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Home-Built vs. Store-Bought PCs

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the OTS-vs.-DIY dept.

Hardware 1132

Greg Searle asks: "I'm going to be in the market for another PC soon, and have been watching the prices drop and the power go up over the years. There are a lot of 'bargains' out there, but then I heard that the best and least expensive PC's are 'white box' systems that are custom build by small, local companies. This got me thinking, I know how to put together a PC from scratch, why don't I just do it? This should save me quite a few bucks, and I get the exact system I want. My question to you: Where is the best place to order the parts (case, MB, drives, etc.) over the web? I am familiar with sites that sell typical consumer products, but have no idea where to start to get raw parts. I'd prefer one site that sells everything, but wouldn't be surprised if there are some specialty sites that provide the most bang for the buck for a particular piece. What do you think?"

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Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected. (5, Informative)

BaldingByMicrosoft (585534) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739120) (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739165)

he's going the distance. he's going for speed. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739236)

I used newegg to get my parts a few months ago for my new athlon machine. They had everything I wanted and most of the prices were around the leading prices posted on I got my parts quickly and they were undamaged. Two thumbs up here :)

First? (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739121)


Simple Answer (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739122)

If you are a geek, you will build one

Building it is cheaper (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739126)

Only thing u need to worry bout is warranty...u need to be able to fix it.

Start with pricewatch (5, Informative)

Pyromage (19360) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739128)

I start looking at They are a lister, they list prices of components.

Keep in mind shipping: its usually cheaper to order a proc & mobo & ram from one place, just to save on shipping.... (otherwise you pay $15 extra per component)...

I've done business with many companies listed there, and been happy every time.

Re:Start with pricewatch (4, Informative)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739172)

And with Pricewatch, be aware that a lot of companies manipulate their listings to make sure they're at the top of the list. Check shipping and handling charges and other sale terms carefully.

Re:Start with pricewatch (2)

benwb (96829) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739265)

Pricewatch recently started sorting their listings by aggregate price (component price + shipping and handling)

Tiger Direct (2, Informative)

Squareball (523165) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739129)

I shop at Tiger Direct a lot. Just got my Casio PV-400plus second day air. I've never had a problem with them and they have GREAT prices. Another rout is to go buy a barebones system at your local computer shop and then go to Best Buy and get a HD and the other stuff you want.

Re:Tiger Direct (1)

brsmith4 (567390) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739195)

I do like their prices, but their components are somewhat questionable. The one mobo i bought from them, a soyo K7VTA-Pro, had problems from the get go. The ram they sold me went bad within a few months. And the video card... ugh... why did i have to mention the video card. Anyways, I guess if you buy the right stuff from them you wont get f*&ked. but if you are a cheap dick like me, you will get what you pay for. Just remember that.

Re:Tiger Direct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739228)

someone forgot to tell squareball here that Tiger Direct sucks. buying computer parts from tiger is like buying clothes from k-mart.

Re:Tiger Direct (1)

bplipschitz (265300) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739263)

I'll second TigerDirect with a coupla of caveats. Get the order entry person to tell you if an item is in stock--stuff that goes on back order with them can take many weeks to get filled.

The good thing about building your own is that you know *exactly* what you are getting--what the MoBo is capable of, the specifics of the drives, video cards, etc., everthing down to whether the power supply is approved for your CPU or not [thinking Athlon here].

Build your own, find the newsgroups that support your hardware, and you won't regret it.


First Comment (-1, Offtopic)

opti6600 (582782) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739132)

By the way, I hate that 20 second rule, its a pain in the azz.

$450 from dell (5, Insightful)

fatboy1234 (542091) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739134)

This isn't worth your time anymore... you can buy a stripped down PC from dell for $450.

check out for the latest dell deals...

start your dell rants.

Re:$450 from dell (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739209)

Shut up you dork.

Dude... (1, Insightful)

b0z (191086) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739222)

He's not gettin' a Dell.

