The idea of buying your very first Gaming PC might seem intimidating, but we’re here to tell you— it’s not really that complicated.
As long as you get the gist of it, such as specification guides and the ideal build for any purpose you wish to use the unit for— you’ll find out it can be actually easy to sort out.
Building your dream PC is always possible with sufficient funds, knowledge on specs, and of course, product availability.
There might be some computer parts and products that are recently discontinued, so it’s better to do a quick check first to ensure it’s still on the market.
The Rise of Gaming PCs
Overclocking GPU and RAM, installation of Windows and Drivers— these are considerably some basic gamer knowledge to date.
In 2014, there were just 1.82 billion video gamers but by 2018, the number had risen to 2.2 billion. Currently, there are 2.7 billion gamers worldwide in 2020.
A huge number of these gamers play on PC. Recent PC gaming market share statistics reveal that in 2019, its market share was at 24% amounting to $35.3 billion. That value is projected to reach $45.5 billion by 2021.
This particular demographic is to thank for the continued rising popularity of Gaming PCs. They take pride in owning gaming machines that can perform at par, sometimes even better, than most gaming consoles.
Assembling a PC might seem like intimidating work with all the wires and various components involved, but in reality, the process is fairly streamlined once you understand how the system works.
Gaming PC or Gaming Laptop?
Although this article is meant to guide you in buying your first gaming PC, it’s better if you consider which one between a PC set or a laptop is more ideal for your needs before we delve into the specific details.
Ask yourself, which suits you the best? If you travel around a lot to participate in various gaming events, or tend to change places often, a gaming laptop might be a more suitable bet. Just keep in mind that you might be required to spend a little more, since laptops generally cost more than PC sets due to its portability and undeniable convenience.
On the other hand, Desktop computers are classic powerhouse choices. You can purchase a high-end, powerful gaming machine around the same price of a basic gaming laptop.
Pre-Built Gaming Rig
To save you from the hassle of assembling a computer system by yourself, you can opt to buy a pre-built gaming set. However, if you don’t mind personalizing every component of your PC, you can always customize it yourself.
A great pre-built gaming rig option is the CORSAIR VENGEANCE 5180 Gaming PC which offers high resolution, frame rates, and high detail. It’s considerably one of the best high-end options to offer the best gaming experience on PC.
For a mid-range option, there’s the HP Omen Obelisk equipped with the industry’s latest components, micro—ATX compatible upgradability, and a design that you can personalize.
Pre-Built vs DIY: What’s the difference?
Having a DIY-assembled PC set and a pre-assembled system doesn’t really vary much in price, especially when you calculate the individual price of the components together. Let’s take for instance Nadeshot’s Custom Gaming PC Set priced at $10k, which has some of the best gaming pc specs available on the market. Intel i9 CPU, anyone?
However, it’s important to consider that these assembled systems come with warranties. If you experience issues, such as dead pixels on your chosen monitor, you can likely have it fixed or replaced.
Pre-built gaming rigs also have different features that are not available for DIY systems. But at the end of the day, the choice is still yours to make.
You may have the best system available in the market, but you need to keep in mind that your online gaming experience is still largely dependent on the speed of your connection. Consider availing local ISPs that can cater to your online gaming needs. This will maximize the overall experience on your gaming system.
PC Components to Familiarize
Now, the time has come to assemble your PC. Here are some of the most important and common PC components you need to know in assembling your first gaming PC system.
PC Casing and Cooling
Let’s begin with selecting the best PC casing for your desired set-up. This greatly boils down to one’s preference, since some prefer the compact type for closed spaces while others go with flashy RGB lightings and bigger case structures.
What’s important to consider in choosing a PC case is that it should have enough space to comfortably hold all the components of your liking. There also has to be enough breathability in the case so that certain components do not end up overheating.
A number of PC casings usually come with built-in cooling fans. But for a gaming PC, it is better to get one with a dedicated cooling option such as liquid cooling.
Some parts like graphic cards are continuously having new releases on the market. If you have long-term plans for your gaming PC, save some extra space in case you decide to upgrade some time in the future.
Here’s a list of great PC case options for starters:
- Carbide Series™ SPEC-ALPHA Mid-Tower Gaming Case has direct airflow path cooling. It’s also known for its modern, angular appearance that’s undoubtedly bound to stand out.
- Cooler Master Stryker SE with two additional PCI slots at the rear, enhanced water cooling support, and fan speed controller with LED indicator.
- Corsair iCue 4000X with elegant, tempered front and side panels. It’s also a great choice if you’re particular with cable management.
- NZXT H200i is considered as the best Mini-ITX case. Perfect for modern PC building, it has a built-in Smart Device RGB control and an adaptive noise reduction.
- Cooler Master H500P Mesh is a gorgeous RGB-packed case with plenty of room for airflow, accommodating up to 360mm radiators for when you want to take PC cooling to the next level.
Power Supply (PSU)
What’s a computer system without a reliable power supply (PSU)? You might want to pick a power supply with the best capacity for your system.
