Buying your first gaming PC is an incredibly exciting moment for every gamer. But before you can get to the buying part, you must choose whether you want to purchase a pre-built PC or a custom PC.
Now, you might be asking, “What’s the best one for me, a pre-built or a custom one?” Well, both choices have their own advantages and disadvantages. It would entirely depend on whether or not these advantages or disadvantages are something you need or something you want to deal with.
The decision of “which one is better?” will entirely depend on you because each gamer has different requirements, budgets, time, and effort they want to exert. So, today, we are going to go over each of the pros and cons that you should be aware of before you purchase or build a PC.
Let’s get into it!
- Convenient. It is simply a plug-and-play device.
- Parts are guaranteed to work well together.
- Little to no troubleshooting is needed.
- Warranty period.
- Will perform well.
- A bit more expensive than a custom PC.
- Limited design choices.
- You don’t have full control over what parts your PC will have.
- A bit cheaper as opposed to a pre-built PC.
- You have full control over the parts, components, and specs of the PC.
- You can design your PC as much as you want and make it look more aesthetically pleasing.
- Will perform well, depending on whether the parts will work well together.
- Not as convenient. You have a lot of researching, purchasing, and assembling to do, especially if you’re not knowledgeable in building a PC.
- You will have to troubleshoot the PC to ensure that the parts work together.
- You have a 50-50 chance of failing or succeeding.
- Takes a lot of time and effort.
Pre-Built Gaming PC vs. Custom-Made Gaming PC
Before anything else, let’s talk about what a pre-built and custom PC is.
Pre-Built Gaming PC
A pre-built gaming PC is exactly what its name is. It is a pre-built PC that someone has already fully assembled before it is put on sale for purchase. Pre-built PCs are typically offered by shops and retailers.
Pre-built PCs are the easiest and fastest way to get a gaming PC. Once you purchase one, all you now have to do is simply plug it in, set it up, and add your favorite games. A pre-built PC offers you the least effort. However, with the little effort you have to put in, you would have to compensate for its price.
Custom-Made Gaming PC
Meanwhile, a custom PC will offer you maximum control over what goes in and what doesn’t go into your PC. You have full control over the specifications and components of your PC. However, with the control you have over your PC’s components and specifications, you would have to research all about the different components you’ll need for your PC and whether those components will work perfectly together or not.
Moreover, you have the choice of assembling it yourself or hiring someone else to assemble it for you.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s discuss their differences and similarities in terms of:
In terms of performance, both don’t really have that much of a difference. They perform similarly, allowing you to play your favorite games. However, where they may differ is in how well they were built, which may or may not affect the overall performance of the gaming PC.
Pre-built PCs are built by professionals in the field. And when building the PC, they would generally use components and parts that already work together, which lowers the risk of the PC failing. However, just like anything, there are instances when a pre-built PC can fail or have errors. But what’s great about purchasing a pre-built PC is that they come with a warranty period wherein you can bring it back to the manufacturer or where you bought it to get it repaired, free of charge (as long as it’s within the warranty period).
A pre-built PC’s performance will also depend on its power. Its power will depend on how strong and capable the components are. You won’t have full control of each component since it’s already been pre-built. But you can still look for one with good specifications that will fit your gaming needs and requirements.
Meanwhile, with custom PCs, you have a 50-50 chance of it failing or not, depending on how well you built the PC and how well each component works together. If you’re not a professional and it’s your first time building a PC, you might have a hard time, especially if you don’t have someone to guide you. When building a custom PC, you have full control over the components of the PC. Thus, you can choose the specs of each part. Now, the problem you’ll have to deal with is whether or not each part will work well together.
Setting aside whether each part will work together, in terms of performance, you can get the maximum performance you’re looking for in a custom PC. This is because you can choose the fastest CPU, the biggest storage, the best GPU, and such.
When it comes to convenience, it’s safe to say that pre-built gaming PCs are the winner here. Since you don’t have to go out of your way to research the parts, buy the parts, and assemble the PC, unlike with custom PCs, pre-built PCs are most definitely more convenient.
All you have to do with a pre-built PC is choose one that suits you, purchase it, plug it in, and set it up. You won’t have to go through the bloody process of building yourself a PC. Moreover, you also won’t have to troubleshoot the PC since each part is expected to work well together.
When building a customized PC, you have the freedom to select particular parts that will meet your specific gaming needs, guaranteeing that you don’t wind up with parts that aren’t a suitable fit for you, giving you a lot of flexibility.
