Is it Worth to Buy or Build a Computer?

Hey all, back to help you decide which would be more of a value and of course a benefit to build or to buy a computer! This is a big deal because whether to believe in this or not, either way it is a huge decision to make. The intention of this article is to have more of a focus on the idea that both are good options, along with presenting the tools needed to make the best of both worlds.

From personal experience the biggest difference and probably one of the most important factors would be the price ranges and ways to save money. This will be the primary focus while briefing on things such as, build, performance, and accessories.

It can be very beneficial to build your own computer. My recommendation is building your own computer, however there can be some merit to actually purchasing a prebuilt computer and doing your own maintenance. After my own experience and some research I discovered some key points that might help you. Let’s take a look at some of those.

How to Decide to Build or Buy

Here are some steps you should follow or questions you should ask yourself while going through this process of deciding to buy or build a computer. This is to set you up for success and know what you want when purchasing a computer or building one. Take a look at a few questions to consider.

  1. Goal – what is your goal for the computer, Gaming? Photography? Storage? Basic Usage?
  2. Budget – How much do you have to spend on a computer?
  3. Time – Do you want to invest Time into building the computer?
  4. Longevity – Willingness to upgrade and upkeep the computer
  5. Accessories – What kind of accessories are you getting along with computer, IE keyboard, mouse, headset, monitors, etc

These will play a huge role before moving forward and jumping straight into a decision on what is right for you. The parts inside the computer are good to know before hand because this will help make a final choice and continue forward with the decision to build or buy a computer.

As we all know price ranges can vary depending on the route, the journey, or in some cases to the stairways of heaven from seeing the fluctuation of pricing: 

  • Case
  • Processor
  • Graphics Card
  • Motherboard
  • RAM
  • Power Supply
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor

Some of these are directly correlated to actually building a computer as most prebuilt computers come with a majority of parts already installed. However, we are able to identify the parts needed to keep an eye on when looking into each piece, and will begin to notice the differences through prices and actual performance.

Now starting out and getting into what each aspect of both sides have to offer and look at each question we asked ourselves earlier beginning with a Prebuilt PC. I will leave a link to Check List Creation as it will serve you as a guide in this article also. There will be similarities to make things easier to understand moving forward and really hone in on which is more worth.

Comparison between buying and building a computer

Let’s take a bigger step and have a look at some average price comparisons to get a better idea on the price between the two comparisons. With this in mind we can look at the comparisons and get a strong visual on what PC is a best fit for you. 

Prebuilt Computer Price Ranges

First we will look at a tier list for Prebuilt computer prices for a good gaming PC:

  • Cheap:1150$
  • Moderate:1400$
  • Expensive:1800$
  • Loaded: 2000$+

Here is one example from another article Check List Creation where I look at a custom built computer, parts included.

(Case)Corsair Crystal 208x RGB Micro-ATX Case$182.99
(Processor)Intel Core i7-9700F Desktop Processor 8 Core Up to 4.7 GHz Without Processor Graphics LGA1151 300 Series 65W$368.99
(Motherboard)Asus Prime Z390-A LGA 1151 ATX Motherboard$179.99
(Graphics Card)MSI GeForce RTX 2060 DirectX 12 RTX 2060 GAMING 6G 6GB 192-Bit GDDR6 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP$369.99
(RAM)Crucial 16GB DDR4-2666 RDIMM$89.99
(SSD)Samsung 860 EVO 1TB Internal SATA Solid State Drive$129.99
(Power Supply)EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G1+ Power Supply – 80 PLUS Gold – 750W$136.49
(Heat Sink with Coolant)Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler, CORSAIR – TM30 Performance Thermal Paste$42.00

Grand total of this computer is $1886 which is expensive! But this is one of the newer generation gaming computer. It is prebuilt but it has things that should last quite a long time. The important thing to note is what’s on the inside, now having more of an insight and the know-how of the parts so later down the road you have the ability to replace said part. That will give the computer a much longer life span than it would if by just using it till it died out on you.

