When it comes to building a new computer, the always changing world of PC components and performance characteristics can be quite troublesome to navigate and stay current with. To help achieve what one wishes in building a computer, the first question should be, what do you want to do with it? There are numerous different types of builds one can perform with entirely different functionalities. Do you want a PC for video editing, bitcoin mining, coding, simple day-to-day tasks, or do you wish to create a monster of a gaming rig?
In this scenario, I will discuss what it will take to develop and create a PC designated for gaming. With the steady rise in performance requirements in today’s and future games, a current gaming PC must undergo extensive research and planning; nobody wants to purchase a new game only to find that it plays poorly or overheats the components.
When it comes to the first stage of planning, a general idea of the budget should be addressed. While expensive components are generally admired for their performance, there are indeed some areas that can provide some savings, while others may need the bulk of your budget. A high-end gaming PC enables you to perform tasks like VR (Virtual Reality) and stream and play in 4k resolution, all while experiencing the most out of a game, (FPS included).
First things first, a motherboard will be needed to house all components of the build such as the graphics card, CPU, and everything else. For a gaming PC, trying to get the maximum amount of performance can cause strain on a motherboard, so you will want to purchase a high-end product, as well as research what can fit on it and the performance of each piece in reference to the board. Each component needs to be able to be supported by the motherboard, as well as have slots for video cards, USB ports, and SATA drive capabilities that you will need throughout the build. Also, note that the motherboard must match the socket and wattage requirements of your CPU.
For the next part of the build, choosing the right CPU should be the cornerstone of the entire build. Since the CPU is the so-called, brains of the computer, this will give you a general indication of what other pieces can be used with it. Intel and AMD offer a large number of CPUs to choose from, and with AMD’s new Ryzen platform that I previously talked about in an earlier post, achieving great functionality with a minimal price tag is well within the means of most builds. Be sure to research thoroughly at this point, as allocating more funds for a CPU is well advised.
Next, RAM (Random Access) memory should be addressed. This is what will give your new PC the speed to run games in the highest of settings and performance; i.e., the power to win. For a gaming PC, you will want RAM designed for such, and in a high amount. Make sure that RAM will fit your motherboard as well as have the same MHz for peak functionality. Also, pay attention to the differences between DDR2, DDR3, and so on. I tend to favor Corsair’s Vengeance LED RAM modules for the added cooling and amazing LED lighting.
Now, a graphics card should be researched and purchased. For a gaming PC, this item is one of the most essential items you can add due to the extensive graphical requirements of current and future PC games. You can go different routes with these, such as having a single or dual card setup, but it is important to know what your future of the PC will hold. Upgrading these cards can be pricey. However, new cards are introduced frequently so the performance of your current card might not be as useful as it is presently. NVIDIA and AMD are great companies to choose from, and the one you select should be carefully researched; customer reviews are a great tool to use. Trust me, spend some money on this part, you will not regret it.
Now that we have graphics taken care of, memory should now come into play. The storage needed for new games is always increasing, some even nearing 100GBs. Due to this, having a large amount of storage is crucial to allowing you to have a large library of games available to play. Although, simply having a 1TB hard drive might not be the best idea. When it comes to having such a large hard drive, loading times can be sluggish and the performance of games might not be optimal. In my own opinion, having a smaller SSD (Solid-State Drive) specifically for games while a larger standard hard-drive for everything else is much more beneficial.
As of now, we have many powerful devices added to our rig, but what do we need to power them all? The PSU (Power Supply Unit) is what will give your new rig life. For performance-oriented PC equipment, the power required is much more than with a typical PC. You will need to factor in all of the power ratings of the equipment you are using and find a PSU that goes above what is needed. Also, if adding a second graphics card or upgrading other items in your build is a possibility in the future, you will want to purchase a PSU that can scale with you. This is a part you will not want to sacrifice in quality as lower-end models might advertise that they offer an adequate amount of power, but might not last as long as more costly models.
With all of these components added, the heat that they generate will be much more than your typical office computer. Running at max graphics settings for an extended amount of time, heat can be quite damaging to many components if not adequately ventilated, channeled, and cooled. Cooling options come in many forms, from a simple heatsink attached to your CPU to an expensive and awesome looking liquid cooling setup. Liquid cooling is by far my favorite as it can lower the temperatures of your computer substantially (and looks very futuristic). Although, even with a liquid cooler, the airflow of the entire machine needs to be addressed. Having proper intake and outtake fans help reroute airflow so you have cool air coming in (usually from the front or top of the case) and hot air flowing out (usually from the back or bottom). Adding additional fans to your case not only improves cooling and airflow but also gives you an additional area for customization (many fans can have LEDs).
Finally, as mentioned before, the case that will house all of these components is very crucial to the build. The case gives you the ability to hold all of these parts, do so in an aesthetic and function manner, as well as route power and connectivity to all devices. There are several types of cases one can choose, from mini ITX cases intended for media centers to bulky full-tower models, which can hold the larger gaming pc components addressed in this post. It is important to remember that certain cases might not have the right screw holes for your motherboard. Choosing a case also comes down to how you want your rig to look; many cases offer multiple fans, lights, and other forms of styling.
With all of these items, you are well on your way to creating your new gaming PC. While the process can be confusing and troublesome at times, just remember, Dr. Frankenstein went through similar troubles in his project, and yet, when you first turn your rig on and see it come alive, the feeling will be well worth it.