If you are here, you have possibly had some challenges with PCs, especially if you are a high-end user, say a gamer, and you are wondering how to build your gaming PC, you are definitely in the right place.
Maybe you, on the other hand, are just a new gamer, and you are wondering why all experienced gamers keep emphasizing the beauty that lies in building your gaming PC. Well, here is your saving rope to pull.
Over the years, making your PCs has always sounded mysterious and a feat only an expert, a professional, or Genie can reach. But the truth remains that all you need to build a gaming PC is to be a gaming enthusiast and, of course, have some money to cover your budget, whereas it is cheaper to make your PC.
Why Build My Gaming PC?
The first thing that should entice you to build your gaming PC is that it is more cost-effective than buying a new prebuilt one. You would be able to spend less and save more as you will be paying no money for labor. Building your PC is also an enjoyable process you could share with friends.
While the whole building process may not take you more than 2 to 3 hours, it also allows you to know your components like the palm of your hand. You can selectively decide the kind of components you want with your purpose in mind.
Things To Consider When Building Your Gaming PC
Firstly, building a PC is not hard! As long as you follow the instructions and do it as we explained before, building a gaming PC can be like eating Mac and Cheese.
Secondly and most importantly is to know your budget. The average price of a gaming PC is between $800 – $1200. Interestingly, depending on your desired components, gaming PCs can cost as little as $400 and as high as $3000. We’d dive deep into that shortly.
It would help if you understood that while building a gaming PC, you need not necessarily get all your components simultaneously. You can get them gradually to spread costs and make the building process less burdensome on your finances. But not for too long, as we explained earlier in this guide. With all these said and done, it’s time to dive into the cost of building a gaming PC.
Anything Else To Note?
Congratulations! Your dream to build your gaming PC is about to be actualized before your own eyes; pretty fulfilling, yea?
It is important to note that building a gaming PC can be on a low-range, mid-range, and high-range budget. We will focus on these three levels of building to help you decide which to go for, depending on your budget.
Components Needed To Build a Gaming PC
Before we run into individual components and how much they cost, here is a list of the parts you will need to build your gaming PC.
- Processor (CPU)
- CPU Cooler
- Graphics Card (GPU)
- Random Access Memory (RAM)
- Storage – Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
- Power Supply Unit (PSU)
- Computer Case
- Case Fans
Let’s take them component by component:
They say, “The matter of the heart is the heart of the matter.” Guess what? The heart of your PC’s matter is the CPU. Thus, paying attention to the kind of CPU you purchase while building your gaming PC is essential.
It is highly advisable to go for a CPU with the best performance to ensure the hitch-free running of your games, as the running and calculations of your entire PC depend on the Processor (CPU).
The AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series and Intel’s 12th generation core CPUs (Alder Lake) have proven to come with increased performance and cores, making them more suitable for gaming PCs, and you do not even have to break the bank for them.
You may want to consider the new Alder Lake Intel Core i5-12400, which comes at an MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) under $200, making it suitable for the mid-range gaming PC budget.
On the other hand, if you want the best for your gaming PC but also for serious work, there is the Intel Core i9-12900K. Arguably the title of “best gaming CPU” for its overall performance, this powerful Intel processor is an option if you aren’t on a tight budget. The Intel Core i9-12900K comes at an MSRP of about $600, making it a high-end CPU purchase for gaming PCs.
Here’s a table of how much a CPU would cost:
$100 - $149
$150 - $399
$400 and above
Readmore: Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under 1500
Regarding CPU coolers, the primary aim is to get a cooler that can help keep the CPU cool and prevent it from overheating, considering the immense nature of the CPU’s work.
Whether an air cooled or liquid cooled or the All in One (AIO) cooler, it is essential to know that the air coolers are cheaper than the liquid and AiO coolers while the latter are quieter even with the high load of your gaming PC.
You can consider the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2, which has good performance compared to the size of the radiator and is relatively quiet, or the Be Quiet Pure Rock 2 air cooler, which has high performance, excellent construction, and low noise.
Of course, choose AIO if you want uncompromising performance, and want to do some overclocking. Please pay attention to our AIO NZXT CPU cooler test.
Here’s how much a CPU Cooler costs:
At the time of this writing, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2 costs under $90 on Amazon, while the Be Quiet Pure Rock 2 costs under $40, both of which will pass for a mid-range gaming PC build. The rather popular NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm is already a severe AIO system for which you’ll have to give out around $200.
