Building your own PC has been the passion of many gamers and computer geeks for decades – tracking the new hardware releases, comparing specs, performance and the bang for buck has always been a part of the PC world.
But with companies becoming ever more efficient with their computer manufacturing, as well as new exclusive deals being stuck between computer parts developers and retailers, is it still worth it to build your own PC instead of just buying one pre-built?
While the question is valid, and there are instances where buying a pre-built PC can be the right choice, the truth is that, as far as price goes, it will most likely still be cheaper to assemble your own PC, at least in the foreseeable future.
So how exactly can you save money by building your own PC?
There are a few factors that determine how much you actually need to spend on a PC, not the last of which (obviously) is what your primary use for it is.
There are basically three main ranges of PCs. Even though there might be countless variations of hardware you can combine, the three main levels that are often cited by computer experts are:
1. Work Tasks / internet / Office .
The least demanding PC, simply used for tasks that do not really require much recourses, is obviously going to cost the least. In this case, the PC can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, but of course, there are factors to consider as well.
You should take into account that technology gets old very quickly, and that even tasks like browsing online or working with Office programs can become more demanding in the future. So if you're buying a PC that's already using out-of-date hardware, you might need to upgrade much sooner than you'd like.
You do not really need to splurge on an expensive motherboard, in fact, a simple Intel Graphics HD card will more than suffice for watching movies or anything of that nature.
However, investing in an Intel i3 or i5 processor is a good idea because it simply makes everything a lot more efficient. Since RAM has gotten much cheaper, there's no reason why you should not get 6GB of RAM, even if you probably will not be needing as much.
Finally, the Solid State Drive (SSD) has revolutionized the PC industry, so it's one of the most important computer accessories nowdays, since it dramatically increases load speeds.
At the low-end of the PC market, the savings of assembling your own PC might not be as significant – many companies buy older discounted parts in bulk and are able to sell them at relatively low prices. Of course, if you dig around, you can also find amazing deals and save even more.
2. Mid-range gaming / entertainment PC
The next level is a PC that just a few years back may have passed for a high-end PC, but has now succumbed to the ever-growing demands of the newest and hottest game releases. Of course, you can still use it to play most of the games, but for the most demanding ones, only medium graphics settings will be possible.
When you want gaming, the very first thing is the Graphics Card – many stores selling pre-built PCs try to pass off NVidia GT series graphics cards as gaming cards, but they really do not stand a chance against current games, so if you plan to play any of the newer games comfortably, you should always look at the NVidia GTX series graphics cards. Also, you can check out the AMD Radeon R9 series, as they have some budget graphics cards with a lot of bang for the buck.
As for the other specs, an Intel i7 is always nice, but as far as gaming goes, it does not have that much of an impact that would justify the increase in price. A SSD is also a must, and 8GB of RAM might be a good idea as well.
Gaming PCs are a huge market, and even in the mid-level, stores often jack up the prices significantly, so if you assemble the PC yourself, you can often save up to 30 percent, if not more.
3. High-end gaming PC
If you want a PC that will give you the ultimate gaming experience no matter what crazy-realistic graphics the game might have then buying a PC with the cutting edge technology is your only viable option.
If you want the best, you have to pay for it, and there's no going around the fact that in order to play the best game in high graphics mode, you'll probably have to invest in one of the newer models of the NVidia GTX cards, which will not come cheap.
An i7 processor is also recommended at this level, as well as 8, or even 16 GB of RAM. Also, consider opting for both a SSD and an optical drive for storage, as that increases your options, since those games can take up a lot of space!
Even though assembling such a PC can go beyond a thousand dollars, the savings, compared to buying a pre-built one is also very significant. You can save up to 40-50 percent, since the high-end gaming PCs often cost upwards of 2,000 USD.