Building a gaming PC can be a rewarding experience because you’ll know everything that’s in it, how to repair anything that goes wrong, and how well it can perform. However, many people prefer buying a pre-built gaming PC to stay away from the stress of potential overheats, spending too much money, and so on.
The pros of building a gaming PC include being able to upgrade components whenever you want to, knowing every piece that goes into the computer, and saving money. The cons of building a gaming PC are that mistakes can cause severe ripples, and you might spend too much if you don’t know what to get.
It seemed like such a long time ago when I built my first gaming computer. Back then, computer hardware was a lot less geared toward gamers but still always provided me with a great deal of satisfaction.
Nowadays, it’s a gamer’s delight working with modern computer hardware. There are so many components specifically designed for gamers and building your own gives you the freedom of customizing each part as you want it, or as your budget permits.
In my opinion, if gaming means a lot to you, I encourage you to consider building your own. It will give you the skills to keep your computer running and build the system that you prefer based on where you need your hardware to perform the most.
This article will also break down numerous advantages of building a gaming PC, why you might want to buy a pre-built computer for gaming, and the best choice for you. We’ll also show you how long it takes, what you should know beforehand, and why many people prefer building a gaming setup.
But before we continue, I also recommend reading my other article on knowing which parts are compatible with each other if you haven’t seen it already.
Is it better to buy or build a gaming PC?
You can find budget-friendly pre-built gaming computers for less than $500 while building a PC can cost over $1,000 or more. Why would someone want to build a computer if it takes more time and could cost more than a pre-made model?
Truthfully, building a gaming PC will make it last longer and function better than any store-bought computer you could find.
For starters, buying a low-cost computer from a store typically means it’ll only last a few years before it is time to replace it. Additionally, you won’t get a fraction of the RAM or storage space, nor would you find high-quality graphics or game-ready processors.
Buying a computer is convenient for some, but building one is always the best decision if you’re using it for gaming.
There’s no denying the convenience of heading up to the store and buying a ready-to-go gaming computer. Still, you’ll spend more money, sacrifice the potential performance, and run into a host of problems down the road.
The sole benefit of getting a pre-made gaming computer is the all-in-one warranty you might receive.
If you’re interested in making a gaming PC with parts, you’ll love the pros and cons we’ve carefully researched and compiled in the following sections.
Pros of building a gaming PC
Building a gaming PC can be a rewarding experience that yields convenience, financial savings, and a long-lasting, high-end setup. Many popular streamers and professional gamers prefer building their computers for plenty of reasons. We’ll explore all of the pros below to help you know if it’s the right decision for you.
- Building a gaming PC lets, you know everything that goes inside of it. You don’t have to wonder about the graphics card, processor, or anything else. It’s important to know your gaming PC’s capabilities so that you can have the right specs for your favorite games.
- You don’t have to worry about paying for labor or price markups. According to Driver Support, choosing the best deals can save you hundreds of dollars by building a gaming PC. Prices are often inflated to provide a profit for the company and pay for labor and other expenses. DIYing the setup prevents you from incurring those costs.
- A DIY gaming computer can be upgraded rather easily. You can remove the fans, graphics card, and other components without contacting the manufacturer. Many DIY gaming PCs are quite easy to upgrade because all you have to do is unplug one part and replace it with the new one.
- You’ll decide how everything looks, functions, and fits into the setup. For example, some people prefer the low-temperature setting of an open-case PC, while others want to prevent dust and debris from clogging the internal components. You could also add color-changing lights and other unique cosmetic modifications. Or you could even add the ability to have it connect directly to WiFi.
- Building a new PC furthers your knowledge of how computers work. There’s always something new to learn, even if you’re an experienced builder. In addition, brand-new parts and different configuration recommendations will keep your computer at peak performance throughout the building process.
- Budget allocation. You decide whether you want more money into a faster CPU but slightly slower or less RAM. This holds true for every component you purchase for your new system, making it tailored to your usage requirements or preferences.
- Better chances for reliability. If you spend the time to make sure parts are properly compatible with each other, doing a proper job of assembly can help with reliability. For example, if you make sure the RAM is plugged in properly, the CPU thermal paste has been correctly applied, and the CPU is correctly seated, to name just some examples, it allows you to get it right the first time. It’s one of the benefits that first attracted me to building my own. No problems related to assembly error or shipping will be outside of your control.
