Last Updated: March 10, 2023
Building your own gaming PC is often seen as this mystical, expensive process that only the most hardcore of gamers can undertake—but it doesn’t have to be that way! Sure, if you’re looking to build the most powerful gaming rig possible with all the bells and whistles, it’s going to cost you, but if you’re looking for a great gaming experience on a budget, building your own gaming PC can be a great option. To help you figure out how much it costs to build the gaming PC of your dreams, we’ve put together this handy guide that will walk you through all the different components you’ll need, and give you some estimates on how much each one will cost. So, let’s get started!
What Are the Parts Needed to Build a Gaming PC?
The first step in building your own gaming PC is to gather all the necessary components. These are the same components you will need to pay attention to even if you were buying a brand new gaming computer.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need:
As the heart of your gaming PC, the processor (or CPU) is responsible for all the calculations and processes that make your games run. A good rule of thumb when building a gaming PC is to get the most powerful processor you can afford. However, to optimize a PC for gaming, a quad-core processor should be enough.
A CPU Cooler
A CPU cooler is a compact device that sits on top of the CPU and keeps it cool, and is a necessary component for any gaming PC. A CPU cooler has a heatsink that is placed over the CPU to keep your processor from overheating by dissipating the heat it produces. There are three different types of CPU coolers available in the market: air, liquid, and AIO (all-in-one) CPUs.
Standing for Random Access Memory, RAM is what your computer uses to temporarily store data while working on other tasks. For the gaming PC you build, the more RAM you have, the smoother your gaming experience will be. But how much RAM do you need for gaming? For smooth sailing, you’ll need at least 8GB, but we recommend you get 16GB for better performance.
The motherboard is the main circuit board in your computer that all the other components connect to, and it provides the basic framework for your build. You’ll need a motherboard that has a CPU socket matching your processor, and enough RAM slots to accommodate the amount of RAM you’re using.
Storage (Hard Drives and SSDs)
This is where you’ll store all your games, photos, music, and other data. When building a gaming PC, you’ll need at least one hard drive (or SSD), but you can add additional storage devices if you need more space. If you can’t afford a higher capacity SSD, we still recommend choosing one that’s at least 120GB.
A Graphics Card (GPU)
The graphics card is responsible for all the visuals in your games. Although a good rule of thumb is to get the most powerful GPU you can afford, you shouldn’t spend more than 45% out of your total budget on the graphics card.
A Power Supply Unit
Among the parts you’ll need for a budget gaming PC build is the power supply, which provides power to all the components in your gaming PC. It’s important to get a power supply that can handle all the components you’re using, as well as any future upgrades you might make. Just to be safe, always look for a power supply with a higher wattage than you need.
A PC Case
This is the enclosure that houses all the components of your gaming PC. There are all sorts of different cases to choose from, so it’s really a matter of personal preference. This is one of the components that can help you lower the cost of building a gaming PC, as it doesn’t affect the performance of the computer whether you choose a basic one, an expensive one with lights and lots of fans, or a see-through one.
This is what you’ll actually be looking at while playing games, so you’ll need to carefully decide on the size, resolution, and refresh rate you want. This is what to look at when buying a gaming monitor: the resolution should be 1920×1080 (Full HD), and that is the most common resolution, but you can also get a higher-resolution monitor when you build a gaming PC if you want. The best size for a monitor for gaming is around 27 inches, but again, you can go bigger or smaller depending on your needs. The refresh rate of 60 Hz is fine for most people, but if you’re a competitive gamer, you’ll want a monitor with a higher refresh rate.
Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers
These external components are all optional, but they can make your gaming experience more enjoyable—a lot of gamers swear by gaming keyboards, mice, and speakers. If you’re on a budget, you can get away with using a regular keyboard and mouse, but if you want the best possible experience, you should invest in some gaming-specific peripherals with fancy LED lights and cool designs.
Along with the parts needed to build a gaming PC, you’ll need basic tools such as a screwdriver set, pliers, and a drill. Depending on the case you choose, you might need some specialized tools to put everything together. Prices for tools can range from around $20 to $100, but you probably have some at home already.
|DID YOU KNOW: Created by Raymond Stuart-Williams in 1951, the first gaming computer called the “Nimrod” wasn’t actually meant for games, but for business and academic purposes. The first commercially available gaming computer was the Commodore 64 released in 1982. It cost $595 and came with a cartridge that contained the game “Adventure.”|
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Gaming PC?
