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Prebuilt vs Custom PC – Is a Pre Built Gaming PC Worth It?

Are prebuilt gaming PCs good? Should you buy a prebuilt gaming PC? Let's find out.

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Here at WePC we always recommend you to build your own gaming PC, it brings a sense of accomplishment, adds additional value, and, of course, a new skill to your repertoire. That being said, not every new member of the PC master race wants to deal with the added stress that can come from selecting components or the physical building process, whether that’s due to time restraints or otherwise, and this is where the prebuilt gaming PC starts to make a lot of sense.

We are going to pit prebuilt Vs custom PC, not to find the best option but to go in-depth about each of their pros and cons. We want to definitively answer questions like “are prebuilt PCs worth it?” and ” Should I buy a prebuilt gaming PC?” to put you at ease when the time comes to buying a new system.

Prebuilt PC vs Custom PC

The main reason we try and get our readers to build a custom PC over buying one is simple – value.  It is no secret that you can squeeze in better hardware for your cash with a custom-built PC, with the markup on prebuilt computers usually costing the same amount as an entire component ($100-$300+).

Performance

While the performance of the prebuilt gaming PC is rarely in doubt, when building your own you could in theory include a better CPU or GPU into your computer for less. This means you could get even better performance for your hard-earned cash, get better in-game results, and future-proof your investment for longer.

Convenience

The main selling point behind a prebuilt gaming PC is it saves you the hassle. We understand that not everyone knows how to build a computer and may not even have the time to learn this new skill, so the convenience of a prebuilt makes a lot of sense. Of course, there are many more benefits to buying a prebuilt gaming PC from manufacturers, obviously, it takes the stress away from finding all the compatible components, while also preventing damage to said components when the time comes to build it.

With a prebuilt gaming PC, you are going to be able to send it back to the manufacturer if anything goes wrong. Furthermore, if you feel you need an upgrade, suppliers will often do this for you or at least insist you send it to them for an upgrade. Manufacturers will also dish out a warranty, usually covering parts and labor for around a year but some companies offer impressive warranties and you can always spend extra on insurance, giving you a lengthy/ lifetime warranty.

These prebuilt computers are from the biggest manufacturers around the world and aren’t just packaged nicely for you either, they normally stress test the system to ensure the components are working before shipping and that it performs as it should. You will also receive your system with software, usually with Windows and drivers pre-installed, so you can simply plug it in and start downloading games.

Why You Should Buy a Prebuilt PC?

  • You don’t have to worry about compatibility between components, systems are spec’d, tested, and guaranteed to work from prebuilt PC manufacturers
  • Current stock issues plaguing the market make it harder than ever before to get some crucial components
  • If you haven’t got the time to learn the building process, a prebuilt PC takes the stresses away, arriving ready to go straight out of the box
  • If you face any hardware issues, you have the option to send them back to the manufacturer to fix
  • Prebuilt gaming PCs come with warranties, protecting your investment for at least a year
  • Some of the best gaming PCs will often come with additional items, such as a keyboard and mouse, however, these are often entry-level peripherals that you will need to upgrade at some point
  • Prebuilt PCs almost always come with Windows 10 pre-installed

 

All the points above show there are plenty of positives for buying a prebuilt, as long as you understand there is a labor cost added on to these systems. Prebuilt manufacturers are a business after all, so a mark-up on the build is to be expected. The only real negative to a prebuilt PC is value, you are always going to be able to build a gaming PC of the same spec for less. It is down to you, there is nothing wrong with buying a prebuilt but building a PC is not that hard thanks to all the available written and video content out there, so give it a try!

GPU Price Increase

A major factor in the argument as to why you should buy a pre built gaming PC at the moment is the current market. Thanks to some of the highest demand ever for the current generation of graphics cards, a global pandemic interfering with production and distribution, and the continued popularity of Crypto mining, we have never seen stock shortages quite like it. The GPU is a highly sought-after component, it is obviously vitally important for your gaming PC, and with this demand, we have seen prices hit an all-time high.

