If you’re on a budget, consider a pre-built gaming PC. Be mindful that PCs marketed as “gaming PCs” could be more expensive but may offer the same or similar components to a PC marketed as “office”.
Building a gaming rig from scratch doesn’t have to break the bank. Consider looking at bundle options which include a motherboard and CPU.
When building your own gaming PC, ensure you choose the right size case for your needs: full tower, mid-tower, or mini-ITX. For instance, a standard ATX motherboard may not fit into a mini-ITX case.
Invest in an SSD of at least 500GB for your operating system to be installed on, leaving room for some of your favorite games, too. HDDs are often cheaper and offer more storage for the money, but SSDs are faster and better for performance.
If you want to get one step ahead, NVMe SSDs offer faster data transfer rates compared to SSDs. However, you will need to check how many PCIe slots your motherboard has (if any).
For the ultimate gaming PC setup, you’ll want to get at least a 24-inch monitor. 1080p monitors are great, and you won’t need such strong hardware, but a 4K monitor (3840×2160) with 144Hz refresh rate will offer the best experience for AAA titles.
Gaming PCs tend to be performance-intensive. This means you’ll need to ensure your PC has adequate cooling to keep temperatures low while gaming. Fans are great and do the job well, but you can go for liquid cooling if you want it to look fancy.
When purchasing RAM for your PC, make sure it’s compatible with your motherboard. Most new motherboards will offer support for DDR4, and some even go as far as DDR5.
8GB RAM is the absolute minimum you should look at when building or upgrading your PC. However, in most cases, it’s just as affordable to double up to 16GB RAM. Two sticks of RAM are also better than one since they offer dual-channel memory slots.
All of the hardware in your PC needs power, and therefore you need a PSU to support all of your components. It’s recommended to get an 80 Plus Gold or an 80 Plus Platinum PSU for better power efficiency. You can also use a PSU calculator to determine what wattage you require.
In addition to performance, a gaming PC should stand out from the crowd. RGB lighting strips and RGB fans are an affordable way to make your case look awesome.
If you’re adding a lot of peripherals to your gaming PC, you’ll notice the abundance of wires and cables cluttering up your desk. Gaming desks are built specifically to offer cable management and often can be adjusted to the right height.
Mechanical keyboards are often favored by PC gamers. That’s because they offer low actuation (travel distance), responsive keys, and hotkeys that are useful when playing games.
Decide whether you want to opt for linear, tactile, or clicky switches on your keyboard. Linear switches tend to be smoother, while tactile and clicky offer confirmation in the sound and feel of the keys when pressed.
An adjustable DPI gaming mouse should be considered in order to receive accurate response times and mouse clicks. For MMO or competitive gamers, a mouse with programmable buttons is essential.
Although a mouse and keyboard are necessary for most PC gaming setups, many games also support game controllers, including the Xbox Series X controller.
Keeping your gaming desk tidy and free from clutter is vital. There are plenty of gaming accessories that can help with this, including an extended mouse pad, headphone stands, and a USB hub.
Although your PC will be the bread and butter of your gaming setup, it’s important to consider comfort, especially when playing for long hours. A robust chair needs to be considered, especially one offers height adjustment, 4D armrests, and tilt.
Some gaming monitors including built-in speakers, but these are often low wattage and won’t feel particularly immersive. PC gaming brands like HyperX, Corsair, and SteelSeries offer incredible gaming headsets.
If you’re planning to go down the speaker route and want to communicate with your friends, you can invest in a separate speaker and microphone set up.
Many PC gamers also enjoy streaming, so it’s important to look at microphone set-ups that cater to this. Additional accessories like a boom arm and pop filter can be useful to dampen background noise and make your microphone more accessible.
If you’re a keen streamer, hardware like Stream Deck could make switching between streaming sites and programs much simpler.
Steam is by far the most popular platform to explore and purchase new games. However, there are other options like Epic Store, GOG Galaxy, Ubisoft Connect, and so on.
If you’re trying to find the best game to play that caters for your needs, make sure you filter games by type, e.g. Co-op, MMO, FPS, RTS, etc. This will make it easier to search through a library of games.
