Never Buy an Off-The-Shelf Computer Again

Take Control of Your PC

We’ve all done it, walking through the electronics department and a gleam catches your eye. You hurry over to a display housing the newest, shiniest mainstream PC available. Your current computer only has 8GB of RAM, so you’re drooling over the 16GB this beast is packing. The latest iteration of Intel’s Quad-Core i5 processor is proudly touted on the case badges. Do I need to go on? Shake yourself from this fantasy and glance down at the price tag. That’s right, it’s probably around $1500 for tech that’s at least two generations behind what’s available to anyone brave enough to build their own computer. Here’s what you need to know to never buy an off-the-shelf computer again.

Never Buy an Off-The-Shelf Computer Again

Where to Put Your Money

There are three parts that should get the lion’s share of your budget. The CPU (central processing unit), GPU (video card), and the motherboard. If you’re planning on doing a lot of graphics-heavy gaming, you’ll want your video card to be the priority. However, a hefty CPU would be a better focus in a work-at-home computer for any kind of content creation. Before you start looking at cases and cool, flashy parts like LED lighting, be sure your main functional components are up to the level you need them to be.

Do Some Research

There’s a ton of information out there on how to assemble a custom PC. Watch videos and read product reviews. If you don’t know what something means in the specs of one of your components, look it up so you can be as informed as possible when picking out your parts. NewEgg.com has some great information (and great products) to help you along. When you’re shopping for parts, keep compatibility in mind, and make sure they’re made to work together. This is especially important for the CPU and motherboard. Each motherboard out there is designed to fit a specific size, or socket, of CPU.

Just Breathe and Have Fun

Going on this journey for the first time can feel overwhelming because you can’t exactly call Dell and yell at them that your computer crashed, but there is support out there for home-built PC’s. If you buy your parts from a reputable retailer, they’ll usually have some sort of support department you can call to help you troubleshoot, not to mention there are countless PC building forums where you can get questions answered and look for ideas. As always, you can also contact us for more ideas or information.

Don’t panic if things don’t work right the first time, there’s help for you, all you have to do is reach out. Once you’ve got it put together and working though, it’s a feeling like no other and will be well worth the headache of getting things running. Your rig will be exponentially better for the same, or sometimes less, money than you’d spend on a pre-built PC.

Rejuvenate Your PC with a Windows Upgrade

Running an older Windows operating system (OS) is a bit like driving your car with the engine light on.  Sure, everything is running smoothly at the moment, but the voice in the back of your head reminds you that things can start to degrade or fail at any time.  You’ll never regret paying early attention to your car’s warning light, and you won’t regret keeping your operating system current by doing a Windows upgrade, especially with our experts to ensure a smooth transition.

Rejuvenate Your PC with a Windows Upgrade

Is a new operating system enough?

It is always tempting to start fresh with a new computer when it’s time to upgrade.  After all, an older operating system is most likely running on older hardware.  There are plenty of cases where simply upgrading your Windows installation makes more sense.

  •  You need to run new software that isn’t compatible with your older OS.
  • Upgrading software AND hardware right now is just too expensive.
  • Your hardware is plenty fast and stable, so you just need a software upgrade to stay flexible, secure and supported.

Can I do it myself?

There are three main areas where an OS upgrade can go wrong, or even result in data loss or the loss of functionality:

  • An older program may no longer run on the new operating system, which may require an additional update or extra configuration to correct.  Prior to any major PC surgery, it’s a good idea to prepare for the worst.  This link from Microsoft Answers points to several backup and restore strategies that can help you recover if an upgrade goes wrong.
  • Imperfect or missing support for your existing hardware.  Like your old programs, this may require a driver upgrade to correct, or in some cases, new hardware.  Check with Microsoft to make sure your existing hardware is supported.
  • Your old computer is a storage location for all of your old data, much of which is stored in user profiles.  These profiles contain preferences, history and other data unique to each user on your computer, and it is common for user accounts to become corrupt during Windows upgrades.

Just like you can fix your own car, you can upgrade your own PC.  In both cases, you should have significant experience before you try.  You won’t know you’re in over your head until, well, you’re already in over your head!  Our experts have seen it all.  Contact us for an upgrade, or to talk about what’s best for your situation.