To Buy or To Build

AHScibbles asked the Desktops forum whether it's better to buy or build a desktop PC.

Unlike laptops, desktop PCs are little more than collections of standardized, off-the-shelf parts. If you feel comfortable with electronics and a screwdriver, and you're curious about the process, by all means, build yourself a PC.

Not only is it an interesting learning experience, but you get exactly the computer you want--or at least the best you can afford. And the PC won't come with junk that you don't want pre-installed.

But be aware of the downside: If you think you've gotten lousy technical support from major manufacturers or big box stores, just wait until you have no one to turn to but yourself. That alone is a good reason to buy a brand-name PC.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, there's a middle route: Find a local clone shop that builds PCs to order. Although not as common as they were 20 years ago, such stores still exist. Here you can pick the components you want and let someone more experienced put them together. And should you need support, you can directly call the person who built your PC.

If you decide to build your own PC, see The Perfect PC: Don't Buy It, Build It for detailed advice.

Read the original forum discussion.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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