Dell prebuilt vs building that same myself

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Mar 25, 2012
Alright, so I decided to get a new computer for the release of Diablo 3. After spending close to 5 hours on the internet trying to figure out exactly the best bang for my dollar I kept straying back to Dell.

So long story short I purchased a Dell XPS 830 brand new for $870 with the following specs.

1 XPS 8300 Intel Core i7-2600 processor(8MB Cache, 3.4GHz)
1 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4x2GB
1 Dell Consumer Multimedia Keyboard
1 AMD Radeon HD 6770
1 1TB Serial ATA 2 Hard Drive 7200 RPM
1 Windows Live Wave 4
1 You have chosen a Windows 7 System
1 Dell Resource DVD with Application Backup
1 Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, English, No Media
1 Dell USB 6-Button Laser Mouse
1 Add 2 USB 3.0 ports
1 16x DVDRW Drive
1 THX TruStudio
Subtotal: $806.72
Shipping and Handling: $0.00
Tax Total: $63.96
Total Amount: $870.68

Now, I was bored so I figured I would see how much this same build (roughly) would cost if I were to build it myself.

$300 - Intel Core i7-2600
$120 - Half way decent motherboard
$100 - 1Tb harddrive (similar to the one it came with)
$100 - 8gb ram (similar to the one it came with)
$50 - case
$50 - power supply 500 watts (closest i could find to 460)
$110 - AMD Radeon HD 6770
$100 - for win 7
$80 - for extra wires, heatsink (if needed), and misc parts/labor
$20 dvd drive

Total - $1030 (not including shipping or tax)

Now, the reason I went and put all this up is because I wanted the community's feedback on the purchase. I also wanted to know why exactly Dell gets such a bad wrap and time n time again people say, "Save money and build it yourself!" when I think you can get a hell of a build from Dell for roughly the same price (if not cheaper).
So please guys let me know your thoughts on the matter. Feel free to check my numbers or even add your own computer build for comparison purposes.




Mar 25, 2012
Let's take apart your reply for argument sake. Since Dell obviously makes thousands of computer they are going to use mass produced items, so you got me there. But let's go off your evaluation and value everything you mentioned (and then some) at pro-rated values and see how it compares.

$1030 original price
- $30 for the case
- $40 for the ram
- $30 for the power supply
- $30 for the mother board
- another $30 just for the hell of it.

That brings the price down to exactly what I paid for it (imagine that) but also keep in mind that there was no tax/shipping allocated to the build, definately no 1 year warranty for all the parts and not to mention none of the headache of buying each item peice by peice and building it yourself (4 hours combined at least).

I mean I understand where your coming from but if you have nothing to prove your point than why even make it? At least come back with a better build that costs less instead of just trolling like a scrub.

You're right, there's usually a two or three year warranty on parts you buy yourself.

You asked for feedback.


Mar 25, 2012
Your not giving feedback. Your trying to justify the deep seeded roots of building a computer rather than purchasing a pre-built. I've clearly shown that one can purchase a pre-built at equal or lower cost (completely counter-culture to this website) and all you can do is take little snippets of my post in a febble attempt to make your dillusion seem real. Prove me wrong! I want someone to build that same comp at a moderately lower cost. I say moderate because every time someone even mentions a pre-build on this website they are practically ostracized for even considering the option.

Alright then. I'm not trying to justify or prove anything. I provided the reasons why I personally would never buy a prebuilt. I have never claimed that prebuilt systems weren't cheaper - of course they are! I don't have delusions (that, BTW, is the correct spelling) on this subject. However, if you're looking for a die-hard gaming system it's hard to beat a custom one.


Why are you picking a $120 mobo and $100 RAM, Dell is not likely to use them. They are more likely to use a H61 mobo which is like $50 and any 2x4GB 1333MHz ram which is like $40. Other saving you can make, like the cooler, Dell will just use stock, not $80 like in your home build, so you save lets say $40. There are minor saving you can make, i7-2600 can have for $290, 6770 for $90 and they add up to some saving. Not to mention you can probably get them even cheaper in USA (I based my price in AU). Definitely add up to cheaper or similar and not that much ($200) more expensive than the Dell like you said.

Ok, even you may not get significant saving, but you learn how to build and you can build better machine in the future which is going to save you heaps.
Look at this build - are you close to a microcenter? This build has a gpu FAR SUPERIOR to the one you chose.
BTW I work at a university - most Dells have crap psu - most common failure and if you want a better gpu - guess what you need a better one. There is no extra headroom in a DELL. As far as overclocking a custom build is the best way to go. Also Microsoft has a student program that you can purchase Win7 for a steal.
EDITclark must have beenwriting same time I was editing clark.
Not to mention that the Dell is not upgradable. The PSU is just barely enough for the PC as originally configured, but if you wanted to add a better video card in the future, you would also need a new PSU. The BIOS on the Dell is locked, so no possibility of overclocking. That's how they get away with using a stock cooler. As a general rule, you can't beat Dell on price on the lower end PC's, but once you start getting to the higher end components, you can easily beat Dell.

