Pre-built iBUYPOWER 9260 vs building your own gaming PC in 2020

Should you buy a Gaming PC or build one yourself? Lets take a closer look at the popular pre-built gaming desktop PC on Amazon, and compare its price and performance with something that we can build ourselves. So the gaming desktop PC that I am talking about is iBUYPOWER 9260. It is currently selling for under a grand and is consistently placed in Amazon’s bestsellers list. So is iBUYPOWER 9260 a good gaming desktop, or can we build something better ourselves in the same price point?

iBuyPower 9260

iBuyPower 9260 packs in a lot of punch for the money. These guys have picked a really nice looking tempered Glass RGB Case, which makes it stand out from the crowd.
There are 3 RGB fans in the front and 1 in the back to keep the system cool. The RGB colors can be customized to your heart's content using the included software. But its not just the looks, this PC comes with some impressive hardware specs for the price. The CPU is 9th generation Intel Core-i7 from Coffee Lake family. The GPU is Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti with 6 GIG of video RAM. This is an awesome CPU+GPU combo for playing 1080p gaming at max settings. iBuyPower 9260 has 16 GIG of DDR4 RAM and 240 GIG of fast SSD storage. In addition to the SSD, there is extra storage in the form of 1 TB Hard-disk. I think for the money, iBUYPOWER has assembled a great hardware in a really stylish looking case. So overall, I think this is not just a great desktop rig for gaming, but its also a great PC for content creation. If you are into doing stuff like video editing or photo editing, this will be an excellent choice.

Build vs Buy

But can we build a better gaming PC at the same price point? Here is the thing … Big OEMs are able to procure PC parts in bulk at a discounted rates. So while we pay full retail price for things like CPU, GPU, motherboard etc, these guys are able to get it a discount. So this obviously puts us at a disadvantage, if we build the same system ourselves. But, I think it still makes sense to build your own gaming PC. The biggest advantage is that we can pick and choose parts and build something exactly to our liking. So for this video, I did extensive research and compiled a list of the best components that I could find on Amazon. My goal is to build a kickass gaming PC which will match or exceed the performance and aesthetics of iBuyPower 9260

CPU: Intel vs AMD

So the first and the most important choice when building a gaming PC is the CPU. Should we go with Intel or AMD? I think in 2020, if you are building a gaming PC, then AMD offers far better value for money than Intel. iBuyPower decided to go with the 9th generation Intel Core-i7, but I think we can do better. I have decided to go with AMD Ryzen 5 3600 which is a far better CPU choice for building a gaming PC than intel core-i7.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

So here is a chart comparing these 2 CPUs. Intel Core-i7 has 2 more cores than Ryzen 5 but since Hyper-threading is disabled on Intel CPU, it has 4 less threads. Ryzen 5 has a higher base clock frequency but Intel Core-i7 has a higher Turbo clock frequency. Both these CPUs operate at the same thermal envelope of 35 watt TDP. Also note that Ryzen 5 has bigger cache than core-i7, and it supports faster DDR4 memory speed of 3200 Mhz. So how does all this translate in to real world performance?
Let's take a closer look at some CPU benchmarks. In the Single Thread benchmark from PassMark Software, Ryzen scores 2803 points versus Intel core-i7 which scores 2717. So that's a narrow 3.2% performance win by AMD. But what about overall performance when taking into account all the cores and threads. This should be an interesting comparison because Intel has 8 cores but only 8 threads, while AMD has 6 cores and 12 threads. So, in overall CPU Mark Rating from PassMark Software, Ryzen scores 19,856 points as opposed to Core-i7 which gets 16,542. So that's a solid 20% performance lead by Ryzen 5 over Intel core-i7.

These results validate our CPU choice of picking AMD Ryzen 5 3600 over Intel Core-i7. Now, one other thing to remember is that Ryzen supports faster DDR4 memory with speeds upto 3200 MHz. This is important for our gaming rig, because faster system memory always results in better gameplay. So not only is the CPU in our gaming rig faster than iBuyPower 9260, it also has a faster system memory

MSI ProSeries B450M Micro-ATX Motherboard

Ok, so now that the CPU choice has been made, it's time to pick the motherboard.  To get the best value out of budget gaming PC, we don't need to spend a ton of money on expensive motherboards. There are some really good motherboard options for 3rd generation Ryzen CPU. I have picked MSI ProSeries B450M Micro-ATX Motherboard. Despite coming at a very reasonable price and is packed with features. It supports Ryzen 5 3600 CPU right out of the box, without requiring any BIOS update. Now, this is important because if you buy a motherboard which requires BIOS update to support 3rd gen Ryzen CPU, then you will need an older 2nd gen Ryzen CPU to perform the BIOS update. And if you don't have an older Ryzen CPU, then you are screwed. So never buy motherboards which don't support your CPU of choice right out of the box. Nobody has time for BIOS updates!
This motherboard offers 4 RAM slots, 6 USB ports, and an NVMe M.2 slot for fast SSD. It also comes with HD audio chipset along with a dedicated amplifier and high quality audio capacitors. To prevent static interference in audio signals, all these audio components are physically isolated from the rest of the motherboard. I think this is a great motherboard choice for our gaming PC.

GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

OK, now let's move onto the GPU. iBUYPOWER 9260 came with GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. I think this is a great gaming GPU, so we are going to stick with it. For our system I have decided to go with MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. It comes with 6GB of GDDR6 video RAM. Ryzen 5 3600 and GTX 1660 Ti is the perfect combo for running any game at 1080p resolution with high framerates.

Thermaltake V200 Tempered Glass RGB Edition Case

OK, next we need to pick a case that will match or beat iBUYPOWER 9260 case. I want a functional case that comes at a budget price and looks cool. So after extensive research, I decided to go with Thermaltake V200 Tempered Glass RGB Edition case. This case comes with 4 120mm RGB Fans. 3 are installed in the front and 1 is in the rear. We also have the option of installing 2 additional RGB fans on the top.
This case has 4 millimeter thick Tempered Glass Side panel with standard mounting. This will showcase all our RGB lighting. The case has a built in PSU cover which should help with cable management. All the IO ports are easily accessible from top-front panel. Overall, this case is perfect for our gaming rig. It's compact, looks great and thanks to the windowed side panel and RGB fans, it looks really cool.

Thermaltake 700W PSU

After the case, the next component to pick is the Power Supply. PSU has got to be the most under-rated component of any PC. If you pick a bad PSU, you will be trouble shooting random crashes, freezes and all kinds of weird issues. I decided to go with 700W PSU from Thermaltake.
This is an 80 PLUS Certified PSU and comes with 5 years warranty. It has a 120mm fan which runs pretty quiet. 700 watts of power should be more than enough for our system to run smoothly. If at a later stage, we want to add a more power hungry GPU, this PSU should have no trouble delivering the extra power. Unfortunately, this PSU is not modular. All the good modular PSUs are a lot more expensive and they would not fit in our budget.

16GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX

System RAM is next and I decided to go with the fastest RAM that ryzen 5 3600 supports. Its 16GB kit of Corsair Vengeance LPX. This RAM is way faster than what iBUYPOWER 9260 gaming PC comes with. Its little more expensive but totally worth it. Ryzen 5 3600 with 3200Mhz system RAM is going to kick ass and result in superior gaming experience. BTW Vengeance memory sticks are overclockable and they come with a nice heatspreader. The heatspreader is made of aluminum and it does an excellent job with heat dissipation. This will be great for overclockers who want to take their gaming PC performance to the next level


Ok , now lets talk about storage. iBUYPOWER PC came with 240 GIG of SSD and 1TB of hard-disk. I decided to double that in our Gaming PC. So I picked 500 GIG of PCIE Nvme SSD storage from Western Digital. I also added 2TB of fast 7200 rpm hard-disk from Seagate BarraCuda. This should provide us with plenty of storage space

TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter

Ok, so one thing missing from MSI ProSeries B450M motherboard is the integrated wifi. I got a TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter to mitigate this problem.
So to the total cost of our hardware is now 871 dollars. That means we are way under our 1000 dollar budget. But remember we need to add the cost of windows 10, unless you already have a working copy of windows 10. And with that, our total price comes down to 1005 dollars. For this price we are definitely getting a better PC than iBUYPOWER. Our rig has a superior CPU, faster system RAM, more storage and a beefier power supply making future GPU upgrades a breeze. Our case is also more customizable, with support for things like 2 extra RGB fans on the top

Windows 10 vs Linux

So what do you guys think? Would you rather buy a pre-built gaming PC like iBUYPOWER or build one yourself for 1000 bucks? BTW, if you choose to install linux instead of windows, you can save additional 130 dollars. Remember, Linux supports popular Steam app store where you can find most of your favorite gaming titles. Also, GTX 1660 Ti is fully supported on linux, so there won't be performance issues related with bad drivers. Nvidia actually provides good linux driver support. Now linux isn't everyone’s cup of tea, but for tech savvy folks, this is an excellent option

Purchase links

Buy iBUYPOWER 9260 Gaming PC
Buy AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Buy MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 GPU
Buy MSI ProSeries B450M Micro-ATX Motherboard
Buy Thermaltake V200 Tempered Glass RGB Edition Case
Buy Thermaltake 700W
Buy Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB RAM
Buy WD Blue 3D 500GB SSD
Buy Seagate BarraCuda 2TB HDD
Buy TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter
Buy Gaming Keyboard & Mouse
Buy Gaming Monitor
Buy Windows 10

Disclosure: Some links may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases