Put me in coach, I’m ready!
We recently did battle with Amazon, and it’s now time for Logical Increments vs. Newegg in the same arena of price-to-performance ratios. We’ll be comparing a custom PC to the top-selling pre-built machine on Newegg. Let’s get into it!
People Are Crazy
I mean, look at this madness. Yes, we do have some “proper” PCs in there (including the #1 top seller), but look at those small form factor PCs sneaking in there! I’ll be looking at small form factor builds in a couple blog posts in the near future, so it’s interesting to see that there are some popular pre-built mini-models out there, too.
Now then, onto the topic at hand. As opposed to the situation in our Amazon version of this challenge, there are clearly a lot more high-end builds being bought on Newegg. The current number 1 seller is on sale for $999.99, so it’s not a small purchase at all. This is probably due to Newegg being an electronics-centric retailer, but whatever the reasons, this definitely slides us up toward the top-end of mid-range pricing.
So, let’s take a look at what the pre-built has to offer in regards to specifications!
#1 on Newegg: SkyTech Archangel Gaming Desktop
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Motherboard: AMD B450 Chipset
RAM: 16GB DDR4 3000MHz
Storage: 500GB SSD
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
(on sale, standard price $1299.99)
It’s safe to say there are a few cost-saving choices being made here. The B450 motherboard, although fine, is coming to end-of-life and limits the upgrade path. What is also strange is the 500GB SSD storage drive. Having this as your only drive makes things a touch tight on space, which is especially weird when simple things like a large storage HDD or even a basic SATA SSD does not add a huge amount to component cost.
One other thing that does concern me a little bit here is the front air intake, which looks a little suspect design-wise and only has one small fan drawing in the air there too. The rear and top fans look like they’re exhausts, so you could end up with a bit of negative air pressure out-of-the-box with this build—which isn’t the ideal configuration, as it attracts extra dust into the system.
Moreover, as with the pre-built from the earlier article on Amazon, we’re left wondering whether they’re hiding a little bit of specification weakness (especially in marketing-unfriendly parts like the motherboard and PSU) with flashy RGB. Either way, we’ll do our best to match or beat their offer.
The Logical Increments vs. Newegg Build
Let’s get some prices out of the way.
To keep this fair, we’re going to have to include price of the OS.
Windows 10 Home tends to be around $110 for a legitimate license key, yet it’s worth keeping in mind that you can sometimes get OEM copies a bit cheaper.
There isn’t a keyboard and mouse listed with the build, so with taking into account the Windows 10 license, we have a total of $889.99 to spend on parts. Here’s what that gets us:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
There’s nothing wrong with taking the obvious CPU choice in this situation. It’s hugely popular for good reason. Not only does it have great CPU performance out-of-the-box, but it also comes with a stock cooler that’s sufficient for some light overclocking.
Like the CPU choice, there’s nothing wrong with the GPU chosen for the pre-built either really. It’s part of the ‘Very Good’ and ‘Great’ tiers of our main chart on our homepage, where we also recommend pairing an R5 3600 with an RTX 2060!
We’re switching things up a fair amount here compared to the pre-built, by choosing noticeably faster RAM. This is as fast as you can get for out-of-the-box performance to match the Infinity Fabric standard maximum clock.
Storage 1: Team GX2 512 GB 2.5″ SSD
Although we’re adding additional storage space below, we’re not losing the SSD as it’ll add a nice ‘spring in the step’ for loading times on the OS, while having enough space for your favourite games or other programs.
Storage 2: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB HDD
We are adding in a 1TB hard drive just to provide a more comfortable storage capacity, mainly as the lack of anything but the 500GB SSD on the pre-built is a bit baffling for a $1000 computer!
Motherboard: ASRock B550M-HDV Micro ATX
Although basic as motherboards go, this board has all of the features we need for this build in a really compact size. Despite its stature, it still comes with a M.2 slot, gigabit LAN, USB 3.2, and (of course) a PCIe 4.0 slot—so it still ticks plenty of boxes for a modern gaming build.
It is worth noting that, if you were wanting to heavily overclock the R5 3600, you would want to reconsider both your cooling solution and this motherboard (as this only has sufficient power delivery and cooling for stock performance or light overclocking).
This is a real simple power supply choice without too many flashy or extra features, yet it’s still 80+ rated and the case choice below has some features to help us with it being non-modular.
Case: Corsair 275R Airflow
As the lack of decent-looking airflow in the front panel of the pre-built was giving me anxiety, I’ve gone far the other direction to provide the build with as much air as it could ever need. The 275R Airflow edition—so named for its heavily slatted front panel; its three included 120mm case fans; and its removable dust filters in the front, top, and bottom—has a solid internal design and is a great choice!
A nice set of additional features include a tempered glass side panel, backside cable channels for easy cable management, and a power supply shroud. This is an easy choice for housing a midrange gaming build or low-tier workstation build (and this build is both).
Total Logical Increments vs. Newegg Build Cost: $995
$5 under, so we win! Or do we?
If you think about it, a lot of this build has been more-or-less identical for the end user. Yes, we have improved things, including the case with improved airflow, the higher-speed RAM, the extra 1TB of HDD storage space, and a longer upgrade path via a B550 motherboard. But (with the possible exception of the storage space) those improvements aren’t big, immediately noticeable improvements—some of them could even go unnoticed by a user. So, yeah, we won… but it’s a pretty narrow victory this time around.
As with the Amazon pre-built (where our victory was somewhat more clear-cut), this process should prove that pre-builts are generally designed and sold on very tight price margins. By the time you take into account the component and manufacturing costs, you know they’ve got to be shaving things to the bone to make any kind of profit. Even if it does continue to make us wary of parts like PSUs and motherboards in pre-builts that aren’t exciting enough to make it into the marketing materials, this does help to explain some seemingly questionable cost-cutting choices (like the limited storage space, in this instance).
We totally understand if someone feels they don’t have the time to build a computer, and opts for a pre-built—particularly if it’s one like Newegg’s top seller covered above, which gets surprisingly close to the value of a self-built PC, all things considered. But considering the improved component quality, the somewhat improved specifications, the better customization and upgrade options, the lack of bloatware in the OS, and how building a PC can be a surprisingly easy and straightforward task, we remain convinced (no surprise here, I bet) that building a PC is the best choice!
Go Forth and Build!
Now, before you go buying your own Newegg beating PC, there’s a few extras that you need to be aware of:
- An optical drive—critical if you are wanting to install Windows 10 via disc. Good thing here is DVD-RW drives are cheap these days (here’s one for $21).
We also have general recommendations for:
This will give you plenty of options around the examples we have here, so you can really customise to your preference!
If you want to see other builds with higher performance, check out the main page at Logical Increments.
If you have any questions or suggestions about this build, then let us know in the comments.