Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Hardware Games

Ask Slashdot: Buy Or Build a High End Gaming PC? 325

An anonymous reader writes: Looking at some Black Friday ads, I'm seeing some good deals on Alienware and other gaming rigs that would be cheaper than building them from scratch. If you built or were to build a high end gaming rig, what would you suggest? Or would you just get a prebuilt system and customize it to your needs? I'm not looking for cheap, I want best quality and performance, but not overkill that would rival supercomputers and at the same time break my bank account. It would be a Windows system to keep my family happy, but possibly dual boot with Linux to keep me happy. It will be located in the livingroom hooked up to a regular monitor and the big screen TV, replacing a budget PC that's in there now.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Buy Or Build a High End Gaming PC?

Comments Filter:
  • Build one (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:18PM (#51018153) Homepage

    The only good way to get what you want is to build one.

    It's also a good exercise.

    • Re:Build one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:21PM (#51018165) Journal
      You always feel better after building your own system.

      At least, I've never met anyone who didn't feel good afterwards.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Probably people who made mistakes.

        • I know a guy who smoked a $200 processor. Worst feeling in the world. Yet he still continues to build his own computers, just he's more careful now.
          • The little end that's on the cable of the cooling fan needs to be plugged in, that's assuming he used the heat sink and fan and didn't just fire it up.
            • I think he accidentally touched it to a live wire somewhere, can't remember how it happened exactly, but it was a small, instant expensive cloud of smoke.
              • by mikael ( 484 )

                I've seen that happen with certain configurations of SLI systems. The Geforce Titan GPU's have several chassis screws that can make contact with the metal casing of the hard disk drive cable connectors.

          • Back when I worked for the County of Santa Cruz (at the age of 17, mind you) I once installed a 486 chip 90 degrees out. Because you could do that back then. Now, it's not even possible. The only thing you can do is destroy pins trying to incorrectly insert the processor. If you're gentle, that won't happen either. Oh, I just thought about BGA packages, presumably they still have this problem? Hooray PGA

    • It sure is. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:39PM (#51018281)

      It's also a good exercise.

      I do three sets of ten computers three times a week. And I cross train by laying fiber optic cable - it's for cardio. Cat 6 when I'm bored or overtrained.

    • The only good way to get what you want is to build one.

      Absolutely, you get the exact parts that you want. Pre-built always seems to involve some compromise in one part or another.

      Careful selection of parts is also very helpful if you want to do something like dual boot Linux.

      Building your own is no longer the money saver that it once was though. But quality and compatibility are reason enough.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      It's also much more exciting to discover the many interesting ways in which seemingly ordinary components can be incompatible.

    • by pepty ( 1976012 )
      If you have time to play games on a PC, you have time to build a PC. If you read Slashdot, you would probably enjoy building one. So build it.
    • As has been said so much already, build it. What I havn't seen being said is that you should just use the integraded graphics from an Intel CPU for a couple more months (or an old graphics card you already have) and wait for the new cards that are coming out in the next 6-7 months.

      The existing cards are all still being built on the 28nm process, which has been in use for over 3 years now. Delays and problems have kept the graphics cards from being built on modern process nodes for the last 1.5 years. The n
  • BUILD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:20PM (#51018161)
    Next question.
    • Re:BUILD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gnupun ( 752725 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @04:36PM (#51018921)

      And what if a pre-assembled PC is cheaper than your custom built PC by $300-$400 provided certain minor things are inferior to your custom PC? Businesses can buy components in bulk, at a far cheaper rate than the huge markup a typical customer gives to component makers when he buys individual components. You also don't have to deal with malfunctioning parts because the pre-assembled PC has been tested.

      So it's not all black and white.

      • Re:BUILD (Score:4, Informative)

        by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @06:26PM (#51019367)
        The question was about the fact of better, not cheaper. It is always better to build it yourself. And the reason is this.....If Origin PC closes up shop, the warranty is dead, since it was purchased through OEM channels. An OEM warranty is not the same as a Retail warranty. I can always send back my retail motherboard to EVGA and my retail hard drive to Western Digital. If I try to send back an OEM to WD, they will deny it. Been there, done that. Now if we were talking about cheaper then you are correct. You can find companies who basically use standard parts purchased under OEM discounts. But I will NEVER use them. Because it is NOT BETTER. NEXT QUESTION.
      • Re:BUILD (Score:5, Informative)

        by ranton ( 36917 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @07:19PM (#51019613)

        And what if a pre-assembled PC is cheaper than your custom built PC by $300-$400 provided certain minor things are inferior to your custom PC?

