Help Choosing a Pre-built Gaming PC Please


He paid a local shop.


I, however, built my own. And so far, it has not exploded!


I only bought a few parts from Amazon. I also got some from Newegg and a few other places.


If you had a camera on your computer when it exploded, I am pretty sure you could get enough support based off that video to get an even better one!


Went with the Yelp guy?

When I last did it, I went with the local equivalent of the Fry’s build-it-with-parts-from-them for warranty and to not have the hassle of dealing with each part manufacturer separately.


Yeah, local place called PC Parlor, they were wonderful.


Nice. You mentioned their hourly rate but how long did they end up taking/charging for?

The local place is full of young gamer bros working at the job and the builders appear to be super competent because the cable work has always been meticulous. I love Fry’s for the deals whenever I’m in Seattle but I gotta wonder how competent the builder staff are or if it’s like their commission-based sales people on the floor.


I just wiggle the vacuum up against the filters for a bit and that’s mostly it. I think my fans mostly blow outward too.

That’s a good tip, thanks.


3 hours in total, $75 an hour. So $225 total, and worth every penny.


Building your own PC is a young person’s game. I would pay that in a heartbeat.


Exactly. It was so worth it for the lack of hassle.


I learn something new every time I build. I was just way too fascinated with how little the NVMe SSDs are and installing fresh Win 10 was interesting too. It just seemed so much smoother, things just working once I plugged them in. It was great!

I understand ease though, and if I didn’t get a kick out of it I wouldn’t do it.


yeah i’ve grown out of the novelty of it. sounds good you were able to find a reliable local place. if i came into money, i’d get something from puget custom computers while visiting the US.

but, uh, we all still do our own upgrades, right?


I built my own, and I don’t really mind the process.

For me, by far the biggest issue and concern with building my own isn’t the time or effort. I learned a little bit, it’s easier now with my NVMe SSD and not having to wire SATA cables all over the place, etc.

For me, the biggest drawback by far to building my own is not knowing whether I just crunched something that shouldn’t have crunched, and ruined $800 worth of components because I set the CPU in slightly off. Or that I didn’t do anything wrong, but now it just does not work, and I have to laboriously try to figure out what isn’t working.

That actually happened the first time I built my own (6 years ago), and it’s the reason I went back to Microcenter for the parts this time.

I put everything together. Then, after a few days, something just stopped working. These were all high quality parts, so it wasn’t a dodgy power supply or something. It just literally wouldn’t work. Wouldn’t post, wouldn’t turn on, etc.

So I tried some obvious things (like the new power supply swap-out, just in case). Still nothing worked. After a few days, in frustration, I just brought the whole thing into Microcenter. Their build guys took a look at it. I could tell at the start they had that, “What stupid thing did you do,” look on their faces, even though they were too polite to say anything. But then they opened it, looked at it, and one of them actually said, “I don’t see anything wrong here - it looks like you did everything right.” Their guy then spent the next hour or two testing various components on the doodad machines they have to test them. He could not figure out what the problem was either.

So (and this is why I went to Microcenter this time), he talked to the guy in charge. Who immediately sent someone around to pick up the exact same components, brand new. Like literally every component I purchased, he just had someone grab again (other than the case). He then had the guy put together an entirely new machine, right then and there, and make sure it worked.

They did all of this without charging me anything extra.

This is not a Microcenter commercial. :) I just do understand, very much, the nervousness of building your own. If Microcenter hadn’t been willing to do that, I basically would have had about $2,000 in parts and the job of trying to very laboriously figure out what the fuck was wrong, without being able to really prove that any individual part was the problem.

And again, I know from my experience this time - that act of dropping the $500ish CPU into the $200ish motherboard, and hoping that the delicate gods of whatever pins are on the bottom of that thing did not get upset, is extremely unnerving for me.


If I understand your story correctly, you’ve never (as far as you know) actually “crunched something”, right? If that’s the case, I get a bit of nervousness, but I’m not totally following why it unnerves you as much as it does.

Personally, I find it nearly impossible, nowadays, to really massively screw something up mechanically during a build. Designs are just more robust/forgiving/well-engineered today. To the extent I worry about stuff during a build, it’s more electrical. A bad short or some static discharge issue.


Case connector into mobo is still a pain.


Primarily, it is just because of the cost of the components involved, and the nature of the work installing them. You are still sitting something with (to my understanding) delicate pins into a little bed, and then swinging some metal arm that puts pressure down on it to lock it into place. If something is off, I assume you are also then mashing all those little pins in ways they aren’t supposed to be mashed.

Then, on top of it, the 87 different ways in which you are supposed to apply thermal paste. Get everything together, and hope that you haven’t put on too much and done something terrible, or too little and done something terrible, etc.

But I think my fear with the CPU/motherboard is that they are effectively the most expensive combo. For me, it totally signifies “I’m squishing $500 something into $2-300 something, and I hope it works.” :)


I don’t understand why the MB manufacturers and case manufacturers never arrived at a standard for those that would allow for one unified plug. Still, they’re a pain, but you can’t really cause an irreversible failure with those; screw-ups only cost time and frustration.


Yeah, about that…

(spoiler: The method doesn’t matter)


Yeah, I read about that too (read an article on it saying it did not matter, did not watch the video).

But even the thermal paste thing describes why I am nervous putting them together. I read many articles talking about how the new Intel chips do not use thermal paste, but are soldered.

Now to me, this would lead a rational person to assume “Hey, I don’t need to apply thermal paste any more.” But I’m hyper cautious, and kept digging. I found one series of forum posts in Tom’s Hardware where someone asked that question, and was responded to as though they were an idiot for even asking. Of course you still have to apply thermal paste. The thermal paste they are talking about in the articles on the new Intel chips is under the metal lid. Oh, yeah, that’s so obvious.

Then, of course, it took me awhile to realize that the cooling pump I purchased already had thermal paste applied to it. And that you are not supposed to add more. You are just supposed to attach the pump, and the thermal paste that is pre-applied works. Of course, the instructions for the pump (an EVGA) said nothing about that whatsoever. Again, I only found out because I was being hyper-worried and over researching everything.

It’s that type of thing that also unnerves me. Why wouldn’t the instructions to the pump say that it has thermal paste preapplied, and not to use more? I shouldn’t have to go digging around on the internet to discover that they often do, and then guess whether the grey disc on the pump is just some other type of metal, or a layer of thermal paste (I didn’t exactly want to scratch any off to see what it was).