Today’s article is based on the premise that building your gaming rig instead of buying a “brand one” is a better choice both in terms of money and performance for the buck spent, hence we’ll discuss a hot issue: what’s the best custom gaming pc builder? It’s true that if you know a thing or two about IT, i.e. you’re an experienced engineer or a PC enthusiast, you can order the separate components from Amazon or wherever and build your own gaming PC at home, without engaging third parties into the matter.
However, if you’re not well trained/specialized in the fine art of PC building, our advice would be to reach out and touch (pun intended) a company that’s specialized in producing custom machines, as per their customers’ request.
Basically, these folks are capable of delivering specialized rigs to meet anyone’s needs, ranging from machine learning to gaming. Or maybe you want a water-cooled PC with a dual GPU thing? Have no worries, because regardless of what you need, these guys are ready to go.
How to Choose the Best Custom PC Builder
Obviously, we’re not all rich and driving Ferraris, hence one’s budget comes into play even in the custom PC racket. Depending on what type of components you require in your gaming rig, including cool extras like water cooling systems to keep your hardcore gaming CPU at arctic temperatures, get ready to pay the premium if you want the best of the best. As always, there’s a building mark-up, because these guys have to pay rent and all that, so prepare to pay a little bit extra on a custom-built PC.
Since we’re talking about expensive gear and exotic components, pay extra attention to the warranty conditions; unfortunately, people tend to get distracted about this issue due to mysterious reasons. The point being, look for extended warranty offers and, provided there are warranty extension packages available, just go for it, as it will be worth the extra money in the long run if something unexpected happens, for example – you spill your beer inside your $3000 rig.
Even if this may sound redundant, customizability is important, as in how much liberty you have in terms of customizing your PC. Some companies are limited to components, while others offer the whole 9 yards: you can customize everything, ranging from the paint on the chassis to hardware components.
Yes, room service is important, and the same goes for customer service. If something goes terribly wrong, you don’t want to spend two hours on the phone or chatting with a clueless drone, hence we’ll only recommend companies with a “clean bill of health” in this regard.
Now, if you want to go DIY without involving 3rd parties, here’s a free tip i.e. some websites to help you build your PC:
• PC Part Picker
• Logical Increments
With all these in mind, let’s take a closer look at the best custom PC builders right after a short commercial break:
Best Custom PC Builders
iBuyPower is one of the most affordable custom PC builders out there, and the company is currently trying to win the hearts and minds of CyberPowerPC customers, which makes for its main competitor in the “best bang for the buck” niche, but we’ll tell you more about the latter in a jiffy. iBuyPower was founded back in 1999 and the company’s headquarters are located in sunny California. These guys are specialized in gaming-media custom PCs and they deliver in the USA and Canada only for the time being.
In terms of warranty offered, iBuyPower plays it safe, with 1-year warranty for parts and 3 for labor, yet they offer 4 and 5 years extended warranty for parts. However, they’ll charge you extra for that option and you’ll have to contact them if you want to buy the extended warranty. The company doesn’t handle the shipping and handling expenses, yet they offer a thirty-day money-back guarantee.
Compared to some of its competitors, iBuyPower’s website is focused on advanced computer users, and that gives them an edge in a crowded market. However, you’ll find an Easy Builder Tool on the company’s official website which is excellent for “noobs” looking to build the gaming rig of their dreams. The online configurator is easy to use and helps a lot with choosing the best machine given one’s particular budget, or to meet (and exceed) the customer’s particular demands.
Other than offering a variety of gaming-oriented desktop PC’s and laptops, iBuyPower also owns several brands of gaming gear which are famous in the eSports world.
- Easy Builder tool works great and saves time (and money)
- extended labor/parts warranty available
- extensive customization options including upgraded cases and RGB lighting
- offers affordable prebuilt systems on Amazon
- financing/monthly payments available
- hard to think of anything really
The Power of Dreams
As we already told in the previous review, CyberPowerPC is our next pick for the best custom PC builder. CyberPowerPC was founded in 1998, one year before iBuyPower, hence they have “the higher ground”, so to speak. The company is actually one of the oldest in the industry and it’s based in California, in the “City of Industry” respectively, being known for producing cutting edge top-notch gaming PC’s.
