How To Build A Gaming PC
Paul Syverson Mar 24, 2023 10:00 PM
Building a gaming PC is simpler than assembling some Lego sets thanks to the plug-and-play philosophy, which eliminates the hassle of the do-it-yourself approach.
Building your own gaming pc can be satisfying and provides you far more control over the components that go into your computer tower. Those who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of a PC could find the process to be too difficult and choose a pre-built PC. But if you fall into that category, you might be shocked to hear that constructing your own PC isn't quite as difficult as it once was. If you're interested in learning how to construct your own gaming PC, check out this helpful guide we put together. Additionally, we've provided a few sample builds below that you may use to create a high-end or low-cost gaming PC.
The proper components are obviously necessary before building a PC. We are here for that reason.
At first, choosing the correct parts for the construction you need can seem difficult, but once you get started, you'll discover that it's not only shockingly easy, but also a lot of fun. This manual is not intended to be thorough; rather, it serves as an introduction to the information you'll need to obtain the necessary components and begin assembling your ideal design.
Although we'll be primarily concentrating on building a gaming PC in this article, the fundamentals should apply to everything from a high-end work setup for professional apps to a straightforward media machine.
We also provide a tutorial if you'd like to purchase a pre-built over creating your own.
Okay, let's get started!
The Central Processing Unit, sometimes known as the processor, is the computer's brain. It determines how all the other components of your construct should interact with one another and transforms the instructions you give the computer into actions it can carry out. The remainder of the system is like the body if the CPU is the brain.
The CPU is most likely the most crucial component of any computer, and as you might anticipate, there are several possibilities available in a range of pricing points. Intel and AMD are the two main producers of consumer PCs, and even within those two brands, there are numerous options. The most likely option for AMD is a third-generation Ryzen, or Threadripper if you want a high-end processor. All of Intel's Core I designated CPUs are good options, but if you're building a serious gaming or streaming setup, you should probably think about a 12th Gen i5 or i7. A Core i9 might be more your style if that isn't enough power for you.
The motherboard, which unites all the parts that make up your computer and enables communication between all the hardware, is essentially a big circuit board. Like anything else in PC construction, there are a ton of options available, from basic motherboards at the low end of the price range to feature-rich boards with all kinds of bells and whistles.
What CPU you selected and the features you're interested in will have a significant impact on the type of motherboard you need. Make sure you obtain the proper CPU because not all motherboards and CPUs are compatible. When choosing a motherboard, bear in mind features like networking options, illumination, and CPU overclocking capabilities.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
Your gaming experience will be largely impacted by the graphics processing unit (GPU). Your computer's ability to do intricate graphics computations that make PC games appear so good fundamentally depends on the GPU. Despite the fact that many CPUs come with integrated graphics, a GPU is still necessary if you want to play recent PC games.
AMD and Nvidia are the two leading companies in the graphics card industry. You can choose a lower-end current GPU, such as the GeForce RTX 3060 from Nvidia or the Radeon RX 6500 from AMD, depending on how much money you want to spend. Nvidia's RTX 3090 Ti is the king of consumer-facing GPUs if you want a cutting-edge experience, with AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT coming in close second.
The GPU might be the most expensive component you'll buy if you want the finest gaming experience, but you won't want to compromise here, especially if you want to start playing games at higher resolutions and frame rates.
The short-term memory of your computer is called Random Access Memory (RAM). It keeps frequently used data close at hand so that your PC won't need to access a storage device each time you need to use that data. You still need larger storage drives for long-term data storage because RAM resets when there is no power, unlike your major storage devices.
The more RAM the better, in this case. Although you really can't have too much RAM, most gaming systems will work just fine with 16GB, or 32GB if you want to keep your PC running for years.
Your data is kept in storage so that your PC may access it. Any data that you require access to, such as files, games, and your operating system, will be preserved on a storage drive. Hard disk drives (HDDs) predominated in storage previously, but solid state drives (SSDs) are now more commonly accessible. SSDs cost more per gigabyte but are also substantially faster, quieter, and more robust.
A common setup is a smaller NVMe or SATA SSD for your operating system and often used files, and a larger HDD for your larger files. The ideal storage solution will differ from case to case, though. External storage options are another option, and they offer the benefit of being transportable.
One of the most popular solid state drives is the Samsung 980 Pro M.2 SSD, and the Seagate IronWolf Pro 16TB NAS HDD is perfect for larger installations and file storage.
This is what most people see when they think of a computer and where all of your priceless components will eventually reside. You may buy cases in almost any size and shape you can think of because they are one of the PC components that can be customized the most. Even though each case is unique, they are all made to fit nearly the same parts, hence they all have common patterns and brands. Regardless of how everything is configured, there will always be a spot to install the motherboard and power supply, for instance.
