chrishoffman at October 16th, 2013 06:41 — #1
Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/173808/htg-explains-should-you-build-your-own-pc/
There was a time when every geek seemed to build their own PC. While the masses bought eMachines and Compaqs, geeks built their own more powerful and reliable desktop machines for cheaper. But does this still make sense?
themike at October 16th, 2013 06:57 — #2
the problem I have with prebuild is quality. They're made with inexpensive hardware (i.e. foxconn, etc) and sold for outrageous prices. the other thing is the operating system, this what brings the price up if you want to run windows.
kdenham at October 16th, 2013 07:58 — #3
All good points in this article but one pretty significant omission in terms of factors to be considered when you're weighing whether to build your own or not. This really only applies to those who've previously built their own:
Most of the parts have already been acquired.
Being cheap, I technically haven't built a "fresh" desktop since the 90s. I almost never replace more than three parts or four parts when I build new desktops as I either have most of the parts available in the desktop I'm upgrading from, or I have them as spare laying around. Usually I only need to buy CPU, MOBO, and RAM.
Also: most manufacturer warranties are only good up to a year which covers perhaps 10-20% of the total life of the computer (unless you shell out more up front which tips the cost scale toward DIY).
Still agree with the premise though, for 99% of people laptop or prebuilt desktop is the way to go.
nsdcars5 at October 16th, 2013 08:06 — #4
Self built ones aren't cheap? I built a decent quad-core (on the internet) one for just above $400. Assuming, of course, that you have a mouse, keyboard, and a monitor with you. But hey, even the RPi makes these assumptions with the $35 tag, right?
See product list here: http://www.flipkart.com/wishlist/nsdcars5-inator10
Total price: Rs. 25033 = $405.41 (with discounts, it's actually lesser than $400).
betamaxrenn at October 16th, 2013 08:28 — #5
I haven't built my own since the early 2000s, but I would probably still enjoy buying all the hardware and putting together a desktop tower again. My i7 laptop just gets too hot and noisy playing new and even older games. I still like fixing friends' older XP towers and opening up the cases.
ladyfitzgerald at October 16th, 2013 09:16 — #6
Even though I will never buy another prebuilt desktop, I do have to agree with the points in the article. Most people are better off buying prebuilts. For that matter, most people would be better off with laptops or (gasp!) tablets. However, most people visiting websites like HTG do not represent most people.
xana452 at October 16th, 2013 09:22 — #7
I must agree with the article: Most people are better off buying prebuilt. For a gamer like me, I built my own for a pretty penny, but it certainly does more than getting the job done. I can play anything up to and including the latest AAA titles at Ultra with (almost) no lag. It cost me ~$700 for the computer, but I had the peripherals either as spares or as donations from some friends who no longer needed them. I'm quite happy with it, especially with the new Battlefield 4 coming up soon.
But yeah, most people would be better off with a prebuilt system, laptop, or tablet.
ladyfitzgerald at October 16th, 2013 09:40 — #8
One thing the article didn't cover is that there are people who build PCs because they just enjoy doing so; that enjoyment is reason enough for them, no matter the lack of cost savings. There is a certain satisfaction in saying, "Yup! Built 'er muhself."
maxwave at October 16th, 2013 10:40 — #9
My last "refresh" came out to $370 - i3 Haswell & 16 GB of RAM. All in all I probably put in $350 per year on the machine, but I get the opportunity to put in exactly what I want without spending my whole tax refund. My next purchase will be to 2 SSDs (1 for boot & Photoshop scratch disk). I can't get that type of customization from a laptop and allows me to put money into it little by little.
jeepmanjr80 at October 16th, 2013 10:49 — #10
Absolutely it's better to build your own desktop...in almost every way. Simple, if you don't know how, don't want to learn or just don't have the interest, buy what is offered to you and enjoy your "warranty". Don't forget that individually bought hardware components come with warranties too so that's kind of a moot point. I think most people (me included) enjoy building their own PC's. I thoroughly enjoy researching and comparing components and searching for the best prices. I buy the best I can that's within the budget I set for myself (no, I never cheat on my budget...ask my wife!). Soooo many cool parts these days! When those parts start rolling in it's like Christmas in July!! I love assembling my machine, running wires and cables. And when your PC posts for the first time, that's exciting (and a relief!! LOL!). Then the final loading of an OS and software. This all might sound silly to the non-geek. That's OK, I think it makes perfect sense to the rest of us.
elcar at October 16th, 2013 11:18 — #11
Well, in terms of fun, is better to build your own. In prices, of course don't, if you wants to build it with ALL the best parts, that are NEVER put together on a prebuilt PC.
The best mobo is for me the fundamental part of the PC. For stability and performance. And never find a top of the line mobo on any brand pc.
But talking about warranty, prebuilt PCs have good one, but many times some components have more warranty when bought separately, like lifetime warranty for memory, or 5 years for disks. And also most of the time you get faster firmware/bios/drivers updates for hand picked components than for branded machines.
nightowl224 at October 16th, 2013 11:41 — #12
I've seen that with a good portion of the prebuilt machines on the market you get nothing but prebuilt junk, as there are nothing but generic parts in the machines that do not last, and the people that buy the prebuilt machines in the city where I live, they end up going in to the local shops where I live, and buy a decent machine built by the shops within a month or two after they buy the cheap prebuilt machine any way.
