A gaming rig is a big investment, and learning how to build a gaming PC efficiently is the first step towards assembling a well-balanced system. There many ways to cut down on the total price of the PC, and you will certainly, need to if you plan on keeping your price-performance ratio as high as possible.
There are a lot of factors that you should consider when trying to keep the cost of your final build down. From sacrificing some bling to shopping through the bins at your local PC hardware stores, we’ll be going through all the best strategies that you can put to use when sticking to a budget. Let’s get to it.
There are a lot of stores out there, and if you are building a PC you have the advantage of going to these different stores in search of the best deal. If speed isn’t a factor, then we recommend you scout through the internet marketplaces and order each individual component from the shop where its the most affordable.
Newegg, Amazon, Bestbuy; these are all favourites in terms of ordering PC components, but you can still find new parts in smaller online shops (or even through eBay vendors!), and you can easily knock off a few hundred dollars off of your final bill. Just a friendly reminder though; when shopping online, only stick to reputable vendors who you thoroughly vet.
Consider Used Parts
Buy used if budget is an issue. When you’re building a new PC, you aren’t usually doing it because your older system broke. You’re doing it because your components are outdated. Most PC enthusiasts do the same thing. Because of this, there’s a whole market which only consists of second-hand PC components.
This where you can find some really good deals. Try to purchase from somewhere near you, so you can benchmark your components before any money exchanges hands. If you’re purchasing from a few towns over or internationally, then make sure to get some sort of buyer protection. Always ask the previous owners to benchmark GPUs in UNIENGINE and CPUs in Cinebench, the two standard benchmarking software. Compare the results to other users’ submissions and to know that you have a working component in your grasp.
Older parts don’t last as long as brand-new components and they don’t typically come with a warranty, so make sure you know this and only get a used component if you plan on swapping it for a store-bought one in the future.
Consider Older Parts
CPUs and GPUs, especially high-end models, don’t go out of style that fast.
In fact, if you’re buying high-end components, you’ll notice that there’s no need for an upgrade for at least 5 years. With that in mind, when shopping on a budget, going for previous-generation hardware is a great way to ensure that your system is running brand-new parts while keeping the bill as low as possible. Nvidia’s GTX 1000 series is still going hard, and a 1060 6GB can still run most games at high settings while hitting that 60 fps mark.
When going for older parts, then compatibility is something that you need to be wary of. For example, if you already own a newly purchased motherboard, then you have to pick a compatible CPU. Check the socket type and pick a chip that matches that model. The manufacturer’s website should have an updated list of compatible chips, a good place to start when checking for hardware compatibility.
Use Online Tools
There are plenty of online tools that give you the best value when it comes to price-performance. Websites like pcpartpicker and pangoly provide users with community-made builds, including the best place to buy each individual part, benchmarks, target performance, and everything else one would need to know before making a final decision.
This is a great tool to use if you’re also considering using older or used parts since you can compare the price of the existing build and see if it’s worth going with slightly outdated or used hardware. Browse the submitted guides, source your own components and compare prices, these are really useful tools to have as a PC enthusiast.
Sometimes when you are trying to build a PC on a budget there just isn’t enough wiggle room in the cash you have set aside to allow for everything you might want in your build.
Make sure that as you are drawing up the plans for your PC build you make a note of what you prize in a build. Cooling important to you? Allocate more money to a fan system and maybe sacrifice performance in the GPU. Looking to get the most from your computers speed? Invest more money into your CPU and maybe spend less money on the actual aesthetics of the PC itself.
It’s the same as any significant purchase in that what your paying for are your wants, and these can be altered in order to align with whatever budget you are working with. Just make sure that you go into the building process with an open mind and flexible attitude.
Do It Yourself
There are going to be times during your first PC build when you are going to feel overwhelmed, confused or even frustrated. And, in these moments, its going to be incredibly tempting to send your PC to a PC shop or professional builder – but don’t.
Take a breath, regain your patience and try again. Everyone comes up against certain hurdles but by being persistent and keeping on trying we promise that you will eventually have a PC build to be proud of.
When shopping for parts, you’ll notice that there are big price discrepancies between similar pieces of hardware. Like an RTX 2070 Super might be much pricier than an RTX 2070 Windforce because the manufacturers used different components when making these models. Go to your local stores and check for deals, ignore the RGB factor if you’re going for a value build, and always consider shopping for second-hand parts if money is an issue.