Have you decided to build your own gaming PC and now you’re researching the breakdown of how much it’ll cost you? Then you’re at the right place! In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the different components of a gaming PC, and the cost ranges from low-end to high-end to give you an idea of how much it would cost to build a gaming PC.
Building a gaming PC from scratch is definitely a hard task, especially for those who haven’t done it before. But that shouldn’t stop you from building yours from scratch. I mean, who isn’t up for a challenge, right? If you can slay dragons, assassinate enemies, and hunt down monsters in your games, then building a gaming PC should be a piece of cake.
If this is your first time (or not) building your own PC, you should ask yourself a few questions before starting to help you determine how much it would cost to build a gaming PC, such as: What kind of games will you play on your PC? Will you play modern PC games or indie games? Do you want a gaming PC that can run demanding apps on high settings? Or are you okay with lower settings? Will you only use it for gaming, or will you also use it for work? If you’ll also use it for work, what kind of work is that? How big is your budget?
These are just a few questions that a lot of newbies in the gaming industry have to ask themselves before starting to build the best gaming PC for them. These questions will lead to the main question that we have, which is “How much does it cost to build a gaming PC?”
Now, let’s get into it!
The Parts You Need to Build a Gaming PC
When building your first gaming PC, you need to know about each component a gaming PC should have. These parts are what your gaming PC will consist of. It’s also the bulk of your purchase. These include the:
- CPU (central processing unit/processor)
- GPU (graphics processing unit/graphics card)
- RAM (random access memory)
- Storage (you’ll have to choose between an HDD or SSD)
- The Motherboard
- Power supply unit (PSU)
- Cooling system or CPU coolers
- PC case
- Case fans
- Other gaming peripherals*
The PC components listed above comprise a basic computer/gaming desktop. Each component serves a purpose in allowing your gaming PC to run most games and other apps smoothly.
Although all the parts are important when building a gaming PC, the CPU and GPU are the two most vital components when building gaming computers. Not only are they the most vital, but the CPU and GPU are also the two most expensive components. This is because they handle almost all the processing. In addition, they also enhance your overall gaming experience.
The cost of the overall gaming PC build will entirely depend on your own individual requirements. A gaming computer can range from $300-$1500+ depending on the CPU, GPU, and other components of a gaming PC. So, if you’re a newbie, someone who has a huge budget, someone who has a tighter budget, or just an enthusiast, there are definitely a ton of gaming PC builds to choose from.
Now, to get the gist of how much a gaming desktop really is, we’ll be breaking down the PC hardware you’ll need and an estimate of how much each component is at different price points.
After the GPU, your CPU is the second most expensive part of your gaming PC build. Although the GPU is arguably more important than your CPU, the CPU is still what helps give your PC the processing power it requires to operate faster and efficiently.
The CPU plays an important role in executing the majority of the PC’s processing. This is why there are different types of CPUs that are made for different purposes.
There are instances where the CPU can even do the job of the GPU. This type of CPU is known as the iGPU, or integrated graphics processing unit. An integrated GPU can cost as little as $100. So, if you’re not planning to play hardcore games, then an integrated GPU will do.
But, if you’re looking for something more powerful than that, you’ll have to fish out a bigger amount of money. CPUs that were made specifically for gaming can cost about $200 or more.
When choosing a CPU, don’t just consider the CPU cost but also how strong the CPU should be to avoid bottlenecking your GPU, as well as to save more money for the other parts.
So, a lower-end CPU can cost under $100 to about $180, like the Intel Core i3-10100 which costs about $95. A mid-range gaming PC CPU can cost anywhere from $180 to at least $450. Meanwhile, a higher-end CPU that is really made specifically for gaming can cost about $450 or more. Among the most expensive CPUs, which cost about $6,420, is the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X.
But remember, you don’t need an extremely strong and expensive CPU. You have to make sure your CPU and GPU are compatible for a better experience.
If you’re on a tighter budget, we recommend you get at least a mid-range CPU to build a decent gaming PC.
GPU (Graphics Card Processor)
Next, the most important PC component when building gaming PCs is the graphics card. Not only is the GPU the most important component for a gaming PC, but it’s also the most expensive PC component.
When it comes to gaming, the visual interface has a big influence on your PC experience. A higher resolution and frame rate will make your game look significantly better. As a result, the more powerful the graphics card, the better the graphics in your games. But, the better the graphics card is, the more expensive it can be.
