Advantages and Disadvantages
First and foremost, you know exactly what is going into your computer, and you can customize it to your needs. Do you want a specific graphics card? How about a specific motherboard? Dell only gives you so much to choose from. When building a computer, you have hundreds of choices. Plus you can pick out any case you want, unlike with Dell, where you only have a choice of their distasteful designs. It can be any color, from Black to Yellow, and most cases now come with a side window and neon lights so that you can show your computer off to your friends.
The next most important advantage is the price. Compared to NewEgg’s prices for parts, Dell is ripping you off by over 50%. If you would like an above average system (quad core, 4 gigs of ram, 750 gig hard drive, an nVidia 8600) you would end up spending over a $1100. You could see clearly that Dell is overpricing you on the RAM ($150). Building this computer on your own would total out to be around $650, with monitor and all. It is an easy way to save $450, and get exactly what you want.
Not only is a computer cheap to build but it is also fun and educational. It is the best way to learn about how the parts of a computer interact with each other, and what specs to look for when buying accessories. There are millions of different combinations when putting together a computer, and it is lots of fun to find the combination that is perfect for you.
Building a computer is very easy. Anyone who can put together a puzzle has the brains to put together a computer. If you have absolutely no computer knowledge though, it might be a bit harder though. If you do not know what RAM or a hard drive is, I would strongly discourage you from building a computer, before learning a bit about it. There are many manuals out there on how to build a computer. In fact I will write one on MeanPC very soon. It is really not as hard as it seems. There are only 5-10 major parts and a few cables.
Another disadvantage is warranty. Most computers, especially Dells come with a 1 or 2 year warranty. If your computer breaks, they will fix it. When building your own computer, it is not that simple. Even though most of the expensive parts (like the cpu, hard drive, and monitor) have warranties included, it might be a bit tedious to figure out which parts are not working, and to send them to the company compared to with a Dell, where you just send in the whole computer. If you are a busy person, or don’t like to play around with your computer, this could be a big issue.
Another disadvantage you should consider is compatibility. There are a few pointers you should watch out for (which I will write about in the how to build a computer article). But for the most part if your mobo and cpu are both AMD or are both Intel, you should be fine 80% of the time.
In conclusion, building a computer is definitely a better option than buying one, even if it is from a company like Dell. There are very little risks, if you follow some basic guidelines, and it will save you a lot of money. So if you have time, basic computer knowledge, and like technology try building your next computer. You will thank yourself for it. J