So, there you have it—that’s everything you need to build your own gaming PC! As you can see, the cost can vary depending on what you’re looking for, but no matter your budget, we’re sure you can find all the components to build the perfect gaming PC. A high-end gaming PC will cost several thousand dollars, while you can have a budget build for around $600–$700. Of course, there are different options in between these extremes, so take a look at the price range of the parts you need to build a gaming PC, from low-end to high-end:
|Graphics Card (GPU)||$120–$200||$200–$600||$600+|
|Keyboard||$50–$100||$100-$400||$400 – $1,000|
|Total Average Price||$700||$1500||$4000+|
To sum things up, when building your own PC, you can choose between low-cost, mid-range, or high-end gaming PC build. Depending on your budget, the total cost for building your own gaming PC can vary from $700 to $4000+.
|DID YOU KNOW: Gaming laptops last longer than regular laptops, with a lifespan of more than 6 years, and even the lifespan of a computer is only 3-4 years.|
|The necessary components for building your own gaming PC include some basic tools, a processor, CPU cooler, motherboard, RAM, storage, graphic card, power supply, computer case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers.|
|The average price to build a gaming PC ranges between $700 and $4000+.|
|Some of the pros of building your own gaming PC are personally choosing all the parts, saving money in the long run, and getting the most powerful gaming PC.|
|Not being able to get the most powerful gaming PC and paying more money are some of the drawbacks of buying a pre-built gaming PC.|
Prebuilt Gaming PC vs Custom Build Gaming PC: Which Is Better?
Now that you know what it takes to build your own gaming PC, you might be wondering if it’s better to buy a pre-built one or custom build your own. There are pros and cons to both options, so it really depends on what you’re looking for.
Pre-built Gaming PC
If you don’t want the hassle of assembling your own PC, buying a pre-built one is the way to go. The average cost for a budget gaming PC you don’t have to build is between $800 to $1200, while high-end pre-built gaming PCs are more expensive. Let’s see their pros and cons:
- You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues or putting it all together yourself.
- You’ll be able to get a great gaming PC without having to worry about compatibility and whether you have the best components.
- You can find pre-built gaming PCs for any budget.
- You might not be able to get the most powerful gaming PC possible.
- You’ll have to pay more for a pre-built gaming PC than if you built it yourself.
Custom Build Gaming PC
If you’re looking for the most powerful gaming PC possible, choosing between build vs buy gaming PC is an easy task, as this is where building your own PC is the way to go. Let’s see some advantages and drawbacks of building your own PC:
- You’ll be able to choose all the best components and tailor your build to your specific needs.
- You’ll save money in the long run by building your own PC.
- You’ll be able to get the most powerful gaming PC possible.
- You’ll have to put it together yourself and make sure everything is compatible.
- You might have to do some research to figure out which components best suit your needs.
So, when it comes to choosing between a prebuilt gaming PC vs custom build PC, it depends on whether you want the most powerful gaming PC possible, and whether you’re up for the hassle of building your own PC. Plus, how much money you’re prepared to spend plays a significant role in your final choice.
|DID YOU KNOW: Curved monitors take up more of your peripheral vision, allowing you to focus on your game rather than being distracted by what’s going on around you.|
Crafting your own gaming PC can be a great way to get the most powerful rig possible, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re not prepared for the effort of building your own PC, buying a pre-built one is the best option for you. Whichever route you choose, we’re sure you’ll compare the cost to build a gaming PC with the cost of buying a pre-built one and find the perfect gaming PC for your needs.
When it comes to putting the computer together, a competent builder will need between 40 and 60 minutes for a basic build. However, if it’s your first time building a PC, it might take anywhere from three to four hours if all procedures are followed correctly.
Despite the price to build a gaming PC, it can be challenging to do so if you’re not familiar with the process. However, there are plenty of resources available to help you through it and make building your own computer easy, provided you have the right tools and enough patience.
You’ll need a case, power supply, a motherboard, CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and a cooling system. You’ll also need a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers, and a set of basic tools for assembling the computer.
It can be cheaper to build your own PC if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to research the best components. However, it’s not always cheaper than buying a pre-built PC—so, how much does it cost to build a gaming PC? The average cost ranges between $700 and $4000+.