A few of my thoughts:
- TR is quite polite as far as internet comments go.
- Yes, there are endless solutions to the same "problem" when it comes to building a PC from scratch
- Someone saying "I plan on using Photoshop / AutoCAD / encoding / Video editing / etc productivity applications" is of little help since the system requirement for using those programs varies wildly depending on the tasks being performed in said program. Gaming is significantly easier: what games do you play, what resolution is your monitor.
- Future-proofing always seems to de-rail discussions since that basically leaves the component selection open-ended.
- Budget is something that's always a challenge. Two people might have the same "usage requirements" which would imply the same budget, but if one makes $100,000/yr more than the other, then "over-building" is more feasible. Conversely saved money on unnecessary upgrades can always be put to something else, whether that's PC related or not.
- (IMO) most OPs don't know exactly what's necessary for their needs or they wouldn't be asking for advice. Recognizing their level of knowledge and not belittling them if you know more is important.
- System cost is always something easy to quantify. The "these components offer equal performance for cheaper" statement is something that I find myself doing a lot because I browse newegg's sales posts every morning at breakfast. I do it so others don't have to. While it may seem like nitpicking, it's not a bad thing to save a few bucks.
- Yes, there are times when selecting an OEM box and upgrading the GPU (and probably PSU) is a better match for the OPs technical ability. Other times, paying a boutique like iBuyPower a couple hundred bucks to build you a solid aftermarket PC that is easily upgraded is a good choice (that's how I started).
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
HTPC: A8-5600K, MSI FM2-A75IA-E53, 4TB Seagate SSHD, 8GB 1866MHz G.Skill, Crosley D-25 Case Mod