Newegg's ChatGPT Plugin Helps You Plan a PC Build

ChatGPT x Newegg
(Image credit: Newegg)

If you need help planning a PC build and like the idea of using AI more than reading an article like our list of best PC builds, Newegg has an answer for you. The company has just released a new ChatGPT plugin you can access if you have a ChatGPT plus account.

The plugin lets you ask a conversational AI about what the best gaming build for your budget is and get back a recommended parts list. Every suggested hardware piece conveniently comes with a link straight to the corresponding Newegg product page, and you can even ask ChatGPT to give you a master build link so you only need to click two or three additional times before you're through the checkout process. 

But just how good is its advice? I just tested the Newegg plugin, and it was akin to entering Alice in Wonderland (the Tim Burton version): everything's interesting and somewhat faithful, but laid out in just the wrong way.

My first question was one that our Editor-in-Chief, Avram Piltch, already asked Newegg back in March this year (to then-mediocre results): I wanted the best gaming PC build under $1000. And for a $1000 dollars, this is what it suggested:

Everything looks ok at first glance. Well, scratch that. The way it looks depends on how knowledgeable you already are about the PC component market today.

If you're a newcomer to the PC hardware world, it looks okay: the only issue you can likely detect is that the total build price ended up slightly over budget, at $1123.09. You'll accept that the AI has provided the answer you need (what with its authoritative, knowledgeable tone), and use the convenient flow between the plugin and your Newegg account.

And you'll probably be satisfied enough with your system, to be fair. The Radeon RX 6700 XT isn't a bad card by any measure, there's a snappy-enough 1TB NVMe SSD, a six-core Zen 3 CPU and 16GB of (again, competent) RAM. And we must remember that DDR5 and AM5 motherboards, requisite pieces for a Ryzen 7000 series CPU, are generally more expensive and thus more difficult to accommodate within a $1000 budget. It's a competent gaming system relative to the budget, even if the individual component choices are debatable.

Except that the typical price for the RX 6700 XT hovers around the $330-$370 range so the $558.99 MSI card the bot recommends is overpriced by more than $230!  If you didn't know better or double-check the prices, you'd be throwing money down the drain. 

That's a problem.

If you're not a newcomer, you might know to ask for an alternative graphics card; or you might just really want to stick within the $1000 budget. Surely an AI can stay within a hard limit, right?

The next build delivered through the Newegg plugin for ChatGPT looked much better:

The RTX 4060 is a much better buy at the listed price of $309.99 compared to the $558.99 RX 6700 XT from before. You also get a bump in the processor (now an 8-core CPU that's a balanced choice for the budget), an extra 16GB of RAM (now 32GB), a better SSD, and again, a relatively balanced system.

But if you'd ask our forum members, they'd point out multiple hardware choices that could be better fits for your build: more performant power supplies and the correct balance of motherboard features and price according to your use-case. And tech reviewers would have shown you the best-looking PC cases, and talked about difficulties you might experience with a specific model, or how it compares to competitors. The same is true for CPUs and SSDs and essentially every entry in the Newegg-provided shopping list.

ChatGPT might give you that, in a way: it will ask you several questions in order to optimize the build, such as "Do you have a budget for this build?" and "Do you have a preference for AMD or Intel CPU?". So it's doable, if you dedicate enough questions to that. But again depending on how knowledgeable you are on what you're looking for (which is opposite what you want this system to look like), you might find additional points of friction. 

For instance: why did ChatGPT suggest an RTX 4060 for the build, if its knowledge cut-off is set at September 2021?

ChatGPT x Newegg

Something doesn't compute between the information ChatGPT suggests and the information it says it has access to. (Image credit: Future)

Trust Issues

That's puzzling. Our first article on credible rumors about the RTX 4060 is dated December 2022. Obviously, ChatGPT is getting its product information directly from Newegg, a retailer with its own agenda. 

That just opens up a number of questions, and the possibilities vary depending, again, on trust. If these products are being supplied by Newegg, then how are they being ranked? How exactly is the GPT4 agent working with Newegg's plugin? Does it send a request for popular hardware within a pricing range? Or is everything - including budget - simply provided by Newegg's own hardware stock information? If Newegg wants to sell you a more expensive model that's not the best value, is it going to recommend that?

When it's a store rather than an objective expert dolling out the build advice, your interests may not come first. If you're the type of user who just wants a simple answer, you may not think to question the AI's output. And if you're an advanced user like me, you'd spend a lot of time fact-checking and price-checking Newegg's suggested build before you'd actually pull the trigger and buy something.

Large Language Problems

There's also an attrition process involved in choosing a build within the Newegg PC Builder plugin: ChatGPT doesn't immediately deliver me exactly what I want it to, as natural as its language processing is. For instance, my first prompt read "I want to build the best gaming system possible today. It should feature a consumer-level AMD or Intel CPU and a single graphics card."

When I write the above, I know exactly what I mean: that I want every component that's required for a gaming PC to be maximized. I want the best pick in every category (in this case, with the added constraints to pre-emptively keep it away from any quixotic dual-CPU or Multi-GPU "hallucination").