        This never happens. Not for a high end gaming PC anyway. For budget computers that are sold for a few hundred dollars that may be true but not for anything that will accommodate high end gaming. It is in fact the other way around, where a custom built PC can be up to and above $1000 cheaper than a pre-assembled one.

        Take a simple example of an Alienware Area-51 PC with an i7-5930K, 16 GB 2133MHz DDR4 RAM, GTX 970, and 512 GB SSD. Not top of the line but certainly a great gaming PC. It costs $2750. Going to Newegg, I can get the processor (460), motherboard($150), ram (100), video card (350), intel 480 GB ssd (270), a high endcoolermaster case w/850W PS (280), and OS(100) for $1710. That is a $1000 difference. When looking for a higher end machine with 32 GB RAM and dual GTX 980 the difference came to almost $1250. That is pretty extreme.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Xyrus ( 755017 )

        And what if a pre-assembled PC is cheaper than your custom built PC by $300-$400 provided certain minor things are inferior to your custom PC?

        BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Oh....my sides! You should have been modded +5 funny!

        This never happens. Ever.

        Businesses can buy components in bulk, at a far cheaper rate than the huge markup a typical customer gives to component makers when he buys individual components.

        Ok, think about the market. Is the largest market segment high end or low end? The answer is low end. Vendors have a much easier time moving low end systems than high end systems, so they always bulk rate the low end in significantly higher quantities. The markup is lower, but they move a hell of a lot more of it. That's where the bulk of their profit comes from.

        If you order a machine (via some configurator or

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:25PM (#51018179) Journal

    I'm not looking for cheap, I want best quality and performance

    Unless you're buying a 'package deal' from a retailer and know down to the last fastener exactly what's going into the box you're buying, always build your own box if you can. Even then, if it's me, I'd end up auditing the entire pre-build anyway, to make sure their tech didn't do something stupid that would end up biting me in the ass down the road. But either way, if you have the capability to do so, spec out and build your system yourself, picking the best quality components and case, so you get exactly what you want, instead of what had the best profit margin for someone else.

    • Get one of these [ebay.com] for around a hundred bucks and overclock the shit out of it to get within a hair's breadth of one of these [ebay.com] for a fraction of the price.

      Also, read this [overclock.net] for details.

      • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @03:38PM (#51018631)
        Overclocking is fine if its only a gaming PC but if it is also used for anything serious, anything where the correct results are important ... do *not* overclock.

        Overclocking errors are not some black and white easy to recognize situation. It is literally a progression through various shades of gray. At the lightest shades of gray, where overclocking errors begin, at perhaps quite modest overclocking settings, the errors are subtle. Literally it may simply give the wrong answer, the wrong numeric value, no crash or anything dramatic. And what instruction yields this simple wrong answer, and beginning at what overclocking setting, and what instructions must precede it if any ... are all variable and will change from one specific CPU to another. Hence the inability to reliably test for overclocking errors. The errors manifest different on every CPU, and the required conditions manifest differently, and these conditions may include being immediately preceded certain instructions or certain data patterns. Instructions and data patterns that also differ CPU to CPU.

        So if a PC is just for gaming and other casual use, overclocking does little harm. However if the computer is also used for serious numeric work, software development, etc ... its best to avoid overclocking.
    • Our local retailer is pretty good at building. They offer a number of preconfigured builds, for gaming, business, media, etc, and at different price points. If you ask them, they'll provide a manifest of exactly what goes into these builds, and you can tweak the build at no extra charge (other than any extra cost of the parts). They are happy to provide a different CPU, different case, a specific type and brand of memory sticks, more or less SSD space, different fans, even water cooling if you want it.
    • This was the rule of thumb for the high end elitist gamers in the past. But it's not true anymore. You only need to build your own if you want the "best" (an unachievable goal as only one person in the world can have the best system). Is the goal to play games, or to deal with the headache of building a computer? A commercial computer is cheaper and still more than enough to play the games.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:25PM (#51018183)

    I would recommend checking out the reddit [reddit.com] forum for building PCs. They often know of deals and resources that can be helpful. People there will also be willing to help you spec out a PC and pick parts / find the cheapest prices.

    Also pcpartspicker.com [pcpartspicker.com] is a great resource.

