy as hell). Doesn't even stand up to minor drops etc. that are commonplace with laptops.

IMO any OP who has a general understanding of what's going on should build their rig; Dell and Co. are for techno-don'ts who only use a PC for word processing and web surfing.
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#20 Lenny_Nero

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:13 PM

Its like another said what do you need the box for ?
If its just word, the web and playing the odd game, buy a pre built.
If you need support and help lines and dont want to open the box up, get a pre built box, over here (UK) you can use someone like Savastore and use them to build a box with most of what they sell (anything), rather than a made for them Dell type non shop stock that will use custom paired down to the bone parts that are the minimum for the job and get a setup that you plug in and go get your e-mail, but will find hard to upgrade, but you will have the X year warranty and help/support lines and tons of pre installed junk.

I have never used a help line so IMO that would be a waste of money and I enjoy building things (helps when your an engineer), its not like putting a computer together is hard, but its just not what some people want from them. I have spent the last few days routing/hiding cables and filling down case burs in my new build even swapping out cheap crap screws for nice stainless steal matching set screws, not what the Dell buyer wants from a computer :)

When you build it you can put the stuff you want together with the case and any other things you want from the box, everything will have a manufactures warranty and might have some sort of help line, but not the one stop shop like a Dell type will have, just remember what others have said about 'Dell' support, as I said I have not used a 'help' line, I have been forced to work on a few and most people I know use me as theirs, but I dont know just how much there are worth.

As for speed, I have just sorted a friends core duo pre built box (6400 or 6600 I think) that they have just got in December and when he used my Asus he wanted to know what it was, as it did everything much faster than his. After I removed all of the pre loaded things that were already on his hard drive (like AOL, Tiscali and other useless carp) sitting in the background just in case he wanted them, and told him that it would go even faster if he killed the OS and put a better one over the generic image that the OEM builders use to do all of their stock without having to mess around with silly things like settings, he will not have to make a cup of tea while it boots up :)

#21 Thasp

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:26 PM

nd told him that it would go even faster if he killed the OS and put a better one over the generic image that the OEM builders use to do all of their stock without having to mess around with silly things like settings, he will not have to make a cup of tea while it boots up :)


I can almost remember the days when the prebuilt actually came with a copy of the OS that you could reinstall yourself, regardless of how cheap the one you bought was. Now you only have a license to use that install on that computer.. then when you buy it you have a license to only use the $100-$200 OS on one computer.. then when you buy vista you have the license to use the $100-200 OS on one computer, with one motherboard.

Reinstalling from the CD that came with the prebuilt used to be a viable option. :(

#22 Lenny_Nero

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 07:37 PM

Reinstalling from the CD that came with the prebuilt used to be a viable option. :(


I asked him for the stuff that came with it, and he said "what the big bit of paper telling me how to plug the monitor in ?".

Looks like he does not have a real CD, but, I hope its in the bottom of the box somewhere, I have told him to go back to the shop and tell them he is going to report them to M$ for stolen software if they will not, its worked for others ;)

#23 Smoken Joe

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 10:08 PM

Let us know what you need and we can help you pick out parts then compair the prics.

Low end Go Dell or HP it is crazy cheap if it brakes buy a new one. If stability and reliabilty with performance are inportant make one.


You can buy a fast stable pre built but it will usually really cost you an arm and a leg and finxing things even with coustomer support can take forever compaired to DIY.

[H]OCP has some real world reviews of support and systems they dont tell the company they are going to review it so they dont get cherry picked computers and the presedent calling them to make sure things are running smooth.

#24 iamkoza

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 11:03 PM

i went through this debate myself when my roommate had wanted a pc a few months back. He wanted a pc that could play games, bf2 was the game, but his funds were extremely limited.... so he ended up going with a dell dimension e521.

He ended up getting a dual core cpu, 1 gig of ddr2 ram, and a x1600xt bought from a forum member here for less than $600. And it runs bf2 pretty nice on medium settings