Hi Shaun,
Actually, I hand build all of my desktops, because they tend to be more reliable, run better, and use higher quality hardware than you get with the name brand computers like Del, Compaq, Gateway, etc. There is a good reason why someone can walk into Wal-Mart today, pickup a Compaq desktop for $499, and go home with a brand new computer. The reason being is often times the hardware components in those computers are whatever they could get in large quanities, for as little money as possible, and are whatever the manufacturer has left over from an earlier run. Not to mention they get the cheapest, most affordable software bundles, which cuts the cost of the computer, but isn't necessarily the most desirable for anyone with a reasonable amount of computer skills. For example, the Compaq notebook I purchased last year comes with Windows Vista Home Basic on it. Well, for the average computer user that is probably ok, but there are definitely some disadvantages to using Vista Basic instead of Ultimate. One of them is Home Basic will not allow you to change your security polacies because the security manager, secpol.msc, is missing in Home Basic. In Vista Ultimate if I want to fully customize User Account Control all I need to do is go to the admin tools, launch the security polacy manager, and tell it what features i want/don't want. In Home Basic User Account is on or off. No way to change its settings. That really sucks, because you can't fully customize the operating system like you can with Ultimate. Anyway, the point of this e-mail is to say building your own custom computer sounds geeky, but you get to choose exactly what you want, how you want it, and it is fully customizable. It costs a lot more up front but it usually pays for itself in the end. A good heavy duty name brand power supply that costs $75 is probably going to last you longer than some no name wong foo power supply that costs $35. I try to build my computers with stability, reliability, and long term use in mind rather than try and sell x number of computers with the least cost possible. Of course the obvious disadvantage is that since I am fronting the cost for everything, putting it together myself, etc I can't just send it into Del, Compaq, or someone if something gets broken. I have to do that myself which most of the time isn't a big deal since my desktop systems are usually very low maintainance anyway. However, when something goes wrong like a system gets hit by lightning, a motherboard dies, whatever it seriously burns my rear that Microsoft will charge me for a new product key for Windows just because I had to replace a hardware component. However, I think product activation and machine specific keys are here to stay.


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