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New PC
Build or buy?
Lynnelle
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Lynnelle  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Michigan USA
Member since 4/8/07
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Date: 6/26/13 2:32 PM

My 10-year old PC is on its way out. It still runs, but it won't accept memory upgrades and the current memory is too slow. I've owned two Dells and wouldn't hesitate to buy a third. Currently, I have a quote from Micro Center to build a reasonably powerful and upgradeable system with Windows 7 that will last (hopefully) for ten more years. Since I've never had a system built before, I'd like to know your experiences. I could buy another Dell for less than what it's costing to build. Thoughts?

Thanks.

quiltingwolf
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quiltingwolf
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In reply to Lynnelle <<


Date: 6/26/13 2:55 PM

Building is nice cos you can customize what you want, what size hard drive, memory etc. Now when you have one build I don't know if it comes with any kind of software like you get when you buy one in a store. You might just get windows and that's it. And honestly these days probably don't need much more with all the cloud computing.

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quiltingwolf.blogspot.com

Nancy1955
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Nancy1955  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/26/13 3:06 PM

I would compare the specs and costs. I also like to call the Help Desk of companies I do business with before I make a purchase, just to see how long it takes to get a live knowledgeable person. Do a search of CNET, New Egg and other web sites that provide reviews.
I bought my last PC from Lotus PC as it was important for me to buy an American made (assembled and tested) product. I've been very pleased with it.

rivergum
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rivergum
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Date: 6/26/13 4:17 PM

I wouldn't build unless you are a gamer who needs a highly spec'd machine, or a musician who needs a special type of sound card, or another special type of customer. Cheaper to buy off the rack and less fraught with warranty issues.

If you are tempted to build, look very carefully into the warranty provided. What if the business closes down? Manufacturers still provide warranty on their parts, but good luck being sure what part is the problem unless you have experience with this sort of thing. How would you prove when the part was purchased? Also, it can take weeks to get a part replaced, and if you can't replace it yourself you still have to pay to have it done. There are other issues with custom built machines. You want to be very sure this mob knows what they are doing. Geeks who run computer shops love building machines and I have done if myself, but you can run into unforeseen problems and then everyone points fingers at everyone else and you are left holding the baby. Other 'gotchas' are that either cheap parts are being used and you are overcharged for the quality you get, or the PC is over spec'd and you pay for luxuries you don't need. Are you sure you will get a proper copy of Windows? It all comes down to trust in the business, and unless you are very sure don't do it.

I would go through Dell, buy on credit card because you have to pay in advance and get a 3 year warranty. Of course Dell could go belly-up in that time, but it is far less likely.

Edited to say that I have bought and maintained 1000"s of PCs in my previous job, but as nice girl says, advice is worth what you pay for it. Also, when you deal with these volumes you see the best and the worst. With a single machine you could be anywhere on the spectrum, meaning you could have an excellent experience as well as a bad one.



-- Edited on 6/26/13 4:33 PM --

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Taking in is happier than letting out.

Sydney, Australia

dmh1
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dmh1
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North Carolina USA
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Date: 6/26/13 4:21 PM

I like Windows 7, too. I have an older Alienware model (now owned by Dell) and just bought my mom one as well. I like that you can have them load Windows 7 rather than 8 and they're not loaded with bloatware. My mom is so excited as she had been using my secondhand PCs for years :-) I think I kept it under $700 for her but it runs almost as fast as my three year old system that was $1600.

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Michelle

SM: Janome DC2013 & Singer Futura Quintet
Serger: Janome Magnolia 7034D
Coverstitch: Singer 14T968DC

Mandolin82
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Mandolin82  Friend of PR
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Washington USA
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Date: 6/26/13 4:31 PM

For warranty reasons I wouldn't build unless I was a real computer person and liked all the fine tuning. And could deal with replacing things if there were a problem. Buying, you can get a warranty over the whole system.

Lately, whenever we need a computer, we buy it from Costco online. You can even customize your systems in many cases. And if you have a problem the returns are so easy. I've actually had two computers in the last few years fail and it was easy to return them. Their prebuilt systems are also usually a pretty good mix a match of features.

I have Windows 8 and it is just fine for me. Once you learn some real simple interface basics it is very similar to Windows 7. It will be even more similar once they get the next big upgrade out - adding back in a start button and such.

Sewliz
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Sewliz  Friend of PR
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In reply to Lynnelle <<


Date: 6/26/13 6:42 PM

Would you consider a mac? I suppose it depends on what you plan to use you computer for. I have a mac mini that my son talked me into after several dells and hps that got sick, acted stupid and thankfully died before I got mad enough to kill them myself with a sledgehammer or something. Love the mini, no problems ever for about four years now. I can easily run photoshop on the mini.

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Liz

thefittinglife.blogspot.com

GlButterfly

GlButterfly
Intermediate
California USA
Member since 8/28/08
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Date: 6/26/13 6:45 PM

It depends. We've had all of our computers built by a local computer store which has been in business since the 30s. They know their customers and put in exactly what you want. We probably paid a bit more than we would have had we bought elsewhere, but everyone in town trusts these people and you can ask them all kinds of questions. Thus, as I said, it depends.

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That's Gl = for Gloria, not G. I.

Claire in Montreal
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Claire in Montreal
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Date: 6/26/13 9:16 PM

For DH's last computer we went with a 'built' one. NEVER AGAIN ! All kinds of things we didn't need or ask for. Had to argue for things that were supposed to be included. The wireless keyboard and mouse never worked and they couldn't fix them - and wouldn't replace them. We had to buy another set. It was double what we would have paid 'off the rack'. And to top it off they set themselves up as ADMIN and locked us out of working on it. Hubby's knowledgeable and does most of his own computer work but not on this one. The desktop and laptop were bought off the shelf 'as is' and we have no trouble with them - when they die we'll replace them with similar units.l

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Claire
1seamatatime.blogspot.com

Kenmore / Necchi BU Mira
Singer 99 (3) / HD110 / 66 (RedEye) / 127 Treadle / 15-90 / 221

PattyE
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PattyE  Friend of PR
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In reply to Lynnelle <<


Date: 6/27/13 8:46 AM

I have 'built' 3 computers online at Dell over the years...2 laptops and 1 pc. You can pick your hardware options and software, as well as warranty plans. My last 2 laptop purchases have been HP because Dell quality seems to have gone down now.

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Stash: 174.845 yds. @ 12.20.14

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