How Much Does Building a PC actually cost?

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For good reason, building PCs has become an increasingly common pastime in recent years. Anyone can actually tailor their dream PC to their individual requirements and tastes while potentially saving money over purchasing a pre-built computer. However, I often get asked this question, “How much does building a PC actually cost?”

In this article, I’m going to give you several different builds including the components that go into each build, and the total cost of building each PC. Hopefully, this would help you to plan your budget better for your next PC build.

In summary, expect to spend between $400 to $600 for a low-budget PC on components if you are going to custom-build your PC. This figure is conservation and can go higher, depending on the particular components you plan on getting. We will go into details below. Keep reading.

First things first – Use Case

Most importantly, the cost involved in building a PC is determined by the machine’s intended usage scenario. A PC used for ordinary browsing the internet and word processing, for example, will have different component needs than a high-end gaming PC. To prevent wasting on redundant components, it’s critical to understand the intended usage of the PC before making any purchases.

Wait a minute! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Does it mean that if I build a PC basically for gaming, won’t I be able to use it for say writing code? Or producing music sequences?

A good rule of thumb here is to ensure that your PC is powerful enough to run multimedia applications such as rendering, mixing, photo editing, etc. Just ensure that you get enough RAM and a powerful enough CPU. A PC that can easily play the latest games should be able to render images using special 3D software.

However, you can’t produce such renders if you just build a PC that can only allow you to type documents and play videos, or surf the internet, but will struggle with compressing a 1-minute video clip. Do you get the picture?

Basic Components for a PC Build

How Much Does Building a PC actually cost?

CPU

The central processing unit, or CPU, is the most important component to examine. CPUs are classified based on their performance. That is why a Core i3 costs significantly less than a Core i7. These manufacturers simply disable specific cores on lower-tiered CPUs, whereas all cores on higher-tiered CPUs are enabled. Intel CPUs include the Celeron, Core i3, i5, i7, and Core i9.

A mid-range CPU, such as the Intel Core i3/i5 or AMD Ryzen 3/5, will suffice for a basic PC and will cost between $150 and $300. A top-of-the-line CPU, such as the Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9, can cost upwards of $500 to $1,000 for a high-end gaming or workstation PC.

Motherboard

What about the motherboard? This is the main circuit board onto which everything else is connected. The price of a motherboard is dictated by its characteristics, platform, and availability. Key features include the quantity of USB ports, expansion slots, and compatibility with the CPU of choice.

As a result, for a basic PC, a mid-range motherboard, such as the ASUS Prime or Gigabyte AORUS, can cost $100 to $150. A high-end mobo, such as the ASUS ROG or MSI MPG, on the other hand, can cost up to $500 for a high-end gaming or workstation PC.

Graphics Card

Consider the graphics card. (GPU). The GPU is in charge of rendering images and videos on the computer. For a basic PC that isn’t used for gaming or serious multimedia work, an integrated GPU such as Intel UHD Graphics or AMD Radeon Vega will suffice at no extra cost.

On the other hand, a dedicated GPU, such as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, should be a starting point for a high-end gaming or workstation PC and costs around $350 to $400.

RAM

As the saying goes, the more RAM, the merrier. Never mind. That’s a saying I coined lol. But then, the cost of RAM will depend on the amount required for the intended use of your PC.

For a basic PC, 8GB to 16GB of RAM will suffice and cost between $50 to $100. Conversely, a high-end gaming or workstation PC, 32GB to 64GB of RAM can cost upwards of $200 to $500.

Storage

The fifth component to consider is storage. There are two main types of storage, solid-state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives (HDD). SSDs are faster and more expensive than HDDs but have less storage capacity, even though SSDs are becoming increasingly cheaper and pack more storage today.

As usual, the cost of storage will depend on the amount required for the intended use of the PC. We actually recommend getting an SSD for a boot drive, and a regular mechanical Hard drive for storing your files and downloads.

So then, for a basic PC, a 256GB SSD and 3TB HDD will suffice and cost up to $150, whereas for a high-end gaming or workstation PC a 1TB or 2TB SSD paired with a 6TB mechanical HDD can cost up to $250 for both.

Power Source

The Power supply unit powers your PC including its components and peripherals such as the keyboard and mouse. In addition to its features, the cost of a power supply unit is additionally determined by the wattage necessary for the components you plan to add to your PC build.

A lower-wattage power supply can suffice for a basic PC design, whereas a higher-wattage power supply is necessary for more expensive components. A 450W to 550W power supply would be sufficient for a basic PC and would cost between $50 and $100. A high-end gaming or workstation PC with a 750W to 1000W power supply might cost between $150 and $300.

Finally, in addition to the components listed above, you should consider a CPU cooler, case fans, and a PC case. The cost of these components varies according to the brand and the features they offer.

Don’t forget additional expenditures such as shipping, taxes, and the cost of any tools or equipment required for assembly. What about the Operating System? You should include this in your budget If you do not already have one to install. The cost of Windows 10 Pro might range from $80 to $120 on Amazon.

PC Build Examples to Consider

To provide some workable estimates for the total cost of building a PC, we can use the following examples:

Example 1

Basic PC for internet browsing and word processing

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Example 2

High-end gaming PC

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Don’t forget that these figures are constantly changing. Ideally, you should check the current pricing on Amazon by clicking on the CHECK PRICE buttons on here.

Furthermore, these estimates exclude the cost of an operating system and any extra components such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

How about estimates for a budget gaming PC? Our next example is it.

Example 3

Budget gaming PC

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This low-cost gaming PC build is designed for casual gamers who are budget-constrained and would get by with 1080p gaming at medium to high graphical settings. It features a 6-core AMD Ryzen processor, NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics, and 16GB of RAM.

You should definitely adopt this build as an economical option to begin your PC gaming adventure. The components come to a total cost of roughly $568.

Example 4

Content Creation PC

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This PC setup for content creation is intended for video editors, 3D animators, and other professionals that require a powerful computer for their work. For rapid rendering and multitasking, it has a 16-core AMD Ryzen processor, an NVIDIA RTX 4070 Ti graphics card, and 64GB of RAM. This PC is a worthy investment at around $2,243, and it will undoubtedly give the performance and reliability that you require as a professional.

Example 5

Home Theater PC

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This home theater PC build is intended for streaming movies, TV shows, and music, as well as web browsing and typing work. It has an Intel Core i3 processor, a low-profile graphics card, and 8GB of RAM. At a budget of about $436 in total, this is a cheap way to set up a home theater system and enjoy your favorite media on a regular Television.

These examples so far demonstrate how the total cost of your PC build can vary greatly based on the exact components used, and the primary purpose you have in mind. Furthermore, we carefully selected the components with compatibility in mind, so rest assured there’ll be no issues with the actual build.

Future-proofing, does it really matter?

Finally, the cost of creating your PC will vary substantially based on your individual needs and anticipated use cases. However, you may become engrossed in the budgeting process and choose the lowest components available.

In most circumstances, this is not the greatest choice since if you decide to use the PC for more demanding tasks – your PC will definitely struggle. We normally advocate purchasing a powerful processor, as much RAM as your motherboard can support, and a high-watt power supply unit. These will come in handy if you decide to upgrade to more powerful components in the future.

Are you ready to build your next PC? Check out our useful guides for recommendations. We have guides covering several use cases such as photo editing PC build, video editing, 3D rendering, Gaming, and others.

Let’s hear from you in the comment section below. Was this article helpful?

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