After this year, I finally understand why people buy prebuilt gaming PCs

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I’ve never been a fan of prebuilt PCs. And no, it’s not aloof because I’m a DIY PC-building snob. In the past, architecture my own was not alone fun — it was additionally easier and cheaper.

But for all sorts of reasons, this year added than ever, my eyes accept been opened to why bodies accumulate axis to banal desktop PCs instead of aggravating to body one on their own.

Even with best apparatus readily available, architecture a solid PC is alone acceptable harder year afterwards year. Without pointing any fingers (yet), the accusation avalanche on several culprits — and none are activity abroad anytime soon.

PC architecture is confusing

An alone architecture a desktop PC.Getty Images

Nearly two decades accept anesthetized back the aboriginal time I best out my own PC genitalia and attempted to put them together. It took me an absolute day, and I was fatigued out of my mind, but in the end, the PC booted aloof accomplished and I accept been absorbed anytime since.

Physically putting genitalia calm has alone gotten easier back then. We now accept motherboards with chip appearance and complete I/O shields, toolless cases, modular ability supplies, and M.2 SSDs that are cool simple to install. CPU installation is now a breeze, too, authoritative it so you don’t accept to anguish so abundant about angle the pins (although you should still anguish a bit).

In theory, prebuilts should boring become a affair of the past. But they’re not.

Each of these changes fabricated PC architecture added accessible than ever. We additionally accept YouTube tutorials and how-to guides that booty you through the action footfall by footfall and allay the angle that you charge to be some affectionate of a accouterments astrologer to put calm a computer from scratch.

Given all of the above, prebuilts should boring become a affair of the past. After all, why would anyone absorb added money on an (often inferior) prebuilt back they could aloof body their own PC for less?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. A ample allotment of the adversity has confused elsewhere, abroad from the accumulation action and assimilate the research. Unfortunately, PC architecture alone gets added and added difficult to amount out every year. The better botheration lies not in the way the genitalia fit together, but in the amount — or abridgement thereof — of anniversary alone part.

When ‘better’ doesn’t according ‘good’

RTX 4060 Ti sitting on a blush background.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

No amount if you’re architecture a PC or affairs a new television, there’s a accepted delusion that spending added money is apprenticed to get you article that’s bigger quality, will aftermost longer, or will accomplish better. And oh boy, does this accepted bearing of accouterments put that mindset to the test.

I’m cogent you: It’s adamantine out there, and authoritative abiding that aggregate fits calm is not alike the better problem. It’s not as simple as picking out a processor and authoritative abiding your motherboard has the appropriate socket; affinity issues are aloof the tip of a absolutely alpine iceberg. It’s the arduous aggregate of analysis that you charge to do if you appetite to get article that’s account your money, and GPUs are abnormally affected.

Somehow, alike with about all of the best cartoon cards in stock, acrimonious a GPU feels like affairs teeth sometimes. I assuredly complete a new PC this year, and while I was accustomed with all-embracing benchmarks of every contempo GPU, I still went aback and alternating on that best a lot. Honestly, the accomplished acquaintance almost fabricated me absence the GPU shortage.

How is a being meant to actuate the aberration amid the RX 6600, RX 6600 XT, and RX 6650 XT?

When you don’t accept a baseline acquaintance with the topic, the choices can feel overwhelming, and it’s accessible to abatement into that allurement I mentioned beforehand — cerebration that a added big-ticket GPU is apprenticed to be better, which is sometimes artlessly untrue.

The RTX 4060 Ti 16GB is a prime archetype of that. Despite accepting alert as abundant VRAM as the cheaper version, the agenda additionally has that aforementioned attenuated anamnesis bus that acutely banned its bandwidth. Considering that it additionally sports the exact aforementioned specs as its sibling, for best people, affairs the 16GB adaptation is like alms Nvidia an added $100. The absolute achievement assets are actual small. It’s somewhat faster than the RTX 3060 Ti, but not to a point area it would accomplish a accomplished lot added faculty to buy it. Nvidia’s DLSS 3 is this card’s extenuative grace.

RX 7900 XTX installed in a analysis bench.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Nvidia has a few added cards that are appealing poor amount in this generation, such as the RTX 4070 Ti or the RTX 4080. When on a budget, it’s bigger to abstain those — but buyers won’t apperceive this after digging deeper.

Then, there’s the amaranthine agitation of AMD against Nvidia that alone makes PC architecture all the added daunting. A lot of bodies activate arcade with a alternative in that regard, and in my experience, the scales generally angle against Nvidia. However, this can additionally be a trap, because AMD tends to be bigger amount at tighter budgets. Even then, AMD additionally has some GPUs that ability complete good, but aren’t as acceptable of a accord as their hardly pricier ancestors — I’m talking about the RX 7700 XT and the RX 7900 XT.

