Why Graphic Designers Should Build Their Own PC

Graphic Designer working on his computer


At PePCon 2015, while talking with Bob Levine I found myself excited about the prospect of building a replacement computer. It had been some years since I’d built one completely from scratch vs. doing some upgrades for friends. Building a PC has never been easier as this summer I took the plunge and I’m happy to report that back. I used to be able to completely assemble my machine in a little over 90 minutes, if you account for the delay in between parts shipping that needed to be installed later, then it’s 3 hours, while armed with nothing over a clean workspace, an anti-static wristband, and a screwdriver.

Adding the custom CPU cooling fans, and attaching the motherboard to the case are the two most intimidating things in assembling my PC. Attaching the motherboard to the case was fairly simple but required a touch of “elbow grease.”

Installing the CPU fans was intimidating on my behalf of me because I had to uninstall the fan that came with the CPU (installing that was easy and required no tools), and it required me to get rid of the thermal paste from the CPU with application and q-tips. This wasn’t difficult, it just made me very anxious because I didn’t want to wreck what could be the foremost important (and expensive) part of the PC, especially with the best pink PC cases that you could ever buy them with.

Building Something For Yourself Brings You Pride

One of the items that happened immediately once I booted up the new computer (and was rewarded with a successful boot screen), was a way of pride and accomplishment. it’s the identical feeling I purchase when a client tells me what quantity they appreciate the work on a completed project or a productive consulting session. What definitely trumps “I bought this” is the sensation of “I built this.”


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Cost and Value of Building vs. Buying

The instant nature of plugging in a very Mac and reaching to work is extremely seductive, but huge savings and tremendous value also are attractive.

If I were to shop for a Mac Pro (Trash Can Model) it might cost me $3,799 to urge a Quad-Core processor at 3.7 GHz, 1x 512GB SSD, and \a 2GB AMD Graphics Card with 32GB RAM.

My build would cost $3,599 for an iMac to be competitive. Yes, I do know it comes with a 5K retina display included to offset the price. Alternatively, it might cost about $2,400 if I included 2x 4K 27″ displays with my build. This leaves many room budget to feature another graphics card and truly set up 3x 4K monitors if that’s what you wanted. To require it to an extreme, you’ll add a Wacom Cinitiq 13″ to the setup and still be under budget compared to buying the iMac.

Your Mileage May Vary

Time and money were the 2 largest factors in my decision to create a Windows computer instead of buying a brand new Mac. I really like my Apple mobile products, but I desire when it involves the wants of creative professionals, Apple has been “phoning it in” for ages now (pun intended). in terms of offering power, flexibility, and price, the Mac desktop line (and arguably the laptop line) has not remained competitive enough. Creatives don’t seem to be one-size-fits-all, but Apple products have moved in that direction.

For many of you, Apple is the ideal solution, and I respect that. This text hopefully has helped you understand the worth of another, and perhaps feel more informed and less intimidated by the prospect of building a computer of your own.