Why would you still want to build your own PC today?
There are a proliferation of desktop PCs, Laptops, Notebooks, Netbooks, and Tablet PCs on offer that not only give great performance but also come packaged in various impressive styles, formats and sizes to suit the vast majority of PC owners’ wants and needs.
Today’s PC is without a doubt a very ‘Personal Computer’! There are computers aimed at gaming, video and photo editing, quiet PCs, Media Center PCs, PCs with remotes. Why would you even consider building your own PC!
Not only that but the media are telling us that Laptops, Netbooks, Notebooks and Tablet PCs are taking over and the desktop PC is on its way out….. but is that really the case?
Well sure, today’s choice of ready-built off-the-shelf PCs is truly fantastic. But, great leaps and bounds have also been made in the PC components market too. After all, that’s how we have such a vast selection of ready built PCs on offer!
Component wise there are so, SO many really impressive pieces of kit out there for any budget and I still firmly believe it makes perfect sense to spend a little time designing the perfect custom built PC to suit your needs and then creating this beauty with your own fair hands.
Hey buddy, why would I want to do this with all that’s on offer straight off the shelf? Heck, I can pop down to my local store, select, purchase, take it home and be up and running in no time at all!
Well, yes that’s true, but in the long term, I still believe there are many valid reasons to build your own computer.
So why do I believe this? Why should you go to all the effort and hassle of building your own computer?
Well, quite simply, you will get exactly what you want for how much you want and you will end up with a PC that is tailored precisely to your own personal requirements and budget that you will be able to upgrade when you want in the future.
Manufacturers of retail PCs can force component suppliers to ridiculously low margins meaning that they have to save on quality to satisfy the consumer’s demands for cheaper and cheaper systems.
Yes, there are people out there who will do all of this for you for a small price. But, if you do this all yourself you will end up with a PC that you personally know inside out, will be able to fault find and repair yourself should the need arise, have individual guarantees for each and every component that makes up your PC and know what parts to change when you next want to upgrade.
Personally, I have two desktop PCs on the go at any one time, one for current use and the other in the background for swapping over with after completing a new build or upgrade thereby never losing the use of my main PC.
I have only ever bought one ‘off the shelf’ desktop PC, the rest have all been built myself – once you’ve done this for yourself you will get such a kick out of it you will never want to go back to purchasing a ready made system – believe me!
A lot of people are switching over to laptops for their main PC and there is no denying that they are very handy – I have a couple myself which I regularly use for on the move, business or casual computing. However, you cannot beat a good quality desktop PC setup for getting down to some serious work or gaming. Nice comfortable desk and chair, large desktop mounted monitor adjusted with the top of the screen level with your eyes, ergonomic or gaming keyboard, responsive mouse, awesome graphics cards, fast hard drives and always up to date performance wise – heaven!
And how quickly does that nice shiny new laptop become outdated and no longer suit your needs?
There are no real options for upgrading one of these beyond memory and drives… and if you are a serious user you’re going to want to upgrade on a regular basis.
There are lots of online resources for helping you build your own computer so you will not be on your own when it comes to anything you are not sure about – so don’t be afraid… give it a go why don’t you!
So let’s look at the Top 5 reasons for building your own computer shall we…..
1. Future Proofing
Selecting a quality case and power supply are key elements of a future proof PC. Many off the shelf retail PCs will, especially in the case of the power supply, use lower quality components that are not likely to have anywhere near the lifespan of a quality unit. Plus, the power supply ratings of many are dubious to say the least.
With a quality case and high power rating quality power supply you are all set for a future upgrades without needing to replace these long lasting components which you should find will last you for a good 7+ years. The author has many PCs built like this with quality power supplies and has never experienced a failure and a couple of these are now close to or beyond 10 years old!
A quality case will also be much more flexible than the typical type that retail PCs use even though I must admit some of the retail cases are exceptionally aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Typically, though, there is little room for adding another graphics card or upgrading the present card with a high end extended height / length GPU.
Retail PCs tend to use low end motherboards tailored specifically for the high volume retail PC vendor and are generally less easy to upgrade, have poor support and are difficult to locate drivers for etc., although the processor should be fine as a quality AMD or Intel part will still be fitted whatever the motherboard make.
Even good ‘Named Brand’ motherboards destined for retail PCs will tend to be tailored for high volume and made to a price and specifically tailored for the retail PC manufacturers.
Also the BIOS can be very limited on pre-built machines and you may well be locked out of many functions such as overclocking etc.
A particular hate for many of us is the pre-installed bloatware that seems to come with every retail PC and is generally a pain.
A clean fresh install of Windows 7 from your own installation disk will give you a much nicer computing experience, no unwanted advertising software and adware
Also, increasingly, there is no system disk supplied – the installation software complete with all of the advertising and bloatware is stored on a hard drive partition and should you need to carry out a repair or reinstall it will just load all of this rubbish back on.
It has got to be much better to install your own and have a proper backup disk and no adware.
4. Warranty and Support
This is generally a very painful drawn out process if you should happen to suffer a problem with long extended phone calls trying to obtain support – at least if you purchase your own component parts they will all come with their own warranties and you will be able to swap out or replace them yourself with no hanging around waiting for support at the whim of your supplier.
And, if you want to upgrade at any time there are no problems with the guarantee not being honored because you have been inside your PC invalidating the warranty!
5. Your Own Creation
The best reason of all has to be that it’s all been put together with your own fair hands
Boy does that feel good eh!
The sheer pleasure and satisfaction it brings on successfully completing your first build
You will come to know all about the inner workings of your PC and you will have chosen the components and how your PC looks and it will all be exactly to your very own specification.
Upgrading is far easier generally with a PC you have built yourself as you will have created it with a future upgrade in mind and will not be frustrated by graphics cards that won’t fit in the space available, power supplies that haven’t got the required connector type or output power capability or RAM that simply won’t work in the retail manufacturers motherboard as you can’t identify what the heck it is!
You will be able to choose quality hand picked components, not parts made to a price.
Also you will have the ability to choose your monitor and get a quality screen rather than a monitor made for the masses.
If your computer breaks down you will now be aware of what goes on inside and with a little online research and help should be up and running again in no time at all.
You won’t save money purely down to economies of scale – the retail manufacturer buys in high volume and can purchase at much better prices than you can but you will still be able to build yourself a much higher quality PC for the same price.
By spending time researching the components required to build your own computer you will gain an understanding of how your PC works, how it does what it does and how to fix it if it should go wrong.
You can configure your machine in ways that will not be available on retail PCs such as maybe using a solid state hard disk drive for your operating system and a large mechanical hard disc drive for storing all of your data etc.
Colin Garden is a Hardware Electronics Design Engineer and has been involved in the electronics industry for over 25 years. He is also the owner of www.pc-tips-and-tricks.com which was created to help home PC owners build, maintain and network their own PCs.
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