Building Your Own System

Forums The Workshop Building Your Own System

  • This topic has 7 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 4 weeks ago by Drek.
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  • #3725
    Drek
    @drek

    The idea that you can save money by building your own system has not been true as long as I’ve been building systems, and that dates back to the late ’90’s. Typically the advantage you gain by building your own system is better quality and over engineered components, suitable for overclocking.

    However, these days, with components selling at scalpers’ prices, if you can even find them, building your own system is truly not worth the money spent. And even when component prices were reasonable, the hazards of building your own system generally outweigh the advantages, unless you really know what you are doing.

    #3813
    Saltine
    Moderator
    @saltine
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    boos

    for me, the point of building the system myself was knowing that I have the best and most compatible components that I could afford, rather than a crap shoot of whatever a given manufacturer was putting in their system, but it’s also about the modularity/know-how to replace just the component that dies or becomes completely obsolete (assuming it doesn’t fry other parts when it dies)

    Today? there’s no way I could afford to do that. Last I checked (last week) I can buy a mid range gaming PC with a 2060-3070 card for the cost of an nvidia 2070/3070 card itself!
    I am looking you, my 2016 PC with with it’s nvidia 980 gtx… Keeping my fingers crossed that graphics card keeps chugging along… When it goes, I will be better off getting a whole tower– and that’s sad to me…

    #3814
    Drek
    @drek
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    boos

    Ya, it’s absolutely nuts right now, “Thanks COVID!” 🙂

    But as the article says, it’s more than just covid going on. We are in a perfect storm when it comes to the price of computer components.

    #3827
    Frank McNeil
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    @frankmcneil
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    boos

    For me the advantage of DIY PC over a pre-built one was always the fact that you can pick all the parts and select only the quality ones. What I don’t like about pre-built PCs is that the companies may allow you to choose whether you want this or that CPU and then this or that type of GPU, but they won’t allow you to pick the manufacturer. I mean that not every AMD or nVIDIA GPU is good. Their AIBs offer various types of single GPU with different quality of the cooler, different amount of VRAM or different I/Os etc. So if you build the PC on your own and do your “homework” then you can select the best GPU on the market … well for your budget of course. And then there are the other parts like PSU, Motherboard or CASE. On the pre-built PCs these are often the cheapest possible in order to keep the final cost low. But all three play a big role in having a good PC. If you use poor PSU you may experience tripping issues when you buy powerful GPU. If you choose poor motherboard your CPU may not even be able to keep advertised turbo/boost speeds so your powerful CPU may then end up being throttled most of the time. And poor PC case will make your components fry, make them full of dust and amplify their sound.

    It’s true that now the whole PC market is totally screwed. I’ve also noticed that a GPU alone is often sold for the price of a whole pre-built gaming PC. Next bad thing is that price of RAM is on its rise. And some other components are hard to get which again makes them more expensive. But if you are NOT building a gaming PC right now then you can still put together a good PC at decent price.

    I do take the argument that there are risks in building it on your own. But there are lots of “how to” videos on YouTube. Also if you are unlucky and get a non-working/incompatible part then you can always return it. Well at least here in EU there’s a 14 days period when the e-shop has to always take it back and return you the money no matter what. However my opinion is that these risks are worth it. Because you end up with PC that perfectly matches your wish. Also you can always replace parts that broke up. Some of the big companies use custom parts (unique MB, CPU cooler or PSU) that aren’t based on standards so they are hard to replace later on.

    #3831
    Drek
    @drek
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    boos

    Typically there are two issues with pre-builts, the first is the PSU. PSU’s on most pre-builts, even the expensive ones, are inadequate and low quality. The second issue with pre-builts are proprietary connectors and fittings which make it difficult to upgrade or replace components. Even getting into some pre-built cases can be a challenge without proprietary tools.

    #3832
    Frank McNeil
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    @frankmcneil
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    boos

    Yeah one of such manufacturers is Fujitsu. Before I did the desktop PC upgrade I was doing a research on the Internet. And I was close to buying one of Fujitsu used workstations. They were usually a 3rd or 4th gen. Intel Core i5 (only 4 cores, no HT) and even i7 (4 cores, 8 threads). Then 8 GB RAM or even more, couple USB 3.0 connectors (some even on front panel) and usually 500 GB HDD (some had even 120 or 240 GB SSDs). In a mini tower case and Win 10 Pro preinstalled. All of that for roughly 300 CAD. Pretty cheap in my opinion. So all I’d have to do to have decent gaming PC was to get a used GPU. And here come the issues. First there was hardly any info about the PSU wattage. And second whether there is actually a usable PCIe slot for it. This second issue was easy to solve, because I’ve found workstations with professional GPUs (e.g. NVIDIA Quadro) included. So there must have been PCIe slot. The PSU issue was way harder to solve. After going through various web pages I’ve finally found out that they are using unique 350W PSUs. But these PSUs don’t have standard ATX cables. For example there is no classic 24 pin cable for the motherboard. Which also means there is a custom MB in these workstations. So despite the fact they do look like a common desktop PC, based on look and main parts used, they are actually custom builds pretty similar to laptops.

    Now I’m not saying that such thing is true with all pre-built systems. But even when you choose a smaller company that works with standard ATX format parts then you have to deal with issues like crappy PSU, motherboard and often even the PC case sucks. I’ve once checked a pre-built PC from one of local system builders. And they allowed you to select a Ryzen 5000 series CPU and RTX 3000 series GPU. And then they combined that with one of the cheapest A520 MB and a PSU that is placed in a “very cheap, iGPU systems” group on this list https://linustechtips.com/topic/1116640-psucultists-psu-tier-list/
    I wish I was able to remember the name of that PC to paste a link on it here for you to have some laugh too 🙂 but I can’t even recall whether it was one of Lynx or HAL or something totally different.

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by Frank McNeil.
    #3834
    Visyris
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    @visyris
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    boos

    I always found it fun just shopping for the parts and figuring out what works together, then layering on the aesthetic side and trying to get everything to match with the case and look cool.

    Then the excitement of putting everything together the first time, turning the power on after the nerve racking crinkling of the CPU getting pressed into the seat. Don’t get any of that adrenaline from a pre-fab system.

    There’s also not having to deal with all the bloatware pre-fab systems come with, having control over everything you load on the system is a huge perk.

    #3835
    Drek
    @drek
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    boos

    Did I get the cpu the right way round? Please don’t let the pins bend. Nerve wracking, yes…

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Forums The Workshop Building Your Own System