Seriously, does the stripped down PC also avoid the Microsoft tax? I would think not but I could be wrong. Besides, who wants to buy hardware from someone with such an annoying mascot? I would think that kid represents AOL better than Dell.

Pricewatch (0, Redundant)

Darkfred (245270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739135)
has lists of the lowest prices for systems, including bare bones, you can compare vendors.

Re:Pricewatch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739251)

Pricewatch is definitely your best bet. Also, it helps to order from a vendor that is out of state, saving sales tax... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739136)


shopping... (1)

thanq (321486) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739138)

I bet that most people wil mention as a good source of finding companies to order your stuff from. Personally, I ordered from - very reliable, fast shipping, and they do take your returns without a problem.

Newegg (2, Redundant)

drodver (410899) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739139) []

Good prices, good rep, good shipping!

Local dealers are still a good option... (5, Insightful)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739140)

I used to work for one, and they can probably get parts cheaper than you'll be able to through the web. There's always a markup to cover the not-inconsiderable expense of maintaining a storefront, but a competent, reputable local dealer is worth the cost especially if you're not comfortable troubleshooting and fixing problems yourself.

FIRST- and place to get stuff (0)

kchoboter (563770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739144)

FIRST POST whoohoo. anywho.. I get my parts from a company in Toronto, Burnt Circuits (

Re:FIRST- and place to get stuff (0)

kchoboter (563770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739178)

here's the link fixed []

Parts (4, Informative)

ajakk (29927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739145)

Check out Newegg [] for a pretty good selection of stuff. They don't have the best return policies, but they are a pretty good place. I also suggest looking at Anandtech [] for the motherboard/memory/video roundups which give the best prices for certain components. The places he references are usually higher quality than the lowball offerings given on Pricewatch [] .

I guess I'll go out on a limb... (1)

AKAJack (31058) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739147)

I don't believe you can really save money building a system yourself anymore. Check around.

What it does allow you to do is get exactly what you need for your specific application.

You can enhance any functions you depend on (sound, video, etc.) or add more ports of your choosing and type.

Or go to Wallmart and check and see what the whiteboxs go for. Cheaper than you can build it for unless your a student or have access to a nice supply of "spare parts".

Re:I guess I'll go out on a limb... (1)

Coilgun (584098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739202)

"I don't believe you can really save money building a system yourself anymore. Check around."

I'm planing on custom building a system myself, and I'd be interested if you could show me someplace I could get a Dual Athalon MP 1600+ system w/ 1GB RAM, 80GB HD, 128 MB GeForce 4 Ti video card etc, complete w/ software for under $3000. I'd be interested in finding someplace mainstream that even builds a system like that.

Re: doesn't save money (2)

Splork (13498) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739244)

agreed. build your own if you really know what you're doing and -enjoy- building it. I still do that. however i'd be more than happy to buy a prebuilt or mostly prebuilt system for myself if i could find a whitebox vendor that uses the parts i want (easy access case, ultra quiet high quality power supply, and the motherboard + cpu that i want). i'd still buy the ram and possibly the hard drive from elsewhere as those are extreemly marked up by most vendors compared to the best raw price you can get for what you need elsewhere.

you save a -lot- of time and headaches and messy vs. nice cabling if you buy a prebuilt system from a decent whitebox or bigname vendor. [you can even get warranties and support which can be good depending on how you plan to use the computer]

Re:I guess I'll go out on a limb... (2)

KjetilK (186133) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739268)

Around here (Norway), I saved about NOK 3000 (~ $250) by building my own system half a year ago, but that's a pretty high end system (was anyway). So for high end systems, you can, but for low-end boxes, there is no way to do that around here.

Newegg (0, Redundant)

atlas337 (568549) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739148)

[newegg] []

Quality controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739150)

One of the appeals of a pieced together machine is that while it may not be the least expensive, you control what goes into it and what compromises, if any, get made.

PriceWatch (2, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739151)

Generally, [] is an excellent way to compare prices from various online retailers.

