Home > Why Build
Last Updated: June 13, 2019
Similar to how Jedi's must construct their own lightsaber in order to become a master, building a PC is a rite of passage for PC gamers wanting to become a true OG (with another part of the initiation obviously being the achievement of a 100x killstreak in Battlefront 2 whilst blindfolded).
But if you're new to building computers you may wonder what the actual practical reasons are, and why so many pro gamers and power users always say that you should build your own gaming PC instead of (gasp) buying a premade system off the shelf.
Besides being able to boast about your feat to fellow gamers and forever look down on prebuilt peasants with their overpriced under-performing overheating piles of poop (just playin'), there are indeed a range of good reasons why building a computer is usually better than buying one.
We do pride ourselves on being objective here at BGC though, and only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes, so to be fair not every single prebuilt gaming desktop out there is a horrible purchase (although that's not a strong enough word for some horror-show prebuilts out there).
However I would definitely say that most prebuilt PCs are worth avoiding if you care about getting good value for money (ie top gaming performance for the price you pay), so be picky if you do decide that you lack the slightly extra patience required to build your own computer.
From time to time you might get lucky and find a decent quality, fairly priced prebuilt - especially if you find an okay one that's on sale when you purchcase), but always think carefully about what you're actually buying and take into consideration the potential downsides of buying that particular prebuilt (of which there could be many as we'll explain throughout this post).
But I think you know where this is leading, and the title of this post couldn't really make it clearer on where we sit on the whole build vs buy a gaming PC debate.
Source: Smart kitty who knows what's up
In the majority of cases (pun intended), there are just so many more advantages of building your own gaming PC that you just won't get when buying a prebuilt computer. Period. You are in full control and can 100% ensure you end up with the best, fastest performing system for your budget and specific wants/needs.
Besides the obvious benefit of saving money that everyone talks about (a natural occurrence when you know the hardware market well and select the current best bang for your buck PC parts), let's look at 9 good reasons why you should build a gaming PC vs buy one.
The biggest reason why you should build a gaming computer compared to buying a premade system is the fact that when you build your own you get to fine-tune your component selections and overall build balance for maximum performance. Meaning, if you're building a PC for gaming, you can balance out your parts-list to heavily favor the graphics card which will lead to the best gaming performance for your money.
Most prebuilts don't do this and you'll find their balance of parts isn't skewed towards maximum gaming performance. Same things goes for non-gaming tasks that you might wish to optimize your rig for, such as workstation tasks like video editing and content creation, or game streaming to Twitch/YouTube - when you build a custom PC yourself you can pick parts that will give you the fastest performance in the specific programs that you use.
The parts that make up prebuilt gaming computers very often include lower quality brands and models to keep their costs low and to maximize profits, which means less overall reliability and lastability compared to building your own PC where you get to choose to include only high-quality, highly-reliable parts from top brands and manufacturers.
On the surface a prebuilt desktop may look great and sometimes be even around the same price as a custom build of similar nature, but if you look closely at the individual parts that make up the prebuilt one you'll notice that chances are the brands/specific models aren't of the highest quality. This is a big reason why you often have to do a fair bit of digging around when researching a prebuilt desktop to find out the exact parts that are included insides, as manufacturer's don't want you to really know because they're sometimes of lesser quality than the parts you could source yourself.
When you build a PC you can tailor the machine to suit your exact needs to a T, whether that's choosing a particular look and theme, having certain RGB features, kitting out some sweet add-on features, or any other customization that your heart desires to assemble the setup of your dreams. You're in control of absolutely everything, from the overall performance of your build, to the airflow, to the features and the design (and everything in-between).
When you build a gaming computer vs buying one, it's easier to upgrade components later down the track because you can choose parts that are completely flexibility and able to accomodate for any sort of upgrades that you wish, and due to the fact that you built it yourself which will make the upgrade process dead easy. With a premade desktop you can be quite limited in the upgrades you can undertake, and some prebuilt manufacturers even go so far as to void your warranty if you simply just open up your PC case. Maintenance is also easier when you build a gaming computer yourself, because as mentioned you'll know your system intimately and have much more likelihood of knowing what to fix if something goes wrong.
