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6 Reasons to Build Your Own Computer

6 Reasons to Build Your Own Computer

With desktop computer sales at an all-time low and a vast range of different laptop configurations available, the thought of assembling your own PC from scratch might seem like a rather dated concept relevant only to die-hard enthusiasts. However, contrary to popular belief, the desktop remains the preferred machine both when it comes to power and productivity. The flexibility afforded by having a larger monitor and a versatile upgrade and maintenance plan is second to none, solidifying the desktop’s place in the market. Assembling your own computer is not likely to save you any money these days, but there are still plenty of reasons to go down the DIY route, such as the following:

1. Flexible Design Formats

For most DIY computer builders, flexibility is the key motivation behind the decision to assemble your own PC. Unlike laptops, which only provide a very limited range of upgrade and customization options, desktop computers are available in a wide variety of standardized form factors. The most common of these are the standard ATX, which typically provides five or six expansion slots also popular are micro ATX motherboards and cases since they usually provide enough connectivity and upgrade potential for all but the most demanding among user. However, larger cases are generally better for a multitude of reasons, including improved airflow and easier assembly, upgrades and maintenance.

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2. Better Power Supplies

The power supply unit is hardly the most glamorous of all the components that make up the desktop computer, but it’s one of the most important. A poor power supply will severely limit the machine’s upgrade potential and may even cause damage to your computer. Knowing that most buyers don’t even think about the power supply, many manufacturers cut costs by including an unbranded generic unit that might not even be powerful enough to sustain a single high-end graphics card. If you decide to assemble your own computer, you’ll be able to choose a quality power supply from a reputable manufacturer, such as ECGA or Corsair. A better power supply will also provide a convenient modular design and greatly improved connectivity.

3. Quality Retail Hardware

The same applies to all other hardware components that make up a desktop computer. In addition to having a better power supply, you’ll also be free to choose quality parts yourself, including the motherboard, graphics card, storage devices, memory, and processor. While you can usually count on the actual processor inside the machine when you buy a branded retail PC, buyers often overlook the remaining (but just as important) components. For example, relatively few people have any idea what sort of motherboard they have inside their machines since it typically isn’t mentioned in the basic specifications. However, when building your own, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting and who you’re getting it from.

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4. Zero Bloatware

Perhaps the most common complaint of all when it comes to buying a new computer, whether it’s a laptop, desktop or even a smartphone, is that they tend to come installed with loads of useless junk software. In fact, one of the first things most experts recommend to those who have just purchased a new computer is to spend a few hours cleaning it of all the off-the-shelf junk. From so-called antivirus and PC “optimization” software plagued by nag screens to unwanted trial and demo versions of other programs and games, bloatware has become a serious problem. However, when you assemble your own computer, you’ll start with a completely blank hard drive and only a retail copy of windows (or any other operating system).

5. Versatile Upgrades

Thanks to coherent support policies directly from the manufacturers of individual components, maintaining, upgrading and troubleshooting a custom-built machine is vastly more flexible and less frustrating. In contrast, if you buy a retail computer, you’ll be subject to their rules and customer support (or lack thereof) for the most part.

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Many retailers won’t even let you upgrade your computer without voiding the warranty either, which goes completely against on of the biggest reasons to have a desktop computer in the first place. Thanks to fool-proof designs and standardized components, almost any novice computer user can now assemble their own computers without any problem, provided they do a little research first.

6. The Right Monitor

The monitor is an essential requirement for your PC setup, and having the right monitor can make all the difference in a computer’s usability. This important desktop computer component comes with many different options giving users the possibility to go for what satisfies their needs the best. If you’re intending to use your desktop computer for only surfing the internet and going on social media then using any conventional screen would do the job. For multi-monitor display setups, however, thin bezel monitors will ensure a better continuity between screens as a thick bezel right in the middle of your field of vision can get annoying especially if you are a gamer.

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Final Words

If nothing else, assembling your own computer from scratch can be very rewarding, and you’ll also learn a lot about hardware and troubleshooting in the process. With a little care and common sense, the chances of things going wrong are also very low, and the process is now much easier than it ever was before. At the same time, you’ll avoid the enormous frustration that comes with dealing with huge amounts of bloatware, low-quality components and potential hours wasted on tech support phone lines to call centers on the other side of the world.

Featured photo credit: shutterstock via image.shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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