What exactly is Custom Built? What are the advantages/disadvantages?
Will it cost me a lot more?
A custom built computer means hand selected components for your specific needs. Off the shelf computers will likely meet your needs, but they are general purpose machines, designed to run a broad range of tasks. That doesn’t mean a custom built PC will not run other tasks. In most cases, it will run all tasks better, but it is specifically built to excel at a specific task. The best example is gaming. You can buy gaming PC’s that will run most games very well. But what if you want to dominate at one game in particular? You could spend thousands on a gaming PC that will help you do that, or we can build one specially tuned to run your game at top speed for much less.
Perhaps you need to transcode HD video. A gaming PC will do that well too. But we can build one that does it faster, for less.
One of our customers makes custom motorcycle wheels. They bought a highly specialized Dell PC for this task, as recommended by their software manufacturer. A roof leak during a heavy thunderstorm proved to be a fatal combination for this PC. It would take weeks for Dell to build another PC for this task. I said I could do it in less than one week, for half the cost! They were a little skeptical, but didn’t have much choice. I delivered as promised. With their specialized Dell, once they hit the render button, it would take about 20 minutes to render the new wheel. With our custom built PC, it rendered instantly! And we were still able to build it for half the cost of the Dell! Needless to say, they will never buy a PC from anyone but Irwin Electronics going forward.
If you want a general purpose budget PC, buy off the shelf, and hope for the best. We can’t beat the big guys on budget computers. But if you’re willing to spend just a little more, we can give you much more!
What are some other advantages? All the individual components are standard, off the shelf. That means if something does fail, or you want to upgrade in the future, standard components will plug right in. Frequently, the big guys will use non-standard parts, such as odd shaped power supplies in their computers. If/when the part fails, you have to buy the exact part from the manufacturer. If you need to upgrade that part, forget it. Time for a new computer. With a custom built computer, let’s say you’re upgrading the video card and need a heavier power supply to support it. The old supply slides out with 4 screws, and a new one slides right in. For us, this means parts are available locally the same day. Which means we can repair or upgrade your PC the same day. Each component comes with it’s own manufacturer warranty. Unless otherwise specified, we always use new components, in the box, with full manufacturer warranty. We have preferred manufacturers we use, that we know make a quality product, while keeping prices competitive. For example, we only use G.Skill, or Kingston memory. These are the only two companies that test every chip before is ships, and they offer a lifetime warranty. We could save a few dollars with a no name, or discount product. But high failure rates lead to lower customer satisfaction, and it’s just not worth it. We also insist on using Solid State Drives for the Operating System. Today’s Solid State Drives have a meantime between failure rate of 1.5 million to 2 million hours. This is much longer than a traditional hard drive, which lasts about 5 years. Solid State Drives are also hundreds of times faster than traditional drives. The cost of an SSD is about the same as a traditional Hard Disk Drive, but for a lower capacity. If you need the additional storage, we will install a Western Digital Green drive, just for your data storage. The green drives spin at 5400 RPM, compared to 7200 RPM for most Hard Disk Drives. This gives the drive a longer lifespan. When it is used specifically for data storage, the slower speed does not affect the performance of the computer. The undisputed king of Solid State Drives is the Samsung EVO 850. This would be our preferred drive, but this is one area we may save a few dollars if necessary. Lower cost drives deliver similar performance, for about 2/3 the cost. However, there is some question as to how well that performance stands up over time. All drives use different algorithms to store and clean their data, and tend to get slower over time. While the Samsung is best able to maintain it’s speed over time, even the lowest performing SSD will still be much much faster than a traditional Hard Disk Drive.
Another advantage of custom built, no bloatware! We do not install any limited time, or trialware software. The software we install is all recommended, necessary, software, to give you full functionality out of the box. We also believe that being a computer, it can take care of itself. We schedule Windows maintenance tasks to run automatically, so you don’t need us for monthly or quarterly support. Of course, if you select Linux, there are no required maintenance tasks other than updates. These you will run manually, whenever you choose. They will not prompt to reboot. They will not hijack your shutdown or startup. They will never bug you, or insist you install. They simply show an icon indicating updates are available, nothing more.
So what is the cost of a custom built PC? That’s like asking what does a new car cost? Being all custom it’s based on the components selected for your needs. The prices range from about $800 to just under $2,000. You can buy budget computers for as low as $300, or gaming computers for $3,000 or more! As you get into the higher price ranges, we can build a better system for much less. Any system we build will be top notch, outperform most anything off the shelf, and should continue to perform well for many years to come. Aside from the performance, we also consider aesthetics. Perhaps you want a simple, understated, black box. Or you may be interested in a 4 inch square box that mounts hidden on the back of the monitor. Others want bling. They want a glass side panel that shows off all the components inside. They want LED lights, all color coordinated, to highlight their prized possession. They want a computer that looks as fast as it is! Perhaps you want your PC to be a piece of wall art? We can do that! It’s all custom, built to your specifications, inside and out.
Looking for a new computer for Christmas? Give us a call at (480) 382-4761 and we’ll get started. We will ask what you expect to use it for, how you want it to look, and your budget. We will begin selecting the components, and email you a list of what we suggest, perhaps a few options from which to choose, and the cost of each item. Once you agree on a system, we will send you an invoice for parts only so we can order and assemble the system. Once we deliver it, and you are satisfied with your new computer, we will submit an invoice for the agreed upon labor cost. It takes about a week for us to receive and assemble the components, install and configure the necessary software. We will send you text messages as the parts are ordered, the expected delivery dates, when they are received, and update you with the build progress. If there are any delays, or defective equipment received, we will update you with that information as well. This is uncommon, but it can happen. One time I ordered a 500GB SSD, and inside the sealed box was a 250 GB SSD! To minimize the downtime, I arranged a cross ship with the vendor, installed everything on the smaller drive and imaged it to the proper drive. I was able to wipe the wrong drive after delivering the the equipment, and return it. This did not delay delivery. We do everything we can to ensure your equipment arrives on time, exactly as ordered, and exceeds your expectations. You will not find this level of service from a chain store. Should something go wrong after the sale, we are here to support you. We put our warranty in writing, and stand behind the products and labor. We want to be your IT company for life. Many of our customers become friends, and some even say so in their reviews! Check us out further, and when you’re ready for a PC that will knock your socks off, give us a call.