This is a guest post by Zoe Cohen and Cartez Augustus.
Do you really want to build a computer? When most people first hear about building their own computer, their first reaction is confusion. Why would I want to go through the trouble of buying all these separate components and build my own computer when there are so many viable options already on the market? And why would I want to build a bulky desktop when laptops are so transportable and easy to use? But what you’re missing here is customizability. By building your own computer, you can ensure you have everything you want and nothing you don’t want. Furthermore, it’s actually not nearly as hard or as difficult as it sounds. So today, we’re going to show you how to build a computer in order to best suit your gaming needs.
In order to build a computer for intense gaming, you’ll need to first figure out your budget. You can go the low-end route, the high-end route, or mix it up. The typical components you’ll need to build a gaming computer are:
- Computer case
- CPU, known as the processor
- Memory, known as RAM
- Storage, the options are HDD, SSD, or both
- Graphics processing unit, known as the graphics card
- Power supply unit
- Cooling system, your options are fans or liquid
- Operating system
- Gaming accessories, your almighty keyboard, mouse, and headphones
The computer case is important as it’s a reminder of your hard work but you’ll want to make sure the case is compatible with all of your components. These come in many sizes and configurations. Consider what you will need to put into your case before you start buying parts, map out everything. Also, you’ll want to think about space for more drives, or other future upgrades. Think about the location of the cooling fans and power supply spacing. And you’ll want to think about the cable management to keep everything neat. Don’t worry though, this case should last a really long time.
CPU & Motherboard
The CPU (central processing unit) will be the brain of your computer, executing the vast majority of functions and commands. As such, you’ll want to choose one that can not only handle a lot of data but can also do so quickly. The reason we’ve included the motherboard here is that it is important that you choose and CPU and motherboard that is compatible. The motherboard takes all of the disparate components you’re buying (including the CPU) and connects them so that they can interact and work together effectively. *Note: Double check to see whether your CPU comes with a cooler. If not, you’ll want to get one to prevent it from overheating.
Always go with a lot of memory when building a computer for gaming. Memory is so important and inexpensive these days. The amount of RAM you have determines how many processes your computer can run and how much information it can access at once. For something as complex as gaming, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of memory so there’s no lag. The optimal amount is around 16GB. You shouldn’t need more than that.
Related: Top Rated Memory/RAM Sticks on Amazon.
Storage space is just what it sounds like. It will directly affect the sheer volume of information your computer can contain at any given time. We would recommend 250-500GB to start, and you can always add later. With storage, you can go with HDD, SSD, or a combination of both. This will help determine the speed of your gaming loading so choose wisely during your research. Additionally, if you plan to keep games loaded on your computer instead of deleting and installing the next game then you’ll want enough space to handle huge game files, music, videos, and more.
Related: Top Rated SSD on Amazon.
The GPU (graphics processing unit) is responsible for how crisp and detailed your computer’s images will be and how quick and smooth movement on-screen will appear. For gaming, this component can make all the difference, so be sure to do your research and choose a good one.
Related: Top Rated Graphics Cards on Amazon.
Power Supply & Cooling Fans
In figuring out how to build a computer, you have to be really careful about the power supply and cooling system. Since it’s not directly responsible for things like the graphics, beginners might think it’s something they can skimp on. But if you don’t have a solid power supply, all the fancy components you spent so much money on could be ruined. The case keeps all your components clean and happy, so you should find one that comfortably holds all your parts with room for future additions. Basically, don’t try to cut corners here, please do not be cheap when it comes to your power supply or cooling fans!
Before you build a computer, figure out which operating system is right for you. These days people use Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. You’ll want to know which OS is compatible with your software for your new gaming computer, Windows, Linux or Mac OS (via Hackintosh), so make sure all of your parts/gaming accessories work for your operating system.
Here is the fun part of this entire process. Take your time and find a good quality headphone, mouse, and keyboard. If you plan to play many shooting games then make sure you get the mouse and keyboard with many programmable buttons. If you plan to play the strategy point and clicker like Diablo then please get a mouse that is comfortable and won’t have your hand/fingers cramping before reaching level 50 (yes, I got personal but I had a great keyboard with a terrible mouse). Anyway, this is your chance to get the best gaming peripherals so do your research, test things out, and return anything that isn’t comfortable.
Important Odds & Ends
Don’t neglect the less exciting but equally necessary items like your computer case, keyboard, mouse, soundcard, and speakers! It would be such a shame to have a shiny new gaming computer and not be able to use it.
One of my favorite actors, Terry Crews, explains why he decided to build a computer for gaming.
For the purposes of this article, we refrained from giving you specific recommendations because it’s really up to what your goals are for your computer and what kinds of games you want to run on it. Try not to hold back when building your new gaming computer as this computer investment can provide you with several years of solid PC gaming. So now that you know how to build a computer, get out there and do some research! And you can look here if you want to see a few top rated gaming PCs reviewed by real gamers.