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What to Consider when Buying an Assembled or Brand Name Computer

Updated on August 11, 2017
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David has some interesting ideas and views about the happenings regarding computers and the internet.

An example of an assembled computer.
An example of an assembled computer. | Source

Have you ever purchased an assembled PC?

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What is an Assembled PC?

An assembled personal computer is a machine you buy already built. For the most part, you don't get the choice in what parts are put into the machine. You don't know the brand name of the parts, the capabilities, etc. This can be a good or bad thing, it just depends what you need the computer for.

There are things to consider when buying an assembled or branded PC. It could mean the difference between buying a lemon, or a machine that will last you for years.

I have owned multiple PCs in my lifetime and I know the in's and out's of buying an assembled PC from a brand name company.

Typically PC gamers have a fancy computer case.
Typically PC gamers have a fancy computer case. | Source

If you are shopping around for a computer, what do you need it for?

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What do You Need a Computer For?

Before deciding what computer brand to go with, you have to think about what you need the computer for:

  • Work. If you need a computer for work, then you could save some money on what you purchase. However, if you are doing something like graphic design, then that will increase the cost since you need a machine able to handle such a task, not to mention the software cost.
  • Home. If you just plan to browse the net, check your e-mail, etc. then you won't need a strong computer at all. An assembled computer in the right price range may be up your alley.
  • Gaming. If you plan to play computer games on your machine, then you will want a top of the line computer. Assembled computers may not be the best choice for that, but there are ways around that as well.

A customer review of a brand name computer on Amazon.
A customer review of a brand name computer on Amazon. | Source

Keywords to Lookout for in Customer Reviews on Computers

Here are a few keywords you should watch out for when avoiding a bad brand name:

  • Computer won't start.
  • Technical support won't help me.
  • Outdated parts.
  • Company refuses to replace.

Have you ever had a computer arrive not working?

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What to Consider When Buying a Brand Name PC

Obviously most of your research into a computer company will be done online, which will be the best resource in figuring out what type of brand name PC to buy. Here are some things you will want to consider when shopping around for a brand name:

  • What do other consumers think of the company? Go to mass-market websites, like Amazon, and see what users say about assembled computers they purchase. You will not only see reviews from users, but how well the computer is selling, what date it was released, and so on.
  • Does the computer arrive dead or do parts fail quickly? It can't be helped that some computers are dead on arrival. But how often does it happen? If multiple users report a dead part in the computer, then it might be a brand to shy away from.
  • How well does the computer run? Even if the computer arrives just fine, it doesn't mean it's a good computer. Is there added software that slows the computer down? Or is the system overclocked (which means the hardware is pushed beyond is recommended specs) to make it seem faster, but with a risk of burning out?

The website Toms Hardware has comparison charts on various computer parts.
The website Toms Hardware has comparison charts on various computer parts. | Source
A listing of all the hardware that can be shopped for on Newegg.
A listing of all the hardware that can be shopped for on Newegg. | Source

How to Choose a Computer Brand

Computer Parts to Consider

Once you settled on the brand name, you have to consider the parts you are going to get in your machine. There are things you must realize when looking at the parts in an assembled computer:

  • There are a large variety of companies out there that make the same part, and you rarely get to choose what brand name you get. Nvidia and AMD are the big names in graphics, and you may get a card with that chipset, but it doesn't mean you will get the same brand name. It makes a difference.
  • There are thousands of varieties of computers out there. There are so many types of assembled computers, you will have no idea which one is best for you. Some websites, like Tom's Hardware, can compare certain pieces of hardware for you to see which is generally better than the other.
  • Research the parts online. Websites like Newegg sell parts individually. You can go there to compare prices, see user reviews, etc. You can even tally up each part in the computer you want and see if you are getting a good deal. Users can review the parts and sometimes the company even responds, usually if it's a negative review.

iBUYPOWER front page.  This company allows you to pick the parts for your own computer.  They assemble and ship it to you.
iBUYPOWER front page. This company allows you to pick the parts for your own computer. They assemble and ship it to you. | Source

How to Build a Computer - Part I

How to Build a Computer - Part II

Assemble Your Own Computer

You could find that you don't like any of the assembled PC's you come across, or don't like that you can't pick the parts inside of the machine. There are alternatives to that:

  • Pick a company that will allow you to pick your own parts. Even though this focuses mostly on gaming machines, almost all companies allow you to pick the hardware inside of your computer. You may or may not have control on the brand name of that hardware. This can cost more, but can be worth it.
  • Learn how to build your own PC. This gives you the full control in your computer. You pick the hardware, the brand names, etc. This is also the cheapest solution, since all you have to pay for is the hardware.

Refurbished and Returned PC's

One word of warning when buying a refurbished or returned PC:

DON'T!

I did this once and received a computer that didn't work. Luckily I was able to return it, but you may not be so lucky. So steer clear of the ones that state they are refurbished or returned.

© 2013 David Livermore

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