Whereas pre-built PCs usually already have a set of parts. But, of course, depending on where you buy your pre-built PC, there can be a few adjustments that can be made by the manufacturer to make the PC fit your needs best. These adjustments may include increasing the amount of RAM and/or storage, replacing the HDD storage with an SDD one, changing the CPU or GPU, etc.
Something you should also keep in mind when you’re planning to buy a pre-built PC is if it’s future-proof. There are some pre-built PCs that use older generation CPUs and GPUs, which will limit the upgradability of the PC.
If you’re planning to buy a budget PC, then it’s more likely that the PC will have an outdated CPU and/or GPU to keep the price down. If you have a PC with an outdated CPU and GPU, when you want to upgrade them, you will have to change the motherboards.
However, if you’re considering purchasing one, be sure that the configuration doesn’t use any out-of-date parts. This way, you’ll know you’re getting what you paid for and will not have to spend extra money on future updates than required.
The pricing of both pre-built and custom PCs will depend on a few factors.
Generally, pre-built PCs are more expensive since you’re also paying for the labor fee. However, you can always wait for store discounts to get the PC for a cheaper price.
Custom PCs are usually cheaper since buying the parts separately is a lot cheaper. However, this will depend on the brand and the specs of the parts, so it may or may not be more expensive than a pre-built PC. You might be choosing to build a custom PC because it’s “cheaper,” but take note that with the cheaper price, you’re going to have to compensate in time and effort.
So, when choosing between the two in terms of price, get a pre-built one if you don’t want to go through the bloody process of building and would instead pay for it pre-built. But if you’re on a budget and have a lot of time, then a custom PC is definitely for you.
If you want to read an in-depth article about the price of building a PC, then check out our article, “How Much Does it Cost to Build a Gaming PC?”
Custom PCs definitely win in aesthetics since you can customize your PC in any way, shape, or form you want. You can use different colored casings or use fans with designs. You can let your imagination run free with your custom PC.
Meanwhile, with pre-built PCs, you only have a limited choice of what’s available in-store. Although stores are upgrading the designs of their pre-built PCs, you still won’t have the same amount of freedom in design as with a custom PC.
Factors to Consider Before Buying or Building a Gaming PC
What Games Will You Play?
Certain games have certain CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage requirements, so you have to consider the games you want to play on your PC. If you’re planning to play hardcore games, then you have to get a PC with a good CPU and GPU and plenty of storage space. But if you’re planning to play simple games that don’t require very “powerful” requirements, then you can get a low to mid-range PC.
If you’re not sure how much storage your PC should have, you might want to check our article about it here.
You should also consider how much knowledge you already have and are willing to learn if you’re planning to build a PC from scratch.
Building one from scratch may be quite easy or quite hard, depending on your knowledge. If you have zero to little knowledge, then you should be determined to learn more about it to ensure that you’re able to build the best gaming PC for you. However, if you don’t have enough time or simply don’t want to go through the process of learning to build a PC, then you should consider just buying a pre-built PC.
Time and Effort You Want to Put Into It
As mentioned previously, when building a custom PC, you’re going to exert a lot of time and effort. From researching the parts to buying the parts to assembling each component, this can take quite some time, especially since you’re going to have to troubleshoot whether or not the parts work together.
So, consider how much time and effort you can put into building a PC. If you’re a busy person and want to have your PC immediately, then buying a pre-built PC will be the best choice for you to save time and effort.
Lastly, you should also consider your budget. Let’s face it: building and buying a PC isn’t exactly cheap.
When building, each part can range from $20-$500, depending on what part that is, the brand, the specs, etc. And if you add all of that up, you may end up paying $300-$2,000 for all of the parts. That still doesn’t include the equipment you might need. Meanwhile, buying a pre-built PC is also not cheap. High-quality pre-built PCs can typically range from $800 and up.
So, always consider your budget and weigh the pros and cons of buying one or building one.
Overall, Pre-Built PC or Custom PC?
So, which should you choose? We can’t say whether a pre-built PC or a custom PC is the better option because the choice will vary on the numerous factors discussed above, as well as personal preference.
A custom PC is the ideal option if you want complete control over your PC, but building one may take a while. However, if you are a busy person who does not have the time to build one from scratch and just wants to have your PC immediately, then a pre-built PC is for you.
Overall, it is entirely up to you to make this decision.
We hope this article helped you choose which PC is best for you! If you want to read more articles like this, then you can check out our blog here for more!