Posted on October 28, 2010 by Jingles | 4 Comments
It’s a awesome feeling when you have built your PC, you power it on for the first time and it works. I love building my own PCs because I save money, can configure the PC the way I want it and it’s a great learning experience.
But not everyone has the time or knowledge to build a PC, some people just want to buy a PC and use it, these people buy an OEM box from a company like Dell, HP, or any number of PC builders.
Real geeks build their own PCs. I have built my last 2 PCs and I would never consider buying a desktop OEM PC… ever! There are advantages and disadvantages to buying an OEM desktop PC as opposed to building your own rig.
So lets have at the advantages and disadvantages of DIY vs. OEM PCs and I’ll explain why building your own PC is better than buying an OEM box.
Advantages of going with an OEM:
- Cost: It can sometimes be cheaper to buy a pre built OEM PC than it would be to build a PC with the same specifications. Large companies like Dell & HP have huge buying power to buy in bulk which translates into cheaper systems.
- Support & warranty: You usually get a 1 year warranty on the PC so if any of the parts die within warranty, you can have the parts replaced at no cost.
- Simplicity: There isn’t much to do with a new PC apart from plug it, the set-up of a new PC is relatively simple.
Disadvantages of going with an OEM:
- Support & warranty: Is usually only for 1 year unless you purchase an extended warranty. OEM PC builders only support their PCs for a certain amount of time then they have another better model out that they would rather sell you rather than have you get your PC fixed.
- It’s expensive: After the support and warranty runs out you are left with three options if something goes wrong; take the PC to a computer shop or have a computer technician over to look at the computer, or buy a new PCeither way it’s not cheap.
- You don’t learn anything: about the computer or how computers work. Your still just as dumb as when you brought the thing. And chances are the PC has packed it in because you have gotten it infested with all sorts of viruses, malware and most likely haven’t maintained the computer at all in the time you have had it.
- Limited upgradability: if you purchase a PC from Dell or HP you don’t really know what is inside (unless you open up the case which will probably void the warranty) and it’s going to have a bunch of proprietary parts in it, which will make it harder, more expensive or maybe even impossible to upgrade. You will have to go back to the manufacturer if a proprietary component breaks, and that part probably won’t be cheap. Most pre built systems aren’t built to be upgradable or last a long time.
- You don’t know: exactly what is in the PC so how do you know if you got good value for money or not?
Advantages of building your own PC:
- Cost: It could potentially be cheaper to build your own PC. Dependig on your needs and how careful you are about buying the parts it can be cheaper than buying an OEM PC.
- Support & warranty: Most parts come with a warranty of 1 or more years depending on the part. But more importantly you will be able to support yourself if something goes wrong with the PC since you built it and you know what parts are in the PC. If you end up needing a new part you can easily go to your favourite PC shop during the day, after work, or even on the weekends to pick up the part to fix a problem which will be quicker than waiting on hold for a foreigner that you probably won’t be able to understand. If you can support your self then the support is free so you will save a lot of money on trips to the local PC shop or technician visits.
- You learn: about how a PC goes together and all the parts of a PC, how to install an OS, and what maintenance you need to perform on the PC to keep it running optimally. You know exactly what goes into your PC.
- Choose the parts carefully: and your PC will be upgradeable and will last you 5 or more times longer than any OEM PCs warranty.
Disadvantages of building your own PC:
- Cost: It could be more expensive if you want a top of the line PC.
- Support & warranty: If a part dies in warranty then you will have to go to the manufacturer of that part for each and any part that dies. You are on your own for support (bar taking it to a PC shop or getting a tech over) but the Internet is a great place for support and to find information about troubleshooting issues.
So after weighing up the pros and cons of going OEM vs building your own PC the clear winner is going down the DIY road. There are more pros than cons to building a PC as opposed to buying an OEM machine which has more cons than pros.
If you build your own PC you are getting practical knowledge that will only serve you well in the future and help you save money.
It might be scary and daunting at first, the thought of buying hardware and maybe killing it or putting it together incorrectly, if you are careful and smart enough then you will get it right if you take your time to get it right the first time. I find that just jumping in the deep end and doing it is better than thinking about it and being scared of what might go wrong.
If you are over the fear of building a PC for the first time and have a lust for building your own PC then I’d recommend that you start reading review web sites (two of my favorite sites are Tech Report and Bit-Tech.) and start learning about computers, like getting a book on the subject, talking to people who have done it before, join a computer forum ect…