The rise of PC gaming is showing no signs of slowing down. Have you hopped on the trend? Perhaps you’re fed up with buying prebuilt gaming PCs? With this guide we will explore just how easy it can be to build a custom gaming PC and everything that you will need with it.
Central processing unit
While getting other components such as RAM and a graphics processing unit may be more exciting, it’s important to acknowledge the central processing unit (CPU) as one of the leading components of a gaming PC. A CPU lies in many other different devices such as a smartwatch and a mobile phone.
Ultimately, it is responsible for the running of your machine. The CPU runs multiple calculations and performs actions that aid in the gaming PC’s ability to perform tasks set by programs such as video games.
CPUs in the modern day have multiple cores, each serving as an extra processor. By having multiple cores, the CPU is able to perform multiple tasks at the same time. This means that by having more cores, your CPU will be able to handle tougher workloads. The general trend for the industry is to have at least six cores. However, it’s also worth taking stock of the games that you’ll be playing and their requirements. This will make your decision on what’s the best CPU for you that little bit easier.
Upgrading your CPU in the future can be a really difficult and expensive process. People tend not to repeatedly swap out their CPU for this reason. So take time to weigh up multiple CPUs and choose one that will last for the long haul.
The motherboard serves as the PC’s ‘brains’. It helps all the different parts of the PC communicate with each other. Having an efficient motherboard is crucial to the smooth running of your gaming PC.
There are many different models of motherboard available on the market. However, your choice will come down to one of two platforms: Intel or AMD. It’s important to know that each of the two platforms will only work with their respective CPU – for example an Intel motherboard will only work with an Intel CPU. So make sure to avoid buying the wrong model for your setup.
Your motherboard will also dictate how much RAM will be available to you. Motherboards come with a number of slots available to insert RAM into. Make sure that you have a motherboard that is capable of holding at least 16 gigabytes (GB) – even if you don’t use this much at the moment, this gives you space to upgrade your gaming PC in the future.
Motherboards are notoriously difficult and expensive to repair, so make sure you buy one that is reliable.
Random access memory
Previously mentioned RAM, or random access memory, is a crucial aspect of getting the best performance out of your gaming PC. RAM is the part of your gaming PC that will temporarily store information that it will need to access.
While casual PC users will be satisfied with around 4GB of RAM in order to carry out their basic tasks, this is simply not enough when it comes to gaming. If you don’t have enough RAM, then your PC will not be able to store the amount of information it needs in order to run a game properly. If you’re working on a tight budget, 8GB may suffice but your gaming PC could still struggle handling multiple tasks at the same time.
To have a better gaming experience and multi-task, you should have at least 12GB of RAM to ensure your games run efficiently. However, if you’re looking long term then 16GB will be the optimal amount – as previously mentioned, this’ll ensure that your gaming PC is futureproof.
When it comes to bolstering your games’ performance, it is crucial to have a decent graphics processing unit (GPU). This serves to take the pressure off of the CPU and to render images. However, having a standard GPU will only get you so far – you will need a dedicated graphics card to run at optimum performance, with faster frame rates and higher resolution.
If you want to experience the glorious graphical potential of games such as GTA V, Far Cry 5 or Crysis, you’ll need the very best graphics card. Old or worn out graphics cards will cause the most graphically demanding games to lag which will not only be detrimental to your gaming experience but also how you perform against your fellow competitors.
The best graphics cards aren’t cheap, and you should always consult the requirements of the games which you intend on playing before splashing the cash.
Crucially you’ll need a place to store all of your games. When it comes to storage you have the choice of a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). An SSD will give you much faster loading times and has the added benefit of being smaller, giving you more space in your PC’s interior. Another thing that sets the SSD apart from the HDD is that it doesn’t have any moving parts which means it’s less likely to run into any issues down the line.
SSDs are not as cheap at HDDs however. A more traditional way of storing data, HDDs are metal disks with a magnetic coating which are designed to spin at high speeds to read and write data. In having a HDDs you’ll also benefit from having a higher storage capacity of around 10 terabytes (TB) compared to the SSD’s 4TB.
It may come down to price, it may come down to loading times, but you need to make sure that, whichever you choose, that the drive is compatible with your operating system.
With all the hardware involved, it will come as no surprise that your custom gaming PC will pump out a lot of heat. Too much heat will cause your machine to slow down and, in some cases, even crash.
You must make sure that the CPU is kept at a cool temperature and you have two options open to you for this: an air cooler or a liquid cooler. Neither of these would be the ‘best’ way of cooling your CPU, so this could come down to price or compatibility. Although some gamers like to install a cooling system that looks, well… cool.
Power supply unit
You can have the very best gear for your custom gaming PC, but you’re not going to get anywhere without the means to power it all. You need a power supply unit (PSU) that is both efficient and durable so avoid the off-brand manufacturers. While it may be tempting to go with the cheapest option, this will come back to bite you in the long haul.
PSU manufacturers now abide by the 80 Plus rating system. This gives you a good measure of both reliability and efficiency. Most modern day PSUs have a certification of 80 Plus Gold. Naturally, these will be the more expensive but are among the most efficient PSUs. Having a high efficiency PSU will benefit your machine as it won’t be pumping out unnecessary heat.
Right from the planning stage, the process of building your dream custom gaming PC is going to be a long one. With all the components at play, don’t be surprised to see the cost stacking up into the thousands too. Remember, you’re going to need a place to store all this kit in so be on the lookout for a decent PC case, too, that will fit all the components. By the end of it all you will definitely get that sense of satisfaction and achievement that comes with building your own custom gaming PC.
Author Bio:- Oliver Griffiths has a passion for film, video games and technology. He can be found at Tillison Consulting running a number of clients’ digital marketing campaigns across all sectors and platforms.