How Much Does It Cost To Build A PC? (Updated Prices)

Navigating the intricate world of PC components and their associated costs requires a comprehensive understanding of the various factors that contribute to the final price tag. 

So in this in-depth guide, we delve deep into the intricacies of building a PC, dissecting the components, exploring their costs, and providing valuable insights to empower individuals with the knowledge needed to embark on their own PC-building journey.

The Foundation: Components Needed to Build A Gaming PC

A successful PC build hinges on a thorough understanding of the core components that constitute a fully functioning system. From the powerhouse GPU to the essential motherboard, each component plays a pivotal role in shaping the system’s capabilities and overall cost. 

Here, we unravel the significance and associated costs of these essential building blocks.

1. Graphics Card (GPU): The Heart of Gaming Performance

The graphics card, or GPU, stands as the cornerstone of gaming performance. It dictates the visual fidelity and smoothness of gameplay, making it a crucial investment for gamers. 

However, the current GPU landscape is shaped by unprecedented challenges, including a global chip shortage and inflation. 

Cutting-edge GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD, such as the RTX 4080, once priced around $600-$700, now command prices exceeding $1,100. This surge in pricing underscores the extraordinary demand for GPUs and the strain on supply chains.

For those with budget constraints, a range of budget-friendly graphics cards exists in the $150-$300 bracket, capable of delivering solid performance at 1080p resolutions. However, delving into higher resolutions and more demanding titles necessitates a higher investment.

2. Central Processing Unit (CPU): Powering the Core Operations

While GPUs are often the stars of the show, the CPU [1] is the unsung hero responsible for executing a system’s myriad processes. The choice of CPU significantly influences the system’s purpose and overall performance. 

CPUs with integrated graphics (iGPUs) cater to general tasks and light gaming, providing cost-effective solutions for web browsing and productivity. Such CPUs can be acquired for as little as $100, while those equipped for gaming hover around the $250 mark.

The AMD Ryzen 5 7600x and Intel Core i5-13600K exemplify excellent starting points for gaming-centric CPUs, ranging from $250 to $300. Budget constraints and performance aspirations should guide the CPU selection to avoid bottlenecks and unnecessary expenses.

3. Motherboard (MOBO): The Nexus of Communication

Motherboards serve as the central hub that facilitates communication between various components. Compatibility between the motherboard and other components is paramount, ensuring seamless integration. 

While other components enjoy universal compatibility, the motherboard must align with the CPU choice. Prices for compatible motherboards span a spectrum, with BIOS updates being a potential requirement for certain models.

Budget-conscious builders seeking motherboard updates can procure options around $125. Meanwhile, future-proofing considerations prompt investments in the $200-$300 range. Recognizing that an upgraded CPU might entail a new motherboard purchase down the line enhances the importance of this decision.

4. Random Access Memory (RAM): Enhancing Multitasking and Speed

RAM, the system’s working memory, significantly influences multitasking and processing speed. Capacity and speed determine a system’s capability to run multiple applications simultaneously and handle data-intensive tasks efficiently. 

The golden standard for gaming hovers at 16GB, with costs ranging from $70 to $150 based on factors like capacity and speed.

Understanding the importance of balancing memory with the budget guides builders in selecting optimal configurations. While 8GB remains acceptable for budget systems, upgrading to 16GB enhances overall system performance and readiness for memory-intensive games.

5. Storage: SSD/HDD – Balancing Speed and Capacity

Storage is a critical aspect often overshadowed by more glamorous components. The choice between Solid State Drives (SSDs) and Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) influences both speed and cost. SSDs offer faster, quieter, and more reliable performance, though at a higher price point compared to HDDs.

A cost-effective strategy involves pairing a reliable HDD like the Seagate BarraCuda, priced at $50, with an SSD that can be acquired for $50-$75. Opting for an all-SSD setup amplifies system speed and responsiveness, with 500GB SSDs available within the $50-$75 range.

6. Power Supply Unit (PSU): Sustaining the System

The power supply unit (PSU) is often overlooked but serves as the lifeline of the system. A PSU’s wattage determines the system’s power requirements, with ample room for future upgrades being a key consideration. Calculating power needs using tools like OuterVision’s PSU calculator guides the selection process.

Investing $60-$150 in a PSU with adequate wattage and efficiency contributes to the system’s stability and longevity. Additionally, modular PSUs enhance cable management and system aesthetics, providing a smoother build experience.

7. Computer Case: Housing Aesthetics and Functionality

Selecting a suitable PC case involves a blend of aesthetics and functionality. The case choice dictates the components that can be accommodated and the cooling potential. 

