There are a lot of factors to consider when looking to get a new computer, pre-built is great for convenience but for performance purposes, custom can’t be beat. For some it’ll come down to what you’re looking to do – are you looking to game online for real money bonuses or is this something more geared towards just browsing the internet and creating word docs. We’ll take a look at the pros and cons for each, and help you make an informed decision of which route is best to go down depending on different needs.
One of the biggest factors to consider with any new system is going to be in the cost – whilst going custom will always save some money as there are no additional labor costs or taxes tacked on top, over the past few years this has become a more difficult option with high ticket items like graphics cards being much harder to come by because of other markets like crypto mining.
On the other hand, paying a little more isn’t exactly a bad thing for ensuring things like cable management is done correctly as well as paying for other expertise – these can be skills learnt by doing too, but if it’s the first time going after a new build, spending that little extra to achieve this isn’t entirely a negative thing.
Build quality and compatibility
There’s often the question of what will actually work too – sites like PC Part Picker will help newcomers find out if something’s incompatible, but when it comes to choosing the best parts for build quality whether that be coolers, storage, or even power supply. Much like parts of the above, knowing what to choose and what’s compatible often only comes with experience and is something of a learning process within itself.
Some parts will naturally be of better quality or better performance than others, and understanding the cost to performance ratio here is important for build quality too and goes back to something mentioned right at the beginning – is this simply a word processing machine, or are the tasks going to be heavier handed? This may be another reason to go with a pre-built device, as it removes either much of the guess work or much of the knowledge that comes with any new build.
Skills required to build
The last point comes down to what’s actually needed to put a new build together, and something often misunderstood by newcomers too. Many tech channels will encourage those who’ve yet to try to explore giving it a go, as modern components are designed often to only fit in one way with everything labelled much clearer that they were in the past – because of this putting a modern system together is as simple as LEGO.
Whilst things can go wrong and for some they do, there are often few real skills needed to complete a build with cable management being likely the only exception and there’s a heap of content out there to help with this too. Choosing to go pre-built does remove this part of the process, but also the satisfaction of putting in the time to learn too.
Ultimately it comes down to a case-by-case basis – not everybody has the time nor the will to put a new system together, and some have the additional budget to pay slightly over the odds. Availability means choosing either approach is much more feasible than it has been for a longer time, however, and for those looking to get a new system or find some viable upgrades, a lull in competing markets make it a very real possibility to do so.