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Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

Hi Folks,

Over the years, I have bought and built many PCs, but in the last couple of years I haven't needed to look much at new PCs. Yesterday, my friend asked me to suggest the best place to buy a new PC from and to be honest I just don't know the answer anymore.

So, seeing as there are a lot of clued up guys here I thought I would ask you chaps:

Is it cheaper at the moment to build or buy a PC? I am totally comfortable with building something, but never worked out if this was actually worth it for a normal specced PC.

Anyone know of the best deals at the moment or where I should start looking? I do get a discount at Insight.com (Our parent company) - Is there anything there worth looking at? He doesn't need a monitor or any peripherals.

Spec is pretty open to interpretation and he already has licensed copies of Windows XP, office etc so no software required. He isn't a gamer - His main interest is photography and digital image manipulation. What is the current 'bleeding edge' spec?

Money between £500 and £800 is going to be OK...

I fully appreciate this is a lazy post, but I figured rather than spend the day trawling vendors websites, I would ask the people that know!

Cheers guys.

Ian
9 REPLIES
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Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

TBH, you can't go wrong by looking at the big players pre-made systems.

These will give you a large idea of the average spec, be it for DIY or buy-in.

However, you have to remember the bonus points from each type.

Pre-made:

Good points:
Included warrantee
Tested and usualy rock solid
Someone to blame other than yourself

Bad points:
Local computer shops tend not to be very loose on the warrantee (mainly because they can't absorb the cost as much)
Some makers use proprietory components. They can often cause hell with other components

DIY:

Good points:
You can build system at cost price (even better with your discount)
No bits you don't need inflating costs

Bad points:
One port of call on failure

I so far manage 8 systems from Evesham.

There warrantee support is so far excelent for a personal system. DVD needed a replacment, however, I found out a week later, there was a firmware update for my problems. Replaced without question.

As for our business systems which are all Evesham, I can't 100% comment on the business support. We have little needs from a server, so had a high spec desktop which would serve as a backup. The HD failed. It took 3 weeks for engineer to get out due to the problem being within the reighn of W32.Blaster. In adition, when they could get out, had to be delayed by a week, so I could haul my ass off to Creamields (No way there gonna stop me from doing that).

I have rock solid systems with components of high quality.

Here is the biggest solling point that might have ya hooked. If your a stsudent, you get a free pack of mates Tongue
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

In response to your question about whether it's cheaper to build a PC or buy one pre-made...
It depends. Computer manufacturers can buy components for reduced prices, and therefore charge less. However, I find it's very rare (for me anyway) to see a computer with the exact specifications I want. Therefore, I might have to buy myself that extra firewire port or that little extra 7200rpm drive... so once you've made up a computer that you want (not what Dell/HP/whoever think you want), it may well have been cheaper - and easier - to have just built a PC from scratch. You also have the issue that when you're looking at lower prices, pre-built PCs will tend to try and offer high spec at low prices, resulting in a poor system. However, if you build a PC yourself, you can concentrate on getting quality components, and sacrificing some spec. It depends on what you want.
Myself? I bought my first PC about three/four years ago - it was a cheap one (£500), and when I think about it now, I realise that it wasn't that great. Ever since then I've made my own computer(s)...

Oh, and one last bit of advice: if your friend is serious about digital imaging, make sure that computer has 1.USB2 and FireWire ports and 2.lots of decent RAM... editing a high-res scan of a negative in 48bpp mode can get very resource-intensive. Smiley

Thomas
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Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

Ian inless you get some massive saving from insight.com i would not bother with them, i just looked at ordering a AMD 2500XP barton and A7V8X-X motherboard and it came to £153 without shipping, go to ebuyer.com and have exactly the same order and it comes to £116 plus £17 for shipping which gives me a grand total of £133. Also Insight have to add shipping which i would imagine would be in the region of £15 - £20. So by going with Ebuyer or even Dabs you save alot. Not so much Dabs for my order as Ebuyer are way below any of the others that i can find.

So if building your own i suggest ebuyer or dabs they are quite good on most prices.

Dan. Cheesy

P.S for £500 - £800 you could build a excellent spec PC with components from the above, i would build one definately at the end of the day the pre built ones look like top spec but are built with cheap parts and won't last as long or run as good.
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

Thanks for all your comments. I am still deciding about this - Building one is tempting, but because it isn't for me it is a lot more temtping to source something with a warranty (Where I don't get blamed when it breaks!)...

I guess I will have to stick my head down and spec up some options - I was kinda hoping for a "Buy this from here" sort of answer, but I know as well as anyone that it doesn't work like that. :x

Cheers,

Ian
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Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

Great post Ian. My current 'pre-made' PC is nearing the end of its useful life and so I'm now tempted to build my own - although I have no experience at all on this. Can anyone help me out by listing all the main individual components I need to do this? A checklist would be great - is there a site that can help out?

Cheers!
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Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

Bought a pc from Multivision about 2 months ago and have had no probs at all, here's what i got for my dosh of £850.00.

ddr ram-500
amd barton 2500
ati 9600 graphics
on board 5.1 sound
msi mobo nvidia chipset
creative 5300 speakers
80 gig maxtor h/d
dvd player
cd writer/reader
17" Mitsubishi diamond 750 monitor
4 usb 1 + 2 usb 2 + firewire and 10/100 ethernet, all the other usual ports.
You also get a copy of windows XP home (not recovery disc) 3 year onsite warranty and a logitech keyboard/optical mouse.
Plus a sexy black case with a blue neon light on the front. Cheesy
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Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)

A neon light on the front, well that makes the £850 money well spent then.
Seriously though, looking at some of your spec.

1/2 gig decent ddr 333 memory £75
Barton 2500 CPU £70
Ati 9600 graphics £90
Guessing at mobo £70
Creative 5300 speakers £50
80 gig Maxtor hard drive £50
Dvd player £25
CD R/W £40
17" Mitsubishi Diamond 750 monitor £165
OEM XP Home £75

That adds up to £710 without the case, keyboard/mouse, warranty and other bits and bobs.
So all in all, not to shabby then.
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Alienware

Cool

if you want TOP quality Gaming monster then www.alienware.co.uk is the place to go you can basically build the machine on paper they will build it and ship it very good company heard lots of good things about them machines are over £1000 depending on the spec but if ya want a future proof pc for like 5 years and sexy looking then have a ponder!
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Buying a new PC - Help Required (Personal Post)