If you’ve been waiting for months to build your new system but you’ve been put off by the absolutely insane graphics card prices, I’ve got a solution. It’s not the best solution, and it’s not one that everyone is going to like or agree with, but it’s a solution that’ll get you into gaming A LOT sooner.
What am I talking about?
Buying a prebuilt gaming desktop.
No, seriously, I’m not joking.
Since the prices for RAM and graphics cards have gone through the roof, most PC upgrades and especially new builds have become all but impossible for the average gamer.
However, the companies who build prebuilt desktops are not your average gamers and they receive GPUs before any of us for a lot cheaper – usually.
This means that system builders can more easily put together good builds for MUCH cheaper than we could during this ongoing GPU shortage. This results in great prices that we simply cannot compete with – until the shortage inevitably ends.
Good Prebuilt Gaming Desktops
Believe it or not, there are a lot of really good prebuilt desktops out there. Once upon a time, buying a prebuilt desktop for gaming was a terrible decision. But, that’s all changed in 2018 and buying a prebuilt desktop is actually a fairly good idea now.
Something to take note of is that the budget level of prebuilt desktops (below $600) is not a great price point to buy at. If that’s you, you’re much better off saving your money up for a bit longer to get yourself something in the mid-range. You might have to wait for a little longer, but you’ll ultimately be happier because of it in the long run.
Take this HP Pavilion as an example. It comes with an i5 7400, a 3GB GTX 1060, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB HDD and Windows 10 preinstalled for right around $710. To build that desktop yourself right now, you’re looking at spending $400-$500 on the graphics card alone and another $450-$500 on everything else, about a total of $900-$1000 as a best-case scenario. So, you’re basically getting that prebuilt desktop for $200-$300 LESS than you would have to spend to build it yourself right now. Even in a perfect world with a stable GPU market, this build would be tough to build for less than $800 including Windows 10.
Or, check out the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A4. It’s basically the same cost as the HP Pavilion we just talked about, but it’s coming at you with a 4GB RX 580 graphics card instead of the 3GB GTX 1060. It’s also bringing a much more aesthetically pleasing look to the table and a way better cooling profile overall. Otherwise, pretty much everything else is the same; you’re getting an i5 7400, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB HDD, and Windows 10 preinstalled. This build is perfect for 1080p gaming. I mean, for right around $720 this is an amazing deal; I don’t think you can even buy an RX 580 for less than $700 right now due to how insanely popular they are for crypto mining.
If you’ve got more expensive tastes and you want a higher end build, there’s the iBUYPOWER 9260. It’s coming equipped with an i7 8700K with liquid CPU cooling, a GTX 1070, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB HDD + 240GB SSD, and Windows 10 preinstalled. For right around $1500, this build is a bit pricey for what you get but it’s still substantially cheaper than you would be spending otherwise for the same setup. This is a great build for 1440p gaming and even 4K.
If an i7 8700K + GTX 1070 doesn’t pique your interest, how about the CYBERPOWERPC GXiVR8080A2 and its i7 8700K + GTX 1080 Ti? For right around $2000, you’re getting an i7 8700K with liquid cooling, an 11GB GTX 1080 Ti, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB HDD + 240GB SSD, and Windows 10 preinstalled. You’re also getting a cheap mouse & keyboard that’s fairly decent, but nothing special. This build is great for 4K gaming, ultra settings in most games no problem. Now, that’s an awesome deal and it’s pretty much my $2000 4K gaming PC build with a different case and mobo.
Picking the Best Prebuilt Gaming Desktop
Picking yourself the best prebuilt gaming desktop depends on 3 things:
- Your budget
- The specs of the build
- The price of the build
Outside of that, it’s up to you to choose a build that looks good (physically looks good) and offers the right specs you need to get the best deal possible. But, without knowing what kind of specs to look for at what price range, you’re going to have a hard time determining whether or not the desktop you’re looking at is a good deal, or not.
That’s why it pays to have a bit of knowledge before making the decision to buy a desktop. I wouldn’t want anyone to get a bad computer, so I’m going to give you a basic rundown on what to look for at different price points.
$600-$800 – 1080p gaming
- At least a quadcore CPU (Intel i5, AMD R5/R3, etc)
- At least a 3GB GTX 1060 or 4GB RX 580 – the RX 480 will also suffice if you find a build with it
- At least 8GB of RAM
- Minimum 1TB HDD (SSDs usually aren’t found in builds at this level)
$800-$1000 – ultra 1080p gaming
- At least a quadcore CPU, but multicore is better (Intel i5 8th gen, 7th gen will also suffice)
- At least a 3GB GTX 1060 or 4GB RX 580
- Minimum 8GB of RAM
- Both a 1TB HDD and at least a 120GB SSD
$1000-$1500 – 1440p/4k gaming
- Multicore (more than 4-cores) processor or Intel i7
- A GTX 1070 is best. 6GB GTX 1060 and 8GB RX 580 will suffice at the lower end
- 16GB+ of RAM
- Both an HDD and an SSD
$1500+ – 1440p-ultra 4k gaming
- Multicore processor (8th gen Intel i7) with good cooling
- A GTX 1080 on the lower end, a GTX 1080 Ti on the higher end
- 16GB+ RAM
- Both an HDD and SSD (Intel Optane doesn’t count)
As long as you keep those generalized specs in mind when you’re searching for a good prebuilt gaming desktop, you should be well on your way to making a great decision. Just make sure you try to avoid the sub-$600 builds as they will not be very good in comparison to what could get for an additional $100.
A note on power supplies: Usually, the power supply you get with a prebuilt desktop is subpar to what you or I would put into our own custom build. This isn’t always the case especially on high-end builds, but it’s rather common in the mid-range and budget levels. However, this doesn’t mean that your computer will spontaneously combust if you get a “meh” power supply, contrary to popular belief. If you feel uncomfortable with the supply you get for whatever reason, it can easily be replaced with a better, more suitable alternative.
Hopefully, this article was able to give you a quick oversight into the prebuilt desktop market while showing you how to find the best one for your use case. If you’re stuck on what build to get in your price range due to the plethora of available options, simply leave me a comment and I’ll let you know what my opinion is!
Right now, you are much better off buying a prebuilt gaming desktop than you are building your own. The companies who build these prebuilt desktops have good connections with the GPU manufacturers are because of that they do not have to charge the insane prices that us consumers get charged for GPUs. That’s why they’re able to deliver you awesome prebuilt desktops for a fraction of the price you’d be spending to build the same thing, right now at least.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll reply ASAP!