However, they don't necessarily always have all the lowest stores listed. In particular, I often check at least [] , but others may have their favorites as well.

Re:PriceWatch (1)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739188)

As is Pricegrabber [] ; they seem to be more complete then Pricewatch.

I buy from (5, Informative)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739152)

If you are in Canada (which i assume you are not) You should order from They are out of Vancouver and have great prices / 2 day shipping. Hard to find good stuff online without paying duty from the US.

GO HERE NEWBIE! (0, Redundant)

0xbaadf00d (543340) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739156)


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739200)

nuff said.


0xbaadf00d (543340) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739241)

What's your point?

Do it yourself... (-1, Offtopic)

YoJaUta (67458) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739157)

... and help kill our soldiers.

Or at least that's what the next bunch of propaganda on TV will say.

Home Build! (2, Interesting)

quasi_steller (539538) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739159)

There is more to building your own PC than just the price.

Building your own PC gives you a lot more options, and it is fun! (if your a geek :-)

Start at (2)

eth1 (94901) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739160)

You can easily find prices for the components you want from tons of different places: []

White Box Shop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739164)

I have usually found the best prices at one of the "White-Box shops". If they sell you the parts then they don't have to support you and they can sell the parts for less $$. Sure you could just use pricewatch or whatever but at least at the "White-Box shop" you have a face to yell at.

Once homebrew, always homebrew (2)

ZaneMcAuley (266747) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739167)

Once homebrew, always homebrew.

At least I know whats in side rather than some guy in a pink suit telling me.

Just avoid VIA and HiPoint.

Use Pricewatch and ResellerRatings (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739168) will get you the best price. will help you figure out whether you're about to buy from a crooked company or an honest one. is awesome (3, Informative)

dcstimm (556797) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739169)

I have been using for over 3 years! They have Pricewatch based pricing! they are a great company! They have a nice site that is easy to navigate and use. And they have all the major parts both oem and retail! is awesome (1)

mprinkey (1434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739235)

I will second that. I have bought about $60k worth of stuff from mwave over the past few years. Good prices. Good service. Only complaint is the delivery time from CA to the east coast, but this is not their fault.

Home Built (2, Interesting)

Snowgen (586732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739170)

I've always built my own. Typically I find that it actually costs a little more then a mass market PC, but I get exactly the options (video card, PC card, etc) I want, and don't have to pay for any bundled stuff I didn't want.

I typically price all my parts through Pricewatch []

Store bought or build your own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739171)

Just look on I build white-box PCs all the time, and usually go with one or two vendors, depending on who's offering what at that moment, and what the best prices are. Keep in mind that on the web, you don't pay tax (unless the vendor is within your home state), but you do pay shipping, and for things like cases and monitors, the bill can add up fast.

Some ideas... (4, Informative)

XBL (305578) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739174)

I have built 3 computers. All three I have bought parts from different places. It all boils down to finding the best deals. has price comparisons from many places, and that can be useful. COMPONENT PRICES CAN VARY WILDLY FROM DIFFERENT VENDORS!

You should check out, as they have a components section, and are usually reasonable on prices. If you want to buy everything from the same place without a lot of hassle, they might be your best bet.

Another vote for NE (1)

oasamostexianu (520164) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739176)

I also have to recommend NewEgg. Their prices are excellent, as is the product documentation. I've ordered the wrong part a few times from them and they were very good about assisting in my RMA.

There is no one best "place" (3, Informative)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739181)

There is no sinlge best "place," but a good start is of course, pricewatch [] , which compares a large number of online retailers.

Computer shows in your area are also a good bet, as small outfits will put together a barebones for less than even pricewatch can most of the time.

Finally, try "hot deals" forums like anandtech [] and fatwallet [] . They have decent coupon/rebate deals you can use locally or online to snag some great cheap accesories.

Hope that helps!

sites i use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739182) this is where i got all the parts for my current pc. great search type engine....