With options spanning various shapes and sizes, cases ranging from $50 to $200 offer a range of features, including enhanced airflow and compatibility with advanced cooling solutions.

Considering future expandability and thermal management guides builders in making informed case choices. Investing in a case that aligns with the system’s needs ensures a cohesive and efficient build.

8. CPU Cooler: Taming Heat for Optimal Performance

CPU coolers are essential for maintaining optimal operating temperatures and system longevity. The choice between air coolers and liquid cooling solutions adds another layer of complexity. All-in-One (AIO) coolers and air coolers, each with unique advantages, cater to different preferences.

AIO coolers, priced from $80 to $200, offer efficient cooling with a liquid-based system. Meanwhile, air coolers in the $45-$100 range present a cost-effective solution for managing temperatures. Choosing the appropriate cooling solution involves evaluating thermal requirements and personal preferences.

9. Case Fans: Regulating Temperatures and Aesthetics

Case fans contribute to overall system temperature regulation and aesthetics. These fans influence airflow within the case, impacting the cooling efficiency of internal components. Prices for case fans range from $10 for basic 120mm fans to $20 for 140mm RGB fans.

Balancing temperature management with system aesthetics guides builders in making prudent case fan selections. Adequate airflow minimizes the risk of overheating and ensures the longevity of components.

10. Other Peripherals: Completing the Setup

Beyond the core components, peripherals such as monitors, keyboards, mice, and audio devices play pivotal roles in the overall computing experience. 

Each peripheral category boasts a diverse price range, reflecting the broad spectrum of performance and features available.

Monitors, crucial for visual clarity and immersion, span a price gamut from $100 to several thousand dollars. Keyboards, mice, and headsets vary from budget options around $20-$30 to premium selections reaching $200-$300. 

Tailoring peripheral choices to individual preferences and usage scenarios ensures a well-rounded and enjoyable computing experience.

Example PC Builds: Budgets and Prebuilt Options

Navigating the realm of PC components is undeniably complex, with the range of options necessitating guidance for budget-conscious individuals. 

Comprehensive guides outlining example PC builds for varying budget tiers serve as valuable references. These guides factor in current supply challenges, acknowledging that acquiring individual components might not be cost-effective.

From the $300 entry-level gaming PC build to the $1,500 VR-ready setup, these examples provide insights into component selection and allocation. Each build prioritizes the most critical aspects within the specified budget, delivering a balance between performance and affordability.

However, in the current market conditions, prebuilt gaming PCs stand as a viable alternative. Prebuilt systems benefit from bulk GPU purchases, allowing them to maintain competitive prices despite the prevailing supply constraints. 

This unique market dynamic necessitates reevaluating the conventional wisdom that building one’s PC is inherently more cost-effective.

Does PC gaming cost more than console gaming?

PC gaming and console gaming have distinct cost structures. While the initial investment in building a gaming PC can be higher due to component costs, PC gamers often benefit from sales and discounts on games through platforms like Steam. 

Additionally, PC hardware can be upgraded over time, potentially extending the longevity of the system and mitigating the need for a complete replacement. Console gaming, on the other hand, offers a fixed cost but may entail higher game prices and limited hardware upgradability.

Is it cheaper to build a PC?

Building a PC can offer cost savings compared to purchasing a prebuilt system. By selecting individual components, you can tailor your PC to your needs and allocate your budget more efficiently. 

However, the current market landscape, characterized by supply challenges and inflated GPU prices, has led to prebuilt systems being more cost-effective in some cases. Balancing the advantages of customization and affordability with the convenience of a prebuilt system is crucial.

How long does it take to build a PC?

The time required to build a PC depends on factors such as experience, complexity of components, and the level of customization. For beginners, allocating 3 to 5 hours for the first build is reasonable, allowing for careful assembly and troubleshooting. 

As familiarity with the process grows, build times can decrease significantly. Thoroughly following component manuals and online guides helps expedite the process.

How hard is it to build a gaming PC?

Building a gaming PC can seem daunting to newcomers, but with the abundance of online resources and step-by-step guides, the process is more accessible than ever. 

Most components are designed to be plug-and-play, and cable management techniques ensure efficient assembly. While technical proficiency can facilitate the process, patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn are key attributes for successful PC assembly.

Do I have to buy Windows?

The necessity of purchasing Windows depends on your preferences and usage. Windows is a popular operating system for gaming, but alternatives like Linux also exist. 

While Windows licenses are available for purchase, some users may be eligible for free or discounted licenses through educational institutions or other programs. Exploring options and weighing the benefits of each operating system is recommended.

Do I have to buy an anti-static wrist strap and mat?

While not mandatory, using an anti-static wrist strap and mat is recommended to prevent electrostatic discharge (ESD) that could damage sensitive components. 

