The costs of computer components get more expensive every year as video games get better graphics. In this article we explain how much you can expect to pay for a PC.
The price of a PC can vary depending on your needs, what software you need to run and whether or not you prefer aesthetically pleasing components.
What you plan on using your computer for will ultimately dictate what components you need and the price. For example, VR and games like star citizen are more taxing than CS:GO.
The main components that affect performance will be the CPU and GPU. These are also the most expensive parts of the PC. Once you choose a good CPU and GPU you can’t underestimate the importance of the motherboard, ram, cooling and power supply.
A PC is an entire unit and some models of components are not compatible with eachother. This means that you need to make sure each part compliments eachother.
If you want to play high end video games such as elden ring on ultra settings with more than 60FPS, you are looking at the top end of CPU and GPU models. Most likely you will need an i7 intel processor or greater and an strong RTX GPU with 2GB or more processing power.
Once you decide what you want to use your PC for, the next step is to find out what components are required. We have outlined price points and recommended components in this article below.
How Much is a PC?
You have many options to upgrade components when designing your dream computer. For example you could opt for liquid cooling compared to air cooling which will add an additional cost to your build.
If you build a computer for pure performance and neglect most of the aesthetic upgades, you could be looking at $1500 minimum to play the most contemporary games at high settings.
However, if you are looking for a PC that is purely for work related tasks you could get away with spending around $600 unless you need to use 3d or design software. if you need to use 3d software such as blender, you are also looking at the same price range around $1500 for fast rendering speeds.
If you really want to keep the budget low and only need to use a basic browser for work, you could spend around $300 for a functional PC that would out perform a laptop at the same price range.
You can choose to either build a PC yourself or purchase a prebuilt one from amazon. Usually building it yourself is cheaper, however you will need to be confident in your ability to fix any technical problems that you may encounter.
The first thing you must do if you are going to build your own computer is to go to pcpartpicker and make sure all of your chosen components are compatible with eachother. This will save you from having to return items.
Keep in mind that these costs are not including the price of a monitor which also can vary in price from $150-$1000 depending on your needs.
You should also consider the next 3-5 years when buying your computer because every year new games will be released that demand higher performance from your PC.
If you want to play the best video games on the best settings and still have high FPS for years to come, I would suggest building your own PC with around a $2000 budget. Doing it yourself will allow you to make the most of that budget.
Avid gamers who save up to buy their dream PC can spend between $3000 and $4000 for a build that will last a decade. However, these expensive builds usually come with $500 or more worth of pure aesthetic upgrades such as RGB, control panels and tempered glass cases.
|Budget Build||Standard Build||High Performance Build||Extreme Build|
Here are all the components calculated in the below prices: GPU, CPU, HDD, SSD, heatsink, fans, motherboard, RAM, case, power supply.
Average Cost of a Computer
Most people think about the cost of a computer from a gaming perspective and most gamers often play the most popular games. If you enjoy playing fortnite, apex legends, valorant or league of legends, then you could get away with a lower end gaming PC.
This is because these games are less CPU and GPU intensive as they are competitive multiplayer games that are based around virality. Each of these games are extremely popular and designed in a way that most systems can handle.
If you are a twitch streamer and want to also play games, you might need a higher end computer. A lot of streamers actually buy 2 computers so they can stream and game separately.
VR players also need to have a higher end PC and a higher budget because it places a lot of stress on the CPU and GPU.
The recommended systems specifications for the Oculus rift is an i3 processor, GTX 1060 and 8gigs of ram. Add in all the other necessary components and you could be looking at a minimum of $1000.
Make sure you determine what games you would like to play before deciding on the budget of the PC.
Cost of Prebuilt Gaming PCs
You can buy prebuilt gaming PCs from places like Best Buy, Cyberpower, iBuyPower, Alienware, and NZXT. These systems perform well and have a long lifespan. The only downside is that you would have to pay a little extra than if you were to build it yourself.
Some people may opt for a prebuilt PC because you can get warranty for the build incase a component breaks and the shop will take care of the repairing for you.
Prebuilt PCs also take away all the compatibility issues, system setup and cable management you would have to do by yourself.
I would recommend waiting for a sale to buy a prebuilt PC and get a good deal.
How Much For a PC if You Build it Yourself?
Generally it will be much cheaper if you purchase all PC components separately and build the computer yourself. The overall cost could be 10-20% cheaper depending on many factors such as sales, cost of prebuilt PCs and rising GPU prices.
