Why buy a Custom Built over a Pre-Built Computer?





Today’s consumer market for home computers is dominated by large brand manufacturers (HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer). These computers are pre-configured in ways that are not usually optimal. Poor memory configurations, insufficient storage, bad heat management can all be commonplace, and certainly the average user may not understand all of the “tech speak” that is used to describe these computers.


The large brand computers also often use proprietary parts or components that ensure the user will have to go back to the manufacturer for a repair. If the unit is out of warranty it is often easier or cheaper to just replace the computer.


As these brands build thousands of computers of a certain type, they push the quality of the components being used to as low a level as possible, saving small amounts of money on each of these thousands of computers.


Universally these computers only come with a 1 year warranty that the users can extend, but at an added cost ($150.00 for 3 years at Best Buy).


At Village Tech each computer will be custom built to the customers stated needs with industry standard parts (easily replaceable or upgradeable).


Standard components purchased this way have a minimum of a 1-year warranty, but many come with 2 or 3 years standard and some come with a lifetime warranty.


Pitfalls of the mass-produced mass marketed machines can be avoided. For example, an HP machine may boast 16 Gigabytes of memory, but in practice it uses a single 16 gigabyte memory stick instead of two 8 gigabyte memory sticks. It still adds up to 16 but using just 1 stick can reduce computer performance by as much as 10%.


Almost universally, standard computer components will be of a higher quality than those used in a “name brand” Pre-Built Computer.


Doesn’t it cost more to have the computer custom built?


Surprisingly, only the least expensive Pre-Built Computers are difficult to reach price parity with a Custom Build. The parts used in the budget Pre-Builts are extremely “budget” in quality. I have created this comparison between a “budget” Pre-Built from a big box store (I took this listing from the retail website in November, 2021) and a “comparable” Custom Build.

Pre-Built Name Brand

Custom Computer

AMD Ryzen™ 3 4300G Processor 4 Cores

AMD Ryzen™ 5 5600G Processor 6 Cores

256 Gigabyte SSD

Silicon Power Ace A55 256 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive

8 Gigabytes Ram (1 Stick)

8 Gigabytes Ram (1 Stick) G.Skill Aegis 8 GB (1 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 CL16 Memory

Wi-Fi

TP-Link TL-WN881ND PCIe x1 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Adapter

VGA PCI-E x16 Slots - 1

ASRock A520M-HDV Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard With VGA, HDMI

HDMI PCI-E x1 Slots - 1

USB 2.0 - 4 USB 4.0 - 4

PCI-E x 1, PCI-E x 16 Slots, USB 2.0 and USB 3.1 Ports

180 Watt Power Supply

EVGA 400 Watt ATX Power Supply

Media Card Reader

Sabrent 74-In-1 Flash Media Card Reader

Windows 11 Home

Windows 11 Home

Wired Keyboard and Mouse

Logitech MK120 Wired Slim Keyboard With Optical Mouse

1 Year Warranty

Parts vary from 1 year to Lifetime warranty

$479.99

$535.24


WARNING - There is some mid level “tech speak” coming up. If your eyes start to glaze over, skip down to the text not in blue.


If you are not a “computer person” dont worry about getting hung up on the specific numbers of each component. The Custom Computer is $55.00 more than the Pre-Built, however the CPU in the Custom Computer is better (faster). The Pre-Built computer uses a CPU that is only available to those large big box computer manufacturers, and all of the $55.00 difference can be accounted for by the use of the better CPU in the Custom Computer.


Having said that, I would not recommend either of these configurations. Both the 4300G and 5600G CPUs have built in graphics (neither machine is configured with a separate video card) and to create that video the CPUs “use” the regular system memory (a separate video card would have its own on-board memory) and with just 8 Gigabytes neither machine really has memory to spare for this. Processors with a “G” at the end of the number should never (in my opinion) be sold on systems with less than 16 Gigabytes of ram.


While we are talking about the system RAM, there are some cases where a new computer (in today's world) could get by with just 8 Gigabytes of ram; however a Ryzen CPU will suffer that performance hit by using a single stick of 8 Gigabytes. Putting two 4 Gigabyte sticks of ram increases performance, but would have cost the Pre-Built company another $2 or $3 dollars (again, $2 saved on 20,000 computers that this company builds adds up in their bottom line).


The 256 Gigabyte Solid State Hard Drive is also, in some cases, probably sufficient, however a 512 Gigabyte drive would certainly be sufficient for everyone who is in the market for a budget machine and again would only have added $14 to the computer's price.


So, did it cost more to custom build?


Yes it did, 11% more. But for that 11% you would have gotten a processor that has 33% more processing power and would have a better warranty on most of the parts. The custom computer would have probably cost even a bit more because we would have STRONGLY advised using two 8 Gigabyte memory sticks in the configuration and increasing the size of the Hard Drive.


We would have also asked:


Do you want wireless networking on the computer? If not we can knock $15.00 off the price.

Do you want the media card reader? If not we can knock $8.00 of the price.

Do you NEED a DVD Player? We can ADD that to the computer for about $25.00

Do you want a wireless keyboard and mouse instead of wired ones…..


The point is that by going custom you can get what you want, and not pay for what you don’t.


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