Building a Linux PC has many benefits. From working with hardware and software to saving money, it’s an enjoyable experience.

Unlock «Cheat Sheet on Basic Linux Commands» now!

This will subscribe you to our newsletter

Enter your email address
Read our privacy policy

However, a DIY (Do It Yourself) computer has its drawbacks, while a pre-built Linux computer offers its advantages. Find out why you should or shouldn’t build a Linux PC!

Reasons Why You Should Build a Linux Computer

When building a Linux PC, whether it’s a complete DIY configuration or simply installing a Linux distribution on a laptop or desktop, you’ll find many benefits. By not having a paid license, you can save money.

A homemade Linux PC provides ample opportunities for reusing parts. With lightweight Linux operating systems, it is possible to extend the life of legacy hardware. You will have complete control with lots of hardware and software. Some Linux OSes even require kernel compilation.

In addition, Linux makes a fantastic space for learning the basics of programming or learning about the interaction between computer software and hardware components.

Reasons why you should build a Linux PC:

  • More economical
  • Reuse old equipment
  • Full control over your PC
  • Educational experience
  • Software Flexibility

Let’s look at these benefits in more detail.

1. Cash savings

Why You Should and Shouldn't Build Your Own Linux PC - Money Savings
Image Credit: rawpixel / Pixabay

Linux devices are not cheap. Traditionally, you can build a computer for less than the price of a pre-built system. Since the cost of a finished system includes parts, labor, and software, you pay for it. However, when building a PC, you simply pay for the components. Since you can shop for parts, you can buy parts on sale and shop for deals. In addition, you can get used or refurbished equipment.

Of course, there is still work to be done. Not to mention enough troubleshooting that might be required. But the money savings make building your own Linux machine totally worth it.

2. Recycle old PC parts

Why You Should and Shouldn't Build Your Own Linux PC - Recycle

Similarly, you can reuse old components or even complete rigs. This further increases the financial savings if you opt for a DIY Linux PC. When I buy a new computer, I usually upgrade my previous computer to a Linux computer. After upgrading to HP Omen for Windows PC, I named my legacy HP Envy laptop a dedicated Linux laptop. Ubuntu installed like a champ!

So you can squeeze more life out of your PC. I took an ancient Asus Aspire One netbook that was completely unusable for Windows 7 and successfully breathed new life into it with Lubuntu. Lightweight Linux distributions offer the potential to rejuvenate aging equipment.

My first Linux PC was an ancient Shuttle XPC that had to be scrapped. I rescued the Shuttle, which I discovered had no operating system. Whether you’re using your own hardware or parts sourced from different sources, building a Linux computer gives you the ability to reuse components.

While fantastic from an environmental standpoint, it also saves money. You can still recycle with Windows, but the many flavors of Linux make it easier to do so.

3. Full control over the system

Why You Should and Shouldn't Build Your Own Linux PC - Total Control
Image credit: wir_sind_klein / Pixabay

On Linux operating systems such as Gentoo or NuTyX, users have full control over their OS. Likewise, when building a PC, you can choose your hardware and tailor it to your needs. For example, you can create a gaming computer, a server, a cryptocurrency mining rig, or a public computer. Your needs determine which equipment you choose.

So you can find the right parts for custom builds. Maybe it’s a RAID array, a CrossFire multi-user setup, or a water-cooled system. Either way, you have complete control over your computer hardware.

When running a Linux distribution, hardware compatibility is very important. While you can purchase a pre-built Windows or MacOS computer and a dual boot dual boot you may run into compatibility issues. In this way, the assembly allows you to build a personal computer and find the best parts that harmonize with your Linux software. For Linux in particular, the compatibility of hardware and software means that full control is needed.

4. Linux is educational

educational sites-kids

Familiarity with hardware and software is one of the best methods of learning about computers in terms of software and hardware. Nothing replaces a tactile look at how parts fit together and interact with software. Since Linux operating systems often require a bit of driver fiddling, you get a better idea of ​​how the hardware/software interface interacts.

