It is quite frustrating not knowing a definitive budget you need to fork out for a gaming PC. I still remember the time I was transitioning to PC gaming from consoles. Getting so many conflicting opinions regarding price was infuriating; however, don’t worry, you have stumbled at the right place.
Today, I will tell you exactly the amount of money you need to build your gaming PC. But, not just the price, I will do you one better by telling you the exact specs used the most in average gaming PC builds.
Ready? Let’s dig right in.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Gaming PC?
How much does it cost is a difficult question to answer, as the cost to build can vary a lot. On average, a gaming PC build costs around $1000-1500, which is factoring in the price of the peripherals like mouse, keyboard, and monitor. So if you are looking for just a desktop PC, expect to spend around $1200 roughly on a gaming PC that can run the latest games at 60 FPS.
While this is the average cost of a gaming PC, it can drastically change depending on whether you want high-end stuff or low-end gear. A high-end build with all the bells and whistles can break the $3000 mark, while if you are on a very strict budget, you can build a PC for as low as $500-700. As well as the price tag, it’s worth considering just how long your gaming PC will last – a lower budget might mean more frequent replacements, thus costing more in the long run.
This begs the question, why does such an exuberant difference exist in the cost of making a gaming PC? Well, there are many reasons why this is the case, so let’s discuss each in detail.
Why Does The Cost of a Gaming PC Vary?
A gaming PC isn’t anything like a console. It has a lot more depth to its hardware, hence the variation in pricing.
Unlike a console, a gaming PC has hundreds of hardware combinations. Gamers can choose the processor, Random Access Memory (RAM), graphics card, SSD, and other aspects of their PC according to their liking. So, a gaming PC’s cost totally depends on the parts the user wants.
Typically, most gaming PC builds come in either of the three categories, those being:
- Budget build (Entry-level budget PC, great for beginners)
- Mid-range gaming PC build (Typically a great performance ratio to cost)
- Top-of-the-line gaming PC build (You will need to spend a lot of money)
Low-end Gaming PC
As the name suggests, a budget gaming PC follows a strict budget. Typically you have to undercut many aspects to keep the price within a certain price point. Most budget gaming PC builds range in the ballpark of $500-750.
Mid-range Gaming PC
In a mid-range gaming PC build, you are a lot flexible in terms of your budget. Along with getting decent performance parts for your PC, you also focus on its aesthetics. These are the builds where we see RGB lighting coming into the fray. Also, mid-range gaming PCs are often accompanied by a high refresh rate monitor – a 144Hz one, in most cases and good peripherals. A mid-range gaming PC typically costs anywhere from $1000-2000.
High-end Gaming PC
Your gaming PC build isn’t considered high-end if it doesn’t make for great Instagram reels – just kidding. However, it won’t be wrong to say that high-end gaming PC builds give just as much importance to aesthetics as they do to performance.
The high-end gaming PC is the segment where you start to see crazy builds like a cyberpunk-themed gaming PC because the price is not really a consideration at this point. Instead, it is all about making the finest gaming PC you can.
As a result, high-end gaming PCs can run upwards of $3000, and it is common to see some specialized and customized gaming PC builds breaking the $5000 range.
Breakdown of cost to build a PC by each part
In order for you to better understand all the intricacies of a gaming PC and why the cost greatly varies, I am going to break down the cost of each part of a gaming PC. So, if you learn more, stick around because this section will clear all your doubts.
CPU – the brain of the computer – is the computer part on which you will spend a hefty chunk of your budget. Whether you have a strict or lucrative budget, you should not cheap out the CPU. You will also need to look at a CPU cooler/cooling systems for the best performance.
The CPU controls all the activities that happen on the computer. Therefore, if the CPU is not good enough, no matter how good the rest of the components are, the PC will feel slow anyway.
A decent budget CPU costs $100-120, while a mid-range CPU runs about $200-270. If you want to go all out on one, expect to spend around $350-550.
The motherboard is the foundation of your gaming PC. It is the circuit board to which all PC components are connected. Ideally, you want a good-quality motherboard without spending too much on one.
You should not spend more than $100 on a budget motherboard, while a mid-range motherboard should set you back $250 at the most. The price, however, quickly climbs when talking about high-end motherboards. Most extreme motherboards with all the features cost $400-700.
GPU (Graphics Cards)
The graphics card (GPU) is the part of the PC responsible for rendering graphics for games. Hence, it goes without saying you need a powerful graphics card if you have any hopes of running the latest games at 60 FPS.
The graphics card will roughly take about 50% of your total PC budget. A decent budget-end graphics card should cost about $200, while a mid-range graphics card runs about $300-400. On the other hand, a high-end graphics card costs upwards of $500 and can max out at $1200.
Related: How to reset a graphics card
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the temporary storage of your PC. For example, consider all the applications that you run in the background. The applications you don’t close are stored in the RAM until you open them again.