It has been a real struggle to get hold of the GPU you want, especially for the advertised MSRP but it seems as though prebuilt PC manufacturers are still managing to get hold of some. With this increase in demand, prebuilt PCs are now also increasing in price, making them a little less desirable but there are still some good deals out there.

A Prebuilt Gaming PC Is Plug And Play

Sure, you are going to have to download your games before jumping in the server but you can power a pre-built gaming PC and start as soon as it arrives. Manufacturers almost always pre-install Windows 10 onto the PC, along with any necessary drivers and BIOS updates. The PC will also have the RAM speeds match the full potential that is advertised, you won’t have to go into the BIOS and XMP (overclock) the RAM yourself.

Don’t forget, a few PC building companies also include a free mouse and keyboard, so nothing is stopping you from enjoying the PC from day one.

Beware Of Entry-Level Prebuilts

While mid-range to high-end prebuilt gaming PCs offer excellent performance, there are some entry-level prebuilts that are simply not worth your money. Entry-level systems that feature integrated graphics or very old, weak graphics cards are a huge waste of money. While you can game on them, your experience will not be very enjoyable as you will be forced to play games in low settings and resolutions.

Sure, these prebuilts will suit some but if you have a small budget then you should reconsider building your own gaming PC and getting some value from your hard-earned cash.

400 Build VS 600 Build

The graphic above was made to show you what an extra few hundred dollars in your budget can do for your performance when building a custom PC. You are probably wondering what this has to do with a prebuilt PC, well because of the mark-up we discussed earlier, you could find yourself having the performance of the $400 build above when spending as much as $500 or $600! This example gets less extreme the higher up the budget categories we go but it gives you an insight into value.

Related Custom PC Guides

For those considering building a gaming PC, check out some of our price-focused custom PC build guides below.

Other Related Custom PC Guides:

Related Prebuilt Gaming PC Guides

For those that would prefer a prebuilt PC, check out some of our related guides below.

Final Word

So, are prebuilt PCs worth it? Should you buy a prebuilt gaming PC? This is now down to you. We say it time and time again but you should always take the plunge and start building your own, it is very rewarding for a beginner, and with so much help online these days, it is hard to mess up. When it comes to a prebuilt Vs custom PC, a custom PC is always going to win, as they give you much more for your money and you are in control of every aspect of the build.

We don’t want to dissuade you from purchasing a prebuilt PC but if you think you are up the task, learn the building process and start saving yourself some money. Of course, with the current stock issues, no one would blame you for picking up a pre built gaming PC, after all, there are a lot of benefits when going down this path, it is just that none of them are financial.

FAQs

What is better prebuilt or custom PC?

You should always take the plunge and start building your own PC, it is very rewarding for a beginner, and with so much help online these days, it is hard to mess up. When it comes to a prebuilt Vs custom PC, a custom PC is always going to win, as they give you much more for your money and you are in control of every aspect of the build.

Are prebuilt PCs worth it?

There are a lot of benefits to a prebuilt PC:

  • You don’t have to worry about compatibility between components, systems are spec’d, tested, and guaranteed to work from prebuilt PC manufacturers
  • Current stock issues plaguing the market make it harder than ever before to get some crucial components
  • If you haven’t got the time to learn the building process, a prebuilt PC takes the stresses away, arriving ready to go straight out of the box
  • If you face any hardware issues, you have the option to send them back to the manufacturer to fix
  • Prebuilt gaming PCs come with warranties, protecting your investment for at least a year
  • Some of the best gaming PCs will often come with additional items, such as a keyboard and mouse, however, these are often entry-level peripherals that you will need to upgrade at some point
  • Prebuilt PCs almost always come with Windows 10 pre-installed

Are prebuilt PCs good?

Prebuilt PCs from the biggest manufacturers around the world perform as you would expect, with companies normally stress testing the systems to ensure the components are working before shipping and that it performs as it should. You will also receive your system with software, usually with Windows and drivers pre-installed, so you can simply plug it in and start downloading games.

Should I buy a prebuilt gaming PC

We don’t want to dissuade you from purchasing a prebuilt PC but if you think you are up the task, learn the building process and start saving yourself some money. Of course, with the current stock issues, no one would blame you for picking up a pre built gaming PC, after all, there are a lot of benefits when going down this path, it is just that none of them are financial.

