PCs: Building vs. BuyingHey guys, I get asked this question all the time by friends who either want to get started with PCs or are tired of the way their current computer is working. The goal, in either instance, is to have a working PC, that fits their needs, for the lowest cost possible. The problem, though, is that they always expect a quick, one word answer – BUILD or BUY. But that's really not how it works; it all depends on what you intend to use your setup for.
For BASIC USES like web surfing or writing, you should BUYIt actually ends up being cheaper to just buy a PC as a whole, if you don't plan on using it for high-powered applications. The company you buy it from is able to build it MUCH cheaper than you by means of buying in bulk, using automated assembly lines, etc. Therefore they are able to sell at low prices and still make profit. There are lots of necessities for a computer that start adding up in price. You need the RAM, the motherboard, the processor, the power supply, the fans, the video card, the case, etc. That's not even mentioning all the equipment outside of the tower itself. You also need a keyboard, mouse, monitor(s), speakers, and all the wires. That's a lot of stuff. Once you add on the software - like the operating system, maybe Microsoft office, any anti-malware or anti-virus software you may need – the price adds up very quickly. Most of this is included in the package when you buy new. I can pretty much guarantee you'll be better off just buying a pre-built PC online or from a store.
For gaming, movie/music making and overclocking, you should BUILDThis is when it starts getting cheaper to do it all yourself. Huge brands like Alienware and Razer have ridiculous prices because every gamer knows the name. It's like buying a Harley Davidson motorcycle. It's just for showing off to your friends, really. In no way am I saying it's not awesome to have one of these PCs. They're quite beautiful pieces of machinery. I'm just saying the cost is so high because people are willing to pay for it for the name. But there's more to building your own PC than just getting it cheaper. Building a PC for yourself means you can customize it for YOUR personal needs. If you wanna run GTA V or Dark Souls II on the highest graphic settings, pick up a sweet video card. But maybe you don't care if your keyboard lights up in three different colors, or if you have the greatest headset in the world. You can make all of that happen exactly the way you want it, which you can't do just by buying a set that's been made for you. There's a certain amount of pride that goes into having built your own setup. In addition to this, finding all your own parts and putting them together means it will be very easy to upgrade or change components in the future. A lot of the time, pre-built computers will have components that aren't compatible with components from other computers. They do this to make sure that people have to buy a full product from them, instead of just going somewhere else and picking up one part. With a custom PC, you can always upgrade that video card that just isn't cutting it anymore, or put in some extra RAM. Hypothetically, you could completely change your entire set up – motherboard and all. Although, there is a point where it becomes a completely different computer, and you're not really just changing components anymore.
In short, here's the answer:BUY if you just want a computer for web surfing or other low-power activities. BUILD if you want to game or do anything requiring high power.
EXCEPTION – LAPTOPS:I would almost always recommend just buying a laptop. This is a completely different game, and building is only recommended for people who have been building for a long time. For example, I wouldn't even know where to begin.