Having a decent amount of RAM is beneficial for having a lot of applications and programs opened in the background. 8GB should be the bare minimum for a budget gaming PC and should cost around $35.
A mid-range gaming PC should have 16GB RAM, which costs about $60-80. However, a high-end gaming PC build will be used for more than just gaming, so to have a smooth experience, I suggest having 32GB RAM. It should cost about $100-250, depending on whether you want to opt for RGB RAM sticks or a normal one.
There are 3 options you have in terms of PC storage. You can either go with an HDD, SSD, or M.2 MVMe. HDD is just old technology, and these storage have very slow data speeds, resulting in a choppy and laggy experience.
Therefore, even if you are inclined on building a budget gaming PC, opt for an SSD. If your budget is very strict, go with a less-capacity SSD. A 256GB SSD should cost around $30-40, while a 1TB SSD should cost about $70-90.
The M.2 NVMe is the latest storage technology. These storage drives have the highest data speeds, making transferring files and games awfully fast. For a high-end PC, go for a 1TB M.2 NVMe, which will cost you $150-200.
The power supply is the component that supplies power to all the other components of the PC. Any minor fluctuations in the voltage resulting from a bad power supply can permanently damage your entire PC; therefore, get a good power supply at the helm.
Always go for reputable brands like Corsair, Seasonic, EVGA, etc., for power supplies. The power supply for a budget gaming PC will cost about $40. A mid-range gaming PC needs about 600-650W of power, costing about $60-80.
A high-end gaming PC build will require about 700-900W of power, and expect to pay a pretty penny to get these power supplies. A rough estimate will be around $150-200.
The PC case is the enclosure that will house all your PC components. As a beginner, your priority should be getting a PC case that is easy to build. The PC case is the component you can skimp on if you are tight on budget.
The least you can spend on a PC case is about $35, don’t go lower than that because sub $30 PC cases are straight-up crap. For a mid-range gaming PC, you can spend about $60-100.
When it comes to a high-end gaming PC, the sky’s the limit. If you want the most stunning-looking case, it can easily cost you more than $200. You will likely also need PC case fans which can cost an additional $50.
Peripherals (Mouse, keyboard, and Headphones)
A PC build is not complete without a mouse, keyboard, and headphones. These are the parts you can spend as much money on or as little money on.
Even with the strictest budget, expect to spend $50-60. Decent gaming peripherals should cost about $100. In contrast, high-end gaming peripherals can cost as much as $60 for the mouse, $150 for the keyboard, and $200 for headphones.
The rookie mistake many first-time gaming PC builders make is that they don’t factor in the price of a monitor, especially those coming from a console.
A decent 1080p gaming monitor costs about $120-150, while a high refresh rate 144Hz gaming monitor costs $200-250. If you want a higher resolution display, expect to pay double the price for a good 1440p 165Hz monitor.
So, how much should you spend to build a gaming PC?
You can spend as little or as much on a gaming PC as you want, but how much should you spend on your gaming PC?
For most gamers, a mid-range gaming PC should suffice. You will be able to play any latest game on a mid-range gaming PC while also taking advantage of its capability for other workloads like video editing, rendering, and streaming – if you are into that.
In the annual Steam (the largest PC gaming platform) survey released in august, it was reported that more than 50% of gamers stick to mid-range gaming PCs. Hence, if you are confused about which gaming PC you should go with, I will always recommend sticking to a mid-range build for the first time around.
It’s worth noting that building a gaming computer is generally much cheaper than buying prebuilt gaming PCs. The DIY approach means that you can save money, probably get a higher spec, and enjoy the thrill of building your own PC. If you’re looking for convenience, and budget isn’t really a concern, then a prebuilt gaming pc could be an option for you.
Build Your Own PC: NerdScore Recommended Build
Did you think I was going to leave you hanging? No, Sir! Now that I have covered everything related to a gaming PC’s cost, here are the specs I would recommend for your gaming PC. Don’t worry; the build I will showcase is a mid-range gaming PC that costs about $1,200-1,300.
Find out more about NerdScore recommended builds in our article about the best gaming PCs under $1,500
How Much Does it Cost To Build a Gaming PC? Our Conclusion
It was a long article because I needed to inform you about all the itsy and bitsy of building a gaming PC. Without knowing the variation in hardware, you wouldn’t have understood why such a massive price difference exists when building a gaming PC.
Before signing off, I want to emphasize the importance of getting the right PC for your needs. There will be a lot of distractions; you might get carried away by the stunning display of RGB lighting or be tempted into buying cool-looking components. However, always remember that the PC is yours at the end of the day, and you will use it.
So, get the PC components that fit your needs and the idea you have of a flawless gaming PC in your build. With that being said, it is time to wrap up the article. If you have any questions, feel free to chime in with your queries, and I will get back to you.
Tech enthusiast by the day and spirit gamer by night. Waleed loves combining his two passions into writing and is ready to contribute to making Tech easy and accessible for everyone.