Product Specialist - Gaming PC, Prebuilt Gaming PC, GPUs, CPUs, AT WEPC

Shaun Conroy

Shaun is a gaming enthusiast and computer science graduate who has been working with computers for the last 15 years. He took a shine to competitive FPS back in the mid-2000s and hasn't looked back since.

14 thoughts on “Prebuilt vs Custom PC – Is a Pre Built Gaming PC Worth It?”

  1. Great Article

    This is a great article and is complete true, even though many pc builders are delusional right now and will say otherwise. But a premade PC is so much cheaper just look at this pc for example- iBUYPOWER AM501 Gaming Desktop
    It will cost about 800 dollars if you will build it yourself. Also there are plenty of premade pcs with different specs you can buy one that caters to your need. Unless you got the money and time it really doesnt make sense to build one yourself.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. I’m not pre-builts will save you much money in the long run but they certainly are worth it for many.

      • Jonathan Anderson

        I do agree on the practicality of a prebuilt system. But if you know what you’re doing and with Amazon return it is cheaper to build a much better system. My son wanted a beginner level gaming pc for 700$. I looked up the specs and was able to build him a faster more powerful system with some extra rgb fans which the Azus motherboard was rgb supported for 550$, including the OS. More ram and m.2 nvme drive. Both systems are AMD Ryzen powered but the prebuilt system comes with the older Ryzen gen 1, and I got the gen 2 2600. Only saw 150$ but faster and plus i enjoy building them.

        • Alexander

          I could use assistance could you send m the parts you used?

  2. David George

    There’s prebuilt as in from an established vendor (Dell, HP, others) and there’s prebuilt from a custom builder (Puget, AVADirect, eCollege, others).

    A big disadvantage of the first group is that you are very unlike to get components that are high quality: They generally use proprietary motherboards and coolers. And the coolers are generally comparable to stock Intel (insufficient). Also, if you need ODDs, good luck: Dell and HP don’t offer the options they did in the past since they believe no one uses ODDs anymore.

    I’ve been pricing out an i7-9700k build on pcpartpicker. With the top-quality components for an audio production desktop (NO gaming), the price comes to about $1800 if I were to build it myself. Using a builder such as eCollege or AVADirect, the price ranges from $2100 (eCollege) to $2300 (AVADirect). Double the price for Puget. I;m leaning toward eCollege because it’ll be ready to go and I get a warranty, which together are worth the additional cost.

    • Makes sense David. Sometimes that bit of security is worth it!

  3. Ezad

    This article is obsolete now. prices have gone down.

    • Christian Alvarado

      prices may not be as drastically different now that GPU and ram prices have gone down but prebuilt PC prices are still lower than building one yourself. look up a gaming pc and build that exact pc on partpicker then you will see a 50-100 dollar diffrence or maybe even more.

      • Hi Christian, there is always a labour cost with pre-builts.

  4. dan

    Completely Wrong there are so many benefits of custom PC building. Even more so if you count the ones you get from big box stores like Walmart or staples/office depot. Repairs can be a huge hassle in a lot of cases. quote from a pc technition
    “CyberPower and iBuyPower are some of the worst. Had one customer bring one in that had the motherboard mounted DIRECTLY to the back plate with no riser screws to keep the board from touching the back plate. Had plenty of them that their built in water cooling failed within the first few months.”.

    • Hi Dan, mistakes do happen but that getting through QC must have cost someone their job I imagine. These companies have daily quotas to hit and sometimes push new employees a little far but no standoffs is hilarious!

  5. Case

    Exactly. I just built a new gaming PC for 600 Canadian using pcpartpicker. Runs most newer games at high settings at 1080P. Oh, and a good place to buy PC parts, is at Newegg.ca. and ebay, if you are an experienced buyer and know who to buy from and what to look for.

    • a responder

      what are your specs?

  6. Ioan Nicolae

    The prices are going down, and using something like pcpartpicker.com will give you info about the power consumption and if the parts work together.

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