We computer-dwelling folk often weigh convenience over value when it comes to our beloved electronics. Parents groan when their kids point out (again) that the family PC can barely handle five year old games, and underemployed youth cringe at the price tag of gaming desktops that costs more than several months of rent. Many don’t realize how achievable a cheaper alternative can be. Building your own PC takes more time, but it’s much cheaper and the value is outstanding.
1. No bloatware
You choose and install the software you want on your PC. Store-bought systems often have a ton of mostly useless software preinstalled. Toshiba, Dell, and HP are especially bad, including reams of trial software and casual game portals. What makes matters worse with prebuilt machines is that if it comes with an operating system install disc, they too will be crammed with bloatware. Even if you wanted to reinstall, you’d still have all that crud weighing down your system so you’d have to get a separate store-bought version of the operating system to get a truly clean install.
2. Higher quality for your money
When you buy a premade computer, they often come built with generic crappy parts. Most of the parts, like the motherboard, are normally a specially made low-end version of the part, made specifically to keep costs down and profits up in premade rigs. In addition, the suppliers for the hard drive, optical drive, etc. may be completely random depending on the deal the vender had that week. You really have no idea what you’re getting in there.
3. Better cases
You need space for extra ports, video card slots, and cooling systems. Functionality aside, you can get so many beautiful cases. You can match it to the rest of your battlestation or office. Style is not a consideration for some more frugal builds, but if you have the extra cash, you can really find some well-designed cases. Cooling systems are also something that don’t normally come with prebuilt PCs. If you are building your monster gaming rig, you’ll want to cool that baby.
4. Easier to upgrade and customize
There’s no such thing as “future-proofing” a system, but if you build your own machine, you’ll be able to upgrade more frequently and easily. Instead of blowing all your cash on the absolute leading-edge (which may not be so leading edge within a year or two) you can buy good value parts that you can upgrade every 2-3 years.
5. You’ll learn more about how your computer works and how to fix problems when they arise
You will learn what each of the components does and how they work together. After the building process, you’ll be able to troubleshoot hardware problems. You’ll also be less inclined to be taken for a ride when you go to buy parts and peripherals if you can talk confidently about your build, your needs, and what would be unnecessary. “I’m pretty sure I don’t need a joystick, sir.”
6. It’s a great weekend project for DIYers
You could even use this time to teach your kids about how computers work. It’s pretty straightforward and if you have a busy kid who is interested in how stuff works, this would be a great project! Obviously, not for really young children, but the process of putting together the computer and how all the parts work is just as beneficial for your children as it is to you. Problem solving, planning, and organization are also really great skills we develop when building a PC.
7. For gaming, nothing beats building your own
When it comes to building a gaming rig, you will hands-down get more bang for your buck. Save up whatever your final budget will be (you can build a really decent computer for under $1000) and then wait and buy everything within two weeks of your build date. This way you will have up to date pricing and technology.
8. Better power supplies
If you’re going for fast graphics and a great video card, you’ll want a decent power supply. You also want the flexibility of a modular configuration and a power supply that can handle all the awesome components you picked. (Not supplying enough power will cause your system to short and your components would be fried.) This also allows for a less cluttered system and better air circulation.
9. Recycling older parts and peripherals
If you are anything like me, mention to your father that you are thinking about building a new PC and he will offer up everything from keyboards to power sources. One day, after years of building your own computers, you too will have a little pool of resources that still function. You can often recycle optical drives, power supplies, and occasionally RAM.
10. Lots of beginner support online
There is a great community online that is very welcoming to beginners! Check out the subreddits BuildAPC and BuildAPCForMe (for help picking parts). They have great beginner resources, tutorials, and wikis. Another great resource for building a gaming PC at any budget is thegreatsetup.com. They have product reviews, buying guides, how-to’s, etc.
Have you built your own computer? What word of advice would you give to someone setting out to do the same? Please share in the comments!