If you need a new desktop computer, you may be thinking of buying a pre-built machine from a manufacturer such as HP or Dell. However, there is another option – build your own. Enthusiasts have been doing this since PCs first hit the market, either to save money or just for the fun of it. Today, with cheap PCs available for $400 or less, some experts will tell you that there is no longer any reason to do it yourself. However, they are completely wrong. There are still many good reasons to build your own computer – and here are just a few.
1. Quality components
When you walk into your local big-box store and buy a desktop computer, it’s hard to know what you are really getting. Sure, you’ll see which CPU is in there and how much RAM, but do you really know where all of the components in the computer came from? More importantly, how good are they? The problem is that computer manufacturers are always looking for the best deal on the components they use. They get discounts from suppliers because of the volumes they purchase, but they still try to squeeze costs any way that they can. That means there’s no guarantee that the components in an off-the-shelf computer are up to scratch.
On the other hand, if you build your own computer, you can choose all of the components yourself. You can check out the specs and the reputation of each manufacturer, and then pick components that are going to last and perform. That extra peace of mind alone is worth the effort of doing it yourself.
Bloatware is an issue with off-the-shelf computers, but let’s face it – with terabyte hard drives and gigs of memory, storage isn’t the issue that it once was. However, here’s the real concern – what exactly is that software getting up to? The answer might surprise you. Recently, Lenovo bundled Superfish with many of its consumer PCs, and it turns out that the adware posed a significant security risk. The lesson is this – you just don’t how dangerous that bundled software is. When you build your own computer, you know exactly what software you have installed, so you can avoid any backdoor security risks.
3. The operating system you want
Speaking of software, just about every desktop you can buy today comes with Windows 8 – and you are paying for that in the price of the computer. To put it mildly, Windows 8 wasn’t Microsoft’s finest moment, and things didn’t get much better with Windows 8.1. However, if you build your own computer, then you can install any operating system that you want. If you do want to use Windows, then you can install the far superior Windows 7, which should cost you less than $100 for an OEM copy. On the other hand, you can also choose from a number of different Linux variants – and these will cost you nothing at all.
4. Better warranties
When you buy a prebuilt desktop computer, you’re going to get a one-year warranty if you’re lucky. After that, the store will try to sell you an extended warranty at an exorbitant price. In other words you have to fork out big bucks for longer coverage or you’re on your own after 12 months.
On the other hand, if you buy quality components when you build your own computer, you should be able to get a much longer warranty. It’s not unusual to find RAM with a lifetime guarantee, and some power supplies will come with a seven-year warranty. You should even be able to get a three-year warranty on the CPU – the same CPU that you only get a one-year warranty on in the prebuilt machine.
5. High performance for less
If you only need a low-end desktop, then building your own probably isn’t going to save you any money – computer manufacturers can churn out cheap PCs for much less than you can. However, if you are looking for a performance machine, then it’s a different story. For instance, you can easily pay $2500 or more for a high-end gaming PC, and a similar amount for a powerful workstation. When you consider that you can get a high-end CPU – say an Intel Core i7-4790 3.6GHz – for about $300, and an absolutely top-end graphics card for about $600, then you still have $1600 left over for all the other pieces when you build it yourself. You’ll be hard pressed to spend that much. Not only that, you’ll be able to get exactly the performance machine you want – not just what someone else wants to sell you.
Resources for building your own computer
Building your own computer isn’t too difficult if you get the right parts and tools. There are many websites and videos on-line with step by step instructions on the whole process. Below are two resources you can use: