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The Ultimate Gaming PC Build Guide

5 Most Important Factors when Building your Gaming PC

Gaming PC build guide

Building a Gaming PC is no joke. It costs quite a lot of money. Since a gaming PC is more future proof than a gaming console, it is not just a plug and play affair. 

As such you need to do quite a lot of research before you start building your gaming PC such that it fits your budget and gaming pleasure like a hand in a glove. 

Therefore to lessen the hardwork on your part, I asked several tech enthusiasts and bloggers to share with me their opinion as to the 
5 most important factors, a person should look for when building a gaming PC. 
I have also shared my own opinion in the end and finally listed out the 5 factors most voted for, as the most important when building a gaming PC. As such, this post will be all you shall need to build that gaming PC you always dreamt of!
Neil Andrew - Piccana Digital

  1. Graphics Card - Most prebuilt systems tend to neglect the graphics card, using cards like a GTX 960 and claiming "2GB VRAM!" like it's some amazing piece of hardware. The truth is though, for a gamer who wants to run high/max settings at 1080p or above this just isn't going to cut it at all. Always look at the graphics card in the system and check it's a decent one for the resolution you'll be gaming at (recommended cards include 1080Ti (very high end), 1080 (High end), 1070 (Slightly lower, but still high end - ideal for 1080p at max settings) or for those on more of a budget the 980 series of Nvidia cards or the R9 380/RX 480 from AMD.
  2. Power Supply - Another component most prebuilt systems neglect. Make sure the power supply delivers enough power to adequately power all the components in your system, plus a little more on top in case you want to upgrade something in the future. If possible, look for a system with an 80+ approved power supply (at least 80+ Bronze, ideally 80+ Gold is best for price/performance ratio). A more efficient power supply will also help keep your electric bills down, even if the sticker number (e.g. 800 Watts) is higher.
  3. Hard Drives - Make sure the system has at least one SSD (solid state disk) and that this is the disk that the operating system is installed on. SSDs are fairly cheap now but some system builders still don't include them. Having an SSD is one of the most cost effective upgrades you can do to a system, everything becomes lightening fast and so much more enjoyable to use. If the system does have an SSD then make sure it also has a traditional larger HDD to store files on, ideally 1TB or more.
  4. Operating System - Make sure that the system comes with an operating system. For gaming, it would be highly recommended to choose Windows 10. If the system doesn't come with an operating system, buy one separately.
  5. Warranty - If you are buying a prebuilt system then make sure that the manufacturer offers some type of RTB (return to base) warranty on the system, just in case anything breaks. At a minimum, this should be 1 year, but 2 or 3-year options are always better. Some manufacturers may charge extra for this - as long as it's not too much extra then it's usually worth it.
Dr Tim LynchPsychsoftpc

1. Processor: A solid, fast CPU is a must for a great Gaming PC. an Intel Core i7 or the AMD equivalent is best but a high end Intel Core i5 will do for an entry level machine.

2. Video card: You should get the best GPU that you can afford. We currently feature the NVidia GTX 1080 in our high end machines but also use the GTX 1070 and the GTX 1060 GPUs. A good gaming computer needs a good discrete video card not the video chip built into the motherboard to give excellent performance. Also, you should look for Virtual Reality ready cards that support 4K.

3. RAM: A decent system should have at least 8 gig RAM for an entry level system and 16 gig for a high end system. Gaming quality RAM is also a good idea. look for RAM with heat spreaders that are designed for performance rather than cheap generic memory found in low end desktop machines.

4. Motherboard: Good gaming machines are built around gaming motherboards these are high performance MBs designed for heavy use and performance tweaking. it should also be  a full ATX for expansion.

5. Power supply gaming machines require an excellent high wattage PSU to run all the fans, CPUs, video cards, RAM, hard drives, etc. I recommend at least a 1000 Watt PSU

6. CPU cooling this should be a cooler designed for gaming performance not the stock Intel cooler that comes with the CPU

Micah BondGeek Powered Studios

I'm a frequent PC gamer and recently built myself a gaming rig at home. After doing a lot of research, and comparing performance on my new machine to the old one, I'm 100% convinced that the biggest bang for my buck came from installing a solid-state drive (SSD) in my machine, and using that for my OS boot and my main game installations.