When prompted for the best possible gaming PC where money is no object, ChatGPT ultimately offered my an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. A great CPU in a budget-oriented build, to be sure - but not here. (Image credit: Future)

And yet the bot didn't deliver what I asked for. The best possible PC would clearly have a top-of-the-line, current-gen CPU from AMD or Intel (not a Ryzen 5 5600X which is a mid-range, older-gen chip) and it would have an RTX 4090 (not a 4080), which is the fastest graphics card around. 

Yes, I could keep modifying my prompt and asking for more expensive and fancier parts but that's because I already know what I want. If someone already knew what they wanted, they wouldn't need the bot. And if a knowledgeable person got this kind of answer, they'd leave.

Newegg's ChatGPT plugin is a nice technical achievement, but it's not helpful enough right now to replace advice from expert humans or save you the trouble of doing your own research. Perhaps a future version will give better quality results, but as long as the advice is coming from a single retailer, you'll have to be wary of bias in favor of inventory that the vendor wants to move.

Francisco Pires
Freelance News Writer

Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.

  • TechieTwo
    I wonder if these Chinese based apps have hidden monitoring software that anti-virus software is unable to detect?
  • Mukul7554
    not working great
    see I searched "custom nas box"
    options include graphics card ~$285/ $470/ $1300
  • bit_user
    It'd be interesting if they used statistical models, based on actual benchmarks of different games & settings, to present you with optimal perf/$ options for whatever price point you specify. That would be way simpler than ChatGPT and would probably work a lot better.

    The real problem that needs solving is component-matching. So, finding the most cost-effective CPU for a given GPU, and then the most cost-effective cooler and memory for that CPU.
  • pctech4life
    "Newegg provides ChatGPT plugin to customers"... which requires a monthly subscription to ChatGPT Plus that costs as much as a Netflix premium account.

    This tool is garbage for anyone building a PC who cannot answer their own questions about compatibility and performance when mixing components and hardware. Let's have a moment of silence for the lost hours and money when they attempt to build these. If those new to the world of DIY PC building use this as a shortcut to speed up education/experience Newegg will be contributing to the cost of their journey. Returns may be a hidden cost of this form of automated shopping assistant. Not sure how many without a $20/month GPT Plus subscription will start paying for that to access this.
  • bit_user
    Francisco Alexandre Pires said:
    That's probably what Newegg is accessing through ChatGPT, though: the benchmarks and expert reviews from websites such as Tom's. Unless Newegg does their own in-house testing, of course. But they don't, and most other ways to access that data would likely cost much more than an API integration and whatever they pay OpenAI.
    Instead of relying on ChatGPT to have read and faithfully remember all such details, it would work better to build an explicit PC performance model over a set of core components and workloads.

    Francisco Alexandre Pires said:
    This creates an interesting world, where Newegg is hoping customers access that information within ChatGPT.
    I think Newegg is mostly doing it for publicity, by jumping on the hype bandwagon. Maybe they're also hoping it would entice a few people to try building their first PC. Perhaps students, many of whom I'm told use ChatGPT to help with their schoolwork, have more trust in it than we do, and could be reassured if given the benefit of its advice.
  • USAFRet
    bit_user said:
    Perhaps students, many of whom I'm told use ChatGPT to help with their schoolwork, have more trust in it than we do, and could be reassured if given the benefit of its advice.
    We have an intern in the office who is all in with ChatGPT.

    Even when we show him the absolutely incorrect responses it often spits out...."Well, you're just not using it right!"
  • bit_user
    USAFRet said:
    We have an intern in the office who is all in with ChatGPT.

    Even when we show him the absolutely incorrect responses it often spits out...."Well, you're just not using it right!"
    You might both have a point. Did you ever challenge him to show you "how to use it right"?
  • USAFRet
    bit_user said:
    You might both have a point. Did you ever challenge him to show you "how to use it right"?
    Oh absolutely. is (per my mandate) totally banned for use in our dev team.

    His point is that you have to go through a whole iterative process...ask, get the response, feed the error back in, get an error, and on and on.
    -Make me a website to do X-

    Then, I pointed him at the really large flowchart on the really big whiteboard, and said "OK...make that."

    "But but...I don't understand that...:("

    "Exactly dude. You have to understand what this application, or even just the small part of it on that whiteboard, is supposed to do, at a very detailed level. (and you've sat in on ALL the design meetings so far)
    You also have to internalize the maintenance aspect 5 years from now, when you're long gone. The 'code' is a small part of the whole process."

    ChatGPT makes crappy code, and crappier developers.
    If you rely on that tool, you'll never understand how all the parts interact. From the users fingers to the backend database.
  • USAFRet
    And for our little intern, he is taking a biology class.
    And WILL use ChatGPT.

    "So're going to rely on this thing to basically write your papers, and you take credit."
    "So then you don't really learn anything, except how to manipulate the CHatGPT tool, and nothing about biology. Gotcha."