Should I build my own PC?
As Andy Roberts from Techgyd.com states in his article “The Benefits of Building your own PC”, building your own desktop PC can offer many benefits. But unless you spend the time to plan your system build and do your research in advance, it could end up becoming an exercise in frustration and a costly one down the track. You need to be clear on what you want or need your new computer for, how much money you wish to spend, and how your needs might change 2-3 years down the track.
Specific or Mainstream Use?
Most customised builds are primarily intended for gaming, but building your own PC for things like audio-visual editing, graphic design, CAD, etc, is also quite common. Selecting exactly the type of build you want or need, using components that offer a wide range of specifications, performance, quality and longevity is a compelling proposition and makes lots of sense.
However, if your needs involve performing mainstream tasks (like web browsing, emailing, word processing and working on spreadsheets. etc.), and using productivity applications like Word, Excel, etc, then you may be much better served by buying an off-the-shelf system.
Even though you could build a system for less than an off-the-shelf equivalent from a company like HP, Lenovo, Dell, ASUS or Acer, why would you want to? These companies manufacture a large number of systems and can achieve economies of scale that make many of these products very cost-competitive in the market. Even smaller, local system builders -often the same businesses that you purchase your computer components from – can usually offer entry-level or low-end systems at competitive prices for most consumers.
Another thing to consider is the ability to make future upgrades on any system you might build today. Overall, it’s true that one of the benefits of building your own PC is that it gives you flexibility in this regard, but in some areas, you need to exercise some caution and plan ahead. Doing things like changing your video card to the latest GPU, increasing the amount of RAM in your system, adding storage, etc, are all worth considering and relatively easy to implement when the time comes.
Other kinds of components, however, aren’t so easy or cost-effective to do. You may be looking at upgrading your CPU or motherboard down the track and it’s here where you might strike problems. For example, anyone familiar with Intel and their product lines will know that they are in the habit of introducing new CPUs and chipsets on a regular, frequent basis. Anyone wanting to upgrade or needing to replace their 100 or 200 series motherboard and move to the newer 300 series motherboards. They will also need to their existing Gen 6 or 7 Core i3, i5 or i7 CPU, but won’t be able to do so. Even though all these components are official “Socket 1151”, Gen 6 and 7 CPUs are not supported on 300 series motherboards (ie. H310, B360 / 365, Z390, etc).
For this reason, I often advise my customers to focus on getting the best CPU and motherboard combination that their budget will allow, as these components are usually the ones most problematic to replace or upgrade down the track. It’s much less of a problem if you choose to go down the AMD / Ryzen track rather than opting to go down the Intel path.
So What Are The Benefits of Building Your Own PC?
To summarise from the above, if you have a specific use for your computer such as gaming or graphic design, there are benefits of building your own PC. On the other hand, if you are part of the mainstream and do not require specific use from your computer, it is probably a better idea to buy a new computer off- the shelf.
The full benefits of building your own PC only come into play if you fully understand the potential future limitations of the different types of hardware. If you build a PC with components that cannot be upgraded, this makes it more expensive.
Our advice, as you would expect from a business that regularly custom builds computers, is come to us and we will make sure that you have a PC that is ideal for your needs both now and in the future. Contact us today on 3397 1215 or 0409 974 707 with any inquiries.
Article by Mark, Computer Technician and Owner of Affordable Computer Repairs and Service in Brisbane.