You DO have to provide your own support, but that's why the forums are here! :D


Jan 6, 2009
I'm on my cell phone at drill, but I'm fairly confident that somebody can choose the cheapest components on newegg and beat that price. It wouldn't be a build anybody on this forum would recommend however, which is why nobody on this forum would recommend dell.


Mar 6, 2012
Is Dell still using proprietary parts? You know - extra wires on the PSU - extra pins on the ram - that kind of nonsense? That's what turned me off of pre-builts years ago. You buy the system from them once and are forever tied to them for replacement parts/upgrades. Even if that is no longer the case I still would rather build my own. That whole proprietary crap was just wrong and killed any trust I may have had in the brand. I will never give them any business.
I'm not sure why you want a 2600 for Diablo3, Preeeeetty certain that hyperthreading is pointless in a gaming rig,
the 6770 isn't topline for gaming either and will choke the 2600 sooner rather than later,156-1.html
check out the various builds here,
I am trying to be constructively helpful rather than jumping on you for previous responses and I am also on the 'No to Prebuilt' bandwagon, but I can hopefully help you to see why as well,
there is a ceiling as you have identified where a homebuild cannot compete with prebuilt, purely because Dell etc buy bulk and less than top quality components,
but at the $800-$100 bracket, the wise money is buying parts and building at home


a i7-2600 system for less than $870? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222BB/BEBE - OEM: $15.99

Rosewill R102-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $29.99

Seagate ST310005N1A1AS-RK 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $109.99

HIS H775F1GD Radeon HD 7750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card $109.99

CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply $36.99 w/ promo code before $20 rebate

Logitech S-220 17 Watts 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System - OEM: $24.99

Rosewill RK-700M Black USB Wired Multimedia Keyboard: $7.99

Rosewill RM-2400L 6 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Laser Mouse $9.99

ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $69.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM: $99.99

Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory combo: $328.98

subtotal: $844.88

Shipping: $16.62

Total: $861.50

this is cheaper than the dell, if only by $9. but the power supply, motherboard, and memory are higher quality than in the dell. The speakers and video card are better equipment as well as better quality. (HD 7750 vs HD6770; Logitech 2.1 channel 17W speakers vs a 2W stereo-only speakers)


Mar 25, 2012
I am also planning a new Gaming PC for Diablo 3. Its been a significant amount of time since I did a lot of PC gaming, so I looked into prebuilds as well too. After a week on this board, my faith is that these guys can really make something that will blow away a prebuilt's performance and save your budget.

A suggestion I would make, are you dead set on the I7? For gaming, its overkill, and not significantly better than the I5 2500 or I5 2400 series (2400s are good if your going to overclock your system). You can do those on a good Motherboard with a better PSU, allowing yourself more growth if you decided you need to SLI/Crossfire some video cards. Just my .02

I-5 2400 $189
i-5 2500 $210

I hope this is helpful. This is the same problem I started with, but after reading some posts and lots of reviews on multiple sites, I think this is a better suggestion for you, and also for me! =P

If you are happy with your purchase, and what you got for your money, then that is what is important. Enjoy your new system, I am sure you are going to be happy with it.
Personally, I wouldn't have paid $500 for what you bought. There is no reason trying to explain it to you, just posting this question in the first place shows how little knowledge and understanding you have of the entire situation (now its not all your fault, ignorance has a lot to do with it). No one for the time being will be able to explain it to you so that you will be able to understand.
I used to swear by Dell computers, years ago when I didn't know much.

But here is what my system cost vs a similarly spec'd dell Prebuilt.

Dell doesn't allow overclocking, they lock the BIOS down hard, so forget it.

