Gaming PC – The Ultimate Guide | Build Your PC

These instructions explain in detail and in a language understandable even to computer users, what constitutes a gaming PC and what to look for when buying such a computer or its hardware components.

What parts is a PC for gamers and for whom is it suitable?

Gaming PC Well, as the name implies, this is a computer designed primarily for gaming and is therefore suitable for people who spend a relatively large amount of time in computer games.

At first glance, this computer does not really differ from a PC for ordinary people. Like normal computers, a gaming PC basically consists of the computer itself, a screen, the input devices such as keyboard and mouse, etc. A headset or speakers are often added. The main difference between a standard computer and a gamer PC, however, lies in the selection and interaction of its components.

Below is now trying to all relevant details and subtleties regarding the purchase of a complete PC for players or even the component choice for a DIY PC. The devil is well known in detail.

Gaming PC Build

The computer

A computer consists of various hardware components, through the interaction of which he can also do his work. In the list below, the individual components are listed according to their degree of importance for a gaming PC and their main function is displayed.

Hardware components of the computer

I. The graphics card

The most important piece of hardware in a gamer PC.

A graphics card ensures that the calculated image or graphics in a computer game is actually output on the monitor. A powerful graphics accelerator is extremely important in the sense that it largely depends on it with which graphics details are played. If your card is not powerful enough, the game will stutter, which can totally ruin your game experience, forcing you to reduce graphics details, restore fluid game play, or even replace your current graphics card with a new one.

1) External or internal? In a gaming computer, an external graphics card must be plugged in any case . This is the case if it requires its own slot in the motherboard and is not installed in the motherboard itself or in the CPU (internally). While internal graphics cards are becoming more and more powerful over time, they can not keep up with their external counterparts. In addition, you like to rely on the main memory (RAM) of your computer, so he has a total of less MB of RAM available. Internal graphics cards are an absolute no-go in a good gaming PC!

2) The graphics memory. The card must have enough VRAM for current games to run smoothly. Make sure you have at least 2048 MB (2 GB), better 4096 MB (4 GB), and certainly more on board in the future.

3) The clock rates. Overall, the clock rate says almost nothing about the performance of the graphics card, because here are a lot of other factors, such as the chip architecture and generation, size of the VRAM, etc. play an important role.

4) Graphics chip manufacturer. AMD vs. NVidia. At the moment, there are only two graphics chip manufacturers on the market whose products can be considered for a gaming PC: AMD (formerly ATI) and NVidia. Both regularly bring great graphics solutions to the market, both have their pros and cons, both of which are great for games.

One can therefore give no clear recommendations at this point. Much more you have to compare each graphics card in the concrete, your preferred games together.

In the end, it depends more on your preference, which company you choose now.

5) Graphics card manufacturer. There are currently a few dozen graphics card manufacturers in the market.

On the one hand depends on the manufacturer, which cooling (active or passive, water or air, strong or weak) is installed in your graphics board. It depends on how quiet or loud and how warm your card becomes. The higher the temperature, the lower the life of the component (indirectly).

On the other hand, a manufacturer can increase the clock rates (MHz), which can lead to a small increase in performance. As a rule, this difference in performance is rather marginal (usually up to a maximum of 5%).

The design of the board, as well as the delivery we disregard, since they have only a minor importance for the choice of a video card, when you buy the gaming PC.

By and large, the graphics card manufacturers, except the already mentioned volume and the scope of supply, not too high impact on the performance of your graphics card.

If the noise level, if you buy the gaming PC, is an important decision factor for you, we recommend that you look for the dB (decibels) data for a specific card or to use the practical video card tests on the Internet.

6) Exact name. Pay attention in any case to the exact name of the installed graphics card. Such abbreviations, such as. B. LE, TI, GT, GTX, etc., which will be given earlier and certainly in the future, can say a lot about the performance of the chip. So, in the case of NVidia, the abbreviation LE means that the good graphics card is slimmed down (lower performance), while GTX is a sign of the top performance.

7) cooling. Basically, a distinction can be made between active and passive cooling. The passive cooling solution, with only the radiator installed on the board, so no fans whatsoever, makes no noise, but is an indication of a weak graphics card, as powerful, suitable for a good gaming PC graphics cards, produce a lot of heat. Therefore, if you buy a gaming PC, the card must be equipped with active cooling in any case.

The active cooling solution is either water or air cooling (nitrogen, freon is left aside). Water-cooled maps have the advantage that they are often cooler and quieter, but also more expensive than the air-cooled ones.

Here you have to decide for yourself what you prefer and how much money you are willing to spend.

8) Power consumption. Especially powerful gaming graphics cards can be used under load, e.g. B. when playing, consume a very high amount of electricity. If this factor is important to you, you can, if not explicitly stated, look on the manufacturer’s homepage, how many watts the respective card needed to work.

9) Actual performance. The theoretical information is very important, but there are often noticeable differences between theory and practice. In order to determine the actual gaming performance of the respective graphics card, you must search the Internet for the appropriate benchmarks. Then you can be sure that the board is also suitable for games that you play.

10) SLI or Crossfire makes sense? In SLI or Crossfire is one of NVidia and AMD (formerly ATI) has developed technology that makes it possible for two or three (triple SLI) or four (quad-SLI to operate simultaneously and thus) graphics cards in one system to significantly increase the graphics performance of the computer.

Unlike what you might expect at first glance, the graphics power of the gamer PC increases significantly in practice, but not by two, three or four times, which theoretically ideally would be possible. The hardware and electricity costs increase significantly, disproportionately to the additional performance increase.

In addition, not all games still support these technologies. So, some games make trouble with two or more graphics cards, so you’ll need to disable one of your cards to play these games properly.

For this reason, buying more than a good graphics card for a gaming PC does not make economic sense.

The situation is different if you are an enthusiast who, whatever the cost, wants the highest performance you can get for your money today. Then SLI or Crossfire systems are not only the best, but also the only possible solution for a high-end gaming PC.

II) The processor (CPU)

The heart of every computer. The processor is mostly responsible for details, physics, and games, especially in games with open areas.

The CPU is less important for games than the graphics card, but it should bring enough power in a gaming PC, not to slow down a powerful graphics card. That’s why we now list details that you need to pay attention to when buying a processor.

1) AMD vs. Intel. Which of the processors are more suitable for games?

Well, looking back at the past, one has to realize that both companies had both highs and lows. Sometimes AMD (e.g. Athlon 64) was ahead, sometimes Intel (e.g. Core 2).

Today, it’s clear that Intel’s Core i family is a better choice for gamers overall. The modern Intel CPU’s not only offer better performance in terms of gaming, but are also often more energy-efficient.

It’s hard to say that AMD processors are worse for a gaming PC than their competitors, and their architecture is much less suited to gaming than Intel’s.

Simply put, AMD CPU’s often offer more processor cores for the same price, but each one is slower than the competition. However, since most games require a maximum of four cores, the additional four cores in an eight-core AMD CPU bring little to a gaming PC.

In other tasks, AMD processors can compete with, and in certain cases outperform, Intel products. The only thing that speaks for AMD are often the low prices.

So, here’s a definite recommendation: if you’re not an AMD fan and especially if you want to buy or assemble a high-performance system, the Intel processors are clearly the better choice for you and your gaming PC. If you would rather buy a cheap gaming PC, then an AMD CPU can be worthwhile, since AMD can often compete with Intel in the lower price segment.

2) Number of processor cores. As mentioned above, it is not just the number of cores that counts, but the performance of each of them. In practice, however, it can be seen that dual-core systems in many games result in high power drops, while the additional two or four cores do not add performance to the six- and eight-core CPUs, which are much more expensive. In the future, however, this may change.

3) The clock rates. The clock rate of the individual processor cores only tells a little bit about the power of the whole processor. So many current AMD CPUs are clocked higher and have more cores, as the Intel products, but often cut in games from bad. This is because these processors have a different architecture. For example, a 3.8 GHz Pentium 4 processor from 2005 is no faster than a 3.3 GHz Intel Core i7-5820K from 2015.

But if you compare two processors from the same family, you can assume that with the same number of cores, which is actually faster with the higher clock rate (apples with apples, pears with pears compare).

4) cooling. Just like the graphics cards, the CPUs also need to be cooled because they are subject to heavy use in a gaming PC. Here, a distinction can also be made here between an active and a passive cooling solution. Since modern processors generate high amounts of heat, they are almost exclusively actively cooled in gaming PCs today. This raises the question of whether water cooling or air cooling is better here.

Just as with the graphics cards, you cannot give a clear recommendation here. The water cooling is usually more effective, quieter, than the air cooling, but also more expensive at the same time.