Look back up to the price chart above and can clearly see this would be considered expensive. There are parts that could be added that would make this thing even more pricey! The most expensive parts here that drive up the cost so much is the processor and the graphics card, 2 of the most valuable parts when it comes to gaming or anything that involves multiple tasks on a computer. 

These price ranges can be skewed though as most prebuilt PC’s only offer so much power before even thinking about the need or the want to look into custom computers.

So if you wanted to get into streaming, art, or even photography but require a more powerful computer, maybe consider these details when looking into what kind of PC fits your goals, wants, and budget.

Custom Computer Price Ranges

Custom Computer Price Ranges

Now that we have seen a bracket for Prebuilt Computers lets look at a the tier list for Custom Build Computers:

  • Cheap:1500$
  • Moderate:1800$
  • Expensive:2100$
  • Loaded:2500$+

Not much difference from above is it? That is because price will be dictated by what parts are being used in a PC. Even a prebuilt PC as shown above can be quite expensive. But that is the joy of a custom built computer, as it gives you the freedom to really put together the parts and create a decently priced PC that fits into your budget.

Here is a look at a similar PC build while changing out the crucial parts to bring down the price while not losing too much power.

(Case)Corsair Crystal 208x RGB Micro-ATX Case$182.99
(Processor)Intel Core i7-9700F Desktop Processor 8 Core Up to 4.7 GHz Without Processor Graphics LGA1151 300 Series 65W$368.99
(Motherboard)Asus Prime Z390-A LGA 1151 ATX Motherboard$179.99
(Graphics Card)MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 192-Bit HDMI/DP 6GB GDRR5 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card$209.99
(RAM)Crucial 16GB DDR4-2666 RDIMM$89.99
(SSD)Samsung 860 EVO 1TB Internal SATA Solid State Drive$129.99
(Power Supply)EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G1+ Power Supply – 80 PLUS Gold – 750W$136.49
(Heat Sink with Coolant)Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler, CORSAIR – TM30 Performance Thermal Paste$42.00
(Mouse) Logitech M325 – Wireless Optical Mouse – Black$16.99
(Keyboard) Logitech K120 Keyboard, black$15.99
(Monitor) Acer – SA240Y 23.8″ IPS LED FHD Monitor – Black$99.99

The grand total for this make is $1473. That is almost $400 cheaper than the previous build and taking a closer look there are even accessories that are included such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

That is the idea behind what makes custom computers so great. We took the above prebuilt computer and created our own build to make a similar gaming PC but saved ourselves a lot of money!

Buying a PreBuilt Computer

Buying a prebuilt computer might be cheap and easy to grab to kickoff and start on your adventure into fantasy worlds, design, and graphic arts but how long do they last? Prior experience from purchasing them over the years, they could last up to a year maybe two years if you take care of it just like the Lamborghini you own. Wait you don’t have a Lamborghini? That’s okay, neither do I! 

The fact is that they don’t last long and are designed to be replaced in a years time due to the technology they install in the prebuilt computers. But now there is a way to bypass this aspect with a little bit of time and knowledge. How? Simple, knowing what parts are inside so we can effectively replace said parts.

Not only will this save everyone time and money, it will salvage eventual moments from the hassle of having to replace your computer so soon. It will also give you the ability to take care of it better to really enhance its life span.

The important part to take away from looking into a prebuilt computer is the same saver. We can always look what’s under the hood and get an idea of what parts do what or the replacements of parts. It will just come down to, do you wanna spend money on something you don’t know getting into the game faster or taking the time to get to know your computer and enhance the lifespan of it.

Building a Custom Computer

As for the custom build computers, they can last much longer. By longer I mean a few more months at best. Well why spend the time and money building your own if they last about the same time? Patience! The best part is, you are able to replace and upgrade parts of your computer to ever evolve it with new tech! So exciting! 