I ended up spending about $800 when I did my upgrade in August coming from a first gen i7 870 with P55 motherboard to i7 4770 and a ASUS Z87 Deluxe motherboard which also had Intel Gigabit Lan built on. and one of the things I got on the Z87 Deluxe Motherboard was the Realtek ALC1150 HD Audio Codec with DTS Surround and as a result, no more soundcard in my computer. I prefer building my own computer over a prebuilt machine any day.
I already had everything else I needed including a C300 128GB SSD, 16GB of DDR3 1333 ram, two 2GB Radeon 7850's, two optical drives two 320GB harddrives, a 500GB drive for my games an 850watt powersupply, a nice case, keyboard and mouse and my 27inch widescreen gaming monitor. By having this stuff, I actually saved money by not having to buy a lot of extra stuff new.
I went for the i7 4770 because I don't overclock, and don't see a need to personally.
thomas_kolakows at October 16th, 2013 11:53 — #13
I used to build all my PC's in the past, but the last two I have bought higher-end configurable HP desktops. My latest is a liquid-cooled system with an AMD FX-8120/16gb/2TB/Radeon HD-7670. The price was good and the terms were even better. If I want to upgrade anything it is fairly easy based on their current design. Since there are much fewer hardware upgrade options these days you can easily find an inexpensive rig that meets your specs. While it may be fun to build one, there really isn't as much need to do so. The author is quite correct in his analysis.
clarkc at October 16th, 2013 12:08 — #14
I totally agree with all of the above posts. Basically, it's more a matter of a preference than cost. Don't get me wrong, I am on a fixed income, so cost is important, too. I buy the best components I can, when I have the money, then when I have collected enough hardware, I start assembling. For me, I enjoy building my own desktop.
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is software, or should I say "bloatware" or trialware. All pc manufacturers include tons of software that most people will never use. That's the main reason I always build my own.
My first PC (circa 1994) was a Packard-Bell (no longer available in the US) with Windows 98, 64 Mb HDD, 32 Mb RAM and all kinds of almost useless software and trialware. Some of the these were kind of cool, but nothing I would have bought if I were building my own. After about a year, I upgraded to 64 Mb RAM, then when the HDD took a dive, I got a 20 Gb, 7200 RPM HDD. The HDD really noticeable decreased the boot time and overall speeded up everything. Huge difference over a 5400 RPM drive. That is also when I discovered that I could remove all of the bloatware included on the recovery CD's.
Sure, I could get a cheap prebuilt PC, then spend a few hours to remove all of the bloatware, maybe upgrade some of the hardware, reconfigure the operating system, and tweak a few things, but what am I saving? I might spend a few more bucks by building my own, but in the end, I get what I want for about the same price, considering the time invested in "rebuilding" the store-bought version.
Since my first store-bought, I have always built my own.
Just my two cents!
untenops at October 16th, 2013 12:09 — #15
I've built and I've bought prebuilt. As I've gotten older and know more, about computers and what I want to do with them, I've decided on building my own machines. I enjoy putting them together and setting them up. Plus I avoid paying the silly MS tax. I have no need to that peace of software any more, as Linux now meet all my needs for my home desktops, and server.
nightowl224 at October 16th, 2013 12:51 — #16
For about the past few years, I've been running 64bit operating systems on my builds.
ladyfitzgerald at October 16th, 2013 13:10 — #17
I've bought two desktops. The first one, a Gateway, lasted seven years before I retired it because it no longer met my needs. It had very little bloatware. The second one was a custom build I paid to have built that was built using an Acer case and mostly Acer parts. It also had very little bloatware but also was a POS from the word go. I had to get it repaired a couple of times but managed to get to last five years. That POS was the final straw that got me to take the time to learn how to build my own rig.
The Lenovo G570 notebook I got a year ago last summer also had very little bloatware (all I removed was a Game console and the web cam software).
boysha at October 16th, 2013 13:18 — #18
The article was somewhat lame - to me. Yes, there were some interesting points but overall it didn't really say anything that would make a reader any smarter or better informed.
Many geeks build their computer because they don't have the means to just purchase all at once - so they buy components, piece by piece till one day they can put those together and have their new PC.
It is always better to built your own if you know how. Yes, laptop are getting more popular by the day but I am not sure that they can ever replace a desktop.
In any case, the article we are talking about could have easily not be written and nobody would loose anything.
nsdcars5 at October 16th, 2013 13:41 — #19
You can even build your own laptop: http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-your-own-laptop/?ALLSTEPS
Or if you want a different way, get a Raspberry Pi, attach a keyboard, a mouse and some batteries, and put it into a case.
Some guy even made a portable Wii.
Or just stick to building desktops. I really don't care.
ladyfitzgerald at October 16th, 2013 13:42 — #20
Maybe you should read it again.
That's the worst way to build a PC. By the time the PC gets built, if one of the earlier purchased components should turn out to be bad or incompatible, it's likely to be too late to return it to the vendor and may even be out of warranty. It's much better to just save your money and buy all the parts at once. Exceptions might be cases that need modding or a part that has a long warranty period goes on sale for a large savings.
That's not true of everyone. Someone who uses a computer infrequently (maybe an hour a day), doesn't give it workout (just uses it for emails and web surfing), or can't or doesn't want to bother with building it and doing their own repairs will be better off buying a prebuilt computer.
That I can agree with. It will be a long time before a laptop can hope to replace a desktop, especially when it comes to storage and longevity. And there is no replacement for the screen real estate easily had by desktops, something laptops will have trouble matching.
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