If your gaming CPU is or is going to be air-cooled, you need to look at which cooler is performing this task, because cooler is not just cooler. Often, especially in the more affordable low-end gaming PC’s the so-called boxed cooler used, although usually just have a sufficient cooling capacity. However, especially on hot summer days, your CPU may overheat during the game and your computer may crash or hang. A powerful cooler has a positive effect on the life of your processor.

5) power consumption. Although modern processors are equipped with different technologies that allow them to consume less power in certain situations, it must be said that high-performance CPUs in gaming computers can turn out to be real power-hungry devices, especially when playing games. Here is the view of the TDP indication (in watts) of each model.

Basically, the bigger the TDP, the more energy is consumed, the hotter the CPU gets in a gamer computer, the better the cooling needs to go.

 

III) Main Memory (RAM)

random access memory the main memory, also called main memory, contains all the data that the processor needs to access. It is extremely fast, much faster than, for example, the memory of a hard drive, but also significantly more expensive (Euro / MB).

1) storage capacity. Most important size in terms of performance to look at. If the good gaming PC does not have enough memory, then it can be particularly annoying stuttering, especially after loading a level in a game, but also in between times. In addition, the load time of a level can be slightly longer.

But it does not make sense to use a system with too much memory, because the resulting extra power gain will most likely be minimal, if any. Here you have to find the golden mean.

Since the prices for RAM are relatively low today, we recommend you not to save the wrong end here and to set at least 8 GB of memory.

2) Number of modules. The number of RAM bars installed in your gamer computer has little impact on gaming performance in practice. With two modules you can use the so-called dual channel, but here the difference in performance is rather minimal.

3) latency. Latency indicates how fast the memory responds to requests. The shorter the latency, the better. A latency might look like this: 9-9-9-24.

In practice, however, short latencies will hardly affect the performance of your gamer computer. Nevertheless, if possible, you should opt for a memory with short latencies.

4) Memory type and clock rate. If you buy a gaming PC, there is already a compatible memory type (eg DDR2) installed. In games, a DDR3 memory has little performance advantages over a DDR2. At the clock rate this is the same. It is not worth taking the DDR-2000 if DDR-1600 is recommended for your system. However, the clock rate of the memory may in some cases, such. B. in overclocking, be useful.

5) Brand or NoName? There is RAM on the market that sells under a particular brand (e.g., Kingston, Corsair, etc.), the so-called brand memory, and there is also NoName memory produced by unknown companies.

In games, hardly any performance differences can be detected between the two types of memory. Thus, the NoName memory is often used mainly in more affordable gaming PC’s.

However, if you put together a gaming PCI if you want to, then it is worthwhile to access the brand memory, since here the probability is higher, that the memory with your system is also compatible. To be on the safe side, check the manufacturer page of your RAM or motherboard here (e.g. ASUS).

6) cooler. Sometimes the storage latches are equipped with a cooling system. In itself a great idea, but the memory is not one of the components that are particularly hot. That’s why the cooler here is rather superfluous (even for overclocking), but does not hurt either.

IV) Motherboard

Below are details that are important for the gaming PC.

1) chipset. The chipset of a motherboard has little effect on performance in games. Even very expensive motherboards have little benefit in terms of performance compared to their cheap counterparts.

It is important that the chipset is compatible with the CPU. If you buy a ready-to-use gaming PC, that’s the case.

2) RAM. Since games and programs require more and more memory, it makes sense to check before purchasing a gaming PC, if you can install additional memory modules in the future and in this way can upgrade the memory. You need to know what total memory capacity the mainboard can hold and how many modules are already installed in the board.

motherboard

3) connections. Before you pick up the gaming computer, consider which and how many ports you really need (how many USB ports, one or two LAN ports, etc.).

4) Number of slots. If you want to upgrade your PC later, it will be an advantage if it already has the slots needed for the future. If you decide in the future to add a second graphics card, then the motherboard must now have two or more PCI Express slots and support SLI or Crossfire. The same applies to additional hard drives, drives, etc.

5) form factor. Motherboards are available in different formats, such as: B. ATX, BTX, etc. available. From a format depends on how the connectors, slots, sockets, etc. are placed on the board. The most common format among desktop PCs is the ATX form factor. The individual formats have little advantage over each other in terms of performance or disadvantages. The important thing is that the motherboard format is also compatible with the housing format. Of course, this is always the case with the finished gaming PCs.

6) Manufacturer. Meanwhile, many manufacturers on the market are producing relatively high-quality boards, so it’s hardly worth recommending any of them. Especially for cheap PC’s for gamers, the stability of the motherboard, which is currently also guaranteed by most manufacturers, is the decisive criterion.

