After this year, I finally understand why people buy prebuil…

I’ve never been a fan of prebuilt PCs. And no, it’s not just because I’m a DIY PC-building snob. In times past, building your own was not only fun – it was also easy and cheap.

But for all kinds of reasons, this year more than ever, my eyes have been opened to why people are turning to ready-made desktop PCs rather than trying to build one themselves.

Even with top-tier components readily available, building a solid PC is becoming more difficult by the year. Without any fingers being pointed (yet), the blame falls on multiple culprits – and no one is going away any time soon.

PC building is confusing

A person is building a desktop PC.
getty images

Nearly two decades have passed since I first picked up my own PC parts and attempted to put them together. It took me a whole day, and I was stressed out of my mind, but in the end, the PC booted up fine and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Since then it has become even easier to physically put the parts together. We now have motherboards with integrated features and built-in I/O shields, toolless cases, modular power supplies, and M.2 SSDs that are extremely easy to install. CPU installation is also now easier, so you don’t have to worry so much about bending pins (although you should still worry). a bit,

In theory, prebuilds should gradually become a thing of the past. But they are not.

Each of these changes made PC building more accessible than ever. We also have YouTube tutorials and how-to guides that walk you through the process step-by-step and remove the notion that you need to be some kind of hardware wizard to put a computer together from scratch .

Given all of the above, prebuilds should slowly become a thing of the past. After all, why would anyone spend more money on a pre-built (often inferior) PC when they can build their own PC for less?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. A large part of the difficulty has shifted from the assembly process to the research. Unfortunately, PC building is becoming more difficult to locate every year. The biggest problem is not in the way the parts fit together, but in the value – or lack thereof – of each individual part.

When ‘better’ doesn’t mean ‘good’

The RTX 4060 Ti sits on a pink background.
Jacob Roach/

It doesn’t matter whether you’re building a PC or buying a new television, there’s a common misconception that spending more money will get you something that will be of better quality, last longer, or perform better. . And oh boy, does this current generation of hardware test that mentality.

I’m telling you: it’s hard out there, and making sure everything fits together isn’t even the biggest problem. It’s not as simple as choosing a processor and making sure your motherboard has the right socket; Compatibility issues are really just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to get something that’s worth your money, it requires a fair amount of research, and GPUs are particularly affected.

Somehow, even with almost all the best graphics cards out there in stock, sometimes choosing a GPU feels like pulling teeth. I finally built a new PC this year, and while I was familiar with the in-depth benchmarks of every recent GPU, I went back and forth a lot on that choice. To be honest, the whole experience almost reminded me of the lack of GPU.

How should one determine the differences between the RX 6600, RX 6600 XT, and RX 6650 XT?

When you don’t have basic familiarity with the topic, the options can seem overwhelming, and it’s easy to fall into the trap I mentioned earlier – thinking that the more expensive GPU will be better, which is sometimes absolutely false.

The RTX 4060 Ti 16GB is a prime example of this. Despite having twice the VRAM as the cheaper version, the card has the same narrow memory bus which significantly limits its bandwidth. Considering that it has the same specs as its sibling, for most people, buying the 16GB version is like giving Nvidia an extra $100 gift. The actual performance gains are very small. It’s marginally faster than the RTX 3060 Ti, but not to the point where it makes sense to buy. Nvidia’s DLSS 3 is this card’s saving grace.

RX 7900 XTX installed in a test bench.
Jacob Roach/

Nvidia has a few more cards that are worth much less in this generation, like the RTX 4070 Ti or the RTX 4080. When on a budget, it’s better to avoid them – but buyers won’t know this without digging deeper.

Then, there’s the endless AMD vs. Nvidia debate that makes PC building more challenging. Many people start out shopping with a preference in that regard, and in my experience, the scales often tip toward Nvidia. However, this can also be a trap, as AMD offers better value in lower budgets. Still, AMD also has some GPUs that may look good, but aren’t as good as their slightly more expensive siblings – I’m talking about the RX 7700 XT and RX 7900 XT.

Don’t even get me started on AMD’s last generation cards. The RDNA 2 lineup is so robust that it should come with a tour guide. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does make it more difficult for people who just want a good PC without hours of homework. How should a person determine the differences between the RX 6600, RX 6600 XT, RX 6650 XT, and how will they know which one to spend their money on? Of course research. Getting a solid PC requires a lot of research, tracking GPU prices, and learning things you won’t need in your daily life.

Budget? What kind of budget?

A gaming PC with RGB synced lights running Apex Legends.
Kunal Khullar /

Building your own PC is a real test of character. Few things can put you in a worse position than trying to choose parts for a good gaming desktop, especially if you’re trying to stick to a certain budget. And if you decide to ask for help on Reddit or in another community, you may be tempted to spend more than you really need.

While those communities are often a good way to get all the benefits of a custom-built desktop without the hassle and stress of studying benchmarks for hours, they’re often a bit of a gamble, and it’s no wonder. This is the Internet; Anyone can declare themselves an expert, but opinions and preconceptions often play a role in the advice given, and this can be a problem.

For example, if I had a penny for every time someone recommended Nvidia over AMD due to “driver issues”, I’d have enough money for the currently (and forever) overpriced RTX 4090. However, the notion that AMD is somehow worse than Nvidia if you’re trying to stick to a $1,000 budget is false. In fact, AMD wins in such builds almost every time, and the only thing you’re missing is DLSS3.

It can be quite challenging to guess what type of PC you actually need.

In addition to potentially receiving bad advice, gamers will have to accept the fact that building an enthusiast PC is extremely expensive right now, and things are unlikely to improve. GPU prices are sky-high compared to just a few years ago, and the next generation of cards isn’t likely to make it any better, although AMD could change that narrative.

The worst part is that it is very easy to fall victim to incremental upgrades. For example, let’s say you set out with a $1,000 budget and a facility of about $200. Although you can get a solid PC for $1,000 or less, through research you’ll soon discover that by spending a little more, you can get a better GPU like the RTX 4070. Then, you may also need to upgrade the power supply, and since you’re already spending more, you might as well get faster RAM… and suddenly, you have a PC that costs you less. is $1,500, and that can often be better than what you really needed in the first place.

It can actually be quite challenging to even guess what type of PC you need, especially if you’re not an expert. While GPUs like the RTX 4060 are typically 1080p cards, no one can stop you from using it at 1440p with good results – you just have to lower the settings in select games. However, given that most online benchmarks are done at Ultra settings and on AAA titles, it can be difficult to tell if you can still play the game at medium to high levels without any issues.

Prebuilts are suddenly looking attractive

HP Omen 40L gaming PC on the table attached to the monitor.
Himachal Pradesh

PC construction is such an individual matter that it can become more specialized over time. With new GPUs and CPUs being released every year, not to mention all the other parts, keeping up is something only enthusiasts will want to do.

Logically, it’s okay to pay attention to this topic once every few years when you’re getting a new computer. However, every time, it means a lot more research – and making a mistake becomes more painful every year as the components become more expensive. The barriers to entry into the world of PC building continue to rise every year, as the increasing complexity of components creates a steep learning curve for newcomers.

It’s no surprise that many people still choose a gaming laptop or prebuilt PC rather than investing in it themselves.

Of course, prebuilds have their own set of problems. You will find that, often, the computer you are paying for may not have the best features. It may come with an outdated CPU or unknown parts that may cause problems in the future. Newcomers also face these problems, and sometimes they regret their purchasing choices. That’s small consolation, but at least it offsets the regret that stemmed from a momentary purchase that wasn’t backed by hours of research.

Despite the difficulties, my answer to anyone who asks is always to build your own PC instead of buying a pre-built one. It’s not easy – in fact, it’s often frustrating – and it’s fraught with pitfalls, but if you’re willing to put in the time, you’ll have a better computer and a lot of satisfaction when you put everything together. And it actually ends up working. It’s a shame that getting to that point sometimes feels like a daunting task.

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