Trying to figure out how to construct a PC is still very interesting and rewarding, even though it is becoming more difficult to locate affordable PC components – particularly the finest graphics cards. However, as always, it is a question of selecting the components necessary to create the finest PC possible and dedicating the time necessary to develop a beautiful system you can be proud of.
However, constructing a PC is a significant amount of effort, and it may be very intimidating if you have never done it before. While there is a lot of pressure out there to pretend that constructing a gaming PC is easy, it is perfectly OK to be inexperienced – we have all been there.
What kind of computer do you require?
Nowadays, almost everyone need a functional computer to get by, but they come in such a variety of forms and sizes that it is critical to know what you are attempting to create before you begin.
For instance, if you are just planning to use your PC for routine office tasks – such as online surfing or document creation – you do not need to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end gaming setup. Building a PC around an AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor will result in a fast and responsive machine that will endure for years, with enough graphics horsepower to handle all of the tasks that the majority of people encounter on a daily basis.
However, there are many individuals who need something with a little more zip. Computers are genuinely more powerful than they have ever been, and there have never been more ways to create something capable of tearing through the greatest PC games like they are made of paper. However, powerful technology such as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is not cheap.
Fortunately, if you are on a tighter budget, you can buy an Intel Core i5-11600K and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 for a reasonable price and build an amazing 1080p gaming computer. Additionally, they will be able to perform some video editing on the side.
The processor (CPU)
The three most critical characteristics of a CPU are its clock speed, core count, and thread count. Clock speed is a unit of measurement for processing speed, expressed in gigahertz (GHz). While cores are typically allocated to distinct activities inside your system, some programs may make use of several cores simultaneously. Historically, threads were associated with cores, but many high-end processors have a feature called “hyperthreading,” which adds an extra thread per core, thus generating an additional virtual core.
However, core count and clock speed are really only direct indicators of performance when comparing CPUs from the same generation. Due to fundamental architectural changes, a quad-core 3 GHz CPU launched in 2012 will operate much differently from a quad-core 3 GHz CPU introduced in 2019.
As a result, and to ensure future-proofing, you should always purchase current CPUs and compare them to their siblings when making a purchase choice.
Intel CPUs are well-known for their superior single-core speed, which makes them ideal for gaming. They are often chastised for exorbitant price and increased limitations on overclocking, though.
AMD processors are well-known for their superior multi-core speed, which makes them excellent for multitasking and productivity applications. Their single-core performance has increased considerably in recent years, almost catching up to Intel. These are often considerably less expensive.
If you want to get a deeper understanding of the present CPU market, read our article on the CPU hierarchy. Additionally, we have compiled a list of the top Intel and AMD CPUs.
You have chosen your CPU. Now, you will need a motherboard that is compatible. The primary distinction between a low-end and a high-end motherboard is overclocking capability. To overclock your CPU, follow these steps:
You will require both a K-series CPU and a Z-series motherboard when using Intel CPUs.
AMD CPUs need motherboards in the B- or X-series. All contemporary AMD CPUs are capable of being overclocked.
Once you have chosen whether or not to overclock, it is time to choose a motherboard and case size: ATX, MATX, or ITX? (Other sizes are available.)
USB ports remain consistent throughout sizes, however the smaller you go (ATX is the largest, ITX is the smallest), the fewer RAM and PCIe slots you have. We suggest MATX for budget builds since ATX and ITX are more costly, particularly when you include in the cost of a suitable box.
Once you have resolved the fundamental issues of overclocking and compatibility, the only thing that counts is purchasing from a reputed manufacturer. Our suggested brands include Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI, EVGA, and ASRock. Purchasing from an unknown manufacturer is a recipe for disaster.
Please keep in mind that motherboards have a little, if any, impact on gaming performance. You do not have to purchase a gaming motherboard to build an excellent gaming setup. Having saying that, we still have our preferred motherboards.
