The desktop PC endures as a major gaming platform, even amidst the rise of the 8th generation of game consoles. Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One may be popular but nothing can still beat a gaming PC. In fact, a well-built gaming PC is the best investment for hardcore gamers because players can enjoy games in maximum settings.
There are countless ready-to-use gaming PCs available. But if you want customization and savings, you’re better off building your own. Before you start assembling your own desktop, learn about the cost to build a gaming PC to know how much to expect.
Average Cost to Build A Gaming PC
Assembling your own desktop requires you to shop for parts individually. You can save up to $50 to $200 compared with buying a pre-assembled computer.
Take note that this guide primarily features Intel-based and AMD-based builds. Intel and AMD are the leading manufacturers of core components such as CPUs and GPUs. However, Intel processors perform better than their AMD equivalents in terms of clock speeds and efficiency. This is why Intel parts are usually more expensive than their AMD counterparts.
To know how each part costs, here’s a list of PC components and their approximate prices:
Also known as Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), video cards serve as the lifeblood of gaming PCs. The built-in GPU of latest generation processors works in low to moderate settings, at 30 to 60 frames per second (FPS). You can also opt for maximum settings at 1080p to 4K resolutions at 45 to 60 FPS. Higher-quality video cards costs between $300 and $500.
As the brain of your PC, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) determines your rig’s overall performance. The cost to build a gaming PC with a CPU suited for gaming ranges from $150 to $350. GPUs at the higher end of the price range feature higher processing speeds. The ultra-fast processing allows you to play massive A-list games on maximum settings with your desktop.
Intel budget build
The cost to build a gaming PC with an Intel budget build costs around $305 to $385. This system allows you to play most online games such as Dota 2 and Counter Strike at medium settings.
- CPU (Intel Core i3, dual core) – $70 to $100
- RAM (4GB DDR3) – $20 to $25
- GPU (GTX 750Ti) – $90 to $110
- Motherboard (Intel DDR3) – $40 to $50
- Hard drive (512GB SATA II) – $40 to $60
- Case and power supply (500W) – $50 to $60
Most entry-level motherboards with one to two slots of RAM and basic necessities will work for this system. A normal 500 to 600W power supply unit (PSU) is enough to support the hardware without requiring an external cooling system. These specs can also run most casual games at maximum settings. However, don’t expect it to run AAA titles such as Dark Souls 3 at 1080p and 60 FPS.
Alternative budget build using AMD
This system practically uses the same components in the Intel budget build except for the CPU, GPU, and the motherboard. The cost of building a gaming computer using basic AMD rig costs around $295 to $375.
- CPU (AMD A8 series, dual core) – $60 to $90
- GPU (AMD Radeon HD 7000 series) – $90 to $100
- Motherboard (AMD DD3 with F1 socket for AMD A8) – $40 to $50
This gaming PC is very powerful, as it can run the latest games in 4K resolution at 60 FPS or higher. Here are the individual costs of its recommended components:
- Motherboard (ATX with DDR4 slots) – $200 to $230
- CPU (Intel Core i7, 7000K series, 4 physical cores) – $300 to $340
- RAM (32 GB DDR4) – $250 to $275
- GPU (GeForce GTX 1090Ti) – $670 to $680
- Hard drive (512GB SSD) – $300 to $325
- Power supply (850W gold, true rated) – $150 to $160
- Case (with cooling system) – $50 to $60
The high-end build costs around $1,920 to $2,070. This system requires a more powerful PSU with a cooling case since its hardware uses more electricity and produces more heat. It’s also built around Intel i7 and GTX 1090 since these are the most powerful components currently available.
Cost Factors for Building A Gaming PC
There are several factors that determine the cost of building a gaming computer. The CPU and GPU comprises most of the expenses. In general, the more powerful a CPU and GPU is, the more expensive it is. Meanwhile, the hard disk drive (HDD) and monitor also influences the total cost.
Hard disk drive
The hard disk drive is where you save the operating system, your files, and basically everything. The larger the capacity of a hard disk drive, the more expensive it is.
For an optimized build, it is highly recommended to install a solid-state drive (SSD) on top of the SATA II drive. SSDs are a lot more expensive than traditional HDDs but they can boot your system in just a few seconds. SSDs also have high cost-to-storage size ratio. That’s why it’s highly advisable to have a secondary SATA HDD to store your files and installers.
The desktop monitor can greatly affect the cost of building a gaming computer. In turn, your choice of monitor depends on your gaming preferences. The larger the screen, the higher the cost will be. The same applies to the monitor’s resolution.
However, a monitor’s maximum resolution doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the optimal resolution for your games. In-game settings will depend on the PC’s internal components.
When building your own gaming PC, you should match your choice of peripherals with the capabilities of your system. Building your own gaming PC is very advantageous since it is modular. You can replace parts with newer compatible models when they are released in the market. It’s truly a rewarding experience to play your games in a system that you customized and built yourself.