Building a PC can often be quite a challenge if you haven’t done it before. PC gaming in general can be intimidating if you’re a lifelong console gamer and you don’t know what you’re getting into. Fortunately, we here at WePC are here to answer all of the questions you might have about PC building and PC gaming, in general. WE are going to go over everything from how much a PC costs to more tailored questions like should you buy an extra fan?
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the most common questions about building a PC.
In most cases, yes, console gaming is far cheaper, but it doesn’t have to. In terms of hardware, you can get a good quality gaming experience while generally paying the same amount That being said, consoles now game in 4K and that is something that currently will cost you a lot more to do on PC.
You can save a lot of money elsewhere in PC gaming. While the hardware can cost a varied amount, or more if you opt for high-end hardware, the games are much cheaper. There are multiple storefronts on PC constantly running sales that allow you to get AAA titles for way under $60. You also save on peripherals, with gaming mice and keyboards being compatible regardless of branding.
It’s a fun time, but you don’t have to. If you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, find a local PC hardware shop to do it for you. They’ll usually be eager to help out. Alternatively, you could try buying a custom prebuilt PC, which most major manufacturers produce.
Unless you are buying components or an entire PC second hand, it is almost always cheaper to build your own custom PC. When building your own PC, you won’t have to pay for any labor costs, keeping costs down, and allowing you to include more into your system for the same price.
How much a PC cost varies dramatically. Standard PCs for office use can be put together for as little as $300 depending on your individual needs. The price of a PC starts to increase as you up the specs. If you were to utilize CPUs integrated graphics, you can save money as you won’t need a GPU but you must understand that this can come with compromises.
Just like any PC or laptop, how much a gaming PC costs depends on your individual budget and needs! It can cost anywhere from $300 to $2000, and many people like to occupy a happy in-between at around $500-$700. Whether you’re on a budget and pinching pennies or a big shot who wants the best of the best, PC gaming is there for you. Check out our How to Build a Gaming PC guide for a more detailed breakdown of pricing tiers.
For those looking to build a mid-tier system and above, you can usually expect to spend around 50% of your budget on the graphics card.
For your first time, it can be as long as two-three hours. With help or experience, it shouldn’t ever take longer than one hour, especially once you really know what you’re doing. If you take time to prep beforehand by watching videos and reading your manuals, you can shorten the process significantly.
Not too hard. If you follow the instructions and are building in a safe environment, it’s pretty hard to screw up: everything has a set place. You won’t accidentally plug your GPU into your CPU slot, for instance. If you’re ever in doubt when building, consult your motherboard manual and the manual for the part that you’re attempting to install. This will usually clear up any confusion and help you finish up.
The hardest part of the process for beginners is at the start, with newbies running into compatibility issues but there is a lot of material online nowadays to help you through it.
Almost no tools are actually necessary for most builds, but a screwdriver will be a necessity for standoff screws and mounting other components, like your cooler or your drives. Your case will often come with thumbscrews to make installing expansion cards easier, as well.
For a safer building experience, you can optionally invest in tools like an anti-static mat or an anti-static wristband to protect your components from static shock while you’re handling and installing them. ESD damage to components doesn’t happen often, but it is likely enough for us to encourage caution when building.
Windows will provide the best all-around compatibility and support, but you can use Linux if you want. Linux can provide a great gaming experience, and is always getting more and more support. If you opt to save money by going for Linux, we recommend Linux Mint.
We often recommend to first time builders to invest in an anti-static wrist strap purely to put your mind at ease and ensure you run into the least amount of complications. A lot of experienced builders may have an anti-static mat to place their components on to but that is about it, so no it isn’t absolutely necessary.
Unless there’s something you need it for, no. Most users only use their disc drive once: when installing Windows. If you have another PC and a USB stick on hand, however, you can create a USB Windows installer that you can use instead, saving you the trouble of installing a disc drive that you’re only going to use once. If you ever need one later, you can always buy one.
This depends on your case. We recommend having at least one intake (blowing air into the case from the front) and an exhaust fan (blowing air out the back of the case). If you have both of those, you should be fine- feel free to add more intake and exhaust fans as you please to lower your case temps.
It is worth noting that if your PC has a lot of high-end hardware, your internal temps will run higher, so you should consider extra fan options but remember these components are designed to take quite a bit of heat.
Not at all. Many people space out their purchases over time, and you may even be able to assemble your PC before acquiring certain components. For instance, if you have every part of your PC except a graphics card, you may be able to run your PC off of your processor’s integrated graphics until you can afford to buy a GPU.
You’ll need the following:
- CPU (with a Cooler)
- Power Supply
- HDD (or SSD)
Other parts are optional:
- Disc drive
- GPU (recommended)
- Sound cards, extra storage drives, etc
A compatible motherboard and a compatible CPU. Intel “K” series CPUs are overclockable, as are all AMD CPUs. Older AMD motherboards will all support overclocking, but Ryzen and Intel-K CPUs will require certain motherboard chipsets to allow overclocking. Be sure to check before buying your motherboard if this is a feature you need.
In theory, everything, as long as you ensure you watch out for any compatibility issues. For example, if you are running older DDR3 RAM and are looking to upgrade your motherboard, it just isn’t going to work. When replacing parts just ensure you do some planning before buying components.
These are recommended for overclocking and the higher-end processors, but no. There are many great air coolers on the market that can perform similarly but maybe louder due to the presence of fans and have large heatsinks. Liquid coolers also require a bit more work when it comes to long-term maintenance, so if you’re new to PC building it may be best to stick with air.
Tons of places. Prebuilt providers like iBuyPower, CyberPowerPC, MSI, Thermaltake, your local Best Buy, Amazon…or, better than all of the above, buying components yourself and building a PC of your own. And if you don’t know what to look for, we have more good news: we have you covered. Just head over to our Builds and we’ll help find the right build for you.
We already recommend the best-prebuilt gaming PCs for a variety of budgets:
Need a straight-up guide to building a gaming PC? Click here. We’ll walk you through every last step of the process and ensure that your entry into PC gaming goes as smoothly as possible. In our detailed guide to building a gaming PC, we cover every last step of the building process, from picking out your build, to actually building, to installing everything on your new PC.
If you still have questions after finishing this article, don’t worry: we have you covered. Just ask us down in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Don’t be afraid to ask, either- we’re eager to help.