One of the biggest downsides to building a PC yourself is that you have to wait for each part to arrive individually via delivery. This is the case because to find the cheapest option for each computer part, you often have to order from multiple places.
If you build it yourself, you already save $50-$100 of a build and setup fee that a normal store would charge you. On top of that you can choose to buy certain parts cheaper such as the case. Instead of getting a prebuilt that has an inflated price because of RGB fans and a glass case, you could save around $200 if you were to choose cheaper parts yourself.
The best part about custom building your own system is that you get to decide which parts you would like to spend or save money on.
Should You Buy Prebuilt or Build it Yourself?
Getting a prebuilt system will be faster, safer but more expensive. Doing it yourself will be cheaper, take longer, but give you more customization options.
How Much Does the Cheapest Gaming PC Cost
Assuming that the cheapest gaming PC is going to mainly be running games on lower settings, you would need roughly a $600-800 budget. Anything lower than that will risk bad performance, lag and low FPS.
If you only have a $400 budget, you may already be considering purchasing a console instead. This choice depends on your lifestyle and if you have a lot of friends that are on consoles. However, I recommend saving a little bit more and aiming to get a $600 PC build as you can play a lot more games.
How Much Should You Spend on Your First Gaming PC?
It all depends on your budget and how long you want to play games for. If you are someone who wants to play video games everyday with friends then consider getting a build that has quality components that will last you many years.
However, if you are someone who’s main priority is studying or working, go for a lower end gaming PC that still allows you to enjoy some of the best games.
Also if you have an infinite budget, then obviously build your dream PC if that is what you want to do.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you do your due dilligence and get parts that will give you the performance you need.
Remember you can always sell your PC or individual components if need be. If you want to upgrade your PC in the future you can sell your old parts for 10-40% less than your buy price depending on the part and how old it is.
Also take advantage of amazon sales, if you see a strong CPU or GPU that is on sale, consider taking the chance and getting a discount on your first PC.
High End vs Budget Gaming PCs
On a budget? Consider scavenging for old PC components in your house or online. You can save a substantial amount of money for the main build if you save money on things like the case and fans.
If you are looking to build a high end dream PC, then by all means look into the various options surrounding RGB, LEDs, watercooling and different cases.
The table below shows what we recommend for a budget or high end build and the expected cost for each part.
There are also add on peripherals in the tables below to give you an understanding of the total overall cost.
You can save money on the total cost by using old peripherals or finding free ones that get thrown out by others. Although a good mouse and keyboard are important for competitive games, you can get away with the basics on a budget.
Also remember to use components from your old PC if you have one, because chances are some of them are still good and functional.
Remember building the system yourself is highly recommended on a budget. It’s also very easy when you get the hang of it and only takes a couple youtube videos to learn.
Prioritize your money on the parts that will yield the most performance, these are the CPU and GPU. The rest should be of sufficient power to support these main two pieces.
BUDGET PC COSTS
|PC Component||What to get||Cost Range|
|CPU||4-6 cores not a intel K version||$125-200|
|CPU Cooler||Comes with CPU||$0|
|GPU||Budget NVIDIA or AMD, Older cards||$200|
|Storage||500GB HDD maybe a cheap SSD||$30-60|
|PSU||Bronze Rated around 500W||$30-50|
|Case||Budget Case with minimal features||$30-$60|
|Monitor||Low refresh rate monitor or Low screen size||$100-$200|
|Keyboard||Office keyboard or budget gaming||$5-$60|
|Mouse||Office mouse or budget gaming||$5-$40|
|Audio||Low budget gaming headphones or earphones||$0-$60|
TOTAL (no add ons): $515 – $730
GOOD PC COSTS
|PC Component||What to get||Cost Range|
|Motherboard||Quality ATX board||$200-$300+|
|CPU||6-16 Cores, Intel K or a good AMD||$350-$450+|
|CPU Cooler||Liquid cooling or a strong CPU Cooler fan||$30-$300+|
|GPU||2GB+ NVIDIA or a good AMD card||$600+|
|Storage||Good SSD and 1TB HDD||$150-$200+|
|PSU||650-750W Good quality||$100+|
|Case||Better features, airflow and aesthetics||$100-$300+|
|Monitor||144hz+ 24inch+ maybe Ultrawide||$225-$500+|
|Keyboard||Mechanical Keyboard with LED and good switches||$75-$300+|
|Mouse||Premium mouse like Zowie or Glorious||$60-$100+|
|Audio||Quality Headphones with a mic||$100-$500+|
TOTAL (no add ons): $1,630-$2400
Average Cost of the Components of a Gaming PC
Cheaper components are usually older generation and not optimised for the current generation of video games. Although they are cheap, its a slight trade off that you need to consider. Also, mixing old and new components can be a recipe for disaster, make sure you check compatibility before purchasing.
