A Gaming Computer, also known as gaming PC, is a personal computer that is capable of playing computationally and graphically demanding video games. They are very similar to conventional computers with the exception that these machines are fitted with the performance-oriented video card and other specifications. This type of computers can be easily bought in the market but at a much higher price compared to the conventional computers. Since most of the games are both cost and performance conscious, most of them opt to build their own gaming computer than buying a built-in gaming computer.
Building your own custom gaming computer simply means you buy all your computer components separately and piece them up together to build your gaming PC. With this method, you can achieve a fast and cost-effective gaming computer suited to your own gaming needs. Besides saving a lot of money and having an efficient machine, building your own gaming computer can also be a lot of fun.
How to choose your components?
Perhaps the biggest challenge one can face when building their own gaming computer is choosing the right components for your needs. So without further ado, here is a simple guide in order to help you in building your own gaming computer.
1. Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is one of the most important core components in all computer systems. The CPU is a portion of the system that carries out the instructions of a computer program. In simple terms, it could describe as the brains of the computer. The performance of your games and other applications will depend on this microprocessor.
Choosing the best Central Processing Unit (CPU) for your gaming computer can be a hard decision to make. Picking the latest, fastest, or most expensive processor on the market won’t always result in the right CPU for your particular system. Some processors are designed to work with certain or specific motherboards, thus the CPU type limits the motherboard type you can use.
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For a gaming computer, you will really need a powerful CPU for it to performing superbly. Luckily these CPUs are supplied by Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) at an affordable price.
Intel has the Core i7 and Core i5 processor models. Currently, these models are the most popular ones used for gaming purposes, which are mostly recommended for gaming computers.
AMD, on the other hand, has the Athlon and Phenom series. If you want to go AMD, you can try the most recommended Phenom X4 series.
The motherboard is the hub of the computer system. It is where all other components are connected to. If we consider the CPU as the brain of the computer system, then the motherboard is the central nervous system. Thus buying the best motherboard is a good investment.
After choosing your CPU, next, you need to consider choosing your motherboard for your gaming computer. When selecting a motherboard, you should remember three things.
First, a motherboard will generally support one type of processor only. Different CPUs have different connectors that physically vary with one another, Make sure that your CPU plug is suitable to your motherboard connector.
Second, motherboards have a certain speed limitation depending on the processor model. Maximum processor speed allowed by the motherboard will be quoted in the motherboard specifications. Before buying, check whether your selected motherboard can support your chosen CPU.
Third, motherboards are the ones who can dictate the type and amount of RAM you can have. In a gaming computer, you would want to have either DDR SDRAM or RDRAM which is at least 1G worth. So ensure that your motherboard can support this type and amount of memory.
Here are some examples of well-known motherboards manufacturers where you can browse for your perfect gaming motherboard: ASUS, ABIT, MSI, XFX, EVGA, Intel, and Gigabyte.
3. Hard Drive
The hard drive is the computer component responsible for storing your files and programs. When buying a hard drive for your gaming computer, consider these three main features: speed, size, and the type of interface.
[Speed] Basically the faster the hard drive spins the fast you are able to access and transfer your data. Currently, the best hard drives in the market these days can have a speed around 7200rpm (rounds per minute). In a gaming computer, you don’t want anything less than this; else it will cause delays between reading and writing data.
Faster hard drives that reach speeds of 10,000rpm and 15,000rpm are available in the market at a higher price. For your gaming computer, a 7200rpm hard drive is already enough for but if you can shell out more money, then you can opt for these faster hard drives.
[Size] Hard drives come in different sizes, which can range from 80GB to 500GB and more. For your gaming computer, it is always recommended that you purchase the largest hard drive you can afford. This will allow you to store lots and lots of software and data (including games).
[Interface] The interface of the hard drive is responsible for managing the exchange of data between a computer and the hard drive. Currently, the most commonly used hard drive interface used today is Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA); which comes in two forms, the original Parallel ATA (PATA) and the newer and faster Serial ATA (SATA).
There’s also the expensive Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) which are used primarily for high-end workstation computer. For you gaming computer, it is sufficient enough to have the SATA if your motherboard can support it.
4. Video Card
Choosing the right video card that is supported by both your CPU and motherboard is a very important and tough decision to make. The gaming video card you choose will be responsible for producing the dazzling 3D graphics and effects seen in the latest computer games. A better graphics card can deliver a better 3D gaming experience, so the best and affordable video card should be bought for your gaming computer.
The graphic processing unit (GPU) can be connected to your motherboard through AGP or PCI Express slot. For you gaming computer, it is recommended that you use a graphics card connected through a PCI Express slot on your motherboard.
The speed and efficiency of the GPU should not be the only thing that counts when buying your video card. You should also consider the advanced 3D rendering effects such as anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, bump mapping, pixel shaders and much more. For your gaming computer, consider a video card that can support such latest 3D rendering techniques in the software world.
