Sheng Han’s parents bought him his first computer when he was nine years old, and he promptly tore it apart. Then he put it back together. “I took apart every toy and game they ever gave me, from cars to computers,” Han says–and putting them back together helped him stay on his parents’ good side.

Han opened Core Components on Washtenaw near Arborland in early October in the hope that other people will let him tear their computers apart and put them back together, too. Han, thirty-four, was born in Detroit, but his family moved to Ann Arbor when he was two, and he’s lived here ever since. He never had any formal computer training, but his natural aptitude made going into information technology a no-brainer. He’s been working in IT in some capacity since the early 1990s, first with Borders and most recently at the U-M Medical School, where he still works full time while getting his new business off the ground.

Han does computer upgrades and optimization and services all makes and models. But if he had his choice, he’d rather build computers from the ground up. He estimates his custom-built computers cost about 15 percent more than an equivalent brand-name machine, but he thinks that in the long run, his customers get a lot more for their money.

“The number one thing is, I use all standard retail components,” he says. “Companies like Dell or Hewlett-Packard use proprietary components, so if something goes wrong, you need to buy the part from Dell. With mine you can get a replacement part anywhere.”

Han also sells every part he installs–so customers can buy every core component they need to build their own computers. “One guy came in and asked specifically, if he bought all the parts, how much would I charge him to put it together?” Han says. He told him it would cost more than if the guy either put it together himself, or had Han custom-build it from scratch. “He wound up coming back, and we built the computer together.”

Core Components, 3354 Washtenaw. 929-5687. Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sun.

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