Reader Poll: Build your own gaming desktop, or let someone else take care of it?

best graphics card for gaming
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
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?

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.


Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.

PDF to JPG conversion is quick and easy using these simple methods

Converting file formats can be an absolute pain, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a comprehensive guide on how to convert a PDF to JPG, no matter which operating system you're running.

Crypto hangover could take blame for Nvidia’s potential GeForce RTX 2060 delay

Nvidia's delay in announcing a ship date for its GeForce RTX 2060 GPU could be due to a burst in the cryptocurrency mining bubble. Executives blamed the crypto hangover for an oversupply of inventory on existing GTX 1060 cards,

Save $900 on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and more with Lenovo’s Cyber Monday sales

In the latest set of holiday sales, Lenovo is heavily discounting its fifth-generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon and other popular Windows laptops and 2-in-1s for the holiday shopping season.

Want to make one hard drive act like two? Here's how to partition in Windows

If you don't want all of your files stored in one place but only have one drive to work with, partitioning is your best way forward. Here's how to partition a hard drive in Windows 10, step by step.

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up speech-to-text in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX330UA -- will get the job done without digging too deep into your pockets.

Don't use streaming apps? These are the best free players for your local music

Rather than using music streaming apps, you may want something for playing your local music. Good news! There are some good alternatives. These are the best media players you can download for free on Windows.

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.