Why you want to build or upgrade your own computer
by Greg Gervin
Many people ask why they should build their own computer or upgrade their existing computer when they could so easily go online and order a pre-built machine. As it turns out, there are actually quite a few reasons to build your own machine, and after you hear them you will wonder why you ever considered a pre-built system.
Consider the hardware.
With pre-built computers you don’t get much of a choice of what hardware goes into it. Many manufacturers use basic stripped down versions of popular motherboards and other components, in order to save costs. These parts generally have fewer features, and lower quality parts, than something you could buy individually on your own. Power supplies used in many pre-built systems are notoriously low quality. In past years this has not been much of a factor, but with today’s hardware an efficient quality power supply is of utmost importance.
Options, options, options
When ordering a pre-built computer many manufacturers like to point out how many “customizable options” they provide with their service. In reality, many of them don’t offer more than a handful of options when it comes to hardware; in fact, more often then not, customers are usually only given choices between basic necessities such as hard drive size and amount of memory the system will have. Don’t be stuck with lower quality onboard sound, or low powered graphics cards. Get the RAM that you want in terms of speed and latency. You want your PC to have as many options and as high a performance level as possible—that’s why building one yourself is the best way to go.
Technology moves fast, and in order to play the latest games and use cutting edge graphics programs you need to have hardware that is up to the task. Most of the time your existing system will only lack one or two important components in order to run the latest applications. For example, many new games place greater emphasis on faster and more advanced graphics cards and less importance on actual system CPU speed. This means that many times all you will need to do is upgrade just your video card instead of your entire system.
But a huge disadvantage of buying pre-built is exactly the lack of easy upgradeability. Often, pre-built systems are designed in such a way that even adding just an additional hard drive might be too much for the power supply to handle. The manufacturer saves money by including only exactly what is needed, but you find yourself unable to upgrade. By building your own system you can factor in future power needs into your build and not worry about power when you add additional drives later.
Even if the power supply has enough capacity to power more than you bought at first, many manufacturers design their cases and hardware to be proprietary. A proprietary design means that only the manufacturer’s specific hardware works together. If you decide to add a new video card, change your motherboard or do just about anything else, you can’t unless you buy their purposely pricey part, and your only other option is buying a completely new system. (In fact, that’s why they do it that way.) Even if your prebuilt system is in a standard case (with extra room) rather than a special case completely stuffed with parts, often they are of lower quality and can give you cuts just by touching the metal. With Antec cases, you have a quality case and complete freedom to pick from a variety of components to fit whatever needs you have.
Overclocking and BIOS features
A relatively easy way to get a little extra speed out of your system is to overclock it (make the CPU and memory run at a faster speed than default). This is all done through the BIOS on your motherboard. Unfortunately this option, as well as many other even simpler BIOS optimizations are unavailable on the stripped down motherboards and proprietary BIOS chips that many hardware manufacturers use. Not only that, but the power supplies that many pre-built systems come with are not up to the task of providing any extra power that your system needs.
With many newer systems running dual core, dual processor, and even dual video cards, you need to make sure that you have a power supply that is able to give your components the power they need. Don’t trust your components to cheaply made power supplies; bad power can damage your components. Quality power supplies like those made by Antec are specifically designed to distribute power evenly and efficiently throughout your system—ensuring that all your components have the power they need—and are equipped with built in safety features to help prevent damage.
The bottom line is, when you build your own system you have a huge variety of options available to you to pick the quality components that you want. You also have headroom for upgradeability and the freedom to tweak your systems options. With Antec cases you can use a variety of components, and can configure your system the way you want it instead of being confined to a proprietary case made by a manufacturer that would rather see you buy a whole new system then be able to replace a few parts. With Antec power supplies you get efficient and reliable power that is designed to power the most demanding hardware. When you choose Antec products, you can be assured that you have quality products you can rely on. Building your own system empowers you with the freedom to create a system that suits you and fits your needs. Antec products provide you with a solid foundation to build your PC on, and that’s why Antec is The Power of You!