Either for upgrading or getting a brand new one, assembly your own PC is not that difficult. You don’t have to be geek or computer expert, just basic understanding and reading this series of article, you will find that it is not that difficult. It will make you proud to yourself and save a bit of money on the making. Of course, if you are computer enthusiast, probably this skill is a must have one.
This is exactly why computer business is spreading like crazy, it is just not difficult. But hanging there could be difficult, as so many competitor on the market, the shop need to slash profit margin to just get order, hence not many survive that long.
The technology in computer world is really still lighning fast. Meaning the most advance technology today could become obsolete as early as next year. Or on the other way around, something that very expensive today, could be very cheap next year.
Hence, to prevent a frustration that you always be behind (e.g: your computer seems so slow and sluggish) then you need to “future proof” your purchase of new computer. It does not mean that you buy the most expensive thing in the market, no – absolutely no, but you need acquire the latest technology but don’t pay premium (I’ll come back to this later on example below). The goal is to make your new computer survive for the next 5 – 6 years. You might be paying 30% extra compare to if you just buying what is “good enough” today, but it will prevent you to purchase another new one just to keep up.
For example: having memory of 256MB on your computer 5 years ago will be very good. But these days, even 1 GB is not enough for some decent application. Now, if your motherboard cannot really handle more than 1GB, then you don’t have a choice but getting a new motherboard (hence, new processor, etc, etc) – But what if this particular motherboard can still take up to 4GB, then you just buy a new memory chip.
This is what I meant, 5 years ago to buy 512 MB probably will cost you $500 more, but purchased a motherboard that can take up to 4GB could be just $20 different. If you just buy the double memory 5 years ago, you were paying premium . Why? Because the price of memory chip is significantly cheaper over time.
Another example: 5 years ago, having 80GB harddisk in your computer will make people gasps. The “average” was around 40GB or even 20GB. But at this point, having 500GB harddisk is just a norm. If you push to have even 120GB HDD 5 years ago, then you were pauying premium. But , how about if you just take a motherboard that can have up to 4 HDD, then whenever you needed you just add another one.
Purchase or Upgrade a New One
My recommendation, as long as you can still upgrade your computer (just replacing some component with better one and still works) then no need to purchase the new one. In this case you will get the most value of your money.
If upgrading is not really possible or too much hassle, then better concentrate on taking a brand new computer from scratch.
For example: my current computer is roughly 6 years old now (Athlon XP 1800+ on Soltek SL-75DRV5 on 1.5GB memory) – It was a good 6 years running, but at this stage I find it difficult to further upgrade it. For a start, it refuses to recognise 1GB SDRAM (even the low density one) hence I am stuck with 1.5GB from 3 slot. Then lately I keep getting random BSOD (Blue Screen of Death from Windows) with high degree of certainty that it was not cause by software, virus/trojan or even memory. I have changed the Power Supply Unit (PSU) – my reliable Zalman 350W – suspecting those leakage currents from motherboard need more power. It helps a lot and reduce the BSOD significantly, but still not realiable.
The problem is I am doing some live index trading on share market among other things that reliability is paramount. It’s not funny at all when your contract is running and suddenly you need to restart the computer due to BSOD. It could caused thousands of dollar lost in few minutes.
So, after thoughtful consideration, I decided to purchase a new one and make my self the best trading computer at deep discount. The current computer, still running well less some reliability, it a perfect computer for just browsing the net or computer learning for my 5 years old.
So, here is my first step: research the current market.