One of the most common questions I get asked is what people should do when they want to build a new PC. There are two options with regards to building a PC, building it yourself, or buying a pre-built computer from the computer store. And what are the pros and cons in each of the cases?
Before we move on, I should say that if you have never built a PC before and you are considering doing it for the first time, it is way more fun to do it than just buying a pre-built PC and it also helps you to gain a whole new experience. Building a PC is not difficult if you have the right tools (such as PC Builder) and experience. However, a lot can go wrong, but there’s always a first time for everything, right?
But again you would ask yourself for just the sake of fun should I try building a PC and take risks with such costly components? So to answer all such silly questions and to provide you with a detailed review on Buying vs Building a PC here we are with our article.
So let us get started.
Buying Vs. Building a PC: Comparison
The general population prefers buying a pre-built PC to avoid spending a lot of time and effort. However, PC enthusiasts who need powerful systems with a custom configuration for video streaming, coding, or video gaming usually build customized PCs according to their needs and want.
Building your PC is in trend these days, and it has become easier than ever due to the availability of how-to guides, step-by-step videos, and technical advice from other PC enthusiasts.
But, you’ll need to learn about the various components and where they go if you’ve never assembled a computer before. When it comes to PC building, technical knowledge is essential, and you’ll be working with delicate parts, and you’ll need to know how to put your machine together correctly.
Even though you’ll have access to tools like instructions and video tutorials, you’ll still need to devote several hours to learn how to build the PC. Either way, you should consider many critical factors. Each of these factors can make a significant difference in the performance and overall functionality of the system.
A computer system is a collection of components that make one operating unit. These components include processors, memory, storage device, graphic card, and motherboard. The composition of these parts makes every system different in terms of functionality and performance. Thus it is essential to know two things before buying or building your PC:
- What is the intended purpose of the PC?
- What specifications will you require to fulfill that purpose?
Knowing how you will use your PC will help you determine which specifications you need in the system. Some of these standard specifications that you will need to consider before making a decision are:
1. CPU Power
The performance of your PC depends on the power of your CPU or processor. The most popular technique to evaluate processor power is clock speed, expressed in Gigahertz (GHz). In Simple words, the greater this number is, the more powerful the processor.
2. GPU Power
After CPU power, the second most crucial factor in PC performance is the GPU. GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit, and it is a special processor to decrease the time required for graphics rendering. The graphics card is essential in determining how powerful your computer will be, and GPU performance is assessed in terms of Clock speed.
GPU speed can also be alternatively measured in terms of VRAM or Video Ram. VRAM is the amount of memory available to the GPU and is directly proportional to its performance. The higher the number, the more powerful the GPU is.
3. Storage Capacity
Storage Capacity means the quantum of data in terms of programs, files, and media that can be installed and stored on your system. The storage capacity is measured in Gigabytes (GB) or Terabytes (TB). It is essential to know that the more the storage capacity of the PC, the better will be the performance.
The storage capacity is dependent on the PC’s storage device, and it can be of two types, HDD or SSD. The PC’s storage can be upgraded at any point up to a specific limit.
We suggest you go with an SSD storage device.
4. RAM Memory
The memory of a PC is based on its Random Access Memory or RAM. RAM stores and processes all data currently in use by your computer. You may quickly increase the amount of RAM on your computer. The amount of RAM you can install is ultimately determined by your motherboard.
The more RAM you have, the more tasks your computer can execute simultaneously. Modern PCs typically have 8-16 GB of RAM.
When Should You Build a PC?
One of the most appealing aspects of creating your PC is the chance to virtually hand-pick every component. It allows you to fine-tune and modify your construction to meet your specific budget and performance requirements.
You also have the option of entirely customizing it to your preferences. You can create the system in ways that make the most sense for how you use your PC if you customize it yourself.
So, if you do video streaming and editing, you’ll need more RAM and a powerful CPU processor. On the other hand, if you are a pro-gamer, investing in the GPU and CPU processor makes more sense.
However, it would be best to keep in mind that assembling your PC is more difficult due to the lack of availability of components. For instance, graphic cards are costly and difficult to procure due to the global chip supply crisis, and even second-hand GPUs have gotten quite costly.
Advantages of Building your PC
The benefits of building your PC can be iterated as follows:
1. Better Performance and Quality
When you build a computer, you have complete control over the components that go into it. Thus the final product has a higher overall build quality. Pre-built PCs frequently concentrate on just a CPU or GPU and load the remainder of the system with less desirable components. This problem is eliminated in custom PCs.
