Buying a pre-built system can be wonderful for someone who wants something to work out of the box, and that comes with a magic ‘make it work again’ disk.  The parts are all tested and confirmed to work together, the BIOS and driver setup are done for you and it means you can get to use your new PC within minutes, not hours of purchase.  On the flop side, when you outgrow the system and want a better one, you have to either buy an entire new PC or jump through quite a bit of hoops to figure out how to upgrade a box that was designed to prevent upgrades.  It can be a bit of work.  Of course, the flip side of building it yourself provides other interesting challenges.  Say you wanted a very small and highly overclocked system, what mATX motherboard can you find that will let you hit the speed you want?

For an extreme example, Colleen from our video enhanced, recorded live, with occasional random household guests appearances podcast has some tips.  She is currently building a Mini ITX gaming machine, and is going to watercool it.  

Other challenges the DUI guy can face do not seem to be related directly to building a PC but are certainly involved in building a solid rig. Keeping track of companies reputations and recent acquisitions can make a huge difference in your buying habits.  ATI being taken over by AMD seems to have reduced the number of complaints about horrible drivers (not that they’ve deserved that in the past 4 or 5 years), shifting most into a claim of lackluster drivers on an artificial time scale.  Other purchases have not had such positive effects or just end up confusing buyers. As if that wasn’t enough, which OS do you want to use, and if you choose the open path, which distribution?

Don’t let the plentitude of choices get you down, you don’t have to learn and remember everything, that’s what the PC Perspective forums are for.  Head on over and share your thoughts,  knowledge, questions, pain or just about anything else.