How much money should you spend on a gaming PC?
Updated: Mar 8
We all know that out of all the possible gaming or working devices, PC/computers are the most expensive since they have the most powerful CPU. Starting with the CPU, it is always important to get yourself a good one. An i3/ Ryzen 3 is minimal for gaming nowadays. You don't want to get a crappy one because they could cause your system to bottleneck. A bottleneck is when you have a graphics card that is too good but your CPU is too bad which will result in a lack of performance and a lot of stutters. It is good to get the i5 to start with because it is a mid-end CPU which would be good for most cases of use. If you are on a tight budget then you can go for the i3. So for the CPU, I would recommend spending at least $130 on it or if you have a higher budget spend above $200.
The CPU cooler is very important for your computer. It is compulsory for all PCs. Without one your CPU will fry within a couple of minutes of gaming and that's the last thing you want. When you buy a CPU it usually comes with a CPU cooler, which would be good enough for normal gaming or computer use. But if you are planning to get something like an i9 or a threadripper, you would need to get a good CPU cooler since they tend to get very hot. I would highly recommend you get a water cooler if you are going to get one of those CPUs. If you are planning to get a less powerful CPU the stock cooler would do the job but it is still recommended to get a better one if you want your computer to last longer. A decent one would cost above $25.
The motherboard is the center of the PC since it connects all the components. There is a variety of motherboards you can choose from. What separates a cheap motherboard from an expensive one is its material, performance standard, chipset, more room for drives and so on. It will always be good to get a better chipset since it will be compatible with more components in the future. Before buying a motherboard, make sure your CPU is compatible with it first or else you might need to flash your bios or it might not work completely! You can get a good motherboard for above $100.
Let us talk about RAM. These sticks are compulsory since they are your computer's memory. You don't need to get too much, I would say 64gb is a lot, but for an average gamer, 16gb is more then enough and 8GB is minimal. I suggest getting two 8GB RAM sticks which would be around $100.
The graphics card is a very important part of the PC and is needed for your computer to run. It is what separates a good PC from a bad PC. Your computers gaming performance will highly depend on what graphics card you get. Without a graphics card, you wouldn't be able to see what's on your computer screen unless you have a CPU with integrated graphics. I would not recommend using integrated graphics cards for gaming since they are mainly for laptops or really budget computers. A good graphics card can range from around $200 or above. A very good example is the RX 570 since it is one of the cheapest gaming graphics cards you can find on the market. There are also a lot of second-hand options where you can find on eBay. I would recommend spending at least $200 on a graphics card.
For storage, 1tb of HDD and 250gb of SSD is enough, but if you are planning on downloading multiple large games or applications feel free to get more storage. HDD's are usually less expensive but they can hold much larger amounts, while SSD's can still store a large amount of data, it processes a lot faster (it is suggested to download the windows operating system onto the SSD) so for the HDD all you need to spend is around $60-$90 and for the SSD around $60-$100. If you have a very low budget you can consider going just 1TB of HDD or around 120-240GB of SSD.
Here's the power supply unit. It depends on what components you get. If you are getting something like an RTX 2080 then it would obviously be better to get more wattage. 500W is usually enough for most builds and it would cost around $40-60.
The PC case can fit into both the cheap and expensive list, but getting a more expensive one is optional. I would suggest spending a max of $100 unless you are really keen on the look. A more expensive one would have better airflow and cable management. Some of the cheap cases don't include a side panel which I hate (Most cases have a side panel now though). PC cases nowadays do a pretty good job for airflow and cable management so you don't have to worry about your computer blowing up!
For the case fans, I would suggest around 3-4 fans. I recommend this because it is good to have two fans blowing cool air in at the right side and 1 fan at the left side to pull the hot air out. A good fan should cost $10-30.
Now for the keyboard, a great keyboard isn't needed but it can improve your skills as a gamer. A keyboard for around $100 would be a good keyboard that should last a long time. A lot of people get mechanical keyboards because they find it satisfying. A big difference between gaming keyboards and work keyboards is the latency. You should never be getting a wireless keyboard, mouse or headset since they have high latency.
Mouses aren't judged on the number of buttons. Only 2 or 4 side buttons are needed although in most games you won't even need them. A good razer or corsair mouse should do the trick with maybe only $60 spent. You should always test the mouse before you buy it since everybody likes using a different type of mouse that fits them. Different mouses also comes with different sensitivity so make sure you choose a mouse you like because it takes some time to get used to a different mouse.
Getting a large mouse/keyboard pad is very useful, the ones with RGB lights are optional and plain ones would do a great job. A decent one should only cost you around $20. The thing that separates an expensive mouse pad vs a cheap one is that it feels a lot smoother on a more expensive one. It would take a bit more effort to move the mouse around on a cheap one. A cheap one would usually be produced with cloth, but a hi-end one would be made of primarily rubber composites and synthetic fabrics woven together to make it feel a lot better.
A headset and mic are very important while talking with friends and listening to the game. A good one would have a better fit and have a better audio quality which should cost you around $70-120. A good and cheap example is the Hype-X cloud core. I use it myself and I find it great. Most headphones come with a mic nowadays, so it shouldn't be a problem. You can even get a cheap one from eBay for around $10.
The monitor is what the PC projects onto, you should find a monitor for gaming specifically, since they have more features than the usual TV or monitor, such as a higher refresh rate, v-sync, things like that. The most important thing to look for in a monitor is the refresh rate. A higher refresh rate would support higher frames per second. So if you have a 60hz monitor and your game is running at 200 fps, it will still be displaying 60 fps although your game says it's running at 200 fps. For a monitor, I would recommend getting at least a minimum of 60 Hz. If you have a bit more money then try to go for 75hz.
So in conclusion, how much should you spend on a gaming computer? I would say spend at least $1500 on it if you are on a tight budget. $2000 would give you a lot more options on your computer. The most expensive parts of your computer are the CPU and Graphics card since they are one of the most powerful things on your computer so you wouldn't want to get a bad one. Thanks for reading this!