Product Guide

$1,600 Challenge: DIY versus Branded PC

$1,600 Challenge: DIY versus Branded PC


In the Beginning

Budget Woes

Now that the festive season is over, the chances are you probably have some spare cash on hand, so why not take the opportunity to get your hands on a new budget rig? With that thought in mind, we decided to see what we could get in terms of performance and value with a set budget.

Keep in mind that IT Show 2008 is just around the corner, so there's a possibility that some adjustments in component pricing due to special show offers might prevail. So if you are of the patient sort, you might want to wait just a few days till the IT Show begins on 6th March before charging down town for your purchases. Of course, history has shown that PC component offers aren't the core focus of the fair, so it's generally safe to just march down to your favorite dealers anytime if you rather shop a little more leisurely.

On deciding the budget for the DIY rig, the Hardware Zone team sat down and discussed the matter, factoring in some of the other budget offerings by major PC manufacturers such as Acer, HP and Dell that are currently available in the market. We had to conclude that some of the prices being offered were quite attractive due to the cost savings such as using in-house branded LCD displays, the mass production process and discounts on bulk quantities offered by their suppliers.

Not to be daunted by the offers from the big brands, we did our homework on their current offerings and sifted through some of the systems' technical specifications and price points and came to the conclusion that it was possible to match or better their offerings via the DIY route. We set a cutoff point for our budget at about $1,600, a figure which we debated until our good friends at HWM pointed out that the Acer M360 Aspire they were reviewing cost $1,600 and asked if we could match the specs and performance of the unit.

The challenge, as they say, was on.