As 2021 has kicked off we’re excited to see where the gaming industry is headed.
The past decade has proved to be a wonderful time for both PC and console gamers alike.
Still, most people would argue that PCs are the best choice, especially for those who want the most performance.
Many people are confused with the price/performance aspect but how much does it cost to build a gaming PC in 2021?
Short Answer: It can cost anywhere from $200 to $2000+. We hope to answer this question with an in-depth guide.
Hardware has also gotten more affordable and more accessible to a wider audience.
Every manufacturer is competing to be the best, and that leaves the consumers with a lot of options.
But sometimes the market can get a bit saturated, and it’s difficult to put together a PC build without wasting a single dollar.
This guide should serve as good insight on what type of PC you can get for your budget.
Pre-Builts or Custom Rig?
Many hardware enthusiasts will tell you that finding the components and putting them together is part of the fun of being a PC gamer.
But not everyone has time for that, and we can’t just assume that everyone knows how to build a gaming PC.
A lot of manufacturers sell their pre-built machines.
But which one should you choose? Well, the answer is quite simple.
Pre-Built Gaming PC
If you just can’t spare the time and are intimidated by putting together your PC on your own, pre-builts aren’t a bad choice.
But you will have to search for a while to find a decent deal.
There’s also the advantage of warranty and customer support, so you won’t have to troubleshoot much on your own.
Custom Gaming PC
On the other hand, you can potentially save a considerable amount of money if you put together your rig on your own.
If you’re tight on a budget, we recommend putting together a cheap gaming PC by yourself.
Just remember that if a single part malfunctions, you’ll have to troubleshoot it on your own or contact the individual manufacturer.
Parts Needed To Build a Gaming PC
We will try to focus on both the high-end enthusiasts level builds, and budget gaming builds.
But newcomers might appreciate a refresher on what components are needed, and how much you need to spend on them.
This part of the guide should help you figure out what parts are worth splurging on, and what parts you can skimp on.
The CPU enables you to interact with all of your programs and applications.
We don’t think we need to explain how it works but you are probably already aware of that.
If your focus is just to play games, a quad-core processor should be enough.
Although six-core processors have gotten more affordable thanks to AMD.
How much does a processor cost?
Also Consider: Thermal grease for CPU
A CPU cooler comes along with a heatsink, which is then placed above the CPU to keep it cool.
There are different kinds of CPU Coolers available in the market known as AIO CPU Coolers, Air CPU Coolers, and Liquid CPU Coolers.
Note: We have written this guide to help you choose the best CPU coolers for your budget.
How much does a CPU Cooler cost?
|Low-End CPU Cooler||$10-$25|
|Mid-Range CPU Cooler||$25-$70|
|High-End CPU Cooler||$100+|
RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM or memory has thankfully gotten much more affordable over the last year or so.
In 2021, you can a 16GB kit for around $50 to $70.
We recommend 16 gigs for most people, especially since the games are getting more demanding these days.
How much does RAM cost?
Unless you want all the novelty features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or even RGB, you don’t need to spend a tonne of cash on the motherboard.
But if you plan on using a high-end processor (or intend to overclock), you will need a motherboard with a good VRM.
The VRM converts the power from the power supply down to a usable voltage for your processor.
The quality of the VRM is important if you intend on pushing your processor to the max.
How much does a Motherboard cost?
Storage (Hard Drives and SSDs)
In 2021, we wouldn’t want any newcomer out there to suffer the frustrations caused by a conventional mechanical hard drive.
Even if you can’t afford a higher capacity SSD, we recommend just getting a 120GB SSD for booting up Windows and other programs.
How much does SSD cost?
|2.5 inch SATA (128GB – 1TB+)||$25-$150|
|NVME SSD (500GB – 2TB+)||$100-$360|
Note: We have written this guide to help you choose the best gaming SSD in 2021.
The graphics card normally takes a big chunk out of your total budget.
But it’s important to not overspend or skimp out on this component.
If you’re on a tight budget of about $500, the most you should spend is $150 to $170 on the GPU.
Of course, this could change depending on the person and how much they want to spend.
However, most people shouldn’t spend more than 45% out of their total budget on the video card, especially if price/performance matters to you.
How much does a GPU cost?
The Power Supply
While you might be tempted to buy a random 450W power supply and call it a day, we are definitely against that idea.
Sure, if you don’t plan on upgrading at all a 450W power supply will do.
But if you’re going to spend a lot of money on the other components, it’s important to keep them safe with a decent power supply.
Always look for the 80+ power efficiency branding, and 80+ bronze is a good and reliable choice for budget builds.