My system build cost-

Case- NZXT Phantom- 130

Power Supply- Corsair TX750 (5 year warranty)- 100 (way better PSU than Dell would ever put in one of their computers)

RAM- 2x 8GB 1600mhz DDR3 (Lifetime warranty)- 140 (Dell doesn't even offer 8GB sticks)

HDD- 2TB Seagate- 125
-500GB-WDC -85

MOBO- Asus Sabertooth 990FX (5 year warranty)- 180

CPU (3 year warranty)- Phenom II 975 Black edition, 4.0GHZ overclock stable 220 on the bus x 18 on the multiplier- 160

Video card- Zotac 550TI Amp Edition (5 year warranty)- 150

Windows7- I get for free through my college

Optical drive- LG DVD-RW- 20
Total: $1090

Similarly spec'd Dell

XPS 8300 w/ 3 year Total Support

Genuine Windows® 7 Professional, 64Bit, English
Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
3 Year Total Support
DataSafe 2.0 Online Backup 2GB for 1 year
No Monitor
16GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs
2TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 64MB Cache
1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 545
Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
Add 2 USB 3.0 ports
No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system)
THX® TruStudio PC™
McAfee SecurityCenter, 30-Day Trial
My Accessories
Dell Consumer Multimedia Keyboard
Dell Laser Mouse
Trusted ID,IDSafe, 12 Month Subscription, Digital Delivery
Also Includes
XPS 8300
2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-2320 processor (3.0GHz with 6MB Cache)
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader
No Dial Up Modem Option

Dell Price $1,740.99


Here are some differences:

Dell makes you pay 60 bucks to get 2 USB 3.0 ports. I've got them included in my price.

Dell price only includes a single 2TB drive at 3gb/s. My 500GB drive is my main boot because it is a 6Gb/s.

You need a translator to call Dell tech support.

My case and power supply can be used again, without the worry of being screwed over by Dell proprietary hardware.

I've got more SATA ports for extra hard drives, and more storage bays than a Dell.

What kind of mobo do they give you? They aint tellin!

The GT 545 is not an impressive card at all. Obviously, my system is AMD based, and Dell only offers Intel based, however, I'm willing to bet that my computer will do anything that Dell XPS can do, and better.

Your video card vs my video card.


I checked your build, and I think I got all the specs right, either you got some kind of a discount or maybe you bought it when it was on sale because this is what I came up with:

Dell Price $954.99

And that only includes a 1 year warranty. I also no longer see the option to add 2 USB 3.0 ports, Since it was add 59 dollars in the last build I saw, thats what I'll assume has to be added to the above price to get them.
OK, first of all, if I go to the Dell website and duplicate what you have, it won't give me a price less than $940. Maybe I'm missing something there, but that's roughly what I would expect them to charge for a $750-$800 system.

That is ignoring the fact that, as others have said, Dell will give you bargain-basement parts and limited if any upgrade options. You're never putting an Ivy Bridge CPU in that machine or crossfiring two video cards if you need to later; their setup won't allow it.

If I were to build a machine to the same or better quality standards you're likely to get with Dell, I'd probably do something like this:

Intel i5-2500k - $220

JetWay JTI61AG3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $70

GIGABYTE GV-R677D5-1GD Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 - $85

Pareema 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) - $35

SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222BB/BEBE - OEM: $16

Sentey Classic Series CS1-1399 Mid Tower Case w/ Power Supply SECC 0.5mm 2x USB/ Card Reader - $40

Seagate ST310005N1A1AS-RK 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $110

Windows 7 OEM - $85 (with promo code)

Total: $661.00

So, that leaves you a scant $200-$300 to find a mouse and keyboard - which I didn't include because you probably already have them - and speakers (which vary, but my set I get for $12.99 at Fry's). Windows 7 OEM is usually $100, but if you pay attention to Newegg's promos, you can usually find a 15%-20% off deal every couple of months. This is also better than what Dell will give you, because an OEM Windows disc that you buy yourself is a "clean" copy; whereas Dell will load it up with a bunch of free offers and crapware. You also have the full disc forever if you want to reinstall a clean copy (which is recommended every 2-3 years, as Windows rot is one of the leading causes of a slowed system); Dell wants to charge you $15 for the privilege.

Note also that this way, you actually get what I would call a BETTER CPU, since it's unlocked and you can overclock it to 4.0 GHz with about 30 seconds' worth of effort, even with the stock cooler. My system would also normally cost about $600 even, except that hard drive prices have more than doubled temporarily; Dell probably has a contract with Seagate or WD that locked in their lower prices, but that's temporary.

Just as important here: If you know what you are looking for, it does not take 5 hours of research; this took me about 10 minutes. And besides saving money, knowing what the hell you are doing is VERY useful later on when it comes time to figure out what's wrong with your machine in a couple years, so you can actually fix it instead of taking it to Geek Squad or saying "what the hell; this computer sucks" and paying for another new one.

I love the last part of your post lol. Yes, a couple of my "non-techie" friends of mine commented how weird it was that I knew the ins and outs of what my computer has, but I explained to them, of course I know whats in it.. I built it.

Just for the sake of argument though, I'd be curious if the OP would download Cinebench and run OpenGL and CPU benchmarks and post em.


Mar 25, 2012
Wow, this thread got some activity while I was asleep!

