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Custom built or off-the-shelf PCs - the cost of convenience

04/08/10

Custom built or off-the-shelf PCs - the cost of convenience

Permalink 02:57:50 pm by Eugene Gardner, Categories: Security

A client asked me to design a new bespoke PC for him last week. I did so and sent him a detailed specification that would be balanced in the likely use he would put it to. This totalled 618 inc. VAT. He looked around the Internet and found a Dell Optiplex 380 and wondered why the PC I specified was 219 more expensive.

After a testing time trying to find out the full specification of the Dell PC I was able to send my client the results as a table that compared my initial spec (618), the Dell headline version of the Optiplex 380 (399) and the Dell version that matched most closely the balanced system I had proposed for him. The Dell headline version of their system was indeed 219 cheaper, but the components were generally much more modest and did not include items such as a monitor display - in the use my client typically puts his PC to this computer would perform like a dog with no legs.

By 'customising' the Dell specification to match as closely as possible the PC I designed for my client the cost rose to exactly 999 - a 381 difference. And what's more, if a Dell main board fails after a couple of years it is next to impossible to get a replacement as Dell are the sole suppliers.

I knew that custom built computers were better value for money than mass produced ones in the long term but I hadn't appreciated just how much of a saving there is from day one. I should add that I believe Dell are no worse and indeed, somewhat better than other off-the-shelf distributors including large nationwide shops.

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