Start with (1)

skeptic (6226) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739183)

Pricewatch does a great job of categorizing all the different components you'll need to build your own computer. Buyer beware however, as not all vendors appear to be 'upstanding'.

You can also check and for comparisons.

Oh, and you might also want to read through,,,, and other sites dedicated to computer-component reviews.

Good luck. (3, Informative)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739184)

wherever you buy, check them out here [] first.

...needless to say, i learned the hard way

Pricewatch (1)

sheepab (461960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739185) 0wnz everything else. Also, use your gut feeling when buying stuff online, if the place has a shitty website...and looks like they dont get much business, dont buy from them. My friend ordered a camera from a website he got from pricewatch. Two months later, no camera, but he had the bill to pay. The company went out of business soon after.

I shop locally (5, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739187)

I prefer to buy it by visiting the local computer shops here (Vancouver, BC, Canada).

They tend to be a bit cheaper, you don't have to worry about shipping... then again, there's the tax. For those of you living in large cities, they are often your best bet for the most common parts rather than trying to hunt through 100 different online vendors, dealing with damaged parcels, etc. Plus, with so many of them along the same road, it's easy to visit another shop if the one doesn't have what you want. And most are online so you can compare prices...

Pricewatch combined with ResellerRatings (2, Informative)

HeroicAutobot (171588) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739189)

I use Pricewatch [] in conjuntion with ResellerRatings [] to find the best prices on hardware from reputable companies.

BEST suggestions for building your own computer!! (5, Insightful)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739191)

Do *not* find the lowest prices on eahc part and use that to spec your system. The absolute worst thing you can do is "cheap out" on parts like RAM, motherboard, and the case. You'll end up with a potentially buggy system that is hard to maintain.

Make sure you only buy *retail* packages and keep all receipts in a folder in case you need to RMA a bad part.

It may cost 10-20% more, but if you do these two simple things, your overall value goes way up for building your own system.

Keep and eye on the price (1)

seanscottrogers (565312) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739193)

Even with free shipping, make sure that the price you are getting online (*cough* is a lot cheaper than local stores. Local stores give you the benefit of returns and refunds without dealing with shipping costs and delays. A machine I recently built worked perfectly fine, but I realized half-way through that I wanted a motherboard without built in ethernet card. A decision like that will cost you weeks of time if you bought all your components online, but for me, it was a simple drive down the road. How much money is your time worth?

Least expensive? Not always ... (5, Insightful)

Osty (16825) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739196)

Building your own PC is not always the least expensive proposition. Most configurable, yes, but not least expensive. For starters, all of the prebuilt PC manufacturers get huge bulk discounts. If you want to go buy that P4, it may cost you well over $400 or even $500. These guys can buy in bulks of 10,000 or more, which means significant price drops. Same for the motherboards, cases, power supplies, RAM, ... You're not going to be able to match the prices these companies can get. On top of that, if you're building your own PC, you're probably going to want to put quality parts in it. Don't expect that from a prebuilt company. They skimp where they can (weaker powersupply, flimsy case, off-brand sound card, etc) so they can pass the savings on to you while still making some sort of profit. Nevermind the software you have to buy (assuming you want to run Windows or some other commercial OS and don't wish to steal it). You can sometimes get the OEM discounts on the software if you buy it in conjunction with a mobo or hard drive, but not always.

In short, if price is a concern, don't build it yourself. Oh, sure, with a little due dilligence you can keep the price down. It's just been my experience that that doesn't happen. If you're pinching pennies, buy from a respectable name brand. If you want the ultimate in configuration (and don't mind having no computer-wide warranty support), then build it yourself.

