Should you build or buy your next PC?India is a country on the move, especially when it comes to computing. In 2014 there were more than 190 million smartphones, and two million tablets in use. These numbers are expected to reach 651 million and 19 million respectively by 2019. A phenomenal rate of growth, to be sure.

Certainly the appeal of Smartphones and tablets has gripped the nation; easy e-mailing, basic gaming and staying in touch with your friends has never been easier. Yet the charm of a traditional desktop PC hasn’t died among our people. Some of us like the sturdiness of a desktop sitting at home or in the office.

The best estimate is that there are 8.3 million PCs currently in use here in India. There are some significant advantages of a desktop including greater choices in upgrades that are easier to install, more computing power, ease of repair, faster navigability, a larger interface, easy typing and — how best to say it? You’re a lot less likely to misplace or drop your desktop PC.

With the increased trending in laptops and other devices, desktops are now less expensive than ever, which makes them a great fit for offices (especially at IT firms, where people are technically proficient to build them) and for people who cannot afford high-end laptops and tablets.

One downside to a PC is the vast array of choices in hardware and software. Based on different requirements for different people, the PC market offers several lines of performance-based hardware. There are almost too many options. We have seen myriad modifications in a variety of processors available: you have dual-, triple-, and even quad-core choices to Intel i3, i5, i7 processors; different generations, 5th, 6th, as well as a host of features they facilitate. A powerful RAM, HD, motherboard, etc. are other parts of computer hardware which can make computing an entirely out of the “comfort zone” experience for its users.

For PC users this begs the question of whether to buy a PC from a vendor, or build it yourself?

Though it does seem that a ready-made “out of the box” PC from a vendor is hassle free, building your own PC strikes an upper hand when comparing the advantages of the two. This is particularly true as typical PC components can be purchased off-the-shelf. There are five good reasons for building your own PC:

No Compromise on Features

Being able to choose the components you want ensures that your system has all the features you desire to meet your needs, whether that be gaming or heavy-duty number crunching.

Tailoring your system to your exact needs is relatively easy to do; you need only do a comprehensive study on the limitations and capabilities of each component. You get to choose details like processing speed and graphical capacity, as well as any personal touches like case design and cooling capabilities. If you’re creatively inclined you can even build one out of LEGOs.

Verifiable Components

Most PC users are unaware that the same models of pre-built systems sometimes use different components. The reason is availability from the supplier. If a company doesn’t have that part on-hand, they may use a different part from another supplier. Another reason can be expense. A company may prefer to use the least expensive component from among their multiple suppliers. The problem of less reliable components doesn’t happen when you research, purchase and install everything yourself.

Cost

The more high-end and powerful you desire your PC to be, the more money you will be able to save by assembling the components. This is due to the high mark-ups manufacturers maintain on components. While a vendor may build the exact same system with those parts, they have to increase the cost to purchasers to cover the expense of building the PC, as well as supplier support later on.

Computer components are widely available online at a fraction of the cost from a vendor. Many online suppliers have free shipping and easy return and replacement policies. With customer reviews being so prevalent, it is easy to pay by credit card or PayPal and be 100 percent guaranteed to receive the component you ordered in the condition you want.

Building your PC will also save you money. If you have the ability — it’s not that difficult these days with YouTube and other instructional sites — you can connect your own components at a fraction of the cost of having a vendor do it.

Enhance Your Knowledge

Another advantage of constructing your own PC is the knowledge you gain researching and assembling components. By investing the time to learn about the different components and their capabilities and limitations, a user gains useful knowledge that can be an asset later on if they need to troubleshoot hardware problems.

No more taking your computer to a repair shop and waiting a week or more just to find out what is wrong. In my opinion, a computer user can never have too much knowledge about their machine. If you get really into knowing the components of your PC, you can even enter competitions to build more powerful machines.

Easy Upgrades

Some PCs are “on-board” machines, meaning that one or more hardware components, sound or video cards, or WLAN, are integrated onto the motherboard — and users cannot remove these components from their machine. Upgrading or repairing on-board machines is difficult and expensive.

Building your own PC enables you to customize it with the internal hardware of your choice, and makes it easier and less expensive to modify or upgrade its performance. It can help you create a much more powerful desktop than those pricey high-end models. Check out this $13,000 (U.S.) gaming machine built by United Kingdom-based PC retailer Yoyotech.

But what if you don’t have the time or knowledge, or you’re just not into rummaging around with computer components? Not to worry. There are a lot of good reasons to purchase your PC from a reputable vendor. The key word here is: reputable. I strongly recommend you purchase from a dealer with a solid reputation for quality, honesty and service. The saying that “you get what you pay for” is little comfort when your PC stops working, and the fly-by-night vendor is no longer in business.

Should you build or buy your next PC?There are three good reasons to purchase your PC from a reputable vendor:

Warranty

The foremost advantage of purchasing a computer from an established vendor is the warranty they provide. If bought from a premium brand outlet, most of the time the warranty they provide is onsite, meaning you can avoid packing and shipping your PC off to Timbuktu for repairs. One-stop repairs are always best.

If you’ve assembled your own PC, even if the issue with the component occurs during the warranty period, components come from different manufacturers. Unless you are certain about the exact component which is corrupted, this can make it most difficult to utilize the warranty within its time frame.

Ease of Purchase

A reputable vendor, with a quality sales associate makes walking into a shop, selecting a PC and paying for it simple and quick. A knowledgeable associate can listen to your needs and, with ease, guide you to the best option at the best price.

In the assembling of your own PC, picking out different components can be extremely frustrating. Components often have different sizes, wattages and at times compatibility issues. Unless you have sound knowledge of your needs and the components, the array of options can make it frustrating.

Cost

If you are looking to buy just a basic PC, then a vendor can be a great way to save some rupees. Basic PCs are often less expensive than building your own since manufacturers get discounted prices as they make bulk purchase.

The decision to build or buy depends on you. If you have a working knowledge of computer components, and feel comfortable assembling your own, then have at it. You very well could save some time and money and be certain that you get exactly what you need. But if building a PC is above your skill or comfort level, then buying it from a reputable vendor is undoubtedly your best option.