Should You Build Or Buy Your Next Computer?

June 16, 2010

If you expect me to give you an absolute answer to the question of build versus buy, I won’t be giving it to you. The right answer for you could be different than the right answer for someone else. Instead, I’m going to give you some of the pros and cons to each so that you can make an informed decision. This discussion only applies to desktop computers as it is simply too difficult for end users to build a laptop.

In our office, we have some computers that were bought from a major vendor and some that were built. My preference is to build, though it isn’t always the right answer for our office in every situation. Even the computers we buy get customized in some ways so they are truly hybrid computers.

The best part about buying a computer is that it comes fully assembled and typically has the operating system and other software already installed. When you buy from a store, the customization options are pretty limited. The online vendors typically let you make a wide variety of choices on the components in your new computer. But customization will typically slow down the delivery as your computer must be assembled at the factory. Should something go wrong with the computer, you can call the vendor and they can hopefully help you get it up and running in short order. Of course, that only applies during the warranty period. For users who aren’t comfortable working with hardware, this is typically the best option.

Of course there are also downsides to buying from a major vendor. One problem we have is that we have a subscription with Microsoft for Windows. No major vendor will sell a computer without Windows. So if we buy from those vendors, we are paying for a Windows license we don’t need. Often there is other software included that is also not needed. Sometimes that is complete junk that has no cost and other times you could be office software that does have some cost. Again, we have a site license for office software and don’t want to buy another license if we don’t need it. In the situations where I do purchase a computer from a major vendor, I immediately format the hard drive and install only what I want from scratch.

Should you want to upgrade any of the parts in the off-the-shelf computer, you might find it difficult as the vendors use custom parts. This also can be problematic if a part needs to be replaced. The cost of the replacement is higher because it is only available from that specific vendor.

The best part about building a computer is that you can buy exactly what you want. I documented my dream computer in a blog post last fall. It does take a little bit of assembly to build your own computer, but it isn’t terribly difficult if you are willing to use basic tools and read a few instructions. If you aren’t comfortable doing the assembly yourself, maybe you know someone who would do it for you for a reasonable cost. There are also small businesses who specialize in building specialized computers.

When you build your own computer, you already know your way around inside the case. Should something go wrong, it isn’t as difficult to diagnose the problem or replace the bad part. You can also upgrade parts as newer and faster equipment becomes available. Building is not the best answer for a computer newbie, but should be considered by any power user. You can get a lot more bang for your buck if you build it yourself.

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer to build or buy? What do you see as the pros and cons? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with everyone.

Post Discussion

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like…

USAMS Multi Charging Cable

Keep Devices Powered With USAMS Multi Charging Cables

In the last month I've logged a lot of miles on the road and many nights in places other than home. During that time, it was important to keep all my devices charged and that meant having a source of power along with good charging cables. Today...

Read More

BenQ MOBIUZ EX3210U 32” 4K IPS Gaming Monitor

BenQ MOBIUZ EX3210U 32” 4K Monitor Expands Workspace

I've always felt the monitor was one of the most important components of a computer. When budget decisions needed to be made, I allocated a little more to the monitor because of its importance. Today we'll look at a 4K monitor that may need to...

Read More

G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB DDR5 6000 Dual Channel Desktop Memory

Get a Fast Start on DDR5 Memory With G.SKILL RAM

When you are putting together a computer, getting the right RAM and enough of it is very important. Today we're going to look into the future crystal ball a bit for some great RAM. It is highly unlikely it will work in your current computer. But...

Read More

Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

Recent Posts

Pro WordPress Help

Divi WordPress Theme

Graphics Unleashed Donations

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $5