Building a Gaming PC
The thought of building a gaming computer can be a bit intimidating. Don’t let it be. You control the cost, the pace and now you have a simple guide to follow along with. This will be a simple guide so even non-techies can follow along. You don’t really need to know exactly how it all works to build yourself a monster gaming PC. Now let’s get to it.
1. Choose a Processor (CPU)
This is the brain of the machine. Finding an up-to-date processor is a must with the rapid rate games are advancing. Most modern processors are multi-core, essentially the same as saying multiple processors in one. First time buyers may think the more cores the better in every circumstance, however this isn’t always true. IGN uses a perfect example; Intel’s quad-core CPUs can stand up well when compared to AMD’s 8-core CPUs. So it’ll be important to shop around with a budget in mind and compare the specs, side by side. The last two points to keep in mind is power usage and the type and ease of cooling.
2. CPU Cooler (Thermal Paste needed)
Installing the CPU cooler can be the trickiest step in building the computer. Everything else after is a breeze. You’re going to need some thermal paste. There are most likely instructions that came with the CPU cooler, these will be important to follow. It’s a bit complicated, thermal paste can get everywhere and no one wants that so we included this video below to make this even easier.
3. Can’t Forget a Motherboard
The motherboard allows all the different components of a computer to ‘talk’ to each other. The CPU chosen will determine what kind of motherboard you need. Different processors have different ‘socket’ sizes and will only match up with motherboards that support that socket. Other considerations include how much memory you’ll want, size of the case and how many drives will be installed.
*REMEMBER* Keep the motherboard diagram close at hand, it’ll make finding the required slots for each component much easier for new builders.
This step is crucial to the success of the build so as to ensure all other components are compatible. Checking compatibility can usually be done through the manufacturers website. Most modern motherboards will support a PCI Express slot, this is essential to expanding the capabilities of a computer so be sure at least one is included. Furthermore, make sure the motherboard has at least 4 slots for RAM so it has plenty of room to grow along with the games.
4. RAM (Random Access Memory)
If you don’t have enough RAM, your programs and games will run slowly. However, reaching into the realm of 32 GB, 64 GB of RAM may not make too much of a noticeable difference. So if you’re building on a budget, 16 GB will do you just fine, for now. Again, games are advancing rapidly.
RAM should be in matching pairs. All RAM should be the same speed and it’s best for them to be the same make and model. If you’re going for 16 GB and have 4 slots in the motherboard, four 4 GB sticks should be used. Make sure that if you plan to have over 8 GB of RAM understand that it will require a 64-bit operating system.
5. Hard Drive
This is where all the data will be stored, from the operating system to every program. Make sure to leave enough room in your budget to buy from a trusted manufacturer, nothing ruins a day like a dead hard drive. Solid state drives are a good choice for a powerful gaming PC. They don’t have any moving parts are more reliable and faster. However they’re a bit expensive and space will be limited when compared to traditional hard drives around the same price. To avoid this inconvenience, you can use an external hard drive for less essential files. Again, ensure the hard drive is compatible with the motherboard.
6. Power Supply
Without this, you basically just have a box with a bunch expensive metal and plastic. The power supply will power every component in the computer. Some cases already have a power supply, but not all. Either way, it’s absolutely vital that the power supply offers enough power to charge every component. Don’t go overboard as it will only output the amount of power needed and the wattage listed is its max payload. This is another part that’s worth leaving some budget open for, a faulty power supply can end up damaging everything else. Pick a reliable manufacturer and if you’re really trying to build a powerful gaming PC, it’s recommended to use a separate power supply if one comes with the case (unless it's a specialized gaming case but be sure to check).
This is relatively easy, but can turn disappointing quickly. Make sure the case is compatible with all the components. If a motherboard doesn’t fit, it’s back to the store for a new case unless you want to start hacking away at plastic. Pick something easy on the eyes, or boring, it’s really up to you. Just make sure everything fits well.
8. Graphics Card Time
Locate the PCIe slot on the motherboard, a long slot closest to the CPU socket and just take off the cover plates. Most video cards use a dual-slot design so you’ll need to remove the cover plate directly to the left and the one above it.
Line up the graphics card’s PCIe interface with the slot and press down until it’s attached completely. Re-insert the thumbscrews until it's firmly locked into place. Hook it up to the power supply and once it’s fully powered it’s ready to bring on those beautiful graphics.
Bam! You just learned how to build a gaming pc. It’ll seem a bit nerve racking, spending a lot of money on something you’re not 100% confident doing. However, local tech stores like Microcenter are more than willing to answer any questions you may have. Asking questions is key when you’re building your first machine. Also, here’s a little cheat sheet which can help with picking components, setting a budget and getting an idea of what kind of computer you can build. Check out https://choosemypc.net/