RT Cunningham


Buy or Build a New Desktop Computer? I Recommend Buying

computer keyboard - desktop computer I was tempted to write an article about building a new desktop computer from scratch, but I decided against it. It doesn’t make any sense to build a new desktop computer now that the prices have come way down.

Years ago, more than 10, I built two different desktop computers because I wanted them to last longer than the name brand computers. Each one lasted well over seven years. I won’t bother to do that again because I don’t think the effort is worth my time.

Affordable Desktop Computers

Desktop computers used to be expensive. The first one I bought in 1994 cost me well over $2000 USD. Compared to a desktop computer that can be bought for less than $500 USD today, it was pretty weak. It was a Packard Bell with a Pentium 60 Processor (I think) and 72 megabytes of RAM (yes, far less than the smallest today) and it came preinstalled with Windows 3.11. I’m pretty sure it had a hard drive of less than 500 megabytes and slower than the gigabyte monsters of today.

When I first bought a desktop computer in the Philippines (in 2007), I still winced at the prices. I couldn’t even buy a new desktop computer in Olongapo City. I had to travel to the longest mall in the Philippines back then, SM City in San Fernando, Pampanga.

In 2011, a new computer store opened at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone called “Bodega Site”. The day I went there, I saw six complete systems ready to go in the main area that doubled as their show room. Although I decided on a specific system to buy, I didn’t have the money to pay for it. I returned a month later and only two of those systems remained. I had to have my desired system built for me on the spot. Even though I had a couple of things added to it, it still came out to less than $600 USD.

In 2012, SM City Olongapo opened in Olongapo City and the Harbor Point mall opened at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. There’s a CD-R KING store in each of them and it’s the best place to get computer accessories and peripherals, among other gadgets.

My Plan to Buy a New Desktop Computer

Bodega Site has an older flyer as a PDF linked from their site, but I’m sure I can find something similar by the time I return to the Philippines. The system I like has a 18.5 inch LED monitor, which I don’t need, so I can get it for less for what it would cost me today and that’s $375 USD (after converting pesos to dollars). It would probably be close to $300 USD.

The desktop computer sitting in the master bedroom of our house in the Philippines has issues (probably a bad power supply unit) and the desktop computer my older son left me here in Phoenix has issues (and I already replaced a bad hard drive). I hate using a laptop computer, which is what I’m using now. I have thick finger tips and there just isn’t a laptop computer keyboard in existence that I can use without hitting the wrong keys (and I’m a touch typist).

The plan is to get a new desktop computer and cannibalize what I can from the ones that have issues. I think I’ll keep more of my hair that way.

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By RT Cunningham
January 16, 2014