Up For Debate - Pre-Built vs Build Your Own Gaming PC

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, May 30, 2016 2:00 PM

You can upgrade your PC as much as you want, but eventually there comes a time where a total overhaul is necessary. I say eventually, but I’m sure some of you probably recycle components in perpetuity like some crazy PC gaming ouroboros. Anyway, when the time comes you’re faced with two choices - buy all the components individually and build your own, or take the easy route and grab a pre-built gaming PC.

Both come with clear and palpable benefits. Grabbing your own components provides you with the ultimate in choice and flexibility. Every single aspect of your PC build can be fine-tuned to suit your needs; whether that’s an absolute battlecruiser for quad-SLI or a svelte beauty to sit under the telly. There’s also the small matter of shopping smart. Keep your eyes out and grab the best deals and you could find yourself saving hundreds of pounds on any given build.

Pre-built PCs come with their own set of benefits of course. Chief among these is the hassle-free experience. Choose a few components if you want to, but other than that you just sit back and wait for it to turn up. For those a little worried about building your own you also get to be safe in the knowledge that everything has been tested and should just work, while most PC builders come with extensive warranty and guarantee plans to help smooth any hitches you might have further down the line.

There’s also the time saved to consider. While an experienced PC builder could put together a rig in a couple of hours, for many it’s a process which could an entire day, perhaps even longer. Is it really worth saving £50 when you’d have to 10 hours work to get it up and running anyway?

Over to you then, pre-builds vs build your own. Let us know which way you think is best to go and why!

When buying a new PC do you prefer...

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20:35 Jun-03-2016

Its not what is cheaper or more expensive its all about fun and build your own pc is a ton of fun :D

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18:25 Jun-02-2016

I do agree that self-built systems are usually better for "most-people". I built mine and enjoyed, but I'm also an IT guy and I LOVE working on that stuff. However, if you have the extra money and don't want any part of the hassle or the worry you might mess something up building it yourself, sometimes pre-built machines are the way to go. Some gamer's may just want to play on PC and have no idea how to build one or even the desire. If you can find a pre-built machine for a decent price and it's worth the "no hassle/worry" of building it yourself, go for it!

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22:13 Jun-02-2016

Good for casuals

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03:15 Jun-01-2016

I built my first gaming pc 2 weeks ago. got the parts from PC Case Gear. they had a $899au Pentium anniversary cpu pre built pc. i built my pc with amd FX-6300 and a Radeon R7 360. Cost me $790

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06:42 Jun-01-2016

That's pretty expensive. I built mine 3 years ago, cost me 797€.

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07:46 Jun-01-2016

point is it's always cheaper to build a pc. More bang for buck in my opinion

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02:50 Jun-01-2016

I don't care if its cheaper, I don't care if its more expensive, its more fun!

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02:38 Jun-01-2016

Big no for factory pre-build (E.G: Alienware). Big yes for PC Shop pre-build (Customer request or random), sometimes they offer cheaper than buy all the component separately. Cheap but.... well, you know. No fun.

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20:37 May-31-2016

When you look at power per dollar spent, pre-built just doesn't make any sense.

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18:54 May-31-2016

Self custom build is way better in terms of budget aka money vs raw performance lol

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14:37 May-31-2016

It also depends on what kind of speed and power you want, or what type of cooling and storage. i5 6600k with a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo and 16gb DDR4 ram, GTX 960 4GB, a 2TB Hybrid drive and a 1TB HDD. It plays most games very well.

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20:51 May-31-2016

uhhh isn't better to go with stronger gpu than cpu?

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20:59 May-31-2016

Actually no, if your CPU and other parts can't deliver stuff for GPU to process fast enough, your GPU can never reach its maximum capacity and you don't get the kind of performance u wanted

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21:07 May-31-2016

It's K processor, you can overlock it if bottleneck. I have 2nd generation K cpu with 960gtx, and no bottleneck. thanks to overlock. even if it's old as jesus christ.

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21:25 May-31-2016

GPU for a gaming PC is in certain ways more "important" than the CPU.
However, I think investing or "future-proofing" a CPU is in several ways better than doing so for the GPU. CPUs are harder to upgrade (might have to buy a new mobo), and GPU tech is improving at a much faster pace (just look at what we're getting...

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21:36 May-31-2016

with Pascal vs Maxwell).
Plus I think you get better secondary market value for GPUs vs CPUs, which makes upgrading easier on the wallet.

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02:45 Jun-01-2016

no mentioned the fact that a 2td hybrid drive is silly with a 1tb mechanical on the side what would be most logical is a 120gb ssd or a 240gb ssd with a 2tb mechanical :P

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14:35 May-31-2016

If you want a PC built with the parts you want, your better off building your own. By the time you find the one with the parts you want, it will be more expensive than just building your own. By that time, you could've built the PC yourself

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13:36 May-31-2016

Self build, in fact I am currently (slowly, due to money and the fact that not all parts are on the market yet :d) building my new rig.

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12:37 May-31-2016

Self build, for example, when I chose my ram, there are a lot of 2x4GB 1600MHz ram sticks, but there was only one I was looking for, low voltage (for good overclock) and low latency. By the time I bought this kit, 2133mhz ram kits were more expensive and almost all of them where running on 1.65v, while mine runs on 1.54v at 2133mhz, cl 10-9-10-24, still beats other sticks imo

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12:06 May-31-2016

Yeah poll checks out haha, I'd be really concerned for you lot had it gone to prebuilt machines. Cheers!

