However, while prebuilt computers can be fine if you do your research and choose one wisely (and accept their limitations), when you objectively compare building a PC vs buying a PC side by side, building just cannot be matched overall. Besides being able to boast about your feat to gaming buddies and forever look down on prebuilt-PC-owning peasants with their overpriced, under-performing, overheating piles of poop parts (just playin’), on a practical level there are many advantages to building your own computer (some of which may surprise you).
1. It Really is Quite Easy To Build A PC(Even if Not Tech-Savvy)
Similar to how an aspiring Jedi Master must construct their own lightsaber in order to ascend in rank, you could say building a PC is the rite of passage for gamers wanting to take their experience, knowledge, and understanding to the next level. But the great thing is, these days building computers really isn’t an overly complicated field reserved for computer science students, IT professionals, and hardcore tech enthusiasts (ones who perhaps throw in way too many Star Wars jokes at every possible opportunity).
Building PCs may have been a little trickier in the past, but nowadays it’s a whole lot simpler and something that’s accessible to gamers of any skill or knowledge level. The days of needing to be a tech whiz to build a computer were a long, long time ago in a decade far, far away (ok, I’ll stop now). In fact, you’ve probably already heard the now overused, cliche saying that building a PC is essentially “Adult Lego”. But is this an accurate comparison, or a bunch of baloney and people just over-exaggerating? Well, as Han Solo once said, it’s true… all of it
Building PCs has become more and more straightforward a process over the years, for various different reasons. For example, over time there’s been a continued standardization of hardware components and connections (eg there’s really only one way to fit and install something), manufacturers have continually strived to make components easier and easier to work with (eg good modern PC cases are a breeze to work with thanks to many user-friendly features), and the rise of quick and easy access to any sort of detailed information and resources online has also played its part.
2. Get the Fastest Performance for Your Money
End thread and case closed; this reason alone makes building a PC worth it for most people compared to buying a premade computer, especially for gaming and other demanding applications which need more powerful specs than the average PC user. If you play modern games, or even older ones which can still be demanding, you need fairly good hardware components to get a smooth experience (and even more so if you want to play on higher resolutions and on the best graphics quality settings.
That means you’ll want to choose a good video card and ideally have the fastest one you can get your hands on within your new system for the best gaming performance possible, but that’s where most prebuilt PCs fall short, as most will not come with the fastest graphics card for that system’s particular price, and will often include a card that’s a tier (or 2 or 3) below what you could get if you built your own PC instead. Many prebuilts, and even one’s advertised as being for gaming, tend to be more CPU-heavy at the expense of the graphics. For example, they might have a fast i7 processor, but paired with a lesser graphics card that will limit the gaming performance of your system.
To get the best gaming performance for your money, the better way to go for most people would be to flip that script and get a more powerful graphics card with a more cost-effective CPU (a mid-range CPU is usually more than enough for gaming). Yes, having a good CPU is still important (for gaming but also for general system performance and longevity), but for gamers it’s not as crucially important as the graphics card.
When you build a PC you have full control to choose the exact parts you want, including getting the fastest graphics card you can to fine-tune the balance of your system to skew towards maximum gaming performance (if that’s your aim). But this benefit of building your own PC applies no matter what you’re using your new system for. You have the freedom to tweak your component selections and build balance to maximize performance in whatever it is you plan to do whether that’s video editing, 3D rendering, streaming, game development, CAD, emulation, music production, machine learning, or just casually taking over the world.
3. Get Higher Quality, More Reliable Parts Build A PC
When you fork out all that money for a new computer, you want it to last as long as possible so the reliability and quality of your hardware components is arguably just as important as getting the fastest performing ones, and this is another key reason why building a PC is better than buying one.
You’ll find many prebuilt desktops that on the surface appear to have it all, including a good CPU, decent gaming graphics card, and a seemingly respectable supporting cast of components.
If you do some research and look closer “under the hood” of most prebuilt PCs, you’ll find that some (if not all) of the internal components are made up of cheaper, lower-quality models with average specs and features, from lesser-known, less reputable, cheaper brands and manufacturers. In other words, the overall specs of a system may sound just great to the untrained eye, but what’s actually included in the system might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
The far majority of companies that sell premade systems use cheaper parts in order to keep their outlay costs low and profits as high as they can be. This is good for them, but means less reliability, performance, cooling, and overall lastability for you. It’s just the nature of how the computer business works, because if companies used the best quality parts in their systems, they likely wouldn’t make much (if any) money as the margins would be too small.
This is why it’s not uncommon to have to really do some digging around to find out which exact component model, specs, and brands are included inside a particular prebuilt, as the main product listings oftentimes only quickly gloss over the generic specs without going into much detail (done on purpose).
When you build your own computer, you can avoid average parts and choose to only include good (or great) components from the most reliable, trustworthy brands to end up with a well-balanced system that’s quality throughout. You could say a PC is only as good as its weakest link; you can have the greatest “showy” parts in the world like a great CPU and GPU, but if your less flashy components (PSU, motherboard, etc) are a hazard then it all counts for nothing if they end up causing problems later on (or dying on you sooner than expected like Lord Stark).
4. Better Cooling for a Quieter, Longer-Lasting PC If you Build A PC
Building on the previous benefit, when you build a PC and have full control over only including good parts, you can also plan for maximum airflow and cooling. Having proper airflow within your PC is crucial for high-performance usage like gaming, but many prebuilt computers fall short in this regard, making this one of the biggest advantages to building a computer. With average or straight-up bad ventilation and airflow, your computer can get real hot and real loud real fast.
When you build a PC you can make doubly sure your new setup will be well-cooled from the start by choosing a well-designed case that promotes natural airflow, including sufficient case fans for your particular hardware configuration, rocking a good CPU cooler for your needs, as well as making sure all excess cabling within your rig is kept to a minimum and out of the way as they can restrict airflow and promote dust build-up (some prebuilts actually come quite crammed inside; not good).
5. Building a PC Can Save You Money
So, I’ve said that building computers means you get the best performance, the best quality, AND the best airflow/cooling. But at risk of sounding like a lame hype train, here’s what’s EVEN better about all of the above: if you choose and combine parts wisely by carefully pinpointing where the current best value PC parts are within the market, in many situations you can even get all these benefits AND save money in the process (compared to buying a PC).
When you look at all the advantages of building a computer, objectively speaking it really is worth the extra time and effort if you’re not in a crazy hurry to get a new setup up and running in the next 12 seconds. If you’ve read this far and (somehow) made it through it, there’s no doubt you possess much more than is required to build a PC.