Gaming desktops come in all shapes and sizes. From the pint-sized powerhouses to the giant machines built for storage and stability, there are too many ways to put it all together, and while some choices are wacky, few are outright wrong, if they fit the user. Which brings us to our weekly reader poll. When it comes to gaming desktops, do you like to build your own, pick one up off the shelf, or pay a bit more for something custom-tailored for you and assembled by a professional?
You're purchasing a new gaming desktop. Working within your personal budget, which do you choose?
— Digital Trends (@DigitalTrends) July 17, 2017
The first option is the most technical, but can also be the most rewarding. Building your own system requires picking out the parts, shopping for the best deals, learning how to put everything in the right place, and troubleshooting any issues that may arise. The upshots are plentiful. You’ll get a way better deal, learn about the components inside a system, and at the end of it all, you’ll have a system tailor made just for whatever your needs may be, with an appropriate power level for your favorite games.
For those with plenty of cash to throw around, there’s a more bespoke approach from PC builders like Origin PC, Falcon Northwest, or AVADirect. These systems use the same off-the-shelf parts that you might buy while building your own system, but often come with premium features like overclocking right out of the box, or special aesthetic options like paint jobs and coordinated RGB lighting. They run a sharp premium for the time the builder puts in, which also saves you the headache of troubleshooting issues or having to make a warranty claim on that GPU that was dead on arrival.
If you don’t want to spend the time, and don’t want to pay extra for premium service, pre-built systems from big box manufacturers provide a more one-size-fits-all solution to desktop gaming without breaking the bank. That said, these systems tend to cheap out with stripped-down, custom motherboards, and reference style cards without an overclock. With few options, you can also end up with systems that have fatal flaws, like missing SSDs or awkward chassis and cooling problems.