Topic of the Week: When getting a new PC, do you build or buy? | PCGamesN

Topic of the Week: When getting a new PC, do you build or buy?

Topic of the Week: Building or buying a PC

There are a lot of reasons why you might be contemplating a new rig at the moment. Maybe you’ve become terrified by the VRAM apocalypse, or you’re desperate to ensure you can make The Witcher 3 look better than real life, or perhaps you just want to get yourself one of those fancy new 9 Series GPUs that Nvidia’s released. 

But before you even start looking at components, there’s one big question that must be answered: do you buy a prebuilt PC, or build one yourself? And that’s our Topic of the Week. 

As always, I’ll get the ball rolling. 

I am a lazy man. Avoiding stress is my life goal. Despite this, I have built my own PC before, though I did need some help. It was not a fun experience. There are so many things that could go wrong, and even when they didn’t, I never felt relaxed. The ever present threat of cocking up loomed over me.

There were benefits, sure. I now know my PC inside and out, and god knows I ended up learning a lot more about this mechanical creature that sits next to my desk in the day I spent putting it together than I had in the years before I decided to get my hands dirty. 

But I’ll never do it again. I will happily pay someone else, someone who does it for a living. And at least if something goes wrong, it’s not my fault. 

What about you lovely folk? Are you builders or do you have minions for that? 

Subnautica
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RadioActiveLobster avatarLunatitch avatarMrJinxed avatarRob Zacny avatarRuneclaw69 avatarShriven avatar+18
Lunatitch Avatar
148
3 Years ago

Builder :-)

Started off building my own PC's with my dads spare parts, built my first proper PC when I was 18~19ish (AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+, 4GB DDR2-800, ATI x1350 or 1650, can't recall) and been building them ever since.

It's cheaper, you get to pick your specific brands & parts and there's an immense satisfaction to having your self built "beast" boot up for the first time (and equal panic if it doesn't).

Recently my fiancé built her own PC as well, that was a magic journey haha :)

[EDIT] And everything pretty much only fits in their own slots, so it's very hard to make a mistake.

3
MrJinxed Avatar
909
3 Years ago

I customize it to my liking in terms of individual parts, and then I pay someone to assemble. I have no problems replacing parts on my own, but I think it's over 15 years ago that I last assembled my own computer. I used to do it for a living, and I got fed up with it.

3
Rob Zacny Avatar
101
3 Years ago

If there were one thing I could change about PC gaming... well, it'd probably be a lot of other things first. But EVENTUALLY I'd get around to the overzealous "build your own" evangelists.

Like, I get it. You can get MUCH more bang for your hardware dollar if you construct your own PC. And it's easier to do this than ever before. That said, I have NEVER enjoyed the experience and I think it chases a lot of people off from the hobby who would otherwise enjoy PC gaming. When you just want a freaking box that plays PC games, the last thing you need is a 100 people making you feel dumb for wanting to take the easy option.

On the other hand, there's only one manufacturer who really made me feel I got my money's worth: Falcon Northwest. That machine ran smoothly and hassle-free for like three years. With ever other pre-built PC I've ever used, the annoying conflicts and crashes and glitches started cropping up within weeks or months. There is something to be said for someone who not only puts the parts together, but also stress-tests the machine, fixes hardware conflicts, and makes sure it's actually hitting the benchmarks it should be hitting.

I think maybe that's the big difference. Any idiot (including this one) can slap parts inside a box and connect power cables. It's much harder to know what to do when things are MOSTLY working okay, but they're not quite right. That's how you end up with a lot of new hardware and an always-janky experience.

3
subedii Avatar
753
3 Years ago

Afraid I'm one of the "build your own" category.

.

That said, I think one of the key problems with the pre-built PC frequently isn't the hardware itself (although that can be a concern with retailers often skimping on things like a decent PSU or motherboard), it's that you almost never get a blank slate PC.

.

