PC users looking for smaller, sleeker options in their computers might do well to take a look at barebone PCs. A barebone system is usually sold as a kit, including a case, a motherboard, power supply, and in most cases, a cooling system as well. These kits come in a variety of configurations, including desktop models, laptops, and even server racks. The idea is you can buy a barebone kit and outfit it with your choice of processor, RAM, hard drive and other accessories based on your needs and budget (although some barebone kits come with some of these pre-installed).
Most barebone kits come with the motherboard already fit to the case. Some will come sans motherboard, usually offering many options in what kinds of motherboards are able to be installed. Depending on the type that you buy, barebone PCs are sometimes smaller and more compact, which means less expansion slots to a motherboard and more cramped quarters for your components. This is important to keep in mind when considering your target system.
There are several reasons to build a barebone PC, the foremost of which is cost. Barebone kits start anywhere from $150-$200 and can even range up to $500 and up for high end barbone PCs. Just like any PC or PC accessory, barebones PCs become pricier when you add better components, with more advanced units retailing for $1000 or more. If you need a basic home computer, you can get away with spending the minimum amount, but the more options you add to a system, the more it will cost.
Another reason to go barebones is that it’s a great way to learn about building computers. Constructing your own system has its own rewards, the foremost once again being cost, and constructing it with a barebone kit is a good way to learn the essentials without starting completely from scratch. There are many kits to suit your needs, whether you need something for the home or office, or you’re trying to build a high powered gaming PC. Barebones PCs are often designed for specific target systems in mind, providing excellent starting points for novice or experienced DIY computer builders.
Building a gaming PC is one of the most widely used applications of a barebone kit. You’ll spend far less than if you had purchased a pre-assembled PC, leaving you more cash to splurge on things like a graphics processor, sound card, or other accessories. Keep in mind that a barebone kit won’t offer the same level of customization as if you had built from the ground up, but you’ll have considerably more than if you bought a pre-assembled unit. One downside to buying a kit for gaming purposes is that your upgrade options will be limited, but unless you have to have the top of the line components, this will likely not be an issue.
A barebone PC kit is not for everyone. Many users may find assembly a little too involved to risk their money, but for the average PC user, building a computer from a barebone kit is not an unthinkable task, and will give you a level of customization previously unavailable to you. They still aren’t as customizable as building from the ground up, choosing your case, power supply and motherboard and adding from there, but for the average user with some amount of know-how, a kit might be the best way to start.