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Is a Prebuilt Gaming PC Better for You?

If you’re in the market for a gaming desktop, you probably know about the two different routes you can take: buying a prebuilt or building one yourself. While custom-built PCs have their advantages, a prebuilt gaming PC is better for many gamers. This guide breaks down the situations when a prebuilt gaming PC is better.

FYI: need a more detailed breakdown? Check out our prebuilt vs. custom gaming PC comparison.

Building It Yourself Sounds Like a Chore

Frankly, if this applies to you, you should probably go the prebuild route. After all, not everyone has the time or inclination to research parts for weeks, consume endless reviews, research the best prices for components, and actually build the PC themselves. It takes considerable time and energy, especially for a beginner. Plus, you need to have a little bit of a technical mind to avoid common mistakes during the PC building process.

Buying a prebuilt gaming PC lets you shift the entire burden to the manufacturer. Most custom PC builder websites let you customize your build based on your budget and aesthetic preferences. You only need to pay, then wait for the fully-built system to be delivered to your doorstep.

Convenience Is Valued Over Flexibility

Prebuilt PCs aren’t just the better option for the less tech-savvy users. They can also be more beneficial if you want the convenience of having a single source for all your post-purchase queries and troubles. A prebuilt PC vendor will usually offer a seamless one-stop warranty and technical support experience for a few years after the purchase.

Another benefit of buying a prebuild is that you don’t need to worry about optimizing your PC’s settings to ensure the best performance. Most prebuilt PCs have optimized BIOS settings and all the necessary software. This plug-and-play convenience can be important for many PC users.

Good to know: just built a new Windows gaming PC? Learn how to optimize your Windows 11 PC for gaming.

Frequent Upgrades Aren’t Desirable

Upgradability isn’t on everyone’s mind when buying a gaming PC. Yes, many users want a system that allows them to easily upgrade the processor without changing the motherboard or swap out the graphics car without changing the power supply. But if you’re someone who just needs a powerful gaming computer for a few years and don’t want to mess with the hardware, buying a prebuilt gaming PC may be the better option.

Prebuilt PCs usually don’t offer as much flexibility when it comes to upgrading the components. You may encounter a PSU not capable of supporting high-end, power-hungry graphics cards or a motherboard that doesn’t have a PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot for the best gaming SSDs. But if you’re happy with a gaming PC that fits all your current needs, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Tip: deciding on a custom PC? Don’t forget these considerations before you start building a gaming PC.

Saving Money Is a Priority

Although conventional wisdom says that building your own PC is cheaper than buying a prebuilt rig with the same configuration, that doesn’t always hold true. In many instances, prebuild vendors can provide a competitive configuration at the lower or similar price, compared to a custom-built PC. This is due to the manufacturers’ bargaining power for components and market conditions.

In these scenarios, buying a prebuilt gaming PC can be the cheaper option, provided you spend time carefully finding a vendor offering your desired configuration at an attractive price. Many prebuild vendors will also use OEM variants of GPUs or motherboards that enable them to price their PCs lower than custom-built PC competitors.

FYI: need your PC to remain competitive? These are the best gaming PC parts to prepare your PC for 2024.

What to Look for When Buying a Prebuilt Gaming PC

Now that you’ve decided that a prebuilt gaming PC is indeed better for you, what should you do next?

Below are some essential questions to consider when embarking on this process:

  • What’s your budget? It all comes down to this: decide on the maximum you’re willing to spend for a gaming PC. Prebuilt gaming PCs can cost anywhere from $400 to upwards of $4000.
  • What gaming performance are you looking for? This depends on the kind of games you wish to play and the desired resolution. For esports, side-scrollers, and strategy games, you don’t need more than a budget gaming PC. But for AAA story-driven games, you’ll need all the GPU horsepower you can fit into your budget. Similarly, 1440p and 4K gaming PCs cost much more than those suited for 1080p.
  • What do you do besides gaming? If all you need is a PC for gaming, you probably don’t need to focus too much on the processor or cooling. But if you also want to dabble with video editing, 3D rendering, and other heavy workloads, you may want an 8-core processor (at least) in your build.
  • What features do you want? Do you want Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity in your PC? How many USB-A and USB-C ports do you want? Which ports do you need on the front I/O panel? These can be important considerations, as you can’t always change them later. You may also want to decide on a conventional mid-tower case or a compact one.

Best Prebuilt Gaming PCs

Choosing one of the best prebuilt systems can be a daunting process, but we’ve scanned the market thoroughly for the best options at every budget:

  1. Best budget gaming PC: the HP Victus 15L gaming PC allows you to choose from a variety of configurations. But the Ryzen 5 5600G and RTX 4060 combo with 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD for around $800 is a fantastic option.
  1. Best mainstream gaming PC: if you have a little more cash to spare, the MSI Codex R uses the same RTX 4060 GPU but bumps up the CPU to the very capable Intel Core i5-13400F, along with 16GB of DDR5 memory and 1TB NVMe SSD, for a total of $999. The additional CPU and memory, along with the faster DDR5 speed, will provide you with a much better gaming experience. Plus, the RGB case will add to the aesthetics of the PC.
MSI Codex R Gaming PC
  1. Best value gaming PC: To extract the most out of your money, you’ll have to stretch your budget to around $1500 for the Legion Tower 5i Gen 8 (Intel) with RTX 4070. You’re getting the powerful 8-core Core i7-13700F processor with the 1440p-ready RTX 4070. The build is further bolstered by 16GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD. You’re also getting a great-looking RGB case, along with an RGB air cooler.
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen 8 Gaming PC
  1. Best high-end gaming PC: For a near-flawless gaming experience with all the bells and whistles enabled to play the latest titles, the $2,000 CyberPowerPC Gamer Supreme Liquid takes things to the next level with the 4K-capable RTX 4070 Ti Super and Ryzen 7 7800X3D, which happens to be the fastest gaming CPU in the world. You also get 32GB of DDR5 RAM, a 2TB NVMe SSD, a 240mm liquid cooler, and a see-through RGB case.
CyberPowerPC Gamer Supreme Liquid Gaming PC
  1. Best flagship gaming PC: If you need absolute peak gaming performance, look no further than the $3,699 Skytech Legacy Gaming PC, which boasts the most powerful CPU and GPU currently – Core i9-14900K and RTX 4090, along with a whopping 64GB of DDR5 RAM and a 2TB NVMe SSD. You’re also getting a 420mm liquid cooler and 1000W PSU, so your PC won’t hold back.
Skytech Legacy Gaming PC

Prebuilt gaming PCs used to be inferior to custom-built gaming PCs in terms of the quality of components, gaming performance, and design. However, prebuilds have come a long way over the years, with both big-name system integrators and boutique PC builders offering far more customization than before, along with competitive prices. Today, a prebuilt gaming PC is better for a large section of users who want the convenience and peace of mind of a plug-and-play machine.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Tanveer Singh

After a 7-year corporate stint, Tanveer found his love for writing and tech too much to resist. An MBA in Marketing and the owner of a PC building business, he writes on PC hardware, technology, video games, and Windows. When not scouring the web for ideas, he can be found building PCs, watching anime, or playing Smash Karts on his RTX 3080 (sigh).

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