Nowadays we see more and more people customizing or building gaming computers up the way they want. Many people attempt to do it, but they face many difficulties as they might have no idea what parts they need or how to choose the most suitable ones for them. First of all we have to define all the different components we need in order to build a gaming computer. Hardware, software and peripherals.
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- Graphics Card
- Hard Disk Drive
- Ethernet Card
- Sound Card
- Cooling Fans
- CPU Cooling Kit
- Power Supply
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We will be analyzing each different component in order to make it as simple to understand as possible. This is going to be a long article which will steal a couple of minutes of your time, so you may want to grab a cup of coffee or tea at the time really quick. We will start with the hardware section.
The most important thing that determines any computer’s performance is the processor. So this is a great chance to get a powerful one. So how do we pick the best one? Well before we go any further we have to clarify what we have to take into consideration when looking for the perfect processor. The eight elements are:
–Number of cores
–Number of threads
–Base Frequency Speed
–Turbo Frequency Speed
Don’t worry if you have no idea what each of them means. Continue reading as we simply go through each term.
First of all Cache memory is a smaller, faster memory which stores copies of the data from frequently used main memory locations. So the processor has always some data already “processed” and outputs them when needed. Cores are basically the brain of the processor. It’s the piece of hardware that reads some instructions in order to carry out specified tasks. So the more cores you have, the faster your processor will be. Thread is a single line of commands that are getting processed. More simplified it is how the hardware is supplied with information. Think of it as the ‘road’ by which the information gets into the CPU core. Frequency speed is the clock rate or how fast your processor can run. It’s measured in clock cycles per second or its equivalent (Hz).Instruction set provides commands to the processor, to tell it what it needs to do. Thermal power design is the maximum amount of heat generated by the CPU that the cooling system in a computer is required to dissipate in typical operation.Lithography is the process used to manufacture a microprocessor on silicone. 45nm uses less power and produces less heat than 65nm, and since its smaller allows more transistors to fit into the same space.
So summarizing what we just said above, a processor in order to be good for gaming it needs to have large enough cache memory capacity, the more cores and threads the better, we need high frequency speeds and an instruction set of 64 bit. Moreover we prefer the thermal power levels to be low and let’s just leave behind lithography for the moment.
Now that we know how to choose a processor and what to look for here are some good examples:Intel CORE I9-7920X 2.90GHZ, BX80673I97920X Intel Core i9 i9-7940X Tetradeca-core (14 Core) 3.1GHz Processor Socket R4 LGA-2066 OEM Pack Model CD8067303734701 AMD FD8350FRHKBOX FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition Processor AMD FX 8-Core Black Edition FX-8300 3.3 GHz with 4.2 GHz Turbo Octa core Processor (FD8300WMHKBOX) Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
If you want to find out more about gaming processors check our related article: Best Processor For Gaming in 2016
Time to choose a motherboard now. Your chosen processor will directly affect your decision about which motherboard you should get, since your motherboard socket must be compatible with your processor type. Now it seems like the perfect moment to choose a motherboard. What is a motherboard and how can we choose the most suitable?
Well let’s take things from the beggining. In simple terms, a motherboard is the component of the computer which is responsible for connecting all the physical parts together allowing them to interact, communicate and share information with each other.
The above picture illustrates all the different components of the motherboard. We always should keep in mind that some components might differ from motherboards to motherboards. However most of them are always the same as they are kind of “standard”. Next we have to clarify the different processor compatibilities. Different processors come out with different socket requirements. There are about 60 different socket types so we have categorized them in a table. Yes that’s a lot, but only a few of them are most commonly used. However we made a complete guide for each one.
*Search for your processor model in the search box and see exactly which motherboard sockets will work for you or type the socket type and see which processors will fit*
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After we found out what socket to look for, it’s time to move on and and start looking at the best motherboard options available out in the market. We are aiming for a motherboard which has a lot of RAM slots, expansion slots, SATA slots, and an integrated audio card.
Some of the best ones are:
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Intel:ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme LGA2066 DDR4 M.2 U.2 X299 EATX Motherboard with onboard 802.11AD WiGig Wi-Fi USB 3.1 GIGABYTE H370 AORUS Gaming 3 WiFi (LGA1151/Intel/USB3.1 Gen 2 Type A,Type C/HDMI/M.2/ATX/DDR4/Motherboard) ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming LGA1151 (Intel 8th Gen) DDR4 DP HDMI DVI M.2 Z370 ATX Motherboard with onboard 802.11ac WiFi and USB 3.1
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AMD:ASUS ROG STRIX B350-F GAMING AMD Ryzen AM4 DDR4 HDMI DisplayPort M.2 USB 3.1 ATX B350 Motherboard
If you need to find out more about motherboards you can visit our related article: Best Gaming Motherboard 2016.
Moving on, we have to choose a graphics card. This is the one responsible for your computer’s gaming performance so you absolutely need to get the best possible one. Having to choose between of hundreds can be really difficult so we’ve written down some terms you should know before choosing one. When looking at the graphics card’s specs you will see the following terms:
- GPU Clock Speed (MHz)
- Memory Clock Speed (MHz)
- Memory bandwidth (GB/s)
- Video Memory Size (MB)
- Power Requirement (W)
- Stream Processing
- Maximum Resolution
To start with, GPU Clock Speed is how fast can the GPU’s cores run. Each graphics card has some cores, the higher the the clock speed the higher performance. The Memory Clock Speed now is obviously the speed that the memory works at. Memory bandwidth is the speed of the video RAM. Higher speeds result in faster render times with higher quality image. Video memory is a term to describe a buffer of writable memory, usually some form of RAM. It’s responsible of holding the picture and the information displayed on screen, so the greater than memory is the better for us. According to the power requirement it’s pretty obvious. It’s how much wattage does the card need to operate. Stream processing is the process of breaking down a task dividing the job, so some smaller sub-processors can use parallel processing in order to get the job done faster.As for the maximum resolution, it’s the highest resolution the video card can output.
These are some of the best graphics card out there:ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Turbo Graphic Card TURBO-GTX1080-8G MSI GAMING GeFroce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB GDRR5X DirectX 12 352-bit VR Ready Graphics Card (GTX 1080 TI GAMING X 11G)
However if you want to find out more about graphics cards and different budgets you can visit our related articles:
Afterwards we have to choose the most suitable RAM. Random Access Memory or RAM is the memory which stores temporarily the OS, application programs and data currently being in use, so they can be quickly reached by the computer’s processor. However RAM doesn’t play a big role on the overall performance of your gaming as it’s more dependent on your CPU and GPU. Having a decent RAM will not only help your games to run smoothly ,but will make your computer capable of running more complex programs and games though. The more RAM you can afford the better your system will be. But in many cases it’s not the capacity that matters but the type and the clock speed.
Most RAM’s run at about 1600MHz and referring to the types there’re plenty of them. The most common one is the DDR3 as the DDR4 started to becoming really popular lately. So what capacity, type and clock speed are enough? 8GB many times is capable of covering all your gaming needs. Despite the fact that 4-8gigs of RAM would be enough for the task of gaming I would highly recommend you to get at least 16gigs of RAM, so your computer will be powerful in all ways. Some of the most well-known brands are:
If you need to find out more about gaming RAM’s feel free to check out our related post: Best RAM for Gaming 2016
Since we have chosen the most basic hardware, now we have to select our storage media. We will be using a Hard Disk Drive to get the job done. Old hard disks tend to be really slow and noisy and that’s something we definitely don’t want to get. So it’s critical that we buy the right one, so we won’t have to face problems like that. Now looks like a good time to point out what specifications we should be considering when looking for a hard disk to buy. First we will define a few terms to make the whole thing easier.
- Rotational Speed
- Seek Speed
Starting with the first one, capacity is the amount of data the hard disk is capable of holding or storing. The higher the capacity the more data your hard disk can fit. Most modern hard disks have at least 1TB of capacity space. The Rotational speed now is how fast the actual disk can spin. Most hard disks spin their drives at 7,200 rounds per minute(RPM). The faster the disks spin, the faster the data is read and written. Seek speed has the same philosophy. Average seek speed (measured in miliseconds) is the rate the drive can find a particular piece of data. Buffer acts like a temporary second piece of storage media that loads data which the system is most likely to as for next. A larger buffer size should be extremely useful when searching the disk. And last but not least, the noise. We all know how bad it is when we can hear the hard disk spinning while trying to process all the different information. Hard disk manufacturers have improved the problem over the time, so you can easily find some noise-free hard disk drives at the moment.
