Should you build your own computer?

Did you buy your computer from one of the big suppliers? When you buy a new one you might consider custom building it yourself.

A laptop hooked up in the front seat of a car (Photo by ASurroca)

Sydenham is not a massive place; at the last census it had a population of less than 30,000, even so this quiet London suburb boasts not one but two computer specialists on its high street, Sydenham Road. One of these is Arbico, a major custom built specialist concerned largely with on-line gaming; the other is the much smaller Tech House, which also does repairs, from the purely mechanical to the sophisticated. Both are private limited companies.

In this age of high inflation, computers and computing power are about the only things that ever fall in price. Check this out for an historical perspective. Having said that, a computer can be a major investment for someone who is unemployed or on a low income in this age of manufactured austerity. What is the best way to buy?

First, assuming you need to acquire a new machine, does it have to be new new? You probably won’t find one on Freecycle or Freegle, but it’s worth a try. If you can’t pick up a whole machine you might be able to pick up part of one or an auxiliary, like a scanner.

For some time there have been government schemes run mostly at a local level to assist people to get on-line or those on low incomes to purchase machines at bargain basement prices, so again if you don’t need something state of the art or don’t mind a refurbished machine, check this out.

If money is not a problem or even if it is, you might consider checking out a local store like the aforementioned Tech House.

This particular company also offers bargain basement refurbished laptops, but the main advantage of a custom built machine is that like a made-to-measure suit, it will be tailored to your personal specifications, and it may even save you money. Keeping it local can also come in handy if you have a problem at any time, a faulty connection perhaps, and you can’t work out what is happening, or perhaps a new software program keeps crashing Windows.

Before you upgrade or consider a serious new hardware investment, check out the local options; wherever you live, you’ll be surprised what you can find right on your doorstep.

[The above article was first published September 20, 2013.]

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