So, you’re thinking you need a new computer, hmm? As you probably well know, shopping for a new rig is nothing to sneeze at- it’s an involved, comprehensive process, one which involves a lot of searching, price comparison, research, and introspection. Well…it does if you do it right, anyway. See, a lot of folks approach the purchase of a new system in the same way as they’d approach the purchase of a new shirt- this isn’t the way you want to go about it- quite the opposite. Rather, buying a new PC should feel like a similar process to purchasing a house, or buying a car.
As much as an acquisition, it should feel like an investment.
As with any investment, how you want to go about it depends entirely on what you’re looking for. Here’s where we’re going to get to the central topic of the article- if you’re looking for a new system, is it better to build your own, or buy a pre-built rig? The answer depends entirely on what kind of user you are, and what sort of system you’re looking for.
See, chances are good that if you’re looking for a regular, run-of-the-mill system (just enough to run basic applications such as an Internet browser and instant messaging software), you’re probably not going to need to put a whole lot of work into tracking down a top-notch rig. Granted, you’re still gonna need to do your research, but you aren’t going to need anything particularly powerful, and when you’re looking at low-end computing components, the benefits of constructing your own system aren’t as noteworthy as if you were to get yourself a high-end rig. Same thing goes for mobile computing- generally, laptops are a bit more difficult to construct than desktops, and it’s generally a better idea to buy a laptop than it is to build.
Now, if you’re looking for a gaming rig, or something for media design- the sort of beastly beauty that can handle the meanest, most powerful applications with ease, then you’re probably going to want to put together your own system- pre-built computers tend to get horrendously expensive, and if you’re not careful, you might well find yourself paying upwards of $4,000.00. Purchasing your own components and putting them together on your own can end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run, but at the same time…it’s a hell of a lot more work.
Your system quickly becomes even more than an investment- it becomes a hobby and a pastime.
You’ll need to research parts. You’ll need to understand how everything fits together. You’ll need to take care of OS, software, and driver installation. You’ll need to purchase a case, a motherboard, a cooling system, and so on and so forth. Moreover, when things break down, you’re going to have to fix it yourself- a fringe benefit of a pre-built system is that you’ve usually got a warranty that includes free maintenance of your rig if something goes wrong.
If you’re confident in your abilities to fix whatever gets borked in your machine, or you’ve a cadre of savvy friends to help you along, then go right ahead. In closing…
Buy a pre-built system if…
- You’re not going to be using it for any particularly intensive tasks, and hence don’t need particularly powerful hardware.
- You don’t know a great deal about computers, or you don’t know enough to build your own.
- You’d rather have a certified professional fix things than doing it yourself- or getting a friend to do it.
- You don’t want all the extra work involved in maintaining every aspect of your own computer.
Build your own system if…
- You’re computer savvy, and you know your way around a motherboard.
- You’re a hobbyist- and you’re interested in building and maintaining computer systems.
- You don’t want to spend a great deal of money on something you could put together for less than half the cost.
- You need a powerful rig with top of the line hardware.
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