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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
I want a new PC, but I'm really struggling with Buy or Build. 

I've always built my own systems from scratch in the past... but they tend to be quirky... kind of like the Millenium Falcon. You know they're fast, but you have to be somewhat gentle with them at times and you'd never hand them over to anyone else (willingly.)  When they work, they work well, but when things start going wrong it can get really frustrating.

The process of construction can be entertaining though.  I took out power to an entire apartment building once. That was an expensive mistake. I've definitely learned a few things since then, but I don't build for friends any more. Mostly because I don't really enjoy questions like "why does my computer make this weird noise" or "how come I don't have feature xyz?" So I just do it for me. Even the kids get prebuilt systems.

So... here I am, present day, looking at the remnants of my last machine. It's going on about 4 years old... it's kinda noisy, kinda flaky, 2 gig of RAM, AMD 64 processor, about 400GB storage space. Vista does ok with it... some days, not so good on others. It's not a BAD machine... but nowhere near top of the line. I've got a laptop from work, which is pretty badass, and basically eliminates any real need for a new PC other than just wanting one.

I've been looking at the iMac All-In-One models, which are pretty damn sweet and I could boot camp XP or Vista on them. Very tempting if they weren't so damn expensive. I love the form factor though. That's not something I can build.

I've also been looking at building something with these specs ( NewEgg Wishlist ) although I'd probably double the RAM to 4GB (for VMs) and add a second 500GB HD. Hard to say.

The iMac would cost me roughly twice what the homebuilt machine would. Is the form factor worth the cost? The apps? The support? What's the tangible value of these things?

What would you do? Posted on Monday, April 21, 2008 9:57 AM General Interest | Back to top


Comments on this post: new PC - build or buy?

# re: new PC - build or buy?
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I'd go with the iMac. I personally went with the MacPro and haven't looked back. Yeah, it was expensive, but it's solid hardware, I have Server 2003 running on VMWare Fusion (solid), and love it.
Left by Kyle on Apr 21, 2008 11:10 AM

# re: new PC - build or buy?
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The question really seems to be cost!

I always used to think of macs as a luxury, esp for a windows dev, but like you said you can install XP or vista no probs its not so much...still comes down to money!!

Personnally I would go with the pc built yourself - its the only way for personal machines!!! You can easy clock that CPU upto >3Ghz and defo go for 4GB ram, I would also get a raptor HDD, bit more money but defo worth it for the perf.

MACS are defo sexy, but you'll prob find yourself working on it with Vista/xp to use your fave app/tool/etc etc.... but if you have the money, why not!! Nothing wrong with it!!
Left by Steve Clements on Apr 21, 2008 11:40 AM

# re: new PC - build or buy?
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I'm personally one for building a machine, but more often than not money has been the deciding factor in the past couple years and I ended up going with a pre-built system that "pretty much" meets my needs...one day though...
Left by Lou on Apr 21, 2008 1:28 PM

# re: new PC - build or buy?
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I think I am going prebuild on my next system, for 500 to 1000 I can get a Quad Core Gateway or Dell, throw a new video card in and you got a pretty good computer.
Left by Greg Wurm on Apr 21, 2008 5:26 PM

# re: new PC - build or buy?
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I have just purchased a machine from www.cyberpowerpc.com, which has the whole customize bit of building at least...
I can't *recommend* them yet, since they haven't even built it, but it may be another option to look at (and nothing says Geek like a laptop with SLI :)
Left by Simon Buchan on Apr 22, 2008 1:59 AM

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