My Gaming PC Revisited – What If I Built it Myself?

I go through a cycle when I make a big purchase. I figure out what I want, do a bunch of research, make a choice, and then make the purchase. Then I usually start having buyer’s remorse, or more accurately “was it a good value remorse”, where I try to make sure that the choice that I made was truly the best in both quality and price. I did it with my car and I’m doing it with this gaming PC that I purchased. I know I’ve purchased a powerful system and I feel that it is a good value for the money. But what if it isn’t? I don’t want the other build-it-yourselfers to laugh at the schlum that got taken by a Black Friday sale. To verify, I took a look at a couple of other sites that are still having Black Friday sales to make sure that I’m getting the deal I thought I was.

I looked at some Dell Alienware systems and they quickly became more expensive even when configured with a slower CPU, less powerful graphics card, and less memory. That’s not surprising since you can usually get a better deal if you steer clear of the major name brands. Newegg sells systems that are more like pre-build DIY machines and their prices are lower as a result. I wanted to see if any of their bundled systems could beat mine. There were definitely some less-expensive systems in the $1,000 range that would have been reasonable for me. They had slightly slower i7 or i5 CPUs, 8 GB of slower DDR 1600 RAM, and less powerful graphics cards (GTX 750, GTX 760, and Radeon R9 280 or 285). They also had less powerful power supplies (500 watt) and only included one PCI x16 slot. Mine includes two, so I can run dual graphics cards in the future. Again, any of the systems would work fine for me and run much better than my iMac, but they wouldn’t be as expandable in the future.

Though iBuyPower is building my system for me, they still source the same parts that are available to everyone else. All of those parts also happen to be available on Newegg as well, and the prices are extremely good. So what if I built it myself? Luckily iBuyPower gave me a complete listing of all of the parts that are included in my system so that I could price it out. Here is the breakdown. All prices are from Newegg as of 11/30/2014 unless otherwise noted

Component Product Price Shipping
Case NZXT Phantom 240 $70 $1
Motherboard ASUS Z97-P $130 $2
CPU Intel® Core™ i7-4790K Processor (4x 4.0GHz/8MB L3 Cache) $300 FREE
CPU Cooler Asetek 510LC Liquid CPU Cooling System $55 $5
Memory 16GB DDR3-2133 G.SKILL Ripjaws X $165 $2
Graphics Card EVGA Superclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 – 4GB  $350 $10
Hard Drive  2 TB 7200 RPM with 64 MB cache*Model not specified – used the cheapest non-refurbished drive I could find $65 FREE
Optical Drive  LG 14x Blu-ray Re-Writer*Newegg sold out, price not listed – used Amazon instead $50 FREE
Power Supply 700 Watt*Model not specified – used cheapest 700 watt power supply I could find $46 FREE
Fan Control / Temp Display panel NZXT Sentry 2  $25  $1
Keyboard / Mouse Tt eSports Backlit Gaming keyboard and mouse*I can’t figure out what model these actually are so I can’t look them up. Taking iBuyPower’s word for it that they are worth $40. $40  N/A
 OS Windows 8.1 OEM  $100  $3
 Headset Turtle Beach Z1 $25  FREE
Wireless Card 802.11AC Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter  $17 FREE
Total $1438 $24

The total for the Newegg system comes to$1,462. My system cost $1,359. The price is higher than I quoted before because I had to spend an extra $61 to upgrade the motherboard to one that could truly support dual graphics cards. When I add $99 for expedited shipping, my total cost goes up to $1,458. That’s $4 more expensive than the Newegg system but it is completely assembled and set up. From my perspective I’m still getting a solid deal. If I add additional cabling and CPU paste the Newegg system would probably match exactly. In the end I’m basically getting free assembly, which isn’t too bad. I still feel good about this deal.

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