It looks different if you buy an expensive gaming PC or compile and later overclock. Here it is worthwhile to resort to a specific manufacturer, as here are often offered exclusive tools that can facilitate the process of overclocking. ASUS is certainly one of the market leaders in this segment.

V) Hard Disk

All data stored on the PC is stored on the hard disk. A fast-hard drive for a gaming PC is not a must, but definitely a great advantage.

If the main memory becomes crowded during game play, the computer must offload the data needed for the game to disk. In this case, the game will still jerk despite the fact that no hard drive is only approximately as fast as the memory, but these jerks will be smaller in the case of a brisk hard drive. With a fast-hard drive installation times are shorter; some games are loaded faster. The entire gaming PC performance benefits from it.

HDD vs. SSD

Which one should it be? An HDD or SSD?

Both variants have their advantages and disadvantages and can be used in gamer PCs for various purposes.

An HDD offers much more capacity than SSD for the same price. This is their only, but very fat plus.

On the other hand, an SSD is much more powerful, quieter, more compact and also more reliable (HDD – a lot of mechanics in it, therefore more susceptible to dropouts) compared to a HDD.

There is obviously a conflict of objectives between the two disk variants. To solve this, we recommend that you buy a gaming PC that has both an SSD and an HDD.

This allows you to install your operating system, programs, and games on an SSD and benefit from their performance advantages while backing up large files such as videos, backups, photo collections, etc. on the HDD to take advantage of the capacity advantage.

1) capacity. As more and more space is required for games, videos, and other data, be sure to buy or assemble the gamer PC that the hard drive has sufficient storage capacity today, and in the foreseeable future.

2) speed. This point is only relevant for HDD’s.

For each HDD is an indication of the rotations of the magnetic disk per minute. The more the better.

If you use your hard drive mainly for storing photos, videos, etc., then you can also access a product with low speed (about 5900 rpm). If on the HDD, however, the operating system, programs and games are to be installed, then it should be already 7200, better still 10000 rpm.

3) access time. Only important for HDD’s. The access time indicates how much time in milliseconds the read / write head in a hard disk needs to reach the desired location on the magnetic disk and should therefore be as small as possible. For a good gaming PC, HDD’s with an access time of 8 ms and less are well suited.

4) Manufacturer. There are several manufacturers on the market who offer hard drives for sale. Since they themselves produce their plates, it depends on them, how qualitative and reliable they are. But which of them builds the most reliable hard drives? This question cannot be answered so flatly, so we do not want to give a clear recommendation at this point.

gaming pc HDD

VI) Power Supply

A PC power supply powers the entire system with power.

It is important that your power supply has enough power reserves. A weak utility can cause your gaming PC to be under load, such as under load. B. when playing, is unstable and crashes.

In addition, a strong computer power supply depends on how much room you have for upgrading your computer. If this is not powerful enough, you will have to include the purchase of a new power supply, for example, when purchasing an additional hard disk or graphics card.

The more hardware components you have in the system, the more the power supply is loaded, the more powerful it must be.

1) performance. The performance is certainly one of the most important. If this is too low, the power supply cannot supply all the components of a gamer PC with enough energy. A modern power supply should already have more than 500, better even 600 watts of power.

2) current. Equally important is the current in ampere generated at the terminals. Thus, of two power supplies with the same wattage power is the stronger at which more power is generated. Especially the specification for the +12 V connector, which is responsible for CPU, graphics card and drives, is very important.

Since there are hardly any guidelines, we recommend you to compare PC power supplies with each other and to take this with higher values. More information about the computer power supplies can be found here.

3) Efficiency. The efficiency indicates how effectively the generated energy is handled. If you choose a power supply of 80% or more, then you are definitely on the safe side.

4) cable. Above all, if you want to upgrade your gaming PC at a low price later, it is worth taking care that the power supply has enough cables for additional drives, graphics cards, etc.

5) volume. Since powerful computer power supplies are actively cooled, they can be quite loud. Here it is worthwhile to pay attention to the indication of the generated volume in dB (decibels). The lower this value, the quieter the part and the gamer PC.

Passively cooled PC power supplies, on the other hand, produce no noise. However, since most of them do not bring enough power for a gamer computer, we would simply advise against them.

6) brands. It makes a difference whether you have a NoName power adapter from China in your gaming system, or a qualitative brand part.

