Personal Finance

5 Tips to Build Your Gaming Desktop on a Budget

Read 5 essential tips to save money on your new gaming desktop before you shop online or at a store.

There are many different gaming platforms to choose from in the marketplace. Whether or not you are looking for a console, mobile, or desktop gaming experience, your equipment matters. Unfortunately, the retail price tag on these platforms can get expensive. Prices for computers can particularly get out of hand and hurt your wallet before you know it.

Before you go to computer component stores in Singapore or visit online stores to fill your shopping cart with a pre-built gaming desktop, read these tips to build your high-performance desktop on a budget.

Establish a Budget Before Anything Else

First, ask yourself what your absolute maximum budget is and be firm. If you provide yourself a strict guideline early on, you will set your expectations for computer performance. This exercise will help when trying to fight off the urge to impulse buy all the shiny components when visiting stores. If you plan to shop online, remember to save money by comparing prices from different retailers and use a shopping rewards credit card to save on each online purchase.

Once you have a budget in mind, use some online tools to virtually build your computer before purchasing. This way you have a plan and a specific shopping list to tackle. Many of these tools will tell you if components like the motherboard can support the particular graphics card you wanted or how many watts your power supply will need.

Consider Purchasing Used Components

As technology and desktop components keep getter better every year, people often upgrade their older systems and sell their used parts. Check your local listings for used components. You will often find a significantly cheaper price for parts near you.

used vs retail computer component prices in Singapore

Some particularly good deals can be found in the accessories market for your new build. You can find a used keyboard or mouse at a significant discount than when purchased new. Now that you’ve found the used parts to start your build, check out the next tips to complete your new gaming computer.

Know Where to Compromise

With your budget and build in mind, know where you are willing to compromise. This isn’t always easy and the answer will not be the same for everyone. For example, research the games you will want to play to determine whether your games tend to rely more on your CPU or GPU. Of course, having the best of both worlds is what we all want. However, when building a budget gaming desktop, often prioritising one over another can help get the extra performance you need while staying within your price point.

Generally speaking however, the most important parts in your build that you spend the most time researching will be:

  • CPU
  • GPU
  • Motherboard
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Power Supply

Other parts like the computer case, RGB light accessories, keyboard, mouse, and even advanced cooling systems can be purchased to fit your budget more conservatively. Remember, the priority should always be parts that directly impact performance first. Accessories that you may categorise as luxury can be purchased when you have a bigger budget for them.

Purchase a Motherboard That Leaves Room for Upgrades

Not all motherboards are built equally. You will typically find three different sizes for motherboards, and the smaller the size usually means fewer slots and features. So, plan your next upgrade in mind when purchasing your motherboard. Many gamers experience the hard way that simply upgrading their graphics card will require not only buying a new graphics card but a new compatible motherboard.

Instead, some pre-planning can save you the headache. While you diligently save money to buy your next graphics card or extra SDD hard drive, you can be rest assured that your motherboard will support your upgrades.

On the other hand, if you know that you specifically did not want to leave room for major upgrades in your build. This is an area where you can save money by purchasing a cheaper motherboard that is a perfect fit for your components. That being said, you never know if you might change your mind and airing on the side of caution might save you hundres of dollars.

Negotiate the Price Whenever Possible

Particularly when it comes to used parts, you should always negotiate or offer a trade for any additional components you’ve collected from previous builds. Even if you just save 10-15% on used parts through the secondary market, it can leave you extra dollars to spend on your high-performance parts like your CPU or GPU.

Even many brick-and-mortar stores in Singapore regularly negotiate prices for parts. So, consider asking for a lower price than the retail tag. You may find a better deal than you expected, especially for older parts that are still offering good gaming performance.

One of the downsides to online retailers is that the asking price is what you will have to pay. You won’t negotiate any further, leaving very little room for margin when trying to fit your desired build within your budget.

Stephen Lee

Stephen Lee is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion, specializing in insurance. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the University of Washington, and his prior work experience include risk management and underwriting for professional liability and specialty insurance at Victor Insurance. Additionally, Stephen is a former US Peace Corps Volunteer in Myanmar (serving between 2018-2020), where he continues to provide business development consulting services to HR companies in Asia Pacific.