Five mistakes when choosing a ready-made PC

Ready-made PCs are a good option for those who do not want to understand all the intricacies of self-assembly. However, there are many nuances here. Let’s consider the most common mistakes when choosing such a computer and discuss how you can avoid them.

Computer enthusiasts treat ready-made assemblies with a fair amount of skepticism, preferring to independently select and study every detail. The “gaming” builds of the 2000s deserved special dislike: those “two cores – two gigs – a gaming video card”, which in fact were equipped with rather weak hardware. Marketers skillfully played with numbers and gigabytes, since inexperienced users did not yet know that dual-core processors are also different, and the appearance of video cards with a lot of old memory and a narrow bus has become a real gift for consultants.

Another problem is the ready-made assemblies from ad sites, where every second PC is a real “gaming beast”, in which there is a “top-end” i7 (at best, a ten-year-old 2600K) and a “gaming” video card (anything more powerful than a GTX 550). It is not worth taking a PC from a flea market without the supervision of a knowledgeable assistant.

However, it is a mistake to consider ready-made system blocks (GSB) an absolute evil, and for an inexperienced user who does not distinguish a CPU from a GPU, and an HDD from an SSD, they can be very useful. The main thing is to find a solution for yourself . In addition, it is in this assembly that you can buy a video card today at a price close to the recommended one.

# 1. Too powerful or too weak
The most common mistake when buying a ready-made system unit is an incorrect assessment of your needs and the technical capabilities of your PC. In the case of purchasing an excessively powerful computer, the user overpays for extra performance and a set of functions he does not need (Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, Thunderbolt 4, etc.). However, this option will be a good foundation for the future and will eliminate the need for an upgrade for a long time.

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A weak sistemist can become a real headache. You need to understand that a computer for the conditional 12 thousand rubles was created for minimal office tasks – this is a so-called “typewriter” that works well with Word, but opening a dozen tabs in the browser will make him “think” seriously.

If a ready-made PC is being purchased for modern top-end AAA games, it is worth looking into their system requirements before buying. Otherwise, your brand new PC may simply not produce the required FPS.

PC ZET Gaming WARD H047
Also, don’t confuse powerful gaming PCs with workstations. At a reasonable price, they have completely different tasks and capabilities. Workstations are designed for computing and often use low frequency, multi-core processors. In gaming machines, high frequency is sometimes more important than the number of cores.

Apple Mac Pro workstation. One of the world’s most famous pre-built assemblies

For those who do not understand the topic at all, but want to show independence, in the store heading there are categories: “Gaming PC”, “Compact computers”, “PC for business”, etc., which will help to at least roughly outline the circle of necessary models.

No. 2. Expensive means good
More often than not, this is how it works. It is quite logical that the more expensive the computer, the better the components in it, however, there are pitfalls here too. For inscriptions like ROG, Omen, Alienware, Predator you will have to pay “labor tax”. With a limited budget, you should pay attention to similar hand-built PCs or a ready-made system unit without a “nameplate”, which will cost significantly less.

 

No. 3. Do not examine the components
Previously, buying a ready-made assembly was really a lottery, since no one would have told you exactly what parts were installed there before opening the PC. Even today, the manufacturer reserves the right to change the package at any time, keeping the promised parameters. Of course, it is almost impossible to find exclusive models of computer components like Sapphire RX 6900XT Toxic LE or titanium block Seasonic in ready-made assemblies. However, lovers of such delights are most often experienced users and would prefer to assemble a PC on their own.

Seasonic PRIME Fanless TX-700 Power Supply [SSR-700TL]

In stores: today (from 20:00)
However, the situation is changing for the better, and in many gaming assemblies, exact models of all key components are painted: motherboard, RAM, video card and power supply – right down to the model of case fans. There are no such detailed specifications in office GSB.

The second disadvantage of ready-made PCs was the lack of balance between the components, when, for example, a powerful processor was adjacent to a weak video card. Recently, such distortions are much less common. Weak video cards have long been “eaten” by the graphics built into the processor. At the same time, some of the settings allow you to comfortably play even the top games of five years ago. But for serious work and the latest games, you definitely need a powerful discrete graphics card and a good processor.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X BOX Processor

Ugly components can become an unobvious problem for a real gamer. In a closed gaming assembly, you can find an OEM video card without a designer casing and backlighting, as well as (oh, horror!) Simple green RAM without heatsinks and LEDs.