Monitor (1)

ryan89 (586976) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739197)

Generally you would be best off purchasing the monitor for your system at a local store (Best Buy, Circuit City). It can cost $40 or more for shipping alone.

buy the parts from a store. (2)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739198)

The same stores that sell those custom built white box pcs also sell parts. Unless you are looking for something hard to find, such as crucial ram (I had alot of trouble finding a store that stocked it, but finally did) then its just easier to get it from a store. If you have a defective product, you can simply bring it back. If you order a defective product, it might take you 6 weeks to get a replacement! By then, the hardware you ordered may have already become obsolete :)

White Box VS Name Brand (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739201)

It's def. worth your time to build one from scratch. It seems quite a few people here don't quite understand that the system YOU build is going to be a LOT more upgradeable in the future than a stripped DELL system for 450. Ya, you may pay more money putting it together yourself but your parts are going to be better. That plus the upgradeabilty should answer your question hands down. I've been building/buying white box for years, anyone that buys name brand pc's is quite looney imo (1)

docstrange (161931) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739204)

When looking for memory, I'd reccomend [] , Their website always has great deals on memory. About a year ago, I was able to pick up a gig of pc133 memory for about 65 dollars after shipping. (2 512MB Sticks) I discovered them through pricewatch, and they have always treated me well. I have ordered approx 50 sticks of memory from them and never once had a problem.

The problem with building your own... (2)

hpa (7948) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739205)

The biggest problem with building your own is that you're the only one that can troubleshoot it if the system is DOA when you put it together and power it on. Typically you will find that the various component vendors will blame each other, and it's really hard to troubleshoot when you don't have the ability to swap out components.

newegg (0)

shanestyle (558160) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739207)

Remember the motherboard (2, Informative)

rhetland (259464) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739208)

When you put your system together, remember that chip speed is not everything. I just bought a system with a 400 mhz bus (and two 1.2 ghz chips). Without the quick bus, I wouldn't be able to use the the quick chips. Be warned: the big name companies save there money here.

Also, the place I got my system from (ordered by my coworker, so I forget where it was) actually built the thing, even though we only ordered the components! Be sure to ask for a similar deal, if you use one company for everything...

Just say NO to Fry's (1)

Straw (210398) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739210)

Whatever you do, don't go to Fry's for anything other than the software or DVD's you might want to use/watch on the thing.

Fry's for cpu/mobo/memory/hdd/etc. is a crap-shoot... no, craps odds are much better actually.


Doing it yourself is not cheaper (1)

quarnap (155151) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739213)

but you will end up with a much higher performance system than you can purchase. I built a celeron 333 a few years ago that benchmarked significantly higher than any every "store-bought" full pentium system at the time. Remember, the big manufacturers like Dell and Gateway are getting volume discounts on generally low-end parts in order to produce the P4 systems you see selling for $599.

I'd suggest starting out by going to a site like and looking over their guides. You need to make quite a few decisions regarding components before you even start looking at vendors. You need to pick a CPU, a motherboard, a video card, etc. etc... (1)

reticent94 (450653) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739214)

I have had very good luck with them. Ordered one bare bones system, one mobo/cpu/ram combo, the remainder of the parts for both of those systems, and about three complete computers in parts. I have been very happy with the service with each of the about 10 orders I have placed.

My one experience with newegg was also good.

Buy a desktop, build a workstation (5, Informative)

Belisarivs (526071) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739215)

If you want a low-end desktop, it's hard to beat the prices out there. If you want a powerful gaming rig/workstation, build it and you'll save yourself a lot of money. While everyone has already suggested, I'll suggest They make some great desktops for what they're asking.

Check out the reseller first (4, Informative)

V. Mole (9567) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739217)

Pricewatch is useful, but before you take the lowest price, check them out at Reseller Ratings [] . Sometimes it's better to spend the extra $10 and avoid the rip-off artists.

DIY Computer Construction (4, Informative)

mjlesko (152100) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739218)

Advice: Don't unless you enjoy it and can accept a high-level of frustration. That said, two places to go for some good information about parts, prices and how-to.

  1. Anandtech []
  2. Tom's Hardware []
In my experience the following online vendors are good for parts because of their service and prices:
  1. New Egg [] - parts (e.g. cases, cards, motherboards, etc...)
  2. Crucial [] - memory

Generally speaking I try to buy the majority, if not all my parts from one or two vendors, because shipping can really make or break a deal. (1, Interesting)

bitweever (110516) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739226)

I'll put in a plug for the good folks at I've built my past 3 systems entirely from what they had in stock, and they've always been real good about shipping and RMA.

