Posted on 2007-11-24 (Updated on 2019-01-22)
My PC is five years old, and starting to show it's age. I built it during my senior year of high school, piece by piece, with extra money I saved up from my pizza delivery job. I bought the more static components first (pieces that wouldn't be outdated as soon as I bought them), like the case and the fans. Slowly, I worked up to the main components, and eventually I had a full computer.
Somehow, it's lasted this long and has handled every program I have thrown at it, but like I mentioned earlier, it's time for an upgrade. While I probably could upgrade the machine itself, I think I'm going to leave it just as it is. I can always use the extra PC, and building a new PC from scratch sounds like too much fun to pass up.
Don't get me wrong – creating a computer from the various components is much more work than simply going to Dell and buying one. Also, building your own computer does not save you as much money as it did "back in the day". All of that aside, building your own computer is worth it. You develop such a strong understanding of hardware specifics, and how each affects the performance of your machine. After a while, you get a feeling what really makes a difference to your personal experience. For instance, my computers really serve me well if I overload the RAM and get a powerhouse video card - primarily because of my love of video games. Hardcore programmers might find that the processor and FSB make more of a difference, where multimedia editors might want to focus more on the speed of their hard drives.
Next time you feel your system is showing it's age, think about replacing it with a computer you build yourself. The best way to learn about computer fundamentals is starting from scratch and working your way up, and it's a very enjoyable process – Once you do it yourself, you never go back.