Category Archives: General

PCs: Building vs. Buying

PCs: Building vs. Buying

Hey 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 BUY

It 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.greenhpdesktop 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 BUILD

This 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.system_topside-11361660 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.

7 Simple Ways to Make Your PC Faster

7 Simple Ways to Make Your PC Faster
  1. Uninstall unused programs
    1. Whether it's a visual effect or some type of background process, your computer is most likely running at least a few programs that aren't completely necessary (especially if you bought it brand new.)
    2. To fix this, go to the “Programs and Features” page in the Control Panel. There, you can find any programs that are obviously not doing anything important, and delete them. BUT MAKE SURE THEY'RE ACTUALLY UNNECESSARY. Be sure to leave hardware drivers, consistently used applications. Generally, I would just say use some common sense in choosing what to delete.
  2. Manage hard drive storage
    1. Your computer has a limited amount of storage space on its hard drive (some more-so than others.) Having a maxed out, or even close-to-full, hard drive can make your PC slow down, and eventually stop working altogether.
    2. To manage this, you can either get rid of some larger programs you don't use anymore, or get some extra space. If you're like me at all, you can't stand the thought of losing any those programs that you just might use later on. I have quite a few 10+ gigabyte games that I will most likely never play again. THERE IS SUCH THING AS A VIRTUAL HOARDER.
  3. Reduce unnecessary start-ups
    1. Lots of people are guilty of having a variety of programs open on cold-boot, that SERVE NO PURPOSE. This can make your computer start up painfully slow. And nothing is more frustrating that sitting there for 5-10 minutes waiting for your computer to be ready, just so you can google something. Now that's probably not always the case, but you get the point.
    2. If you use windows, you fix this by going to the start menu and searching for “msconfig”. In this program, you can choose from a huge, categorized list of programs to enable or disable. Go to the “startup” tab at the top of the window, and then decide which programs you want to get rid of. TAKE CARE with this, though. Some startup programs are completely necessary. Use the same advice I gave about uninstalling unused programs.
  4. Get more RAM
    1. If you haven't already read our article titled “Should You Upgrade Your PCs RAM?”, we explain this point in much more detail there, and I recommend it. But basically, RAM will make every aspect of your computer run faster. From loading screens on games and programs, to cold boots to running multiple programs simultaneously, this is always an effective fix.
  5. Run a “Disk Clean-up” periodically
    1. This is basically an automated way to “uninstall unused programs”. It empties your recycling bin, and removes temporary files that are unnecessary. Just search “disk cleanup” in the start menu, click on the program and select the drive you want to clean. You can then check the file types you want deleted, hit “okay” and then confirm the deletion in the pop up window.
  6. Do a scan through malwarebytes periodically
    1. Your computer can accumulate a lot of malicious software if you're not active about protecting it. It is mostly agreed that Malwarebytes is the best way of blocking, scanning for, and deleting these malicious files. It's much more effective than an antivirus, and will block any seemingly harmful site that attempts to take your personal information. You can even scan for existing malware, and malwarebytes will get rid of it. We highly recommend downloading a copy.
  7. Reinstall windows
    1. This should only be used a last resort. If you've tried all of the above methods, and nothing is restoring your computer to its former glory, you can reinstalling windows to give yourself a completely clean slate. You'll have to reinstall everything you had before, and still want to use, and all of your personalized features will be gone, but you'll have a chance to start over completely.
    2. I cannot stress enough, though, that this only makes a difference if you refrain from downloading malicious software and unnecessary programs after the reinstall. Take better care of your PC and follow the steps above, proactively, and you and your PC should have a beautiful relationship.