They usually don't have the lowest price on pricewatch for any given component, but they're usually pretty near it. I don't mind paying ~$1-5 more for ordering from someone I've worked with before.

Building yourself is the way to go! and (2, Interesting)

Fubar411 (562908) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739231)

I love rolling my own, but now I limit myself to PCs contained in my house. In the past, I have put together for friends and collegues (with no profit for myself) and had problems. The biggest complaint: "too loud of fans". I've noticed that Dells sometimes make plastic ducts to redirect fans from the transformer to processor heatsink. Interesting if you could do that yourself.

Another one.... (0)

HexDump (317879) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739233)

Ok...I admit it, I too am a groupie.

I have been building my own systems for the last 8 years. The main reason I used to do it was to save some cash. Systems from commerical vendors used to be a pretty costly way to get a pc. But that was "back in the day", now-a-days, systems vendors are selling computer systems dirt cheap. I build my own systems these days because I get a system with exactley the cutting edge stuff I want and not the lame OEM stuff that you get from Dell or Gateway.

Homemade is better but not necessarily cheaper (2, Insightful)

infinii (27811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739238)

Every single time I've constructed a system from scratch, the system was always more expensive than a store system configuration.

The reason being that when you start shopping for individual components, you start buying stuff that is alot more powerful than the stuff in full system configuration. Start spending a few extra bucks here and there and it quickly adds up.

In the end you have a high end system that is no where close to the specs of the premade system, and it is evident in the cost as well.

Linkage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739242)

Why don't you try this [] ?

And quit wasting our time. This is *easily* the...

Worst. AskSlashdot. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739243)

I just bought my complete system from newegg a month ago, excluding a specific video card that I found on for cheaper. Newegg is definitely very reliable and quick to ship your parts. I usually browse neweggs catalog since it is so easy and quite big, then go to pricewatch to find the cheapest of what I want. You should try to stick to buying from one site in order to save on shipping. (1)

1+(smarterThanYou) (539258) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739245)

Along with the other suggestions, you might try Sometimes I find a few items that are lower priced than items on pricewatch.

What I've noticed.. (3, Informative)

WndrBr3d (219963) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739246)

I build a lot of custom systems for people because I promise high quality parts at a competitive costs to computer vendors.

What I basically find is you have two typical users. The Power Users and the Economy Users.

Your Power Users usually tend to want the latest and greatest parts with the top of the line hardware, all name brand, and want to be able to boast the parts they have in there (ie: VisionTek GeForce4, Asus Motherboard.. things of that nature). Custom machines fit this bill perfectly.

Economy Users are the people who just see the computer as a tool and plan on using it to prepair their taxes and reports for the next five years. Their main concern ? Warranty, Part Replacement and Technical Support. For people like this, you pretty much have no choice but to turn to companies like Dell, Gateway or even Compaq to have their major brand names behind the systems. I'm a big fan of Dell and their Warranty/Support.

This is of course if you don't wish to hand out your cell phone number or if you loath nagging for RMA's as much as I do.

If you're looking for a good site for computer part prices your #1 choice should be PriceWatch [] . This site is a database of the lowest hardware prices on the Internet.

Hope this Helped!

Newegg (0)

dgreco (557948) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739247)

Newegg []

I'm certainly not the first to mention them, but they really are a great source for computer parts. While you may find better prices on some items if you shop around (pricewatch), you will not find a lower price on all parts in one place than Newegg. Fast shipping too. I recently purchased about 2 computers worth of parts from Newegg. Every item showed up within 3 days and not a single item was incorrect or missing.

