Build vs. Buy - Getting Harder to Justify?

Discussion in 'Benchmarks & Performance' started by kcnychief, Dec 23, 2005.

  1. kcnychief

    kcnychief █▄█ ▀█▄ █ Political User Folding Team

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    I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and I really think the advantages are getting slimmer day by day. Granted, if you build it yourself, which I have done for a few years, you know exactly what each component is in regards to spec, quality, etc., but if you buy a system, let's use DELL for instance, and get a complete package (tower, lcd, etc.) and an OS, Office, and compare to what it would cost to build that, buy all the software, it's tough to compare these days.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    I agree but since I have all my own software and I want to control a lot more variables, I still personally prefer building to buying.
     
  3. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

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    *Build - if you want your own configurations, but these days it'll tend to be more expensive than buying a machine.

    *Buy - if you don't mind what hardware is inside the box, usually quite decent machines are available at a lower cost than building your own equivalent... don't forget, you get all the software to go with it which is better value.
     
  4. Son Goku

    Son Goku No lover of dogma

    Software is part of the issue...and a lot of these machines come pre-loaded with a lot of junk that really does little more then add CPU cycles. Hell, it's even becomming more difficult to download some media players (to play some media formats and the like) that aren't becomming the extreme example of bloatware, include bundles to things I for one really don't want, and like to hijack the system and take over all media formats. Bleh...

    But one of the last systems I bought (minus this one shop with people I knew, who were really comp engineers who sorta got int he business) was nothing but problems. Though the place was family recommended, I was jacked, the person put stolen hardware in there (with serial numbers scratched off), and the thing started having issues not too long after I bought it...

    If I were buying for a company, I might look at some reputable dealers and get ahold of some retailers to see what sorta contract each could give. No way would I build all the PCs going into some large office building or the like. For my PC, I'll build it thank you very much; and in part because of the experiences I have had, and in part because I know myself. If I screw up, it's my problem, not theirs.
     
  5. lancer

    lancer There is no answer! Political User Folding Team

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    The only advantage to buying over building, is if you where getting a low end system, then it makes sense.

    But if you are going to build i mid-high end system, for instance take alienware; they are total rip-off merchants i can build three equal spec systems for the price of one of theirs.
     
  6. Bman

    Bman OSNN Veteran Original

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    Building is and will always be better. If you know how to build, build.
     
  7. mlakrid

    mlakrid OSNN BASSMASTER Political User Folding Team

    I think the biggest advantage to building your own is the difference in warranties, when you buy OEM vs in the box parts, the in the box parts almost always have better warranties, and you dont get the full warranty if you buy a full system. Well not without purchasing an "extended warranty" anyway
     
  8. Bman

    Bman OSNN Veteran Original

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    It really comes down to what you know. If you know how to build, you should. If you don't I'd recommend Dell, and thats it.
     
  9. mlakrid

    mlakrid OSNN BASSMASTER Political User Folding Team

    I used to follow Micron, they had the best built systems, and the best part was no one knew who they were so tyhey would cost substantially less...

    Are they even stil in business?
     
  10. Son Goku

    Son Goku No lover of dogma

    There's also a matter of knowing what goes into it, avoiding proprietary items (aka these Compaq Proliants we had in the networking lab used the floppy and HDD on the same cable, and the floppy drive was keyed. Due to this, when the drive went bad, one couldn't plug a standard floppy in it, oh no, one had to get a Compaq branded floppy with the non-standard compliant interface), and above all, knowing how well/poorly it was put together.

    Not to diss on anyone who might be a system builder for one of the OEMs in here; but when someone else builds, you just don't know how good or poorly they had done. That doufuss that came family recommended also (when I got NT 4.0, but needed software put back on that he never gave me instilation media for) also managed to somehow, put the pagefile.sys on an NTFS drive in the recycle bin without another instance of NT on the hard drive. Hell if I know how he pulled that one off.

    He also screwed up the install in other ways, including that my compiler wouldn't compile my school projects in an ansii C class, but taking the same source code to another computer, it compiled fine. Finally the registry editor fubared and deleted all of H_Key_Local_Machine, when I hadn't told it to delete anything. On a repair option in setup, something like 32 .dll files had all gotten corrupted, and that was the end of that install. Bought the software a second time so he wouldn't touch the new install, and never a repeat...

    If it's my PC, I better know the person is highly knowledgeable, or I won't let someone anywhere near it with a screw driver, or to start altering the software and all... After my experiences with that dude back in 1995/1996, I was sure to learn, to never have to go back to someone like him, again...
     
  11. Bman

    Bman OSNN Veteran Original

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    I know how you feel, I'm 17 and I can't stand anybody near my computer. I have to do everything myself.
     
