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Should I Build a PC? - Part 1 of 4 on How to Build a Computer: Advice from a Local Big Sister

Before we get into whether or not you should build a pc, I want to bust some myths that I know I personally hear all the time:

“It’s really difficult to build a computer. You can’t do it unless you have some sort of degree in it.” -- I’d really like to pretend this was true and give myself a pat on the back for being “so smart”, but it’s really not that difficult. Even if you have very little computer knowledge, many websites and kind souls across the internet break down exactly how it all works,goes together, and what to get.

“Building a pc is soooo expensive. You shouldn’t even bother unless you have a lot of money.” -- I’ll talk about this more later, but actually building your own pc will save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you’re just going to buy a pre-made desktop instead. Plus, if you’re that strapped for cash, you can just buy your parts individually as you save up money instead of one big purchase.

“People only build computers for video games.” -- First of all, video games are great, so there’s no problem if you are building a computer for better gaming. However, that’s not the only reason one might be good for you. I myself use my pc for a lot of graphic design work, and lots of people use them for video editing and other intensive software needs - all of which are fine reasons to build your own pc.

But all that being said, maybe you’re still on the fence as to if you want to build one or not. If so, let me break down some of the pros and cons of building your very own desktop computer.

 I promise you building your own computer is not nearly as difficult as people would have you believe, photo by Umanoide on Unsplash

I promise you building your own computer is not nearly as difficult as people would have you believe, photo by Umanoide on Unsplash

Pros

Easy to Update

In essence, a pc that you build yourself can grow with you. As you save up money or as your needs for a computer change, you can switch out sections of your pc for newer and better pieces while keeping it overall the same. This will also save you money in the long run, because if your CPU dies, you won’t have to go out and buy a whole new computer, just a new CPU. Pre-built computers (laptops especially) tend to have pieces that are soldered together to save space and money, meaning that if one of those pieces dies, you might have to just replace the entire machine.

Better Parts for Less Money

A good chunk of the cost of a pre-made computer goes to the labor of the computer being built for you.That means that when you buy a $1,000 computer, you are actually getting parts that are equivalent to around $600 - versus if you build it yourself you can spend all of that money on the parts, giving you a machine that is actually worth the $1,000.

The Price Is Right

Let’s be honest, computers are expensive, especially your ideal version of one. However, that is true of all computers, not just ones you build yourself. And since a pc you build yourself isn’t pre-assembled, you can work on buying one piece at a time as you are able, instead of putting down the one large lump sum you would have to do for a pre-built one.

Bragging Rights & Technical Skills

This probably isn’t something everyone thinks about, but when you build your own computer you are investing in a new skill that many other people don’t have. While it may not be something you put on your resume, being technically savvy is only a positive in our current “digital” age.

Cons

Difficult to Travel with

Travel-ability is probably the biggest weakness of building your own computer, since laptops are difficult to build yourself and you can probably imagine how awkward it would be to drag a desktop computer into a coffee shop with you. That being said, if you had a laptop already, you could remotely access your desktop computer, in essence, using your fancy computer on a different computer. But unless you have a laptop available to use, it would be difficult to use your computer anywhere outside of your home. If mobility is very important for you, building your own computer might not be the best idea.

“All I Do Is Surf the Web”

If all you use your computer for is occasional web surfing and listening to YouTube playlists, then building a computer probably isn’t necessary for you. You can definitely still build one if you want, but you could probably buy a cheap tablet or laptop and get great use out of that for a lot less money. It all just depends on your computer habits, needs, and interests.


Hopefully this has helped you decide if you should build your own pc or not. Either way, I hope you enjoy the next part of this series on Planning and Buying Parts.

Until next time,

Caitlin