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits you’ll enjoy for building a gaming PC at home. Rather than relying on manufacturers to find and implement the best parts at a reasonable price, you can get everything done by yourself. However, it would help if you analyzed the cons in the following section before making your choice.
Cons of building a gaming PC
If there weren’t any disadvantages of building a gaming PC, almost everyone would do it. There’s a reason many people settle for store-bought computers! Some of these cons only apply to beginners, so keep an eye out for ways you can work around the odds.
Here are some of the cons of building a gaming PC:
- When you’re building your gaming PC, you’re likely going to be without external assistance. Finding tech support could require an investment, which means you’ll spend much more than if you bought a prebuilt computer. Fortunately, this isn’t an issue if you know what you’re doing.
- You must obtain warranties for each part you purchase rather than the whole setup. Redshift explains getting an all-inclusive warranty is difficult since you’re not buying a prebuilt PC. Every component requires its own warranty, so make sure you have a place to store them.
- Some parts will be incompatible with others, most of which you won’t know until after the installation. Unless you’ve used the components before or know someone who has, it’s hard to know how they’ll work. We recommend using PC Part Picker to check if your gaming PC’s parts can work together.
- It can take a long time, depending on how much you know about computers. Building a computer can take a couple of hours, days, or weeks if you don’t have much spare time. On the other hand, prebuilt computers are typically plug-and-play out of the box (plug them into the wall and monitor, and you can use them instantly).
- Improper installations and computer builds can quickly lead to overheating. If you don’t have enough fans, the PC case is overcrowded, or you overload the processor, your setup will be prone to overheating. It’ll run louder and take a toll on everything you’ve installed, which means you need some knowledge of the subject.
Many of these issues aren’t bad enough to steer people away from them. Perhaps the most significant problem is people don’t know what goes into a DIY PC, how much they should spend, or they don’t want to take the time to build it. Before diving into a PC build, review the following section for parts and other suggestions.
What should you know before building a gaming PC?
Are you ready to create your new favorite gaming computer? You won’t have to buy a brand new setup every few years since you can replace the parts as you go. Those who haven’t attempted a PC build should consider the following three tips to save time, money, and energy.
Research every part’s compatibility
As mentioned earlier in the article, incompatibility can lead to overheating, or your setup simply won’t turn on. You might experience error codes and other issues, too. It’s best to explore the internet or local computer shops to know which components work together.
Never assume two parts will mesh if you haven’t used them in the past.
Find deals and warranties
Buying PC parts online can help you save money for other hardware and software. If you’re not in a rush, it’s worth waiting for seasonal deals like Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and so on.
Also, find out which companies offer warranties to prevent unwanted stresses or buying a lemon without getting a replacement or your money back.
Learn as much as you can
While researching all the parts you need, some learning will occur naturally. It is also beneficial to take the time to learn about various setups and decide which type of configuration you want.
This goes for compatibility of parts, cooling, performance, and aesthetics.
Try to take note of important practices when handling components. One example is to refrain from touching any copper contacts on CPUs, RAM modules, or graphics cards.
Compare open-case and closed-case computers
Open-case computers provide optimal airflow and temperature control. Still, closed-case computers protect their internal components from getting coated in debris, spills, and other issues that could ruin the setup.
If you choose an open-case computer, ensure you keep it clean by wiping it down regularly.
Building a computer might seem like a daunting task, but it can be rather rewarding. The best way to make a top-notch gaming PC is to take time to wait for deals, extended warranties, and more.
Rushing the process can lead to ongoing compatibility issues or missed opportunities to improve the setup.
If you’ve never built a gaming PC and want to know the parts you’ll need, review this helpful YouTube video:
How long do DIY gaming PCs last?
Your gaming PC can last well over a decade, but its performance will drop and pale in comparison to new-age computers. You’ll notice it slows down, overheats, and gets bogged down much quicker than it used to.
The good news is you can replace parts every few years to keep it running for much longer.
Modern technology is built to last for a long time, but that doesn’t mean it can withstand the test of wear and tear.
If you don’t care for your computer, dust it, replace old parts, and so on, it can break down within a few years. Most pre-built and DIY computers are designed to last half of a decade before their performance drops.
If your PC is lagging or showing error codes before four or five years, there’s either a compatibility problem or you’re overworking the system.