More often than not, your hard drive is a big bottleneck for gaming performance, and you'd never know it. With a standard hard disk drive, my Windows boot up took anywhere from 45-90 seconds. Anytime I booted a game (Overwatch, Dark Souls, or World of Warcraft, for example), the game would again take 15-35 seconds to load up. And any loading screens (between matches, entering a new area) would be 6-15 seconds. 

On my new rig, which has similar graphics power, similar RAM size/speed, and comparable processing power, the SSD has Windows booting up in less than 10 seconds. And I can't even measure speed of game bootup, because it's near instant every time.

The only reason I am ever stuck waiting in an online game is because my teammates and opponents haven't loaded in yet. It's made single-player games an absolute breeze to play. And I've also never run out of space, even though the SSD itself is fairly small (250gb).

I can't recommend getting an SSD highly enough. It completely changed my gaming lifestyle!

Josh Covington - Velocity Micro

Graphics – Choosing a graphics card with the right amount of power to meet your gaming needs is probably the most important choice to make here. When picking a card, consider the games you currently play and the games you’d like to play in the future as well as the number and resolution of the displays you’d like. NVIDIA’s 10 Series graphics are what we generally recommend, with the GTX 1060 a minimum for a serious gaming PC.

Cooling – Many gaming PCs skimp on cooling, at the expense of overall performance and longevity. In general, heat is going to be enemy #1 in a gaming PC, and how well you can dissipate that heat directly corresponds to how stable the system will be and how long it will last. We recommend an advanced air cooling solution for the CPU at a minimum, with liquid cooling if you plan to overclock. Don’t ignore the case material either – plastic cases tend to trap heat whereas aluminum cases help to dissipate it.

Part Quality – All parts are not made equal. Many of the larger manufactures use what are called OEM grade parts, a lower quality mass produced component often cut from the edges of a silicon wafer. These OEM parts tend to run hotter and fail sooner than the retail grade boxed components used by smaller manufacturers.

Upgradeability – One of the benefits of PC gaming over console is the ability to upgrade components as new hardware comes out and as software becomes more demanding. When choosing a gaming PC, make sure you allow yourself enough room in the case to upgrade components later. Also, keep in mind that many OEM grade parts are only compatible with other OEM components, making them harder for the end user to upgrade.

Support – We hope we never need it, but support should be a major factor when considering components for a DIY or a manufacturer for a prebuilt system. A 1-year warranty is really the minimum here, but you should also shop around for lifetime support too. Most reputable hardware providers will stand by their product and not charge for phone or email support. If you can find US-based support (something we do provide) that’s a huge bonus

Michael Foye - Visible Technology Solutions

  1. On-board Graphics Card or Independent (Separate)
    1. Gaming Computer would require Independent Graphics Card.
    2. GeForce GTX 950 or higher  / AMD Radeon RX 400 or higher
  2. Intel Processor i5 or higher. OR AMD Ryzen 5 Processor or higher.
  3. System (Motherboard) RAM DDR4 (PC4-27700) or higher. Minimum of 12GB RAM.
  4. Storage: 512GB of SSD at minimum.
  5. 802.11ac Wireless LANAND 10/100/1000Mbps ethernet port.

The user has to decide if they’re going to go AMD or Intel. Whichever avenue they choose stick to the same components: AMD Processor, AMD Graphics, AMD Supported Motherboard, etc.

You should be able to build your own gaming computer for around $800.00 (maybe less).  If a user is buying a pre-built computer, expect to pay $1200 or more.

Kunal - DotAndroid

The very first thing to be considered while buying a Gaming PC is the Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Graphics Card, and the Cabinet.
To explain it further, Motherboard is the primary part that handles all I/O (Input/ Output), it has to be of top-notch quality and performance. 

