If you’re into PC gaming, you’re going to want a good gaming PC, but there are a lot of things to consider before buying one, the biggest being budget.
Trying to build the best gaming PC imaginable can be obscenely expensive and buying a pre-built isn’t much better, but there are ways to get cheaper ones; especially when you build your own, but even if you get them pre-built.
More than anything, the best gaming computer is ultimately the best you can afford, but you don’t want to settle for just any old PC. Here are some tips on how to get the best gaming machine possible for any budget.
Budget gaming PCs
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the good pre-built gaming PC, believe it or not.
Let’s start with the brand name. People tend to opt for PCs from well-known brands like Alienware, Corsair or MSI. It makes sense that they would, especially when buying a relatively expensive PC, considering how difficult it can be to compare PCs – if a company is successful, their products are more likely to be well made. And you may well have heard enough about them to have an idea if you can trust them with your money.
A study, Why the devil wears Prada: transnational meanings of branded products (opens in new tab) by Robin Couter et. al for the University of Connecticut School of Business, found that consumers associate products from big brands with quality. They also said that people associate branding with status and identity, after all, many people like to look good and have the best of the best.
But enough of the formal stuff. The point is, you don’t need to go with well-known manufacturers.
Typically, even the best budget gaming PC will use cheaper parts, but cheaper parts don’t always mean poor or inferior performance. Some also use parts that are not from major manufacturers; they can strip away the aesthetic; a smaller case without extra embellishments like RGB lighting saves you a sweet penny.
Still, how do you find out if a lesser-known product or company is worth it?
For individual computers, a great way is customer reviews. Amazon has a great platform for this. You can learn a lot by reading comments and you can also ask questions.
Sometimes you just want to know if this or that company you’ve never heard of is worth considering, and quickly. For this, Trustpilot, which hosts user reviews of businesses and assigns a score, is great for this.
It’s not just nameless manufacturers that make budget PCs. Even the big ones do this, usually built with cheaper parts like MSI’s Trident 3 10th ($1,153.27, about £949, AU$1,674) or the HP Victus 15 L, starting at $750 ( about £617, AU$1,086), or the CyberPowerPC Wyvern Gaming PC, which you can buy for $936.33 (about £770, AU$1,356) on Amazon.
And that doesn’t even count for retailer sales events when these gaming PCs often get even cheaper.
Then there are gaming laptops. Now, hear us out, you might prefer a desktop, but with one of the best gaming laptops, you can still have a cool gaming setup and without a tower, monitor screen, and keyboard taking up space by pushing even more on your purse strings.
When it comes to laptops, we know the obvious advantages of owning one. The fact that it’s mobile means you can take it wherever you want; you can take your games with you on vacation or if you need to travel for work.
If you need a laptop anyway, buying a gaming laptop will save you from buying a desktop – you’ll save money even if you pay more for a laptop’s power. And many laptops can admirably play the best PC games, have some of the best mobile processors and GPUs, and feature some fantastic screens.
The most cost-effective PC ever
Let’s take a moment to think about the PCs that have loved and served us for many years, only to discard us and replace them with a newer and better model. You will never be forgotten.
In fact, we want to advocate on behalf of the old discarded PC, because there is no reason for you to get rid of them. Ever heard of renovation? Well, that’s where we’re going with this. You already have a case, we’re sure, salvageable parts and extra peripherals that would cost more, like a mouse, monitor and keyboard – so why not upgrade it?
While it might seem intimidating if you’ve never touched the inside of a PC before, this is a great chance for you to learn. You should make a clear plan of what an updated version of your PC would look like. What do you want it to do?
You can check out online retailers like Newegg and Ebuyer. There’s User Benchmark to check how your PC is doing, and it will make clear what’s old and bad about your PC, and there are also websites that help you pick parts for your PC, like PC Part Picker. Also, be sure to read our tech reviews for a review of PC components that might be right for you, and don’t forget that your local PC store is also an option.
In short, it’s possible to get a great gaming PC for an affordable price. So explore your options and don’t limit yourself because you think it’s impossible.