I’ve recently built a gaming PC. It was a dream of mine for a long long time. I found myself in the fortunate position of having the money to finally do it. And it is my money I spent. There was no ads and no sponsorship. With the exception of a monitor, keyboard and mouse, I had to buy everything. I had very limited knowledge, but access to a friend who knew a lot. And I had Google. What could go wrong?
Buying Tech in Ireland is Tough
Ireland offers a relatively small market for companies to make money in. Gaming PCs are already a niche enough industry already in the bigger context of consumer electronics. If you plan to build a gaming PC, this is going to big your biggest barrier. I needed help. I wanted to go into a shop for advice.
But I couldn’t.
Even if you shop online in Ireland, getting the latest technology is difficult. I’d waited so long to build a gaming PC, I wanted some of the best tech. And it can’t be got here in Ireland.
I’ve had to learn a lot about new PC part specs. Honestly, before this build I didn’t know what DDR5 was. I didn’t know that a motherboard was called a mobo. I was such a noob, I didn’t know about team green (Nvidia) and team red (AMD). Years ago, I did buy an ATI Rage graphics card, and just a while ago I put two and two together.
So after researching my parts and adding them all to PC Parts Picker, I set off to try and source them. My GPU had just launched and couldn’t be got in Ireland. Instead, I had to buy my heftily overpriced GPU from the UK. Shopping through the EU or the UK opens up a world of choice.
The unfortunate truth is, I wanted to spend money here in Ireland, but had to look abroad. Not one part of my gaming rig was bought here in Ireland. It kills me to say that. I started researching parts in the EU, namely Germany. But eventually, I found Jeff Bezos offered nearly everything at the best price. This made me sad. But onward.
Be Careful Who You Shop With
Shopping with Amazon.co.uk is sound. They have shipping to Ireland sorted. You’ll pay a small deposit up front that will cover some costs and you’ll get a refund where it’s owed after a few weeks.
Now, it can be a very different story when you shop with a UK retailer that has no Irish business.
I did some digging and found that computer parts are exempt from customs import charges when shopping in the UK. Great.
The best place to get my motherboard, SSD and processor was in the UK but I thought I had it all worked out. Until I paid both UK VAT and Irish VAT. I’ve been left with a substantial extra cost and a hope I can get some refunds from His Majesty over there. I had to use a virtual UK shipping address which further complicates things.
Learn from my mistakes. Try to shop in the EU or with a UK shop that also has Irish registration. It’ll likely cost more up front, but you’ll avoid hidden costs throughout the build.
Beyond these two mini disasters, the PC still got built. It’s running, it’s been benchmarked and I’m gaming. This article is the first of a few I’ll probably write as I learn what the bloody hell I’m actually doing. But for now, I just wanted to tell people that they shouldn’t feel bad for shopping abroad. If you’re clever, cleverer than me, you’ll save some money and get the best price.
And for those of you who are interested, here’s my build.