If you’re interested in joining the PC Master Race, then I applaud you. Switching from PC to console is a big decision, but it’s a good decision. Once I switched to PC, I never looked back. However, it may not be so easy for you to do the same; at least, not right now.
Whether you’ve been researching which components you want for your first PC, or you want to upgrade your current rig, you’ve probably noticed the insanely high prices of both GPUs and RAM. As a PC gaming enthusiast who loves helping the new guys build their first gaming PCs, it’s disheartening.
8GB of DDR4 2400MHz ram can cost you an upwards of $100. Furthermore, I recently saw a GTX 1060 6GB on Amazon, a GPU once priced around $300, for nearly $520.
There was a common misconception that PC gaming was way too expensive; you’d have to spend $1,000 or more if you wanted to build a decent gaming PC. That simply was not true. In fact, it’s still not true, yet it’s much more plausible right now. If you were to build a gaming PC with a $500 budget, you’d get far less for your money than before.
Don’t worry, there’s a pretty easy workaround for this issue, but you have to understand the cause of the problem first.
So, why have prices gone up so much?
Well, let’s start with RAM prices. Not too long ago you could buy 8GB of DDR4 2400MHz memory for around $60.
At this point in time, there’s an industry-wide shortage of RAM. The explanation is quite simple: supply and demand.
Supply is low, demand is high. PC Gamer‘s sources report that many factors are to blame, but mobile phones are primarily responsible.
The most recent line of mobile smartphones utilize DDR4 memory. This coupled with the ever more popular PC gaming scene results in an industry-wide shortage of RAM. It is my prediction that eventually the industry will catch up and RAM prices will level off once again.
RAM isn’t the only thing on the rise. As stated previously, the price of a GTX 1060 6GB has gone up by $200 or more, and it’s not the only GPU that’s way overpriced right now. GPUs handle all of the 3D rendering in-game, therefore doing most of the heavy lifting.
It’s important you get your hands on the best GPU you can within your budget that isn’t bottlenecked by your CPU. This is quite difficult with GPU prices on the rise.
If you’ve been in the news at all lately then you’ve at least heard of Bitcoin.
What you need to understand is this: cryptocurrency miners primarily use GPUs that gamers also use.
The technology used for gaming GPUs is also quite useful for miners. Miners use GPUs to randomly guess and check solutions to cryptographic hash functions. Whether or not you understand how it works, miners are buying GPUs left and right to power their mining rigs. Once again, the prices of these GPUs are falling victim to supply and demand. I wouldn’t recommend you buy a GPU right now, or build a gaming PC for that matter. If you’d asked me this question in the past, I’d say custom built all the way. A $700 gaming PC build was a great price point for a custom build some months ago.
Before, custom builds were cheaper, more powerful, and they left you with a sense of satisfaction compared to their prebuilt counterparts. Now, it’s pretty hard to affordably build your own gaming rig.
Right now it would seem as though prebuilt gaming PCs are the better option for those looking to get into PC gaming. They used to be overpriced and underpowered. You have to know what you’re looking for, but if you look in the right places you can find great prebuilt gaming PCs.
GPU suppliers are allocating their remaining GPUs towards prebuilt gaming PCs. Miners want GPUs, but they don’t want gaming PCs. In translation, while the cost of individual GPUs goes up, the cost of a prebuilt gaming PC remains relatively the same.
With this in mind, I’d highly recommend you check out some prebuilt gaming PC builds. Be careful, though, as some PCs are advertised as gaming PCs yet they have old and underpowered parts. But, if you look in the right place, you’ll save yourself a whole lot of money!
GPU suppliers understand that they’re losing a whole lot of money in the gaming market, and I imagine they’ll rebound shortly.
Either settle for a prebuilt gaming PC or hold out until prices come down.
Whether you choose to wait or go the prebuilt route, I wish you luck on your journey towards joining the PC Master Race!
My name is Jacob Tuwiner. I’m an avid PC gaming enthusiast. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me out with my friends exploring, hiking, biking, and trying to stay out of trouble!