Currently, the two top GPU models in the world are NVIDIA, Ryzen, AMD, and Radeon, so you’re more likely to buy these models. However, the pandemic has led to a global chip shortage, which has made GPU prices skyrocket.
This shortage even made older cards more expensive than their retail price. So, if you’re buying a new graphics card from NVIDIA, you’ll no doubt be paying a hefty price. But, that’s if you even get one, since they usually sell out within minutes of their release. You can also purchase your graphics card from resellers.
A low-end GPU would typically cost somewhere between $180 and $250. While mid-range GPUs would cost about $250 or more. The cheapest high-end and newer GPUs will cost about $750, while the most expensive ones can cost around $3,000 or more.
But, just like with CPUs, you don’t always need a top-of-the-line GPU. If you’re just playing multiple games that are not super hardcore, even the older generation GPUs will work fine.
It’s not always the best route to get the most expensive PC component, especially if you’re on a budget. For a better PC gaming experience, it’s more important to buy a CPU and GPU that are compatible with each other. In addition, a decent gaming PC with a good GPU will allow you to play multiple games.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM is one of the components that determine how well your PC operates. RAM is essential because it allows your system to access data from your main storage device faster. The data for your game is kept on your hard disk (HDD) or solid-state drive (SDD) so that you don’t need to access it all of the time.
RAM is one of the cheapest components when buying parts for your PC build. The price increases the higher the price per GB of RAM is.
You’ll find a model with only 8GB of RAM for a cheaper price. But, for most gaming PCs and gaming laptops, it’s recommended that you get at least 16GB of RAM if you’re going to use it for more demanding games and apps. But if you’re planning to play chill games like Minecraft, then 8GB is totally fine.
Take note that most of the time, RAM is typically sold in packs of two or four in the majority of stores. However, you will find single 8GB RAM sticks for sale in some stores. But the majority of the time, they’re resold in packs of two or four. So, you’ll be paying twice the cost of one RAM stick.
If you’re looking for a gaming laptop to play Minecraft on, you might want to check out our article “The Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops for Minecraft.”
Storage (HDD or SSD)
Both SSDs and HDDs are in charge of storing data (including the device’s OS, or operating system).
If you’re unfamiliar, seeing two separate PC hardware items for one purpose may be confusing, but solid state drives and hard disk drives serve the same function—they just do it differently. Basically, an SSD saves data electronically, whereas an HDD stores data mechanically.
Solid state drives (SSDs) are the latest technology that utilizes more modern circuitry to read, write, and store data considerably more quickly. SSDs, as opposed to HDDs, store data in integrated circuits. Their capacity (the amount of data they can store) also varies, so they can be used with any PC device. A good SSD is the Samsung 980 PRO.
Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD
Hard disk drives (HDDs) are an older technology that has been around for longer than SSDs. They are less expensive and ideal for storing data that does not need to be accessed frequently, such as backups of photos, films, or other files. One of the most popular HDDs is the Seagate BarraCuda.
SSDs are considerably faster, quieter, and more dependable, but they are considerably more expensive than an HDD with the same—or even more—storage. That being said, you’d think that an SSD is better to play games, which is true in the case of gaming laptops. However, most motherboards already come with multiple SATA ports. This allows you to connect both an SSD and an HDD.
If you have the budget, consider buying a high-capacity SSD and HDD drive to provide you with the best of both worlds. But, if you don’t have much money to spend, then you can stop with either one (but we do recommend the SSD more).
For more information about HDDs and SSDs, check out our article about “How Much Storage Should a Gaming PC Have?”
Photo Credits to Computer Scrap Champs
Another important part when building your gaming PC is the motherboard. Your PC won’t run without the motherboard since it is responsible for the power distribution. The motherboard is also what allows the parts of the PC to communicate with each other.
Before you start to browse for motherboards, you should take note that the motherboard, CPU, and other components should be compatible with each other.
Bare in mind that, depending on the motherboard you choose, the BIOS may need to be updated. While it’s an easy process, you can always buy a suitable motherboard instead of performing an update.
With lower-end motherboards, their current BIOS update is typically their last supported upgrade cycle. This means that if you were to upgrade your CPU, you might have to buy a new motherboard.
Motherboard cost can range from $60 to $200. So, buy a more future-proof motherboard to save on cost.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Photo Credits to PCMag
When compared to the majority of the parts of the PC, the power supply is comparatively cheap. The power supply you select for your build will determine how much power it requires. You can save money by choosing a non-modular model and ensuring that you have only the proper amount of power for your design.
