Barebones PC computer kits are a way to get around some of the component selection involved with building a computer. This route is often taken by those who are looking to save money, but does it really save money?
First off, what is a barebones kit? It's a computer kit that has been put together by a company or individual for the purpose of selling the components as a bundle that can be put together by the end user. The particular components of a barebone computer kit can vary, but the main components generally remain the same. These components are the base of any computer build and include the motherboard, processor, hard drive, power supply, and usually even the RAM. There are quite a few other variable components that are left up to the end user to purchase individually. Some companies allow you to add these components to the over all kit, sometimes to the point of having a full build-plug-and-play system with no extras necessary unless desired.
So, are barebones PCs a deal or not? When the final tally comes in for the price of your barebones kit, additional parts that might be required, and software, a barebones kit is really no cheaper than an off-the-shelf PC. This is because companies like Dell are able to buy large quantities of these parts for massive discounts before building their computers and selling them to you.
Why would you get a barebones kit then? These kits are more suitable for a hobbyist that enjoys building computers, and knows what he or she wants. Further, a kit is only the very base of a system, and this allows the end user a lot of flexibility in the specific architecture of their system, from hardware to software. A barebones system mainly just saves you the hassle of finding some of these pieces separately, and do usually sell at a discount to the price of each individual piece.
In the end, DIY computer kits are not for deal-seekers; but rather for those who just want the flexibility of building their own computer with a bit of effort removed from the process by way of kitted parts.