If you take a look at their website, it becomes obvious why CyberPowerPC is one of the most trusted and most popular PC builders in the world, as they offer a wide array of machines to suit every budget. It’s important to mention that CyberPowerPC doesn’t cut corners with warranty issues, which is crucial. For example, most of their PCs come with a three-year labor warranty and one-year warranty on parts, while the company also offers lifetime tech support, which is rather unique in this niche.
CyberPowerPC’s custom builds are designed with hardcore gamers in mind, and the customization options include high-end water-cooling solutions, basic/advanced overclocking, proper cable management and even high-quality custom paint jobs. The configurator on the company’s official website is user-friendly for both “experts” and “total n00bs”.
- lifetime tech support
- wide range of customization options
- financing available via Affirm
- solid warranty
- you can get pre-built gaming systems on Amazon for low prices
- some customers complain about slow shipping times for custom systems
Custom Computers for Everybody
OriginPC is a relatively novel brand compared to the previous two, as it’s been founded in 2009 by three former Alienware employees who left after Dell took over their company. The point being, Alienware was initially a stand-alone and highly popular custom PC builder, and Origin PC is its proud successor; Origin has nothing to do with EA’s Origin platform, and it’s based in Miami, Florida, far away from Silicon Valley.
Origin sells high quality/premium gaming laptops and PC’s, both pre-made and custom gear, but what’s really important is that you can get an affordable “base gaming”, which can be further customized as per the customer’s personal preference. The “base gear” consists of Chronos, Neuron, Millenium, and Genesis, which use Mini ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, and eATX chassis.
You can heavily customize both interior and exterior design with different patterns, colors, and lighting, as well as the components, in-house-made cooling solutions and accessories included. However, when it comes to customized services and paints, these are not refundable, so pay extra attention when you place your order.
- hardcore customization levels for basically anything
- 30 days money-back guarantee, free lifetime tech support
- International shipping available
- solid warranty options (1-year parts, 3-year labor)
- financing options available
- no “budget-friendly” systems available
The Best Custom Gaming PC Builder
Falcon Northwest is marketed as the company that created the gaming PC, and that’s kind of true, considering the fact that Falcon Northwest has been around since 1992, building high-end machines for gamers and power users. Due to their seniority in the PC-building business, Falcon Northwest has a long term and a rather unique perspective over the industry, and that’s why the company is focused on building high-performance computers, with a price range between $2k and $12k.
If you take a look at the price, you’ll understand that Falcon Northwest is more expensive than its direct competitors, but the quality of materials and workmanship is probably worth the stretch. A PC custom built by Falcon Northwest will definitely stand out from the crowd, as the company provides its customers a standard array of unique cases, and also emphasizes the “optics” of your gaming rig, as they employ high-quality paint used by the automotive industry, as well as stunning prints and designs for the computer cases.
The “optics” thing goes so far that you can even order custom artwork done, though you’ll have to pay the price for the extravaganza, and it’s not cheap. There’s also a tech support feature available to Falcon Northwest customers, seven days a week from 9 AM to 6 PM Pacific Time (lifetime that is).
- high-end gear at high-end prices
- excellent tech support
- highly customizable gear, including artwork
- solid warranty options i.e. 3 years parts and labor
- 30 days money-back guarantee
- no financing available
The Best Custom PC Builder Website
Compared to other sacred-monsters in the custom PC building industry, BLD can be described as the new kid on the block, as the company was founded yesterday, i.e. in 2017, and, obviously, it has its roots in California, the land of silicon and crazy ideas (read Elon Musk). All jokes aside, BLD is no push-around, as it’s actually a subsidiary of an older company, NZXT respectively. NZXT was founded 15 years ago, in 2004, and it’s well known for its cooling solutions and custom computer cases; in recent years, the company diversified its portfolio, and with the acquisition of BLD, it looks like they are trying to conquer the world.