High end components are more expensive, but give you performance that is worth the price point. These parts will also last for years to come, as long as you choose ones that are powerful enough.
Customize your build to suit what games you would like to play. Either choose an entry level budget build with modest components and a decent price point or a high spec build for double the price.
Mix and match different components to see which gives you the most value and buy them from multiple different stores to get the cheapest overall cost.
Most people build a system with the next 3 years in mind, however not all have the budget to do so. Being able to play the newest releases on high settings is definitely a plus, but you also need the money to buy those games as they release.
There is no one size fits all PC build, so choose wisely.
How Much Will This Cost me Again?
Expect to pay around $400 for the cheapest build with bare bones components. For a mid tier system expect around $800-$1000 and around $1500-$2000 for a strong gaming build that has high performance.
If you choose to buy prebuilt, expect to pay an extra $200-$300 than the cost of building it yourself.
Buying components at the right time and spending less on unimportant pieces will be your best option to get a good gaming PC for around $1000.
CPU Price Differences
You should choose the level of CPU you need depending on the games you are willing to play. Certain games are more CPU than GPU intensive and require more cores with higher hz.
High end i7 CPUs are good for a $1000-$1500 build and are very reliable.
Some games also require a strong GPU, I suggest trying an RTX 2060 and i7 CPU combo if you are looking at a $1500 build.
If required, provide more money to a better GPU than a CPU.
Motherboard Price Differences
The board you choose will greatly differentiate in price depending on the size, amount of ports, features and hardware support.
Full size ATX boards are great for gaming PC builds, but they cost a lot more than the smaller sized boards. If you can live without some features like in built wifi or bluetooth, then you can opt for cheaper models.
Make sure the board you are getting has enough ram slots for your build and is compatible with your storage, power supply, cpu and gpu.
Sometimes mATX boards are the way to go on a budget because they are cheaper and smaller. It’s recommended that you double check all compatibility if using a smaller board with lesser features.
Preferably you would want one graphics card slot (PCIe x16) and one M.2 storage slot.
You may need USB-C support as well. There are a lot of boards under $100 that are mATX size. Usually ATX boards are more expensive around $150-200
Graphics Card PRICE DIFFERENCES
The graphics card is one of the most important parts to consider when building or buying your PC. For gaming it is a big priority to get this component right. A good mid to high tier graphics card is the RTX 2060 which is roughly $300 on amazon.
Cards of this quality are able to be resold easily, retain most of their value, produce high performance and last a long time.
AMD also has a good bunch of cards, just make sure you get a compatible CPU and motherboard with it.
GPUs are most demanded from higher resolution monitors and games. If you want to play games in 4k on an ultrawide monitor, you cannot afford to have a cheap graphics card.
Every year there are new graphics cards, so it may be wise to wait for a new release to get the older generations that will drop in price.
Ram Price Differences
8GB of ram is a decent amount for gaming, however a lot of people opt for two 8GB sticks of dual channel ram. This equals 16GB in total and another 2 slots free incase you want to upgrade to 32GB in the future.
If you want to save money you should stay away from the ram sticks come with RGB lighting as they are more expensive.
You are more than likely going to have to get DDR4 ram which is compatible with the contemporary motherboards.
Storage: HDD or SSD
SSDs are generally better and more reliable than a Hard drive. In my experience hard drives usually last 2 years or sometimes less. It’s good to have a combination of a 1TB hard drive to store your games and an SSD to store your windows installation and any programs you would like to launch fast.
Lots of people get the 1 TB seagate hard drives and the Samsung evo SSDs are also very popular.
Combining both the HDD and SSD is a great way to optimise your PC for storage and speed.
CPU Cooler Price Differences
Your options for cooling are liquid coolers or air cooling. Liquid cooling will cost you between $100-200 and air cooling can be anywhere from $0-$200, depending if you use stock or not.
CPU cooling is important to prevent overheating and frying of your CPU, however you don’t always need liquid cooling. Liquid cooling is great if you don’t like noisy cooling fans, but there is a risk that it could break and mess up your other components.
Some CPUs come with a stock heatsink and generally these are only for weak CPUs.
