PC gaming has been declared dead or dying more times than we can count in the past decade, yet every year the industry keeps performing better than the last. Not that consoles are doing poorly. Consoles have been doing just fine since the 8-bit era and there is no reason that will change. It’s just that some gamers have always preferred the PC platform and will continue to do so.
Just to be clear: there is no reason to choose sides. Some prefer gaming on a Switch, some on Xbox, PlayStation or PC – and still others own or use several platforms – all of which is fine. But for someone who enjoys PC gaming the most, it might be encouraging to know that most game developers agree that the PC is the most important platform.
More Options, Greater Flexibility
So, why should anyone who prefers PC gaming build a system on their own? One of the main reasons is that you practically always get better value by also investing a few hours. By buying all parts yourself, you can be sure that you get exactly the system you want. All choices are up to you and it’s easy to ensure that the finished machine will live up to all of your expectations.
Better Parts and Performance for Less
Other than getting a PC that literally meets your exact specifications, it will more often than not cost less than an equivalent prebuilt gaming desktop – with the added benefit of having higher quality components.
Even high-end prebuilt gaming desktops have usually been through some cost-cutting exercises. PC manufacturers are well aware that buyers look mainly at vital parts like the graphics card and don’t care much about the minor details. But they matter whether it’s slow RAM, a mediocre motherboard or a power supply that won’t let you upgrade, it will cause unnecessary headaches.
In nearly all cases, you can save money on a PC with faster performance and better parts by buying the parts individually.
It’s Easy and Fun
It might sound difficult and intimidating to “build a PC,” but what it essentially boils down to is assembling little more than a handful of parts. The essential parts list includes a motherboard, processor (CPU), system memory (RAM), a storage device (SSD or hard drive), and a video card (GPU). You are also going to need a power supply (PSU) and, of course, a case to put it all in.
In a gaming PC, a sufficiently powerful video card is the most important part by far and where you should focus your spending regardless of your budget to get the best frame rates. A fast processor and good RAM will also add a few frames per second, and just about any SSD will guarantee short loading times. What motherboard to pick depends on what you want to connect and whether you are planning on overclocking.
These components form the base of any PC and they are not particularly difficult to put together. Sliding components into slots and attaching cables is mostly all there is to it, and if you run into trouble there are countless guides on the web that will help. Learning how the different parts work together as you go is both interesting and satisfying on many levels.
Ages Well Thanks to Easy Upgrades
Simple upgrades like adding RAM or swapping the video card can add years to the life of your PC. Prebuilt PCs are often constructed in a way that discourages “tampering”. It may be partly or entirely sealed in a way that voids your warranty when you just want to swap a component. This is obviously not an issue with a PC you’ve built yourself. Warranties will continue to apply to each individual part for as long as the warranties last.
Also, once you have mastered the basics of PC building, maintaining and upgrading your machine becomes a lot easier in general.