Speaking of the latter, BLD is a hardware expert that offers approximate FPS estimates for various games and guarantees that you’ll not be disappointed by their gear, regardless of your IT knowledge or lack thereof. All BLD custom built PC’s require a $99 flat-fee (that’s basically their cut) and they’re shipped quickly, in maximum 2 working days of the order being placed. Interestingly enough, BLD offers 2-year parts and 3-year labor warranty.
Unlike other PC builders, these guys will guide you through a step by step process to help you identify the best gear for your specific needs: basically, you’ll have to tell them what the main games you’re going to play are, as well as your budget and your Intel/AMD preference, and they’ll give you a “platform”, a basic recommendation of sorts, from where you can go up (upgrade) as much as you like or you can afford. You’ll be able to configure literally everything hardware-wise, as BLD doesn’t offer preconfigured builds like other custom PC builders, so you can choose the CPU, GPU, the RAM quantity, storage stuff, PSU and so on, cooling, RGB lighting, and even color schemes.
- solid customization options
- high-quality workmanship
- fast shipping compared to other brands
- same-day shipping available for $200 extra
- no preconfigured builds available
Great Support, Quality and Performance
Maingear has been around building custom PCs since 2002 and they offer a pretty good selection of gaming computers and laptops, as well as workstations for their customers, i.e. they’re catering both the gaming community and professionals alike. Needless to say that all their systems are highly customizable/configurable, and the customer can choose basically everything, ranging from the CPU/GPU to adding multiple HDDs/SSDs in RAID config, RGB lights, upgraded warranties (a nice feature to have in an expensive rig), custom paint jobs, etc.
Another nice thing about Maingear is that they are selling their machines on Amazon, preconfigured rigs, hence a lot of them are Prime eligible, which means they can be shipped relatively quickly. Also, Maingear has a number of affordable systems, with their base gaming PC, the Vybe, starting at $825.
All custom machines are covered by the industry-standard 1-year warranty for parts and 3-year warranty for labor. A high-end warranty for a gaming PC can go as high as $400, but you’ll get remote diagnostic software, phone support and so on and so forth.
- wide range of customization for gaming and work
- solid warranty options
- highly customizable gar, including paint jobs
- excellent customer support
- you can find prebuilt rigs on Amazon (Prime eligible stuff)
- none really
The New Kid on the Block
Speaking of popular custom PC builders, Xidax hardly comes to mind, compared to established companies like Maingear, OriginPC, iBuyPower or CyberPowerPO; however, if you’re looking for a relatively affordable highly customizable machine, you may end up better with a Xidax PC. The thing is, being a new kid on the block comes with certain advantages: for example, the cheapest Xidax custom-built rig can be bought for under $600.
Obviously, Xidax also offers high-end PC’s, laptops and workstations for professional use and/or gaming, and all of them are highly customizable, including professional GPU/CPU overclocking, RGB lighting, case engraving (!), CPU delidding, faster shipping (for Christmas!) and so on and so forth. On top of that, if you’re on a tight budget, you can get your custom Xidax rig via monthly payments, as the company offers financing options through Affirm.
But what really makes Xidax stand out from the “custom” crowd is their lifetime warranty on parts and labor for their desktop systems. Keep in mind that AMD GPUs are excluded from this deal, as they only come with 2-year warranty, and the same stands for liquid cooling systems, which are covered by 1-year warranty only. If something goes wrong, your defective parts are usually replaced by new, refurbished, used or comparable components, depending on the scenario.
- industry-leading lifetime warranty on (certain) components
- affordable prices for a custom PC builder
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- International shipping
- returns are at the sole discretion of Xidax
A Great Choice for Beginners
If you’re looking for quality services and a wide range of custom PCs, AVADirect comes to mind; the company was founded back in 2000, almost 20 years ago, and they currently offer custom-built rigs for prices ranging from $800 to $8000, everything covered by 1 to 3 years of warranty. Speaking of customization services, AVADirect offers interesting options like out-of-the-factory overclocking for gaming enthusiasts for both CPUs and GPUs, premium chassis featuring custom paint and custom water-cooling systems.