Here are some of the best Hard Disk Drives you can get:
If you want to learn more about Hard Disk Drives go a head and read our related article: Best Internal Hard Disk Drive
Most people using old computers are experiencing slow internet connection issues. That’s usually caused by their ethernet cards. In addition old ethernet cards do not offer fast transfer rates. Fortunately that’s an easy fix as you don’t have to be a genius to replace or install an ethernet card. Think of your ethernet card as the gateway to the internet. You need a decent card in order to get the best out of your internet connection. Good thing, ethernet cards are very cheap and affordable. Unfortunately we cannot get an ethernet card which offers wireless connection and that’s probably the reason it’s called an ethernet card instead of a wireless card. We’ll be analyzing and comparing wireless cards in a related post.
Here are some good ones:
A lot of people when they build their own computer with as high specifications as they wish they always make a big mistake. They always forget about the sound card and they go with a motherboard which has an integrated one instead. I would say that it really depends on what you need your computer for. For instance if you are a sound producer or you work in a studio you’ll definitely need a decent sound card. On the other side if you’re just an regular gamer you don’t need to spend that extra money on buying one as they can be expensive and hard to afford.
First we have to see why it is important to get a dedicated sound card instead of an integrated one. It’s obvious that a dedicated one will provide the user much higher quality sound with less (almost none) background noise. Since you have the sound processed away from the tower and all the other components it’s guaranteed that you will get the best possible sound out of your computer. Many people might disagree here as integrated or on-board sound cards have improved dramatically the past few years.
Your surround system or headphones play a big role. If you have a really good system or headphones then it’s obvious that you want to make the most out of them. So you will need to spend a little extra on a dedicated sound card in order to get the full benefits.
Here are some of the best models:
If you want to get some more information according to sounds cards you should definitely check our related article which all the above sound cards are analyzed: The Best Sound Cards Of 2016
People and especially gamers spend a lot of time on their computers, therefore they keep them running for some really long periods of time. Due to overworking all the different components get very warm as more heat is generated. And we all know that a computer’s worst enemy is the heat. High temperatures can cause some serious damage or even kill your computer components.
So we can already see that fans are absolutely essential for any computer. If you are using a high-end computer then you better make sure that you are ready to face all the heat that will be generated by all the different components. Ensuring that you keep your system running at low temperatures is like ensuring the extension of it’s life span.
When looking for a cooling fan to buy we have to make sure that we get the best possible one. Cooling fans aren’t expensive so almost everyone can afford some of the best ones. Any key features we should be looking for? Of course. Our cooling fan must spin fast so we need to get one with high rounds per minute (RPM) rate. Then we should consider all the noise which the fan generates while working. Nobody wants to have a noisy computer around so it’s better that we get a very quite one. Later on, it’s good to buy a fan which doesn’t require much power to run. Anything that asks for less than 2,5watts will do. That’s all we need to consider.
So summarizing we have to look for:
- RPM Rate
- Noise Levels
- Power Requirement
I would definitely recommend the following models to everyone who wants to keep his computer running at super low temperatures:
If you wish to learn more about the above models check the related post out: Best Computer Cooling Fans
After we made sure that our computer will run smoothly at a low temperature we have to do the same with our processor separately. Your processor works harder than every other component in your computer and it’s the most sensitive one as well. So we must protect it from the heat. How do we fight the heat? Either with liquid coolers or traditional air coolers. People have different opinions about both ways. In my opinion the best kit’s are using liquid to keep your processor running at safe temperatures. This won’t be a problem though, it will only deliver good results.
These are the best CPU Liquid Coolers available on the market:
You should check our related post Best CPU Liquid Coolers 2016 in order to find out more about the models mentioned above.
And finally the last piece of hardware we need in order to make our computer work. It’s just about time to choose the appropriate power supply which all your computer components will be “feeding on”.
Computers with high specifications usually have the tendency to require more power to run. Less powerful computers require less power. So the hardware of your computer play a big role on which power supply you should go for. You definitely don’t want to spend money on buying a power supply which won’t be able to deliver enough wattage for all your components.
What is wattage? Well humans needed a way to be able to measure how much power can your power supply output or how much power do all the different components require to work and express it. So they invented watts. Watts is the measuring unit of wattage. You’ve got to remember that as everything is based on the wattage later on.
Why is it important to get a good power supply? No matters how good your computer is, it will never run if you don’t pair it with a good power supply. If you have chosen the most high-end components and you choose a cheap, low quality power supply you’re definitely asking for trouble. There are many power supplies out there varying with different wattage output. That’s because weaker computers need less power to run, as more powerful computers require much more power to run as we’ve mentioned above.
For the task of gaming, I wouldn’t recommend you buying a power supply which outputs any less than 650 watts. More than half of the output power will be taken by the graphics card. And it’s really important to keep all those high-end components alive by feeding them with enough power. We will start by presenting those with the lowest output power as we will be moving on to those with the highest output power.
