You’ve come to a point where you need a new computer. Should you head to the local electronics megastore and see what’s on the rack, or should you try and build a system yourself?
First off, you need to ask some fundamental questions. What is your budget? What do you expect from a computer? What will its primary functions be? Do you want it for gaming, or to surf the Web and create documents and spreadsheets? Will you be doing a lot of photo editing and artwork?
These are just some of the things to consider. Also, what kind of money are you willing to spend not only on the computer, but a printer, monitor, security software, separate data storage devices, webcams etc.
We’ll take a stroll down both paths, and I’ll try to keep things as easy to understand as I can, and limit the techspeak, unless it’s unavoidable.
Buying a New System
There are several manufacturers in the computing world, and each one makes several different types of systems. I won’t use brand names, as each company has its own merits, and its own drawbacks. Just remember, a good rule of thumb these days is a new computer system is generally obsolete after a year, sometimes sooner.
Another thing to keep in mind is expandability. A key question to ask is can you upgrade components easily? With some manufacturers, you can only use the parts that they make, such as RAM and power supplies. As time passes, the cost of replacing parts becomes a problem, as well as even being able to find them.
Don’t let these things throw you, however. Many companies are leading edge, and do their best to stay current, if not ahead, of the game. Just be aware that you’ll pay a premium for the newest features, but the cost usually doesn’t pay for itself in the long run.
Always do your homework on a particular system that catches your eye. There is plenty of information available on all the devices and gadgets out there, and if something about a system is suspect or faulty, it won’t take long to be made known to the world.
Also, don’t be shy about grilling a salesperson about features that you don’t understand or have heard bad things about. Rule of thumb on this is: If the salesman can’t answer your questions, don’t be led astray. It’s your investment, and any investment is worth understanding fully.
Building a System
Here’s where things get really interesting. If you’ve never put a computer together, it can seem impossible. However, if you have a small amount of mechanical ability and patience, you’ll find this to be a very rewarding pursuit.
You’ll also get a good understanding of how each component makes up an overall computer, as well as how each one works. I’ve personally built more machines than I can easily count, and each time out it’s always similar, but also very different.
A trip to a bookstore or the ‘Net will get you more than enough information for a complete overview of how a PC is constructed.
One of the main considerations on building your own machine is that you can blow your budget quickly on components. Always try to get the most value for the money you’re willing to spend, and shop around for the best bargains. Again, do your homework and research before heading to the store.
If you’d like to send questions to me, please feel free to visit my Website and I’ll be happy to answer your queries, or point you in the right direction.
Good luck, and happy computing!