Don’t alike get me started on AMD’s last-gen cards, either. The RDNA 2 calendar is so able-bodied that it should appear with a bout guide. This isn’t a bad thing, but it makes it alike harder for bodies who aloof appetite a acceptable PC after accepting to do hours of homework. How is a being meant to actuate the aberration amid the RX 6600, RX 6600 XT, RX 6650 XT, and how do they apperceive what to absorb their money on? Research, of course. A accomplished lot of research, tracking GPU prices, and accepting to apprentice things you won’t charge in your circadian activity aloof to get a solid PC.

Budget? What budget?

A gaming PC with RGB synced lights active Apex Legends.Kunal Khullar / Digital Trends

Building your own PC is a absolute analysis of character. Few things can accord you as bad a case of abhorrence of missing out (FOMO) as aggravating to aces out the genitalia for a acceptable gaming desktop, abnormally if you’re aggravating to stick to a assertive budget. And if you adjudge to ask for advice on Reddit or in addition community, you ability end up actuality tempted into spending a lot added than you absolutely charge to.

While those communities are generally a acceptable way to get all the allowances of a custom-built desktop after the altercation and the accent of belief benchmarks for hours, they’re generally a bit of a gamble, and no wonder. This is the internet; anyone can affirm themselves an expert, but opinions and preconceptions generally comedy into the admonition that is given, and that can be a problem.

For instance, if I had a penny for anniversary time I’ve apparent addition acclaim Nvidia over AMD due to “driver issues,” I’d accept abundant money for the currently (and always) overpriced, RTX 4090. However, the angle that AMD is somehow worse than Nvidia is rather apocryphal if you’re aggravating to stick to a $1,000 budget. In fact, AMD wins in such builds about every time, and the alone affair you’re missing out on is DLSS 3.

It can be appealing arduous to appraisal what affectionate of PC you absolutely need.

Apart from potentially accepting bad advice, gamers accept to put up with the actuality that architecture an enthusiast PC is berserk big-ticket appropriate now, and things are absurd to improve. GPU prices are through the roof compared to aloof a few years ago, and the abutting bearing of cards is absurd to accomplish it any better, although AMD ability change that narrative.

The affliction affair is that it’s actual accessible to abatement victim to incremental upgrades. For instance, say you set out with a $1,000 account with about $200 jerk room. While you can get a solid PC for $1,000 or less, through analysis you’ll anon acquisition out that by spending a little bit more, you can accept a decidedly bigger GPU, like the RTX 4070. Then, you ability charge to additionally advancement the ability supply, and back you’re already spending more, you ability as able-bodied get faster RAM … and suddenly, you accept a PC that amount you $1,500, and it ability generally be bigger than what you absolutely bare in the aboriginal place.

It can additionally be appealing arduous to absolutely appraisal what affectionate of PC you need, abnormally if you’re not an expert. While GPUs like the RTX 4060 are about 1080p cards, no one is endlessly you from application one at 1440p with appropriate after-effects — you’ll aloof accept to lower the settings in baddest games. However, seeing as best online benchmarks are done at ultra settings and in AAA titles, it can be adamantine to acquaint if you can still bold on average to aerial with no issues.

Prebuilts are aback starting to attending tempting

HP Omen 40L Gaming PC on a table affiliated to a monitor.HP

PC architecture is such an alone amount that it aloof ability become added and added alcove over time. With new GPUs and CPUs actuality appear every year, not to acknowledgment all the added parts, befitting up with it is article that alone enthusiasts will absolutely appetite to do.

Arguably, it’s accomplished to aloof dip your toes in the affair already every few years back you’re accepting a new computer. However, anniversary time, it agency a lot of analysis — and authoritative a aberration stings added anniversary year as apparatus get pricier. The barrier to access into the apple of PC architecture alone seems to abound college anniversary year, as the accretion aggravation of apparatus creates a steeper acquirements ambit for newcomers.

It’s no admiration that abounding bodies still accept gaming laptops or prebuilt PCs instead of putting themselves through this.

Of course, prebuilts accept their own alternation of problems. You’ll acquisition that, added generally than not, the computer you’re advantageous for may not accept the best specs. It may appear with an earlier CPU or with alien genitalia that can account problems bottomward the line. Newcomers run into these issues too, and sometimes end up regretting their affairs choices. It’s a baby consolation, but at atomic that affliction stems from a spur-of-the-moment acquirement that wasn’t backed by hours of research.

Despite the difficulties, my go-to acknowledgment to anyone who asks is consistently to body your own PC instead of affairs a prebuilt. It’s not accessible — in fact, it’s generally arresting — and it’s abounding with pitfalls, but if you’re accommodating to put in the time, you’ll accept a bigger computer and a abundant accord of achievement back you put aggregate calm and it absolutely ends up working. It’s aloof a abashment that accepting to that point sometimes feels like such a chore.

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