OEM video card Dell Radeon RX 6800 XT

This does not in the least interfere with the fulfillment of their main task, however, it will no longer be possible to open the case and brag to friends. Also, questions may arise during the further resale of such components.

No. 4. Don’t think about the upgrade
So, let’s consider what upgrade problems you can face by purchasing a ready-made assembly.

Proprietary connectors are the scourge of branded turnkey systems. Power supplies, motherboards and other components of such PCs may have unique connectors, and therefore, if these components are replaced, difficulties in finding a new part are inevitable. If you plan to upgrade the system unit, you should clarify these nuances before buying.

OEM box with its own power connectors

An outdated platform is a good opportunity to save money, but it imposes some restrictions on future upgrades. You need to know which CPUs the motherboard supports and how powerful its power subsystem is (with the hope of installing a more efficient processor).

For example, by purchasing a system unit with a Ryzen 5 2600 processor, theoretically it can be upgraded to Ryzen 5 3600, but Ryzen 5 5600 will most likely not fit into it. The second problem is to find a processor suitable for the upgrade after, say, 3-4 years, because more than one generation of CPUs will be released during this time. The secondary market may be the way out.

There is nothing difficult in how to find out an outdated platform, it is enough to find the processor model in the description of the GSB. In modern assemblies, there will be the most relevant CPU for today. In system units, the last generation of processors is usually put in cheaper, which in terms of performance is not at all scary, since it is being built up very slowly today. And in the most budgetary options, you can find models of the generation before last and even the generation before last.

In order not to get into a mess when choosing a new PC, take an interest in current trends. For example, the 11th series of Intel processors and the 5000th line of AMD are currently relevant, and in the top assemblies there are Core i9 11900K / Ryzen 9 5900X. Simpler computers get the conditional Core i5 10400 / Ryzen 5 3600, but in the inexpensive segment you can still find the Core i3 9100 / Ryzen 5 2600.

RAM. This is the most common problem when upgrading an off-the-shelf PC, and there are a few things to consider:

wrong standard: DDR2 / DDR3 / DDR4 – completely different and completely incompatible modules. This means that if the motherboard assumes the installation of DDR3, no other type of memory will fit into it. Today DDR4 rules the ball, but with the release of DDR5, which should take place this fall, the problem of memory and motherboard compatibility will again become relevant.
the wrong format: bought a compact PC, and there – SO-DIMM laptop modules, and ordinary memory will not fit there.
Motherboard with SO-DIMM slots

all memory slots are occupied – this problem is more likely related to unnecessary expenses. To add memory, you will have to completely replace the old one. The ideal option is to buy a PC with the optimal amount of RAM for today and a couple of empty slots in reserve.
limited space – the motherboard hardware does not allow installing more memory. This must be taken into account when buying, and there is nothing to help here, except for replacing the board with a new one.
Storage devices. Also, do not forget about the presence of an M.2 slot and its standard if you are planning to buy an ultra-fast drive (NWMe). On this, the author himself (who modestly refers to himself as a confident user) once got burned by purchasing a SATA 3 M.2 SSD, while his motherboard only supports models with PCI-E 3.0 x4. Of course, the drive did not start, and after long dances with a tambourine, it was decided to look into the MP specifications, after which all questions disappeared by themselves.

 

Chassis format and expansion slots. So, after purchasing a ready-made computer, the user decided that he certainly needs a sound card, a Wi-Fi adapter (PCI-E) and a video capture card, and our system engineer needs Mini-ITX! Therefore, even before buying GSB, you need to decide what will be added in the future, and, based on this, choose the PC format. Doubt? Take the Mid Tower with an ATX motherboard – the most versatile option.

 

Weak power supply. Most often, in ready-made PCs, you can find a power supply with a minimum power reserve. This should be taken into account if in the future there is a desire to switch from a mid-budget graphics card to a flagship graphics adapter with three eight-pin connectors. Otherwise, the user also gets to replace the power supply.

No. 5. Operating system availability
When choosing a ready-made PC, you should pay attention to the presence of an operating system. Otherwise, you will have to buy the box with the OS separately, and this is an extra financial expense.