Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy a New PC?

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1. Introduction and Goals

2. Choosing and Finding Computer Parts

3. Budgeting and Shopping for Computer Parts

4. Comparing Dell's Price to Build Price


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Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy a New PC?
A quest for the "perfect workhorse computer"

By Mark Hamel
Webmaster InfoHQ.com

I want a new computer!

If you're a computer hobbyist, avid computer gamer, or heavy business app user, you have been eyeing your current paltry computer system and are lusting for a 2+ GHz "monster".

Of course, you have probably said to yourself like I have, that you really don't need a new computer, as your current system is more than "adequate" to run your current software. (Doesn't that description of "adequate" make you squirm just a little?)

Wouldn't it just make more sense to keep the "old workhorse" ? (My old workhorse is a 1.2 GHz Athlon, with its 256 MB of 2100 DDR memory, 40 GB ATA 100 hard drive, Elsa Gladiac GeForce 2 GTS, and Windows XP Professional.)

Maybe it would be cheaper to upgrade your old workhorse system, but if you need to upgrade several parts, it's probably best to buy a new system.

What is a "perfect PC"

Some people with scads of money can buy the fastest system available and not worry about reliability or price. If something breaks, buy a new one. If a faster video card comes out, throw out the old one.

Most of us however can't spend 80% of the family budget on a PC and can't afford to throw away a video card that they just plunked down $200-$400 for 6 months earlier. So we have to build or buy the best computer we can afford.

Because of my budget restrictions, this is really and article about shopping wisely for the perfect PC, and making choices, rather than an article on building the fastest "dream system".

So my definition of the "perfect PC" is getting the fastest, most reliable computer that you can afford.

What I really want is...

I had some definite goals in mind when I started shopping for my perfect PC:

1. 2+ GHz processor
2. Faster motherboard with a good chipset
3. Faster RAM and more of it
4. Faster Video Card

I was also trying to spend about $1,000 for the system. As I already had a decent 19 inch CRT monitor, my budget didn't include the price of a new monitor.


Choosing and Finding Computer Parts >>