An ever increasing amount of gamers are taking the plunge, abandoning traditional console gaming, and entering the thriving PC gaming world. For many of us, less techie types however, the thought of building our own custom built PC can be a daunting one. To help you along a little, we’ve got a stripped down guide to all the basic components required to create your very own gaming PC.
Often described as the ‘brain’ of the computer, the CPU contains all the basic circuitry to perform any tasks that software might ask of it. The choice of which CPU to buy will likely fall between an Intel or AMD processor. The major players on the market, both manufacturers develop a range of CPU’s, ascending in both their power, performance and price.
Note: Ensure your chosen motherboard and CPU have the same ‘processor interface’, as not all are compatible with one another.
If the CPU forms the brain of the PC, the motherboard acts as the heart. Representing the central core, the motherboard holds all your internal components together. Relaying information between those vital components, the main circuit board acts as the glue to your internal system.
Pondering your overall PC build is essential before purchasing a motherboard. Consider how many USB ports you need, if you want one graphics card or two, and if you wish to install a dedicated sound card. Not all motherboards come will dedicated slots for all of these extras.
Check out our guide to installing a motherboard.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
An essential component for any gaming build is the quantity of RAM you install. A form of data storage, RAM is responsible for storing any programmes you are currently running. The latest form of RAM, and the best for gaming, is DDR4.
The best advice to give for purchasing RAM is, buy as much as you can within your budget. The higher the amount of RAM in your system, the better the gaming performance. 4GB is considered an absolute minimum, whilst 16GB is any gamer’s dream.
For the very best in gaming performance, you’re going to need some dedicated graphics. This comes in the form of a graphics card (also known as a video card). This component is entirely responsible for creating the dazzling 3D graphics beaming itself from your monitor.
With computer graphics improving all the time, it’s important to purchase the best graphics card your budget will allow. That way, your PC will be able keep up with the ever more demanding world of high-end PC gaming, for longer.
Ensure your graphics card is big on video memory (at least 1GB), has SLI (for Nvidia GPUs) or CrossFire (for Raedon) support if you wish to install two graphics cards, and DVI and HDMI connection capabilities if you’re going to connect your PC to a TV or monitor via these ports.
Storing and retrieving all your files and programmes, a Hard Drive retains data stored on it even when switched off. The main consideration to make is whether to go for a HDD (Hard Drive Disk) or SSD (Solid State Drive).
By using flash memory, SSDs are faster, more reliable and quieter than HDDs. The trade-off comes when you consider the extra cost to choosing an SSD. Opting for a hybrid drive (SSHD), thus having the speed of an SSD and greater capacity of a HDD, could be the best compromise, if your budget allows.
Check out our guide to installing an SSD.
With so much content available online these days, purchasing an optical drive (reading or writing discs) is not essential. But with CD based media still widely in use, most of us are likely to install an optical drive of some description.
The main decision to make is whether to include a more pricey, but more impressive, Blu-ray disc player on top a standard DVD reader and writer.
For obvious reasons, a necessary component to your gaming PC is the power supply. Even here, builders have a decision to make over which avenue to go down. Power supplies come in a number of wattages, ranging anywhere from 300W to 1 kW of power. Again, the more powerful your gaming build, the more voltage you will require. To cope with the demands of PC gaming however, you’re likely to need at least a 500W PSU.
After spending so much of your hard earned cash on the internal workings of your dream PC, the right case to house all that power is essential. First and foremost, you need to pick a size. Whilst your typical Mid-Tower case will be ample enough for most PC builds, a Full-Tower case can leave you room for expansion.
Ensuring your case has adequate cooling, usually in the form of vents or inbuilt fans, can be the key to maintaining your PC at the height of its powers. Also consider each products cable management, and above all, design, as the PC case acts as the face of your system.
To display all this lovely gaming tech, you’re going to need a monitor. There are a number of considerations to make before finding the perfect monitor to compliment your PC. Size is a good place to start, with PC monitors generally ranging between 19 and 27 inches.
Resolution is a vital component to the ideal monitor. 1080p, Full HD images are essential to any gaming PC rig. For a staggering level of detail, consider a 4K monitor, harnessing four time the resolution of a standard Full HD monitor.
For gamers, the response time is also a point worth consideration. High end monitors provide a response to your input within 1 millisecond, and that extra sharp response can add to a more authentic gaming experience.
In order to enjoy your newly built gaming rig in all its glory, you’re going to need some peripherals. Specifically designed gaming keyboards can provide you with a number of solutions to enhance your game play, such as hot keys and mechanical switches. Similarly, gaming mice house features such as programmable buttons and different sensitivities to suit your needs as a gamer.
Also consider what other peripherals you might need. A good set of speakers can bring the audio to your perfect graphical display. For those of us who broadcast our game play online, you may want to purchase yourself a webcam.
The vast majority of motherboards available today will come with inbuilt sound capabilities. For greater immersion when playing games media however, an internal sound card can bring a better quality of sound to your ears.
Consider the location of your gaming PC and connected modem. To dismiss any opportunity for network failures during gaming, a wired connection to the internet is always preferable. For some though, that will be an impracticality. If so, you’ll need to purchase a Wireless Network card to allow a connection to Wi-Fi signals.
And finally, some consideration must be made for the software & Operating System you want loaded onto the computer. Which operating system you plump for will be your first consideration. Windows comes bundled onto the majority of pre-built PCs, but other options include Ubuntu and Mint from the open source OS Linux, which are popular with PC builders as they are free.
Similarly, consider the strength of anti-virus protection you wish to install on your PC, with a wealth of options available on the market.
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For all the best prices on your gaming PC components, head to Ebuyer.com. Use the various links above to view our range of products for each component.