Second is the CPU, as clock-speed along with performance is required to process high-end gaming processes. 

Third on the list is RAM and that is because more then RAM, better the performance. 

Then comes the Graphics card, which renders the animation. If Graphic card is of poor / medium quality, high-end games will not run with optimal resolution. 

Last on the list is Cabinet, which hold each and every item. When buying a cabinet, it should be kept in mind that the SMPS (Systematic Power Supply) should be of made with high-quality copper wire, preferably RAW power SMPS. In addition, the cabinet should have proper ventilation that keeps the parts cool.
There is a misconception among normal gamer; they assume that only high-end graphic card is enough to  handle big graphic games. It is certainly one of the priority requirement, but not the only. Hardcore gamers know that.

Antony Vitillo - The Ghost Howls

The first factor has been the GPU. The graphic card is the most important thing for VR and so I had to buy a NVIDIA GTX1080, that at the moment was the most expensive and powerful graphic card ever. Never regretted the choice, since it let me run all VR experiences super smoothly. Advice is to buy the best graphic card possible, or at least the best possible for the kind of experiences the user wants to run (looking for recommended specs for a particular game may help).

Then the second was the CPU. There is this Intel vs AMD religion and I'm more on the Intel side, due to better experience I had with them. Here too, there is no much money to spare... CPU is essential for running games smoothly. I picked up an Intel i7 of last generation (the most powerful at that time).

Then there are RAM size and speed, motherboard (especially number of USB 3 ports is essential for us using VR devices, since they occupy a lot of USB ports) and... if the shop lets me customize my PC (one required me to not open the PC without his permission, because that would invalidate warranty): I want to be able to fix things by myself.

Mark Nashaat

GPU - this is what will ultimately drive the visual experience. Most modern games are gpu-intensive and barring all else, having a top of the line GPU will generally provide a an enjoyable gameplay experience.

CPU - some popular games like CSGO rely on processing power to determine frame rates. These games are generally not as graphics intensive so having a good CPU is critical, especially if you plan on doing any web based gaming. 

Monitor - 144 Hz is a must these days to get smooth, high fps gameplay. In 2017, unless you're on a really tight budget (in which case you wont have a great experience either way) there's no reason not to go 144 Hz..

SSD - No one wants to wait 4 minutes for their game to launch. Having a dedicated SSD for your games and OS means that you can launch programs within seconds. 

RAM - doesn't necessarily effect gaming performance, but system performance. Having low available ram can slow everything down especially if you have multiple programs open.

Joseph Thomas - A Bit Above, LLC

1. Graphics Card
If you plan to play modern games at or above 60 FPS and at least on high settings, then you should put the most thought into your graphics card selection. If you're going to splurge, then this is definitely the part that should be bolstered.

Remember that while Nvidia consistently dominates the high end GPU market (and generally has the best name recognition), many of their newer cards bring a poor price/performance ratio to the table, and this will be reflected in their cost to you. For example, the GTX 1080Ti might be the fastest (consumer-level) card to ever grace the market, but you'd be spending ~$200 (or 36%) more than the GTX 1080 costs for just 10% more performance. 

So, unless you absolutely need to play AAA titles on ultra settings on a 120Hz monitor at 4K resolution, it's usually more prudent to select an older card if you're planning to purchase from Nvidia. Nvidia cards one generation behind (the GTX 960, 970, 980 and 980Ti) are all excellent performers on modern titles for 1080p resolution gaming and, also, don't hold their value well because of their low demand in the wake of next generation releases. This usually means you can pick them up several hundred dollars cheaper than their release price, if not while new, then certainly while used. 

Also, don't be afraid of used graphics cards; just vet them first! When taken care of properly, they can have a lifespan of 10+ years without any significant degradation of performance, long outliving their usefulness. 

AMD cards, by contrast, generally have higher price/performance ratios at the time of release and are usually better if you're working within a tight budget. They may not sit anywhere near the top of the performance chart, but most should be amply powerful for the average gamer to play modern titles on high settings. 