Be cautious of anything less than Bronze-rated, and always do your homework on PSU tier lists before purchasing. However, 650-750 watts is often suggested because it leaves plenty of leeway for future upgrades. If you have extra money to invest in a high-quality power supply, get one that is totally modular. It will be the best choice when building your own PC as a PC gamer.
All-in-one Cooler (AIO)
There are a lot of types of CPU coolers, such as the air cooler, closed-loop, open-loop, liquid CPU coolers, and the one we’ll talk about in this article, the all-in-one (AIO) cooler.
Gaming PCs typically overheat since they’re using a lot of energy to power your game or any other demanding apps you’re using.
CPU cooling systems are intended to dissipate heat generated by the processor. The CPU cooler is placed at the heart of your PC. This cooling system lets stored heat energy flow away from critical functioning components without destroying the hardware.
With the use of CPU coolers, your PC has a reduced risk of overheating, which can cause thermal throttling.
When using an AIO for your PC build, you must consider its risk since AIOs contain a liquid which could damage the other PC components when installed incorrectly.
CPU cooler cost ranges from $80-$200.
If you want to know how to prevent your PC from overheating, check out our article “Gaming Laptop Guide: How to Keep a Gaming Laptop Cool?”
The PC casing, like a few of the other components, is available in a number of price ranges. The PC case is one of the areas where you can save money because it will just store the majority of the components and may have no effect on how your PC functions.
You have complete control over your PC case. You can completely customize it (or not). You only need to look for a high-quality casing with proper ventilation.
A low-cost PC case can still do the job and offer adequate airflow for your system. But they may have quality issues depending on what you buy.
Mid-range cases typically provide the ideal mixture of price and quality. Depending on the case, you may get a sufficient number of integrated fans, higher-quality dust filters, and other features such as cable management.
Meanwhile, a high-end PC case often has better quality than others. In some cases, you’ll also have the ability to re-configure the case depending on the size of your PC build.
Overall, to buy a nice case, you don’t exactly need to pay too much. If you don’t have the budget to buy a high-end PC case, you can add RGB lights and other accessories to your PC later on.
Case fans are among the cheapest PC parts.
However, you may or may not need a case fan since there are PC cases that have a pre-installed fan. You also need to take note that some cases can hold multiple fans, as well as varying sizes of fans.
Generally, the cost of fans will also depend on their size, if they have RGB lights, and how much air they’re able to move. Their prices vary, but they’re generally the cheapest among all of the PC parts.
Aside from the actual PC, you’ll also need other gaming peripherals to complete your setup. These include your gaming monitor, gaming keyboard, gaming mouse, gaming headset, and/or a gaming chair.
You have several options to select from, ranging from color to pricing. Gaming peripherals alone can already cost at least $500, that is if you buy every gaming peripheral you need. However, if you simply purchase a few select peripherals, the costs can be reduced.
Since gaming peripherals are a completely separate case from gaming PCs, it’s best to have a separate budget for them.
Factors to Consider When Building a Gaming PC
Before you even start building your gaming PC, there are certain factors you must consider. This is because there are a lot of different models of each of the components. This makes determining which ones to get a lot more confusing.
So, before you start anything, you must know these determining factors to help you choose which components to get for your build.
Photo Credits to Investopedia
Let’s face it, the cost to build a PC isn’t exactly cheap. Building your PC from scratch isn’t the most cost-effective way to get a gaming PC. But a typical gaming PC that’s been prebuilt is also not cheap.
You’ll be spending a certain amount depending on which PC components you purchase. Although you may be saving a bit of money as opposed to buying a prebuilt gaming PC, you should also consider the time and effort you’re putting in from researching the parts, choosing the parts, buying the parts, and slowly building it from scratch. But the cost to build your PC is worth it. Since building it from scratch is the best way to get exactly what you want since you’ll have full control.
Prices vary, depending on their components. But generally, building it from scratch can cost you anywhere from $300 to more than $3,000. There are a lot of budget gaming builds, but of course, if your budget allows it, getting a mid-range to high-end gaming PC would be highly recommended.
So, the very first factor you must consider is your budget. You must determine how much money you can spend on your gaming PC. When you’ve determined your budget, choosing components in that price range will be easier.
Photo Credits to Rock Paper Shotgun
Another factor to consider is which games you’re planning to play or currently playing.
Looking at just your games, you’ll be able to determine what type of hardware you’ll be needing. For example, with chill or 2D games like Stardew Valley, Among Us, and Minecraft, a budget gaming PC build is perfect.
