Micro Center’s Brentwood location may be just the business that you are looking for. Not only do they carry most, if not all, of the hardware and software you will need for your next computer, but they have custom-build services available as well.
As discussed in a previous article, if an off-the-shelf pre-built computer doesn’t have the exact features, components and/or capabilities that you are looking for in your next computer system, then your available options are:
- find a business to design and build a computer that fits your needs and desires
- design your own system and find a business to build it
- design and build your own computer
This article will address the second option: design your own system and find a business to build it. Assuming that you have already done your homework regarding what you want your computer to be capable of and that you have put together a list of the necessary hardware component parts along with whatever software you would like to be pre-installed, the only remaining task is finding a business to build it for you.
Finding and choosing an appropriate business can be as difficult and time-consuming as designing the computer was. Keeping in mind that you are probably making a serious financial commitment, meaning an overall investment of $500 or more, it is in your best interest that you choose a business that is-
To explain why the Brentwood Micro Center Store may be the perfect fit for your needs, meet Aaron Nolte, the Brentwood Micro Center Store Sales Manager. He was kind enough to make himself available for an interview and provided the following information regarding his store’s custom-build services:
Q: How long has the Brentwood Micro Center Store been in operation?
A: We opened in November 2009. Our company (Micro Center) has been in business since 1979.
Q: What does your store charge for building a computer from scratch?
A: Our build charges really depend on the complexity of the build. The following breakdown explains the specifics of our various levels-
- Basic Assembly 1 ($59.95) : Basic system set up which includes installation of the motherboard, processor and heat sink, ram, and video card, along with a POST test to verify system operation.
- Basic Assembly 2 ($84.95) : Everything provided in Basic Assembly 1, as well as installation and testing of hard drives and optical drives.
- Advanced Assembly ($124.95) : Everything provided in Basic Assembly 1 and 2, along with an OS install.
- Server/Gamer Assembly ($169.95) : Everything provided in Basic Assembly 1 and 2, Advanced Assembly, and any additional options such as-
- Hard disk drive (HDD) or Solid-state drive (SSD) RAID set-up and configuration
- AMD (ATI) Cross-Fire or nVIDIA SLI set-up and configuration
Q: Can customers only choose from components carried at your store (or through Micro Cemter’s online website) or can they bring in components they have bought elsewhere (Newegg, Best Buy, etc.)?
A: The builds can consist of any component from any retailer. We will make recomendations to the customer to help them achieve their build goals.
Q: Generally speaking, how long does it take for a customer’s computer to be built and available for them to take home?
A: It all depends on the complexity of the build, but most units are completed and in there new owners hands in under three days. Units that involve water-cooling or over-clocking take almost twice as long due to the burn in process and stress testing.
Q: If the computer is built at the Brentwood Micro Center, does your store offer a warranty on the completed build or will it just be covered by the individual component’s manufacturer warranty?
A: Our builds are guaranteed in full for 90 days. Many customers take advantage of our service plans on builds because they cover every part used. If something goes wrong, we simply swap out the part and get them on their way as quickly as possible. This removes any manufacturer RMA process.
Q: Does your store do software installation beyond just the Operating System (OS)? If so, what does your store charge for the service?
A: We offer installation of any software. Prices vary from a basic installation fee of $19.99 up to a full OS install or repair which can cost up to $139.95. As with our build services, the exact price will be determined by the complexity of the software service to be performed.
Q: Additionally, would your “Server/Gamer” assembly service/level include options such as setting-up/configuring additional devices such as a wireless KB/Mouse, displays (either individual or multi-display set-ups), sound cards, tv tuner or video capture cards, 3D devices such as the nVIDIA 3D Vision kit, other multi-media add-ons such as the Antec Multi-media Stations, or additional bay devices such as fan controllers, USB ports, etc? If these add-ons aren’t covered by the “Server/Gamer” category, which category would include them or would this require an additional category/level and what would be the additional cost associated with these extras if they don’t fall within one of the outlined categories/levels?
A: Our server/gamer assembly does include the installation of any internal components that are sold or brought in with the unit. This would include any fan controllers, card reader, and I/O cards. The only time that we would charge additional is for complex water-cooling systems due to the amount of time and work that go into guaranteeing that they work correctly. Any external devices that need to be setup are included as long as there are only drivers and not proprietary software. Any software would result in an installation time.
If you have other questions or require additional information regarding the Brentwood Micro Center’s build services, you can visit the store and ask for Aaron Nolte (or any other member of management if he is unavailable). Also, you may contact Aaron via e-mail at [email protected] with your questions or requests. Additionally you can visit the store’s Customer Service Desk or Knowledge Bar® (Knowledge Bar is a registered trademark of Micro Electronics, Inc. d/b/a Micro Center) and they will either be able to answer your questions or will get someone who can.
Micro Center (Brentwood location) map
87 Brentwood Promenade Ct.
Brentwood, MO 63144
Phone: (314) 252-3961
For those readers who are thinking of building their own computer, the Brentwood Micro Center Store will be offering a series of BYOPC (build your own personal computer) seminars and workshops starting in February 2011. Future articles will detail the times and dates along with an overview of what will be covered during each session.
Author’s Note: In an effort to be fair, several smaller St. Louis area computer businesses were also contacted in order to include them in this article, but have yet to hear back from any business other than Micro Center. If you are the owner of one, work for one, have been a customer of thiers, or just happen to know of any additional local businesses that provide custom-build services, please let me know so that I may contact them to see if they would be interested in having future article coverage.