Which is better–putting together a gaming PC from scratch, or purchasing your gaming computer prebuilt from a retailer?
Quick answer: neither option is intrinsically better than the other. Both methods have their pros and cons. The option that works for you will depend on how much you want or can spend; your willingness to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty; and how urgently you want or need your gaming PC to be up and running.
OK–let’s take a deeper dive into both options!
Pros and cons of building your gaming PC
The biggest reason a gamer would choose to build his or her own gaming PC is that by doing so, they get to have it exactly the way they want it, according to their own specifications. A gamer who puts together their own PC will be free to select each and every component that goes into it, including parts that may not easily be found in off-the-shelf gaming PCs.
Importantly, a DIY PC gamer isn’t stuck with purchasing new parts; they can choose to use parts they already have, and can also tap the market for second-hand or refurbished components (they can not only buy parts there but can also sell their older parts as well). Doing so can help bring the price of a DIY PC down below that of a prebuilt one.
Additionally, those PC gamers who set store on how their PCs look can also be free to style their DIY gaming PC according to their own taste. Since taste is a relative thing, it may not always be easy to find prebuilt gaming PCs that look exactly the way one might prefer.
Lastly, having managed to put together one’s own gaming PC can be a point of pride for many PC gamers to boot. It’s admittedly not always an easy thing to do, and so those who’ve successfully managed to do it can definitely have something to boast about to other PC gamers.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? There are downsides to assembling one’s own gaming PC, though. A major one is that it can take quite a lot of time to do; if you don’t have too much free time to allocate to it, you might struggle to get it done.
It can also be a pretty hectic and stressful activity as well, especially if you’ve made a mistake and find out about it only when your PC starts malfunctioning (or has gone BSOD). Isolating a group of components or an individual component that’s causing the issue isn’t always easy, and replacing them can be complicated and inconvenient.
Now let’s take a look at the other option…
Pros and cons of buying a prebuilt gaming PC
Going for an off-the-shelf gaming PC has several pros of its own, and they’re pretty compelling.
For one, you don’t just get the PC itself through your purchase–you also get a warranty from the manufacturer as well as access to said manufacturer’s support hotlines and other resources. The confidence and peace of mind that the gaming PC you bought has already had many of its kinks ironed out during the research and development phase, and has also been assembled and tested by experts prior to it being boxed and sold, is really invaluable. As is the fact that you do have someone to call or run to should you need help with your gaming PC.
Secondly, some features of prebuilt gaming PCs simply aren’t available to DIYers, like preinstalled software that may have been purchased by the PC manufacturer via special deals, and certain components that aren’t available for individual purchase (these can include high-tech components like unique side panels and stylish chassis designed in-house and which just aren’t sold by themselves). Some prebuilt PCs can also come as part of a package (with certain accessories like keyboards and mice for instance), which is definitely not something DIYers can avail of.
Thirdly, buying a pre-assembled gaming PC saves quite a bit of time and is less of a hassle vis-a-vis the DIY solution. All you’d need to do in order to start gaming is to set your PC up physically, attach your accessories, and turn it on and start fiddling with your software and other hardware.
How about any cons? Cost is probably the most significant one–many prebuilt gaming PCs can be pricier to purchase than putting a gaming PC together, as explained above. But the extra cash you shell out might end up staving off stress and hassle and adding to your peace of mind.