You can go with the fully upgradable PC compounds so that in the future, you can upgrade the compounds like RAM, GPU, and CPU, and if required, you should also be able to add a faster SSD to your system.
2. Better Suitability
Custom PCs can better satisfy your specific needs and thus give you better performance. They add to your efficiency and lead to more satisfaction.
3. Low Long Term Cost
Although assembling a PC from scratch is initially more expensive, the long-term cost of a custom PC is lesser than buying a PC. When components are purchased individually, the user usually selects better quality parts than bulk manufacturers, resulting in higher overall build quality and a longer lifespan for the computer.
In the long term, building a PC will save you money because you will not need to replace or repair components as frequently as you would with a pre-built one.
4. Ease of Repairs
It is easier to repair a custom PC since you already know all the components inside and know your way around the cables. Furthermore, Individual computer components frequently come with extra spare parts that aren’t included with pre-built PCs, and these additional parts can help you avoid expensive repair costs.
There is no need to go to a specific brand’s service center. If required, you can repair your system in a local repair center.
5. Multiple Options
A significant advantage of building a custom PC is the freedom to choose every component according to your wishes. It allows you to tailor it to your specific budget and performance needs.
There are hundreds of PC compounds options available, and you can choose to purchase the best compounds at a low cost.
6. Ease of Upgrade
Since each component is hand-assembled, you can change or upgrade any part at any time to fit your changing needs. Each component of a bespoke computer has its guarantee. Therefore, disassembling the computer to repair or upgrade components will not void any warranties.
You can upgrade your system as you want and whenever you want.
Disadvantages of Building a Custom PC
Although building your PC enables better performance and satisfaction, such personalization is not feasible at all times. Certain disadvantages of building a custom PC are as follows:
1. Initially Expensive
Assembling a PC from scratch incurs a lot of initial expenditure, and purchasing different parts adds costs such as shipping and restricted quantities, which raises prices. When you buy a PC, this is not an issue because all components are included in the original price of the PC.
When building a computer, it’s critical to ensure that all components you buy are compatible. Everything from the case to the fans has specific requirements that other components must meet for the final product to function correctly.
You might purchase a graphic card that doesn’t fit in your PC slot or a motherboard that is not compatible with your processing unit or RAM if you buy parts without checking compatibility.
So before purchasing any PC part its important that you use a custom PC building website which will help you to decide which PC part is compatible with the other.
3. Assembly Errors
Building a custom PC is challenging, especially for the first time. Even the tiniest error might result in causing damage to pricey components. Even the most seasoned PC builders are prone to error from time to time.
4. Time and Effort
Assembling a PC on your own is a very time-consuming task, and you might have to wait for a long time to gather all components. Plus, checking the compatibility of each component requires research.
Then assembling the entire unit requires a lot of effort. Thus, the whole process can be very tiring and challenging.
When Should You Buy a Pre-Built PC?
Considering the factors mentioned above, you should consider purchasing a pre-built PC if you don’t have particular gaming or video streaming needs or don’t have time that you can devote to assembling PC parts together.
While purchasing a PC, you must understand that you get a lot of other benefits than just quality parts. Companies manufacturing such systems offer many services such as warranty on components, after-sale service, and professional assistance. Those who don’t want to spend effort researching, buying, and assembling all parts can instead purchase a system put together and tested by a professional.
Furthermore, various options are available according to your professional and personal needs. Another critical factor is that sometimes, specific components are not readily available, and buying a PC bypasses this problem.
Advantages of Buying a PC
Thus the advantages of buying a pre-built PC can be iterated as follows:
1. Ease of Set up
Purchasing a PC comes with the benefit of a super easy and stress-free setup. You don’t have to spend time assembling every component, which can be very tedious if you are a novice.
Pre-built systems only require plugging in, and you can get on to your work right away!
2. Instant Delivery
Purchasing a PC means you don’t have to buy each part of your custom PC individually. Usually, you have to wait for the components to become available and then wait for them to get delivered. Furthermore, you cannot build your computer unless you have all the parts, which could take months to arrive.
This problem does not exist with pre-built PCs, ready to use as soon as you bring them home.
Pre-built PCs are more pocket friendly as the manufacturers can procure parts at a much cheaper rate, but if you purchase a high-end pre-build pc, it will cost you more. You will get a pre-built PC in chap if you look for a system for your normal person or professional use.
