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Is it smart to buy a cheap prebuilt and upgrade over time?

Jagerpup

2 months ago

I'm looking to build a high end streaming PC over the next few months, but those tend to get pretty pricey, over 1200$ usually. I was wondering people's opinions on buying a cheap desktop like a used dell tower, and upgrading components as I get them so that I have a working PC in the process. Has anyone else tried this before, and if so, was it worth it?

Comments

  • 2 months ago
  • 4 points

Usually, if you go that route, you end up spending more money in the long run and never quite obtain the performance that you were originally looking for until you've spent that money.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

You're not the first person to tell me that, and honestly, I agree. I'm not too opposed to spending more in the long run though, I just can't afford to put up that much money all at once. I can afford 50-300$ here and there much more easily than 1400$ at once

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

You don't need to drop $1400 at once but at least spend like $700 to start off with, that will at least give you a decent base line. Or ideally just save up $1400.

[comment deleted]
  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

Your best bet is probably Ryzen. Pay the upfront cost of a decent motherboard now and the sky is the limit

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

$1200 will not get you anywhere close to a high end streaming prebuilt PC even with upgrades, at this price point you have to expect locked chipsets both on AMD and Intel builds which will limit your RAM to either 2666MHz or 2400MHz, now im not a streamer personally but the people i know that do stream say RAM speed and timinings are important, particularly on Ryzen systems.

Then theres the PSU issue, cant tell you how many "high end" PC's prebuilt OEM's sell with ticking time bombs, it may be good when you receive it but a bad PSU can take your ENTIRE system with it.

However if you're dead set on a prebuilt, please do your research on each individual model and the sellers themselves as well as the OEMs themsevles and not pick the shiniest "cyberpowerpc" or "ibuypowerpc" without doing any research.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

locked amd???

  • 2 months ago
  • 2 points

Certainly hope it isnt a reference to the athlon 200ge...

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

I think you would be better off taking the same approach but with your own build. For instance, a build like the below is a very good base although not a gamer because of the GPU:

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 2600 3.4 GHz 6-Core Processor $118.00 @ Amazon
Motherboard MSI B450-A PRO MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard $99.99 @ Amazon
Memory GeIL EVO SPEAR 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory $66.99 @ Newegg
Storage Team L5 LITE 3D 480 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $53.99 @ Newegg
Case Thermaltake Versa H22 ATX Mid Tower Case $51.98 @ Newegg
Power Supply BitFenix Whisper M 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply $87.58 @ Amazon
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home Full 32/64-bit $119.04 @ HP
Custom eBay GT 710 $25.00
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $622.57
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-10-07 11:24 EDT-0400

Or, for another $100-ish up front, an RX 570 makes it a usable gamer. (monitor would be extra but the same is usually true of used machines.) Then, you upgrade GPU and CPU as desired.

A good alternative would be to get the cheapest workable scrounge, say from your local craigslist, for $150-$200. Use that as a computer while you save up for a good parts list. Once you have your new machine, the junker can be sold, handed down, or scrapped.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

I have 2 pc that are refurbs I upgraded, but they are mostly for browsing and light games, and they work great. The old one 2yr ago I upgraded from a 2C Pentium to a 4C quad for $18, actually spent money on a ssd because it made a huge difference, memory was cheap. So it runs a browser great now, any video no problem (put a $45 gpu in it years before that), and its a sff and pretty old now but serves its purpose. I think it was around $150 new (used refurb) and maybe I have 7 years on it now or so. But when you say high end that is not good with a cheap PC. Some refurb you can stick a reasonable pcie powered GPU in it and sort of have a gaming PC. I don't know what you need for streaming but right when you get up to about $400 you can build a ryzen around a $100 MB and upgrade all you want to the new ryzen out right now. That gives you a LOT of room to upgrade. Last spring I built a 2400G system on a Asus prime x470 board and I can put about any gpu/ryzen in there when I need to. I spent more on the MB/m.2 drive/memory to future proof it some otherwise its a basic machine. Some of the Intel PC you can't upgrade the cpu as much as they swap sockets.

If you need performance, and old PC is not the place to look. It depends on what you need it to do. Most people want a gamer, you need (to buy) a big gpu, the psu to power it, and cpu enough to keep up. So a refurb can be limited with cpu and psu, and some have proprietary psu that can be an issue, some you can get adapters to run a larger normal psu. They are dirt cheap otherwise, some can be bought with ssd in them too.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

I was wondering people's opinions on buying a cheap desktop like a used dell tower, and upgrading components as I get them so that I have a working PC in the process.

I mean I can see how it sounds like an OK idea. But it just ends up adding complexity to the process, and maybe not much benefit. Especially as some components are hard to do piecemeal. IE if you get an older system using DDR3, you're not going to be able to upgrade the cpu/motherboard or RAM until you have them all. And that's most of the PC right there.

I mean at that point you're just saving the cost of the case for the most part. It's an idea I could talk myself out of pretty quickly at any rate.

  • 2 months ago
  • 1 point

If you watch some of the videos on JaysTwoCents and Gamers Nexxus, you would see that most of those pre-builts are built with no-name Chinese knockoffs. If you do get an actual PC brand, the part model # is usually the cheapest model (or a special built cheap model just for pre-builts).

Here is a build I recommend that would cost $600 that should get you 1080P gaming now, with room to expand later on. With the release of the new Ryzen 3's you can get Ryzen 2 stuff at a great discount. If you can swing it the Ryzen 5's six cores are really good for gaming. You want to use two matched sticks of RAM to star with. RAM is cheap now, so get 16 gb of 2666 mhz memory. You can upgrade to Faster (mhz) or More (gb) memory later on. * You should future proof your future upgrades by getting at least a 750w PSU so have enough power for the initial set of upgrades. When you can afford to buy parts that need a 1000w PSU, then you can afford to buy a 1000w PSU then.

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/MooseTech/saved/Vqvx6h

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

He said "high end streaming PC".

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Depending on the used pc's parts, if too old then no. But if maybe a quad-core, that won't bottleneck too much. And a good PSU then go for it.

EDIT : I mean't to say 6-core or more.

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