Purchased a game via Steam that is full of issues or doesn’t work? Steam offers refunds on games if you’ve played them for less than two hours, within two weeks of purchase.
Join a Reddit community for your favorite games to learn new tips and tricks, or join a subreddit to explore different gaming communities and learn new things.
Choose a high-end router that offers Wi-Fi 6, like the TP-Link Archer AX11000. Not only does it offer features like a gamer-centric interface, it’s extremely powerful and supports Wi-Fi 6.
Ensure your network card is compatible with your router. For example, if your network card doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, you may need to reconsider your options.
Deciding between a Wi-Fi and Ethernet connection for gaming can be confusing. While Wi-Fi has substantially improved, nothing compares to connecting your PC directly to your router via an Ethernet connection.
If you can’t connect via Ethernet, you should ensure you can connect to the 5GHz band on your router. The range won’t extend as far, but your performance will drastically increase over the 2.4GHz band.
A Bluetooth adapter isn’t essential, but it’s certainly useful if you want to connect your PC to a printer, your smartphone, or other Bluetooth compatible devices.
Software and Programs
You can easily monitor and overclock your GPU with software like MSI Afterburner. It’s free to install and offers complete control over your GPU, allowing you to push its performance within safe limits.
Recording gameplay isn’t only fun, it’s useful for streamers. OBS Studio allows you to record and stream your gameplay as well as options for audio, filters, and more.
Modding games can extend their longevity and also improve gameplay past its limits. Nexus Mod Manager allows you to download free mods for certain games from community modders.
If your PC comes with an NVIDIA graphics card, GeForce Experience is a must. It ensures your PC is running the latest drivers for your GPU and boasts a wealth of features including the ability to record and share gameplay.
It’s no myth that building or upgrading your PC can become addictive. Using software like Speccy can help you determine your current PC components like your GPU, RAM, and CPU. It also displays the current temperature of your PC’s hardware.
Managing multiple monitors can be difficult, but with software like UltraMon, it’s easy to apply custom settings to all of your monitors, separately. It comes with support for screensavers and wallpapers, too.
Chatting with friends via a messaging system or speaking to them over your headset can definitely make your gameplay experience more interesting. Discord is a popular communication platform that is free to use. You can create your own private servers or join community servers.
Many PC gamers love to play around with RGB lighting, especially when its native to their peripherals like a gaming keyboard or mouse. iCUE from Corsair allows you to tinker with your RGB lighting, choose custom themes, and map keys across different profiles.
Buying a new gaming PC feels good. But don’t forget to maintain the hardware and software. Ensure you keep your PC up to date with the latest drivers and software updates.
You can keep your gaming keyboard clean with keyboard cleaning putty. This will stop any excess dirt, dust, and debris from getting underneath the keys and causing any issues.
If you have an SSD, you won’t have to defragment your drives. However, if your gaming PC has an HDD, you may need to periodically run defragmentation software.
Using Windows 10’s startup organizer, you can ensure only essential programs and processes boot up when your gaming PC starts. This ensures it doesn’t suffer from any performance issues.
If you’re lucky to live in a warmer country, it’s worth keeping some extra cooling fans spare to install when the weather gets hotter. This will stop your PC from overheating in the summer months.
Every couple of months, open up your PC and give it a dusting. If enough dust accumulates, it can increase temperatures and harm components.
Check that your CPU supports overclocking by visiting the manufacturer’s website. This will be marked by two clear specifications like “base clock 3.4GHz” and “max. boost clock 4.9GHz”.
You can overclock your AMD or Intel CPU via the BIOS. However, if you’re a beginner, you may benefit from Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility, or AMD’s Ryzen Master.
It’s advisable to stress test your overclocking settings before applying them. Tools like AIDA64 allow you to test the speed you want to achieve without damaging your PC.
You can increase the voltage of your CPU to create a more stable overclock. Do some research on your CPU to find out the maximum number of volts it can handle before changing the settings.
Overclocking isn’t a necessity. If you’re happy with the performance of your PC, don’t push your luck if you’re not confident in what you’re doing.