There’s no denying that gaming PCs can get quite pricey. The latest AAA games are built with the most expensive hardware requirements around, so offers to cushion to the financial blows are always attractive. Facebook Marketplace and other social media sites are packed with adverts for so-called gaming PCs but how can you be sure of getting a good deal? We’ve put together a few helpful tips to help you decide if you should buy a gaming PC on Facebook Marketplace.
What is a gaming PC?
Let’s begin with the fundamentals. There is no agreed definition of the term gaming PC. There are machines which are purposely built for gaming, PCs designed to never play games and, unhelpfully, all other machines which may or may not play games. In essence, slapping the words “gaming PC” onto an advert is meaningless. Unless you know exactly what you’re buying, you run the risk of purchasing a machine that will play Solitaire and not much more.
Check the gaming PC’s hardware spec
The key to working out if you should buy a gaming PC is by marrying two bits of information together.
- Exactly what level of hardware is for sale?
- What are the requirements of the games that you want to play?
Ask the vendor for a detailed breakdown of what is being sold. Until you know this, it’s impossible to calculate suitability or value for money. If the vendor is vague or genuinely does not know, ask them to run Speccy through the machine and send you the report. See our guide, How do I check the specs of my PC? for alternative methods.
Once you know what’s for sale, you can use that information to verify if the machine will meet the requirements of a particular game. Let’s take Fortnite as an example. Epic Games publishes a list of system requirement to run the game:
Minimum System Requirements:
Video Card: Intel HD 4000 on PC; Intel Iris Pro 5200
Processor: Core i3-3225 3.3 GHz
Memory: 4GB RAM
OS: Windows 7/8/10 64-bit or Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6
Minimum system requirements represent the lowest level of hardware which the publishers believe will run the game. However, the gaming experience at this level can often be unsatisfactory and unpredictable. For a more balanced performance, Epic Games has another list:
Recommended System Requirements: Video Card: Nvidia GTX 960, AMD R9 280, or equivalent DX11 GPU Video Memory: 2 GB VRAM Processor: Core i5-7300U 3.5 GHz, AMD Ryzen 3 3300U, or equivalent Memory: 8 GB RAM or higher OS: Windows 10 64-bit
As you can see, there is a significant difference between these Recommended System Requirements and the Minimum System Requirements. Critically, you now possess the information to work out if the gaming PC is capable of playing the game.
Almost all games manufacturers publish this information, so spending time researching the requirements is worthwhile.
Is it safe to buy a gaming PC on social media?
When buying on social media, always ask the buyer about their returns and warranty policies. Many social media sites offer no consumer protection should a dispute arise. Although you may be able to report an unscrupulous vendor, you probably won’t get your money back. Unless the site states otherwise, treat the sale as you would from a private seller in the classifieds section of a local newspaper.
There are plenty of genuine, respected vendors on social media so always research their reviews. There are bargains to be found and if you’re in the market for a desktop PC, you can use these tips information to check for possible upgrade options to maximise your purchase. We also have guides on graphics cards and SSD upgrades which can help you out.