Of all the reasons to build a gaming-oriented desktop computer yourself rather than buy one from a manufacturer, the best of them might just be the control it gives you over your money. Sure, big companies may get bulk discounts that they can pass on to you, but you’re still stuck with the components they want you to have—or a limited selection if they let you choose some yourself—and uncertain upgradability. If you decide later that you want a faster processor, a more powerful video card, or more storage, you might find upgrading too much of a hassle to bother with.
Build your own computer and you don’t have that problem. You get exactly the parts you want and can afford, and can sleep easy knowing that as technology evolves and hardware changes, you can make an easy swap-out yourself so you can always stay current. Plus, once you get into the build cycle, you’ll never spend more money than you need to: Just replace this piece of hardware with a new one and you have a new computer—for a fraction of what you may have to pay a major manufacturer.
Over the last six months or so, we’ve run a series of stories showing you how to build a gaming desktop of your own, regardless of your budget. We’ve explored the psychology of parts selection, shown you how to put the pieces together, and even explained how targeted upgrades can make all the difference in the games you play and how well. All of that remains good, basic advice for how you should approach your own purchases when you’re looking to build a computer, and we wanted to round those stories up here so you can find, with just a click or two, the information you need to get started.
That said, technology moves pretty fast, and not all the choices we made the first time around are ones we’d make today. So along with each of the stories below, you’ll find our updated hardware and pricing (obtained from Newegg.com, and accurate as of the date of publication, or based on the advertised list price if that’s not available) recommendations, along with staying true (or as true as possible) to the previous stories’ attempts to improve on earlier configurations in the series. When you’re making your own computer, what you have is often as important as what you buy—especially when you need to stay within a budget. But even if that’s the case, it’s still always possible to take advantage of the best the current world of DIY offers you. Happy building!