A friend of mine of who is computer illiterate once asked me to assist to him with building a cheap gaming computer. I start explaining to him the components that are needed and he becomes noticeably frustrated. Comparing a laptop to a desktop is like comparing a free standing punching bag to a hanging punching bag. One of them is designed to be portable with less functionality while the other is stationary but with more functions (great anology I know).
My friend was not pleased by the looks of it. Oh, if it were that simple. If things were really that easy or simple when buying a cheap computer, life would be much easier, but just like every other thing, its not that simple.
Barebones computers have become extremely popular, and for good reason. Getting a barebones computer which does not include a monitor and comes with the bear minimum of parts makes them an upgradable, practical and cheap computer.
But not all things are rosy in barebones computer land…
1. Missing parts
Although barebones computers do come with the essential pieces, most people need at least one or two extras for their day to day barebones system. This is simply due to different applications people use them for. Don’t get caught missing that extra part from your barebones system that you then need to get later. You still need to do some homework and research to find out what you really need from your barebones system.
2. Super cheap computer deals
Beware, many corners can be cut to get those sub $200 dollar barebones systems. They can be great, but not always, carefully analyse the components of the package. Also remember that a barebones system couldn’t possibly include a monitor for that price, which adds a lot to the price.
3. Mismatched parts
This could become a problem if building your own computer, but it even happens in pre-assembled barebones computer deals. There is a chance that you get something that doesn’t fit with the barebones system. There are lots of different connections and speed ratings between parts. Make sure the ones you get match up to the other parts and your needs. Although not common, incompatibilities between parts are not unheard of.
4. Outdated components
To get super-cheap deals older parts are sometimes used in cheap computers. Although this can be a great cost-saver and some old parts are fantastic, there is nearly no chance of an upgrade without putting a major amount of money into your barebones computer again, perhaps as much if not probably more than you paid for your great deal.
5. Defective parts
Although this is another one that has gotten better as the competition has gotten stronger, there is a chance of defects in cheaper products. Your motherboard could be faulty, your power supply might give up after a month or two. These may not be intentional problems, but come hand in hand with “cheap computer stuff”.
6.Refurbished computer parts
Refurbished computer parts are a great way to save some money. Not always the biggest saver, but there can be problems with the updates to these computers in much the way as mismatches happen in barebones systems. Often the computer is slightly updated to meet needs, but is really quite an old model, just with upgrades. Can be fine, but the parts they replace might be replaced with something newer but inferior.
7. Claims of great warranty
To try and entice you into feeling safe, offers of long warranties are made. Most of the parts in the computer could have past their warranty dates, so the warranties are purely from the company that put the computer together. They can be hard to contact and take their time to get replacements to you as well as expect you to mail the computer to them so that they can do the repairs.
Barebones computers can be a great way to put together a second computer, build a computer for simple purposes, like writing documents and casual web surfing. Barebones fit perfectly as a second computer. Just keep these things in mind and you won’t get bitten by the bargain bin monster.