They have developed various techniques to reduce the cost of production, which makes the entire unit much cheaper. Manufacturing companies also offer multiple discounts, further reducing the setting up of the machine.
4. Warranty and After-Sales Service
Manufacturing companies offer warranty and after-sales services where professional technicians address any problem in the system. Even a few brands also offer you in-house services.
That means, if you face any problem in your system, you can call on technical support numbers, and you will get the solution; if they find a problem in any part that needs to be replaced, they will come to your home and replace it.
Even with some leading PC brands, you can extend your system’s warranty by paying minimum charges.
Disadvantages of Buying a PC
Although buying a PC seems like a lucrative option, several disadvantages are associated with buying a PC. These are:
1. Problem During Repairs
If there is any problem with a pre-built PC, the user becomes dependent on the manufacturing company to repair the problem. The user himself is not familiar with each component and cannot rectify it on his own. Thus, sending the entire computer for servicing will take more time and cost.
Even if you repair your system anywhere, if you do so, your system warranty will be void, and you will not get any future support from the brand even if your system is in warranty.
2. Limitations of Warranty Period
Any attempt to self-repair will void the warranty if the PC is in the warranty period. Furthermore, warranty terms require that you get the entire PC serviced and not just a single component, which will add to the cost.
3. Quality of Parts
Manufacturers build PCs cost-effectively by putting cheap and low-quality parts in less critical system areas. Because of their direct relationship to PC power, pre-built PCs concentrate on essential components such as the CPU and GPU.
Other components, such as the power supply or hard drive, maybe of inferior quality, and you may not face this problem with reputed brands like Dell and HP.
4. Limited Configurations
Pre-built PC configurations are severely limited because manufacturers buy parts in bulk and build many of the same computers. It leads to standardization and reduces the scope of further configurations as the components are longer compatible.
Currently, some brands like Dell, HP, and Asus allow you to buy a fully customized PC where you can choose each system compound according to your needs.
5. Low Cost to Performance Ratio
The performance ratio of a pre-built PC to the price paid is low compared to a custom PC. Under the same performance conditions, the price of a pre-built computer is higher than that of a custom computer.
It’s because you’re paying for more than just the hardware when you buy a pre-built computer. Assembly, warranty servicing, and a significant profit margin are all included in the price.
Which Option Costs More?
Building a custom PC might cost more in the short term, and this is because of the global chip shortages. Presently, manufacturers can get PC parts cheaper than retail consumers, thus reducing the unit’s overall cost.
However, assembling your PC costs less than a pre-built PC in the long run. This is because you can select exactly those parts you want on your PC and remove those of no use to you. For example, if you need a PC for just professional work, you can skip adding GPU; you can better go with APU, a combination of GPU and CPU.
Secondly, you can reduce the assembly expenditure since you assemble it yourself. Whenever you buy a PC, the cost of labor that went to building it is also tacked to the end price.
Lastly, a custom PC has better quality parts that require less repairing and are longer than cheap parts used by bulk manufacturers. It reduces the overall cost of the system over a longer time. And whenever a part malfunctions, it can be easily replaced with another part without serving the entire PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to build a PC?
Yes, it is cheaper to build a PC than to purchase one as it gives you the flexibility of choosing the PC parts according to your needs and avoiding buying one which you didn’t need.
Building Vs. buying a PC for gaming?
If you are looking for a gaming PC, then it’s better to build one yourself. This is because you will be able to build one which has greater storage and the latest graphics card at a much cheaper rate. Also, each gamer has his own requirements which you cant be able to get when you look for a pre-built PC.
I will always recommend you to build a PC yourself, as you have flexibility in choosing the best PC parts for your build, and also because it is way cheaper to build a pc than buy one. Just remember that if it’s your first time building a PC then you need to be careful with the PC components, and don’t do any silly thing which damages the component.
However, if you are a busy person, you might not be able to spend more time on it. In this case, you can buy a pre-built PC which will solve all the issues and will be cheaper than building a PC.
Investing in a personal computer is an important and time-consuming decision. There are advantages and disadvantages to buying and building your PC, and it depends on your specific needs, budget, and how much time you are willing to spend on creating your dream machine. Both methods achieve the same goal but take different paths to get there.
Building a new computer may be an exciting and gratifying process if you have the time and finances. When time is of the essence, pre-built PCs can help you get up and running quickly. Whatever choice you go with, there is always the possibility to modify or upgrade your PC in the future.
Hopefully, this advice will make your decision easier. Remember that there is no such thing as a “bad” decision when buying or building a computer.