If you plan on upgrading, make sure to get a higher wattage PSU than what you need right now.
How much does a PSU cost?
The PC Case
The chassis or the PC case is one area where you can cut a few corners.
If you’re thinking of building an entry-level or budget gaming PC, you don’t need a fancy over-the-top case. Good airflow and robust quality are what matter in reality.
The Fractal Design Focus G is a great option in this regard for about $55.
But if aesthetics matter to you, then you can splurge a bit on the case.
Still, it shouldn’t be your top priority and we wouldn’t recommend cutting corners just to make your build look good.
Of course, that’s entirely subjective and just an opinion.
How much does a PC Case cost?
|Low-End PC Case||$25-$40|
|Mid-Range PC Case||$40-$100|
|High-End PC Case||$100+|
Also read: Best case fans in 2022
What else do I need to know?
If you’re a newbie to all this, then you still might be asking yourself how to build a Gaming PC on your own.
The components listed above are vital but there are a few other things to keep in mind.
While most cases usually come with a fan or two already attached, you might want to add more down the line.
Important: You can read this guide to know which cooler to Pick for your Processor.
Apart from that, if you’re overclocking then you need a good cooler to keep the processor in check.
Ultimately both of these things can affect your total budget.
It’s also important to keep shipping and taxes in mind.
You can also buy used parts, especially if you can find a faster graphics card than a newer one.
A lot of old GPUs are going for a great price right now, so if you can stomach the risk of buying used hardware that is another option.
However, don’t think of buying a used power supply or storage, because you can’t bank on how long they will last.
Now that you’re familiar with all the quirks and caveats that come with building a gaming PC, let’s have a look at a few build guides for specific budgets.
Best Gaming PC Build under $300
Let’s say you have an extremely tight budget of around $300 to $350.
It might sound quite limiting when you first think about it.
Fortunately, you can put together a cable rig that can handle most Esports games with ease.
However, keep in mind that you’ll be playing most of these games at 1080p and some even at 720p.
After a lot of research, we concluded that this $300 build is the best bang for your buck you can get for an entry-level build.
Note: This build doesn’t include a separate graphics card. (That’s because of the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, which has integrated GPU.)
Gaming PC Build under $300
|AMD Ryzen 3 2200G||Check Price →|
|MSI B450M Pro-M2||Check Price →|
|XPG Z1 DDR4 16GB||Check Price →|
|SanDisk SSD PLUS 240GB||Check Price →|
|Aerocool Cylon||Check Price →|
|EVGA 450W Bronze 80+||Check Price →|
This rig can handle most Esports games at 60fps but that’s in 720p most of the time.
Plus you could always add a graphics card down the line.
However, we acknowledge that this isn’t exactly the most powerful PC in the world.
So if you want to build the best possible budget gaming PC in 2021, you’ll have to resort to either used parts or raise your budget a bit.
If you’re going for used, you can pick up an older AMD FX8320 or a 4th gen i7.
Pair that with a used GTX 970 or a new RX570 and you’re good to go.
Sadly, we can’t exactly say what prices you’ll get for these used parts.
But you could put together a system with those configurations for about $350 to $400. Not bad at all.
Best Gaming PC Build under $600
If you’re wondering how to build a cheap PC for around $500 to $600, we’ve got you covered.
Thanks to Nvidia’s lineup of 1650 and 1660 cards (including their various “Super” and “Ti” versions), budget gaming has never been better.
This $600 build we put together is a great example.
Gaming PC Build under $600
|Intel i3 9100F||Check Price →|
|Asus Prime H310M-E||Check Price →|
|XPG Z1 DDR4 16GB||Check Price →|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 1650 Super||Check Price →|
|Crucial BX500 960GB||Check Price →|
|NZXT H510||Check Price →|
|Corsair CXM 550W||Check Price →|
It utilizes Intel’s Core i3 9100F, which is the most capable Core i3 we’ve seen for gaming.
Pair that with a GTX 1650 Super, and we have a 1080p gaming champion.
We even got rid of the traditional hard drive in favor of a 960GB SSD from Crucial.
ALSO CONSIDER: Our best pre-built gaming PC under $500
However, if you don’t want that SSD, you could bring the price down to $500.
As prices tend to change from time to time and new products come out, you might be able to put together an even better rig in the future.
But if you want to play most of the games out there in 1080p, this $600 budget zone tends to be the sweet spot.
Best Gaming PC Build under $1000
Let’s say you want to play all of the newer Triple-A big-budget games out there at high settings at 1080p or 1440p.
How much money should you be spending on a PC that can handle all of that?
Well, it’s hard to give a solid figure, but expect anywhere around $1000.
