So You Want to Build a Gaming PC

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Doctor Bambi’s back with yet another tech tip to knocks your socks off and keep your toes warm.

So, you think you’re ready to enter the dark and mysterious world of PC gaming. You’ve had a laptop that’s gotten you through school, but you’ve never been able to seriously game on it. The world of Steam, Origin and other services are vast lands of untapped territories ripe with fresh gaming ideas. Gaming on PC really is a new frontier if you’ve been on consoles since you were in diapers.

I recently built my first gaming PC and the purpose of this post is to talk about all the things you’re going to need and some helpful pointers I wish I had known going into this process. So with that in mind here we go! Take notes and get ready to embark on a quest many console gamers will never take. The desert is far reaching, but the promise land is waiting on the other side!

Parts you’ll need: First things first

  1. Motherboard
    1. The foundation of any good pc. Everything branches out from the Motherboard.
    2. Keep in mind your case specs and your CPU format and brand.
  2. CPU/APU
    1. The brains of your pc. You’ll want to find something with a spec around 3.5 GHz for processing speed.
    2. An APU is a CPU and a graphics card integrated into one chip. This makes setup easy and space efficient at the cost of processing power.
  3. RAM
    1. Your computers ability to multitask. You’ll want no less than 8GB to keep up with the latest games.
  4. Graphics Card
    1. This will make your games look pretty. You’ll probably want, at least 1GB of VRAM. Expect to drop some money on this. I’d spend no less than $150 if you want to perform on par with the current generation of consoles.
  5. Cooling
    1. This one is going to take some research. You need to make sure you have, at least, one fan directly on your CPU (Your CPU will usually come with one) and two other fans somewhere in your case. One will pull air into the system, and the other will push air out of the system. Some cases come with fans already built in.
  6. Blu-ray/DVD Drive
    1. They may be on their way out, but you’ll still find a need for a good disk drive. And they’re not too expensive these days.
  7. Storage Drive
    1. For storage you have two options, HHD or SSD. HHD is cheaper but slower, SSD is faster but definitely more expensive.
    2. Make sure to get one SSD drive for your operating system. This will help keep your computer running smooth.
  8. Power Supply
    1. Gives your computer the ever needed life. I would find something with around 500 Watts. You want to make sure you have enough power to run everything smoothly.
  9. Case
    1. Pretty self explanatory. Make sure it matches your motherboard size. I would suggest getting a bigger case with lots of room for expanding.
  10. Operating System
    1. I would go with Windows 8, but you can also do Linux or Steam OS.
  11. Other Equipment you may already have.
    1. Monitor (keep in mind your TV can be a monitor)
    2. Keyboard
    3. Mouse
    4. Speakers

And that’s all you should need to get up and running! But here are some things I learned after building my machine.

There are basically two routes you can go, AMD or Intel. I personally feel that you get more bang for your buck going the AMD route. Go ahead and kill any concepts in your mind of building a compact desktop PC. I tried to do this and as a consequence, I have already run out of space for expanding my computer’s abilities. Custom built PCs are modular in nature and they’re are not space efficient. Chances are you can find a nice corner for it where it’ll be out of the way anyway. I went with an APU for my setup. I thought this would save me some money, but it ended up biting me in the butt. The integrated graphics are not enough to game on today’s level. Don’t be afraid to use HDDs. SSD are SUPER expensive. It is not feasible, at this point, to build a machine on only SSD, find a harmony between your SSD and HDD. You will run out of space faster than you realize. You can expect to spend about $800 to build a quality machine. Newegg.com is your best friend, get an account and sign up for their newsletters. They have deals all the time.

I think that about sums up this tech tip. Hope it’s been helpful for you. Leave a comment if I missed something. Stay safe travelers!

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