How Much Does a Decent Gaming PC Cost?

Expert Contributor

Rose Annemarie

As technology advances and gaming becomes more intensive, the price of a gaming set-up will slightly increase. With new effects such as ray tracing and PhysX ramping up the recommended requirements of most modern AAA games, a PC for gaming has never been a better idea. With the new generation of graphics cards just around the corner, gaming on a PC has never been as powerful as it is today.

Throughout this article we aim to help you figure out the amount you should be spending on a gaming PC, so you can play the latest games on high settings. To do this we will compare the costs related to building your own PC and buying a premade one – as well as how much each component will cost.

Read on to discover how much you should be paying for the finest gaming performance in 2020!

How much does a good gaming setup cost in 2020?

If you are wanting a super high end gaming rig that can run the newest games at 4K and provide an unsurpassed gaming experience, then be prepared to spend a lot of money. The brand new RTX 3000 series graphics card are just around the corner, so to build the finest PC you should be looking into them. The new RTX 3090 card costs a whopping $1,499 but it will without a doubt last you for years to come. This isn’t necessarily needed for the top 1080p gaming experience, but if you are wanting the highest frame rates at 4K then you may need to consider splashing out. You can expect the best gaming PC components to set you back a hefty sum as you will need to spend upwards of $2,000 to get the finest PC components for your high-end rig.

For most PC gamers, the highest end gaming PC isn’t needed unless you want pretty impressive bragging rights. Most mid-range components will offer 60 frames per second on max settings at 1080p across most modern video games such as Rocket League and Dota 2. If you are on a tight budget but you are still wanting the finest gaming performance then worry not as most affordable options are more than sufficient for modern gaming!

Pre-built Gaming PC Setup Cost:

If you are worried that you won’t be able to build a gaming PC well, then you may be considering purchasing a pre-built option. This is completely fine and can you save you a lot of hassle and stress, however there is one caveat you should be made aware of. A pre-built PC will tend to cost more than if you had just purchased the parts individually and built it yourself. This is due to companies added a service fee and extra costs as they have to make a profit at the end of the day. If you are wanting a budget gaming PC build then consider building your PC yourself as this will save costs. To put together a PC is also fairly simple if you look for PC build guides online on sites such as PC gamer. Make sure you decide whether you are happy to put together you gaming PC build yourself before making any final purchase.

Build or Buy: Which is Cheaper?

One of the most asked questions when to comes to choosing between buying a built computer or opting to do your own PC building. Both have their own unique advantages depending on who you are as a customer, so which is right for you – Build or Buy?

If you are unsure of how to build a computer, or you want to be able to pay and have your computer ready as soon as it arrives, then buying a new desktop is a suited more to you. Sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly what parts work well with each other, therefore a lot of people can find building a PC to be extremely difficult. Buying a pre-built PC offers the convenience of knowing that everything works well together out of the box and that your PC will run as the seller intended. You will also typically be covered by some warranty so if anything does go wrong then you can get a fast and efficient repair. Regarding costs however, pre-built computers tend to be a lot more expensive than if you had bought the components separately and build your desktop from scratch.

Each component will typically have a specific price point, however due to the convenience offered a lot of companies will charge a higher price for a pre-built option. This makes complete sense, but can prevent some people from wanting to buy a pre-made computer. If you don’t mind paying a fair amount extra to have your computer built for you then by all means a pre-built is the choice for you.

However, as we at Best Budget want to save you as much money as we can, we would recommend building your next gaming PC yourself. Not only will this save you money if you browse around, it will also give you unprecedented customization as you will be able to choose each component exactly. Using websites such as PcPartPicker to ensure components are compatible can save a lot of stress. You will also find a host of sites showing you exactly how to install each bit of tech inside your rig. Who knows, you may realize you really enjoy building PC’s and decide to help your friend with their next gaming desktop build!

Typical Cost of PC Components?

When it comes to building a PC there are a whole host of different components and costs you should be aware of. PCs for gaming tend to feature a large list of processors and technology that branch across a massively varied pricing range so to help you break down the cost we have come up with a guide that you can refer to:

Graphics Card / GPU: When people think of gaming PCs the main tech they tend to hone in on is what graphics card it contains. Are you using an Nvidia or an AMD GPU? What series is the current graphics processing chip you are using? What are the benchmarks your card can reach? Such questions are extremely common in the world of gaming on a PC, and it is easy to see why.

A graphics card is one of, if not the, most important hardware inside a gaming PC build. You will tend to find that the better your graphics card is, the better your computer will perform, when it comes to the latest titles anyhow. If you are expecting to purchase a high-end card then you should expect to pay between $750 and $1500 as they graphics cards tend to be the most expensive part of any gaming system. If you are looking for a premium pick then consider an RTX 2060 on wards as these have the highest benchmarks.

However, a mid range card should be more than sufficient when it comes to maintaining a high frame rate in the latest games. A mid-range card will tend to cost any where between $250 to $500, with cards such as a GTX 1060 being the perfect medium. If you plan on mainly playing games like League of Legends and don’t mind too much about future proofing your gaming build then you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $250 on a graphics processing unit.

CPU / Processor: Without a decent CPU your computer will feel slow and sluggish and you won’t get the most out of your video card, making a powerful processor essential. The two competing brands on the market, in terms of CPU’s, are Intel and AMD and they both offer different advantages.

If you are wanting the fastest performance and don’t mind paying a premium price than you should look into purchasing an Intel Core processor as they still offer the best performance. However, if you are planning on building a budget gaming PC then an AMD Ryzen 5 is just what you need. AMD processors offer comparable performance at a fraction of the cost and are quickly becoming the top choice CPU provider.