Any AMD card from their last two or three generations of releases is a solid choice, but the RX 460, 560, 470 and 480 specifically bring good performance to the market at a price less than $200. If you plan to buy used, you could definitely purchase older cards (like something from the R7 or R8 series) used and save $50-100. 

Reference graphics card models (those released directly by Nvidia or AMD) generally have inferior cooling, and inferior performance, compared to the models released by different contract manufacturers (EVGA, MSI, Zotac, Asus, etc.). This is because contract manufacturers implement more effective aftermarket cooling systems and usually release their cards with some sort of default overclock. So, I would almost always recommend buying a card offered by a contract manufacturer over a reference card.

On the topic of cooling, most graphics cards will run just fine on stock air cooling for 1080p gaming. Many contract manufacturers offer multiple interesting options for the same model graphics card (2-fan air, 3-fan air, 1-fan liquid, 2-fan liquid, etc.), but 2-fan air cooling is generally sufficient. If you can get a 3-fan air cooled, or liquid cooled, model with similar performance (and at the same price) as a 2-fan air model, then you should choose the better cooled option almost every time. 

Finally, you can run two or more graphics cards simultaneously using SLI/Crossfire for improved performance. This works by plugging both into separate PCIe slots on the motherboard, then by attaching them with an inexpensive data cable. You'll see improved performance over having just one graphics card, to be sure. But because the performance gain isn't perfectly additive, you're basically fighting diminishing returns, making it cost ineffective. Moreover, some programs and games just don't play well with graphics cards run in parallel, especially when you run three or more simultaneously. 

2. CPU
Once again, it's a story of AMD offerings being more cost effective, but less powerful, than those of their competitor (Intel). A good CPU will be essential for seeing high performance in most modern titles, especially those poorly optimized (Paragon comes to mind) or performing a profound number of calculations (Civ 5 is a great example). A powerful graphics card does not compensate for a low performance CPU, so don't think you can skimp just because you bought a GTX 1080Ti. 

Now, AMD offerings usually bring better price/performance to the table on paper. But in practice, many AMD CPUs seem to have trouble matching performance with equivalent Intel CPUs while playing common titles. This may not be AMD's fault, since many games just aren't designed to take full advantage of the 6+ cores their CPUs commonly offer. After all, 4 cores (and 4 threads) represented the maximum number you could utilize in most titles just two years ago with DirectX 11. 

Many newer titles can use 6 or more cores successfully, so AMD CPUs look like cost-effective, strong performers moving forward. Just realize that their performance may suffer until next gen games become current gen, so to speak. 

Intel CPUs, by contrast, are almost certainly more expensive across the board. Equivalent models to AMD offerings almost always have fewer cores and fewer threads, making them (theoretically) inferior for multitasking. While Intel has released numerous 6+ core and hyper-threaded (non-server) CPU options in the past several years, they don't represent a majority of Intel's market share and are exorbitantly expensive. 

If you'd like to edge out higher CPU performance with Intel and don't mind spending a little more, choose something equally useful for previous gen and next gen games: a quad core CPU, without hyper-threading, that is overclockable. Late generation i3 processors, and i5's of any generation, fit this bill spectacularly. Stay away from i7's unless you're doing serious video editing or encoding work: their gaming performance gain from hyper-threading is negligible and doesn't compensate for their greatly increased price. 

While it might be tempting to choose the newest generation of processor from AMD or Intel, you're probably going to see an inferior price/performance ratio compared to older options. Moreover, their requirement for a new motherboard socket type (in AMD's case) or an updated motherboard chipset (in Intel's case) will usually be reflected as additional, unnecessary cost.

3. Storage
It seems like the fashionable thing to do nowadays is have a relatively low capacity SSD (60-240GB) to install your OS and select games on, and have a 1TB+ HDD for storing less commonly played games and assorted files on. I can't really disagree with this approach, since it's increasingly cost effective and makes good use of the incredible performance an SSD affords while still taking advantage of the falling price of mechanical storage.