Graphics Card (GPU)
The GPU and the CPU are arguably the most critical part of a gaming PC. However, GPU works best with the correct CPU. You must ensure that your graphics card provides its maximum in games without being held back by a slow CPU, low RAM capacity, or a slow system drive (HDD or SSD).
Ultimately, your graphics card should provide you with as many frames per second (FPS) as possible on your monitor screen for a smooth, stutter-free, and lag-free gaming experience.
Depending on the power of your configuration, the size of your monitor, and the resolution you want, you should consider the manufacturer (AMD or Nvidia), price, consumption, and VRAM size for demanding AAA titles.
A 4 GB graphics card is enough for today’s conditions if you primarily play in 1080p (FullHD). Still, if you play games in 1440p or even with 4k resolution, you might want to consider a higher VRAM capacity (8 to 16 GB), but of course, looking at the planned budget.
At the time of writing, the top-of-the-line Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics card costs around $1,300 on Amazon, which is definitely on the high end of the price spectrum. Fortunately, the offer is quite good, so you can find excellent graphics cards starting from 200 USD.
Here’s a table of how much a GPU would cost:
$150 - $249
$250 - $599
$599 and above
The motherboard is essentially the foundation of any computer system. Its task is to connect all the components into a whole and control the communication between them so that we get a reliable computer system.
Choosing a motherboard may seem less problematic than a GPU or CPU. Still, the final performance of your gaming system will largely depend on the board’s build quality, capabilities, and additional functions. When choosing a motherboard, you must consider compatibility with the CPU, CPU cooler, number of PCIe slots, type, and number of RAM slots (we will talk about RAM soon).
Some of the best motherboards include support for the new Intel Alder Lake processors, such as the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Ultra, which may set you back around $320 on Amazon at the time of writing. On the other hand, if you prefer AMD, there is the excellent Asus ROG Strix X-570-E Gaming, based on the AMD X570S chipset, which costs around $350.
Depending on your budget and requirements, you can find motherboards in the price range between $70 and $800. The reputation of a particular brand often influences the final price of a motherboard.
Here’s a table of how much motherboards would cost:
$125 - $240
$240 and above
Random Acess Memory (RAM)
Random access memory, or just the common abbreviation – RAM, is a temporary memory that a computer system uses to store data temporarily. Regarding your RAM, there are three things worth paying attention to when purchasing it; type, capacity, and speed.
DDR4 memory is currently the most popular and widespread. Still, in the future, it will be entirely supplanted by the upcoming DDR5 memory, which is already used in Alder Lake motherboards for Intel 12th generation CPUs.
Regarding DDR4 memory speed, the hot spot speeds for AMD or Intel platforms are 3000 Mhz or 3200 Mhz (if you don’t want to overclock). Today’s minimum for a modern PC is 8GB of RAM. For pleasant gaming in 90% of cases, 16GB of RAM in dual-channel mode (2x 8GB) is more than enough.
You get 32GB or more of memory if you want to secure yourself for future gaming titles that will only become more hungry for computing resources over time.
The prices of RAM vary based on the sizes and brands but mostly size.
Here’s a table of how much a RAM would cost:
$30 - $45
$60 - $100
$120 and above
Readmore: Best White RAM For Your PC In 2022
Storage – Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
Solid State Drive (SSD) and Hard Disk Drive (HDD) are devices primarily responsible for storing data. But seeing SSD and HDD can be confusing, especially if you are new to this. That’s why we’re here to help you understand.
As mentioned earlier, SSD and HDD perform the same function. In addition to speed, they also differ in how they function in storing and accessing data.
While the SSD stores the file electronically (similar to RAM), the HDD stores the file mechanically, making the SSD much faster in working with data, quieter, smaller in size, and consumes less energy.
If you want an even faster solution than classic SATA SSDs, the logical move is to M.2 NVMe SSDs. An NVMe SSD allows for much faster loading of games and applications than a regular SATA SSD. Today, HDD is usually a backup solution for storing your data in an internal or external version.
Which M.2 NVMe SSD you get depends not only on your budget but also on the motherboard and processor you have in your computer. If you’re buying a new board, make sure it supports PCIe 4.0 NVMe.The latest NVMes use the PCIe 4.0 interface for data transfer while achieving superior performance. An example of such a device is the Samsung 980 Pro.
Older NVMe drives that use the PCIe 3.0 interface (Gen3) are slower but still much faster than classic SATA SSDs. An example is the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.