However, if you want to play games that are more advanced and modern like The Witcher, Final Fantasy, League of Legends, and other latest games, then you’ll need more powerful hardware, which will cost more.
Here, you must determine how much you know and how much you are willing to learn. It’s because you’ll have to choose whether to build your PC from scratch or buy a prebuilt gaming PC. The cost to build a PC is different from your knowledge of building one to actually building the best gaming PC.
With that being said, building your own may or may not cost you more, depending on the parts you use. But, that’s the same case with buying a prebuilt PC, because not only are you paying for the PC itself, but also the person who constructed it.
In addition, if you have zero knowledge of building a PC from scratch, you will need to take your time and even get a bit of help from professionals or friends who know how to build a PC.
So, if you want to have a gaming PC without consuming too much time and effort, then a budget gaming PC is easier and cheaper than building your own. But if you want to take the challenge, then we hope that this guide was able to help you determine the cost to build the PC.
Different colored PC cases, LED lights, color-changing parts, and even other mods that make your PC look more aesthetically pleasing have become increasingly popular over the years.
Because of this, there are a lot of parts that have different colors and even gaming PC accessories to spice up your gaming setup. It doesn’t really cost too much if you want to customize your PC. However, there are instances when the color you want might now be available.
If you want to learn how you can spice up your gaming desk, check out our guide on gaming setups here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Hard to Build a Gaming PC?
If you’re new to this, it’ll definitely be a hard process. However, if you’re willing to learn. Research and ask for help, it’ll slowly become a lot easier.
You can learn more about how you can build a PC by watching videos on Youtube and even asking for professionals’ advice to help you cover all the bases. You can also follow the instructions that come with the parts you buy. You can also buy a guide to further your knowledge.
If you feel overwhelmed with how much you have to do, you can start by checking the motherboard manual, CPU manual, or just about any manual from any of the pieces.
Is Building Your Own Gaming PC Worth It?
In our opinion, building your own gaming PC is worth it, especially if you want a gaming PC that will do the job the way you want it to. But it fully depends on personal preference, since not everyone has the patience to actually research, buy, and build a PC.
If you think about how time-consuming it is to build one, then prebuilt gaming PCs are definitely the easy way out (which we completely understand).
Is It Cheaper to Buy a Pre-Built PC Than to Build Your Own?
There are a lot of prebuilt PCs on the market at varying price points. So, in some cases, a prebuilt PC can be cheaper than building your own, especially if you don’t have the time to build one yourself.
However, building your own PC can be a lot cheaper and more beneficial since you won’t have to pay for labor costs, lowering the overall cost. In addition, it will also allow you to add more to your PC for less or the same price.
The primary reason why building your own PC is generally cheaper has to do with labor costs. After all, prebuilt manufacturing companies are businesses with operating costs and employees to pay, so charging for their labor is understandable.
A prebuilt computer also has several added benefits that are sometimes included in the price, such as software, testing, and warranty.
Are Prebuilt PCs Worth It?
If you don’t have enough time to research, buy materials, and actually build the PC, then buying a prebuilt PC is the best option.
Why Are Gaming PCs So Expensive?
The main reason why gaming PCs are so expensive is because of the powerful CPU, GPU, and other parts. Another reason is that they’re not as mass-produced as laptops, resulting in higher material costs.
When you compare the parts in your own computer to the parts in a gaming PC, you will see that the parts are so compact that they can often be built at a cheaper price. Whereas gaming PCs feature larger and more powerful components, adding to the manufacturing cost
Are There Any Tools You’ll Need to Build a Gaming PC?
There are a few tools you’ll need. These include
- Anti-Static Mat or Anti-Static Wristband
A lot of individuals don’t add materials to the building cost, but it’s also important because, without tools, you’ll have a harder time building your PC.
Final Thoughts: How Much Does it Cost to Build a Gaming PC in 2023?
There’s no set answer to “how much does it cost to build a gaming PC” since the cost will depend on a lot of different factors and parts. It’s rare to find two gaming PCs that have the same exact components (unless they were mass-produced by manufacturers). In addition, you can mix and match parts within different budgets. So, in reality, there’s no single answer.
But to give you an estimate, you can spend as little as $300 or as much as $3,000 or even higher to build your gaming PC.
It will solely depend on your budget and how you want your PC to function.
If you want to check out more gaming guides, reviews, and more, check us out here.
That being said, we hope you found this article informative! Happy gaming!