An under-performing graphics card shouldn’t leave you in a gaming gulag. Nor should a weak CPU conspire against your passage to the Champions League final with Wycombe Wanderers.
Building a purposeful gaming PC from scratch can be a daunting task, choosing the right components can carry huge significance for the overall performance of your setup. But when you get into the swing of things, the complicated jargon will not only become easier to understand, but the building process can actually be a lot of fun.
DIY gaming PCs can become extremely expensive, and the temptation to buy better parts can often result in a wildly over-budget final product. This guide is designed to help you to learn about the key components of your PC and how to find them.
1. Picking The Right Processor
Otherwise known as a Central Processing Unit (CPU), the processor is essentially the brain of your gaming PC. The CPU will be the main force behind interpreting your instructions and actioning them.
If your CPU is too slow for gaming, it will be unable to process your commands, leaving your gameplay less responsive and potentially laggy. In action-based games that require fast reactions and speed of thought, an underperforming CPU simply won’t do.
While the CPU is certainly the most important part of your PC, it doesn’t have to run up astronomical costs when it comes to finding a competent processor to play modern games. The two key manufacturers in this field are Intel and AMD, and both offer plenty of products for gamers to choose from.
When it comes to Intel, i5 and i7 processors can offer a great level of performance for serious gamers, while AMD’s Ryzen or Threadripper CPUs offer a high level of competence for a range of different uses.
2. Looking For The Right Motherboard
Your motherboard is basically a big circuit board that connects all of your components together, letting them talk to one another efficiently. There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to motherboards, but each product comes with an array of different features and uses, so it’s important to do your homework when selecting one.
The sort of motherboard that you’ll want will depend heavily on the CPU that you plan to buy, and which features you value the most. Not all CPUs are compatible with all motherboards, so make sure you check compatibility before purchasing. Various features like overclocking capabilities, lighting and connectivity options can all come into play when looking for the right motherboard.
Fortunately, there are plenty of guides that offer deeper technical clarity on the range of motherboards available, and the CPU compatibility of each product, too.
3. Getting to Grips With Graphics Cards
Graphics cards are key to your video game experience. This is because they allow your computer to do the required graphics calculations that can deliver a highly responsive 4K gaming experience.
In particular, Graphics Processing Units (GPU) can carry a hugely positive impact on your gaming experience. The two biggest manufacturers here are AMD and Nvidia. The issue with graphics cards is that higher-end models can really set you back for your budget – but if you’re looking at playing the more immersive releases of the past few months, it’s essential to have some quality to deliver your experience. With this in mind, it’s still possible to buy some affordable GPUs in the form of Nvidia’s GTX 1050Ti or AMD’s Radeon RX570.
When budgeting for your gaming PC build, it’s likely that your graphics card will be the largest expense you make. Take a moment to think about the sort of experience you want, and how much you’re keen on experiencing faster framerates and higher resolution graphics – your personal preferences will be key in revealing how much you’ll need to spend to get the setup you want.
4. Measuring Up Your Monitors
Monitors are often an underappreciated aspect of your gaming PC setup. But when push comes to shove, there’s not much point in building a PC with a cutting edge graphics card if the high-resolution pictures are unable to be delivered by the hardware.
Key aspects like refresh rate and response time can play a key role in facilitating a more immersive gaming experience, and luckily there are plenty of examples of gaming monitors under $200 that do the job admirably.
Fundamentally, your gaming monitors will be where your eyes are directed towards for 95% of your gaming PC’s existence, so it’s worth spending more time in researching which monitor is right for delivering the best possible experience for you.
5. Sparing a Thought For Your Mouse
Depending on the type of gamer you are, your mouse could be the most important part of your gaming setup. When it comes to turn-based games with more navigation required, having a mouse that matches your style can be ideal.
Having the seamless ability to adjust the speed of your cursor, or having mappable buttons can make all the difference to your gaming experience, so it’s about time we stopped looking at the humble mouse as an after-thought.
Fortunately, getting a good, responsive and feature-rich mouse doesn’t have to break the bank, and there are plenty of aesthetically pleasing models on show – just in case you want to carry an added flourish to your rig.
Fundamentally, your ideal gaming PC will be a subjective mix of high performing hardware that suits your specific needs in the features it offers. While this guide may point you in the right direction, it’s important to take a moment to think about your own preferences and build a gaming rig with your own ideas in mind. Happy gaming!
Written by Peter J
Peter is a tech, business & blockchain writer having worked with the Press Association and clients like Tesco and RAC. I’m also the CMO at Solvid and have had the pleasure of seeing my work featured on the pages of Entrepreneur, Tech Radar, VentureBeat, Social Media Examiner and Business.com.
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