Considering joining the “master-race,” young padawan? Or is your rig getting a little old and you’re interested in doing something new? Over the years, it has become much easier to put together your own gaming computer. PCs are very modular these days, making it quite literally a snap to put together parts as long as they are compatible. Even with the new release of the latest generation consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One are still leagues behind the most powerful gaming PCs.
Furthermore, there is a wide range of creative stuff you can do on your PC that just isn’t possible on a console. We aren’t trying to get into a heated console vs. PC debate (its hard to beat firing up a console and playing some online multiplayer or co-op on the big screen with a good group of friends), all we’re trying to say is that you can’t go wrong building your own gaming computer. Here we look at all the major factors you should consider when deciding whether or not to build your own gaming PC.
In addition to saving money you’ll be proud of your self-built gaming rig. However, it is important to note that in some cases, building your own rig won’t result in a significant cost savings. PC manufacturers have the power of buying in bulk that us individual consumers just don’t have. The real cost-saving will come if the manufacture decides to add a hefty mark-up and labor cost to the final price.
There are a couple instances where it is a no-brainers here when it comes to buying rather than building. First if you’re just looking for a budget PC (which typically aren’t us gamers) just buy. Second, if you desire a gaming laptop, buy (unless you have those mad soldering skills and a great deal of time on your hands).
To Build or not to Build, that is the Question.
Pro’s of building your own gaming computer:
- Save money (sometimes). This isn’t as cut-and-dry as it used to be. PC manufacturers realize that one of their main competitors is the DIYers and have aggressively priced their gaming machines as such. Generally speaking, if you’re putting together a beast of a machine that’s around the 2-3K mark, you’re going to be able to save yourself about $250-500. If you’re looking at building something in the range of 800-2k you may be able to save anywhere from $50 to a couple hundred bucks. Of course, these are ball park figures and if you’re thorough in your pursuit of deals and sales you will more likely be in the upper range of those numbers.
- Get exactly what you want. The freedom and flexibility to customize the build with the specific parts and components you desire is really nice. Maybe graphics are really important to you but hard drive space isn’t because you already have an external HD. Save money on the hard drive and pour that into a more powerful GPU. All such things are possible when building your own gaming computer. Customization includes the aesthetics piece of the puzzle as well, if you want a snazzy case with lighting features you can design all of that exactly to your own personal tastes.
- Know your PC. It will be that much easier to upgrade, or troubleshoot, when it comes time because you know the machine inside and out. Everything will function as a result of your actions, so there is sort of a nostalgic feel that goes with it. This is one of the things that makes PC building kind of addicting. This power of knowledge that comes with building your first PC makes it upgrading or doing a second build (or third or fourth) that much easier. If you’re a gaming enthusiast and going to be upgrading frequently and changing PCs more than once every two years or so you can start to picture where the value lies in learning to build A PC.
- Selectively replace parts. In some scenarios, gamers never build another computer from scratch after they put together their first PC. They just replace the main gaming work horses such as the graphics card and CPU and whatnot every so often—leaving the case, power supply and other such components as is until they really need updated. That’s another really cool thing about building your own computers is that you will have 100% access to all those parts when it comes to upgrade. Brand name PC’s often suffer from proprietary components, making it difficult to re-use/re-sell certain components. Clearly, in the long run, this aspect of building over buying can be financially beneficial depending on how often you upgrade and what you are doing with those left over parts.
- Empowerment. You did it yourself… feel the empowerment my friend! Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to get everything right on the first go.
Cons of building your own gaming computer:
- Time. Obviously it going to take some time to assemble all the parts. Granted, there’s a lot of “how to” videos on you tube that will help walk you through the process as well as a ton of other site resources out there. For beginners, its still going to a great deal of time and research. If you’ve never built a PC and are a complete noob its going to take about 4-5 hours to research and pick out your parts (or a lot longer for some folks), 8 hours to actually build it + 2-3 hours of watching YouTube videos, installing the operating system and over clocking is going to take another 4 hours or so to learn and do that. When all is said and done, its going to be a time investment of about 20-30 hours for most people new to PC building. What really helps is if you can get a buddy that’s already built a PC to help out and show you the ropes. Obviously don’t let him do everything and learn it all for yourself. Don’t defeat the purpose! Also, your buddy isn’t going to want to provide tech support over the next few years each time a problem pops up.
- More research. While some people find it a blast to spending time scouring the internet for parts deals and researching the optimal builds, others find this a chore and a time sink they aren’t interested in.
- Hassle. If you get easily pissed at putting together furniture this is a whole other ball game. There is likely going to be some troubleshooting aspects involved. The nice thing about furniture is a few good slams or whacks probably will do minimal damage, but PC parts aren’t going to take to kindly to any sort of physical beating. For those of us who can approach PC building with a learning experience mind set, are patient, and don’t mind taking their time its a great opportunity to learn a new skill. For those who look at as a necessary evil or are easily frustrated it can be a nightmare.
- No peace of mind. This is a big one for a lot of people. Rest assured that your new computer will work out of the box. Knowing your new PC is being built and tested by a skilled professed and work out of the box can be comforting. Also, you receive the benefit of a manufacturer warranty. Most of these warranties run about two years and depending on the company, can cover quite a lot. Nice, considering that in most cases if a part fails it will be replaced at no cost. If you build it yourself and something like this happens—or you break something in the set up—your likely out a couple hundred bucks.
- Loss of gaming time. Game time must be accounted for. This is no joking matter! After all, those 20+ hours could have been spent gaming.
High Ground Gaming Recommends: Build it.
There are a lot of competing voices saying buying is better or vice versa. Without a doubt, there are some great gaming companies out there that put together well-priced, quality systems. In the end, do what’s best for your personal situation.
If your a gaming enthusiast and plan to be for awhile your going to reap the rewards of your labor for many years to come. Sure it’s the hard way but as with a lot of things in life, the hard way is the best way. If you realize the long-term potential, it is easy to see how building your own PC is a pragmatic investment that pays future dividends. The majority of PC builders don’t do it themselves because its cheaper. They do it because it gives them more control and a deeper understanding of how their PC works.