Depending on the system, you can get up to 3 years of warranty, not to mention high-quality tech support, which is excellent especially for the not-so-tech-savvy people. The product catalog is robust, and the company also sells individual components for upgrades and the like, i.e.you can buy custom-made systems or hard drives/SSDs, mice, keyboards and everything in between. The custom-built desktops start at ~$900, laptops start at~$1099, and yes, financing is available.
- great tech support
- a wide range of customization options
- delivers to USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, China, UK
- up to 3 years of warranty
- specialized in multimedia, gaming, workstations, and servers
- none really
The Sacred Monster
Alienware by Dell computers is a sacred monster in the gaming world, and maybe the most popular brand on this list. Dell corporation, which also owns Alienware, is a big sponsor of the gaming industry and they trade internationally and, besides the now-iconic alien inspired design of their gear, they have much to offer: other than looking awesome, “Alienware” gear is packed to the brim with high-end components.
However, quality comes at a price, i.e. Alienware is not the cheapest of the bunch, but at least you can sleep at night, even if the warranty offered is not on-par with other brands. Most of the Alienware-made machines come with the industry-standard 1-year warranty, but the good news is that you can remedy the “issue” by paying extra for an extended warranty. Speaking of pricing, well, they vary greatly from new to custom setups, but the main point we’re trying to make here is that you’ll get high-quality service regardless of what type of support you pay for.
- top-notch tech support
- high-quality components and craftsmanship
- International delivery
- kind of expensive
You Can’t Go Wrong with These Guys
Founded back in 2002 in sunny California (Fremont) and gloriously named Digital Storm, the company specializes in gaming PCs, laptops and workstations with a price range between $700 and $3000+, everything backed by a 1-year warranty for parts and a 3-year warranty for labor. However, Digital Storm offers an extended warranty pack which consists of a 4-year warranty for parts and 6 years for labor. On top of that, you’ll get lifetime tech support if you’re a customer, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Some of the cheapest models are available for purchase via Amazon, and yes, there’s a financing option available if you’re not ready to pay the full price upfront. Speaking of custom PCs, there are 6 base configurations to choose from, which can be further customized to a greater degree depending on one’s budget; the cheaper models have limited customization options, while for the high-end versions, well, the sky is the limit.
- solid warranty
- excellent tech support
- financing options available
- complex customization setups available for higher-end setups
- prebuilt systems available through Amazon
- nothing we can think of
Puget Systems is one of the smaller custom PC builders, a niche company if you like, and they’re located in Auburn, Washington. Puget Systems is specialized in building custom gaming rigs, as well as workstations, multi-media, engineering, and scientific systems, and their rigs vary in price between $1500 and $15,000. The focus of the company is to provide its customers with top-notch builds, ranging from relatively cheap ones for “basic use” to high-end gaming gear and servers.
Reliability and know-how are what defines Puget Systems, as they’re known for performing intensive tests to make sure that their products are built to last, and they’re also experts at using software and hardware to determine accurately the heat maps, thus determining the ideal cooling solution for their rigs. Basically, if you’re a total “noob” looking for a silent yet powerful machine, Puget Systems is the way to go.
- excellent solution for professionals
- solid tech support
- wide range of customization options
- just a 1-year warranty
High Performance When You Need It
Finally, we have Velocity Micro, another relatively small company specialized in custom-building gaming PCs and laptops, as well as professional workstations. With a price range between $1000 and $15,000, Velocity Micro has something for basically anyone looking for 4K, VR ready, Overclocking, Water cooling, Deep learning, AI and so on and so forth. One of the main selling points of Velocity Micro’s systems is their lightning-quick shipping policy (under 3 days on all products), plus the fact that all their rigs are built by hand in the US.
Testing is another forte of the company, as Velocity Micro’s stress test includes a 200-point checklist on top of 60 cycles of testing, which means all of their products are built to perfection. Another cool thing about these guys is that they offer lifetime in-house tech support, which means they’re pretty confident in their workmanship.
- excellent quality and reliability
- top-notch lifetime tech support
- 1-year warranty for parts and 2-3-year extended warranty options (costs extra)
- ships internationally
- none really