If you’re a serious gamer or want to be a serious gamer, then you need to get yourself a serious gaming PC! There is a wide world of wonderful options out there, and there’s something to suit the needs of every kind of gamer. Unfortunately, money doesn’t go a long way in the world of gaming and computers. Before you whip out your savings or credit card and spend a fortune on something that needs to last you a long time and work for the purposes you have in mind, you need to do your research and be sure that you’re spending your money on the right thing. Whether you’re a self acclaimed nerd building your PC or buying something already put together, you need to make a lot of decisions about the hardware, software and accessories that come with a gaming PC. It can be overwhelming, but that’s why we’re here! If you’re about to take the plunge, then you need to check out our list of the top ten things to know and consider before you do.
Is Now The Best Time?
Before you even start to research the details of all the different gaming PC’s that you might consider, you should check out prices and ask yourself if this is the best time to buy. The current chip shortage has pushed prices of certain components up significantly and cut down the amount of stock at the moment. We know it’s difficult to wait if you’ve set your heart on an exciting purchase, but it might be wise to consider waiting a little bit if the prices in the market are too high. You need to get the most bang for your buck and get a good enough piece of equipment to last you a while.
Buy or Build
Most experienced gamers will already be screaming at the top of their lungs, “Build one!” And it is true; you’ll be able to get exactly what you want out of your PC if you build it yourself. You can do all the research yourself, figure out which graphics card will max your settings on your favourite games, which case will look the best in your gaming room, which colour LEDs will make you happiest and so on. It’s a lot of time and effort, but you’ll undoubtedly get exactly what you’re looking for. However, if you buy a built PC, you do get a lot of benefits that way as well. If you pay for top of the line, you’ll get top of the line. If you need support when something goes wrong, a company has to handle that because they built the PC. Whichever way you go, don’t let anyone make you feel bad! This is about what you want and your preferences, not anybody else’s.
This is a big consideration as the CPU is the brain of the computer. If it can’t keep up, nothing else in the computer will be able to keep up either. For a gaming computer, the CPU does not need to be terrifically powerful; we recommend a four-core/four-thread CPU as the baseline for an entry-level gaming PC. If you’re more advanced and want to play titles that have just been released, we say go for a six-core/twelve thread CPU. Anything higher than that is slightly excessive as your performance can only be boosted so much.
- Graphics Card
The next important thing to consider is your graphics card. This component has a serious impact on how you’ll be able to play the games you love. All modern titles need a dedicated and high functioning graphics card to play smoothly; while you could game with an integrated graphics card in some Intel and AMD cases, they are usually bottom of the pile in terms of performance. You’ll get the lowest graphics settings and resolution. At the moment, Nvidia is the top choice, but the chip shortage has had an incredible impact on prices.
If you want to game with as little lag as possible, then you need a reasonable amount of RAM. While games generally don’t need a lot of RAM, they do need “enough” to run correctly. Most modern titles will run well on a system with 8GB of RAM, as long as you also have a good graphics card. If your RAM is on the lower side, you might not be able to run a lot of other applications while you’re playing games.
- Storage Drive
Another big contributor to how fast and how smoothly you’re able to play your favourite games is the kind of and amount of storage you have. Your main options are an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and SSD (Solid State Drive), as well as some newer options such as M.2 SATA and M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives.
Most gamers prefer to have more than one monitor, usually two or three. Usually, your options are IPS, TN and VA monitors, but for gaming, you’ll want to go with either IPS or TN. IPS has far superior colour functionality and wonderful viewing angles for gaming, but on the downside, their refresh rates are lower. TN monitors have higher refresh rates and low response times, but their viewing angles and colour accuracy are rather lower.
While there are add ons like extra cooling, keyboard and mouse that you’ll still need to get, these are the significant components and things you’ll need to consider first. Good luck with your foray into the world of gaming PCs!