Computer Graphics Card (GPU)
The GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, is the component that has the biggest effect on your gaming performance, at least in the majority of games.
Consider your favorite multiplayer shooter to illustrate how the GPU works. Even though you can not see it, the CPU is tracking what the players are doing, where they are on the map, and what they are firing at.
The GPU interprets this data and generates the actual visuals that you view, at the resolution and settings specified by you.
While the GPU is the most critical component of a gaming computer, it cannot operate without the CPU. If the CPU is unable to process the game’s events quickly enough, your GPU’s visual output will be slowed down while it waits for the CPU to catch up.
As a general guideline, avoid spending less than half of your GPU budget on the CPU; this will prevent throttling in all but the most CPU-intensive games.
When it comes to GPUs, perusing a spec sheet is seldom beneficial.
Clock speed is even less predictive of overall performance in this case; we suggest only using it to compare identical cards from different manufacturers.
VRAM (Video RAM) is a much more useful metric. However, not all varieties are made equal. GDDR5 is the industry standard; anything less is unacceptable. While GDDR5X, GDDR6, and HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) are all improvements, the preceding principles should still apply in general.
Expect good performance in 1080p titles with standard-definition textures with 2GB of VRAM.
With 4GB of VRAM, you may expect to run well in 1440p or 1080p games with high-definition textures.
With 6GB or more, you can anticipate excellent performance in VR games, 4K games, and 1440p games with high-definition graphics.
However, if you want to understand a card’s performance in detail, it is always better to consult benchmarks. If you are considering purchasing a GTX 1060, for example, you could Google “GTX 1060 Benchmarks.”
There are many GPUs available, but our GPU hierarchy page discusses them all in detail to help you grasp the present situation. Additionally, make sure to check out our recommended GPUs.
Random Access Memory, or RAM, is the third most critical component of game performance. Because it is directly connected to your CPU, it will have an effect on its performance, particularly if you are just using single-channel RAM.
Apart from the single- versus dual-channel debate, RAM speed often makes little difference in gaming or general multitasking. RAM performance is more noticeable in productivity apps. However, use caution, since determining the speed of your RAM is more complicated than just knowing its clock speed.
By the way, you should only get DDR4 RAM. DDR3 RAM is slower and will show in your system only if you have not been paying attention to our advice. Maintain compatibility with current CPU specifications.
When it comes to RAM, the amount is critical. The more RAM you have, the more efficiently your system will manage numerous programs and the memory requirements of demanding contemporary games. Below, we will compare the most popular RAM amounts and recommend the one that is ideal for gaming.
4 GB – The minimal minimum. Appropriate for light gaming and basic computer activities. Will, however, be quickly overwhelmed by contemporary games.
8GB – For the time being, this is a good compromise. Excellent for gaming and multitasking, but certain cutting-edge games have started to use even this much RAM. This is the best course of action for today and the next several years.
16GB – The very finest. At least four years, if not many more, will pass before games need this amount of RAM on your PC. This is also the starting point for productivity work.
32GB – Whether you are serious about productivity or just want to show off.
When shopping for RAM, you may use our best RAM guide as a starting point.
Storage (SSD or HDD)
This is really very straightforward. An SSD, or Solid State Drive, is a non-volatile storage device. This makes it much quicker than a hard disk drive (HDD), but also significantly more costly per gigabyte of storage.
- If you want quality, invest on a solid-state drive. SSDs are more robust and compact in size.
- If you desire quantity, invest in a hard disk drive. These are more substantial, but less lasting.
- If you have the financial means, we suggest purchasing both.
A few hundred GB SSD can store your operating system, applications, and a few of your favorite games, resulting in a much more responsive machine overall. Everything, including games, will load quicker. Additionally, you may utilize your SSD as a cache.
Meanwhile, an HDD may be utilized to store movies and the remainder of your games, particularly non-multiplayer ones where loading speeds are less critical. This will result in slower game loading times, but will have no effect on how you view video or listen to music.