Like the CPU market, there are two primary competing companies that currently dominate the graphic card. These companies are ATI and nVidia. ATI is responsible for the Radeon series, while Nvidia is marketing the GeForce line of cards.
5. Power Supply
One of the vital and overlooked components of the computer system is the power supply. Without a power supply, the computer will not be able to operate its functions. Its main purpose is to convert AC power from the main line to usable low-voltage DC power for the internal components of the computer. The power supply gives out three different DC voltages to your computer 12VDC, 5VDC, and 3VDC which are used differently by computer components.
Each power supply has a certain amount of energy or wattage based on their maximum output power. Wattages commonly range from 300W to 500W but some high-end gaming power supply can reach ranges of 800W to 1kW.
If you want to use a power supply for your gaming computer, it is recommended to have at least a power supply ranging from 500W and above.
6. Gaming Monitor
One of the most expensive components in your gaming computer would be the computer monitor. When buying a gaming computer monitor you only need to consider three things: size, native resolution, and price.
[Size] Computer monitors come in different sizes from the small 15 inches to a larger 23 inches, and even larger. 17 inches is a common size and large enough for most people, but if you want to increase your viewing and gaming experience then a larger size monitor is advisable.
[Native Resolution] Each monitor has been designed for a certain resolution, which is known as the native resolution. If you change the resolution of a monitor to a resolution that doesn’t coincide with its native resolution; the image will then be scaled and the quality will be lessened significantly. The native resolution of a monitor is dependent on its size. Here are some examples of native resolution for common sizes:
17 inches 1024×768
19 inches 1280×1024
20 inches 1600×1200
[Cost] Prices vary greatly between sizes, where smaller ones cost cheaper than larger ones. So choose a size that can satisfy your need while taking into consideration your budget.
7. Gaming Keyboard
Custom built keyboards designed specifically for gaming can give an edge to a gamer using it. But currently, there is no general gaming keyboard that can be recommended for all gamers. Why? This is due to the fact that different gamers have different or varying styles of play, posture, and wrist anatomy. So basically, there is no such thing as a gaming keyboard that is best for everyone.
According to Build-Gaming-Computers, one of the best gaming keyboards available in the market is the Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard. This keyboard has been custom-made to meet a gamer’s need. It specifically features:
a. An adjustable, backlit LCD screen that displays important in-game information during gameplay;
b. Backlit keys to play in the dark or low-lit areas;
c. 18 programmable “G-keys” used to execute macros; and
d. Timer controls to keep track of game events.
8. Gaming Mouse
Like the gaming keyboard, choosing the best gaming mouse can help increase the level of your gaming experience. Using a custom-designed gaming mouse gives the best accuracy and control which allows you to play games at your best.
Computer mouse comes in different types which are the optical, laser, and ball mice types. Currently, optical and laser type mouse is commonly used due to their precision and better tracking, allowing for more accuracy and control.
When selecting the best mouse for your gaming computer, you should consider a number of factors. One of the most important ones is the resolution. Resolution is the number of pixels per inch a mouse’s optical sensor and focusing lens can see when you move the mouse around. The higher the resolution a mouse has, the better the accuracy and precision.
Next, consider the responsiveness of the mouse. It is the number of megapixels per second the mouse can process. This is important especially in fast-paced games such as first-person shooters games. The more megapixels per second the mouse can process, the more responsive it is; thus it offers faster and precise control in your games.
So when buying a gaming mouse, consider the resolution and responsiveness of the mouse you are going to buy.
Custom Gaming Computer Builds
Here are some examples of custom gaming computer builds suggested by Build-Gaming-Computers.
The Budget Gaming Desktop
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Quad Core Processor
Motherboard: Asus M4A79XTD EVO Motherboard
RAM: Corsair XMS3 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB
Video Card: Sapphire 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 Video Card
Power Supply: Thermaltake TPX-775M Toughpower XT 775W Power Supply
The Mid-Range Gaming Desktop
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K BX80623I52500 Unlocked Processor
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 Pro Intel P67 Motherboard
RAM: Corsair XMS3 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB
Video Card: XFX HD585XZAFC Radeon HD 5850
Power Supply: Cooler Master GX Series 650W
The High-End Gaming Desktop
CPU: Intel Core i7 960
Motherboard: ASUS P6T Motherboard
RAM: Corsair XMS3 Tri Channel 12GB
Hard Drive: Intel X25-M Solid State Hard Drive 80 GB
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 2GB
Power Supply: Corsair TX750W 750-Watt Power Supply
Logitech MX518 Gaming Mouse
Logitech Gaming Mouse G500
Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard
Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard
ACER X223WDbd 22″ Widescreen LCD
Samsung P2570HD 25″ Widescreen LCD
Samsung P2770HD 27″ LCD Monitor
HP 2709M 27″ Full HD Widescreen LCD Monitor