The MASSIVE price difference between building and buying a PC


Oct 28, 2007
Okay, my rig is as follows:

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor Model (Overclocked to 3.4 GHz)
NZXT LEXA BlackLine Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP
ASUS M3A78 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
OCZ Fatal1ty Edition 4GB (2x2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3750640AS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-630SS 630W ATX12V V2.2/ EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Modular LED Power Supply

All of these components are around $800 (actually slightly less, my liberal estimate is $800).

A similar Alienware PC costs: $1500 (slightly more actually)

And a similar Dell: $1,569 (would actually be more, I couldn't chose my GTX 260)

Anyone who buys Dell PCs for gaming needs a reality check.

Not to mention, that you can't overclock the Dells or Alienware PCs (Okay, so you can on some models, but not many)


For many of us, this is the very reason why we choose to build our own systems. For those who do purchase from Dell/Alienware, it's likely because of one (or more) of the following reasons:

1) They are financially well off enough to not care about the price difference.
2) They haven't yet found out just how easy it is to build a system (hey, even rocket science is easy once you know how).
3) They REALLY do not have the time or care to research component compatibility, price to performance ratios, and the various how-tos of building a system.
4) They just don't know any other options. Around four years ago, I would have sworn Best Buy was the greatest store on earth... then someone introduced me to Newegg. Same goes here. Some people just don't know.

-Wolf sends


Feb 18, 2006
No doubt Dell and Alienware are a bit off the charts in their pricing. And of course Dell now owns Alienware. Decent machines and decent support, but for most people, they just don't know any better. Thankfully, there are other options out there.

I actually purchased my PC this time around. Got it from Cyberpower. I'd priced all the parts on newegg at the time, and to purchase everything including the OS, it was a little over $850 (monitor not included either way). Paid just a hair over $1000 at Cyberpower, and that included next day air. Was the extra $150 worth it? Only because my g/f at the time paid for it! What would have made it worth it, is if I'd gotten any DOA parts or had to RMA anything. Plus I've got a warrantly for 3 years. All top line quality parts as well.

I guess the advice would be for the newbies who've never built a rig before and seem to have a pretty big budget, there are options besides Dell and Alienware.
The example you have shown is fairly extreme. I could quibble with your choice of case, psu, heatsink/cooler, peripheral . . . are they really comparable or in some cases even worthy of use in a build.

But the *fact* is that when you buy a(ny) kit and build it yourself, you save a lot. Usually 33% to 50%, depending on the competition.

As to whether its "worth" it or not . . . hehe . . . that choice depends on your own personal view of money and time. You have made that decision. For now, at least.

Me? I wouldn't waste my time mowing the lawn or cleaning the house. I pay for those things. But I *love* building PCs and look for any excuse to do so. We're all different.

But at the end of the day buying an assembled performance PC is not as bad a financial deal as, say, buying an assembled meal at a restaurant :) Check out THOSE markups lol.


Oct 28, 2007

I've yet to have a problem.

It's just a matter of time with a POS Raidmax PSU. The PSU is the one component you can't try to save a buck on. You should really get a quality unit from a known quality manufacturer like Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic, etc...
OP you didnt count the cost of a windows licence , and the cost of warranty and shipping both of which are included with the Dell

If non -tech savvy buyers want a pc its often hard to build at a better price than a basic dell , acer or HP , but they do tend to over price their higher end enthusiast machines for some reason .
Thats ok though since no one is forced to buy from them


Oct 28, 2007

How long would I have until it dies do you think?
Gambling with a cheap PSU is a very bad idea. The voltage spikes from a dead/dying PSU can fry any number of components. The best case scenario would be that you just need to replace the dead PSU. The worst case scenario would be that it takes your entire computer with it to the grave. Either way, you're better off spending a little more off the bat on a good PSU.


Oct 28, 2007
I bought the PSU a month ago and it is too late to return it. I won't have enough money to buy a new PSU until December.

So far, Its been doing great, I've never seen it do anything slightly bad, and the Modular Cables are awesome and shielded.


Jan 4, 2006


Oct 13, 2006


Jul 1, 2009
Have you ever considered comparing a system that you build yourself to companies that sell cheaper gaming systems? i.e. . I'm not saying it's always true, but there are occasions where I've configured computers at that site that ended up costing less than the parts at (this was including shipping/tax). You have to factor in the labor of building the system, as well as the value of the 3-year limited warranty.

For the cheapest, powerful gaming systems, I tend to choose their "Mega Special III", and I configure it with the minimum RAM selection and no video card, then I order the RAM and videocard off of . System arrives, and I pop in the RAM and videocard, for a sub $800, plenty-good gaming tower (including tax and shipping, rebates, etc.).

If you're a little lazy, you can configure it with the card and RAM already in the system, but there is a slightly higher price premium.

Just to give you an idea of , I did a configuration of their Mega Special I system (which is an AMD socket AM2+/AM2 system).

I gave it:
Case: CoolerMaster Elite 310 case
PSU: 635 watt Sigma Shark SP-635W PSU (SLI ready)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition
Cooling: (retail heatsink/fan, stock)
Mobo: Asus M3A78-EM AMD 780G
RAM: 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2-800, PC2-6400, Mushkin High Performance 2 (HP2)
GPU: eVGA nVidia GeForce 260 GTX 896MB
HDD: 750GB, SATA II, 7200 RPM, 16MB cache

Toss in a DVD burner, and an internal multi-media card reader, a dinky keyboard, mouse, and speakers,

Price: $877, free shipping (tax varies, but where I live, there's no tax on this system), there's also a $30 mail-in, so final price including the 3-year warranty is $847.

Not bad for the labor on the system. I realize it's not identical to your system, but it's damn close, for a very similar price.

Many people think just as you do, but....
Building your own is not for everyone, in fact we are in the minority by a huge, huge percentage.
Not everyone shares the same opinions, or reasons about building or buying.
Doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them, or their preference about building or buying.
Just means their priorities are quite different than maybe yours or mine, and that doesn't mean they need a reality check.
You should not judge someone too quickly, not until you have walked more than 100 miles in their shoes.


Sep 14, 2005

"+ Retail 260 @ 169.99"

Wonder what that last item is?