I bought this gaming PC instead of building my own — and it's the best decision I've ever made

NZXT H510 Elite PC case
(Image credit: NZXT)

Last year, I snagged an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti without waiting months by purchasing a pre-built PC from NZXT. It was a tough decision to make considering all the negative things I’ve heard about pre-built computers. However, after a year of waiting for Nvidia RTX 30 series cards to become available at reasonable prices, I opted for the nuclear option and bought a pre-built rig. Seven months later, I don’t regret my decision. In fact, buying a pre-built PC was one of the wisest decisions I’ve ever made.

In my previous piece, I was hesitant to tell others to follow my stead. I’ll admit that this apprehension came from being intimated by potential blowback from the PC community who sometimes frown on purchasing pre-built rigs. I was also a newbie tech writer and didn’t want to appear as if I wasn’t savvy enough to construct my own PC.

While I still encourage folks to make decisions that are right for them, I now have the confidence to steer them into buying one of the best gaming PCs that are pre built – especially those who want new graphics cards like the recently released RTX 3090 Ti. And considering that I write for a site called Tom’s Guide, I’m obliged to steer readers toward products and services that can enrich their lives. A pre-built PC certainly qualifies as such a product.

Here is my experience using a pre-built PC over the last seven months.

What I bought

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
Liquid coolerNZXT Kraken x63
OSWindows 10
CaseNZXT H510 (white)
MotherboardAsus ROG Strix Z590-E gaming wifi
CPUIntel Core i7-11700KF 8-Core 3.6GHz
RAM32GB (Team T-FORCE Vulcan Z 3200MHz)
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Storage2 TB (Seagate FireCuda 520)

A great experience so far

Despite all the controversy surrounding pre-built PCs, I’ve yet to encounter any issues with my current rig. In fact, things have been pretty mundane in that I’ve been able to carry on as I did with my previous computer.

I mostly use my PC for work. To that end, the beefy 3080 Ti GPU hasn’t afforded me any great benefits since I mostly use Google’s services to write documents, check emails and transfer files. Any of the best laptops give me the same functionality I currently enjoy. But having that extra computational headroom ensures that I can have a multitude of apps and programs running without worrying about my PC buckling.

Producing and editing my podcast is much smoother on my current rig. Because of my beefy CPU and RAM, I can broadcast to Twitch via OBS and use Discord to conference with my podcast mates without a hitch. OBS itself launches and closes a lot faster than it did on my old computer. After I finish broadcasting, I download an MP4 of the podcast from Twitch and convert it to a WAV file with Adobe Premiere. This process is so fast that I barely have time to blink. I then use Audacity to edit the WAV file and convert it to an MP3 before uploading it to AudioBoom. All of this takes significantly less time on my new PC.

Game on

guardians of the galaxy

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Then there’s gaming, which is the entire reason I wanted a PC with an RTX 3080 Ti graphics card. Needless to say that it’s been a glorious experience. I can comfortably play games like Guardians of the Galaxy, God of War and Forza Horizon 5 at max settings on my LG CX OLED 4K TV. Cyberpunk 2077 still struggles to run at a smooth 60 frames per second, but that’s due to the game (still) not being well-optimized.

I can comfortably play games like Guardians of the Galaxy and God of War at max settings on my LG CX OLED 4K TV.

Ironically, I haven’t played many games on my PC due to there being a drought of AAA titles thanks to the lingering effects of the global pandemic. My PS5 has received more love thanks to exclusives like Horizon Forbidden West and multiplatform games like Elden Ring that I play with friends. But when I do play on PC, it’s everything I could have hoped for.

Bottom line: best decision I've ever made

My pre-built rig performs wonderfully, allowing me to effortlessly work and play. I purchased it with the hope that it would last five to six years before I’m forced to upgrade. Considering how the global chip shortage is far from over, it’s possible that my rig will last even longer. After all, I doubt many game developers are going to create titles that can only run on new hardware that people can’t find (or afford). I may have my current PC for longer than expected, which is perfectly fine by me.

So, will my next gaming rig also be pre-built? I’m not sure. Buying a pre-built PC has been an overwhelmingly positive experience so far. I honestly have nothing to complain about since my computer performs so wonderfully. With that said, I do miss being able to find parts on my own and trying to configure the optimal rig. And while I’m not too proficient at building PCs, it’s something I want to get better at. It’s possible that I’ll build my own rig next time, but it's still too early to tell.

But if you’re in the same situation I was in seven months ago and are still looking for a new GPU, then purchasing a pre-built PC from a site like NZXT isn’t the worst idea. In fact, if your experience is anything like mine, it could be the best shopping decision you’ve ever made.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.

  • phoink
    One very important feature you left out was the power supply. What was in the build? Many OEMs skimp on the PS to buffer profits. 30+ years of building & repairing PCs, this is not something to casually overlook. A weak supply can leave you with random reboots, Component failure, and data loss. Even if they start out fine, a couple of power surge/brown outs later, they could plague you with problems.