Before you start choosing parts and building your custom computer you should consider whether it’s the right choice for you, after all, why not just buy a pre-built computer?
Nowadays pre-built pc’s from manufacturers like Dell and Lenovo are pretty competitively priced so it’s hard trying to save money building your own. Where you do save money is in how well your pc performs for what you want it to do compared to what the retail pc’s are able to do.
You get to choose each individual component based on your needs and also get separate warranties on them. It’s common to have 3 year warranties on motherboards and power supplies and even lifetime warranties on components like memory. Compare that to the standard 1 year warranties on retail computers – over the lifetime of your custom pc you’re likely to save money should anything go wrong.
Although custom build pcs might appear to be more expensive at first, they’re better value for money in the long run largely because big brands often use cheaper or lower grade parts.
Getting these parts repaired or replaced can be expensive after the first year and trying to do the repairs yourself can still be a problem. Off the shelf computers tend to have non-standard part sizes for components like power supplies and motherboards.
There’s normally no point trying to shop around because the only place that has the parts is the manufacturer’s official suppliers. This is the reason why most people decide to throw away an otherwise perfectly good pc – there’s a phrase that most IT workplaces use ‘beyond economical repair’.
The great thing about your own build is that if a part fails, it quite easy to get a replacement at a reasonable price. During the warranty period you should be able to get the part replaced at no cost – remember if a part hasn’t failed in the first 3 years, it’s more likely to go the distance.
Expanding the capabilities of your pc through add on cards that fit into the PCI expansion slots on your motherboard is a great way to extend the life of your computer. In general prebuilt pc’s don’t have enough space and their PSU’s either don’t have the right connections or don’t supply enough power.
Adding cards on a custom builds tends to be easier because there is more space to fit different size cards and power supplies can be upgraded.
There are some other reasons to build your own pc that will appeal to people who like DIY projects or those who like creating through learning.
Building a custom computer requires an investment in time to learn about the different components. I like learning new things and enjoy the challenge, not only is it satisfying but makes me feel good about myself for what I’ve accomplished.
It does mean that if things go wrong I’ll have to sort it out myself but that’s part of the fun of doing it (I’ve dealt with many helpdesks at work over the years and getting support from them can sometimes be a frustrating experience).
Did I mention that self building is a fun and rewarding experience? Especially when you start showing off your shiny new computer to your friends and family!
Stay tuned for the next post in this series: Plan your Build in 5 Stages.