Computers have become central to pretty much all aspects of our lives. You use them for work, communicating with friends and family, for games and relaxation, for research and even for shopping. While there are still people who don’t have a computer in their homes, it’s become incredibly rare. Of course, at some point you’re going to need to upgrade your computer. Whether you want something faster or your old machine just doesn’t do what you need it to do, there will come a time when you need to buy a new one. When that time comes, you have two options – you can buy a prebuilt computer or you can build your own.
Prebuilt Computers – What to Know
Prebuilt computers are the most common option out there, and they always will be. The reason for that is pretty understandable – you just have to take it out of the box, plug it in and set it up. Then you’re off and running. There’s no real installation necessary apart from specific software that you want. However, buying a prebuilt computer might not be the simplest thing in the world.
You need to make sure that you know several different factors before you buy a system, including:
- Brand – If you’re buying a prebuilt computer, you’re buying a brand name system most likely. Make sure that you buy from a brand that you trust, and that it’s known for quality, longevity and functionality. Lenovo, HP, Sony and even the budget-brand Acer can be good options. However, never take a company at face value. Do some research and find out what customers are saying.
- Specs – Pay close attention to the specifications of any computer system you’re considering. The key specs to look at include the amount of RAM on board, the processor type and speed, the hard drive size, the operating system used (this can be changed later if necessary), and the number of ports and peripherals included with the system.
- Compare, Compare, Compare – It’s never advisable to rush out and buy the first appealing computer you find. Instead, you need to do some legwork and compare different machines from different companies. Make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples, as well – the specs for all the machines you compare should be similar.
Building Your Own – What to Know
Building your own computer might sound like something beyond your reach, but it’s actually not all that difficult. The actual assembly portion of the job doesn’t involve much more than attaching the motherboard within the case, connecting the power supply, adding the peripherals and then testing the system to make sure it works. The hard part is in deciding what components to put in the system to start with.
You’ll find that building your own machine can be far more affordable than buying a prebuilt computer. Components cost less when you buy them on their own, and you can build the same quality (or higher) as what you’ll find with most brands out there. The most important thing to do if you choose to build your own computer is to work with a reseller known for offering the highest quality components at the lowest possible prices.
You might also consider buying a barebones machine and then adding your own upgrades. This can be one of the most affordable ways to customize a system to meet your needs without doing the basic build yourself.
Regardless of which path you choose to follow (building your own or buying prebuilt), it’s important that you work with a company that can supply you with exactly what you want for the lowest price possible.
Stan Thompson offers advice on computer systems and computer accessories at CompuVest.com.