For example, cheap gaming PC power supplies are more unstable and have poorer security mechanisms than their more expensive counterparts. This may result in the cheap item not only giving up its own mind, but also taking the other PC components with it.

Do not save at the wrong end, prefer to use more expensive, more qualitative variants. With products from companies like Aerocool, Enermax, Antec, be quiet! Cooler Master and others, you’re definitely on the safe side.

VII) Drives

Before you buy a particular gaming PC, make sure which drives are installed there and which ones you will need in your computer today and in the future. CD and DVD discs lose more and more topicality over time, but it must be assumed that this trend will continue in the future. Blu-ray drives, however, are currently available for less than 100 euros.

Especially games and movies are already mostly available in digital form, so you should consider whether you need a drive today.

VIII) Casing

So that the hardware components of your game computer are not lying around freely, they must be placed in a specially designed housing.

Another function of a gaming PC case is to protect the hardware components of your gaming PC from external influences. In order for this to happen in a sensible way, certain factors must be considered.

gaming pc casing

1) Ventilation. The gaming PC must be well ventilated. It is recommended to have two large or four small fans in one housing. Thus, one fan can dissipate the warm air from particularly hot components to the outside, while the other makes sure to bring the fresh air into the housing.

The fans must work as quietly as possible. With an extra fan control, the speed of the fan can be regulated and so the noise level can be lowered.

2) space. Especially hot hardware elements benefit from a large PC case, because the hot air is eliminated more effectively here. In addition, you have enough space later enough room for upgrading the gaming PC’s.

On the other hand, a large housing also consumes a bit more space. So here you have to know for yourself whether you are a fan of rather more compact solutions or prefer big towers.

3) form factor. Gaming PC cases can, just like motherboards, a different form factor, such. As ATX , BTX, etc. have. The important thing is that case and motherboard have the same form factor, which of course is always the case when you buy a gaming PC.

4) design. Modern computer cases captivate with chic, interesting, sometimes crazy designs. Here you have to decide for yourself which look best fits your gamer PC. Especially gamers often want to have something unusual in their room.

Best Gaming PC: Buy or put together yourself?

There can be no clear answer to this question, as both alternatives have both advantages and disadvantages.

When you buy a finished gaming PC, on the one hand, you take less risk because you get a finished product that is already assembled and functional. You do not need know-how, just connect the computer at home and press the power button. Finished. You also get the manufacturer’s warranty for the case that the PC has defects.

The asymmetric distribution of information between the buyer and the seller certainly speaks against a finished gamer PC.

So, the seller or the manufacturer knows more about the system he offers than you. He is aware of what components are really installed in the computer.

The buyer has only the general picture in mind, he usually gets only general data, such. B. clock rate, memory size, etc. to see. Important details mentioned in this manual remain hidden. Here an inquiry with the salesman can help.

By contrast, if you put together a gamer system yourself, you have a direct influence on which hardware components are actually installed.

For example, you can put together a PC that contains only branded and non-NoName components, that is powerful, relatively cool and quiet. In addition, it can be taken care of from the outset for the later upgrade.

Having a finished product that has all of the above properties on the open market can be a very difficult task.

The downsides of gamer PCs are certainly the expertise you need, the risk of the system not working or causing trouble at the end, the time and, of course, the warranty you get on each piece of hardware not on the whole system.

How long does a gamer PC stay up to date?

This depends on numerous factors. An important factor is certainly the type of system.

For example, with a high-end gaming PC purchased today, you can play most high-fidelity games in a year or two, while the performance of today’s low-end system will be just enough for low game details in two years.

On the other hand, it must be mentioned that certain hardware parts become obsolete faster than the others. Especially the graphics cards are very affected.

So, it can happen that a 3-4-year-old CPU is fast enough to play most games at a moderate level of detail, while the graphics accelerator is already outdated and limits the whole system. Here comes the third factor, namely the potential upgrade options of your gaming PC.

If your system already has only one graphics card slot, no free memory slots, etc., then it will be very hard to upgrade such a PC. Here would have a new computer ago, which is associated with relatively high additional costs.

Of course, everything depends on the type of player you are. If you’re a hardcore gambler who plays a lot, prefers new games, and puts a lot of emphasis on graphics, then you’ll need to be prepared to upgrade even the best gaming PC on a regular basis or have it replaced with a new one.

But if you are more of a casual player who is happy with medium or low game settings, then your gaming PC will stay up to date for a long time.

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