Dell vs. Home Rigs

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Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by Nobahar » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:55 pm

I always battled with in real-terms what the price difference is. I know you get more value for the buck in building your own, especially with high end hardware. But you lose a lot of the ease of support, as well as basically getting a cheap OS (as opposed to paying full price for Windows), is the price difference 100-200 dollars to have them build it?

I had two such issues with building my own (only an amateur enthusiast). The first time I built a budget computer for about 400 bucks, and the cpu fan died after two years. I replaced it before it died, but the cpu still managed to burn out within six months of the fan replacement (maybe I fucked up the thermal paste application somehow?).

The second one I built last about three and a half years, but the motherboard somehow went bad and it won't start. I didn't move the parts cause they were pretty well outdated anyway (old amd athlon single core, 40gb hd, radeon 7500, not worth saving).

My dad bought a dell before I built that, and that thing still works after 6 years. He's had to replace his hard drive, and his dvd drive broke (I just gave him the one from my second rig), but I'm just shocked that thing still runs. He only word processes, browses the internet, checks e-mail, and plays solitaire so he doesn't have any need to upgrade so he says.

Dell's cheaper parts may be slower, but have outlasted anything I've built with $500. Is that just cause I suck, or do you guys replace your pcs often? When my Dell dies (been 2, hopefully in 3-4 more years), I plan to build my third pc, but don't want it to die that fast on me. I have learned from a few past mistakes, stock cpu fans from amd/intel suck. I think I'm just going to get watercooling next time. Also going to get the largest/fastest hard drive possible, two years ago I was like 160gb is enough space :lol:

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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by Apoptosis » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:06 pm

I honestly think it is the luck of the draw really... Remember Dell sources parts from the same vendors we build our 'custom' systems from. They usually aren't 'better' than we we use either... It's not like Dell specifies better parts be used over parts we can order from local retailers. So, other than just some bad luck here and there it is all about even. Computers and operating systems are designed on roughly a 3-year replacement cycle, so it really isn't a big shocker that is how long the last. Also, most warranties are around 3 years... Go figure right?
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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by ratNukit » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:09 pm

Well my firt own built rig is still running, even after 2 years of beloning to my brother now, and 2 years being my rig before that. There's still the same Athlon64 3500+ (OCed 25%) with stock amd heatsink in it, Asrock mainboard (which has AGP and PCIe), the Samsung Harddrive as well as the Pioneer DVD drive and Kingston ram. The only thing that has changed is the GPU, now a HD 4850 and an extra gig of ram(2gb now). :)
Although I had to get him a new case for his last birthday, since he accidently threw the old one of his desk, but all the parts survived. :mrgreen:
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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by vbironchef » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:15 pm

This is a good question. Buy a rig that has tons of bloatware on it or build your own rig. When you buy a dell you have support, kind of. If you want to spend hours on the phone with teck support? :? When you build your own rig you have many options as far as cases, power supplies, hard drives, and so on... All of the parts have a return policy.

I would rather build my own rig and know how its build and what parts are in my rig. If I have any questions, I can always ask Legit Reviews!

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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by Nobahar » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:17 pm

Eh, bloatware is a non-issue. I formatted my Dell the first day I got it.

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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by vbironchef » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:23 pm

Just of a couple of things I would like to add. One is that if you buy the full version of MS. you are able to get teck support and able to change parts freely without any problems. With a Dell you are tied to the motherboard. Very little upgrade potential unless you purchase a XPS system. Second, is that the full version alows more than one rig on your purchase. Say you have a desktop and a laptop, you can use the same Microsoft verion of windows.

Good for you that you know how to get rid of bloatware. 8)

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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by shaolin95 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:31 pm

I did Tech support for Dell so while at least my call center had good IT people, I wouldnt buy a Dell or any other computer since I can build them EXACTLY with the parts I want.
When I build a computer I control every aspect and research every single part to make sure it would be as good as I can be.
I have never had a CPU die on me and I have been OCing them all pretty much so maybe you had bad luck or as you said, maybe bad thermal application.
If you have already been able to build a few then I wouldn't go back to buying a "retail" machine to be honest but then again, I am my own IT support so if you feel better having external warranty and support then of course, that is your choice and I respect it.
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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by bhelms » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:36 pm

I've only built 2 computers of my own but I'll never go back to just buying. My first build still serves me when I head home to visit as well.
I enjoy being able to research, as said above, and get each part I want with the brand I want. A lot of parts have good warranties on them too. And it was said that the dell didn't have any parts mess up... but it did lose a harddrive and dvd-drive. That isn't a lot.... but that could be a decent cpu or atleast half the cost of one. You said you only lost the CPU in your first comp.

Also, despite everything. Researching, picking out parts, and building the computer is just fun :) I try to talk my friends into doing it for their next purchase, and I help them every step of the way if they do. If you enjoy building the computer, do it. If you are just looking for the best deal, research a lot and if a pre-built dell with software or something is better... grab it.

