I can’t muster a witty title for this, so you’re getting a post on the subject as stated.

It’s time for me to upgrade my current, custom-built PC, and I am at a crossroads. The Nerd Syndicate always beats the “build it yourself” drum, and with the exception of one time, I have done this with every PC I have owned since owning PCs have been a thing, so it is not foreign to me.

However, at 50, I no longer have the patience to research parts and compatibility and sit around and wait for this supergroup to assemble itself in individual boxes at my door. I really don’t think I have the patience to put the pieces together, especially all of the tiny screws and little bitty connectors. I know I can’t hover over a table any longer, lest my back cause me issues for the next week. I also know that it’s probably much, much cheaper to buy components sourced from the lowest bidders online.

My usual approach in building a PC is to buy the best motherboard I can, maybe the second best processor I can, consider the bare minimum of RAM I think is appropriate, and then buy whatever video card I can afford with the money left over. Traditionally I’ve cannibalized my SSDs from my current PC, but this time my current PC is going to my daughter so I can’t really do that. Ideally, this plan would allow me to upgrade my CPU at some later point when the best-gen price drops to make way for bester-gen models, to add more RAM should I actually need it some day, and maybe upgrade the GPU for that one last shot at longevity in the future.

All this being said, I am considering buying a system from an online builder. The first reason is as stated above: I don’t think I have the interest in building another PC from scratch. The second reason is that a friend of mine has done the same within the past year, and he seems pleased with his decision. The third reason is that I can get a very good system in one box. The final reason is that — and I have to be honest here — this might be the last gaming PC I am able to actually use. If I stick with my usual upgrade cycle of 7-8 years, that means I’ll become “eligible” for another upgrade a bit shy of my 60th birthday, and while I’m not saying that there’s any kind of age-specific cut-off for PC upgrades, this is the way my mind works so it’s a concern to me. This is why I’ve been pulling out all the stops when looking at possible builds.

Still, though, I probably could get the same or similar system if I just sourced the parts myself. On one hand, I’m A-OK paying a premium for not having to deal with the grief of fiddling with hardware, but on the other hand there’s no down-side to saving money.


  • Nimgimli

    March 2, 2024 - 9:55 am

    I’ll be very interested to hear about how this works out. I was thinking hard about a new PC just a couple weeks ago and I contemplated really going for it since, like you, I’m thinking it might be my last gaming PC and I’d love just once to have a really nice gaming PC before I kick off this mortal coil. I figure I have at best another dozen working years in me & I’m honestly not set up to live a comfortable retirement so once I am forcibly retired from being too damned old to work it’s going to be lean times. So this could be my last chance, though I guess it doesn’t have to be this year. But sometime in the next couple years I’m going to blow a wad of cash on a really nice gaming PC. But I ain’t gonna build it myself for all the same reasons you shared.

  • Naithin

    March 4, 2024 - 9:20 pm

    I took something of a middle ground approach with my current PC — I did the research for the parts I wanted, but then let them build it for me.

    I’m a bit younger than yourself and Pete, but probably no less short on the patience front when it comes to putting it all together, despite the fact I’d done precisely that for every PC before it since I was… I dunno, 16 or so maybe.

    I think having it assembled was a great choice. They did better work than I could’ve done re: cable routing and management and I’ve had zero concerns stability or otherwise since getting it.

    I still have something of a block when it comes to getting a dedicated SI that buys basement bargain parts and chain manufacturing systems though. I did actually look at this angle as well, and while it would’ve been a fair bit cheaper, I just didn’t have the confidence I needed that the quality, longevity or even relative performance to the dollars spent would be there.

    I could just still be too set in my ways though; so like Pete, curious about your experience if you do decide to go that route!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.