Can You Upgrade a Prebuilt Gaming PC?

Can You Upgrade a Prebuilt Gaming PC?

In the world of computers,every monumental leap in processing power pushes an entire generation of hardware into the obsolete bin. While other systems are moving on to the newest hardware, it's up to prebuilt systems to incrementally upgrade singular components in order to keep the edge on the latest hardware requirements.

In this article, we will go over what you need to remember when trying to upgrade a prebuilt gaming PC.

Can You Upgrade a Prebuilt PC?

The simple answer is yes. Depending on what you want out of a gaming PC an upgrade can be as simple as installing a new SSD or Graphics card to switching out a CPU cooler or power supply which requires more planning into compatibility.   

The Benefit of Prebuilt Support

When you buy a prebuilt, system integrators automatically offer you a default warranty period for a certain amount of time. During this warranty period, you are not allowed to make any hardware changes to the system, doing so can result in unnecessary component damage to the unaware customer.

This is why system integrators have an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) department that deals with such cases as component failure and or troubleshooting. Along with customer service, the benefits of not violating your warranty from when you initially receive the system has its advantage.

If you do intend to upgrade your system yourself, know that any warranty you have will no longer be honored.

With that out of the way, let's look into the most important things to consider when upgrading a certain component.

The Importance of OEM Parts

Some bigger manufacturers are so large that they ship their prebuilds with OEM (Original equipment manufacturer) components that are not produced anywhere else. These parts are “standardized” in their design and are not compatible with some components that you would pick up from a retailer. Depending on the system integrator, this can range from a lackluster motherboard to an unknown power supply that you've never heard of before.

Here is an example of the different types of OEM and Retail motherboards:

Z490 Motherboard

Above is a Z490 motherboard made by Dell in their AlienWare R11 prebuilt series from 2020. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this type of motherboard from an upgrading standpoint.

Pros

Cons

Is a standard Micro-ATX board

Lacks M.2 NVME slot

Multiple PCIE slots

Proprietary front panel connector (Not standard in most other cases)

Swappable CPU slot

Lacks internal heatsinks on VRM to help thermals

4 RAM stick slots

 

Has standard 4 and 24 pin power connectors

 

Multiple SATA ports for drive expansion

 

With prebuilt OEM systems, their main purpose is to serve the minimum specs advertised on the product page. If you see yourself only adding a new hard drive or an SSD during the life of the system, then this may be the best pick for you! But as far as overclocking and other newer gaming PC storage solutions, these actions will push this board beyond its specifications.

Let's look at a comparable board in the rest of the Manufacturer market and see if we can find one of equal valves of $180 on the market. 

Competitive Component Manufacturers

MSI Z490-A Pro

Above is a MSI Z490-A Pro that we use in our systems,an equivalent example to the Z490 Aurora R11 variant, with added features for the modern PC hardware enthusiasts.

Pros

Cons

Has two dedicated M.2 Slots

Larger Motherboard (ATX)

Has dedicated heatsinks for the VRM

Limited SATA usability (M.2 share some SATA ports when in use)

4 RAM stick slots

 

Type C connection on motherboard

 

2 USB 3 headers (can support up to 4 additional usb 3.0's)

 

RGB headers (ARGB& JRAINBOW)

 

Overclock supported Motherboard

 

Already you can feel the “bang with your buck” when choosing this board option. So why don't prebuilts come with this much future proofing from big manufacturers? It all boils down to intended use and the projected life time for a system.

PC components have a habit of becoming outdated so fast that in five to ten years after a product release, many people may consider that component obsolete. That is why companies don't put more effort into a component that a minority of people will want to tinker with upgrading their system.

Apex’s Promise for System Integrity

At Apex, We understand if the hardware from yesteryear doesn't live up to what you need out of your system. Apex does not use any major OEM parts that will inhibit your upgrade journey into making the system you want. We encourage you to view our fully upgradable PC’s with components made by manufacturers who have a wide range of compatibility with other companies and expecessories.

Whatever upgrades you have planned for your system, Apex puts the forethought into future proofing components providing options to upgrade by yourself or with Apex.     

Written by Will Wilson


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