The first question you want to ask yourself is are you comfortable building one? Are you comfortable handling basic troubleshooting/upgrading/repair once your PC is built?
If you think you are then I'll definately recommend you build your own. Usually I've found that you don't save a significant sum of money. What you do get however, is better parts for the money. While a HP or Compaq (for example) costing $1500 may contain a TNT2 card, a 40GB 5,400 RPM ATA66 drive, a Winmodem and a 220 watt PSU, your $1500 home built can have a GeForce 2 MX, a 40GB 7,200 RPM ATA100 drive, a hardware modem and a 300 watt PSU. Nice to have best of the breed components for the same price isn't it?
------------------ -=S_Klass=- I tweak... therefore I am.
you can use www.pricewatch.com to check the prices. Try to find some sellers that have nice webpages and have their support numbers very clear.
Also, if you can, get as many components as you can from one seller. I've had cases where the component may cost 5$ more, but i've saved myself 10 dollars in shipping by getting them all at the same source.
I like www.buy.com for small stuff like keyboards, hubs, mice, and stuff like that. They frequently have special deals.
Good luck with your system. Let us know how it turns out.
Congratulations, Tstank! You've made the right decision Another great place to buy parts is at a computer show- you'll get net prices w/o shipping. (You will have to pay sales tax, though) And after you've built your own computer, you'll NEVER go back to storebought again... not to mention it's a lot cheaper and easier to upgrade since you know it intimately and can just do it piece-by-piece <g>
My advice would be to do solid research on every component before you buy it. Ask here and search deja-news, and make sure you're buying the best you can for the price and that you're not buying a lemon or something incompatible with another component. (My favored form of checking is just to read all the problems people on usenet are having- too many or too serious, and you know you don't want to risk it!) Once you know precisely what part you want to buy, it's just a matter of who's selling it cheapest! Oh, and make sure you have a net-ready computer nearby so you can troubleshoot online. And believe me- you WILL have to troubleshoot online, hehe
If you want really cheap stuff (basic mice, speekers, keyboards, genaric memory, CD ROMs...) then www.logical-source.com is not too bad. They have good prices and resonable shipping rates and carry just about everything needed for a system ,but their Mid tower ATX cases have the power supply blocking the cooling on the CPU on a full ATX board. Either get a larger case on move the power supply to the outside of the case (which I did). You cant beat $21 for a case and power supply.
You might goto www.priceline.com to get some better prices for memory and processors and www.buy.com is pretty good for better name brand parts (Keyboards, mice, hard drive, CD ROM...) and have good shipping rates and service/return policy. For heatsinks and cooling fans I'd goto www.millisec.safeshopper.com they have a fixxed $4 shipping rate and carry most of the best cooling fans for good prices.
Me personally, I'd get the Abit KT7 and a Duron 600 or an Athlon 750 and clock it to 900+Mhz. Get the cheapest CD ROM, memory (128MB) and modem. Get a Sound Bblaster Live Value (or OEM) and a good keyboard/mouse (Memorex has some good one on Buy.come for cheap). Get something like a 20GB IBM hard drive. Then get a Voodoo3 3000, GeFroce2 MX, or GeForce2 GTS. The Voodoo3 works good and is cheap the MX is fast and a great deal, and the GTS is VERY fast but expensive. Get a GlobalWin FOP32-1 and 1 or 2 92mm case fans. Get good speakers ($50+ stereo +sub minimum) and a godd 17-19" monitor. This will set you back about $1000-1500 depending on how extravigant you get.
The COMPUTER is your FRIEND!
Happiness is manditory.
AMD Phenom II x4 945 3Ghz | ASUS M4A77TD | 2X WD 1TB SATA 2 hard drive | 2x2GB Corsair XMS3 | nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS | ATI TV Wonder Theater Pro 550 | Antec P-160 case | Antec 650w Earth Watts | LG Blu-ray Super Drive | LG DVD RW | Windows 7 Pro
I agree with Todd A except that i would avoid "cheap" memory, especially if you plan on overclocking. You can get good (not the best) ram like Kingmax and Micron at places like www.mwave.com and www.computersupersale.com for $105 and $81 respectively for a 128mb PC133 stick.
(actually the Kingmax is PC150)
[This message has been edited by droppage (edited 10-31-2000).]
-Abit KT7Raid 200fsb
-256mb Mushkin PC133Rev3
-MSI Geforce3 Vid card
-WD40Gb ATA100 7200rpm HD
-SuperPower KS299 case w/300w PS
-Plextor 12/10/32 CDRW
S_Klass hit it right on the head. You have to have enough experience and know-how to be able to troubleshoot, and not freak out, when you put it all together, turn it on and nothing happens (Trust me, we've all been there ) You are going to be your own tech support, but nothing makes you learn it faster than trial by fire.
If you are starting from scratch and want to buy most of your stuff from a reputable dealer, I would choose one of the biggies (Buy.com, Onvia....) so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. You don't want to be wondering where the hell your ram is after you've had everything together for 2 weeks. The premium you pay at these sites may be made up in shipping or in piece of mind. Onvia has free shipping and Buy.com has free shipping specials every once in a while.
Good luck. Building your own is a very rewarding experience.