What’s more, with projects like building your own laptop or building a PC from a Raspberry Pi you can use this process as an educational experience. So a DIY Linux PC is much more of a project than a Windows-based build, as you’re probably digging into the command line almost immediately after installation.

If you are not already a Linux command line wizard you’ll quickly recognize your Bash share.

5. Linux Distro Flexibility

Building a Linux PC - Distro Flexibility

When it comes to flexibility, building a Linux PC is unparalleled. There are choices in hardware, but specifically for Linux, you get tons of choices with distributions.

While many companies provide pre-built Linux computers, even vendors that provide a choice of Linux operating systems do not offer the full range of Linux OS options. When building a Linux PC, you can start from a desktop or laptop (which only requires an operating system), build from scratch, or something in between.

With Windows, you are limited to a few options. The choice of Linux operating systems you can install makes building a Linux PC truly personal. You can find everything from server operating systems to operating systems about game distributions and everything in between

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Build a Linux PC

While building a Linux computer has a lot of advantages, sometimes it pays to use a pre-built system. Notably, to troubleshoot on your own, warranties can get messy, and it’s much easier to buy a machine ready to go out of the box.

Reasons why you shouldn’t build a Linux PC:

  • Lack of technical support
  • Complicated or non-existent warranties
  • convenience

While building a Linux PC is basically as easy or difficult as you are, you should think about the downsides before you waste your time, energy and finances.

1. Troubleshooting

why you should and shouldn't build a Linux PC

Whether you start with a prebuilt system and install Linux on it, or with a complete DIY configuration, expect some degree of troubleshooting. It can be as simple as installing a few drivers or a complicated problem that requires you to tinker around the forums. While a pre-built Linux computer often comes with a warranty, you work on the machine yourself.

While I predominantly experienced near-perfect Linux compatibility, some devices required a lot of subreddit and forum research. Notably, the HP Envy laptop Wi-Fi card simply won’t work with Ubuntu’s default drivers.

I eventually resolved my connectivity issue, but it took several hours of internet searching until I found a relatively simple fix for blacklisting a driver when loading another. I once spent two hours trying to fix an unresponsive track, spending hours on the forums…only to find that the ribbon cable was disconnected.

Get ready to ask friends, post on forums, and inevitably be called a noob all over again.

2. No guarantees

Likewise, there is no guarantee. While individual components may come with some basic warranty, it is not comprehensive. Also, while a manufacturer’s limited warranty may apply, in most cases you cannot purchase extended warranties on individual parts. I’ve successfully used RMAed parts and even a laptop that I used as a base for a Linux PC. But especially when buying remanufactured or used parts, especially with a complete assembly, warranties can be quite complicated.

You may encounter a hardware/software compatibility issue because you are using a Linux OS. Returning parts can be tricky as they don’t work with open source software.

3. Convenience

Why You Should and Shouldn't Build Your Own Linux PC - Convenience
Image credit: www_slon_pics / Pixabay

While you can save money, learn more about Linux hardware and software, and gain control of your PC, building is far from the most convenient option. If you’re looking for a Linux machine that works out of the box, then a prebuilt system is the way to go.

Even for hardware with dedicated Linux images, such as the Raspberry Pi, you can run into problems. For example, when changing to a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ board from a Raspberry Pi 2, I was unable to use the RetroPie Jessie release I was using. Instead, I had to look for a beta stretch iteration. Of course, it was easy to diagnose, but a Linux computer with a preinstalled operating system is immediately set up for first use.

Building Your Own Linux PC: Final Thoughts

Ultimately, building your own Linux PC is an incredibly rewarding experience that can save you money, educate you, and provide you with maximum control. However, there are certainly some downsides. Building a Linux computer is not for the faint of heart or those who don’t have the patience. I’ve built several Linux computers, from Raspbian-powered Raspberry Pi boards to Linux laptops to my favorite Plex server.

If you’re planning on embarking on the journey of building your own Linux PC, choose the right hardware. Just as important as choosing the right physical components is choosing the best Linux distribution for your needs.

Need help finding the right Linux operating system to use? Check out these Linux distributions for all users and start building your Linux PC today!

Похожие записи