A How-To Guide for Buying a Custom Built PC
With there being an increasing number of tech devices and gadgets available for gaming, the number of desktop computers being purchased in the UK today has shrunk. One niche within this industry that has experienced a lot of growth, however, is custom-built PCs.
Why Choose a Custom Built PC?
Wondering what the hype over custom-built PCs is about? Below are just some of the reasons why gamers and even general PC users are choosing to forego OEM (original equipment manufacturer) manufactured PCs and are choosing to have them built themselves:
- Customised PCs can include overclocked parts, which improves the speed and performance of your computer
- Every part used on your custom PC comes with a warranty (some of these warranties may even be lifetime warranties). Most OEM PCs only have a warranty which lasts for only one or two
- Purchasers can choose which brands will be used as parts in their PC. Your PC will perform better, and it will be more reliable.
- Custom-built PCs are built to meet your specific needs. If you are a hard-core gamer, then you can add in a great video card or two. If you are using your PC to record and produce music, you can equip your custom PC with a lot of RAM and with a top notch sound card
- Those who choose custom built PCs can even save money
Most custom PC builders will have an even longer and more extensive list of benefits that come with having a fully tailored computer in their home. The bottom line is that a customised computer is one that will serve you best and at a price you can control.
Picking Your Parts
Now for the tough part: picking the parts and components that you will be using for your system. The custom PC builder you choose to build your system will likely have some knowledgeable recommendations based on your needs; however it is important to understand your options so that you do end up with the right PC for your lifestyle.
The Size of Your Unit
One of the first considerations is choosing the size of your unit. PCs generally come in three sizes:
- Full tower
- Mini PCs
The most popular option is the mid-tower design. These towers are typically between 16 to 24 inches in height and depth, and up to 10 inches in width. This size is able to easily accommodate numerous hard drives, at least two video cards, as well as a cooler and overclocked processor.
For most custom PC users, a full-sized tower is unnecessary. A full-sized tower does offer more space than the mid-tower. However, they are more expensive, and they take up a lot of space.
The mini PC can be a good choice if the PC will be used for a very specific reason. While convenient and easy to move, they do not have the capacity to allow for many – if any – upgrades.
Choosing the Right Parts
When it comes to choosing your custom PC parts, it will likely boil down to two things:
- Which parts need to be premium quality; and
- Which parts do not need to be premium quality.
Which category a part will fall into will largely depend on how and why you will be using your PC. If you are a gamer, you can likely settle for “second best” when it comes to these parts:
- The Processor: A basic Core i5 quad core CPU works well.
- RAM: 8GB of RAM works just fine with most games today. If you need more memory later, it can be easily added.
- The Hard Drive: The hard drive does have an impact on how quickly a game loads, but a budget-wise compromise is pairing a mechanical drive with a small SSD.
What will have a significant impact on your gaming experience, however, is the video card. If you are unfamiliar with this area, then it is important that you seek recommendations from experienced custom PC builders prior to choosing the “best” video card for your system.
Most gamers are perfectly happy with a 1080p video card. If you plan on running games at 2560x1440p however, you will need to choose an incredibly powerful (and more expensive) single-GPU card.
Choosing Your Brands
What may very easily become the most time-consuming part of building your own computer is choosing the brands you want to use for the many different components, which will be included in your system. Computer savvy individuals will likely already have a lot of preference in terms of which brands they will use and for which parts, but for those who are unfamiliar with them; here are some things to consider:
- Some brands are always a “safe” choice. They typically are not the highest performers but these brands are known for well-rounded reliable parts
- Some brands specialise in certain areas (i.e. one brand may produce a fantastic sound card while the next brand is known for having an incredibly fast processor)
- Some brands should be avoided at all costs
When choosing which brand of parts you would like to use, consider what your needs are and find parts which will cater to those needs. Compare reviews online, speak to your custom PC builder such as Chillblast about which they would recommend (you can learn more about Chillblast on their website), and consider the pros and cons.
Obtaining a Warranty
The parts, which will be used in your system, will likely be covered by warranty. Your custom PC builder will also likely offer you a one-year warranty with the option of upgrading to a two or three-year warranty.
Choosing the right warranty for your PC depends on the cost of the system, how much you are able to afford, and what sort of benefits the custom PC builder offers. A growing number of custom PC builders are now offering free lifetime technical support, so having that three-year warranty may not be worth the extra £100-£500.