Game developers are constantly pushing the envelope, testing the limits of current technology to see how advanced their games can be. This is excellent for gamers, because it means we always have cutting edge games to play. It can also quickly become an expensive hobby as we scramble to keep our computers up to date to play these new games. Some gamers buy new gaming computers and run them for years, while others insist that building a computer from scratch is the way to go.
Buying a Gaming PC
Buying a PC used to be a sign of weakness among gamers. If you couldn’t build your own rig, you might as well not be playing. The computers you buy from a retail store or manufacturer have grown much more powerful and more solidly constructed over the years, however, and may be a good choice even for the most advanced gamers.
The big advantage of purchasing a gaming PC, rather than building one, is that you can get all the computing power you need instantly. You’ll have the satisfaction of getting immersed in that brand new game that everyone’s talking about without delay and without problems. These people know what they’re doing when it comes to putting in the right components and building machines with the right specs, something that you may be uncomfortable doing if you’re building a machine for the first time.
Of course, if you buy a machine, you may not be getting the exact PC that you want. You may not be able to find the exact graphics card you want, for example or you may not order the right amount of RAM the first time. Keep in mind that your gaming computer, no matter whether you buy or build, is completely upgradable, so even if you don’t get the specs you really want right now, you may be able to drop them in later.
Building a Gaming Rig
Building your own gaming PC takes a unique skill set and it isn’t for everyone. You need to know enough about the internal workings of computers to know whether you need a SATA or IDE hard drive, which graphics card is best for your PCI-E motherboard, and what the socket type is for your processor. Of course, those are just examples, but there’s a whole list of information you need to know. If you make a mistake, you run the risk of your parts not fitting in the computer or not working with each other. Unfortunately, this also means you don’t have anyone but yourself and your tech-savvy friends to turn to in a crisis.
Building a PC also makes you intimately familiar with the inner workings of your machine. You’ll need to handpick the pieces or use a guide on one of the many popular computer sites online. Motherboard, RAM, graphics card, hard drive, power supply, processor, cooling fan, case and all the accessories need to be picked and purchased. Then the fun part of piecing it all together happens.
Building your own computer is skill-intensive, but it’s easier with a bit of research. It’s certainly slower and takes more personal interaction than buying a computer at the store. On the other hand, you can often find the individual components for much cheaper than they would be coming out of a store-bought PC. Many parts dealers have sales frequently, which leads to even more discounts. In the end, a gaming PC built by hand will take longer to get from start to finish, but if the satisfaction of knowing that you put it together yourself is important, it may be worth it.
Whether you choose to build a PC from scratch or buy one depends on what’s important to you and what your technical knowledge is. Let us know what your preference is in the comments.
David works with Dell. He loves PC gaming. Right now he is currently learning about gaming laptops learn more here. When not working he enjoys hiking, biking and writing about technology.