What you frequently get is an install with a half-dozen bloatware apps and subscriptions to anti-virus software that you're never going to renew and that are likely to clog up your system. Combined with the fact that they almost never provide the original OS disc, but instead a "restoration" disc that simply replaces all this trash all over again.

.

It's one of the reasons I'm interested in seeing where SteamOS takes us. A game oriented OS that anyone can download and install for free onto their hardware. This combined with Steamboxes does actually sound a fair way to the solution you're looking for.

.

Personally? I suspect I'm still going to keep building my own, but I'm definitely interested in dual booting SteamOS when it becomes available to see what it's like.

2
Greedo Avatar
13
3 Years ago

This is very true. I LOVE building my own PCs and have helped family and friends with theirs, but would never ever expect any of them to fancy doing it themselves! Part of the 'fun' for me is in the diagnosing of problems and I appreciate this is not normal...

Also, my brother bought a pre-built and I am a bit jealous because it looks tidy, has cool flashing lights and isn't full of dust.

1
Htorne Avatar
501
3 Years ago

To me the assembling part is the best part, that and unpacking all the crisp super expensive over the top quality components, that always comes with swag from stickers to small LCD gadgets. Problem is that wife thinks doing this more than once a year is too expensive. But in May each year I build a new system, and wife gets the old one. I LOVE IT.

3
Greedo Avatar
13
3 Years ago

The best bit about building is the wife factor - justifying new bits for mine so she can improve hers with the hand-me-downs. Everyone's a winner!

2
Runeclaw69 Avatar
175
3 Years ago

I put together my own gaming PC back in December last year. I watched a few detailed videos on YouTube on how to build one with my hardware while I waited for all the parts to arrive.

The only part I was worried about was the thermal paste between the CPU and the cooler. I was afraid I would put too much or too little, or that it would not cover the needed area. Other than that, I did not have any problems setting it up.

It's not much that can go wrong when you build one. The RAM can only go into the slots one way, the CPU was clearly marked showing witch corner should point where when I installed it, the graphics card went into the top PCI-E port etc.

Somehow it all ended up looking rather nice when completed: http://www.gamereactor.se/media/forum/se/14818194_58.jpg

2
subedii Avatar
753
3 Years ago

Honestly the Thermal Paste is THE area that stresses almost every person building their PC for the first time (and frequently after that). It doesn't help that there's a ridiculous amount of contradictory advice on "the best way" to do it.

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I feel like that's the most important bit that's missing in modern PC building in terms of intuitiveness. You fix that, and effectively everything you've got to do is modular.

1
Htorne Avatar
501
3 Years ago

LOL back in the 90ies I used to downgrade my father's computer as well - all of a sudden his CPU was no longer running 133MHz but a mere 75MHz. Thanks to Norton I was also soon running a new hard drive and at some point I also got a memory upgrade.

Even went so far to declare computers dead at my high school, only to loot the trash a few day later. Teachers were so gullible back then. Delete autoexe.bat and tell the teacher that the computer appears to be broken beyond repair :)

1
Shriven Avatar
3488
3 Years ago

Im a little in both camps.

Money goes a lot further with making your own.

Zero hassle getting a professional to make it for you.

If you have the extra cash, get someone to make it. Nothing beat the feeling inn 2009 when I spent £800 on a Rig that was handbuilt, tested and delivered to my exact preferences within 4 days.

If i was more tech savy with the setup side of making me own rig, I would. After that great Adam Oxford PC Gamer video showing how to do it, I warmed hugely to the idea though.

Bottom line, Id build it if I was confident over setting the thing up.

2
Dog Pants Avatar
1389
3 Years ago

My PC's like Trigger's broom. I bought it back in the day, but only because it actually turned out cheaper than building it at the time. I'd been secretly upgrading my Dad's PC against his orders and knew my way around the inside of one, so I figured even if it had cheap, shitty parts I could replace the duff ones. I've never fully built or bought a machine since, just upgraded the same one when it needed it. There's nothing left of the original now though.

