A few thoughts on building a Gaming PC

Posted: March 9, 2015 in Computers, Video Game

Recently I decided I was going to give PC gaming a real try.  I am not incredibly impressed with the latest console offering so I figure I could build myself a new gaming PC and be able to experience great games like Elite: Dangerous, Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft.  Plus Batman: Arkham Knight is not coming out for XBOX 360 and I love the Arkham series so…   Anywho, this is my random thoughts on building a new gaming PC.

CPU:  The brain of the system.  The CPU for any gaming PC can’t be a slouch since gaming is one of the most intensive work your CPU will have to do.  Software companies are utilizing 4 core technology and are even starting to utilize the CPUs that have more cores, so the CPU can’t be a slouch.  But, gaming is not the MOST intensive work your CPU will do, evidently that title goes to Rendering, 3d Computer Models and video editing.  Which I dabble in but nothing crazy.  So I was able to save a little money here and go with a Intel Core i5 instead of a Intel Core i7.

For research I read a lot of advise, asked my friends and watched a lot of youtube videos, a lot of them.  My friends said don’t do AMD(the other CPU manufacturer) there stuff isn’t as good as Intel.  But all the youtube videos and internet advise suggested going AMD for Entry Level or Mid-Range builds like mine.  I went with the Core i5 and so far I am happy with it.  I could of saved a 150 bucks if I went AMD but at the same time I didn’t want to waste money upgrading a Motherboard and CPU if I wasn’t happy with the AMD gaming computer.  And I still want to build an AMD system just to see how they perform.  But I will have to wait a while on that.

Motherboard:  If the CPU is the brain then this would be the nervous system.  Honestly the research I did really stress about Motherboards.  They do what they do.  You look for the features you want.  Read reviews and look for certain manufacturers.  Beyond that I picked around my price range and there you go.

 RAM: If the CPU is the brain then RAM would be your short term memory.  RAM makes a difference on system performance.  Short answer more RAM is never a bad thing.  But a few things to remember your motherboard can only use a certain amount of RAM the second is once you get past a certain amount of RAM you aren’t going to notice.  Most games require 4 gigs now a days and from what I read and what I am told much beyond that is not needed.

Video Card:  I wish I had a good analogy but the best I can come with is this would be your system glasses.  A gaming computer needs a good video card otherwise you should just stick with Facebook games or a console.  Video cards are difficult to nail down what is good and what is not.  My friends say Nvidia all the way, online seems to float towards AMD.  But the abridged version set a price point, read reviews, look up benchmarks, and go with the most bang for the buck.

Hard Drive:  Back to easy analogies.  This is your computers long term memory.  Hard drives are fairly easy these days you pick how much you want and type and run with it.  With 1 Terrabyte drives being about 50 bucks this made my decision easy.  But I do have to say something to consider is SSD or solid state drives.  SSD’s are quick like RAM quick.  SSD’s will improve your system’s performance and give you quicker loading times on games.  But they are still pricey.

Power Supply:  The heart of your system.  The power supply regulates the electricity flowing to your system if it goes bad you can fry your system quick.  That being said I don’t have a lot of advise watch youtube video and read articles.  I went with a friends suggestion.

Case: The way your computer looks to the outside world.  Here I have some decent advise.  Go with what looks good to you and has good air flow.  Beyond that price and features are what to look for.

 Operating System:  There are several good options here.  I went with Windows 7 because that is what I had on my hard drive already.  However, other things to consider is Ubuntu Linux and SteamOS which are both free.  Ubuntu has a very good user interface and more and more games are coming out on Linux software.  SteamOS is also linux based but from the people who bring you Steam, a digital video game distribution site, basically iTunes for video games(As a quick aside, Steam is a must for a PC gamer, they run awesome sales and have a very large client base).  I don’t have much experience with SteamOS so I have nothing to give you.

Optical Drive:  What was essential for PC gaming may now be not needed now at all.  Most of the games you play now a days can be downloaded and installed.  I included one in my system mainly because I had one handy but they are not needed after installing your operating system.

 Reflections:  PC gaming is fun but also a money pit the more I play the more I want to buy.  A better video card, more RAM, a better chair, a SSD and so on.  But on the flip side you won’t have to drop 500 dollars every six years when a new console comes out because you have been spending that money through out those years on your computer.

I enjoyed putting my PC together and re familiarizing myself with building computers.  I updated a lot of my knowledge that was outdated (from late 1990’s).

Thanks for reading.

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