For many of us, building your own computer sounds about as daunting as climbing cardiac hill. With jelly legs. And with a hangover. But, in reality, putting together your own computer has never been as easy before as it is today. In fact, it really is the only option for your next Facebook machine: building your own is not only the greatest value option, but it also can be the cheapest way for you to write essays, scroll through Twitter and play that video where the cat meows the Game of Thrones theme tune, for at least the next few years.
Despite our constant struggle for funds as students, many of us can hardly tear our eyes away from that shiny new MacBook Air or upcoming iPad Pro. Apple’s clever marketing will persuade you that both computers are perfect for students, but their £750 – £1,600 price tags clearly aren’t. The perfect computer for your needs can only be one that you choose yourself down to the very last part; if you take the time out to decide what your needs and requirements are you can choose the ideal components to match.
If we were to look at the most common student needs, then a very basic build can be constructed for around £250 without a monitor. If that isn’t a student friendly price for a computer I don’t know what is! Even if you are closer to a power user in your requirements — you might be a PC gamer or looking to experiment with video editing — you can still build a computer for around the same price as a relatively cheap Apple unit (although your needs will be getting more specific). You might not end up with a desktop as sleek or as thin as an iMac, but you’ve still saved yourself at least £600, which could be especially valuable when you’re trying to drag yourself out of the mire of your overdraft.
Building your own is even cheaper when you look at your PC sitch in the long-run: custom-built computers are the most upgradable option too. Unlike many Apple computers that solder all the unit’s innards together and void your warranty if you tamper with it, you can constantly replace your self-built system’s components when they get a little tired or outdated. After you have the experience of putting your first computer together, playing around and updating it will be far easier than consoling your devastated wallet after your latest trip to the Apple store.
So your hard-earned cash isn’t the problem here: the biggest investment you’ll need to be putting in is time – you’ll be needing lots of it. If you’re a total beginner, you’ll need to research all the individual parts that a PC requires, how each work, then figure out which particular products you’ll be buying from the hundreds available. Don’t feel too intimidated: there are endless articles and video tutorials online that take you through the roles of each component in your computer, the best products for your needs and how to lump everything together.
Unfortunately, laptops are much harder to construct than PCs, so you might have to stick to your trusty paper and pen for lectures and seminars, or look into your typical pre-built computer if you’re dead-set on something portable. But, overall, there are so many advantages to building your own that outweigh the initial struggle and time investment. Financially, you’ll be reap the benefits immediately and in the long term, but, most importantly, you’ll be able to create the computer that exactly matches your needs, and not those that Tim Cook says you have.