The PSU is considered as the core component of your system, powering all the individual components directly and some through the motherboard.
Before purchasing a power supply, research or ask your dealer about the energy requirements of your rig’s prominent components such as the graphic card. Doing so will give you a solid estimate of your system’s possible consumption.
Here are some of the best PSUs for gaming:
- Corsair RM850x Considered as the best PSU for gaming, this reliable PSU has fully modular cables and a quiet fan. It offers a generous 10-year warranty at a fantastic price point.
- Cooler Master MasterWatt 750W This is a great power supply to consider if you’re on a budget; Semi-fanless Modular 80 Plus, Bronze certified, and a clean design with semi-modular cables.
- FSP Dagger 500W Looking for a compact PSU for mini-ITX builds? This power supply got you covered. It is fully-modular, has flat ribbon cables and DC to DC module design in a compact size which makes it suitable for small pc host machines.
- Gamdias Astrape P1-750G Nowadays, if you’re building a Gaming PC, the trend is to make it as RGB as possible. Here’s an RGB power supply with 26 RGB lighting effects which you can consider for your rig. It boasts high-quality Japanese capacitors, 80 Plus Gold certification, and fully modular cables.
It is advisable to buy 100 watts above the required limit. The usual range for PSUs used in gaming PCs is between 450-550 watts.
The Processor (CPU) is another core component of your gaming build.
Great processors combined with the right set of PC components allow you to play the most advanced video games on PC with ease. Think of Call of Duty: Warzone and Microsoft’s Flight Simulator… and some other game titles you need to check out soon.
As you determine the right processor for your needs, try to look at the number of cores being offered. Multiple cores split processing data between them, which greatly improves efficiency for various tasks. This is an important consideration especially if you’re thinking of other gaming-related activities outside of playing, such as streaming your gameplays.
Here are some of the best CPU for gaming:
- Intel Core i7 10700K (Cores: 8, Threads: 16) Dubbed as the best CPU for gaming right now, it features great stock performance, full HyperThreading, and a solid overclocking.
- AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (Cores: 8, Threads: 16) A solid choice for gaming set-ups at mid-range price. It has a superb multi-use CPU, excellent value vs performance, and a Good Wraith Prism cooler included.
- Intel Core i9 10900K (Cores: 10, Threads: 20) Considered as the fastest gaming CPU, you will never go wrong with the Comet Lake flagship… but it comes at a hefty price, of course. If you have the budget to enjoy the fastest gaming performance, treat yourself!
- AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (Cores: 12, Threads: 24) This is AMD’s best CPU for gaming and other non-gaming activities. It includes a decent Wraith Prism cooler and packs 50 percent more cores and threads than the last-gen Core i9 9900K.
- Intel Core i5 9400F (Cores: 6, Threads: 6) This reliable CPU is a great budget-friendly option for Intel builds. It offers affordable mid-range performance and a cooler is also included in the box.
Not every video game takes full use of all your cores. Some are designed to cater low-end devices as well, so it’s advisable to check your chosen game’s compatibility with different processors.
Video Graphic Card (GPU)
Your computer’s graphic abilities is another important factor to consider for your gaming needs.
A number of pre-built PCs have built-in graphic cards, but since the technology is progressing by the day— more gamers opt to have a dedicated GPU instead.
Adding a good graphical card to your gaming rig will shift the core processing to the GPU, hence your system can multi-task properly. You can also count on your set-up to give the best performance when gaming for long hours.
Here are some of the best graphics card on the market:
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 is considered as the best value graphics card in the market today. It offers amazing ray tracing performance at a cheap price tag plus 4K gaming on quality settings.
- AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Dubbed as the best graphics card for 1080p gaming, this AMD card delivers high frame rates and plenty of software features all while requiring less power.
- Zotac GeForce RTX 2060 Super Mini This mini graphics card is considered as the world’s smallest 2060 Super at a decent price. But since the card is smaller, users will miss out on features like SLI support, RGB lighting, and VR VirtualLink.
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G This budget graphics card provides great entry-level performance at an affordable price. It also delivers excellent 1080p performance.
The Random Access Memory or RAM of your gaming PC is another important component of your rig. It temporarily stores data while your computer performs other tasks.
Purchasing a great RAM gives your computer the power to perform multiple tasks at the same time without compromising efficiency.
Even if you have a high-end processor and graphic card installed, if your RAM is so-so, your system will still turn out infuriatingly slow.
In gaming, having a minimum of 6 GB RAM is commonly recommended. Keep in mind the generation of the RAM you’re planning to buy, since it should be compatible with your system.
A DDR2 RAM is slower than a DDR3 RAM, even if they have the same GBs. Components such as the motherboard and the processor must be compatible with the RAM, so better do your research.
What are some of the best RAM for gaming? Here are some good picks that will give your system the memory it needs to perform at its best.
- TEAM XTREEM ARGB 16GB DDR4-3600MHz C14 Considered as the best RAM for Gaming, this is great for AMD Ryzen builds. It also has subtly RGB lighting at a great price.
- Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 32GB DDR4-3200MHz If you’re looking for a high-end RAM for gaming, this RAM is for you. It features ultra-bright Capellix RGB LEDs, dominator DHX heat-spreaders, and advanced iCUE software.
- G.Skill Trident Z Neo 32GB DDR4-3600MHz This pick is best suited for gaming with AMD motherboards. It has high speed and a high capacity RGB kit, fully optimized for AMD Ryzen gaming PC builds.
- Patriot Viper Elite 8GB DDR4-2400MHz Gaming on a budget? This affordable RAM can cater your gaming needs. It utilizes custom designed high performance heat shields for superior heat dissipation to ensure solid performance even when using the most taxing applications.
Hard drive (HDD / SSD)
Just like common desktop systems, the data stored in your gaming PC also requires a local physical space. This is why you need a hard disk with generous space to store all your favorite games and computer programs.
For your gaming PC, you need to pick a hard drive that is fast and offers a great space for storage. The speed of hard disks is determined through RPM, which is the speed at which the disk rotates. The standard RPM needed for gaming is 7200.
Opting for a Solid States Drive (SSD) is rising in popularity among many gamers, since these storage devices don’t fully rely on a rotating disc. SSDs cost higher and offer less storage space, however, compared to standard hard disks.
Here are some of the best Hard Drives for Gaming:
- Seagate FireCuda (2TB) The Firecuda is a SSHD, a hybrid storage solution engineered to have both features of an SSD and an HDD in one. It is equipped with 8GB of high-performance solid-state memory, giving it lightning quick loading times while having a total capacity of 2TB.
- Western Digital 14TB Ultrastar HDD A great choice for gamers who are also streaming their gameplays or editing video footages in 4k. It has a speed of 7200RPM with a 512MB cache.
- WD Blue 500GB Hard Disk Drive A great budget hard drive for gaming with 500GB storage space at 7200RPM speed. This is a great pick for those who are building their gaming rigs on a budget.
- Seagate Barracuda (3TB) Comes with solid 3TB of storage space for your video games, media files, and other important files. This is considered as a great all-round internal hard drive for gaming.
Ask any veteran PC gamer and they would advise you to combine an SSD with a standard hard disk for your rig. Having a SSD is useful for booting purposes and starting programs and software.
Meanwhile, a standard hard disk will give you a generous space for your data storage needs. Couple a 512GB SSD with 1-2TB of standard storage space for back-up purposes, and you’re good to go.
A gaming PC must also have a great monitor to effectively display all the features of your system. Fortunately, there are quite a lot of good monitor options available in the market today. It all boils down to one’s preference regarding size and display.
If you’re eyeing to play open-world adventure games or RPGs, you might want to go for a monitor with a wide screen size. Strategy games might not be good to play on large screen monitors, since it can get rather difficult to maneuver your character and move around.
Keep in mind that some games require greater resolutions to render all the immersive and beautiful detailing. Playing titles at a higher resolution will greatly use the computing power of your PC set-up, so ensure that your system can keep up with the minimum performance requirements.
A monitor’s resolution settings can be tweaked to your liking, but there is a limit in the form of max resolution.
Here are some crowd-favorite gaming PC monitors to fully immerse in your favorite in-game virtual worlds.
- ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q A great gaming monitor at 1440p with 144Hz refresh rate, overclockable to 165Hz. It also has low input lag for an IPS screen.
- LG 27GN950-B Considered as the fastest, most responsive 4K gaming monitor. It features xquisite IPS image quality and beautiful colors, contrasts, and depths in games despite the lesser HDR capabilities.
- Pixio PX277 Prime This curved 1080p 144Hz gaming monitor comes at a budget-friendly price tag. Consider it as a good entry-level option if you are looking for a large screen with a high refresh rate.
- BenQ EL2870U Another budget-friendly option that can display your favorite games in 4K HDR glory. It also is equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Aside from the crucial parts of a gaming PC system listed above, there are also other components you need to consider in order to achieve a great gaming experience in general.
For instance, you need to pick a gaming mouse that is either a wired or wireless one. Other factors to consider is its appearance, its feel in the hand, the button selection and arrangement, and of course the sensor quality. For MMOs and RPG games, you need 1000 to 1600 DPI. A lower 400 to 1000 DPI is ideal for FPS and other shooter games.
A mechanical keyboard is another crowd favorite by most PC gamers, as it gives them a speedy keypress for fast-paced games and the satisfaction of typing. Important features to consider upon picking one include dedicated media controls and a USB or audio passthrough. From macro keys to laser beams, mechanical keyboards allow you to have the best PC gaming experience.
You also typically need a gaming headset or speakers to take your gaming experience to the next level. If you want to focus more in your matches, you might want to buy gaming headphones with noise cancelling features.
There is no need to be intimidated at the thought of buying your first-ever Gaming PC. Although the process might seem complicated at first, you’ll realize it’s fairly streamlined once you sort out the crucial components first.
Choose the best options available based on the price bracket that you have for your desired gaming PC, in order to make the most out of your system!