BUILDING VS. BUYING A PERSONAL COMPUTER

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Building A Custom PC

INTRODUCTION

Consumers have had the option of putting together their own computer system from compatible components since the first IBM PCs. Back then, this offered a significant savings for consumers who were willing to buy third party parts from smaller manufacturers. Things have changed a lot since then, but there are still significant advantages to building a machine from parts rather than buying a pre-built system.

A COMPUTER IS THE SUM OF ITS PARTS

All computer systems sold on the market are a collection of components that provide a functional computing system. Processors, memory and drives are just some of the components that make up a system and allow us to differentiate one system from another. As such, the performance and quality of a system is determined by the parts used in its construction.

So what is the difference between a store bought system and a custom built machine from parts? There could be almost no difference to a very significant difference based on the parts selected for the machine. With this in mind, let’s examine some of the advantages and disadvantages of building a computer from parts rather than buying a system.

ADVANTAGES OF BUILDING

The most distinguishing advantage to building a computer from scratch is the selection of parts. Most computer systems come pre-built with the specifications and components already selected for you. This often can lead the user to have to sacrifice certain features that they may not want to give up. The user is able to choose the parts that best match the computer system they desire. Some vendors do allow you to customize a computer system, but you are still limited to their selection of parts.

Another thing that users may not be aware of with pre-built systems is that two of the exact same model computer can actually have very different parts. The reason for this has to do with suppliers and parts available at the time the system was built and. For example, Dell might switch between multiple suppliers of memory because one is less expensive than the other. Buying all the parts on your own guarantees what parts you will get in your PC.

DISADVANTAGES OF BUILDING

The biggest disadvantage with building a computer is the lack of any one support organization you will be dealing with. Since each component can and likely will come from a different manufacturer and/or store means that if a part has a problem, you will have to deal with the appropriate company. With pre-built systems, you only have to deal with the manufacturer and their warranty service groups.

The second biggest disadvantage with building a computer system is cost. In most cases, the cost of building a computer will be slightly more expensive than purchasing a pre-built computer. This is due to the fact that the manufacturers can buy in bulk for steep discounts that translate into savings on the computer system. They also include software with the systems that must be purchased separately when building a system. OEM software purchased with hardware does help reduce the costs on custom built systems but it is not only OEM software that companies include in their systems. The systems are always riddled with software that a good number of people do not need and only serve to take up hard drive space. Some of the added “Bloatware”, namely, games and related are trial software. This software often leads people into downloading more software then was intended by offering other software during the install process. Many do not pay attention to this due to the way it is presented. The extra software is presented in a way that would appear like a simple software agreement. Just when you think the agreement is just for the software you are installing it actually is an agreement to install another program, game, or browser search bar.

The cost disadvantage does not always hold true though. As the more money one is willing to spend on a computer system, the more likely you will be able to save money by building the PC yourself. This has to do with the top of the line specialized systems are often marked up for extra profits per unit by the manufacturers. So, if you are looking to spend big, investigate building it yourself first. As I mentioned latter, you never know what you are getting on the inside due to availability of great pricing for the better parts. When having a PC built for you, you will know what is inside and if your builder is good and honest he/she will choose quality parts which most of the time translates into longer lasting parts.