True or False: You Should Buy A Custom Built Computer instead of one from a major manufacturer?

There are some common misconceptions with respect to whether or not it is better to have a custom built computer instead of one manufactured by a major manufacturer.  There are some things you should consider when faced with this decision.  Some reasons your computer guy may have told you you would be better off with a custom built computer:

True or False: “I (your computer guy) can build a computer cheaper than you can buy one from a major manufacturer!

Really?  How many custom built computers does your computer guy build a year?  10? 100? 1000?  Is your computer guy suggesting that they have some secret “In” with computer component manufacturers that they can secure these parts at great cost savings?  Does it make sense that a computer guy building a few hundred (if that) computers a year can get a better deal on parts than a company like HP or Dell?  If that’s true, why are there not more stores just specializing in custom built computers?  A good business person needs to make a profit with their business.  In order to do so they have to charge more than they pay for the products they sell.  To make a reasonable profit they either have to sell a large volume of computers making a few bucks each, or a small number of computers making many more bucks each.

True or False: “It’s better to have a custom built computer because I (your computer guy) know every part that is installed in the machine is the best on the market.”

Be wary of someone suggesting some parts are better than others in the same breath they suggest they can build something cheaper than a major manufacturer can produce.  Does it make sense that a guy building computers in Midcoast Maine can get a better deal on high quality parts than a company like Dell or HP?  Probably not.  Furthermore, if you were in charge of operations at a major manufacturer and you knew you were going to offer a three year warranty on parts for a computer, would you buy low quality parts to install in that machine?  Again, probably not.  It’s going to cost the company more money to carry through the warranty on those parts.  They know this so they make sure all the parts installed in their machines meet their standards.  Yes the company is in business to make money, but like most businesses, they probably believe in doing so by providing a great product with great service instead of ripping everyone off every chance they get.  And keep in mind… some of these large companies have shareholders to answer to as well.  Selling a bad product isn’t going to instill great confidence in the masses.

True or False: “Your computer guy is a genius because he can build a computer from a bunch of parts?”

It doesn’t take a genius to follow directions.  With the amount of information available on the Internet, and a bit of patience, anyone with the ability to read and follow directions could build a computer.  It may not be the fastest, or the best computer in the world, but a computer nonetheless.  Computer hardware is built based on certain standards.  That’s part of the reason there are so many manufacturers and it is such a wide spread industry.  Everything is standardized to meet certain specs, thereby working with everything else.  They are just like automobiles and with enough money, the right tools and enough patience, one could even build an automobile from parts.

Generally, for an estimated 95% of the computer using population a computer built by a major manufacturer is going to be a better value for your money.  That doesn’t mean your computer guy is ripping you off, it just means he can’t produce enough volume to lower the cost of the machine to compete with a major manufacturer on an apples to apples basis.  Not only can you get a computer from a major manufacturer for a reasonable price, but you typically can get an extended warranty on the hardware for a little extra as well.  Does your computer guy offer you an extended warranty?

And don’t think you can’t get what you specifically want with a major manufacturer.   Some companies produce thousands of computers all with the same specs and software installed and ship them to department stores and other outlets to be sold to the masses.  Others have developed the ability to build a computer specifically for your needs, providing you with options on hardware and software configurations, and still provide it to you at a reasonable price.

When is a good time to get a custom built computer?  When you have a special situation,  Marine Navigation computers, for instance.  Typically these are built using specialized hardware to withstand the environment they will be subjected to.  Computers that interact with specific machinery may also require special equipment.  If your business has proprietary software that requires certain hardware  and that hardware can’t be bought from a major manufacturer.  Computer gaming can sometimes benefit from a custom built machine, although usually you can get a comparable machine for a comparable price from a major manufacturer.

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About Computer Solutions

Started in April 2006 by owner Todd Gustafson, Computer Solutions has quickly become well-known to local residents and business owners, providing knowledgeable and friendly expert computer service.  Todd’s focus has always been customer service and even though Computer Solutions is growing rapidly, his mission and values have not changed.  Today, Computer Solutions provides a wide range of solutions, from simple upgrades to full-fledged repair and total web solutions.  Visit them online at, or call (207) 594-5556 for more information.

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