There are many reasons to build your own computer and for me it is the abilty to specify exactly what I want. An added bonus is that I generally get a more powerful system with better componets for less money.
You can use a company like Dell which will let you get pretty close to your desired specification, but you will be limited by the components that Dell is currently using.
A simple example is the choice of case and power supply. There are some great cases from Corsair and Coolermaster with features that make adding and removing components a lot easier than fiddling about inside a major manufacurers chosen case. Is your manufacurer using a power supply that is gold certified or powerfull enough to handle multiple Graphics Cards? Will they use the standard Intel core i7 2600 which cannot be overclocked? You can choose the Intel core i7 2600k which you can very easily overclock in the range 4.2GHz – 4.8Ghz. Giving you a minimum 25% improvement in processor speed.
To aid our comparison I selected and costed the following specification from the Dell website a few days ago.
Component DescriptionDell XPS 8300 Chassis
Dell XPS 8300 Power Supply
Dell XPS 8300 Motherboard
Intel core i7-2600 3.4GHz Processor
Dell Air Cooling
8192MB Dual Channel DDR3 1333MHz Memory
1GB ATI® Radeon™ HD 5770 graphics card
2TB Serial ATA (7200RPM) Hard Drive
6x Blu-Ray Disc™ RW (BluRay/DVD/CD read & write) Drive & 16X DVD+/-RW
Sound : Integrated 7.1 with THX® TruStudio
Altec Lansing FX3022 black speaker system
Dell 24″ ST2420L Full HD Widescreen Monitor
Dell™ USB Entry Keyboard – UK/Irish (QWERTY)
Dell Laser Mouse USB (6 buttons scroll) Black
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64Bit OEM
Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010
McAfee® Security Centre – 15 Month Protection – English
Dell XPS 8300 Configured Cost without Speakers £1,610.00
Altec Lansing FX3022 black speaker system £52.08
Total Cost Excluding VAT £1,662.08
VAT at 20% £332.42
I then decided to put together a similar system without being held back by a major manufacturer telling me what I could and could not have in my system.
This is what I found:
|Component Description||Price Exl Vat||Price Incl Vat|
|Coolermaster HAF-X chassis||£108.33||£130.00|
|CORSAIR Professional HX850W Power Supply Unit||£111.86||£134.23|
|ASRock P67 Extreme6 Intel P67 (Socket 1155) Motherboard – B3 Revision||£139.99||£167.99|
|Intel Core i7 2600K 3.40GHz (Sandy Bridge) Socket LGA1155||£195.82||£234.98|
|Corsair H70 High Performance CPU Watercooling Kit||£68.08||£81.70|
|Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit||£70.82||£84.98|
|Sapphire ATI Radeon 6970 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express||£241.68||£290.02|
|OCZ 240GB IBIS Series 3.5″ SSD||£465.00||£558.00|
|Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 2TB 7200rpm 64MB Cache 3.5″ SATA 6.0Gb/s Desktop Hard Drive||£87.17||£104.60|
|LG BH10LS30 10x Blu-Ray Rewriter DVD-/+RW Lightscribe SATA – OEM||£62.49||£74.99|
|Integrated – Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec Premium Blu-ray audio support Supports THX TruStudio PRO||£0.00||£0.00|
|Altec Lansing FX3022 black speaker system||£52.08||£62.50|
|Dell ST2420L 24″ Full HD Widescreen Monitor 5ms 16:9 DVI VGA HDMI (Black) (3yr Manufacturers Warranty)||£184.44||£221.33|
|Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000||£15.83||£19.00|
|Microsoft Wired Intellimouse Optical 1.1 White Win32 PS2/USB||£17.00||£20.40|
|Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit DVD – OEM – Service Pack 1||£128.51||£154.21|
|Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010||£133.33||£159.99|
|Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 1 User 1 Year – OEM||£15.82||£18.98|
The first thing you will notice is that my custom build is more expensive. Why? I have added a super fast 240GB SSD drive and upgraded the video card to the awesome Sapphire ATI Radeon 6970. Of course to return to a similarly priced box you can remove the SSD drive and use a Radeon 5750 video card.
One comment I hear is that there is no warranty, or that I am no good with hardware. There are many companies out there which specialise in custom builds. You can find some here.
Now what if you want to build your own computer, but need some help. Here are some videos which you may find useful.