Building Your Own Gaming PC vs. Buying a Prebuilt

In Blog, Custom Builds by Branton8 Comments

If you want to play games on PC then building your own custom gaming PC is almost always better than buying one that’s been prebuilt – but not always. There are definitely those rare times when you can get an awesome prebuilt gaming PC, but those are few and far between and you’re usually just going to get ripped off with sub-par hardware instead.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why it’s often better to build your own custom gaming PC opposed to buying one that’s been prebuilt!

Price vs. Performance

A big part of PC Game Haven revolves around gaming PC builds, so you can bet that price vs. performance is constantly on my mind. This is also a major reason why I don’t see much value in prebuilt gaming PCs, the price vs. performance can’t be justified when you could get way more power for the same price or cheaper by building it yourself.
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Sure, most companies spice up the deal by tossing in a low-end keyboard & mouse, an operating system, but you’ll still end up dishing out more than you should in most cases – there are definitely exceptions.

Sometimes you’ll even get a guarantee on “parts & labor” which you’ll have to ship your PC away for, and that’s not worth it in my opinion – individual components you buy to build your own PC will have at least a 1-year warranty (up to 9-years for some parts like power supplies) and it’s way faster to have a replacement part shipped to you than it is to ship your whole desktop out for service.

Like I said, there are definitely exceptions and some prebuilt PCs are starting to offer really great value. I recently reviewed the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR and it ended up offering a great price vs performance ratio – one that’s actually really hard to compete with by building it on your own!

On the other hand, you also have tons of prebuilt desktops in the same price range that come with anywhere from 50-100% less power! Always do your research!

Bad Parts or Overpriced

Most prebuilt gaming PCs don’t use the best hardware and they’ll often do something like give you a really strong CPU while giving you a bad garbage graphics card in comparison; this completely wrecks a potentially decent build, especially when it’s supposed to be for gaming! Or, they’ll try to sell you hardware from years ago which isn’t great either.

Sure, you could upgrade it later, but wouldn’t you rather get something good the first time, for the same price or cheaper? That’s why it pays to do your research.

Something else that’s not uncommon to see when browsing for the best prebuilt gaming PC is a lot of bloated prices. You’ll often find massive increases on prices, which isn’t uncalled for by any means (putting together a PC takes time) but sometimes the surcharge is a little excessive. That being said, sometimes you find some that are really good as well. Take this 4K gaming PC build as an example, to build it yourself it’ll be about $2000 before Windows 10, so let’s say $2100 for good measure. Or, there’s this prefab with only a few differences for about $100 less.

cybertronpc borg q gm4213a reviewTake this CybertronPC Borg-709 as another example, it going to cost about $700 but only comes with an AMD FX 6300 processor, a 1GB Nvidia GTX 750 graphics card, 1TB of storage, and some throwaway mouse & keyboard combo. This is honestly something that you could build yourself for way less than $500 at this point in 2017. You would be sorely disappointed if you ended up wasting your money on this desktop. I mean, if you were to compare it to our $700 gaming PC build, you’ll see what I mean, even my basic $500 build will blow it away when it comes to not only price but power as well.

It’s not all bad though, sometimes you can get some really unique and interesting features when buying a prebuilt desktop. But be careful, because these extra features usually end up doing little (or nothing) to affect the actual performance, and performance is something that you’ll probably be lacking.

The CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A4 is an example of a prebuilt gaming PC that gives you really great value for the price. It costs around $699 and comes with an i5 7400 (not the best, but definitely not the worst) a 4GB RX 580, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB HDD – when you consider that it comes assembled with Windows 10 installed, that’s a lot of value.

But, you’ll always have way more control over what’s going into your PC when you’re the one putting it there yourself! This is why DIY builds are almost always better than buying a prefab!

The Bottom Line

Most businesses are usually about one thing, making money. A good portion of the companies who build prefab gaming PCs are often going to mark their prices up and/or use sub-par hardware in an effort to make more money wherever they can because that’s business. You can’t really hate them for it, but you can use that knowledge to save yourself some of that hard earned cash.

That being said, although most prebuilt gaming desktops are usually pretty bad, not all of them are. Some offer a really good price vs performance ratio that’s hard to compete with by building it yourself. But, those builds are few and far between so make sure you’re doing your research on the included components before slamming that buy button!

Most of the time you don’t have to completely destroy your budget to get the PC gaming experience you want, knowing how much you need to spend on your gaming PC and what kind of components you need is paramount. But, that’s why you’re here, right? To learn about what you need.

There are lots of websites like PC Game Haven that provide solid alternatives to buying prebuilt by giving you the absolute best DIY builds possible for whatever price range you need. You’re going to get a way better deal by building your own, and that’s pretty much guaranteed.

Looking to build your own custom gaming PC? I’ve put together over a dozen different DIY builds tailored towards various price points, why not check them out?

Have any questions on building your own gaming PC vs buying a prebuilt? Ask me in the comment section! 

Author
Branton

Branton

Hi! I’m the founder and lead editor here at PC Game Haven. The first game I ever played on PC was Ultima Online way back in 1999, since then I’ve been hooked on every facet of PC gaming! Thanks for stopping by!

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8 Comments on "Building Your Own Gaming PC vs. Buying a Prebuilt"

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ba7rawy
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for low end gaming pc is it better to buy it prebuilt or build it (sorry for my english )

William from pornhub
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I have an i3 processor do you think i should i update it to standards?

Avery
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When do prebuilt gaming PCs become worthwhile? I mean, if I was going to spend $1500 building my own anyways, are there any prebuilts out there that would offer similar specs?

Anonymous
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How much would I have to spend to get the best balance in a custom build? Thanks.

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