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What do you look for in a PC build?

With the PC gaming market surpassing that of the console market in recent years ($33.5b USD vs $29.7b USD in 2019, according to WePC), more and more gamers are not just choosing PC as their platform, but they are opting to build their own custom PCs. So, why does the average PC gamer prefer a custom rig – and what are the most in-demand aspects of a custom PC? Let’s take a look and find out!

PC Build 2

While (mostly) every component in a PC build is required, there are some components that are upgraded much more frequently than others. According to HP, the most commonly upgraded PC parts are graphics cards, followed by CPUs, RAM and then Hard Drives. The least upgraded PC components are cooling, motherboards, power supplies and cases.

Upon first glance this is a very logical list. The parts which increased performance the most are also the ones which age the quickest and therefore need to be upgraded most often. Conversely, fans (or liquid cooling setups), PSUs and cases only need to be replaced when the begin to malfunction. Motherboards lie somewhere in the middle, as they can fall behind with new form factors for CPUs, but that happens much less frequently.

So, why does this matter when working on a PC build? First of all, knowing which components you will keep the longest will help you decide where to make your biggest investments. Getting a sturdy, expansion-friendly case, a solid and high wattage PSU and a motherboard with extra PCI-E, RAM and SATA connections will enable you to continuously tweak your PC build with minimal secondary expense.

On the other hand, GPUs are in a state of constant improve and companies are fighting to provide the best video cards at the lowest prices. Take the the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1600 series, offering a 50% increase in performance over the 1000 series while offering lower prices, for example. To run a mid-high end PC, you can get a GPU upgrade in the GTX 1660 for as low as $250 CAD.

While I’m certainly not suggesting skimping on your graphics card, what I am recommending is that you take a close look at each component and honestly ask yourself if you need the top-tier, or if a mid-level part will suffice. Keep in mind that this is often a difference of that part lasting 3 years instead of 4 years, and can often save you over 50% of the overall cost.

Long story short, when looking at how to build a gaming PC, keep in mind which parts you will retain for the next decade and which you will likely want to upgrade within a couple of years when choosing where to make your biggest investments.

Do you agree with our recommendations? Have you built your own PC before? Let us know what you think in the comments below!