Let me start off by saying that I NEVER ever buy the latest technology. It is simply too expensive for the returns that I would get. I also only upgrade everything at the point where what I have will not properly support the latest OS on the block..
So, in May 2010, and still running Windows 7 but with a view to running Windows 8 on its release, I bought a good case, a midrange AM# motherboard and processor, 8Gb RAM, a 500gb SATA HDD and a 550watt power supply, total cost somewhere between $500 – 550..
The existing Microsoft keyboard,and mouse, LG screen and other peripherals were still working well, so the total build price was around $550.
For that price, I could have bought an OEM computer, HP, Acer or Lenovo, and there is a good chance that the motherboard would have been a later model than mine, and it may well have had a larger hard drive too, but there is more to a computer than just numbers. From experience over the years, I know that OEM home user cases are not much more rigid than alluminium food containers, and none of them had a hot pluggable SATA port.
Inside OEM cases, it is not always a pretty sight either. Cheap power supplies are the order of the day, and one piece front header panel plugs make it next to difficult to swap out the motherboard for anything different and/or better. On the outside, power buttons and optical drive release buttons re hidden into the trim and are generally badly placed. Who needs these issues!
All of my present clients and pretty much everybody else that I have known buys OEM, and 99% will buy the cheapest model of the range, regardless of income level. This page shows why..
I am not picking on HP because other manufacturers do it as well. Look at the top two models. The first is a computer, and the second is a computer too. They look almost identical, and that is how the customer sees them, except that one is going to cost $300 more. Both will be displaying the dreaded Windows 8 tiles and the salesperson says that more expensive one will hold 100,000 photos. .
Big deal, but that is the way we are, always looking for a bargain which we expect to live a lifetime, except that there are no bargains and there is no such thing as a lifetime computer. If a computer is cheap, it is made from cheap low spec bits and cheap low spec bits don’t last the test of time or very often the next OS.
If you want to make yourself feel better, think about the poor saps who rush out and buy the latest ‘Retina display + 4G’ without ever really knowing what either is..