Choose an NVMe over a classic SATA SSD or HDD for your primary drive. HDD is still the best option for backup with the best ratio of $ per GB. The prices of SSD drives vary depending on brands, speed, and capacity, and the range list is below.
Here’s a table of how much an SSD/NVMe and HDD storage would cost:
Low-Range (250 GB)
$25 - $35
$35 - $50
$35 - $50
Mid-Range (500 GB)
$35 - $55
$50 - $80
$50 - $90
$55 and above
$80 and above
$90 and above
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
As the name suggests, a computer power supply unit (PSU) is a device that supplies all the components of a gaming pc system with electricity. A fully modular PSU allows you to install only the necessary cables. The fully modular PSU is great for cable management in the PC case.
However, the power supply unit is less expensive than other vital components (CPU, GPU). However, checking the power level is extremely important to ensure you get it from a reputable manufacturer. In addition, you should check the power supply design, power output, and efficiency, among other criteria.
Of course, the average PC user or gamer doesn’t need to pick up the most expensive 80 Plus Titanium certified PSU. An 80 Plus with a bronze certificate is sufficient for most jobs or requests in the game.
Maybe you want a more powerful graphics card, processor, or overclocking. Always think ahead about what you might want to do in the near or distant future, as a little more investment in PSU can now pay off in the long run.
Here’s a table of how much PSU would cost:
$25 - $50
$50 - $120
$120 and above
The PC case is the house where all components stay. Knowing that you cannot just go to get any case out of a shop thinking it does not matter is pertinent.
Like every other PC component, the case is significant, especially since it is a gaming PC you are trying to build. Thus, your build performance and aesthetics (if it matters to you) depend significantly on your choice of case.
In selecting a case, you should consider one that can adequately house your components. Then, you will need to know how the ports are lined up as some cases make the channeling of wires and plug cumbersome and disorganized. Another important thing you want to consider is a PC case that allows proper airflow.
PC cases come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and specifications. It would be best if you had a preference to determine what to buy.
Here’s a table showing how much a PC case would cost:
$30 - $50
$50 - $120
$120 and above
The case fans have a similar job to the CPU cooler. However, there’s a slight difference. The CPU cooler controls the heat generated by the processor during usage while the case fans cool down every other thing.
Unlike the CPU Coolers (heatsinks), the case fans rarely come installed on your PC case. Getting one or two seems to be the best option for increasing the airflow of a gaming PC under load.
The size, how much air they move, and RGB lighting (optional) are things to consider before getting one or more case fans.
Here’s how much a Case Fan would cost:
RGB fans are usually more expensive, but all case fans are between $9 – $50
These are the most underrated part of the PC, and wrongly so. The monitor ensures you get the desired visual representation of your game. The keyboard size, mouse speed, and choice of speakers or headset are equally important.
Here’s a table showing how much PC peripherals would cost:
$100 - $500
$40 - $170
$30 - $180
$50 - $200
Example of PC Builds
Here’s a list of the best-prebuilt PCs and gaming builds in 2022 in terms of value and for every budget that will suit your needs:
Prebuilt Gaming PCs
- Skytech Chronos
- CYBERPOWER Gamer Xtreme
- Acer Predator Orion 3000
- Skytech Prism II
- HP Omen
- Alienware Aurora R13
- MSI Trident X
- Zotac Magnus Mini
Gaming PC builds
- Gaming PC Under $500
- Gaming PC Under $600
- Gaming PC Under $700
- Gaming PC Under $2000
- Gaming 4K Gaming PC
Having covered all of these details, you will agree that building a gaming PC is not as impossible or mystical as it sounds or how some ‘gurus’ have made it seem. With your knowledge of these components, $400 – $1000 would build a good-performing PC. You can go higher than that, depending on your budget and preference.
Is it cheaper to build or buy a PC in 2022?
These days, building your PC appears to be more cost-efficient than buying. Although, depending on the spec, buying may be cheaper.
How much money is a decent gaming PC?
For a low-range, mid-range, and high-range gaming PC, $600-$900, $900 – $1900, and $1900+ respectively, would be enough.
Why is a gaming PC so expensive?
A gaming PC is usually expensive due to the powerful components installed (GPU, CPU, etc.) and the demands of modern AAA titles.
Do I need to buy any tools to build a PC?
The primary tools you need to build a PC are a set of screwdrivers and a clean workspace.
How long does it take to build a gaming PC?
A minimum of 40 minutes and a maximum of 2 hours is all the time you need to build a gaming PC. It could be more or less depending on your level of knowledge.