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.

Motherboard

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”โ€”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.

Memory (RAM)

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.

Case

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.

Game On

That’s itโ€”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.

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The Most Hotly Contested Web Design Concepts of 2016

If there’s one topic that gets people fired up it’s web design. To succeed online, a smartly designed website is crucial. Something that brings in visitors and keeps them on your page, absorbing content.

Unfortunately, what constitutes a great site isn’t always agreed upon, and there’s constant debate of best practices, what’s hot, what’s not, and what is the cancer that is killing the industry. The argument still rages on, and recently it’s moved on to these commonly used web design elements:

The Carousel

“We’re not at the park, so why are we going around and around? Because people keep designing their sites with these blasted carousels” is just one of the commonly heard gripes about this supposedly interesting design choice.

Unfortunately, we have to keep clicking left or right to get another little morsel of information that the designers have deemed us worthy to handle. Are they afraid we can’t read full paragraphs? This one isn’t just a matter being annoyed personal preference, however, Carousel designs actually harm your websites performance.

They kill local SEO efforts by starving your site of actual content, the slow your site down with huge image files and JavaScript, and they are so confoundingly bad that nobody clicks through them all the way. The naysayers might have a point on this one, Carousels are way more trouble than they are worth.

Parallax Scrolling

You’ve seen this technique on graphics heavy sites in which the foreground and background scroll at different speeds. It creates a feeling of depth, helps tell a story through visuals, and looks pretty cool when properly implemented.

Unfortunately, it comes with some (resolvable) issues that may make it a waste of time. Like the Carousel, use of Parallax Scrolling is damaging to SEO. Since there’s usually just one page and a bunch of images, there’s no text content for search engines to crawl through and rank.

The abundance of images reduces performance (and completely kills performance on mobile devices). Most damaging of all though, is that the technique can just make it confusing to absorb any useful information, which will cut your number of repeat visitors down tremendously.

Think about it, would you stick around on a website where your only navigation option was to scroll downwards through hard-to read image/text combos? Of course, there are examples of Parallax Scrolling done right, so the argument is there that it’s all about how you choose to use it.

The Hamburger Menu

That three lined symbol in the corner on most websites that you click to access navigation options is commonly known as the hamburger menu.

While it does look cool, and you can see why one might be tempted to clean up their navigation by having it sleekly displayed in a drop-down menu, many say it kills a websites discoverability.

When your navigation options are out of sight, they are also out of mind, the thinking goes. There’s also the argument that it’s less efficient, since you’re forced to go to a separate menu just to see your options, but that’s more a matter of personal taste, it would seem.

We may never get definitive answers on whether these trends are good or bad, but it seems pretty clear that if you are going to try to incorporate any of these ideas into your design, you have to do it with care.

We’ve given you an overview of the tons of free web design options out there for building a pretty good site. When you have to move up to the big leagues though, it’d be prudent to hire some big league talent.

Professional web developers like Big Drop (out of New York), or Brown Box Branding (Dallas TX) offer great designs coupled with high level marketing strategies proven to keep the visitors coming back to your site for more.

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