Regarding capacity selection, most people should be able to get away with using a 120 GB SSD if they don't have a vast game library to store. Those with larger libraries should consider a 240 GB SSD, while those with just one or two games they play often should consider a 60 GB SSD. Windows operating systems take up about 25 GB (give or take based on version and updates), so you should still have a fair amount of space to work with if choose a 60 GB model. 

Most SSDs are similar in terms of read/write performance, so most concerns come down to reliability and brand recognition. Adata and others make up the bottom of the market, offering decent performance with good reliability. Kingston, Hynix, SanDisk, Samsung and Crucial make up the middle of the market, offering a wide variety of performance options with great reliability. Intel offers some of the highest performance SSDs available, but some models appear to have profound reliability issues. Also, their incredible performance is probably wasted on most applications, making them a poor fit for the average gamer who just wants things to work quickly and reliably. 

SSDs do come in different form factors, allowing for connection via SATA, mSATA, M.2 or even PCIe interfaces (in increasing order of speed). Generally, those connecting via SATA interfaces are cheaper, more common and more than fast enough for gaming. 

When it comes to hard drives, most people won't need more than 2 TB. Most consumer grade drives perform similarly in read/write operations, so performance is not much of a factor. The ultimate decider becomes reliability because mechanical hard drives seem to have an agonizingly high failure rate, despite their ubiquity. There is general consensus that reliability is closely associated with manufacturer, so the choice of hard drive manufacturer is, and has been, a hotly debated subject for well over a decade.

Now that we have some statistics from data centers (who use thousands of hard drives from all manufacturers, 24/7), we're beginning to see certain manufacturers "fall down on the job" more than others. I won't name names, but feel free to visit Backblaze for a synopsis of the findings in their own data center. Ultimately, the findings are left to end-user interpretation. Some feel that the usage conditions of a data center don't resemble that of a home user, implying there's not much to take away for personal use. Others feel that hard drives should be consistent across most usage scenarios, and higher usage just accentuates underlying problems that exist. Even with good data, the debate rages on.

4. Memory
There's not much to say about memory, as its specifications are partially defined by the CPU and motherboard you choose to purchase. DDR3 or DDR4 memory is a must for modern games, and choosing any modern CPU will require you to have one or the other. As the cost per gigabyte of DDR4 continues to decrease, DDR4 will become a much more attractive option than DDR3 for most users. Until such a time, the DDR3 required by previous sockets (1150, 1155, 1156, etc.) will remain a solid choice.  

For gaming I would say 8GB of RAM is essential, but I would definitely recommend 16GB of RAM. Anything more than 16GB becomes excessive, and anything less than 8GB will usually bottleneck your application performance or prevent you from multitasking effectively.

In a situation of equivalent pricing and equivalent size kits (and if your motherboard supports at least dual channel memory access), you should choose to split your desired amount of memory over more DIMMs on separate channels if you don't plan on upgrading soon. The reason why is because you now have multiple channels to transfer data over simultaneously, which gets your data transfer rate closer to the theoretical maximum allowed by your memory bus. If you plan on upgrading soon, do your best to fit more memory into less slots to allow more room for those upgrades. 

While the presence of heatspreaders on memory modules certainly looks cool, most people won't need them unless they're seriously overclocking their memory. You won't see a significant difference in RAM performance with or without the heatspreaders, and a lack of heatspreaders shouldn't negatively affect memory lifespan, so try not to worry about them.

What seems to trip people up the most with RAM selection is this rampant misconception that increased RAM speed equates to better performance. Buying that DDR4-3600 kit may not be better than buying that DDR4-2100 kit because the marginal performance gain you see (and yes, it's marginal in everything except synthetic benchmarks) won't be worth the 20% or more price increase you'll have to pay. So, stick with DDR3-1333 or DDR4-2133 and you'll be just fine (and will save some money). 