Another poster mentioned just buying one from Dell. I have found that you generally can buy a low-end system from someone like Dell for a lot less than building one yourself. If you want a pretty decent system though, you need to build yourself. Even though the Dell Precision workstations are pretty nice machines, you can still do a lot better both in price and performance if you build yourself. Just being able to get the exact components you want is worth it. Also, only you what components you are willing to pay more for better performance and which you are willing to sacrifice some performance for a lower price.

Well... (1, Redundant)

cmowire (254489) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739248)

Companies last such a short amount of time, and their quality changes so rapidly, that it's not worth bothering with trying to get a relationship with your average low-cost budget joint.

So I just find out which company is the cheapest [] at that particular moment in time and order parts from there. An acceptable alternative is to find the best place to get the most expensive part and then see how they stack up for the rest of the parts.

If you try this approach, make sure that you get total name-brand stuff. Hence you want real Mushkin/Corsair/etc. memory where the module and the chips are name brand. Bad memory can cause system instability really easily, so don't scrimp there. Get an ASUS/ATi/Matrox/VisionTek/etc. big-brand card instead of whatever Jaton or other generic crap they are trying to sell instead. Check about the waranty for the "white box" OEM parts. If there's no waranty for the white box components, get a retail box component with a waranty instead.

Check things with a fine-tooth comb when you receive them. Assemble the system entirely as soon as you have the parts, not a month down the line when you get the time. And make sure that you purchase everything with a real credit card (NOT a debit card)

Some resources for UK system builders (2)

wackybrit (321117) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739249)

If you're in the UK, eBuyer [] are very good. Europeans generally get ripped off for PC components, with prices in pounds being the numeric equivalent in dollars! eBuyer is very cheap though, and the prices approach American levels. You can get all of the components for a respectable 1Ghz box for about £250.

However, an even better resource is There are some real bargains on there! Everyone deals one to one, and bad traders are ferreted out and shamed in the group. It's pretty safe, and the prices are even lower. You can also get good advice about components there.. or in uk.comp.homebuilt.

Computer fairs in the UK generally aren't as good value as they used to be, unless you're looking for black goods.

Buying prebuilt computers from small builders is also very cost effective now. Sure, it's more expensive than building your own, but with the warranties, it can work out better, and you don't have to cut your hands to bits.

I use OnlyPCs [] who are a local firm, but will supply a brand new 1Ghz machine with CDRW, monitor, etc.. for £450 inc VAT!

Maybe in the past (1)

james_orr (574634) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739250)

It certainly used to be true that you could build your own system for cheaper than a store model. But now ... I've seen decent HP systems for $400 (no monitor). Not sure what they've got just now but try ecost [] .

That said, if you've already got most of the components such as hard drives, CD-ROM etc. It's still cheaper to just get the mainboard + CPU. This way you can upgrade in parts as well.

accessmicro (1)

defender57 (540298) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739254)

accessmicro [] is a decent site...they put motherboard/cpu/memory combo's together, test and benchmark the system before shipping.

Go to pricewatch to find the cheapest prices (1)

sup4hleet (444456) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739256)

Pricewatch [] rates sellers by price, my advise though is to know what your buying, and buy parts manufactured by reputable companies as they are the ones you'll probably contact if the hardware has problems.

First Saturday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3739257)

If you happen to be near Dallas on the first Saturday of the month, stop by the Commerce and Lemmon intersection and buy anything you need for that homebrew


Dystopium (255143) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739259)

I have put together over a hundred systems and I usually get close to the best price available, along with excellent customer care. They are quick, have a wonderful RMA Policy and have the best flat rate shipping around. TCWO.COM Ships Up to 150lb. FedEx for $6.95.

Competative Computer Parts (2)

Evanrude (21624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739261)

You might try They have competative pricing on everything you'd need as well as a knowledgable staff.

my favorites (1)

Hansele (579672) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739264)

Newegg [] - GREAT prices on parts
CurrentCodes [] - The best coupon code site
Computer Geeks [] - sometimes has REALLY good deals on systems and components
DealHunting [] - Has a lot of deals and coupon codes, very handy
PriceWatch [] - good for seeing how good a deal you're getting ... beware some of the vendors who are cheapest have horrendous shipping.