This depends on your use case.
We have compiled the list below for this one, but there are too many options and a lot of it comes down to personal preference.
This gaming rig is based on AMD Ryzen 5 3600, which is a Hexa-core processor.
Gaming PC Build under $1000
|AMD Ryzen 5 3600||Check Price →|
|ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming||Check Price →|
|XPG Z1 DDR4 16GB||Check Price →|
|XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT||Check Price →|
|Crucial BX500 960GB||Check Price →|
|NZXT H510||Check Price →|
|Corsair RMx 550W 80+ Gold||Check Price →|
You can pair that with an RX 5700 XT.
Add in an SSD, a good-looking case, the rest of the components, and it should come to around $1000.
If you want to play games at 1440p at a higher refresh rate like 144Hz, you’ll appreciate this graphic card, though if you can increase your budget, you can get an RTX 2080!
ALSO CONSIDER: Top 10 best pre-built gaming PC under $1000
Note: We have written this guide about the best 144hz gaming monitors available in the market.
The RTX 2080 is a great performer in that situation.
It can handle every title out there at max settings in 1440p and even 4k and if you’re a competitive gamer, you will appreciate the extra frames you get.
Our take on it!
So, as you can probably imagine there isn’t a single PC out there you can call “the best gaming PC”.
Different people will benefit from different things.
That’s why a high-end PC that can handle 4K gaming and even productivity stuff won’t be very useful to someone who just wants to play a casual game now and then.
Still, we hope this guide provided you a general as to how much money you should spend on your PC, whatever your requirements might be.
How to Avoid Common PC Building Mistakes?
Thanks to the availability of high-end components, more and more people are now getting into building their PC. However, this isn’t the only reason why people are dedicating a lot of money, time, and effort to making their setup.
As per an article published on Chron building your offers a lot of benefits that will make every tedious and stressful step worthwhile. For instance, you will be able to tailor the system to your own particular needs, leave room for future upgrades, and enhance or develop your tech-related skills.
If you are someone who’s thinking about building your very own PC, here are some common PC building mistakes you wouldn’t want to commit:
Handling the circuit board and the GPU hastily
Some of the most sensitive components of a PC setup are the memory modules (DIMMs), the graphics cards (GPUs), and the processors (CPUs), so it only makes sense for PC builders to learn how to handle them properly.
After all, modern printed circuit boards have gotten more technologically advanced, especially when it comes to graphics cards, and usually, this translates to a greater number of contacts, interconnects, and/or pads. When these highly sensitive parts come into contact with soiled surfaces like our hands, it can lead to a myriad of issues ranging from initialization failure to full-on system instability.
One of the ways you can steer clear of these issues is by being cautious when holding key components that are known to have sensitive contact areas. It would also be a good idea to use tech-grade ESD gloves that can provide excellent grip and keep your components safe from the natural oils and moisture your hands have.
Using too little or too much thermal paste
The main purpose of a thermal paste is to fill in the surface imperfections on the CPU cooler’s surface and the CPU Integrated Heatsink.
It is also applied to conduct heat properly to ensure that it dissipates. Most of the time, a small drop of thermal paste that is as big as half a pea is enough to get the job done. However, a great number of new PC builders seem to be unaware of this fact.
Some apply too much, which then leads to spillage that gunks up the socket, or worse, causes short-circuiting. Others use too little, thereby causing improper coverage and insufficient heat conduction.
Not getting the right power supply
As tempting as it may be to skimp on what seems like the least essential components when building a PC, it is something that you should never do – especially when it comes to the power supply.
To ensure that you can get the right one for each component, make it a habit to refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for all the other parts when calculating the total wattage your PC requires.
Digit also mentioned that it would be ideal to stick with trusted brands that are known to provide the same amount of power that’s indicated on the label and have the capacity to filter out harmful currency spikes in the event of an electric problem.
Installing fans in the wrong direction
When it comes to cooling your system with fans, the main goal is to move fresh air into one end and exhaust warm air out the other end. To make this happen, you have to make sure that your fans are pointed in the same direction.
If the front fan is pushing air towards the back and the back fan is pushing air towards the front, then your system will not have proper airflow that will keep temperatures from going excessively high.
If you plan on adding more fans, make sure that they are arranged in such a way that it is conducive to ideal airflow creation. Another fan that you would want to properly install is the CPU cooler since they are capable of keeping your components from overheating, thereby extending their lifetime.
If you are building your first PC we hope these tips will help you avoid the most common mistakes.
That was all from us!
We hope you have found what you were looking for…
If you still have any questions, do let us know by commenting below, and don’t forget to share this guide on social media.