If you’re on a budget and you want to get the best computer you can possibly can, the most cost-efficient thing you can do is to try and build it yourself. It’s a lot simpler than you think and, when you draw the line, the extra effort is definitely worth it.
Save Money When Building Your Own PC
In this post we will guide you through the process, starting with:
1. How to pick the right parts
The first thing you do when attempting to cook a new dish is look for the right ingredients. Building a computer is basically the same, only in this case the ingredients are the hardware components, so you’ll spend a lot of time researching not only which components are the best for the money you have, but also how well those components work together.
Buying a really expensive processor won’t be of too much help if you’re motherboard or graphics card aren’t of the same caliber. Also, learn which components are worth spending a premium on, since it’s not always the case that paying extra will get you better results.
Sometimes you can find something cheaper which works just as well as its more expensive counterpart. For example, you don’t really need to buy one of Intel’s cutting-edge Haswell processors if you don’t have the budget for it – the previous generation of Ivy Bridge processors will easily do.
The main thing to take away from this is the fact that you have to choose the parts you’re interested in first, see which ones work well together, and then shop around looking for the right price. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap, but don’t pay extra for something just because it’s more expensive, either!
2. Consider the future
Nobody really knows how technology is going to evolve in the future, but thing is for certain: it’s going to evolve fast! Even if you buy top-of-the-line components, you can be sure they will become obsolete incredibly quickly (or, at least, something will come along that will knock them off the spot fairly soon). So it’s important to always think ahead when buying computer hardware.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy the most expensive parts you can find – things are a little more subtle than that! What you actually have to do is get something which you know will be compatible with future technologies, so any upgrades you’ll be making will integrate seamlessly into your build.
If, for instance, you think you’ll be getting an SSD device in the not-too-distant future, buy a motherboard which supports SATA 6GB/s. Or if you think you plan on adding a second graphics card, see to it that you have enough PCI slots, as well as a motherboard which supports SLI and Crossfire, and an adequate power supply.
3. Be careful where you get your hardware
Now that you’ve chosen the build you want, it’s time to go online and shop around for the components. At this point you’d be tempted to just go on Newegg or Amazon and be done with it, but this won’t actually get you the best possible price.
A better tactic is to go on these websites, read some reviews and get a general idea of what the prices are. Then, you can use a price matching tool like PCPartPicker or trusty old Google to find the best deal you can get.
4. It’s OK to buy used parts, but be smart about it
If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can buy used parts online for at least part of your build. But don’t just go anywhere online looking for them!
Sites like Craigslist aren’t particularly trustworthy in this case, so head over to hardware-oriented websites like Hard Forum, the Overclock.net Marketplace, or even /r/hardwareswap on Reddit. If you choose to go down this path, look for the seller’s “reputation” indicator, and if they usually get positive feedback, it’s probably safe to buy from them.
5. Cut costs with price matching and store pickup
If you’re buying new components and have found the ones you want on multiple websites, don’t just buy all of them from their respective stores! Everything you’ve gained by shopping around you will lose in shipping costs.
Instead, save some money by taking advantage of price matching. NCIX, for instance, will usually match their competitor’s prices if you simply send them a link to the store’s page for that particular component.
Also, retailers like Amazon, NCIX, and Newegg sometimes have stores or warehouses nearby and will allow you to pick up items without paying shipping.
6. Watch for coupons, open box items, and combo deals
If you’re not really in a hurry, waiting a month or two can also help you save some money. For one thing, this gives you more time to monitor prices, making sure you get the best possible deal. But you can also keep an eye out for coupons and special offers. Newegg and Amazon frequently offer combo deals, meaning you get a discount when you buy two or more specific parts together.
Also look for open box items, which are parts that have been opened but never used (by people who bought something and then changed their mind and returned it). These items are a lot cheaper than new ones, and if you eliminate the risk by making sure you can return them yourself if they’re broken, they can save you quite a lot of money!