Buying a prebuilt PC VS building your own has long been a rich topic of debate, with stances constantly shifting as the tech landscape continuously changes and develops. There will probably never be an undisputed winner, especially considering how different people and their preferences, needs, and capabilities are.
Inside Tech has compiled some key information to help you accurately weigh the pros and cons of both options against each other as they relate to you in particular.
Building Your PC
Building your own PC will always have this aura of authenticity attached to it, like a testament to your love for computing and gaming if you will. However, this comes at a cost.
Are you Ready for Research?
By research, we don’t mean reading an article or two that will examine your entire configuration for you. No, you’ll have to first read up on every single component on different manufacturers’ websites, then scour the Internet for independent reviews and compare them with the manufacturers’ statements.
From there, you have to make sure components are compatible with each other, which is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that comes with a lot of pieces that don’t always fit and without a model to follow.
Something that’s somewhat obvious, yet ironically easy to overlook, is that the components need to physically fit in the case, too, which adds another variable to the equation.
As a continuation of the previous point, all this research, on top of actually putting everything together, takes time. Time which you could be spending relaxing or earning money.
Lack of Support
Since different parts usually come from different places, you’ll have to contact manufacturers individually in the event of malfunctions, as opposed to simply turning to a single company and let them handle the rest.
Sometimes, this can actually be an upside, since you sidestep potential bureaucracy, but generally speaking, it’s a nuisance.
Nothing can guarantee that the machine you put together will work properly, which isn’t the case with prebuilt PCs. Even though doing your homework minimizes the chances of worst-case scenarios unfolding, there’s the chance you end up spending time, money, and effort, without having anything to show for it.
Seeing your DIY PC work properly is probably normal people’s chance to feel like scientists who’ve just made a significant breakthrough.
However, there are other, more tangible benefits of building your own PC than this sense of gratification.
In more cases than not, buying a prebuilt PC involves at least so compromises. But building your own PC means unprecedented freedom to piece components together into the perfect configuration for you, as long as they are compatible.
Building your own PC is naturally associated with saved cost, since you only pay for the components and you take care of the rest.
There’s certainly a learning curve involved in putting together a PC, and if computing is something you’re interested in, then this can pay dividends later on.
The process will equip you with a much more in-depth understanding of the machinery that lies beneath the core and all its interconnected idiosyncrasies, which can save you money and time when problems arise, and they almost always do.
Buying a Prebuilt PC
Most of the upsides of buying a prebuilt PC are basically the exact opposite of the downsides of building on. It’s obviously easier and faster, the risks are insignificant in comparison, and you can count on the selling party for support.
Besides those, however, there are a couple of more things worth mentioning.
First, the higher cost of buying a prebuilt PC may not be that much higher since companies buy components in bulk and can possibly make you a discount.
Furthermore, the lower level of customization you have to settle shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack thereof. Many companies accommodate a decent amount of flexibility and work with you to find a balance between a preexisting framework and tailored configuration.
What You See is Not Always What You Get
Something you may not know is that sometimes, two of the exact same prebuilt PC models may actually be made up of different parts. This is because of issues with suppliers, as manufacturers may have difficulties obtaining a certain part, or simply might have found an alternative that’s better for them.
The verdict is for you to determine, however, doing that is easier when you consider your DIY capabilities, the budget and time you have on your hands, and the purpose your computer is meant to serve.
There’s not much point going through the taxing process of building PC that’s will serve generic needs, but if you’re picky and serious about computing and gaming, and have a knack for them, then by all means, jump right in, but with caution.