Buy or Build New Computer?

So, what if you need to purchase a new computer today?

Let’s assume you are of modest means and modest needs. Not a gaming system. Just something to use the web, and documents.


Modern CPU – Intel or AMD. Core i-5 or better. Released in last two years.

  • 32GB Memory – More than minimum since we want this system to last a few years.
  • 1TB of Storage. Solid State Disk for system. Only an SSD of 1TB, or a smaller SSD and a HD if necessary to bring total to 1 TB.
  • No graphics Card. Use a processor with Graphics built in since we are saving money and are not “Gaming”.
  • DVD not required but nice. DVD media have been replaced by “Thumb Drives” these days.
  • Modern connection for a monitor. Display Port or HDMI.
  • Hard Wired Ethernet cable. Adding WiFi is ok, but Hard Cable is a requirement.
  • A Real Power Supply. Not a Brick like a Laptop.
  • Expandable if that does not cause too much in higher prices.

Let’s see what we can find.

First From Newegg

Here’s what I found using the Custom PC Builder on Newegg. Click on the pictures to see a larger view. Click the X at the top right to close the picture.

Total of $850 or so and we need to build it ourselves to save $100. Not bad. Using Integrated Graphics in the processor chip.This is an expandable system that we can upgrade in the future. And it meets the requirements. But it’s costly at almost $900. And we have to build it ourselves.


Surprise! there are “Renewed” aka “Refurbished” “Business” computers from Dell and others on Amazon for very nice prices. They are not always built from standard parts, but the prices are so good that it might be a better choice. Not being built from standard “Cases” and other parts might means that we can’t necessarily buy parts from Newegg later and expand the Memory or swap the CPU. But look at the Cost Savings! Maybe that does not matter. Maybe save the money and just buy a new one in 5 years rather than 8 or 10 years.

Notice it has more ports than the “Build it yourself” version above. More USB ports in front and more Display connections in back. And hardwired Ethernet, which we want. No WiFi. No loss. Not a requirement.

And this is a SFF – Small Form Factor – which you should look for. This is Compact – made for an office to sit on the desk next to the monitor or for a hospital. But that’s just fine. We don’t need to expand it anyway. This will be just fine for our limited application.

ok. So this one is Renewed. And you have to be careful to get the specs you want. But these are smaller, come with a DVD and you can buy another one in a few years – 5 not 10 – rather than worrying about expanding them later.

Make sure you get one with

  • 32GB of RAM
  • 1TB of SSD.
  • and the other requirements.

Looks like this is the way to go. And of course the Optiplex comes with Mouse, Keyboard etc. that the other one does not.


Update: Not Windows 11 Capable

So, perhaps I see now why this computer is selling for a low price.

The processor is a 4th Gen Intel processor.

This processor is not supported by Windows 11. So if a company has these systems, they need to be replaced to move forward with Microsoft updates to Windows 11.

However, it is clear that Windows 10 will continue to be supported for Security updates for years to come, so there’s no concern for this application. But we’ll miss out on “Rounded Corners” and “Centered Task Bar”. LOL

I have a system of this vintage and have used it for gaming and other challenging tasks. It is not a slouch by any means and should serve for years to come.