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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 February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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