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When I built my current PC in 2002 or so it either was cheaper or I incorrectly concluded that it was cheaper to build my own PC. Recently I'm considering making a new one, but I'm finding that the numbers don't quite agree with that conclusion anymore, if they ever did. And logically it seems to make sense that a prefab would or at least could be cheaper.
So while I enjoy the elitist satisfaction of building a PC and the ability to choose the parts in detail is certainly attractive, I can't argue with the money. I can always scratch off or cover up the logo of the maker if it offends me.
So should I just give up and buy a finished PC if money is a main concern?
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Scorpion is right. It depends what you want out of it. If you just want a basic bog standard PC for internet and such, then buying a cheap pre-built is probably a better idea if money is your main concern.
However if you want to do more with it than that, money shouldnt be your only concern. I'd say at the mid performance point prices are gonna be roughly equal to build a PC than to buy one, but here's some things to consider -
1. With a prebuilt, you might find certain components (motherboard) are poorer quality to bring the price down while still having the pretty branded components such as the CPU and maybe graphics card.
2. When building your own, you can fine tune the cost a LOT more easily. If you spec something up, and its a little expensive, you can opt for a slightly cheaper CPU, or graphics, or any number of items til you find your sweet spot.
3. With a pre-built you're likely to get a copy of an Operating System. You'd need to factor that cost into the custom build, if it's an issue.
All in all I'd advise you to build your own. You seem to know hat youre doing well enough since you built your current one six years ago and it still runs. At the very least you should spec up the kind of PC you want then compare the price with some similar pre-builts.
I think where you live is also a factor. Hardware is cheaper in some places.
Thanks. I'll definitely make some more detailed comparisons with the individual parts/specs in mind. Reusing my case, PSU and optical and hard drives may save me a lot too. I may just get a better graphics card for the time being, or I may just wait it out until some software comes along that I can't resist and build then. I regretted jumping the gun when I built my current system wanting to run the D3 alpha and then having my video card be outdated by the time the game was actually released, ugh.
Yeah, I don't think I'll be finding reasonably priced hardware where I live now. I'll probably buy all the parts when I have a reason to travel to the US, build the PC there and then take it back with me.