It used to be that building a PC yourself was the best way to get a reliable machine. Pick the best parts, the best software only, and get a solid experience.

I don’t know why, but that world seems gone. I’ve had my latest build for 18 months or so, and it’s been kind of a crappy experience. First the coil whine issue. Then my SSD died. My hard drive drive still fails to resume once in a while, requiring a reboot. Now i discover plugging in usb flash memory causes usb ports to bork until reboot.

This is by far the worst machine I’ve built. And I don’t think it’s because I suck at building them now. I went with pretty standard stuff.

And now on to my totally indefensible theories:

  • The market for DIY pc’s has shrank considerably. Less competition and cost cutting has led to overall crappy parts.
  • Even most DIY Pc’s are highly integrated. What used to be a motherboard and 5 expansion cards is now mostly one motherboard. This puts more onus on the motherboard manufacturer to pick the right parts to solder on the board, and they just don’t do it as well.
  • The only people that do DIY now are gamers. Gamers have different requirements. They need something that runs fast, but perf/cost is more important than that extra 9 in the reliability column.
  • Machines are just complicated enough now that the integration testing done at the Dells and Lenovos of the world now justify the extra cost of ordering from them. At the same time, Joe random PC builder has a much harder time getting any support from a component maker compared to the OEM customer that orders millions of parts.

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