If you spend a lot of your free time gaming, it makes sense that you would want a PC that’s customized to your specific needs.
Building a PC is not an easy task for most people, but with the right guidance and high-quality components, almost anyone can put together a powerful PC for gaming.
Before you start fantasizing about your dream gaming PC, though, it’s important to be realistic about the cost.
The average cost of building your own gaming PC will vary depending on the specific parts you choose to incorporate, so you should ensure you understand the expected price range for each part and whether your gaming priorities require something on the higher or lower end of that spectrum.
Why Build Your Own Gaming PC?
As we mentioned previously, one of the main advantages of building your own gaming PC is that you get to customize your system to meet your needs.
However, there are plenty of other good reasons to build a gaming PC of your own.
For example, most of the time (when supply shortages don’t send prices skyrocketing) it’s actually cheaper to build your own PC than to buy one pre-made.
This is partly because you won’t be paying for a ton of software you don’t actually need. Upgrades are also cheaper and easier when you build your PC yourself.
A trend we have noticed with pre-built gaming PCs is that they don’t always come with efficient cooling systems, which is something you can correct if you choose to build your own PC.
What You’ll Need To Build a Gaming PC
Hopefully we have now sold you on the cost-effectiveness and other benefits of building your own PC, so now it’s time to consider what you’ll need to make your ideal PC come to life.
Here are all the necessary components you’ll have to buy:
- Computer Case
- Case Fans
- CPU (Central Processing Unit)
- CPU Cooler
- GPU (Graphics Card)
- PSU (Power Supply Unit)
- RAM (Random Access Memory)
- SSD/HDD (Solid State Drive or Hard Disk Drive)
Budgeting For A Gaming PC
To know how much you can expect to spend while building your gaming PC, you need to understand how much each component costs.
Here is a breakdown of the expected price range for each of the PC parts listed above:
You can find budget-friendly computer cases that cost about $50, but before you go with the cheapest option, bear in mind that not all computer cases are created equal.
If you want good airflow and enough space to house your core components, you may need to push the price up to between $100 and $200.
Some computer cases come with fans installed, but if yours does not, you’ll need to pay about $20 for these.
If features like RGB are not important to you, you may be able to find cheap fans for around $10.
We recommend waiting until you have selected the other components of your PC (especially the CPU) before choosing a motherboard because the motherboard needs to be compatible with the other parts of your build.
Most motherboards will cost somewhere in the region of $200 to $300, but if you don’t mind updating the BIOS, you can probably find one for around $120.
Your CPU will be a central component in the functionality and performance of your PC, so you should be prepared to spend more than the bare minimum here.
Prices for CPUs vary greatly depending on whether the graphics card is integrated and how powerful it is.
Prices tend to start at about $100 but lower-end CPUs might bottleneck your graphics card.
The higher-end CPUs generally go up to about $900.
You’ll need to decide whether you want an air cooler or an all-in-one cooler (which contains liquid).
The latter is riskier to install, so if this is your first time building a PC, we recommend choosing an air cooler, which will cost between $45 and $100.
Alternatively, an all-in-one cooler will set you back between $80 and $200.
This is the PC part you’ll really need to budget for because your graphics card will be the most expensive component of your build.
Even though the graphics card shortage that occurred during COVID-19 is now easing off and stocks from Ryzen and NVIDIA are finally on an upward trend again, you can expect to spend at least $200 to $300 on a GPU.
Higher-end GPUs, where you pay for better performance, can cost as much as $2,000.
A power supply unit of between 650 and 750 watts should cost at least $60 if it’s good quality, but you shouldn’t need to spend more than $150 on this component.
Consider speed and capacity when choosing your RAM. RAM is usually sold in 2 or 4-packs, with 4-pack RAM being the faster option.
We recommend having 16 GB of RAM, but you can push it down to 8 if you’re on a budget, or up to 32 if you have money to spare.
A 2-pack of 16 GB costs about $150 while a 4-pack is usually around $275.
You can buy a 2-pack of 8 GB for about $70 or a 4-pack for $160. For tight budgets, you can find a single pack of 8 GB for just $35.
For the quieter, more reliable, and faster storage option of an SSD, you can expect to pay $200 for a 2TB and $400 for a 4TB.
However, you can also buy a lower-end SSD and pair it with a 4TB HDD for $75, which may work out cheaper.
If you’re on a tighter budget, you can buy an 8TB HDD for about $150 and leave out the SSD.
Your keyboard, monitor, mouse, headset, and/or speakers combined might cost anywhere between $120 all the way up to about $400 depending on how much of your budget is left after purchasing the core components.
There is no simple answer to the question of how much it costs to build a PC because it depends on whether you want higher-end components or are happy with a budget build.
You can build a gaming PC for around $300 on the lower end, with $1,000 being a more realistic estimate.
However, if you have the money, you could easily spend $4,000 building a gaming PC.
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