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11:15 May-31-2016

Build my own of course.
Believe it or not, I'm still using an old Pentium 3 PC case.

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08:44 May-31-2016

building a pc urself is a lot of fun :) Also u can fit it to ur purpose and budget

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10:51 May-31-2016

Its an absolute pleasure, months of planning, budgeting, reading and searching for best possible hardware/price over the internet. :D

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11:05 May-31-2016

+1 :)
I got into it just because all the hardware got me curious. Started reading up on everything every morning while eating breakfast. Didn't even plan to build a PC back then. Took about a year or two, but one day I just said screw it I'll build a gaming PC. Bought everything online and hoped for the best!!

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11:06 May-31-2016

Figured at worst I can swallow my pride and bring it back to the retailer (I bought from NCIX) and have them build it if I screw up.

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13:52 May-31-2016

judging by ur rig id say u succeeded :D

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14:26 May-31-2016

Thanks bud. I only wish I did it a couple months sooner AND built a more powerful PC -- all before the Canadian dollar tanked and hardware (especially GPU) prices went up.
And maybe bought an unlocked CPU. I still think the added cost might not be worth it, but you can't put a $ value on the fun factor of OCing :)

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14:43 May-31-2016

I never tried OCing but i do have an old pentium dual core lying around maybe i should try it out ? :\


To get the hang of it ? (I find OCing to be scary)

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15:12 May-31-2016

I say go for it. There's more risk to OCing a CPU than a GPU, but as long as you go slow and steady, and make sure you don't make a mistake with the voltage, it should be fine :)

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17:08 May-31-2016

Pff I have like 3-4 cpus and this right now that i am using I oced from 2.2 to 3.2ghz and my voltage is so fckd up and I put like 3 fans around cpu and it's perfect.I am just waiting to burn it bcs motherboard is old as cpu anyway....

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08:39 May-31-2016

Soon.. :D They better release 490/490X in July. Can't wait till October..

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07:48 May-31-2016

Why is that even a question?

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18:45 May-31-2016

Some people just doesn't have knowledge. I guess they can find more help in comment section that actual article about it :')

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07:05 May-31-2016

Custom built pc's are the only choice. Even if someone doesn't know how to do it, or is afraid not to damage anything there is always the option of picking the parts you want and having the pc put together by the same seller for free.

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07:50 May-31-2016

thats exactly what i did exept i had to pay for the work :(

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13:08 May-31-2016

Well, if you pick the parts and someone else builds it, that's a pre-build isn't it?

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05:54 May-31-2016

You forgot to mention one thing in this article and I think it's one of most important ones.


In pre-builds, they tend to scam people, not everyone and every-time, but still...


Like they give you 3Ghz OC cpu, gtx960 and crapy no-brand 800W psu + cheap mobo no heatsinks, only one PCI-e port, awful OnBoard Sound + terrible ram memory...and so on. They usually lurk on people who are clueless

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06:01 May-31-2016

Yeah exactly. I am getting convinced there should be laws against this kind of douchebaggery -.-

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06:06 May-31-2016

It happens really often, that's worrying. Not only with pre builds but also when you sent your pc for fixing, they can give you wrong parts/cheaper... I'm feeling really miserable and frustrated about it.

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06:09 May-31-2016

Yeah, for us who build and fix our own PC's that's not a problem, but it's a huge problem for these guys who don't know anything about PC building. And when they're done with the fixing, they actually replace the parts with even worse ones and the PC breaks down just after the warranty ends....

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06:13 May-31-2016

My aunt got freaking 620W Logic psu for her 1,22Ghz single core cpu and ati on-board graphic :')
Pc was sucking 170W on idle + psu exploded.

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06:16 May-31-2016

LOL that's just ridiculous.... how the heck does 170W blow up a 620W PSU unless it's passive PSU and made with "made in china" parts. but that's probably exactly what it was... damn. I feel sorry for your aunt :d

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05:07 May-31-2016

Self built for sure. How can this be a debate?
Its cheaper, you learn and it can take time away.

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05:59 May-31-2016

I don't understand it either but apparently there are people who buy pre-built PC's. Now, it's an entirely different matter if you buy those pre-builts from an PC Hardware store like my country has, they offer nice packages they custom designed, there are even some double CPU rigs. But any other pre-built.... nope.

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09:50 May-31-2016

You are overlooking the fact that some of us can't build a computer, period. I can't, I have no talent in doing that and am unable regardless of how explicit instructions are. And, for those that prefer a laptop, prebuilt is pretty much a necessity. I greatly admire guys and girls like you that can. Unfortunately, I'm not one of you.

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10:08 May-31-2016

Even though i have albinism with vision impairment, i'm still gonna learn how to build a PC.

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01:47 May-31-2016

I laughed when he said save 50 buying pre-built . For 1000$ you can build a pretty strong pc. If you bought a pre built with the same hardware, easily will cost an extra 400$ sometimes a 1000$

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02:20 May-31-2016

I assumed he meant that some shops probably charge you 50 to build a PC for you

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04:16 May-31-2016

$50 to $250 depending on where you live & how much stuff you are asking them to install.

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