    That said, I've built pretty much all of my PCs for the last 20 years until this week. I found a good deal on an Asus G11 Desktop with an i7-6700 and a GTX 980. I could have saved a little building myself, but I decided to go the pre-built route this time and it's been great so far. Ultimately it comes down to what you prefer. The price is usually upgradability. In my case if I want to add additional components, there's only two PCIe 1x slots on the board that are open, so I'd probably need to get a new motherboard and case if I wanted to do anything other than swap out parts or add hard drives. So consider if you're ok with that before you buy.

    • by plover ( 150551 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:44PM (#51018307) Homepage Journal

      I second using a site like pcpartspicker. It can help you avoid some petty technical mistakes, like buying an under capacity CPU cooler, or a power supply without enough of the correct connectors and voltages for your cards.

      One thing I've noticed about homebuilt rigs is that they are occasionally louder than normal. I think a lot of builders don't think about noise or airflow, and a lot of the cabinetmakers just provide a bunch of fan mounting points but they can't really consider the cooling needs of the particular motherboard and CPU you're dealing with. If noise is important (perhaps you're going to use it as a media PC in a home theater, too) then you can factor that in as well, or consider options like liquid cooling solutions.

      • ...One thing I've noticed about homebuilt rigs is that they are occasionally louder than normal...

        The last PC I built was substantially quieter than anything I could buy commercially. Indeed most of hte home-built quiet PCs now use they same tactics for quiet that I used 15 years ago.

        .
        At the time, the toughest component to get a quiet version for was the graphics card. Nearly all the ones I could find had one of those little whiny high-speed cooling fans on the card.

        • For "quiet" video cards you sometimes have to look for a previous generation design that has gone through a new manufacturing process (same circuitry but laid out at a smaller scale, a process with fewer nanometers (nm)). These may get smaller or slower speed fans. Might even go passively cooled if it was a modest GPU to begin with. Of course you won't get the greatest performance but perhaps something good enough for play.

          For what its worth I tend to install auxiliary low-RPM fans that blow directly on
      • I second using a site like pcpartspicker. It can help you avoid some petty technical mistakes, like buying an under capacity CPU cooler, or a power supply without enough of the correct connectors and voltages for your cards.

        Agreed. I'd usually check the specs for everything before ordering, but if you're doing it for the first time, many of these sites really help with creating something that's likely to be compatible with itself.

        One thing I've noticed about homebuilt rigs is that they are occasionally louder than normal. I think a lot of builders don't think about noise or airflow, and a lot of the cabinetmakers just provide a bunch of fan mounting points but they can't really consider the cooling needs of the particular motherboard and CPU you're dealing with.

        Actually, achieving quiet is one of the main reasons I started building my own computers. I couldn't stand the noise of normal desktops, so I deliberate chose cases, etc. based on recommendations from "quiet PC" websites.

        The whole point of building your own is that you can customize for what you w

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:28PM (#51018205)

    That really is the big issue with a self build: If something goes wrong, you have to track it down and handle all the support. If you get a pre-built from a good vendor, they'll handle it all. Say what you want about Dell, but all you have to do is run their diags (baked in to the UEFI) and call them with the code, they'll send a dude with the parts needed.

    So that should be the major thing you think about. If you don't want to do support, then buy it from a vendor that will provide you with support to the level you require. I tend to recommend Dell because their hardware is reasonable and they have support available everywhere. They subcontract it, but it all works well. We use it at work all the time.

    If you are willing to do support yourself, then building it gets you precisely what you want. I build my system at home because I have very exacting requirements for what I'm after and nobody has that kind of thing for sale. Like I don't want a "good large power supply", I want a Seasonic Platinum 1000, nothing else.

    Also you'll find that generally at the higher end of things you save money building a system. For more consumer/office range stuff it usually is a wash: They build the mass market systems around as cheap as you could afford to. However when you start talking higher end gaming stuff, you can pay a large premium for things.

    As an example I just built a system for a good friend of mine. He wanted some very, very high end hardware and pretty specific requirements. Origin PC would get him what he wanted... for about $9,000. I put it together for around $6,000. The gamer stuff often commands a hefty premium.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Did you not advise your friend, instead, that dropping $6k (let alone $9k) on a desktop/gaming rig is completely idiotic?

