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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Buying Vs. Building

Sometimes you know for a fact that doing something yourself can save you money, say for example, a DIY project vs. hiring a contractor. It really depends on your skillset and if your money is worth more than your time. And sometimes, due to technology advances, the lines can get blurred. This is the case for computers.
I am not what you would call an Apple fangirl. I absolutely abhor the whole idea of forcing you to buy whatever it is Apple thinks you want or need. I abhor the idea that you can’t change out components, or in the iPhone’s case, even remove the damn battery! Microsoft might have stolen Apple’s OS GUI [Graphical User Interface] (who technically “stole” it from Xerox), but Microsoft was smart in its idea of licensing out its software to allow for free enterprise so that companies that wanted to build machines to go head to head with Apple could, because now we had our own software to run it.

In today’s world, buying a computer that will run simple tasks is relatively cheap. You can buy it straight off the lot, or for a bit more, can have Dell build your version of perfection.  In this day and age, it’s no longer necessarily cheaper to build your own PC. So, what are the pros and cons?

Pro Building

You know what is in your PC and what it can handle
You can change out items as they break without the expense of buying a whole new unit
You can make it as cool as you want (LED lights, etc)
You can make it to your specs. PC gaming vs. web surfing
You force yourself to learn about computer components (this is my favorite part)

Con Building

Without “bundle packages” it can cost more
If you don’t know what you’re doing you can break things and lose your investment
No warranty if things go awry
Your time is valuable

My little monster. I call him Asus Jr.

Honestly, it comes down to knowledge and willingness. My father stopped “building” his PCs years ago and started using Dell. He’s happy with it because he can still buy the upgraded components and pay on time (seriously, who uses this phrase? It just makes me think of paying bills within a time frame), and he doesn’t have to bother with installing them himself, which I’ll admit can be a big pain in the ass.  But here’s the thing with Dell. You may think you’re getting choices, but they’re still Dell’s choices. You get 3-4 Graphics card options, but that’s it. And it’s Dell’s price. If my heart is set on a certain Graphics card, at least I can shop around for the lowest price. Also, as Dad told me recently, they’ve stopped including a recovery disc in their systems. This is deplorable. The recovery disc was bad enough; you buy a PC and don’t even get a full, licensed copy of Windows on a disc (which really does come in handy, trust me). And now, you don’t even have that craphole of a recovery disc if something goes wrong. Also, Dell kind of forcibly chooses your operating system for you. Before Windows 8 it wasn’t a big deal. But now it’s like… Windows 8? Oh hell no. Windows 7 or no deal. I can choose that when I build my own PC. And I can choose to keep it as long as I want, no matter what components I replace. (OEM means your Windows license is set into your computer’s motherboard and processor. If you replace those, your Windows License will then become invalid).

Is the desktop market crashing? Not really. I do understand that many regular folks are very happy with a simple machine that will read your email and get on the internet. I realize that most people are switching to laptops, tablets and phones. But not everybody fits in that neat little package. I’m one of the [few] people that use my computer – still as a hobby – to edit videos and create content. I need the multi-tasking ability of a good CPU and graphics.

Sorry… I’m being very technical aren't I? I've learned a lot through building my own computers. It’s all free education I get when I research a product. That’s me, though. I love to research and learn. I find out what components work best for my situation, check it against my budget, and build at my own pace.

I never want someone to make my choices for me. I like my free will, thank you!

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