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General Discussions

building vs buying

I always prefer to build my own system from seperately bought components, because I get a build that has a tested platform, with confirmed compatibility.

With mass produced systems, companies seem to mix and match whatever parts they have on hand.  They often ignore manufacturer's recommended platforms.  Then, I hear all these requests for help with errors...or something is not working right.  Well, the platform was not tested nor recommended....

I do understand companies' motives.  They compromise here, make cuts there, in order to produce a system that will be more affordable.  That's an admirable goal, but it's risky.  Errors are bound to happen. 

If I build it myself, I get a better platform.  Plus, the components come with installation software and free additions that are not included in store bought computers.

I often look for discounts and sales to make it more affordable.  It's cheaper than most people realize.  The last rig I built, I was out of pocket only $1200, for a state of the art gaming rig that could handle multiple instances of the most demanding games.  And yes, it was built on the AMD platform.  Go Team Red!

It's relatively easy to do.  Just stick the components together, and they work.  A child could do it, in fact I assembled my first machine when I was an 8 year old little girl (I was born a bio. girl, in case there is any confusion).  A lot of people have the wrong impression that one has to be an engineer or a genius to DIY systems.  Anybody can do it!  If one has the competence to use Windows, one can assemble a machine.

That said, when I need a simple computer and only have a few hundred lying around, I will certainly opt for a used computer.  The only justification I can think to buy a preassembled one, is due to being broke.  Then, only a used one...with some cosmetic flaws.

Yet, the new computer market is booming.  Walk into any store - from Best Buy to Walmart - and they have entire sections with dozens of different systems.  Maybe someday average people will catch on to the reality that they can build one themselves, and the computer sections of big box stores will be filled solely with components.  'Computer shopping' will mean looking for parts instead of entire systems.

3 Replies
Adept I

9/10 always opt for building your own pc, you can have it the way you want and if you do your research properly can be faster and better than a pre built where companies just want your money.

The only major downside to building a computer yourself is you pay more for individual components, where a computer system builder gets discounts for buying in bulk.  You can bet that they aren't paying top dollar for video cards like we are.  A minor downside to building a computer yourself is the lack of a warranty for the entire system.  Repeated crashes in games or in Windows itself are your problem to deal with.  That being said, you get to optimize your components to meet your needs when you build the computer.  You learn more about those components because you did some research when procuring them.  You are better able to upgrade the system down the road too because a computer system builder might use some components with limited compatibility (maybe an interface is being phased out like USB 2.0 for example).  Your research prior to putting your money down is crucial so that you make wise decisions and retain upward compatibility for the lifetime of your computer - which could be more than 5 years depending on how you plan to use it.  

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
Adept II

I only buy something "pre-built" where it's a system where there's really nothing to build (e.g. most laptops, small form factor systems (SFF), etc.) Otherwise being in I.T. it wouldn't make sense for me to not D.Y.I. my own desktop in most cases.


In the case where money is short, and you need something basic or quickly a good well reviewed pre-built (or possibly a factory refurbished or refurbished system from a known and reputable refurbisher) can definitely be the way to go. You still need to look around, ask questions for anything unclear about your options, read the reviews and compare prices and price trends. That will assist in your decision.