About Computers: Build or Buy?

The question of whether to build a computer or to buy a pre-built computer has been asked more and more in the last year or two. With OEM manufactures such as Dell, HP, and Gateway, running advertisements all over your newspaper, TV, and internet using various marketing techniques, people seem to drool at the “blazing speeds and performance” that they offer for a very low price. These OEM dealers seem to offer top of the line technology for a very low cost, and some people have started to question whether building is really as beneficial as it was a few years ago.

Component selection is the heart and soul of DIY. Just try going into the local computer store and asking for a machine with a specific motherboard. You can get more memory, and maybe if you’re lucky you can specify a different video card, but that’s where flexibility ends. Commercial vendors don’t want to tell you what motherboards they use, and they reserve the right to switch vendors for any and all components. So if you’re looking to achieve specific performance goals through component selection, DIY is the way to go. Commercial vendors, however, solve compatibility and integration issues long before the products go into their catalogs or arrive on dealer shelves. Part of what you’re buying is a guarantee that everything works when you take your new PC out of the box.

First-time computer buyers used to buy desktops for menial tasks like word processing, checking e-mail and Internet browsing, or managing checkbooks and recipes. It’s become much simpler for the consumer to use their new computer as a multimedia machine, managing photos, music, and even movies with a DVD drive.
Dedicated game players will likely want a faster computer with more memory, but most entry-level computers (at entry-level prices) have enough speed, memory and storage to handle all these tasks. Powerful computers are becoming more affordable, and many budget models will let you burn CDs, run sophisticated operating systems and play the latest video games right out of the box.
It’s never been easier or less expensive to buy a state-of-the-art personal computer. It wasn’t long ago that computer manufacturers were striving to come up with a sub-$1,000 PC. For a while, there were even stripped-down, basic machines on the market for less than $500, though the poor profit margins on these systems have pretty much forced them from the market.
The winner here is, of course, you. Options for the PC buyer abound like never before. Keep in mind that “basic” is a very relative term. Even the most basic PCs these days provide features and performance that are astonishing.
Before you decide anything, decide how much you can spend. After that, take a look at what you want out of your computer — is this the first home computer for you and your family? Will this be for your college-bound son or daughter for the next four years? Are you anticipating the newest game releases? The tasks you want to accomplish will dictate the specifications you need in your new computer.
Thanks again and have a nice surfing day!

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