There are too many manufacturers of RAM to list, and many offer limited lifetime warranties on their modules (most of which have very low failure rates anyway). So, any household name will do just fine. Crucial has long been acclaimed for fantastic memory compatibility and stability, so no matter what you're doing, they're a great pick.

Because of the great reliability of most memory modules, purchasing used RAM is perfectly acceptable and widely practiced. 

5. Motherboard
In some ways, you're locked into a motherboard type as soon as you select your CPU. Because AMD and Intel use completely different socket designs (PGA and LGA, respectively), their motherboards cannot be interchanged. Also, different generations of processors from each manufacturer correspond to distinct, non-interchangeable socket types. This is just fine as long as the motherboards you're left with are compatible with your hardware and offer the features you're looking for. 

If you're purchasing an unlocked (overclockable) CPU, then you want to ensure that the motherboard's chipset supports overclocking. For Intel processors, these chipsets include Z270, Z170, Z97, X99 and Z87, among others. All AMD chipsets are capable of overclocking, so you should be covered across the board there. 

Besides that, you'll want to make sure that you have a header for USB 3.0 (or higher) support, at least one PCIe x16 3.0 lane, dual-channel or quad-channel memory compatibility, support for 6Gb/s (or higher) SATA data transfer (also known as SATA 3.0), several on-board chassis fan headers (at least 3 is preferable), a Gigabit ethernet port and an M.2 or mSATA slot, if you plan to use either. 

David D. Geer

1.     The gaming PC should have a video card/graphics card with a specialized, high-performance GPU. A GPU (graphics processing unit) is a processor designed for and dedicated to graphics processing. The card and GPU are separate from the motherboard. A PC that handles graphics processing on the motherboard is a low-performance PC. You should avoid this kind of graphics processing.

2.     The more processor cores in the CPU, the better. You should get a gaming PC with at least a quad-core CPU that uses multithreading. The best CPUs offer at least 4 GHz of processing power. You should be able to easily overclock the CPU to get more performance out of it.

3.     Liquid cooling is preferable for a high-performance gaming PC to preserve the life of the hardware.

4.     You should get lots of high-performance RAM memory in a gaming PC. You can easily get 32- to 64- GB of DDR4 RAM in a modern gaming PC.

5.     The hard drive should be fast with lots of storage. Two and three TB hard drives are not uncommon and are most certainly necessary at a minimum. The drive speed should be at least 7,200- to 10,000- RPM.

My Own Preference on

The Most Important Factors to look for when Building a Gaming PC

  1. Graphics Card - A good GPU is the heart and sole of a gaming PC. I find it the most important aspect to consider up here as a good graphics card can make or break your gaming experience. However there are several other factors too you need to consider. You need serious hardware to back up a top-end GPU which brings us to number 2 in this list.
  2. Processor - A top end GPU will gain dust in your desk if you don't have a powerful processor to back it up. A processor is one of the best places you should invest your money in when you build the PC.
  3. RAM - Running a game requires several background tasks to go on simultaneously and for that lots of DDR3/DDR4 RAM is a must, When you buy RAM, make sure it has got a high clock speed, large bandwidth and small latency. Read this post on the Best RAMs for a PC for in-depth detail.
  4. SSD Hard Drive - One of the most underrated part of a gaming PC is the SSD Hard Drive. It can reduce your game load time to mere seconds as it is several times faster than a HDD.
  5. Cabinet - After investing in all these stuff, you surely don't want them to heat up and get ruined! 😅 Well, so as to wrap up your deal, invest in a good cabinet that will prevent dust build up and allow generous air flow.

And now here are the most voted for results in the Gaming PC Build Guide 

1. Graphics Card - 8 Votes

2. Processor

3. SSD

4. RAM

5. Motherboard

Thanks a ton to all the bloggers and tech experts who contributed to this post. If you liked this post or if this post helped you then do share it with your friends on social media and follow this blog to stay tuned to several oncoming awesome posts!

Got any other information to share in this expert round up on the gaming PC Build Guide? Or got any questions? Drop it in the comments!


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