ESD poses a greater risk in dry or low-humidity environments. Investing in ESD protection is a proactive measure that safeguards components and ensures a smooth assembly process.

Do I need to buy a disc drive?

The need for a disc drive depends on your usage requirements. Physical media, such as DVDs and CDs, are becoming less prevalent due to digital distribution platforms. Most software and games can be downloaded directly, making disc drives optional. 

However, if you have a specific need for physical media or plan to use legacy software, a disc drive may be beneficial.

Should I buy extra case fans?

The necessity of extra case fans depends on your system’s thermal requirements and the chosen case’s airflow design. Additional fans can enhance cooling efficiency and maintain optimal temperatures, especially in systems with high-performance components. 

Researching the case’s stock cooling capabilities and assessing thermal benchmarks can guide the decision to invest in extra case fans.

Do I need to buy all my parts at once?

While purchasing all parts simultaneously ensures compatibility, it’s not mandatory. Some components, such as the CPU and GPU, should be chosen together to prevent bottlenecks. Other components, like RAM, storage, and peripherals, can be added gradually. 

However, it’s essential to consider potential changes in hardware availability and advancements when staggering purchases over time.

What PC components can I replace?

Most PC components are replaceable, allowing for future upgrades and customization. CPUs, GPUs, RAM, storage drives, power supplies, and cooling solutions can be upgraded individually, enabling you to adapt your system to evolving needs and technologies. 

Compatibility considerations should guide replacements, ensuring seamless integration with existing components.

Where to buy a gaming PC?

Gaming PCs can be purchased from various sources, each with its advantages. Retailers like Amazon, Newegg, and Best Buy offer a wide selection of prebuilt systems. Additionally, custom PC builders provide tailored options to suit specific preferences. 

Exploring customer reviews, warranties, and after-sales support can guide the decision-making process when choosing where to buy a gaming PC.

Key Takeaways: Navigating the Realm of Gaming PCs

Building a gaming PC is a thrilling endeavor that empowers enthusiasts with customization, performance optimization, and tailored gaming experiences. 

As you journey through the landscape of gaming PC creation, several key takeaways emerge, shedding light on the advantages and considerations inherent in this process.

Essential Components for Building a Gaming PC

To embark on your PC-building journey, you’ll need a set of essential components, including a processor, CPU cooler, motherboard, RAM, storage, graphics card, power supply, computer case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and audio peripherals.

Having these components at your disposal is the foundation upon which your customized gaming powerhouse will be built.

Cost Considerations

The cost of building a gaming PC spans a wide spectrum, influenced by factors such as component selection, performance aspirations, and prevailing market conditions. 

On average, a gaming PC build falls within the range of $700 to $4,000 or even higher. Balancing performance expectations with budget constraints ensures an optimal price-performance ratio.

Pros of Building Your Own Gaming PC

The allure of building your own gaming PC stems from a host of advantages. By personally selecting each component, you wield control over the performance, aesthetics, and features of your system. This customization allows you to craft a gaming rig that perfectly aligns with your preferences. 

Furthermore, building your own PC can result in long-term cost savings, as you invest in quality components that can be upgraded individually over time. The sense of accomplishment derived from assembling and optimizing your own system adds an extra layer of satisfaction to the experience.

Drawbacks of Buying a Pre-Built Gaming PC

While pre-built gaming PCs offer convenience, they come with a set of drawbacks. Purchasing a pre-built system may limit your ability to select specific components and fine-tune performance to your liking. 

Additionally, pre-built systems often incur higher costs due to factors like assembly labor and brand premiums. 

This can result in a less powerful system compared to one you could build yourself for the same price. Exploring pre-built options while being mindful of these limitations is crucial for making an informed decision.

The Power of Personalization

One of the most compelling aspects of building a gaming PC is the unparalleled degree of personalization it affords. From the choice of components to the aesthetic presentation, every facet reflects your unique vision and preferences. This personal touch transforms your gaming PC from a mere device to an extension of your identity and passion for technology.

Navigating the Trade-offs

As you weigh the pros and cons of building your own gaming PC versus purchasing a pre-built system, it’s essential to consider your priorities. Customizability, performance, aesthetics, and long-term value all play vital roles in this decision-making process. 

By understanding your preferences and goals, you can strike a balance that aligns with your vision of the ultimate gaming experience.


In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the cost of building a PC remains a dynamic and multifaceted consideration. The journey towards assembling a custom PC entails aligning personal requirements, performance aspirations, and budget constraints. 

From the soaring prices of high-end GPUs due to supply challenges to the nuances of component compatibility and system aesthetics, every facet contributes to the final cost.


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