I guess I'll start off by addressing the low price I got since I saw that was mentioned quite a bit. All I did was call them and say, "Hey, I want this build but will not pay more than $750 for it." So the guy was nice and found me some discounts which dropped it down. A couple more minutes of bartering and I have close to $200 off the price, which I was comfortable with.

The only person who really came close to what I was asking for was ScrewySqrl. I checked some of the prices and the CORSAIR power supply is now at $25 after the mail in rebate which brings the price to a little over what I paid. Also, if you check the chart out (from this very website I might add) it will show that the 7750 is actually a tier lower that the 6770 video card.,3107-7.html
I will admit that the MB on your build is higher quality as well as the power supply, but not by much. If my power supply were to go out as some people have mentioned, it’s a simple $40 fix (not nearly as drastic as some of you put it). As far as the over clocking is concerned, I would never need that anyways and I could care less about the bios being locked (LAWL).

nekulturny- I didn't ask you to build out your own personal system and then compare it to what a dell would cost. I asked you to build MY system at an equal or lower price, which you clearly did not.

capt_taco- That's not the same as my build. Mine included an i7 2600 processor which is $120-150 more than the one you included in your build (imagine that), which bumps the price from $661 to roughly $800 not including all the other extras I got (mouse, keyboard, blah, blah, blah, read it yourself). Your build would be the same exact price I paid for mine (if not more) not to mention you didn't include the shipping. What a Pro.

You all confirmed my point. I wanted to know why people that build their own comps think they are a tier above everyone else. The answer seems to be a combination of anger towards big business and social pressure (this website). I just bought a Dell (OMG Dell! Run!) with everything I wanted for less than it would have cost me to build one! I think that is what’s getting over looked here. Just to confirm, I BOUGHT A DELL FOR LESS THAN WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST ME TO BUILD ONE! All the threads about flaming Dells and pre-builds and "If you don’t build it yourself you’re wasting money blah blah blah blahhhhhh"; ITS ALL BS. I’ve seen countless threads where people listened to some so called "expert" and built their own comp only to find out, "It won’t turn on!" or "My system keeps crashing! Help!" It’s a joke really. Half the people on here get convinced into building computers they would never need with these top parts and GPU this, and CPU that, when all they really need is to call a pre-build company and jew them down to what they are comfortable paying!

So, if any normal person needs advise as to what to say to a sales person to get a kick-ass deal (while their buddy is troubleshooting their new liquid-cooled completely nonsense of a computer) let me know as I will be more than happy to help! GO REBELS!


Ok, you win. Happy gaming PO.

Guys, retreat.

Don't want this thread to go bad and have to close thread.

PO already post something inappropriate twice which I delete.

PO, please chose best answer so we can move on.

I think we just have different best computing philosophy and have to agree to disagree.


I don't understand why you have an attitude. You came here to the homebuilt forum to make a point that your pre-built was better than our homebuilt. While I'm reluctant to say your post was a troll, it comes pretty damn close to it.

Again... Download Cinebench and run some benchmarks. We have a saying around these parts: Benchmarks or it didn't happen. I showed you mine, now show me yours. :ouch: Run the benchmarks, if your video card performs better than mine (where gaming REALLY counts), I'll have a nice slice of humble pie. Words get you nowhere. I am comparing my computer to yours, I've got a better warranty, more features, upgrade-ability and value. Not to mention, I don't have that butt ugly Dell case the XPS8300 has.

The build Capt_Taco came up with was superior to your dell. There is no advantage whatsoever in terms of gaming in a 2500k vs a 2600. Actually, the 2600 is a complete waste of money in a Dell with everything locked down.

And don't give me the attitude about me bashing Dells, I guarantee you my family has spent more money combined on Dell computers over the past 10 years than you have. Laptops, desktops, printers, upgrade parts, etc.

You're accusing us of reacting with anger, when if you read your posts I can clearly see Freudian psychology at work. I don't know what you're a student of, but I'd expect a little better maturity than that considering I'm just some low income putz going to a community college on a Pell Grant. :eek:

Sorry, I was already in the middle of typing that post when I saw you toss the flag in, I saw your post after I posted. . I'm walking.


Mar 25, 2012
Are you blind? Did you not read this part?
"nekulturny- I didn't ask you to build out your own personal system and then compare it to what a dell would cost. I asked you to build MY system at an equal or lower price, which you clearly did not. "
And still you clearly have not. lol.
I really think you are blind though considering my NAME is UNLV-GRAD-STUDENT lol and UNLV is clearly not a community college, nor is there ANY graduate level community college on the face of the earth, but good try.
Come back with the same build for less money or "it didn't happen".
btw i7 > i5 all day
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