      • I'm wondering how many Monster cables were involved myself..
      • just like a 1000w power supply. Buy a single video card, and a 500w will be enough. Just change the PC after X years, and you will save a lot of money instead of buying an expensive system with quad SLI that you will keep only 1.5X years

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Not even SLI systems with Geforce Titan's would cost that much. If you were to go into professional workstations with dual/quad socket Intel Xeons, Quadro graphics boards, triple screens, then the price could go that high.

        • You dont put xeons in the same machines with quadro\firegl..you use i7s. 99.99% of boxes with a xeon dont even have a GUI.

          Certain scientific purposes demand both...but cad/video/etc do not. Their software is not optimized for lowspeed high corecount environments.

    • by LVSlushdat ( 854194 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:52PM (#51018369)

      I'm a retired sysadmin, supported Dell products exclusively for the last 10 years before I retired. The advice about Dell is spot-on, but with ONE stipulation.. With Dell, its kind of like there is two separate "Dell" companies.. One that makes the cheap consumer-grade stuff you find at CostCo/BestBuy, with brand names like "Inspiron/XPS/Alienware", then there is the "company" that makes the corporate models, namely Optiplex/Latitude/Precision... The consumer-grade machines come with very short warrantees, offshore/phonetree "support" and they're LOADED with bloatware/crapware.. The corporate models, however, come with 3-year warrantees, US-based support, and a clean copy of the OS, with only necessary drivers loaded.. You do pay a bit more for the corporate models, and they're only available thru the Dell website. Prior to about 2000, I used to build my own systems, but once I learned about the Dell Outlet, with their refurb'ed systems, that come with a significant discount over a build-to-order from the regular Dell website, all of my systems, both workstation and laptops, have come from there... Unless the time needed to build the system is worthless to me, I can't build a system for what I can get a Dell Outlet refurb for... YMMV

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        How is any of this relevant to a gaming machine? Dell doesn't have corporate gaming machines.

        If you're going to plug Alienware from experience, do that. If you're going to talk about high end machines that don't have vendor customizations (or in many cases, modern video cards), how is that topical?

        • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @03:29PM (#51018581)

          If you're going to plug Alienware from experience, do that. If you're going to talk about high end machines that don't have vendor customizations (or in many cases, modern video cards), how is that topical?

          Well, it's topical in the sense that GP's experience was that consumer-grade Dell products were crappier. Basically, GGP was saying "Buy from Dell!" GP replied, "Well, you could buy from Dell, but in my experience the only machines worth having were X." As you rightly point out, product X is not the main focus of the current thread... which effectively means that GP's experience is that Dell isn't a good option to answer the OP's question, contra GGP's experience.

          You can agree or disagree with him, but he was basically providing his experience of the nuances of which Dell computers are good vs. bad (with the ones which would be most relevant here falling into the "bad" category).

          (Personally, I think his advice may be slightly outdated, as Dell has had its ups and downs in the past few years in terms of quality. But most of the post was definitely on topic.)

    • Sometimes a smart man learns to "need" less. If one goes off the deep end and spends that kind of money to build a rig the next consideration will be in very expensive software and the high- end device will probably spin your electric meter quite a bit as well. I can see going overboard if the PC is earning you money but simply to play games with it is really excessive. Computers are quickly becoming a commodity. That will benefit all of us. As far as the Linux or Windows argument goes I would choose
    • Thank you for your contribution to fighting the current economy crisis. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten.

    • If you are buying a PC and you know that what you have is a hardware failure - be it keyboard, touchpad, one of the ports, et al, you can take it to whoever you bought it from. But often, if the issue is a software one, you are on your own. If you have Windows, you could take it back to your vendor, but if you swapped Windows for Linux or anything else, you're on your own.

      Why do I mention that? From the submitter's question:

      It would be a Windows system to keep my family happy, but possibly dual boot with Linux to keep me happy

      Given what prices are of computers these days, why would anyone get a dual bo

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:31PM (#51018213) Homepage Journal
    I looked at an alienware once, and the components they were using were about 2 standard deviations away from top of the line, whereas the best price point is about one standard deviation from top of the line. Even at that alienware with lower performance was much more expensive than the build I ended up doing. I built my PC about 4 years ago and it still exceeds my gaming needs. Don't see needing to build a replacement one for at least another 4 or 5 years.
    • I built my PC about 4 years ago and it still exceeds my gaming needs.

      Yes but does it look like an alien?

