nah, building your own computer can be enjoyed more in that, you can pick out the exact parts you want, and end up making a computer that is several times better than one you buy that is pre-built.
I think you're right on target there nite_monkey.
I've spent the last few days comparing the two.
I used the specs from a Dell desktop mid range setup (as much as they will give you) and compared them to similar components from newegg.com.
I chose Dell because they use decent hardware in their machines for the most part. Usually nothing proprietary, and often what I would call solid but low range components. You can usually replace anything on a Dell desktop and some laptops with the same thing from several manufacturers.
The conclusion I came to after running a few figures is that if you built a computer using the same type of parts that Dell does, you come out roughly even to somewhat more expensive since the price of memory and processors tends to go up and down and the quality of the hardware is unknown - that figures in the price considerably.
As I don't have manufacturers on Dell components, I was comparing things like a 250 watt power supply that's in a Dell to a decent one of the same wattage.
So why build a computer? It started out with me replacing hardware when it would die. If you have a computer long enough every single component on it will go out eventually. I started replacing and upgrading. Then I started building them from the hardware I wanted. Then friends wanted me to build them because it was less expensive. Before I knew it several systems had gone out the door and I got to enjoying that rush when you've put a system together and you turn the power button on for the first time and everything powers up smooth as silk.
Then you get to play with the software! Best of both worlds.
I've been thinking of upgrading and wanted to see how buying a computer compared to building or upgrading, which is why I've been looking.
I've decided to upgrade because I can put together a system with the best hardware (yeah, I'm picky) with bigger, better, faster, more features for not much more than the mid-range Dell.
That was if I putting together a whole system, which I'm not.
Dell's are good computers - but I would never have a 250 watt power supply in my computer. Like nite_monkey says, you end up with a computer that is several times better than one pre-built. (unless of course you are buying a computer from alienware or custom built)
Hardware compatibility is not much of an issue these days, the vendors decided to play nice apparently.
I'm not a guy, and I'm not much of a gamer, though it is useful to be able to go anywhere that sells or repairs computers and be able to discern with a few questions whether they are competent or not.
I buy online but I have friends in other states, and when their computers go down, I look up computer repair places in their local yellow pages and start making phone calls.
I would guess its like you coders - you have your own vocabulary, and it can't be faked. You either know it, or you don't; it quickly becomes obvious either way.
One very good thing about knowing something about the insides of your computer, is that when something goes out, you can get another one and put it in. You don't have to take it to a shop or get another one. You can get a bigger/better/faster replacement. Saves lots of money. Everything inside that case is replaceable. Including the case.