Should You Buy or Build a Gaming PC?
Oh boy, here we go!
A battle that has raged for decades. “Should I build a PC“ vs “should I buy a pre-built PC”, I hear you debating to yourself.
Trust me, we’ve all been there, and you’ll hear strong arguments on both sides of the fence; everyone has an opinion on this.
It may seem like a difficult decision to commit to when there are very contrasting views available. What’s more, if you’ve read/heard someone say there is a definitive answer to this question, they’re lying.
We can easily find the answer that is right for your circumstances.
Today, we’re going to breakdown the build vs buy questions and get the answer right for you.
Let’s start with the obvious one:
Is it cheaper to build or buy a gaming PC?
Building is (usually) cheaper.
“How much cheaper is it?” I hear you ask: typically in the range of a 10-20%, sometimes more. Due to the lack of manufacturer assembling the PC parts, there is no “middle-man” trying to profit from the build service.
The cost savings become more impactful as you reach higher price points, in fact, if your budget is very limited (say a couple of hundred dollars) a pre-built will very likely work out similar in price. Here’s a graph to represent, because who doesn’t love a graph!
It’s worth noting that this isn’t always the case. Companies can also get great wholesale discounts on PC components that drive their pre-build units down, you may also run into individual parts costing you more than they usually would during exceptional periods of certain low supply or high demand.
There are a bunch of articles titled “why buying a pre-built PC is cheaper than building one yourself”.
You should know nearly these of all originated in 2018 when GPU prices spiked dramatically due to cryptocurrency mining and that this information is outdated.
PC hardware manufacturers right now are healthily competitive and prices for components (particularly CPUs and GPUs, the two largest expenses) are looking a lot better than a couple of years ago.
By all means, compare the build you’re looking at if you want to be sure on which is better (if a pre-built option is available), but as a rule of thumb: self-built > pre-built for your wallet. If your principle concern is cost/maximizing a certain budget for the best performance, get building!
Time is money
Sure, you can probably save money by building a PC.
But what about the time spent?
It will likely take you 5-10 hours to put your first build together, you need to:
- Identify the parts you want.
- Confirm that they are all compatible/complementary (size, power, the motherboard isn’t going to bottleneck the CPU, etc.).
- Watch some build tutorials.
- And of course, the assembly itself (including OS installation).
If you value your time per hour at a certain monetary level, there will be a point where buying a pre-build becomes more “valuable” than a self-built PC.
Many who enjoy the build process would argue that this time isn’t work so it’s a false equivalency, but what do you think?
If this is a busy time in your life and you were looking for a gaming PC to use the few spare hours you do have for high-quality entertainment, then you should look at a pre-built.
After all, the cost you pay on top is for convenience. Similar to heading to your local coffee shop for that quick latte (where are the “self-built vs pre-built coffe