Q: Home-Built vs. Store-Bought PC's (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739270)

A: Home built. Next question.

Good for high-end boxes (2)

nakhla (68363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739271)

One thing I've always noticed is that building your own box is much cheaper than purchasing one if you want a really high end box. For example, I have a dual 1GHz P3, 1GB RAM, SCSI RAID, and a bunch of other stuff on it. I priced a similar system from Dell, IBM, and a couple of other companies and the cheapest I found it for was $3500. I built it myself and it only cost $1700. BIG difference in price. For entry level machines, though, companies like Gateway and Dell offer much better values. As far as where to purchase components, I recommend buying a very good motherboard. Companies like Abit or Asus are what I would recommend. Other than that, you could use Pricewatch [] to locate the cheapest parts online. I'd go with brand names, but find the best deal you can. (i.e., look for names like Seagate, Western Digital for hard drives, etc. Not just any old name) If you do that, you'll get a great quality box at a great price. SN

Clockwork (3, Informative)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739276)

You're definitely making the right choice. Store-bought PCs aren't all they're cracked up to be. When you build your own box, you get to research all the components and find out, for yourself, what the advantages and disadvantages of each component is. If you're going to run FreeBSD or Linux or whatever, you can select hardware that is supported by your software, so that you don't pay a bunch of money for something prebuilt where half the stuff in the box is unsupported, and is therefore shit produced by shitheads.

(Because only really stupid people make hardware that isn't supported by Linux or FreeBSD.)

Is local an option? (2)

RocketScientist (15198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739280)

We have several small [] shops [] that sell components cheap, usually about the same as pricewatch after you figure in sales tax, shipping, and all the other extras. I like buying from them because there is someone I can talk face-to-face with and return parts to. I can ask questions like "hey, how often do you get people returning brand X hard drives that are DOA".

Also, by taking my money to those shops I help make sure they stay in business, so as to not help [] those big [] shops that seem to get articles on slashdot a lot for various questionable business practices, as well as making sure the little shops are still around when I need a part "right now" not "in a few days, when we feel like sticking it in the mail".

Change the question (2)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739281)

Ok, so everyone so far seems to agree on and I've bought from but was disappointed with how they packaged my memory with my other components (just tossed in...) But enough of that... maybe it would be better for the discussion to change the question to something useful. Like what to look for in a vendor, and what is the best equipment to get.

Personally, i think it's a good idea to stay away from Western Digital for your HD. Do go with Asus for the mobo and to make sure to buy from a vendor that's out of state so you don't get stuck paying the shipping AS WELL as sales tax.

Limit your vendors (1)

cvanaver (247568) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739282)

I've done this before, and the most important advice I can give is limit the number of suppliers you get parts from. If possible, buy everything from one vendor. This a)reduces your shipping costs b)reduces the number of transactions you have to manage. (Any issues you have, you only deal with one place).

If you do it right, you can get all of your components to show up on your doorstep at one time. Also, pick a dealer with a good reputation. It may cost a little more money to do things this way rather than grazing for the lowest on everything, but the extra cash you spend is worth the headache you might be saving.

great place to puy PC parts (0)

spankles (90922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739284)

i have never gone wrong with Multiwave Direct [] . great prices and have never had a problem with them...

Use multiple vendors (2)

Eagle7 (111475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3739285)

I use for most of my stuff - they don't have bottom basement prices, but they are competitive and have good support (buy you MB & CPU from them, and they'll help you get it all running right if you have trouble)

Gotta get your memory from, they have Great prices, Great memory, and Free shipping (2nd day air).

For the remaining bits I either recycle from old PCs, use Pricewatch (with caution), or talk to friends who have parts I need.

Another thing to get in the habit of doing is buying lots of stuff when you find deals. I once got a bunch of IBM 10/100 Intel chip NICs for $15 a piece - I bought 5 of the suckers, and haven't had to buy a NIC since, even as my LAN has grown.
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