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Prebuilt versus homemade PC's?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by The Socialist Nerd, Aug 2, 2019.
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  1. The Socialist Nerd
    Curious what do folks think about going the prebuilt PC route over the homemade PC route? I just picked up a solid Alienware Area 51 R5 desktop for a good deal at Best Buy and it was worth but it is interesting compared to building my own PC's :)
     
  2. wmf
    i always build my own... but if u can get a good deal, go for it. i guess u weigh up the cost between the both. i always like to tinker, upgrade, change parts, add HDs, etc.. and can choose my own parts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  3. pstickne
    They’re fine - if you like certain “gaming design features” :p

    Just make sure the hardware matches target specs and is within budget. ‘Upgradability’ may or may not be worth considering.

    Number one reason of custom is because it’s a fun game to source the exact right components and assemble them. Similar to the game of dialing in the ‘perfect’ audio stack.. well, perhaps cheaper :deadhorse:
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  4. Christoph
    With an own build Pc you are more flexible in picking all the exact components you want to use.
    Pre-build Pc can be cheaper but are not notnesessarily cheaper. Good quality components always have their price.
    I build my own Pc, because it wasn't available in this specific configuration i wanted to have.
     
    duetta and Dawnrazor like this.
  5. Voxata
    I always build. Mainly because I feel that I can have a MUCH higher quality PC doing so. The biggest benefit is the quality of parts, usually the prebuilds use VERY cheap parts despite the specs looking good. Sure, they use a 9700K CPU however it may be coupled with 2400Mhz ram on a green PCB with really loose timings. A lowend cooler, resulting in temps of 80C temps during gaming, a GPU with a terrible heatsink as well and a power supply that isn't even rated bronze and is just waiting to blow. Prebuilds usually use crappy motherboards as well. They've got to make their money somewhere. When I build my own I know that I can ensure it is cooled right, fast and built with quality components.
     
    wmf and Tekunda like this.
  6. mwhals
    Don't forget that some use not standard power supplies too, which is a problem when one needs to replace it. I always build my own PC. I actually spend a little more doing it, but I get a much higher quality PC. I am still using the one I built in 2012 and it is still performing fast and flawless.
     
  7. Voxata
    Very good point. SOME prebuilt units use non standard parts. Alienware/Dell/HP are major ones that do this a lot. They will use odd form factor power supplies and custom designed motherboards. This makes other parts not compatible and if/when something breaks you need to hunt down that specific part.
     
  8. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Nothing wrong with going with a pre-built system, it's cheaper and I guess you can return it within 30 days if defective.
    And chances are all the parts work well with each other.
    Unless you have a need for a custom build, pre-built is fine.
    I myself have been building my own pc, starting in 1997.
     
  9. wmf
    I always build. Mainly because I feel that I can have a MUCH higher quality PC doing so. The biggest benefit is the quality of parts, usually the prebuilds use VERY cheap parts despite the specs looking good. Sure, they use a 9700K CPU however it may be coupled with 2400Mhz ram on a green PCB with really loose timings. A lowend cooler, resulting in temps of 80C temps during gaming, a GPU with a terrible heatsink as well and a power supply that isn't even rated bronze and is just waiting to blow. Prebuilds usually use crappy motherboards as well. They've got to make their money somewhere. When I build my own I know that I can ensure it is cooled right, fast and built with quality components.

    Yep, this is basically my reasonings... Aside from that, i just like tinkering, and enjoy upgrading, building PCs anyway..
    With pre-built there will always be shortcuts, as above, whether PSU, or something else...
    I like to hand select my own components... and i guess have my favourite manufacturers, giga for mobos, eVga vid cards, seasonic psu, etc...im due to update, always went intel
    but that ryzen 3800x looks great value.
     
    Voxata likes this.
  10. CoryGillmore
    From what I understand, buying pre-built today is a much better deal than buying pre-built 10-15 years ago. In some cases, like a couple years ago, it was THE best value. Due to inflated GPU prices (thanks crypto currencies) buying a pre-built a couple years ago was cheaper than building a custom, since OEM manufacturers weren't passing on those inflated GPU prices to their customers.

    I bought a "pre-built" custom gaming PC from Digital Storm back in 2011 and it was a great purchase. I still have the case (Corsair 700D) but have since upgraded every single part in it two times and still use it to this day. Today I would definitely build a custom from the ground up. But I'm also more than comfortable with such a thing now whereas 10 years ago I was not.
     
  11. Kukuk
    I think one of the biggest issues with pre-built PCs is the mismatch in parts, particularly in the lower-end and mid-range builds. Companies will often stick an i7 in a computer with something like a GTX 1050, but then they might only give you a single channel of memory. So for gaming, too much of your budget is being put toward the CPU, which won't really increase performance with a GPU that modest, but for productivity having half the amount of memory channels cripples CPU performance.

    As mentioned here, though
    Pre-built or gaming laptops were really the only way to go a couple years back. The GTX 1080ti, if you could find one, was going for $1600+, and even something as lowly as the GTX 1050 was around the $350 mark.
     
    CoryGillmore likes this.
  12. duetta
    I've been building my own PCs for more than 20 years, and the big advantage is that you know what is going into your build, and you decide on which compromises you are willing to live with.

    I'm routinely shocked by the compromises that major PC manufacturers make in order to save a few dollars (like pairing a mechanical hard drive with a fast CPU).

    Also, mass-manufactured PCs can also require proprietary parts, which limits your ability to repair.
     
    CoryGillmore likes this.
  13. Meanstreak242
    Most pre-builts have to go cheap somewhere to stay competitive. They almost always go cheap in 2 areas: RAM and power supply.

    For a lot of systems (and depending on use case) slower memory timings might not really make any real world difference. You should never go cheap on the power supply. (And please, don't confuse the rated amount of wattage, or the efficiency rating as the quality of the power supply. What individual parts they use in there make all the difference.) You will even see a lot of major brand names that sell power supplies that are outsourced to different companies. Building your own system (if time and will allows it) will always be the better option. (Especially knowing you didn't go cheap on the most important parts.) You'll also see a lot of retailers using sub-standard motherboards. The parts matter way more than the specs.
     
  14. mwhals
    Another advantage of building your own system is that you only install the software you want. Before I started building my own 20 years ago, I always ended up wiping out the hard drive of the new PC and installing what I wanted.
     
  15. Deaj
    I always build my own PC's (laptops being the only exception).
     
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