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So you must have already chosen the most suitable hardware for your computer. Now we need to choose a case that will fit all the components inside and look attractive at the same time.
There’re hundreds of people on youtube showing their fancy computers off. But always keep in mind that what shines isn’t always gold. People may have the best and most attractive cases out there, but if we look further inside them many times we get disappointed. Imagine buying a Ferrari body kit and placing a very shitty engine into it. That’s gonna be an epic fail. So if your computer specifications aren’t that incredible then you may get yourself a more regular case instead a fancy one.
Anyway back to the point. In my opinion the number one factor which will help you decide which case to get, is the one that you like the most in terms of appearance. Gaming computers aren’t only about how good they perform, but how good they look as well. If you combine your computer’s performance with it’s attractive appearance you’ll get a piece of art. Don’t forget though, the case is the last thing you should had on your list. You don’t want to spend all your money on a case with a result of not being able to afford the important hardware.
We have to understand that our computer will often run on high temperatures as all the high-end components inside it will generate a lot of heat while working. So we need to get a case which has a plenty of fans inside it delivering the best possible airflow.
Some of the best cases are:
Want to find more about the mentioned models? Click here.
And of course the monitor. A computer will be completely useless if you cannot display it’s content. Since we’re talking about gaming, you should get a monitor which is gaming-friendly. That means that we’re looking for something with as high resolution as possible, featuring a lot of colors and having a thin bezel if possible (if you are willing to build a picture surround system).
For the task of gaming you would prefer to spend a little more money and get a decent monitor. If you have a really powerful graphics card you have to take advantage of it and buy the best possible screen so you can get outstanding image quality at 4K. What’s the point of having the best graphics card anyway if you cannot afford buying a monitor which can display the content that your card renders?
Here are some of the best 4K models:
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Moving on with the peripherals section we have to see which input and output devices we need. Starting with the keyboard which is they key to success as many gamers claim. There’s a ton of different type of keyboard you could get in case you didn’t know. After a lot of research we have figured out that mechanical keyboards are the best for gaming. What is a mechanical keyboard?
After asking thousands of gamers we came down to a single conclusion. The majority of them prefers mechanical keyboards over regular or membrane for gaming. First of all we have to clarify what a mechanical keyboard really is. Most people think that mechanical keyboards are old-fashioned and outdated keyboards that have only been used in the past when regular keyboards weren’t available yet, which is false of course.
The truth is that in the recent years mechanical keyboards have became really popular in the gaming industry as manufactures took the chance and re-designed them especially for gamers. In which way do gamers benefit from that? Simple. Mechanical keyboards have a much faster actuation point than other types. This means that the time needed for a mechanical keyboard key’s contact to register is way faster that the time they have been pressed. This happens because mechanical keyboards use actual and physical switches underneath to determine whether when a key has been pushed or not.
Gamers claim that this “faster” process leads to faster reaction times and better performance as they can also “feel” whether they have pressed a key or not. They described them as more reliable and suitable.
The best mechanical keyboards are the following:
If you wish to see their analysis check the related post:Best Gaming Mechanical Keyboards
What if you don’t like the idea of a mechanical keyboard? Don’t worry we’ve got your back. Regular keyboards will work just fine for the most people. I’ll make a list of the best wireless ones. I wouldn’t recommend getting a regular wired keyboard. If you want to get a wired one you should go for a mechanical one.
Specifications and features analyzed at our related post: Best Wireless Keyboard
Mice are essential for all types of computer users. Some may need an optimized for gaming, designing or just a regular one. We will go deeper in the gaming section. Your chosen mouse must be able to deliver precision and customizability. A gaming mouse is absolutely essential for gaming.
Some of the most well-known models:
More information about the above models: Here
It’s obvious that all our components would be useless if we couldn’t get them to communicate together. How do we do that? Buying the essential cables needed is a very important process that many people often ignore. There are many types of cables that you should get. Each one for a different purpose. However most components come with their needed cables. What cables do we need to buy?
Well, since this is a full guide the Mouse Pad cannot get left behind. The process of choosing a Mouse Pad is really easy as people often go for the one they like. Who can blame them? Building your own computer is all about customizing it the way you want. Picking the colors, the brands and the shapes you like the most. However before continuing, we have to point out that you might not need a mouse pad. Most modern mouse gaming mice feature surface calibration. This means that they can recognize the surface they’re being used one and optimize it’s feedback accordingly.
