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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Do you purchase your tower computer(s) off the shelf, build it yourself, or have it built for you?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26837points) July 23rd, 2011

When I think back at all the computers I have owned, if it was a tower, I built it from scratch or rebuilt it from an existing computer. To me it is the only way to go, you get the board and CPU you want, or as much as your wallet allows, you can have extra HD, burner and player, the max amount of memory, extra cooling fans, etc. I can figure out what I want the computer to do, then I shop the parts and put it all together. I feel I get what would have cost me 30% more or better if I purchased it that way off the shelf or had vendor order it that way custom made. The towers you purchased in the past were they off the rack, custom order, or you built it? Maybe you never bought one and always had one kicked down to you?

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20 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Always custom ordered from Gateway and now Dell. I’ve learned a lot about computers though since my last purchase 3 years ago, so I might try to build the next one instead.

Hibernate's avatar

I always built it from scratch because I know what I will use it for and I know what I will need.

downtide's avatar

My partner builds them. He’s the expert.

jrpowell's avatar

I roll my own. And it is running OS X.

Cruiser's avatar

My 15 yr old son builds them and is my IT go to guy!

aprilsimnel's avatar

I read up on the components du jour and have it built for me.

I’m actually about to do that today, as I want to retire Old Paint on my desktop. She’s been a good ‘un since 2003 (and still kicks it pretty well), but it’s time to let her go, since she’s not powerful enough for the video I’ll be doing shortly.

marinelife's avatar

Purchase it.

jerv's avatar

Of all the towers I’ve had over the years, the only one I bought new was the one I have now, and I had to add a decent video card afterwards. I have received a few other towers (two by purchase, the rest by hand-me-down or dumpster-diving) and kit-bashed each of them.

The main reason I bought my last one was that it was on sale and I couldn’t build a better system myself for less, especially considering the price of an OEM copy of Win7 (I was kind of spoiled as I had a legal retail copy of WinXP Pro that I picked up cheap many years ago and used on all of my other systems in the last decade, so I always avoided that expense before.) and the fact that WINE doesn’t work with some of the stuff I want/need to run.

@aprilsimnel My last system was of that approximate vintage; a 3.4GHz P4 with a Radeon 9800 XT. Even the low-end i3–530 Gateway I have now has five times the CPU, and the onboard graphics beat my old Radeon card with far less heat and power. Not that that stopped me from getting a fanless GT240 ;) Well worth the $500-ish I spent!

DeanV's avatar

Build it myself. If I buy a custom built or a prebuilt I almost always end up replacing the power supply, and often the GPU anyway because prebuilts have a nasty habit of including shitty PSUs and GPUs with processors that are overpowered compared to the other components in the box.

I’ve currently got a system in the mail right now that I’ll probably assemble sometime next week. GTX 560 Ti, Core i5 2500k, etc. all only cost me about 1000 dollars, compared to the 1400 or 1600ish I would have spent if I had gone with a custombuilt or prebuilt.

Plus, it’s fun.

jerv's avatar

Yeah, I hafta find a decent deal on an LGA1156 i7, preferably an 875K. I figure they should be cheap now that everything is LGA1155.

DeanV's avatar

@jerv The i5 2500K is the way to go unless you’re going to be doing a lot of video editing/rendering, IMO. With a little bit of overclocking you can easily push the quad core i5 to be just as good/better than the current i7 in games or multitasking, and a lot better than the last gen lynnfields.

jerv's avatar

I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!

DeanV's avatar

@jerv No problem. Sandy Bridge is definitely a big jump in architecture for Intel, so I’d definitely try and go with 1155 if you can, as it looks like that’s what Ivy Bridge is going to use as well.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@johnpowell Dual monmitors!?!? Make note to self, sneak in, bind @johnpowell to the water heater, make off with the monitors…..did I just think that out loud? D’oh! Now he will be on guard. D’oh!

incendiary_dan's avatar

The only desktop I’ve owned was one my brother put together for me out of old parts. I used it through college and then a bit after, but now I don’t really have the space at my apartment.

jerv's avatar

@dverhey That would involve getting a new mobo and would have a higher chance of invalidating my OEM Win7 though, hence why I don’t want to go that route… at least not until I have a grand or so to spare. Since that is about a whole month’s income that could better be spent paying off debt, I don’t see that happening soon.

the100thmonkey's avatar

I build them myself. My current rig is a Win7 x_64. It used to dual boot Ubuntu, but I gave my WD Raptor (which Ubuntu ran on) to my mum (!) as part of an extra PC we didn’t have the space to ship when I moved to Japan. She’s found an alternative solution to HD streaming, so she’s sending me the PC back. LOL.

Ron_C's avatar

I have never bought an “off the self” computer. The first computer I bought was a kit where you soldered all the components to a motherboard. Subsequent computers were either bought as parts which I assembled or custom built from a number of different manufactures.

I notice “off-the shelf” laptops and desktops have almost what I need so I end up selecting various components and assemblies to have them modified. Laptops are modified by the manufacture, desk tops, towers, etc. are ones I modify.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@Ron_C – it’s very difficult to build a custom laptop.


Ron_C's avatar

@the100thmonkey “Why?” It is very difficult to find custom enhancements that fit an already purchased computer. You can add memory and change the hard drive and that’s about it.

Of course you can add peripherals through USB or Firewire connections but that is just more stuff to carry around.

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