Should you buy a PC or build one yourself?

Should you buy a PC or build one yourself?

Making your PC a DIY project can be an incredibly fun and rewarding hobby. Instead of buying a pre-built system, you get to pick and choose which parts to use or not use, to customise it exactly how you want.

But is it worth it from an economic perspective? Let's get into the details.

Pre-built PCs are less expensive, but only at first

The bottom line is that purchasing a completely pre-built PC will initially be less expensive than making your own, but building your own from hand-chosen parts will save much more in the long run.

The quality of individually-purchased components is usually superior

Pre-built PCs often use components that are of lesser quality than parts you can buy individually. People who build PCs often do it because they want to use the best components available, so the market targets enthusiasts who want quality.

Lower-quality parts in preassembled systems degrade faster and won't be as reliable as components you can buy individually. If and when a pre-built PC's pieces fail, you'll likely have to buy specific replacement parts from the original seller or an entirely new system.

You can replace parts as needed instead of completely replacing your PC

If you have a PC you built yourself, you can replace parts as you see fit and upgrade far more easily. Say your memory fails on your self-built PC. You could purchase the exact same type you had before, but you can also get newer, faster memory.

A word of caution: You can't necessarily buy the fastest memory on the market, as everything connected to the motherboard has to be supported by it. If it isn't, it won't function optimally, if it even works at all.

Know thy motherboard

You'll need to familiarise yourself with what your motherboard does and does not work with. If you want more modern or just different components than what your motherboard can handle, you may need to buy an entirely new one.

The ability to upgrade parts individually is a big reason why self-built PCs are less expensive in the long haul. In theory, PCs you build yourself have a virtually indefinite lifespan — if your system starts to slow down, you can replace the aging parts with newer, faster components. You'll rarely, if ever, have to replace everything all at once as you usually would with a pre-built PC.

For more tips geared toward using your money wisely, follow our blog at WMC Accounting.

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