There are two ways to buy a computer: choose a prebuilt one in the store or purchase components and assemble the system yourself. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, which I will talk about today. Prebuilt vs. Custom PC – Which Is Best? Let’s find out the answer.
Buying a Prebuilt PC
Prebuilt PCs are a great way for non-PC enthusiasts to enjoy PC gaming. It is the most affordable way. The buying process is as simple as possible. You go to the section of the PC store with ready-made PCs, select the area of application, and then, focusing on prices and parameters, look for the right option.
At the same time, you do not need to thoroughly study the technical characteristics of electronics: compatibility, connection interfaces, power supply, and cooling systems. In prebuilt assemblies, all this is already optimized from the factory.
Benefits of prebuilt assembly
Modern stores offer a wide range of prebuilt PCs for users with a variety of needs:
- Home computers;
- Multimedia mini-PC;
- Gaming computers;
- For work and office.
The buyer immediately receives a usable device. In addition, you can choose from various options not only in terms of performance but also in size.
- When buying a prebuilt PC, the risks of errors in the choice of components and subsequent assembly are completely eliminated. All pc components in the system clearly correspond to each other, and the computer itself must be tested in production.
- The finished system unit is already equipped with an operating system and a minimum set of programs for daily home or office use – a browser, document editors, and multimedia applications.
- Ready-made PCs come with a single warranty. Depending on the manufacturer, it can be 2 – 3 years. At the same time, in case of problems, the user will not need to look for the cause and disassemble the system unit. Take it to the service, and the experts will deal with the breakdown.
Prebuilt PCs also have disadvantages.
- In most cases, a prebuilt computer is more expensive than a similar one in performance but assembled independently.
- You must not tamper with the design of the computer and add or replace components with more efficient ones before the expiration of the warranty period. So three years will have to be content with the existing configuration.
- In the event of even a minor breakdown, the entire unit will have to be transported to the service, and it is difficult and inconvenient.
Custom PC – Self-assembly of a computer
Custom pc involves buying all components separately, followed by installation into a single system. To do this, the user needs significant knowledge in the field of electronics and skills in working with computer equipment.
You can find a nice prebuilt pc, but the custom build is totally yours to shape it however you like. There are many options to choose from well-known companies. You can also buy from brands you love and trust. In addition, there are no unnecessary programs on your computer.
A custom PC may have cheap hardware due to the seller cutting corners to make more profit from it.
Once you finally finish the build and upload it, when you see that everything works as intended, you get a satisfying sense of accomplishment. You built your own computer by reading and learning instruction manuals, online manuals, and videos. This experience is so helpful when you encounter a problem and want to troubleshoot or when you need to change/update some details.
The advantages of a custom PC include:
- Savings – on average, the cost of individual components is 15-20% less than a prebuilt pc with similar devices.
- It offers the ability to assemble any system in terms of performance and configuration. In addition, every enthusiastic gamer has their own preferences regarding the manufacturers of processors, video cards, and even hard drives.
- The user decides which components to make the main bet and which ones to put in the plan for a quick upgrade. So, for example, if there is a lack of funds in the basic assembly, you can purchase a powerful multi-core processor and temporarily save on solid-state drives and RAM by setting the required minimum.
- It is possible to reduce the purchase budget if there are any components available. Often, computers are assembled based on an already available case, hard drives, and even a power supply from a previous PC.
- At any time, you can make structural changes and, without looking at the warranty, replace any unit.
- For some devices, the warranty period is up to 5 years. In prebuilt PCs, it is usually averaged.
Not without drawbacks:
- Custom-built requires a lot of time to select and purchase components. The user will have to visit more than one store and explore dozens of sites to find the desired device. The situation becomes harder when assembling cases of small form factors that require compact parts.
- All risks in case of incorrect selection of components are borne by the user. It is a lack of power supply and a weak cooling system. In addition, not all components are universal, and sometimes even experienced computer assembly enthusiasts get confused about connection interfaces and form factors.
- Any breakdown will result in a lengthy diagnosis. You will have to search for a failed device and later remove it. And take it to the service yourself. Or take the entire PC to the workshop for paid diagnostics.
- And of course, in modern conditions, one cannot fail to mention the shortage observed in the market for productive gaming video cards.
So which is better? Prebuilt or Custom PC?
This question can safely be classified as rhetorical. Both methods of acquiring a PC have many supporters and opponents. But I will still try to give general recommendations:
If you have no experience with electronic equipment, little free time, and need a PC mainly for work or daily home use, then the choice is definitely in favor of prebuilt PCs. In addition, for the next three years, you are totally devoid of headaches about diagnostics and repairs.
You can assemble a PC yourself if you know what you want, are familiar with the technical characteristics of electronic equipment, and have at least minimal experience in assembling and disassembling computers. In addition, this method is beneficial if the farm already has separate components.
And if you are an enthusiastic gamer or a computer assembly enthusiast, then most likely, you already know exactly what you need from a computer and how to assemble a powerful gaming system yourself without my advice.