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Build or Buy?

  1. #1
    Butler's Avatar

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    Build or Buy?

    I have been kicking around the idea of another PC build but I analyze everything and ask for more feedback than a pop up survey. My current desktop is a custom latest upgrade was about five years ago. I'll give you all some specs:
    Pentium 4 2.53 Ghz
    GeForce 5700 512mbn After Radeon 9700 decided it didnt like the mobo.
    1 gig OCZ don't eve ask the timing i forgot that years ago
    80GB HD
    300GB HD
    ASUS p4C800-e MOBO
    Microsoft Windows XP service pack3

    (I'm posting from my year old HPdv6775 laptop with Vista home Premium)

    Now that your done laughing, she was pretty fast back in the day. But you can obviously tell I am not looking at new releases in the PC section.

    I don't know if it is just because I have not built one in a while or what, but I have been thinking about it. I just don't play PC games like I used too. I still game but on 360 almost, well exclusively. The only games I am missing are the flight sims, and I am not hardcore just occasional flight simmer, and Some of the nice strategy games like World in Conflict. My laptop plays WIC but on the lowest settings so that's not the ideal.

    But my PC use has really made a transition to more of a Power user type. So a nice multimedia type would get me by. I mean I'd love to run some Vista Ultimate 64 bit with 8 gigs of ram, stream music and videos all over the house and still have cmd.exe and powershell going.

    I have had a interest in computer forensics and hacking incident response for a couple years so I mainly spend PC time with that kind of thing. i also tend to use my HP laptop a lot more than the desk top. I like the freedom to move around, or take it with me. 5 years ago it was actually cheaper to build custom most times than to buy. But now there are some really nice deals.

    So after 9 pages of text what do you all think? If I go the new PC route with tax return, Should I buy a $1000 dollar high end multimedia/mid gamer type? build with the same budget? Or buy a monster laptop? I guess the main point I'm thinking about when I ask build vs. buy is, if I am only going to play the occasional game on PC is the possible price/custom parts worth the time for a build?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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  3. #2
    roy69's Avatar

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    Re: Build or Buy?

    This is a hard one, you like to move around so a laptop sounds ideal.

    The problem lies in the amount you have to spend, a Desktop build for $1000 will get you alot, or you can buy a Prebuilt one and upgrade just the bits you want.

    There are some websites that you tell them want conponents you want and they will build it, sort of a design a PC online.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #3
    Ayporos's Avatar

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    Re: Build or Buy?

    It IS, and always WILL be more cost efficient to build your own pc.

    This guarantees you know what you're getting, what it is exactly that you are getting
    and allows you to steer clear of components/component setups that have proven to have 'problems'.

    However if you do value mobility a lot looking at a laptop might not be a bad idea.
    There are a lot of good quality laptops available at the moment, but laptops aren't really my forte so I can't help you with that. I know everything about desktops but
    when it comes to laptops I am completely lost.

    Regarding sites where you can buy pre-built 'customised' rigs (like dell.com or alienware or w/e) those rigs are usually quite expensive in the price/quality department not to mention they FORCE you to buy package deals (ie software/hardware you might not want / already have available such as windows or a mice or keyboard or w/e) so I'd suggest staying away from such things too.

    RTS's are usually quite playable on 'older' rigs (granted you have to sacrifice some graphics) but the latest RTS will still run on a pc like your old one while the latest FPS might not.
    I personally don't play any flight sims but I know enough to know they tend to be
    quite resource intensive.. so if you really want to be able to play those I'd suggest getting atleast a dual core with a decent gfx card.

    I don't quite understand what you mean by 'power user'?
    multimedia playback doesn't require much resources and a low-end pc as long as it has a HD-capable gfx card and +-2gb ram should be able to play any movie/audio you want it to.

    In case you are referring to audio/video editing now THAT is a completely different story. That stuff EATS resources and WILL ask for seconds. This sort of work (as far as I know) actually relies more on your CPU than your GPU (unless it's CUDA-capable software or something similar) and if that is what you want to do I'd suggest getting a quadcore cpu with as much GHZ as you can. Intel CPU's are more suited to audio/video editing than AMD's and AMD's are better suited to gaming (intel has a more GHZ is better policy while AMD prefers a larger bussize which favors gaming)
    Also if this is your thing and you know which programs you (want to) use, check out if they are CUDA capable. if they are I STRONGLY recommend getting an NVIDIA GPU because it would greatly increase your raw processing power.