So what do we look for on a Mouse Pad? Three things: Size, appearance and thickness.
However the most people will just buy the one they like the most. Who can blame them anyway. So we’ve found some of the most attractive mouse pads in the market to save you a little more time:
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Many times we see people claiming that their sound system improves their gaming performance. How is that true? Well there’s a big point behind the whole story. When your headset is so good which delivers 7.1 channel sound, it gives the gamer the ability to identify where different sounds come from which can be extremely useful in shooting games as it allows the user to locate his enemies easier. Gaming headsets are designed and engineered to “sit” on people’s heads for as long as needed without bothering them at all. In addition they are supposed to work with all different gaming platforms such as playstations, xbox’s and of course computers.
So what do we look for when buying a new headset? There are some essential features that we should be looking for. Compatibility comes first. Nobody wants to buy a headset which will turn out that it’s not supported by his current gaming platform. Then we need to choose something which will be as comfortable as possible. Gamers spend a lot of hours each day playing video games so we have to ensure that his headset won’t bother.
So these are the two most essential features. Then the buyer should look for a headset which is capable of delivering 7.1 or 5.1 channel sound (surround) with a strong bass to make the whole experience even better. After these are achieved, the last but not least feature is the microphone. We all have played video games before (online or offline) and we know that especially when playing online, a microphone is definitely needed since we need to chat with the other members of the team.
Some fully compatible with PC’s headsets are:
You can find out more about them here.
Speakers are really optional. I mean not everyone needs a good set of speakers, especially if they already own a good pair of headphones. However it’s a good idea to have a set of speakers connected to your computer in case you need to play something loudly. And since your computer looks pretty awesome and it’s performance is really high you may want to get a decent set of speakers as well.
What type of speakers should you get? Well if you have already decided that you want to buy a sound card it would be good if you could combine it with a surround sound system. Since your sound card gives you the ability to do it, it’s a good chance to take advantage of it. Moreover you should be looking for speakers with deep bass, clear highs and loudness. We define loudness by the speaker’s RMS.
RMS value is the effective value of a varying voltage or current. The higher RMS value, the louder the speakers can go. So we better keep that in mind.
Some good choices:
Logitech Z623 – 200watt RPM
Arion Legacy AR306-BK – 50watt RPM
We completely understand that many console gamers just moved to the computer gaming community lately. Till they learn how to play with a keyboard and a mouse they tend to use joysticks as they can perform better. Some other people just need joysticks in order to gain more functionality at certain games. For example I am a Flight Simulator lover. Without the use of a joystick the game is almost unplayable as it doesn’t deliver the amount of fan that it was supposed to. If you connect a joystick though, it becomes a completely different game, a unique experience.
So it’s not odd when people ask for computer joysticks. There’s a variety of different joysticks to choose from. In my opinion if you want to get a console-style joystick don’t bother buying one, just get your xbox’s or your playstation’s one and connect it to your computer. There’re programs which make the whole process very easy.
If you need to buy a traditional joystick though you can check those out:
And finally moving away from the hardware and peripheral sections. If you have read all the previous points then you must be ready to build your gaming computer however you want. I bet that the most of you have forgotten about the most important part. The operating system. None of the components mentioned above can work or communicate with each other if we do not install an operating system.
The simple term of operating system is the following:
-Operating System is the main program in a computer that controls the way the computer works and makes it possible for other programs to function. Enough with the theory though, we’ve discussed a ton of terms in this post. Let’s just not analyze what an operate system does and get straight to the point for once.
As we all know there aren’t many operating systems to choose from. The most common ones are the Windows and the Macintosh. I wouldn’t recommend buying a Macintosh for the specific task as it has many incompatibilities and many of your components may not work. So we will stick with the traditional Windows for the moment.
I would really recommend you to buy the Windows 7 more than any other OS. People might disagree and consider Windows 10 as a better choice. Either choice won’t let you down. Both are great Operating Systems.
Windows 7: Here
Windows 10: Here
And finally got to the last and final point. You shouldn’t really worry about the drivers that need to be installed for all the different components. All of your components come with a CD/DVD disk which you need to install on your computer system in order to get them work correctly without any errors. This is an essential process that many people tend to ignore. Install all the required drivers and you will never have to face any errors or bugs.
Those are all the components and parts in order to fully build a gaming/regular computer. Some parts might be unnecessary or not essential, but it’s good to have them. If you have any more questions feel free to let me know in the comments section, I would be glad to help you out.