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PC Components - Brand Names and Loyalty

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It wasn't until I posted in Kraker Jak's power supply thread that I realized how important brand names mean to some PC enthusiasts. I am not referring to life long wars between nVidia vs ATI or Intel vs AMD, but more around the components that are not as crucial. I would hate to be new to PC building and having to select components for the first time. Deciding on things like cases and power supplies, you can literally get fatigued by the time you are finished researching all available options. I wouldn't even know where to begin!

When shopping for a new case, what should a PC building "newb" really look for? Functionality? Cooling? Space? Flashy looks? If you think about it, even the more expensive cases are just hunks of metal and plastic with cheaply made input jacks to add some convenience and a few $5 fans for cooling. It is a fact that there are plenty of generic, affordable solutions that would make a perfect case for a gaming system. If this is true, then why the fascination around more expensive cases such as Antec, Cooler Master, and Lian Li (just to mention a few)?

Are these cases going to make your gaming machine perform better? Probably not. Sure, some cases have room for water cooling, extra fans, etc, but these "conveniences" are really only good for someone looking for some extreme cooling for overclocking. But we still buy them. I say "we" because I am one of those people with a Cooler Master Cosmos S Black full tower. With the money I spent on my case, I could have upgraded my graphics card, upgraded my CPU, or bought a couple hard drives for additional storage. Instead, I dropped the cash on something that gave me very little, if no increase in performance, simply by better cooling.

Why did I go with the Cooler Master case? Well, probably because my two previous cases were the Cooler Master Cavalier and the Cooler Master Wave Master. They were good cases and lasted through many moves and LAN parties. Once it was time to upgrade, I decided on a full tower, and with my personal experience with Cooler Master cases, I decided it was a "no-brainer". Looking back, I probably would have been just as happy with an Antec or Lian Li, but something inside me made me not even consider any other brand besides Cooler Master. Ridiculous, I know.

So here we are a year later, and I am recommending Cooler Master PSUs to someone looking to replace a dead PSU. There are hundreds of options available, and I find myself recommending what I know to be high quality products based on my own personal experiences. I know there are other good PSU manufacturers, some probably receiving better reviews with Cooler Master, but if someone asks for my opinion, I tell them what has worked for me. Unfortunately, not everyone is me. Not everyone has the same needs as me or can afford to spend $100+ on a PSU.

My preferences are... well... my preferences. I prefer Cooler Master cases and PSUs, OCZ memory, ASUS motherboards, Sapphire video cards, and Western Digital hard drives. I will pay more to get products from these companies, even if their competitors are offering similar products at lower prices. Personal experience creates brand name loyalty. Everyone will have different preferences based on different experiences, and I can live with that.


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    Raush's Avatar
    Great blog entry, totally agree with it. I've always been the kind of person willing to pay an extra $50 if it means I get the real deal instead of a cheap clone.

    It pains me when someone builds a great system and goes with some no-name 500 watt PSU to power it . . . you are literally killing the life of your machine.

    My personal choices would be Antec for cases, Corsair for PSU's, Gigabyte motherboards (so many nice features on them), Sapphire video cards, and Western Digital for your large storage hard drive. I've had great experience with all of them.
    hannibal's Avatar
    I still buy antec case currently I am in a antec 1200 but I do use chebro when building servers (or for really long video cards) I will only buy mobos from ASUS and gigabyte. I agree, usually we learn brand loyalty through bitter tears, like buying an ECS mobo.
    Bane's Avatar
    Never skimp on power supplies. Just because it's rated for a certain amount, doesn't mean it can handle it at full load. Johnnyguru has some of the best PSU tests and a private hotbox to test functionality and 80+ certification.

    When it comes to cases, i've given up on small ones. Super MID and Full Tower cases for now!
    If you plan to move the case a lot, look to aluminum cases as they are significantly lighter. After building and working in cases for the past 8 years, I must say look for a case that has good cable management features. This includes space behind the motherboard tray for cable routing, cable routing holes around the mobo tray, etc.
    A removable motherboard tray is always nice, but it often sacrifices cable management functionality. When you have good cable management, what follows is great airflow and better operating conditions for your computer This often means you want to buy a brand case over a generic case unless you have modifications in mind.
    Updated 07-21-10 at 12:29 AM by Bane
    Bane's Avatar
    Oh Brands
    PSUs: Antec, Corsair, Enermax, Seasonic, PC Power and Cooling
    Video Cards: Sapphire (ATI), EVGA (NVIDIA)
    HDD: Western Digital
    Cases: CoolerMaster, Antec, Corsair
    Mobos: Gigabyte, ASUS, EVGA, MSI
    Memory: Corsair, OCZ, Patriot

    Make sure you do your homework before you buy. I for the most part avoid buying generic parts, unless it's a case and I want to mod it
    And make sure to find about Lifetime warranties! EVGA has one, BFG HAD one before they kinda died off.
    Mr_Blonde_OPS's Avatar
    Very good blog Heavy. I'm looking to build my first rig for the release of BF3. I play on a laptop right now and will definitely need a desktop. Might be sending some questions your way when it comes time to start buying all the parts.