  • Build! And skip SLI. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sheetsda ( 230887 ) <doug,sheets&gmail,com> on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:34PM (#51018247)

    As other posters have said - Build!

    What I haven't seen noted yet - Skip SLI graphics cards. I went SLI on the gaming machine I built in 2005. What I found was that a top end graphics cards can play games at high settings for a while, and that the extra $450 would've been more effective if spent 50% of the way through the life of the PC (i.e. 2 years later) on another high end card of the next generation.

  • Depends (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:38PM (#51018267)

    There are no 'good' deals on pre-built systems. The cost on these hosts is anywhere from 50% to 200% markup on the cost of the components. Mind you there is a good deal of investment on the part of the manufacturer to ensure component integration is without defect, but it isn't guaranteed that some bug will crop up.

    If you have the excess cash and don't wish to spend the time researching/building/risk taking involved in building a custom rig then purchase one from a common dealer.

    If you would like an affordable system and are willing to add time in both researching building and addressing unforeseen issues then build one.

    The markup cost is so great and the advantages just don't seem to be there. I usually will opt to build one and invest some time into research. I no longer actually need to do this, but the miser in me just won't let me purchase a pre-built rig.

    Here are my cost saving and stability recommendations:
      * Don't worry about overclocking... leave that to the kiddies who want to burn up their shit.
      * The cheapest defense is in Herd Immunity or Apple Research. You can lean towards a very popular board on newegg or just buy a hackintosh board. I have found these to be extremly stable and they tend to work when dealing with things like sleep/resume on wake.
      * Trailing edge of technology is both affordable and less buggy. I typically purchase the high end components that are being phased out. These will often be very comparable with the latest generation, but at a fraction of the cost.
      * Avoid Version A... Never alpha test hardware for a manufacturer. I've seen gigabyte release limited updates for version A's and Asus tends to crap on them as much as possible.
      * Read the motherboard compatibility guide. The motherboard manfacturer does a limited amount of tested with existing memory. While I have found compatability issues not really a big of deal as they used to be the old timer in me says just read the book and pick something on the list.
      * Be Prepared to RMA
        - Kingston and Western Digital have been the friendliest when dealing with RMAs in the past. Corsair used too (this may not be true) would only deal with the retailer for an RMA and most retailers won't deal with returns past 30 days. Make sure you know what the replace and repair process is with the manufacturer. In the event you do have an issue you are able to troubleshoot it can save you anywhere from a 100-200 depending on the component failure.

  • It may not be 'cheaper', but you can specify the exact parts. And you build it, instead of the 19 year old intern, with 2 weeks on the job, struggling through a monday morning hangover.
    Build quality.
  • Most Alienware computers are not gaming rigs. Or at least, they are so poorly optimized for the role that it would be shameful to call them such.

    A gaming rig is a computer defined by its ability to play videogames well. For that, the single most important component is the graphics card or GPU, as most of the work done by a videogame is through the graphics APIs. It also needs a processor powerful enough to feed the graphics card. For modern games (since the late 00's), the processor doesn't need high single
  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @02:46PM (#51018327)

    Gaming in the living room? Dual boot? Tv?

    This computer will never be ready to dd what you want. By the time you dual boot into linux someone will want to watch Netflix. Turn down that stupid gam, we are trying to watch TV over here. Dad, I need the computer for homework.
    Honey what happened to my recipes and what does Ubuntu mean?

    It wont work. Its a fools errand. She who must be obeyed will put her foot down. Buy her some nice-ish computer and sneak the gamer in later.

    • Yeah half of the fun of linux is wiping things out, messing around with different distros etc which would be annoying to the other people using the machine. Get yourself an old thinkpad to experiment with.

  • Some of the component shops around here have PC-builders, basically you pick (from their approved selection) case, psu, mobo, cpu, ram, graphics card(s), disks etc. and they'll assemble and test it for you. If you want to start fresh and not use any parts from your existing setup that's a quite practical way to getting the parts you want without fiddling with screws and cables and DOA components (well unless they fail during shipping). Personally I rarely start over from scratch though, it's rare that every

  • Seriously though, the only way to get what you want is to go custom. I'd consider a pre-made box only if it was a shockingly good deal. Every time I run the numbers though, I always see that what I can build myself is usually cheaper than what someone else sells pre-made.

  • Do you want to spend time or money to assemble the parts? That's basically the question. Do you want to hire someone to put your parts together or do you want to do it yourself?

