As a PC gamer, you know how important high-quality equipment is to game performance. Modern developers are continually pushing the limits of graphics, speed, and performance, making custom gaming PCs more attractive than ever.
If you’re ready to level up your gaming rig, you can always purchase one that’s pre-built. But not only is building your own gaming computer more cost-effective, it’s also a majorly rewarding learning opportunity.
If you’ve ever wondered how to build a gaming PC, read on! Here are our top tips for building one of your very own.
First Things First
Before you jump right into purchasing components, take time to answer these two questions. They’ll help you decide what parts are best for your gaming needs.
1. What’s your budget?
When you’re building your own gaming computer, plan on spending at least $300-400 USD. This kind of money will get you a basic setup that you can upgrade over time, but it won’t let you play more modern, high-performance games.
You can purchase everything you need to build a gaming PC for about $1000. If you shop smart, this budget will allow you to play games with cutting-edge graphics and high CPU requirements. Keep in mind that spending more money doesn’t always mean better performance, so try to find a balance the two.
2. What kind of gamer are you?
If you’re trying to play your way through each of the Diablo 3 classes, your PC needs will be very different than if you’re running an Atari emulator. Make sure the hardware you choose can keep up with your gaming habits.
Fill Up Your Inventory: All the Parts & Pieces
Even though every custom gaming PC is unique, they’re all made up of the same basic parts:
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
One of the most important parts, the CPU can also be called your PC’s “brain.” Because of its huge impact on performance, do some serious research before buying and always choose a CPU that’s up to date. Intel and AMD processors are two great options for gaming.
There are two important questions to answer when choosing a motherboard. First, is it compatible with your CPU? And second, do you want overclocking capabilities? This is one component where you don’t actually need to pay for “gaming quality”—just make sure you buy from a reputable manufacturer.
Graphics Card (GPU)
If you’re hoping to play modern, graphics-heavy games with high FPS requirements, investing in a quality graphics card is an absolute must. The Nvidia GeForce line is always a favorite.
RAM directly affects your CPU and thus game performance. Make sure you purchase at least 8GB of RAM if you’re hoping to play modern games, but spring for 16GB if you can afford it.
Storage (SSD or HDD)
Choose a solid state drive (SSD) if you value speed and durability, but keep in mind that they’re generally more expensive than a hard disk drive (HDD). An HDD is best if you need a lot of storage space on a smaller budget.
Power Supply Unit
If you’re not familiar with wattage and electrical efficiency ratings, it’s best to reference a PSU buying guide when deciding which power supply to purchase.
This is the only part you’re going to see, so buy one you like to look at. That being said, it’s also important to make sure it has proper ventilation and enough space to fit the internal components.
Using a web tool like UserBenchmark can help you compare stats like price, speed, and performance ratings between brands when you’re shopping for parts.
Once you’ve purchased all of your hardware, check to see if there’s any room left in your budget. If so, consider upgrading your gaming desk, monitor, mouse, or headphones.
How To Build a Gaming PC
Now comes the fun part: putting all the pieces together. If you don’t already have a working knowledge of circuits and electricity, now’s a great time to learn!
Some of the parts you purchase may come with installation instructions. If not, there are plenty of video tutorials on how to assemble all of your components. The physical building of your PC can usually be completed in a few hours.
Once you’ve assembled your PC, it’s time to hook it up to a monitor and install an operating system (OS). Windows 10 is generally recommended for gaming purposes, but if you prefer open source software (or you spent your remaining budget on the monitor) the Ubuntu or Mint Linux builds are a good choice.
That’s it—all the basic information you need to know about how to build a gaming PC. Now, go forth and design your dream computer! You’ll be slaying dragons, battling armies, and traversing distant worlds in no time.
Once you’re done building your PC, use it to check out our blog for more interesting reads on entertainment and technology.