At first, this may sound like a rehash of our “should gamers upgrade their PC in 2021” Up For Debate earlier this year, but there’s one significant detail here that sets it apart: pre-built gaming PCs. With the global chip shortage affecting every electronics industry including PC hardware, prices for GPUs have skyrocketed, but pre-builts have largely remained the same. So the question now is: is it now cheaper to buy a pre-built gaming PC than build your own in 2021?
We asked this same question back in 2018, but it is all the more relevant now in the wake of the global chip crisis that has significantly affected the price of graphics cards and made it nearly impossible to even buy one if you could. Because of that, pre-built PCs are now pretty much the only place you’ll be able to find an affordable PC.
In fact, some companies are even leveraging the short supply of GPUs by actually selling GPU-less gaming PCs that come with all the components you’ll need apart from a fancy new graphics card. The idea being that you’ve already got one but want to upgrade everything else.
For that range (brought to you by UK boutique builder, Fierce PC) the cheapest model comes in at around £560 (roughly $775), and the most expensive at £900 (around $1,245). That’s pretty average for a gaming PC ranging from low-end to high-end that has all the basics needed apart from a GPU. Slap a decent graphics card in there and you have an average priced gaming PC.
In fact, because of the rising prices for individual PC components, as well as the difficulty even finding any in stock, there are a number of other benefits that come from buying a pre-built PC in 2021…
For instance, buying a pre-built PC comes with all the parts already together, whereas buying them separately means you could be waiting months in between certain components because you can’t find a specific part in stock. They’re also not as affected by rising prices in certain components. Buying everything individually could cost you upwards of $1000, whereas buying the same PC as a pre-built could cost around $750 instead.
But maybe the actual act of building your own PC is worth more than having a new gaming PC that you could get tomorrow. That’s why we’re having this debate today, to see if it really is worth it considering the ridiculous prices of some individual PC hardware components. Or maybe we should all just wait until next year before upgrading our PC.
What do you think? Is it now cheaper to buy a pre-built gaming PC than build your own in 2021? Is it worth it? Or would you still recommend to build your own when you can, even if you have to wait at least a year? Let’s debate!