Should you buy a retail or custom-built computer?

Opting for a new desktop computer is exciting. The smooth operation of the new computer, the ability to use latest software packages and increased efficiency are obvious outputs you expect from your new PC. When purchasing a new PC, however, you have two basic choices before you; purchasing a retail computer and getting a custom-built computer. The purpose of this article is to assess the benefits and downsides of each choice.

Retail (branded) computers

Retail computers are the ones that available in your local store or online store that comes with built-in specifications and operating system. Most of the novice computer users tend to go for retail computers as there is not much to analyze; these computers come with the features mentioned in the package!

  • Advantages of a retail computer
    • One of the most notable advantages of retail computers is that they are affordable. Also, they are widely available almost everywhere in the world. Making a decision over a retail computer is very easy; you look at the specifications and decide if it matches your purpose or not.
    • These computers come from renowned brands. Also, they usually come with various useful software and even with comprehensive tech assistance.
    • A comprehensive warranty is common with retail computers
  • Disadvantages
    • Relatively difficult to upgrade. Finding compatible hardware can be somewhat difficult.
    • You may have to pay for the preinstalled antivirus (to extend the subscription) to continue the computer security

Custom-built computers

Custom-built computers are the preference of many professionals (like those who do video editing etc.) due to the freedom in terms of customization. Depending on the requirement, the user can upgrade or add hardware components to these computers.

  • Advantages of a custom-built computer
    • You get the opportunity to replace the parts as you wish (within the given scope).
    • You can continue upgrading it to match the latest software without having to purchase a new PC
    • You can build the exact computer you need to perform a particular task
    • Can expect higher speeds (be doing tweaks like overclocking). Ideal for tasks like video editing, animations etc.
    • Software can be installed at your preference


  • Disadvantages
    • Relatively expensive than branded versions
    • You must have a good understanding of the compatibility of the accessories though the parts are easily available
    • You need to spend more time to plan your computer (it is harder than picking a PC in the retail shop)

Regardless of the option, you select, it is always important to consider computer security at the first place. You should always have a good antivirus installed. Use genuine OS and Application software to assure your computer security. Another measure to increase the computer security is to have your OS updated all the time. When purchasing a computer, it is always good to purchase an external hard drive too. You should backup your important files to an external drive; in the event of a system crash, such backup can minimize the damage.