Support for a Dell may be nice, but you can always get support from LR or Google.
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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by jakegub » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:01 pm

I think that if you're looking for the absolute cheapest computer you can find, buy a dell. It's tough to get a worthwhile build for under $400 especially when you throw in keyboard, mouse, monitor. As soon as you start adding upgrades though, you should probably build your own. Also, Dell has mastered the art of using the absolute shortest cables possible, so sometimes upgrading from the base system requires new cables also.

On my friend's computer, I couldn't even change the slot that the hard drive was mounted in because the cable wouldn't reach the extra 1cm.
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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by camaroguy1998 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:33 pm

Simple question......
Once you have researched, bought, assembled and tested your own rig.....
How could you ever consider going back to a mass produced computer??? :shock:

IMHO, the satisfaction of building your own rig is enough to never look back! :)
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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by Nobahar » Sun Jul 12, 2009 7:30 pm

As someone said, for lower level systems Dell is absolutely cheaper when you throw in os, mouse/keyboard, monitor. Dell mice are cheap as hell, broke on me and they sent a replacement with online support. The support is pretty good and headache free, unlike providing your own support should you get a faulty piece of equipment and dealing with chinese companies.

Bundles are usually cheaper than when you get it part for part, the cost of labor gets reduced by the mass manufacturing process. It's just, they charge ridiculous prices on upgrades where prices on newegg may be half the cost of an upgraded cpu or graphics card. It's when you factor these into your computer that they come out more expensive, and building is a more cost effective choice.

For me it is all bottom line, I don't factor in the fun of building one as a reason to build. Also, it's sometimes a matter of knowhow. I have no idea how to do liquid cooling and can get a liquid cooled system from alienware (dell) with pretty decent equipment for 800. Then again, I'm also debating whether liquid cooling is even worth the extra cost and electricity over cheap air cooling, the amount of extra you can overclock is less than the difference between air/water cooling.

It's strictly economical for me. Two years ago I bought my dell computer, for 400 dollars with 19" widescreen monitor. Yes, they are cheap parts, but I get 50-60fps in wow, call of duty, fallout 3, and can perform all my tasks quite well. I can't run games on their most beautiful settings, nor at higher resolutions, but at the time it wasn't worth paying 2-3X the price of what I paid for some higher framerates on games I already can play fine.

I'm not looking to upgrade until my computer is out of action, but when that comes I have more money to kill, so I will likely build my own to take advantage of the cheaper upgrade costs and the ability to get better parts.

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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by hnzw_rui » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:02 am

Hmm, somehow, I think you were probably just unlucky. I've got 9-year old computers both Dell and custom-built which are still working. Granted, they're slower than any netbook you'll find and struggles with even basic YouTube, but the point is they still work.

I've found desktops to be pretty resilient. More often than not, the part that fails is the hard drive. I had a 486 which had a 600MB hard drive (SCSI, I think). Hard drive failed but the rest of the parts were still good. Unfortunately, the whole PC went to recycling because finding a tiny-ish SCSI drive replacement was too expensive.
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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by spitter » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:19 am

I think Dell does have a advantage over home built computers, not by how they assemble it but in the shear number of parts they order from the manufacturers. Say Dell orders 5000 motherboards at one time, the manufacturer is going to try to make sure those motherboards all stay out. A little bit more QA and a little bit more testing on the first few and a strait run of part.

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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by x.clay » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:11 pm

I think there are advantages to both. I enjoy being able to upgrade and switch out parts and I enjoy tinkering and putting a PC together. I decided to build my first PC last year. When I was looking I couldn't find what I wanted at the price I wanted when I went through HP, Dell, etc. so I decided to find some really good deals and build it myself. I'm really happy with what I put together but I had to spend more time making sure parts were compatible and learning my way around the BIOS than if I went with a Dell or HP.
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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by Digerati » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:36 pm

Definitely build your own. The hardware in popular OEM models is usually very specifically picked for that model, as the computer was intended for the general public, who these companies predict are after more bang for their buck and not really good hardware. Most of these computers have very low-quality, mass-produced chips that aren't very upgrade-friendly. In fact, most of these computers are designed to work only with the parts installed originally and usually offer no window for any hardware change, never mind an upgrade! The actual decent OEM computers like Dell's XPS line or the DELL owned Alienware line of computers are actually quite good in probably all terms, except for value. You can essentially build an Alienware computer, for example, for about half the price. That's because that's actually how they are made themselves: assembled from high-end third-party manufactured parts.

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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by Major_A » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:14 pm

There's nothing wrong with a Dell, if it's a laptop and you can't fully build it yourself. The only time I recommend that someone get a Dell is when I don't want to put the PC together and support their issues (aka friends and extended family). Unfortunately, somehow word gets around and I'm the "computer guy" so I end up supporting their issues anyway.

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Re: Dell vs. Home Rigs

Post by tanka12345 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:51 am

Dell is OK if you can't be bothered building yourself or buying through a local PC store, but you'd have to buy when they are priced well otherwise you can be ripped off pretty easily.

Recently at the Local comp shop down here a customer wanted to buy a custom workstation PC, but his employer kept on insisting he buy a Dell workstation, when a Dell with the same specs (GTX285, i7 950, 12GB RAM, SSD's in RAID etc.) easily added up to a few thousand more [-X Eventually he was allowed to buy through the PC shop so he'll have one unique rig =P~
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