Malware and bloatware can ruin a brand-new gaming computer’s performance, too. Make sure you have trustworthy antivirus software downloaded to prevent such issues.
How quickly does a gaming PC’s value depreciate?
If you want to sell your computer or are worried about getting the money back, you spent on the parts. You might be shocked by how quickly they depreciate.
Since gaming PCs are improved annually, Easy PC states many computers depreciate by up to 400% within the first ten years. It’s safe to say you won’t get all of your money back.
However, you can sell old parts instead of scrapping them. A 400% reduction might seem frustrating, but you can get enough to put cash down on a new component.
Don’t be surprised if you buy the best parts on the internet only for them to become outdated within a couple of years. Gaming PCs are often at the forefront of technological advancements.
Is it easy to build a gaming PC?
If you know what goes into a gaming PC, building it will be a breeze. There are many YouTube tutorials and other online resources you can follow if you’re unsure where to start.
Building a gaming PC can be easy if you’re used to working with technology. As long as there’s space for everything you’ve bought, it’s usually relatively straightforward.
Most problems arise when people try to use the most powerful parts without adding fans or compatible components to prevent them from overheating.
If your computer sounds like a jet engine after a few minutes, there’s a high chance something needs to be replaced. Overlooking these issues can result in a premature part replacement.
For many people, building a gaming laptop isn’t worth it. Most parts are soldered to the motherboard, which means they can’t be cleaned, removed, or replaced.
Once you choose the parts, you’re stuck with them until it’s time to get a new laptop. However, the convenience of bringing a laptop with you wherever you go could outweigh the significance of that disadvantage.
How to Geek shows the only tools you need to build a gaming PC are a screwdriver, the computer’s parts you chose, and plenty of patience.
An excellent way to know how to build a computer for gaming is to deconstruct an old one. If you’re replacing a computer, why not take it apart and figure out how everything works and where it goes?
Perhaps the only challenging part of the process (once you learn where everything goes) is ensuring it’s all compatible.
Use the previously mentioned PC Part Checker link to test your potential setup before purchasing anything. Once you’ve found the list of your preferred parts, you can buy everything and begin the building process.
The key is to take it slow and research every step of the process.
What is the point of building a PC for gaming?
Whether you’re curious about the process of building a gaming computer or you’re wondering why people would do it instead of buying one from a store, you’d be interested to learn several perks. For most serious gamers, there’s no comparison between a DIY computer and a store-bought one.
Here’s a list of five reasons people build gaming PCs:
- Building a PC can be quite easy and affordable for those who know the ins and outs of the industry. If you’ve built a couple of computers, then a gaming setup will be very similar. Optimizing the processor and graphics card will likely be the most significant difference between a traditional computer and a gaming PC.
- You can choose which software and hardware go into the kit. PC Gamer claims customization is one of the leading excuses to build a PC. It’s convenient and helpful to choose all of the parts you want in the setup. You’ll avoid loads of pre-downloaded apps from store-bought computers.
- Fluctuating prices can save you quite a bit of money. Store-bought computers usually have stagnant or ever-increasing prices, whereas individual parts sell for more or less, depending on the time of year. This process could work against you if you’re rushing the process and buy all of the parts as quickly as possible.
- Your gaming PC won’t be outdated in a couple of years. According to Apex Gaming PCs, most gaming computers are outdated within four to five years. Instead of buying a new one to stay current, you can replace the outdated parts for a fraction of the price of a brand-new computer.
- You’ll be able to flip parts whenever you’re done with them. Lots of people don’t care if their computers are outdated so that you can sell used parts to them. After a few years, replace the parts and put them on eBay or Facebook Marketplace to make some money from the exchange.
Building a computer for gaming is an excellent way to ensure you’ll always have the edge over your competition.
Replace parts when they’re outdated, sell the old ones for more money, and keep your gaming PC in top shape for many years to come.
Since the cases last for a very long time, you can keep your computer and exchange its components as needed.
Now that you know the ups and downs of building gaming PCs, it’s up to you to decide if it’s the right move.
DIY computers are often more affordable in the long run, but they can be quite pricey if you purchase the incorrect parts that lead to overheating and ruin the machine.
If you are using the building of your own gaming computer to gain knowledge of the subject, we highly recommend taking the time to build your gaming PC.
I recommend you read my other article on PC airflow optimization to understand better airflow inside your computer and what to consider before purchasing the parts for your gaming computer.