A custom built PC
is a computer that is built by using either components at hand, or ordering various components to erect a system from scratch.
A system builder is a person or company who is in the practice of creating (generally from scratch) a personal computer system from individual components. A system builder is an individual who takes components for retail sale. In many cases, a system builder will specialize in customized or special purpose systems, which cannot be obtained off-the-shelf from major manufacturers. Generally, a system builder gets his or her parts from distributors, wholesalers, Internet vendors, or small computer specialty stores. Internet vendors generally offer a wider selection than small computer parts stores, and normal electronics stores, which are catered towards pre-built PCs. A large majority of system builders are either computer gamers or individuals whose requirements can't be fulfilled by a practical cost efficient pre-built PC. The normal consumer is more likely to buy a pre-built computer than attempt to build a machine due to difficulty and the lack of a technical support team when problems arise. On the other hand, it is usually less expensive to build a PC than to buy a pre-built equivalent.
There are many reasons to have a custom built computer as opposed to a commercially built system, which includes some, or all of the following traits:
- To determine what one wants and needs in regard to quality, price, and availability;
- To make a machine customized for your exact needs
- To recycle an older system, or to upgrade to a more modern motherboard, video card, CPU, and RAM; the soul of any system;
- To have a high end machine for gaming, multimedia, or other demanding tasks;
- avoiding the advertising links, trial software, and other commission-driven additions and modifications that increasingly are made to mass-market computers prior to their being shipped; and
- being able to make modifications to the original build at a later date with little hassle.
There are also intangible benefits, such as learning how to design and build a machine, not to mention the sense of accomplishment one experiences upon successfully completing the project.
For the general public, however, the lack of technical support and warranty protection (other than what may or may not be provided by the individual component and software manufacturers) may be a significant disadvantage. However, one must remember that a person who is capable of designing and building a PC will most likely have sufficient knowledge and technical know-how to maintain their system, and will require little "tech support" from manufacturers.
Types of custom built PCs
The types of custom built computers range from a low end machine built from salvaged parts, to those of the highest grade, and latest technologies, as well as those in-between.
The salvage system
This type of system is usually the cheapest, but also most obsolete of the custom builds. Its function is mainly to provide a computer to someone who needs one. They have limited usage for modern applications due to their slower processors and other dated components. For someone who may only surf the internet to check email, news stories, and create simple documents, this type is sufficient. Because of the nature of technology, any of the following below computers will eventually be as useful as this computer currently is. This type usually cannot run later OSes, and usually has to run an older OS which at worst is DOS, and at best XP, and even possibly Vista. Advanced users of UNIX
may run those operating systems without a graphical user interface
, which dramatically reduces their system requirements.
The transplant system
As its name suggests, this system is the equivalent to a human getting a transplant of some kind. In a Transplant System, a motherboard that's been maxed out
, that is equipped close to the limits of its processing capability and memory limit, is replaced. A new motherboard must
be installed for this type of system, but may also include a new CPU, and new RAM if it is of a newer technological level.
This is midway between a Salvage Computer, and a High End Rig. This type can be bought from either a brick and mortar store, or an online store. Barebones is an obscure term that varies from place to place. They range from just a case and board to almost an entire system, needing a few parts to complete it. Their configuration can be preset by a seller, or can be configured in person, or online prior to shipment, or pickup. These are more modern systems who's quality surpasses the above systems lifespans and power.
This type of system is second only to a Gaming Rig. The main difference is it may have a lower quality processor, and moderately more speed, memory, and RAM than is needed to function.
This is the top of the line system that has the highest quality (on the market) processor, video card, and memory maxed out on it. On the extreme level it may be water (or chemically)cooled, overclocked, have multiple video cards, and/or multiple CPUs working in tandem to provide the best experience possible for the user. These systems when pre-built start at around $750 USD, and can rise to a price rivaling a reliable used car. (Upwards of $8000 USD)