    We're not talking about pre-built PCs loaded with bloatware. That's not an option, at all.

  • Putting a "gaming" PC in the living room often is not well received by the family. If you really think you can get away with it, make sure you go out of your way to make it as unobtrusive as possible; muted colors, quiet fans, minimal external cabling, etc. If you can fit it in some kind of cabinet or other structure where you can close the doors to hide it completely, that would be even better yet.

    A lot of those important bits are counter to how a lot of people - and companies - like to build "gaming
  • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @03:13PM (#51018507)

    If it's for standard office use or similar, just buy a pre-built one. You can get nifty tiny, silent cases that are vastly overpowered for anything you might want to do with it. If you need more power, I would select the components myself, but leave the grunt work of building to a retailer. Where I live that costs about 75 euro and gets you three years of warranty, so it's a great deal.

    Pre-built gaming systems tend to be unbalanced, throwing lots of money at high-end components where only very marginal gains can be expected in actual real-life performance. You don't need "black" CPUs or hand-picked memory, and you don't need dual graphics cards either - unless you enjoy paying through the nose for a problematic component that will be outgunned six months down the road anyway.

    As for the notion that you need to build one yourself to prove your manhood: look buddy, unless you soldered your own graphics card or whatever, all you are doing is clicking together some premade components. A monkey could do it.

  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @03:15PM (#51018517)

    There's nothing like getting exactly the parts you want, though that also comes with the risk of incompatibility. Also, as you upgrade you can potentially save money by reusing parts like the case, PSU, heatsink + fans, drives, cables and possibly even the Windows license.

    However, if you're starting fresh and want to make things a little easier, consider that the graphics card is the only major difference between a gaming and non-gaming PC. Buying a decent desktop and adding upgrades (video card, decent PSU, possibly a SSD) will often be cheaper and more reliable than assembling everything from scratch.

    If you're not experienced assembling and troubleshooting PCs at all, consider one of the frequent 'HP Envy Phoenix' deals. For the past six months they've been selling very decent gaming rigs for below the cost of components; for instance, a couple weeks ago they were offering a system complete with i7-4790K and GTX 980Ti for ~$970, which is about what you'd pay for those two parts alone. Check Slickdeals or your favorite deal site for more information.

  • Long ago, it was *much* cheaper to build than buy. Then Dell came. Dell sold computers for below the retail cost of the components. It became cheaper to buy. It has since remained cheaper to buy, if you match a pre-built system. It's cheaper to build if you spec a system that nobody sells. Systems rarely have vastly different level components. I built myself a gaming rig. It was built to compete with a friend's I spec'ed the best gaming video card for the budget, and did everything else as cheap as
  • The main benefit is building is getting to decide where you want to spend extra money, and where you're willing to cut corners.

    A second massive benefit is that you can ensure that you're getting standard parts. That makes fixing an expensive piece of equipment cheaper and easier, while facilitating upgrades to increase the longevity of your investment.

    You'll also know exactly what you're getting. Prebuilt systems tend to provide partial specifications, highlighting selling points while glossing over or ev

    • i.e. game developers are constantly raising the bar on PC games

      But you can turn down the detail level in options. The effort to also sell on PS3 was encouraging developers to make available settings suitable for a 2006 GPU, and this is continuing on PS4 which has essentially a laptop chipset.

  • by ZeroPly ( 881915 ) on Saturday November 28, 2015 @04:01PM (#51018735)
    ... then you can't afford a "high end" gaming rig.

    Dual-boot is NOT where you want to go with a gaming machine, you'll be fighting drivers on the Linux side every time you get a fresh-off-the-shelf expensive hardware component. If you care enough about gaming performance to even consider building a machine from scratch, then commit to that - rather than trying to make it a jack of all trades.

    I've been using Linux since 1992, Windows a few years longer. In that time, I've built up dozens of machines. My suggestion: build a Linux box with components that you know will work with Linux - for example, I stay clear of nVidia because many of those cards are a nightmare on Linux. On my gaming machine I run a $300 nVidia card, etc etc.

    Hardware is cheap. What's your time worth?
    • Another option instead of duel booting is VM. I use windows for a lot of stuff, but when I want to use linux, I just use a virtual machine on my desktop. For my home servers, I just use a box running the free VMware ESXi.

    • or example, I stay clear of nVidia because many of those cards are a nightmare on Linux. On my gaming machine I run a $300 nVidia card, etc etc.

