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Custom built PC

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Title: Custom built PC  
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Subject: IBM PC compatible, Western Digital, Homebuilt computer, Timeline of DOS operating systems
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Custom built PC

A custom built (or assembled) PC is a personal computer system that is assembled from components selected by the end-user; it may be assembled by the end user or a system builder. The advantage of custom assembly is the components can be selected to match the user's application. Manufacturer options of mass-produced computers may not meet the specific requirements of an end user. Since a wide range of standardized low-cost interchangeable hardware is available, most custom built computer systems are IBM PC compatible or Wintel-type; however, Macintosh, Amiga, and other types can not be custom built because of patents and licenses for their hardware, firmware, software, and design as an integrated solution.

A system builder specializes in customized or special purpose systems, which cannot be obtained off-the-shelf from major manufacturers. Generally, a system builder obtains parts from distributors, wholesalers, Internet vendors, or small computer specialty stores. Internet vendors generally offer a wider selection than small computer parts stores and traditional electronics stores, which cater more towards pre-built PCs. System builders are often either computer gamers or individuals whose PC requirements can't be fulfilled by a cost efficient pre-built PC. A consumer is more likely to buy a pre-built computer than attempt to build one due to difficulty and the lack of a technical support team when problems arise. Unless a consumer needs only a basic computer, it is generally less expensive to build a PC than to buy a pre-built equivalent.[1]


Reasons to custom build a personal computer include:

  • To determine what one wants and needs in regard to quality, price, and availability;
  • To make a computer customized to fit the user's needs;
  • To recycle an older computer, or to upgrade internal components such as the motherboard, CPU, Video Card, etc.;
  • To have a high end computer for gaming, multimedia, or other demanding tasks;
  • To avoid trial software and other commission-driven additions and modifications that increasingly are made to mass-market computers prior to their being shipped (commonly referred to as bloatware); and
  • Being able to make modifications to the original build at a later date with little hassle.

There are also intangible benefits, such as learning how to design and build a machine as well as the sense of accomplishment.

For the general public, however, the lack of technical support and warranty protection (other than what may be provided by the individual component and software manufacturers) may be a significant disadvantage. Someone capable of assembling a PC will most likely have sufficient knowledge and technical know-how to maintain the system, and will require little "tech support" from manufacturers.


The types of custom built computers can range from low end, basic computers, to those of the highest grade and latest technologies, and anything in-between.

Salvage system

Salvage system is a type of build in which components are salvaged from older or obsolete computers and or parts. This type of build is usually the cheapest, but also most obsolete of the custom builds. Its function is mainly to provide a basic computer to someone in need. They have limited usage for modern applications due to their slower processors and other outdated components. For someone who may only surf the internet, check email, news stories, and create simple documents, this type of build is sufficient. Because of the nature of technology, any of the other build types may eventually be as useful as this type computer. This type usually cannot run later operating systems, and usually has to run an older OS which at worst is MS-DOS, and at best Windows XP. In rare instances a salvage build may be able to run on Windows 7. Most versions of Linux or Unix are able to run on a salvage build since the hardware requirements are generally not very restrictive. Advanced users of Linux or other Unix-like operating systems may run those operating systems without a graphical user interface, which dramatically reduces the system requirements.

Transplant system

A transplant system is very similar to a salvage system but instead of using previously used components, new components are put in place. For instance a motherboard may be replaced to improve the capacity and performance of an existing system. This may also include a new CPU, new RAM, HDD, video card(s) or other components. A transplant build is common among budget minded PC builders since computing technology makes components obsolete so quickly, it allows the use of still viable components but gives the flexibility of minor upgrades to gain additional benefits and speed. By upgrading only a component or two at a time the end-user can gain the benefit of new technology and a very low cost.

Barebones system

Main article: Barebone computer

A barebones computer is between a transplant system and a High End computer. This type can be bought from either a brick and mortar store, or an online store. "Barebones" is an obscure term that varies from place to place but generally include at least a computer case and motherboard. Even though the amount of components in a barebones system varies by seller, they can also vary from the same seller. It seems sellers like to have various "tiers" of barebones systems to offer. One can find barebones systems that are practically fully built and may only require two or three components to complete, like a hard drive and/or optical drive. In addition to the amount of components that can be offered, there are various levels of the components offered in these pre-configured sets. The range of components can be from low end to top of the line high end components best suited for gaming. Their configuration can be preset by a seller, can be configured in person, or online prior to shipment or pickup. These can be more modern systems whose quality surpasses the above systems lifespans and power.

High-end system

A high-end computer system can be very similar to a top of the line gaming system. Generally a high-end system is quite capable of meeting the demands of gaming and can be used as such. High-end PCs most often fall in the realm of heavy processor and/or memory usage applications such as a multimedia PC, home theater PC, music production, engineering, and many more. An end-user may choose to build a high-end PC when processing power and memory are the most important aspects of their end goal. A major difference between a high-end PC and a gaming PC is likely to only be the choice in video card since they both share a majority of other components. This type of build satisfies or exceeds the needs of most computer users.

Gaming system

Main article: Gaming computer

The gaming system is considered the top of the line system that has the highest quality (on the market) processor, video card, and memory available. On the extreme level a gaming PC may be water (or chemically) cooled, overclocked, have multiple video cards, may be capable of outputting graphical content from demanding games (while maintaining a reasonable frame rate) to multiple monitors, and/or have multiple CPUs working in tandem to provide the best experience possible for the user. With a gaming PC all the components matter in creating a flawless and seamless experience. Because of the extreme need, system builders of gaming PCs will almost always try to include the fastest and most technologically available components for their system. Often the gaming PC will include as much memory as the motherboard allows which is currently 128GB for non-server boards.[2] These systems when pre-built can start as low as $700 USD, and can rise to the price of a new car. (Upwards of $18,000 USD in extreme cases).[3]

See also


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