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Build your own desktop or buy a pre made one?

  • Thread starter Deleted member 140225
  • Start date

Deleted member 140225

Hello my sciency folks!
I am thinking of getting a desktop replacement for my laptop at some point however its been ages since i used a desktop in general.
From those times i kinda fell behind on the whole tech retail thing and not really sure if it's better to build your own or get a pre assembled one. I am looking for something for casual gaming purposes as long as it can handle titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 on low-med settings. How much would such a configuration cost realistically driving the price as low as possible?
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I'm just doing some basic searches, but it looks like the entry point (for pre-assembled desktops) is about $800, with a more common average around $1200.

Firuthi Dragovic

Gamer Dragon, former speedrunner
I think the current issue with building your own right now is that even the graphics cards that are the bare minimum for a game like Cyberpunk 2077 are running the same price as an entire pre-assembled desktop. No, seriously, even a GTX 1660 Super (which is listed in the "low" requirements for Cyberpunk 2077 in particular, and is about half the power of the 1080-TI I run in my own computer right now) is running at about $650 in the one seller on Amazon where I found it.

Graphics cards are in REALLY short supply right now and that is going to be almost the entire issue driving costs.

I never thought I'd say this, but if the upgrade is anywhere in the next year or two, look into pre-built options and make sure it's something you can upgrade on your own. (There used to be an issue with pre-built computers where the firmware simply wouldn't let someone upgrade it themselves, and I don't know if there are manufacturers that still do this.)
Hardware in particular GPU's right now are really dried up, and there's whispers going on about price increase on other things too like Motherboards and CPU due to lack of stock and high demand. It can change from week to week however but I really don't see this lowpoint of graphics card supply end any time soon and this part alone can easily change your final system if you need to pay 100$ more just to get a reasonable one. Used market is a valid option if you're comfortable there, but if warranty matters to you and you don't know what is a fair price for the various hardware found there, it's hard to recommend to someone who's not used to it or don't have a friend that might be a bit more into the parts sold.

I always advise people to build themselves if they want to try it out or have someone close that can guide them a bit on which parts to get and possibly assist during assembly. No matter how you twist and turn the table there will always be a smaller or larger premium if you get a prebuilt one. In some cases you can find respectable specifications for your dollars that would be close to what you'd get trying to build it yourself, but there's always a smaller or bigger hook somewhere.

Save a bit of cash for one of the components, have fun, it's the better option to me at least.

If you might be interested in going used, just a general thought, but I run a 1440p monitor and if you have one or 1080p display I think you might be able to find a 1070 or 1070ti for pretty cheap on the used market still. I have one myself and it manages medium to low settings alright @ 2560x1440. This is of course taking for granted the rest of the system is respectable enough.

As far as an actual system go I think it's fair that was Strat mentioned earlier above is that 800-1200 seems reasonable if you want something that can play this game. But nothing is in stone since it all depends on what kind of parts you can get, when and where and for what price. I certainly wouldn't advise anyone to go under 800. And let's not forget that a decently sized SSD, right amount of ram etc etc plays it's role as well of course.


Doing it yourself is always cheaper than buying pre-made, with very rare exceptions where there might be a refurbished unit up for sale or some huge blowout sale. If you think you can handle putting one together yourself, I'd recommend doing so.

That said, it's gonna be tough right now to find parts for cheap. Covid has made prices go up because people being stuck at home means more demand to replace old PCs.

If you absolutely must and can't wait, for finding parts yourself PCPartPicker.com is your best bet. Not only do they help you find parts that are compatible with each other, but it shows the lowest price. (Despite the price finder, it doesn't hurt to shop around a bit yourself because I have found it's a little off at times.)

I would also recommend planning for the future and not buying low-tier parts or builds. If you buy the lowest tier that will get you by on med-low settings right now, you'll need to replace at least the graphics card again in a couple years max. If you get mid-high range, you could go for up to 10 years (but by the 7th or 8th year you'll probably find you can't play on max settings anymore).

My first PC was a pre-built Alienware. I didn't know what I was doing, I just wanted a pretty PC to start gaming on. I had to replace the CPU (and with it the mobo and RAM) last year when the CPU finally died. I had it for 10 years before that and was still able to play most things on high by the time it died (sometimes only getting 30fps, but I'm not a stickler there). When I bought it, it was considered high end, but not the top tier you could get. In that time I upgraded from 2 crossfired ATI somethingorothers to a GTX 660 and then a 970, added 8GB more RAM, and... a lot of hard drives. I still have the same case (pretty lights, yay), drives, and 970 in my current rig. It still handles most things with ease. For Cyberpunk, I have it set to a sort of medium to high and get a solid 40fps+ unless in the first sort of central area, then I drop to 25-30fps and crash a ton (but the crashes are common for lots of folks, so it's the game more that it is me).

tl;dr - Build yourself later rather than now, pcpartpicker.com, don't buy low end unless you're ok with replacing things again in a couple years, Cyberpunk is broken.


I paid around $1300 for an Alienware Aurora Ryzen R10 because my older (custom built) PC died right at the beginning of the pandemic. I think prices hadn't spiked yet. I've always had custom built but unfortunately I have a tremor in my hands, and wasn't too certain about assembling it by myself... I think it was on sale because I have the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (16 logical processors!), but since my PC is mostly built for statistical modeling and not for gaming, I opted for the AMD Radeon RX 5600 6GB GDDR6 over the NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3070 8GB GDDR6, and for air cooling over liquid cooling. I can still play games just fine, although I mostly play MMOs on my PC (or card game simulators, or Game Boy/NDS emulators)