Warspite's comments in BLACK
Guido's comments in BLUE
While working on a similar article we came to the debate of why to buy a pre-made PC, rather than make one yourself. Among the hardware experts there was little debate, but it quickly became apparent how it would be a tough decision for many consumers. My esteemed colleague here, Guido, and I decided to make this into a little face-off. He's arguing the ludicrous notion that it's worth paying $3000 for a computer that many people could make for $2500, if not $2000 outright.
A custom PC is the only way to go. You know what you're getting beforehand. Sure you could go with some big OEM's computers, getting decent parts in the categories that everyone knows about, like processors, RAM, sound and video cards. But what kind of motherboard is it running on? Just how much louder than a Boeing 747 will that CD-ROM be 6 months down the road? How many seconds after warranty expiration will the monitor start messing up?
With a customized PC, you don't have to send your computer in for a few days or even weeks. Just take the part that's busted and return it to the store you bought it from. Of course, not everyone knows how to do it, but you'll never learn if you never try it.
Homemade Apple Pie
A home built PC is ideal for the person who has time. Other than students and kids, most of us don't have time to eat, let alone assemble a PC. One has to go through the trouble of finding which parts to buy, not to mention all the time spent on researching system components and price hunting.
If the parts are purchased over the Internet, one would generally want to get all the components at the same vendor to reduce shipping charges. And don't forget sales tax. If you purchase the parts from a company inside your home state you're going to have to pay a little more for that.
I tend to avoid small computer stores because they don't always match prices and stores like Fry's are just plain evil. With the OEM system, all the hassles of this are gone. Sure, one part might be of questionable origin, but the time saved alone is worth it to some.
When dealing with repairs, the OEM may take some time but from my hideous personal experiences with companies I don't think the average time frame would differ by much. Since I buy most of my parts on the web it's rarely worth my time to try to contact the original company, even if I did remember where I purchased the part.