An decent Intel CPU will cost you any where between $120 to $250, with exceptionally high-end Intel options costing upwards of $500. The average AMD offering will cost anywhere between $75 to $180, which can make them the perfect budget pick. Decide on whether you can sacrifice slight clock speed and processing cores for a far lower price as AMD are the best choice for a budget computer.

You should also consider purchasing an aftermarket CPU cooler to get the best performance and to ensure your CPU lasts as long as it can. A CPU cooler, such as a CPU fan, shouldn’t cost much more than $20 so you will easily find on for your budget build.

Motherboard: An often underappreciated part when you are planning to build a PC, the motherboard is perhaps the most important piece of hardware as it brings everything together. All your internal components will attach to the motherboard, meaning you will have to find a motherboard that offers support for a host of different internal tech. If you want to keep your options open for potential future upgrades, then spending a little more on a motherboard for your build is a great resolution.

If this is the case for you then expect to pay roughly between $70 to $100. If you are wanting a budget gaming PC and you aren’t to worried about not being able to upgrade in the future then you shouldn’t really need to spend much more than $60 on your motherboard.

Storage: In the world of computing you will tend to find to types of storage, the older more traditional hard drive or the faster solid state drive. A hard drive will typically offer more storage capacity at but will run slower than a SSD, which means games will take far longer to load. An SDD will cost more, but will offer far faster speeds with the caveat that they tend to have a lot smaller storage space than a traditional HDD.

We would recommend getting a smaller SSD, perhaps around 256GB to install your OS on and the main games you want to play as the speed increase is massive. This should cost around $60-100 depending entirely on the capacity you want. If you have larger game library, then you can add a HDD drive to your build alongside an SSD for the ultimate storage. A hefty 1tb HDD shouldn’t cost much more than $50 these days, so you there are more than recommended.

Power Supply Unity (PSU): Every machine needs a power supply to ensure that each bit of hardware is receiving the power it needs. Before purchasing a power supply, always ensure that it provides enough power for your each part of your build, to do this check the wattage of the power supply in comparison to the power draw of each internal device. A graphics processing unit will probably use the most with a processor in second place, so these are perhaps the most important to check. This is especially true when it comes to CPU upgrades, as the higher the power of a CPU the more energy it will tend to draw. An up to scratch power supply is also important as cheaper models tend to be unreliable and may even damage your computer in the long run.

If you are wanting the security of a more premium power supply then expect it to cost you anywhere between $50-75. There are budget options available however which will typically cost around the $30-50 mark, but again just be aware they may be unreliable. Always factor a PSU into the overall cost to build a gaming PC as they are vital.

Random Access Memory (RAM): Ram is used by any application to help it perform faster and execute tasks efficiently. If you plan on running multiple tasks at once then consider anything between 8 and 16GB RAM as this should cover you well. Most motherboards will also feature at least two RAM slots so you will have more than enough for your gaming PC. 8GB of RAM should cost roughly anywhere between $20 – 40 as RAM is a fairly inexpensive piece of hardware.

Operating System (OS): Deciding on an OS shouldn’t be too difficult or put a dent in your wallet too much in terms of cost. There are a variety of systems to choose from, so there will be an OS that suits you the best. If you don’t mind paying between $50-80 then look into purchasing yourself Windows 10 from the manufacturer site as windows is a tried and tested OS. If however, you are looking for a more free form and technical OS that is both free then Linux may be the idea version for you. There are a variety of Linux systems such as Ubuntu, so make sure to research each individual choice before you decide on a final option.

PC Case: There are a host of computer cases available on the market, so you will easily find one to suit your needs. Before purchasing one however compare the physical dimensions of your hardware, especially the motherboard, to the size of the case that has caught your eye. Perhaps the main types of case you will come across are a micro ATX and an ATX mid tower case. A case shouldn’t cost too much, so when it comes to a budget gaming PC build you shouldn’t need to spend much more than $50 on your case. There are a multitude of aesthetics you will come across in your search for the perfect case, so there’s no need to worry about not finding a box for you. The price will vary depending on size and material so be sure to browse!

External Devices & Peripherals: The final thing you will need to consider before you put together your gaming pc build are any peripherals and external devices you will require. Things such as a keyboard, mouse and a monitor are an extremely important part of any build. Although they won’t really alter performance, unless you consider the refresh rate of a monitor, they are still needed to fully appreciate the high settings. A sufficient 1080p monitor won’t cost too much, expect the price to be anything between $50 – 100. A budget keyboard and mouse won’t cost much more than $15, unless of course you want a gamer keyboard and mouse combination. But this isn’t really needed if you want to build a gaming PC on a budget.

Is PC gaming worth the money?

This is without a doubt completely dependant on who you are as a person and what your relationship with gaming is. If you really enjoy games and frequently wish you had a dedicated gaming desktop to play your favourite games, then PC gaming is more than worth the money. The cost to build a gaming PC isn’t as expensive as it once was and with all the new AAA games expected to arrive soon then a gaming PC is a best buy conclusion.

A good gaming PC will be able to run every game that is due to arrive within the next couple of years and as both Sony and Microsoft seem keen on bringing their first party exclusives to the PC market, then now is a better time than any.

Another, often underappreciated, benefit of purchasing a gaming PC is that you will also have a decent all round system that can be used for a host of other tasks. If you plan on getting into video editing for example or would like to try the brand new Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset then a gaming PC might just hit that sweet spot. If you have ever been interested in getting a new gaming PC then we fully recommend you do so, especially if you are a big gaming fan.

About This Expert

Rose Annemarie
Full-time writer. Blogger. Dedicated wife. Mother of 3 amazing kids. I love learning about everything from the latest tech gadgets, innovative new home designs and can be found regularly reading up on parenting tips. There is always room to grow!