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Should I Buy a Prebuilt Gaming PC or Build it Myself?

Featured image: bumpthekoala

Building your own gaming PC is pretty easy and it’s simpler than ever, especially with services like PC Part Picker helping you figure out whether that CPU will work with your motherboard’s chosen chipset and so on.

So, if you’re a bit handy with a screwdriver and have sufficient patience, building your PC can undoubtedly give you a sense of satisfaction that your custom PC build is just that, customized.

But what if you don’t want to roll your own? Lots of people opt simply to buy a prebuilt gaming PC. Should you?

PC Part Picker offers a really simple compatible only selection process – you can even choose from other contributor’s builds.

There are lots of reasons to opt to buy a ready built gaming PC instead of buying one.

Firstly, cost. There are lots of really good prebuilt PC options that have more than enough power for iRacing and Asetto Corsa priced from $1000 to $2000.

Secondly, you might not be that interested in all of the technical terms and instructions or you’re too worried about making a mistake. If that’s the case, turning to the pros to build one is an excellent idea.

There are plenty of gaming PC builders out there to choose from, and I’d certainly recommend you shop around, but I will say there is some benefit in going with a shop that specializes in sim-racing if you can.

A PC builder who also happens to be an experienced sim racer can prebuild you a PC and possibly install it in your home and get you running with the right sim software with no fuss.

This Sim Dynamics PC (based in the UK) comes loaded and configured with iRacing and your optional software alongside their experienced support as standard.

There are also lots of ways to just buy a ready built gaming PC if that’s what you want.

Critically though, I’ve often wondered, is it actually cheaper to buy a ready built PC?

asus ga15
ASUS ROG STRIX GA15 gaming PC

Is it cheaper to buy a custom made games PC?

Let’s challenge the convention for a moment. Buyers buy either a prebuilt games PC or, they build their own from separate components. Either is fine. But I was always under the impression that building your own is cheaper. Perhaps if you’re willing to give up the half a day or so to unbox everything and assemble it, and add another half a day to install the OS and simulation software? Let’s find out.

Here’s the ready built gaming desktop PC favorite of 2020: the ASUS ROG Strix GA15, rated by Gamesradar as “the best ready built gaming PC desktop of 2020”.

ROG Strix GA15DH Gaming Desktop PC
ASUS ROG Strix GA15DH Gaming Desktop PC, AMD Ryzen 5 3600X with AMD Radeon 5700XT Graphics

Give or take, this item is priced at $1100 on Amazon.com. So, I set about building an equivalent on PC Part Picker to see if I’d end up in the same ballpark:

My PC Part Picker equivalent: $1400

So the version acquired in component form is a cool $300 more expensive. And, there’s no general warranty on the completed item, or technical / driver support.

This leaves the layman in a bit of a pickle. Buy all the component parts, arguably have more control over the build or, buy a complete system (with mouse and keyboard included I might add!) and feel safer in the knowledge you have support and a warranty.

What are my options?

And there are lots of really nice pre-built machines for sim racing. Scan.co.uk (in the UK) have a series called 3XS – all ready built machines with customization options.

Newegg.com in the US have a vast range or ready made games PCs – again built to any budget.

Dell’s new G5 gaming desktop PC is easy to recommend thanks to a ton of configuration options that suit various budgets, and the fact that it has a lot of ports. You get an Intel Core i7-10th Gen processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GPU, 1TB SSD Storage and 16GB RAM for $1200.

Dell’s new G5 gaming desktop PC

We mentioned the ASUS ROG Strix GA15 PC earlier, which can be purchased on Amazon.com for $1130.00.

Or what about this MSI Aegis RS gaming desktop, with an Intel i7-10700KF, 16GB RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD (see more about NVMe SSDs here), a 1TB HDD, and NVIDIA’s RTX2080 Super 8GB GPU for just $2000:

MSI’s Aegis RS gaming PC deskop / pre-built.

Finally, the Alienware R11 with a brand new RTX 3080 GPU installed, is the 2020 pre-built gaming PC to buy. Priced at just less than $2000, it’s a great deal, but there are big questions over availability at the moment and whether you’ll get one shipped ready for Christmas.

But the lower priced ROG Strix G15CK Gaming Desktop PC comes equipped with the extremely impressive Intel Core i7-10700KF and a GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM a fast 512GB SSD, Wi-Fi 6, and ROG’s Strix Flare Keyboard & Gladius II Mouse inlcuded for $1700. Given the price of a 3080 RTX upgrade is probably going to cost $700 a year or so down the road, a buy like the ROG is a really safe bet for now.

ROG Strix G15CK Gaming Desktop PC

So as you can see, prebuilt PC’s for between $1000 and $2000 are a really solid option if you don’t feel like going through the trouble of sourcing individual components and just want a warranted, all round games PC with good manufacturer support.

Naturally, half the room will disagree with me and that’s fine – if you want a seriously high end gaming PC customised to your exact requirements, building your own PC is the best way to go.