You may be able to find a CPU that comes with a quality heatsink and cooler.
Power Supply Price Differences
It’s important to choose a PSU that has sufficient wattage and amps to power your entire system, especially if you are on a budget or have very power demanding parts.
Modular power supplies are also highly recommended. As for wattage, around 500 should be sufficient for a low end PC and 600-750 for a higher end build.
Make sure you check the compatibility of the build online to see if you need more watts.
A good PSU will cost you between $75-$150 depending on the power requirements you have.
Computer Case Price Differences
Sometimes you can save some money by getting a computer case that has a power supply bundle, if this is the case you need to make sure it has adequate watts for the rest of the build.
When choosing a case you can either get a standard fully enclosed case that has no glass and this will cost you around $40.
If you want a more aesthetic case with more features like better cable management, you could be looking upwards of $100.
The most extreme PC builds usually have a lot of RGB and you want to show that off, which means getting a tempered glass case for around $200 can be an option.
PC cases come in all different sizes and the size you pick should be dictated mainly by the motherboard size. ATX motherboards require a larger case than a mATX.
Mouse Price Differences
Gaming mice and premium mice generally go for over $60 like zowie. However, some brands like glorious only charge $50 and give you a lot of features.
Glorious model Os have RGB lighting, honeycomb shell, fast mouse skates and a pseudo paracord.
If you really don’t care about your mouse and only play games like league of legends which is not an FPS game you can literally buy a $5 mouse.
Ergonomic mice will cost you a little more, especially if you want to get one of those sideways mouse that have a neutral grip.
Gaming mice come in many different sizes and are suitable for different grips like fingertip, palm or claw.
Bluetooth mice like the logitech G PRO are very popular and look extremely clean because of the design and lack of cable. These types of mice are upwards of $120
Headset Price Differences
Headsets are usually cheaper than headphones, but if you are gaming and require a mic you might want to go for a headset because it’s easier.
If you are a streamer however or would just like better sound quality in general, you can get a good pair of headphones and a standalone mic like the blue yeti.
Regular gaming headsets are usually around $60-$150 depending on the brand and features.
Good headphones can cost you anywhere from $300-600, especially if they are wireless and from a good brand. I recommend trying bluetooth sennheisers as they have great sound quality and a touch pad on the side.
Keyboard Price Differences
With keyboards, you can either choose a mechanical or a regular membrane keyboard.
DIY mechanical keyboard kits can be a good high end option. If you want custom keycaps you are looking at roughly $30 and maybe $15 for shipping because these are often sourced overseas.
Regular membrane keyboards are like $5 or even free when people throw them out, these are the keyboards you see at offices and they feel really bad.
Mechanical keyboards range from $50-300 and most of them are RGB.
If you play fortnite, valorant, apex or CS:GO I recommend using a mechanical keyboard. The FPS games are very movement based and fortnite is building based, which both require a good responsive keyboard.
Monitor Price Differences
1080p displays that are 60hz and 24inch will be your cheapest options around $100, but they wont give you the best experience.
I recommend going with a 144hz display minimum if you are playing competitive games, everything just feels way smoother. You can get some 144hz monitors for around $150-300
Ultrawide 2k or 4k displays are good but you need to have a beast GPU to run them with games on high settings. These displays can be anywhere from $300-$1000
Pros and Cons of Building Your Own Gaming PC
Now that you understand the cost of everything, should you build your own PC or get it prebuilt?
Personally, I think that you should always buy individual parts and learn to build it yourself but this is not for everyone. It can take you 1-2days to get the system fully operational from scratch.
Before you can even build it you may need to wait 3-4 weeks to actually get shipped all of your items.
Buying prebuilt is instant and you can start using it straight away, however I think that they mark up the price roughly $100-300.
If you see a prebuilt PC on sale and it has good components, you can consider buying it if it will cost you the same amount to build it yourself anyway.
How long does it take to build a PC?
Building a PC can take 1 day if you understand how to do it correctly, piecing it together can take a few hours, then you have to troubleshoot and setup all the programs again.
Depending on the items you get, it will lengthen the setup time. For example some coolers will require a more advanced setup than just a regular fan.
If you want elite cable management you may take an extra hour or two to do that.
Subpar PC cases will also give you a bunch of problems that you need to work through and that can add extra time.
Also if your PC doesn’t boot up and there is a hardware issue then it can take a day or so to resolve that problem.
Also read the 45 best White Gaming Setups.