2
Matanuska Avatar
96
3 Years ago

Build it. I've heard people refer to assembling computers as "adult legos", and that's what it pretty much is to me. I find it a lot of fun. I'd build someone else's for free.

2
huldu Avatar
251
3 Years ago

I find most my computer parts in dumpsters, you'd be surprised what people are throwing away. Sure, it ain't exactly state of the art but it runs most games, except the newer ones using dx11 and sm 5.0!

2
(5rC)IamLeRanger Avatar
3
3 Years ago

Personally I'm a builder in fact I'm building one now

2
Vit Avatar
23
3 Years ago

I don't understand the question.

First I buy

THEN I build

:P

2
luttman23 Avatar
15
3 Years ago

Builder.

I do it because it's cheaper and you can buy each bit separately over a few months. It's usually pretty easy, except recently for me, when I tried installing a new fan... The fan required me to screw it into place and didn't have a 'stop screwing now' indicator, resulting in me crushing some pins on my motherboard. So now I need a new motherboard.

2
unwanted Avatar
789
3 Years ago

Definitely in the "build your own" camp. I love putting the parts together. I can see the appeal of buying pre-built, especially if you know what you're getting already.

1
Stranger Avatar
104
3 Years ago

I would say build for sure. You learn new things, you gain confidence in your computer it is easy and best of all you save money.

1
Dalien Avatar
32
3 Years ago

Build - I don't think I'll ever buy a factory machine ever again, except if I have plenty of cash to spare and it's for convenience's sake.

I built my first PC a couple of years ago... I had an experienced co-worker help me pick out the parts online and he gave me some sage advice. When everything had arrived by mail, my co-worker was sick and couldn't help me assemble it - I did it by myself and my machine's been happily humming along ever since!

1
Findaer Avatar
49
3 Years ago

I like to build. I like knowing the level of quality in each component, knowing what is strong and what I would be in line to upgrade, and having no additional software besides the OS. That it is cheaper is a bonus.

1
Quantieme Avatar
17
3 Years ago

I happen to be a builder as well as so many other people. It's quite fun to unpack the stuff and assemble it, cleaning is a lot less fun though.

1
Mountain_Man Avatar
731
3 Years ago

I haven't bought a pre-built PC in about two-decades.

1
SgtSmokey86 Avatar
1
3 Years ago

Neither my rig evolves. I buy hardware as and when it releases then just replace it.

It started as:

Amd phenom II 955

cheap mobo

1600mhz corsair vengeance 8gb

2GB 6970

Cheap case

Then:

Amd 8320 fx

asus m5a97

Same ram

same gpu

same case

Then:

Same cpu

Same mobo

r9 290x

h100i

Same ram

corsair carbide 300r case

Now it is

5820k

asus max' x99

Corsair dominance 2600mhz 16gb

r9 290x

corsair carbide 300r

Corsair cx750m

Next I am buying the 980 ti when they release it.

I dont buy new or build fresh I upgrade as and when they release the hardware.

1
solsurfer2008 Avatar
1
3 Years ago

Build, its usually cheaper, not that hard, and gives you a sense of ownership that just isn't there with purchased pc's.

1
RadioActiveLobster Avatar
59
3 Years ago

Build your own. [/thread]

0
huldu Avatar
251
3 Years ago

My only issue with computer parts is that once the motherboard is "outdated" you have to pretty much replace every component. That's quite expensive if you're sitting on some ancient parts. At least I'm no longer on a motherboard using AGP so that's a step up for me.

1
Mountain_Man Avatar
731
3 Years ago

Even then, it's still way cheaper than buying a pre-built. Go to a site like Alienware or Falcon Northwest, reduce the prices by 65%, and that's about how much it would cost to build the same computer yourself.

.

And now that Linux is a viable alternative to Windows for gaming, subtract another $200 from the final cost. :)

1