Upgrading is the sole reason I give custom build computer a point over a Prebuilt. Even if it does take more time, the end result is you are able to save more money if the only need is to buy a graphics card costing 600$ alone to make a PC last another year or 2 rather than buying a brand new 700-900$ cheap gaming PC that will last the same time! You save a lot more money!

Style is by far the most appealing aspect to computers. The flashy lights, the different rainbow colors whizzing around inside a computer. 

The prebuilt computers do come with these things already in them depending on the price range of a budget. But the higher the cost, the more flashy colors you receive! Ask and you shall receive! The draw back to this is not having the choice or a say of the customization to create your own style of color pallet.

Maybe you wanna nice cool blue or a fiery red or orange. Well, forget that. Most prebuilt computers don’t let you make your own decisions! Help I need an adult!

Custom build computer is here to save the day on this one. Again no wonder so many love to build their own computers. Even if the thing takes hours to build! Cant stop won’t stop! Custom build computers allow you to pick and choose to match a specific style and as long as you get the right components you can customize these settings into the BIOS menu which we will talk about more in a future article!

In the end custom build PC’s allow for slightly more customization over prebuilt computers, how ironic! But we can assess that both are equally as good other than pricing.

Well we are back to where we started. Price. Of course it is always about the money! As the joker said in The Dark Knight, its not about the money, it’s about sending a message! So lets grab that 3000$ PC with all the flashy lights and send our message! I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t have 3000$ just laying around! So forget the lights?
There is always a happy medium with price for what you are looking for.

Giving yourself a budget with your PC is good and its no different from having super powerful hardware and parts that flash different color lights. But you get the creative aspect of making your style and sending a message that your computer is awesome!

Should you Buy or Build a Computer?

Let’s recap on everything we covered and see what would be the best fit for you.

Prebuilt Computer

  • Pre-built computers can be cheaper but the lack of longevity in comparison to custom build PC’s. 
  • You also don’t need to take much time learning and putting together the PC if you just buy a prebuilt one.
  • Most prebuilt computers have close to the same customization ability as custom built computers if you do the research.

Custom Computer

  • Custom computers take what prebuilt computers have and customize to your liking.
  • Can be cheaper if you have chosen parts to make it so.(cheaper graphics card or processor)
  • I would say custom computers are a copycat of a prebuilt computer, they use their original design against them and make it better by altering it to their strengths.

So then the answer would be Custom Computers right? Prebuilt computers are slightly better to purchase than a custom built computers due to saving time. However the main thing about prebuilt computers is they are short term while building a computer can last up to a couple years longer due to the knowledge of the parts inside.

This will give you the ability to repair, replace, and take care of them to get 2-3 years more out of your computer before you really need to buy new parts. 

I think in the end it comes down to what you want to get out of your next computer and what are your goals. I will always recommend learning and build your own PC as it merits more value in the long run. I was also the kid who LOVED legos so building things was kind of my thing!

Essentially you can do the same thing no matter which one you buy, the difference is again, the price. As you saw above, we took a prebuilt computer and changed a few things to really save money and get the accessories we needed. So you are looking at a comparison of time vs money.

After my journey of building my own custom PC, one thing is for certain. That is, you will never know until you actually give it a try. Sometimes, just doing it will give you a better experience then thinking about it. Before I built my PC, it was a little nerve wrecking and scary to think about it. Specially because I had no idea what part was what!

But, with a little research and time I was able to overcome that fear and just dive into what I felt was the right option for me.

I don’t regret it to this day, and after a solid 5 years my computer is still running strong!

So did this article help? I hope I at least was able to give you the information that was needed to make a decision on whether or not to buy a prebuilt computer or build your own! It can be a tough decision at first. Specially if you have never built your own computer before!

I have tons of articles that will help you along your journey to building your own computer if you so choose. Even if you take the route of buying a prebuilt. I have articles that will give you some tips and tricks on taking your prebuilt and turning it into a customizable computer! 

Until next time, take care and have a fantastic day!