When you build a PC yourself you get off with a fresh system free of any additional 'bloatware'. This is the accurate term given to all those typically-low-quality borderline-useless software, trial programs, and extras that typically comes already pre-installed on prebuilt PCs which aren't just annoying but can slow your machine down. To be fair, the extent of pre-installed software varies from manufacturer to manufacturer (and model to model I guess), but most have some form of it.
When you a computer you start with a 100% clean, optimal-performing bloat-free new machine, and you get to choose exactly what you want to install so you can have just the programs you really want in order to keep your system running as smooth as possible for as long as possible.
This is an often overlooked aspect of building your own custom computer. By going the DIY route you will learn a lot about computers, including hardware, upgrading, troubleshooting, fixing computer problems etc. These skills are definitely handy and especially useful if you study or work/plan to work with computers in the future.
On top of all that, building a PC is a fun experience. Not just the physical building part, but getting to design your killer system from scratch and choosing out all of your awesome components and features. Once you have finished your build you will forever have a sense of pride and accomplishment every time you boot up, knowing that you made it all happen and that it's your very own unique machine.
Or in other words, graphics card prices are back to normality at long last. Remember the Bitcoin mining boom around a year or so ago when graphics card prices skyrocketed much to the widespread dismay of gamers around the globe? Prices became so ridiculous that buying a prebuilt gaming computer became much more attractive to gamers, but thankfully that's all behind us and in 2019 things are at last back to normal, with things to become even better later in 2019 with the much anticipated release of AMD's new "Navi" graphics cards which will bring back much healthier competition to the GPU market (meaning even better pricing conditions for us all).
It's not just graphics cards that are in good shape price-wise these days, at least compared to the past couple years of mayhem. The CPU market is in decent shape right now, with plenty of good value buys in different sectors of the market including current Ryzen CPUs going for very attractive prices and Intel's new super bang for buck i5-9400F mainstream gaming CPU which has boasted an impressively-placed price tag on release due to the chip lacking any onboard graphics (not necessary anyway as 99% gamers will use a discrete graphics card anyway).
But it's only the calm before the CPU storm right now, and you should strap yourselves in for the firestorm to come as the AMD vs Intel dilemma is set to explode to levels we haven't seen for a long time with AMD's new Ryzen 2 series set to launch very soon. Intel has long reigned supreme as the high-end gaming king, but these new AMD processors could rock that boat and it'll be interesting to see what happens.
Once upon a time Solid State Drives were real expensive and not really worth including in a PC build unless you were assembling a dream luxury machine, but these days prices have come down a fair bit since those early days and you can pick up a decently sized SSD for a fair price and this will noticeably improve the loading times of your operating system and any games you can manage to squeeze on there too.
Building your own gaming PC for the first time will be a fun, memorable experience in your gaming life, and the various upsides are clear compared to buying a prebuilt.
Prebuilt desktops can be okay in some instances, especially if you're strapped for time and/or patience, and are willing to spend a little more money for the added convenience of having it already built and ready to go for you from the get-go. A prebuilt will typically be more expensive overall than building your own system, although to the untrained eye some may seem to be around the same price as a custom build (or even slightly cheaper in some cases). But here's the thing; if you look closer and do some digging around on the specs, you'll see the components used will almost always be of lower quality, reliability, and/or performance.
Overall, 9 times out of 10 building your own computer really is better than buying one if you simply have a few extra hours to plan your parts and assemble your parts together, and you're in full control of everything. You'll feel a solid sense of lasting pride and satisfaction every time you boot up your new battlestation knowing that you did it yourself, but in practical terms building your own has real-world practical advantages as we've discussed above.
Plus, when it comes time to upgrade or build a brand new setup a few years down the track, it'll be an absolute breeze as you'll have the confidence to know exactly what to do and how.
But the best part about building a PC, and a reason why we encourage it so freely to pretty much all PC gamers, is the fact that in the modern PC age it really is very simple to do. See our step by step complete beginner's guide to planning and building your own gaming PC and you'll see what I mean; there's nothing complicated about it whatsoever.
So, should you build a PC? If you know what's good for you, leave those prebuilts on the shelf, but don't take our word for it...
Enter Shia Palpatine AKA Darth Labeouf:
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Hope the guide helped and good luck with your build.