For many dedicated gaming enthusiasts, the dream is to build a PC from the ground out with the best specs possible. Unfortunately, not everyone is flushed with cash to build a high-end machine. While PC building is often viewed as a pricey hobby, it doesn’t always have to be. Here are some useful tips that you can use to build the PC you’ve always wanted without breaking the bank.
#1. Use a Smaller Chassis
When not planning to go overboard with hardware, you might want to get a smaller-than-average PC case. We recommend taking a look at Game Gavel’s review of the best mITX PC cases and picking whichever model suits you the most. Not only is a smaller chassis more practical, but it will help you stay within budget.
Those giant and over-the-top PC towers are great when you’re planning on spending a pretty penny on your build. They provide more than enough room for all the extras you could ever want. On the other side of the spectrum, smaller PC towers can help you stay modest. mITX cases are built for smaller motherboards. Thus, you have to plan carefully to get all of your key components into the chassis.
#2. Recycle Components
Most people will spend between $500 and $800 on an average PC build that is focused on gaming. That’s comparable to the cost of a brand-new pre-built computer. You can set your budget much lower and save cash by recycling some of your existing computer’s components.
If you already have a working PC that was built in the last decade, you’re sitting on a goldmine of reusable parts. Typically, the easiest things to salvage are the peripherals. This includes your mouse, keyboard, and monitor. However, you can also take advantage of fans, optical drives, and pretty much anything else that’s still in good condition.
There aren’t any hard or fast rules about what you can recycle and what you should replace. Use your best judgment and see what works best for your new build without sacrificing performance.
#3. Shop Around
While you may not have a dedicated PC store in your area, there’s no shortage of online retailers to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a specific component or just want to find any suitable option within a set price range, all it takes is a quick Google search to find it.
Shop around and compare prices regularly during your build. You never know when the part you’re eyeing is going to go on sale. Take advantage of promotions whenever you can and always be thinking about where you can save.
#4. Put Money Where It Matters Most
The key to building a good budget PC is to put more money into the important parts first. Before you even set out on your building journey, sit down and create a plan. Decide which components are going to mean the most to you.
Typically, the CPU, RAM, and GPU are going to be the most important aspects of your build. So, why not save in other areas so that you can get the very best parts that you can afford?
There are plenty of ways to save on less-important pieces. In addition to reusing parts from an older PC, you can look for free or low-cost alternatives. For example, many budget builders forgo Windows entirely to save on licensing fees. While Linux can be a bit complicated for those who aren’t the most tech-savvy, the free operating system can save you loads of money. Plus, you can easily find Linux tips and guides catered towards beginners.
You can also find a plethora of free secondary software titles on the web, helping you save on those extras you need to get your machine up and running. Most people don’t think about how much it will cost to pay for important software. Instead of spending a fortune, just stick to free alternatives.
By cutting costs in parts of your build that aren’t crucial, you can put money towards the areas that really matter.
#5. Be Practical
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during your build is investing in components that you don’t really need. While it’d be nice to deck-out your system with future-proof parts, budgeting is all about thinking about your needs now.
For example, you can easily max out your RAM to get a blazing fast PC. Is that necessary though? Most PCs will do just fine with 8 GB. If you do want to prepare for future titles, you can bump that up to 16 GB. Anything more and you’re going overboard.
That’s just one example of overspending. Truth is, it’s fairly common for PC builders to spend far more money than they really need. You can always upgrade your components in the future once you have the budget to do so. For now, stick with the basics and be practical about the capabilities you need.
#6. Buy Previous Generation Parts
PC parts are a lot like cars. Once the new models come out, everything else is old news. Take advantage of this fact to save some serious cash when you’re shopping. Instead of going for the latest and greatest version of your preferred CPU, why not see if you can find a deal on last year’s model? The same applies to pretty much every component in your PC.
This is a great way to save money without having to buy used. Most stores won’t sell out on a previous year’s inventory, so you can usually find some older generation parts lying around. The performance difference won’t be major. However, the pricing difference will be quite significant.
#7. Avoid Unnecessary Extras
The last tip is to forgo anything that you don’t need. It’s easy to let your imagination run wild when there are so many photos of beautifully designed PCs out there. Just remember that performance should be your top priority. Things like lighting and aesthetics features can wait until you have more money to spend.
Beyond style components, you may also want to consider leaving some performance-based parts behind if there are cheaper alternatives. For example, if your small PC build can stay cool with a simple fan system, why pay for a liquid cooling system? You may not even need an optical disk drive. You can always rely on digital downloads and bootable flash drives for your operating system.
When you’re planning your build, think about things that you don’t need. Every dollar counts when building a PC. Cutting out a few unnecessary extras can help you get a better CPU or other essentials.
Don’t let those big-budget PC builds intimidate you. It’s very possible to build a great machine while sticking to a budget. Just follow these tips and do your due diligence. Once everything is said and done, you’ll have a powerful PC and plenty of extra cash in your pocket.