  12. VenomXt

    VenomXt Blame me for the RAZR's Folding Team

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    for someone who wants a computer that gets the low/medium end job done. yah Dell as much as i hate it.
    but the fact is. i think us nerds get the best deal out of a high perf system by detailing every aspect of it.


    on the other hand I never look at software thats just me im all about the hardware.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2005
  13. kcnychief

    kcnychief █▄█ ▀█▄ █ Political User Folding Team

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    I think over the past 6-12 months, Dell has done an incredible job of improving their system quality. Granted I only deal with the enterprise line (we use Optiplex, vs. Dimension), but the GX620 is an INCREDIBLE piece of hardware, huge improvement from the GX280.

    Also a good point, but I think this isn't as prominent as it used to be (proprietary hardware). Companies are fading from this less and less, which is definitely a good thing :)

    That is also a very good point. Whenever I build a system for someone, I get asked about warranties and sell them a plan. But, the pain about that is the warranty is part specific, whereas you buy a Dell (for example), the whole system is covered.

    That is simply not true anymore, and the lower the prices become on hardware due to overproduction and more competitors, it becomes more and more false every day.

    That is a good point, however I would think there is more of a market for lower end systems because they are much more highly effective. If you are building a machine for say gaming, dvd-authoring or anything resource intensive, you are MUCH better of building. The markup on hardware through Alienware specifically is probably close to 3x market value. But, you pay for the name, and the bragging rights to your friends :cool:

    You can still buy, and get your own configuration for the most part. A lot of the online dealers, with some exceptions of course, let you switch slightly between hardware. Obviously, you have complete control if you build yourself though, rather than limited.

    That is exactly my point, the real cost difference is software you can get from a vendor when you buy the PC. I have all of my own as well, but if say you are building a PC for someone, or Jone Doe buys from Dell, that tends to be cheaper.
     
  14. Bman

    Bman OSNN Veteran Original

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    It's opinion.
     
  15. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    Very true!

    Note the following Pors and Cons apply to all pre-built systems. The one reference to Dell should not be taken out of context. Dell IMHO is the least bad of the pre-built PC houses.

    Pros
    Basic system is cheap with a lot of freebies (software, printer, LCD monitor)
    Compatibility very high on baseline systems.

    Cons
    -They rape you on ANY upgrade$! Marketing 101 give away the dolls, charge a fortune for the dresses.
    -Compatibility is TBD on pre-built systems with upgrades included. There are 10,000's of possible combinations. you can't affor to test everyone of them. I have 2 friends at work with some real Dell horror stories about upgrades, sorry SAZAR.
    -Upgrade or enhancements of pre-built systems is intentionally near impossible. Slot limited, cooling limited, power supply limited, etc. Bare nbones design and planned obsolescence makes profits for companies.
    -What you get with the included freebies is questionable and variable. The printers may have "mini" ink cartridges, the LCD's will usually have poor viewing angle and latency. Software usually has transfer limitations and advanced features disabled.
    -Open the case and add anything in and your warantee is crippled (possibly voided).
    -You may not be able to do a major upgrade due to Windows liscence restrictions. You have to replace the MB with one that has an HP, Dell, etc Bios.
    -Expect long hold times trying to contact customer service. When you sell cheap systems and pick up the support for all of the piece parts inside, including software install, your call centers are going to get swamped. (Throw in the obligatory off shore call center language issues too.)
    -On site serice is of no value unless they come nights, weekends and holidays because the rest of the time I'm at work and can not take off and sit for half a day waiting for the repair man to show up. Guys at work are constantly using vacation time to go sit and wait for computer service guys.

    Opinion applies to art, music or whether a particular woman is hot. Matters of procurement, finance and technology are resolved by cost/benefit studies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2005
  16. jcim05

    jcim05 OSNN Junior Addict

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  17. kcnychief

    kcnychief █▄█ ▀█▄ █ Political User Folding Team

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    The recommended GX620 may cost that much, but it is customizable. You can go from single to dual core, a range of RAM up to 4GB, and a crazy amount of storage. I was actually looking at some earlier today, and you can get a real nice machine for $800-1300 or so. This comes with recovery software and a 4-year warranty, a luxury not included with self-built rigs.
     
  18. jcim05

    jcim05 OSNN Junior Addict

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    If your looking to build a powerhouse, building your own would be more cost efficient.
     
  19. kcnychief

    kcnychief █▄█ ▀█▄ █ Political User Folding Team

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    I agree with that 100%

    The original source of this thread was for lower-end systems, were the cost difference is much more in favor of buying.
     
  20. jcim05

    jcim05 OSNN Junior Addict

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    You're correct. If I was to get a lower end pc I would just purchase one from Dell or a similar company. I just dont have the time to spend making a machine when I could throw in a hundred dollars more and get the whole package.