    If you are into hacking and brute forcing / password guessing obviously more CPU is needed. This sort of activity usually doesn't require much ram or high busspeeds or anything.. just RAW and PURE CPU processing power. In this case again I would suggest getting an Intel quadcore cpu with as much GHZ as you can (I assume your tools have quad-core support)

    a 1000 dollar budget will get you a sufficient laptop, a good pre-build pc or an awesome home-built setup. (with quality rising from 1st to 3rd choice).

    If you have any other questions feel free to e-mail me at:
    ultimatebladerunner@hotmail.com
    and I'll be sure to try and help you in the best way I can

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #4
    Ratso's Avatar

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    Re: Build or Buy?

    Butler,

    Until this past weekend I was running a rig very similar to yours which I built 5 years ago around the P4 2.53 cpu, MSI motherboard and ATI 9800 Pro vid card. No way I could run any of the latest (or even a year old) games on anything but the lowest settings. So..after doing all the research it was a no brainer that I could build a fairly powerful gaming rig much more cost efficiently than buying. Hereís what I have and so far itís very stable.

    Intel e8400 core duo cpu
    Asus P5Q Pro mobo (first one shipped by Newegg was defective)
    2 x 2gb of G. Skill DDR2 1066 ram
    Seagate 320Gb hdd
    Sapphire Radeon HD 4780 (well worth the extra money for this card!!)
    Vista Home Prem 64 bit
    Antec 500 watt psu
    Litescribe dvd-rw drives
    Antec 300 gaming case
    Two extra 120mm fans

    Total cost was under $900.00

    The company I work for gets the Dell supplier discount, so I put together a rig close to the one above but with a lower end video card and even with discounts the cost was close to $1400.00.

    Anyway..I am very glad I built vs. buying a desktop gaming rig.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #5
    Butler's Avatar

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      Thread Starter

    Re: Build or Buy?

    Thanks for the answers so far guys. after posting this I went to bed thinking about it and admit I did sway a little more toward building. And my budget would actually be more, 1000 to 1500. So I know I can prob build a nice rig that can handle whatever I throw at it.

    Laptops are laptops, they are great. This HP I bought last march with tax return was my first. If I go higher end (more powerful/gaming type laptop) Ill basically have to be plugged in every where.

    And it is time for a new desktop. So Desktop build is edging ahead.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #6
    Ayporos's Avatar

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    Re: Build or Buy?

    Considering the fact you already HAVE a laptop I would have to agree.

    The laptop you have now might not be adequate for 'everything' but it atleast gives you enough freedom to do SOMETHING while on the move

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #7
    avgwarhawk's Avatar

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    Re: Build or Buy?

    Build it....bloatware sucks. My last one I had built with Vista 64 on it...nothing else. Best thing I ever did and will not go to off the shelf anymore.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #8
    Ratso's Avatar

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    Re: Build or Buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by avgwarhawk View Post
    Build it....bloatware sucks. My last one I had built with Vista 64 on it...nothing else. Best thing I ever did and will not go to off the shelf anymore.
    Absolutly!!!! In my "pre-building" days...I can't remember a store bought PC that lasted more than a year before the "bloatware" caused the machine to be worthless. Disable anything and it affects everything else. I build my P4 based rig in 2004 and it has run error free for five years with Win XP Pro and I've overclocked the cpu and radeon 9800. I'm stripping the games off it now and giving it to my wife to use for productivity stuff and email.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #9



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    Re: Build or Buy?

    hm... since you are going to build...... and you have 1000 to 1500
    i would say....
    get....
    Phenom II 940 ($200-250)
    Asus Motherboard... (depends on if you want quad crossfire or not or if you just want dual) (no more than $250)
    8gigs Patriot Viper Memory (you can get pc6400 of this for about $20-30 per 4gigs at a 4-4-4-12 latency)
    Coolermaster 932 Haf case ($150-180)
    850 Ultra X3 PSU ($150)(best warranty by far, Lifetime and will replace even if its your fault)
    at least 1tb of hardrive ($100)
    at least a HD4870 ($200-300)
    and Vista ($150-250) (whichever you prefer)
    and that is my recommendation
    (the highest total is $1540.... so there ya go)

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  11. #10



    Senior Member
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    Re: Build or Buy?

    I like Kingston and Corsair RAM better than Patriot. They are more stable.

    HAF chassis is awesome. My next build is starting with a:
    HAF
    Supermicro X8DAH+ board
    pair of Intel X5550 Xeons
    PC Power and Cooling customed wired 1200W power supply
    24GB DDR3 triple channel ECC RAM, 12GB per CPU

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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