Friday, 21 November 2014

9 reasons to use a system builder

9 reasons to use a system builder

Building a system for yourself has a lot going for it, but there are many convincing reasons to call upon a professional too.

If you've ever put together your own PC, you're probably wondering what system builders can offer you. But don't be too hasty to think you'll be able to save a few quid by shopping around for components and assembling the computer yourself. There are plenty of good reasons to use a system builder even if you consider yourself a confident handler of hardware. To prove it, we've come up with nine reasons to buy a prebuilt system instead of doing it yourself.

1. Compatibility Checks

In theory, PCs are like jigsaws. All you have to do is fit the right parts together and you're done. The problem is that they're like jigsaws where you have to buy the pieces separately based on how well they'll probably fit together, but might not. There are few things more frustrating than buying the parts for your new PC only to realise that your PSU isn't strong enough to power the graphics card, or that your RAM's fastest speeds aren't supported by your motherboard. System builders don't make that level of mistake. Even if you tell them to use the wrong components, they'll make sure the problem is noted and rectified before it's all sitting in your living room.

2. Warranties

Building a PC is undeniably fun, and feels like a real achievement when you're finished. That feeling also comes with a potentially unwanted responsibility, though: if anything goes wrong, it's up to you to fix it. One of the good things about someone else building your system is that they're the ones who have to sort it out if it goes wrong. Most builders give you a warranty between one and three years so, as long as you don't tamper with the internals, they're obligated to repair or replace your system for free. That's a far better deal than insurance can get you!

3. Convenience

Putting a PC together is a pretty substantial task. You have to spend time researching hardware, then finding the best prices and waiting for it all to arrive, before dedicating several hours to building the system - then (assuming it all goes to plan) you still have to spend another hour or two installing Windows. Best case scenario: you'll lose at least an entire day to the task. These days, not everyone is so time-rich as to be able to build a PC of their own, so using a system builder means the time you have to spend putting together your PC is restricted to clicking a few boxes on a website and then plugging the cables into the right ports once your hardware arrives fully formed on your doorstep.

4. Professional Touches

You might think you know how to put a computer together - but do you really? In reality, there's a huge difference between getting the components to work, and getting them to work optimally - and it's a difference you can feel every time you turn a machine on. Do you know which banks dual-channel RAM should go in? Do you know where to position wireless PCI cards to get optimal performance? Do you know how to place components inside a case so as to maximise air circulation? If you do, fair enough, but if you only think you know, maybe there’s something a system builder can teach you about the difference between building a PC that works, and building one that works well.

5. Cable Management

If you've ever cracked open a PC and noticed a lot of wires just hanging around, getting in the way and generally making a mostly harmless nuisance of themselves, you've come across a machine that's not been put together with requisite care. The best system builders know that dangling wires are bad for your system, even if all they do is slow down air circulation. When you build systems for a living, making use of cable management features becomes second nature. Crack open a professionally built PC and the chances are that those cables will be tucked away as neatly as possible.

6. Better Value

Here's the real kicker. Ask anyone around and they'll probably say that buying PC components separately allows you to get a better deal on the overall price of a system - not least because you don't have to pay someone to put it together for you once the hardware's been bought. The reality might actually be the opposite, though. Unless you come across a really good deal on an expensive piece of hardware - and we're talking about one that saves you tens of pounds - a combination of multiple postage charges, economies of scale and extras like free software and a warranty means you'll spend around the same amount of money on a prebuild as the equivalent components would cost - but in the latter case, get a lot less for your money.

7. Overclocking Experience

Overdocking hardware is a great way to squeeze a ittle extra performance out of the money you've parted with. It's also a great way to end up with a smoking crater where your CPU used to be if you don't know what you're doing. If you want the best performance for the least money, a system builder who supports overdocking will push your hardware to reasonable limits so that you can get just that. The best part is that if they push it too far, they have to replace the hardware from their own stock room rather than your bank balance!

8. Less Stress

Although we're big fans of system building, that's not true for everyone. Some people find it hard to deal with the fragility of PC components and the risks involved in handling delicate hardware. If you're worried that an accidental brush along the carpet might spell doom for your processor, it's worth delegating the work instead. That way the risks and potential for disaster become someone else's problem, and your brow remains sweat-free in the mean time.

9. No Bloat

Although most of our reasons relate to buying from a system-builder as an alternative to building one yourself, it's also an alternative to using a mass market retailer like PC World or High-street PCs are notorious for coming crammed with promotional packages, trial software and branded applications that, frankly, few of us want and fewer of us need. If you want your PC to reach you in virtually pristine condition, buying from a system builder allows you to enjoy the simplicity of having a computer you don't have to assemble, without the inconvenience of having to tidy one up before you use it.