      What on earth are you talking about? Which nVidia cards are a nightmare on Linux? nVidia's Linux support is fantastic compared to anyone else. Even Intel has a couple of GPUs that don't work for shit and which aren't open source because they don't actually own them, they just licensed them. ATI is the Linux nightmare. I use nVidia exclusively in my Linux machines and don't suffer for it in the least; to the contrary, it makes life easy because it's well-supported.

      Now, this isn't to say I've never had a prob

  • You're generally saving yourself trouble in the long run by building it yourself. As other have said, buying a pre-built system means you're going to have to worry about bloatware, firmware issues, and dealing with support if something goes wrong.

    While it's true that you can find gaming systems for cheaper than you can build something yourself, it's almost impossible to beat the value of building it yourself. You can pick which components to spend big on, and which to scale back on. Pre-built systems will o

    • by xlsior ( 524145 )
      You're generally saving yourself trouble in the long run by building it yourself. As other have said, buying a pre-built system means you're going to have to worry about bloatware, firmware issues, and dealing with support if something goes wrong.

      On the other hand, if something DOES go wrong there is a single company responsible, which you can call and demand a resolution from. If you put together your own components then the video card manufacturer will blame the motherboard, the motherboard manufactur
      • by Soulskill ( 1459 ) Works for Slashdot

        It's true that companies with good support can make it very easy. Other companies can make it a nightmare.

        Personally, I've never had a problem dealing with support when it came to individual components. If it doesn't work on arrival, retailers like Newegg will usually let you RMA it with no questions asked. Some manufacturers have great warranties, as well. Just recently I had a Sapphire graphics card that had a fan go out a year and a half after I bought it. They gave me no grief sending it in for a repla

  • Had a friend who is quite bright, but inexperienced with root cause elimination. 6 months ago, he went down the path of "building" his own home theatre/PC gaming rig. After several rounds of buying what the online rags suggested as the best bang for the buck, he had three collections of incompatible parts and not one working PC.

    I'd done him a couple of favors in the past and he was emotionally defeated with the whole project. He ended up giving me the whole lot. The one thing all his platforms had in com

  • 1) Have you built one before? If not, chances are you won't do better than what you can buy and then upgrade.

    2) Will you enjoy building it? Then chances are you should build it yourself. Screw the money, go for the XP!

    3) Is your time valuable? Because if you won't enjoy it and want to save the money, then chances are any cash you do save will not be worth your time.

    Basically, if this sounds like a fun time, then do it. But don't expect to make a monetary profit.

  • For items where you can get the benefit of OEM pricing (e.g. for Windows) while customizing a system, it may make sense to purchase the bare-bones of what you'll want from someplace like Dell where you can customize, then add other items like graphics cards and SSDs on your own. If you don't care much about the motherboard details, power supply, case, etc. this may be the way to go.

    On the other hand, you'll get an overall better system if you build from components - brand power supply, possibly a better cas
  • Look what you want in a self build system and then look if you can buy anything like it. If not, you build it.

    That said, I always build because I like doing it. But then I only upgrade and not buy a new machine. So to me that means:
    New Mobo, CPU and memory if I need a new machine. And when I need a new videocard, I just add that.
    I have 3 videocards, 4 monitors, so I do not have a standard setup that I can just buy and I only run Linux.
    http://pcpartpicker.com/ [pcpartpicker.com] can be a nice place to start.

    Advantage of pre-bu

  • I've had a couple of Alienware PCs over the years. They used to be pretty good, but I wouldn't touch them these days. The "headline" parts (CPU, RAM, graphics card) might look ok, but they cheap out like crazy on everything else. Even their highest-end PCs tend to have fairly nasty motherboards and the storage drives will be the cheapest and most failure-prone around.

    As others above have said, self-build is the optimum choice if you have the time, expertise and confidence. But if you don't have any of the a

  • If you're worried that you'll not build your PC correctly and it'll fail to work, then one alternative to that is to find a good whitebox shifter that lets you customise everything. Of course, you'll have to check they'll not overcharge for components (they sneakily don't put the absolute price for each one up, instead picking a "default" component and then displaying the +/- delta price difference between the default and each alternative you can pick from a list).

    You will be restricted to what components t

  • Given the games aren't exactly demanding the top of line cards, i would focus on making something with low noise and high reliability rather than going for high expensive performance that will not have anything to use in a sane fashion for the next 4 years or so.

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White

Working...