BUILDING vs Buying a Personal Computer

Since the earliest IBM PC computers, consumers have had the option of putting together their own computer system from compatible components. In the earliest days, this offered a significant savings for consumers who were willing to buy third party parts from smaller manufactures. Things have changed a lot since then, but there are still significant advantages to building a machine from parts rather than buying a pre-built system.


All computer systems sold on the market are a collection of components that provide a functional computing system. Processors, memory and drives are just some of the components that make up a system and allow us to differentiate one system from another. As such, the performance and quality of a system is determined by the parts used in its construction.

So what is the difference between a store bought system and a custom built machine from parts? There could be almost no difference to a very significant difference based on the parts selected for the machine. With this in mind, let’s examine some of the advantages and disadvantages of building a computer from parts rather than buying a system.


The most distinguishing advantage to building a computer from scratch is the selection of parts. Most computer systems come pre-built with the specifications and components already selected for you. This often can lead the user to have to sacrifice certain features that they may not want to give up. By building a computer from components, the user is able to choose the parts that best match the computer system they desire. Some vendors do allow you to customize a computer system, but you are still limited to their selection of parts.

Another thing that users may not be aware of with pre-built systems is that two of the exact same model computer can actually have very different parts. The reason for this has to do with suppliers, parts available at the time the system was built and just pure luck. For example, Dell might switch between multiple suppliers of memory because one is less expensive then the other. Buying all the parts on your own guarantees what parts you will get in your PC.

One of the less tangible advantages to building a computer from scratch is knowledge. By building a computer from scratch, a user is able to learn and understand how the parts work together. This information becomes immensely valuable when troubleshooting computer problems. The knowledge of what components control the different sub-systems of a computer means users can repair their own hardware problems without having to deal with support groups or expensive repair labor bills. Here at Alameda Business Machines, we provide you with personal computer support guaranteed.


The biggest disadvantage with building a computer is the lack of any one support organization you will be dealing with. Since each component can and likely will come from a different manufacturer and/or store means that if a part has a problem, you will have to deal with the appropriate company. With pre-built systems, you only have to deal with the manufacturer and their warranty service.

HOWEVER, here at Alameda Business Machines, we do all the work for you. All the research and the actual build. You let us know what you want and we find the most cost effective way to build your computer according to your specification. If a problem arises, all you have to do is call us and we’ll be your technical support. It’s all part of our guaranteed customer service.

The second biggest disadvantage with building a computer system is cost. In most cases, the cost of building a computer will be slightly more expensive than purchasing a pre-built computer. This is due to the fact that the manufacturers can buy in bulk for steep discounts that translate into savings on the computer system. They also include software with the systems that must be purchased separately when building a system. OEM software purchased with hardware does help reduce the costs on custom built systems.

The cost disadvantage does not always hold true though. As the more money one is willing to spend on a computer system, the more likely you will be able to save money by building the PC yourself. This has to do with the top of the line specialized systems are often marked up for extra profits per unit by the manufacturers. So, if you are looking to spend big, investigate building it yourself first. You can always call us to get our opinion or just to make sure we’re following what you want. We always to in-depth research for each specification and make sure the price is reasonable.

You won’t have to worry about cost, before we actually order the parts and go through with the build we meet with you and give you a rundown of the cost and the parts. We want to make sure you are totally satisfied with your computer.

So come to Alameda Business Machines TODAY and order your very own custom built computer.


Originally Alameda Typewriter, ABM COMPUTERS has served the entire San Francisco Bay Area with professional, first-rate IT support and computer sales from the same location since 1939. Building on decades of experience, along with a dedicated team, we continue to provide in-shop and on-site standout, services and comprehensive, affordable solutions for all your computing needs.

Posted on January 22, 2014, in Computer Advice. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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