I need some computer help


Beta member
So, my computer I have right now is really old and is starting to get to the point of zero usability. My mom is going to give me about around $200 (She is wanting to spend about around $550 on it), but she won't let me build my own computer because she doesn't trust my research abilities or my brother -who knows some about computers- to help me. But I can't really argue with her about it, since I don't know how to build one, nor think I would be any good at it. She also says that building one wouldn't be under warranty and this and that. Though, I've tried explaining to her that individual parts usually do come with warranties. So she either wants a HP or Dell (hopefully talking about these two computer companies isn't blasphemy here), that will do the basics; as where I want one where I can do at least some gaming, nothing too hardcore.

I was thinking about it, and I thought that if I just bought a base model computer and just try upgrading it myself, would that be possible... Like say I bought a Dell INSPIRON 580, would it be able to upgrade it to something usable as a low end gaming computer. And what about the power supply and stuff like that? I just don't want to spend part of my money on a computer that will just simply surf the web and be usable to download pictures too. I know there is other stuff a computer can do, but that is what she mostly does with one. I deal with more multimedia stuff and play some games. Or is there a way of convincing my mom other wise? Thanks for any help that may come this way. And I'm sorry if I posted this in the wrong sub forum.


Baseband Member
If you can spend about 550 on a computer, try to find a friend or relative who is knowledgeable in cpu. Who can help you build one. You will def have a better computer then a dell.


Beta member
I am aware of this fact. But if you could weigh the pros and cons out of this fact, then I would have more advantage against my mom.


In Runtime
Besides having a better system, the warranty on individual parts is longer than any prebuilt system. 2 years longer in most cases. To buy a prebuilt and upgrade it would cost more than its worth. Not to mention lack of cooling!!


Baseband Member
Building your own:

- More Powerful computer
- More choices
- can be built for what you do on it most
- easier to upgrade in the future
- no bloatware that comes with the OS when you get a Dell or HP
- Warranty on all parts (depends where and what you buy)
- More customization

- None

Buying a Dell/HP

- Customer Support????
- Warranty?

- Bloatware
- Less powerful system
- no customization
- Dell and HP haha

As you can see I am a little biased but to tell you the truth if you have 550 bucks you can go on newegg and make a pretty decent multimedia system and a mid range gaming rig. I can even help you find the parts you need if you want. If you go with dell/hp and spend that 550 you will get a crappy computer with mediocre onboard graphics, unknown mobo, slow ram, and measly PSU, if your mom wants a computer that will last...BUILD ONE....if you arent comfortable doing it yourself then look up your local computer repair places. buy the parts, give them the parts and they will put it together for you and your mom doesnt have to stress..just some ideas


Beta member
Thanks for the pros/cons list... I will just try to talk to her and see what she thinks.... I have a feeling she'll still say no.


Have her jump on here and ask any quesitons she may have, we'd be happy to explain the benefits of building your own computer. Plus, you have free tech support via the forums too.


In Runtime
In answer to your questions however.

Yes, you would be able to buy a prebuilt computer (dell, compaq, etc.) and upgrade it. The biggest thing to look for if you wanna go this route is a decent processor...and a PCI-E x16 slot. Most computers now have them, but you want to make sure because without that, you'll never be able to use a decent video card, and you'll be stuck in AGP land...with me.

But aside from the processor, everything else is rather pain free to upgrade on a prebuilt computer.


Fully Optimized
as Mike & Familyman point out, building your own system does have inherent benefits. Some things to also consider, aside from the fact that most OEM systems only come with a 1 year warranty (and it costs upwards for $200 more just to get it up to 2 or 3 years on top of that), are that:

Building your own system doesn't take a rocket scientist. If you used to play with Legos or puzzles, then you've already got the required skills.

Building a computer isn't something reserved for the upper echelons of geekdom. You can find all kinds of tutorials on how to assemble a computer on YouTube, but you can't do much better than a forum like this to back you up in troubling situations.

Building a computer basically boils down to this, and this is a gross oversimplification, there's a few other points to keep in mind, but this will give you the info you need to start.
Find parts for a build. TONS of folks here have GREAT ideas on hardware to use, and can tailor the build for your budget as well as long term goals for your machine.
Once the parts are ordered, you unpack them. Added bonus: BUBBLE WRAP!!!!111one
Insert CPU into socket, manuals usually provided explain this in great detail. Insert RAM - takes 2 seconds. Install heatsink in less than 5 minutes.
Open your new computer case, find where the screwholes line up with the motherboard, install the backplate and mount the motherboard on the risers, screw the board down.
Install the video card (if you buy one, using integrated to save money up front isn't a big deal, having a slot to upgrade to later will be nice).
Connect the power supply (or mount it yourself if you buy it seperately) and connect the wires to where they need to go. Modern computers are keyed so that these things only go in one way. If in doubt, refer to the motherboard manual or us.
Install hard drive and CDROM - 5 minutes tops.
Connect SATA cables and power cords, 2 minutes.
Test system by firing it up - if everything turns on, great, put the case cover on and install your OS of choice.

Things you gain by doing your build yourself:
YOU are the support guy. You know exactly what you put into it, you know how to open it, and you won't void a warranty by doing so (for those rare OEM systems that still have that "Warranty void if sticker removed)
Building your own system generally nets a minimum of 1 year warranty on the most basic parts, with more advanced parts carrying 3 years or more (5 years for some hard drives).
The recognition and pride that goes with building your own system.
In my professional career, the systems I've built have outlasted even the best business class computers with 5 year warranties. They buy parts in bulk, with little regard for who the end user is, even the boutique computer makers are guilty of this (Falcon NW, Alienware before Dell, etc)

Above all else, you need to be aware that failures CAN occur, and to think that everything will work flawlessly forever just opens yourself up for disappointment. Sometimes you do get bad parts, it happens. I got a bad stick of RAM for my work PC when I built it last month. No biggie, I ran the tests (freeware online) and returned the module. Got the replacement 3 days later. Easy.

Can be slightly more expensive due to the cost of Windows if you don't plan for it in your budget (Dude! This PC is only $400! Oh crap, forgot Windows at $99!)
ESD. Ground yourself before building / touching anything (very simple, don't let it scare you)
Naysayers (family included) who don't think you have it in you. Building a computer is far easier than doing even housework. I'd say you have a better chance of breaking dishes while washing them in the sink by hand than you do in royally screwing up a new computer build. Just pay attention and ask lots of questions.

I deal with the timid computer shopper types all the time, as I'm sure a few others here do as well. Building a computer isn't just a great idea, it can SAVE you money in the long term! Buying an OEM system up front for $399 may seem like a great idea, but in 2 years when you have to upgrade, you'll spend sometimes up to three times that just to get it up to date or to buy a whole other system outright. Do yourself a favor and build your own now, and save the money for upgrades in the future. ;)