Most cases will work just fine unless you're seeking to create something small or with complex features like specialized cooling loops. You should be set to go if you can just pick one that is the proper size and looks the way you want it to.
Cooling is another crucial aspect to take into account when it comes to casings. Many cases will already have fans installed, which is convenient, but if maintaining low temperatures is vital to you, you should make sure there is space for the cooling system you require. A general rule of thumb is that the larger the casing, the better if you want to undertake a lot of custom work.
The Thermaltake P5 is a unique open air design to consider if you're searching for one. Looking for lighting options? Check out CORSAIR Crystal Series 680X RGB. The Rosewill Cullinan is a great option if you want something straightforward, stylish, and dependable. You can't go wrong with the Lian Li PC-O11DX 011 Dynamic if you decide to pursue bespoke watercooling in the future.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
The Power Supply Unit (PSU), as you might have guessed from the name, supplies the energy necessary for your build to run. Because any power supply should typically function with a very simple build, the PSU is frequently neglected. To conclude, it is definitely worthwhile to conduct research on efficiency, wattage, and quality, particularly if you are assembling a more complicated system. Make sure your PSU has enough watts if you want to use high-end video cards (or several video cards) or a custom cooling loop.
This power supply calculator may help you determine the amount of power you'll need based on your system, making it a useful resource.
The Seasonic PRIME 1000 Titanium SSR-1000TR 1000W power supply is a high-end option if you require a powerful PSU for a highly ritzy system. If you need something more basic, the Rosewill HIVE 550S 550w power supply would be a better fit.
Your CPU works really hard, which generates heat.
For your system to function effectively, it's imperative to keep your CPU cool. Although many CPUs come with a cooler, sometimes you'll want something a little more potent. Simple fans and heatsinks to complex liquid cooling systems are some examples of these alternatives. If you're planning to overclock your CPU for your first build, you'll probably want either a fan-based solution or an All In One (AIO) liquid CPU cooler. Although the installation process for various cooling solutions varies depending on the product, it often entails mounting it to your motherboard and using thermal paste to ensure that heat is adequately dispersed from your CPU.
Although it seems difficult, it's really not. Even AIO liquid coolers are self-contained, thus dealing with the liquid inside is never necessary. Just make sure you have adequate room in your case and that the cooler is compatible with your CPU and motherboard. Simply follow the accompanying directions for the rest.
The Noctua NH-L9x65 is one of the most well-liked entry-level air coolers, ideal if you're looking for a moderately priced quiet fan from one of the greatest PC cooling manufacturers on the planet. You should look into the NZXT Kraken X73 if you want to start using AIO liquid coolers. Not only is it a fantastic CPU cooler, but it also offers some fantastic lighting choices.
It's time to discuss everything else you'll need for a top-notch gaming experience now that you've chosen the components for your setup. Start with a monitor first. A great gaming PC is useless if you can't see anything, after all.
If you want, you can use a basic, entry-level 1920x1080 TV or monitor, but one of the exciting things about PC gaming is that you have more alternatives. For extremely clear photos, you may want to upgrade to higher resolutions like 25401440 or even 38402160 (4K) if you have so far made an investment in a good system. Additionally, you can upgrade to a higher refresh rate, such as 144Hz or even 240Hz, which will greatly improve the overall appearance of things. You might want to spend your money on a monitor that supports either Nvidia's G-Sync or AMD's Freesync, depending on your GPU, as this will lessen screen tearing and enhance your gaming experience.
Costs will rise as a result of all of these elements, as well as others like display size and aspect ratio. Nevertheless, having a powerful PC is useless if the images you are viewing don't look well, so the expense is definitely justified. But when it comes to gaming, choosing a monitor that has no input lag and quick pixel response speeds is key.
The curved Acer ED242QR has Freesync and a 144Hz refresh rate, making it the ideal choice for an entry-level to mid-range GPU if you're searching for a reasonably priced entry-level gaming monitor. The Alienware 34 has almost everything you need for an opulent gaming experience if you want to go extra high-end.
Isn't a mouse simply a mouse?
Nope. You can purchase a mouse that exactly matches your style, just like everything else we've discussed. If you play video games, having mappable buttons and the ability to instantly change the DPI (basically the cursor's speed) may be significant to you. Perhaps you desire a wireless mouse or a unique design.
Probably the most crucial factor is comfort, so be sure to choose a mouse that feels good. The Logitech G502 Hero is one of the most well-liked gaming mice (and for good reason), but there are many more excellent mice from brands like Corsair, Razer, and many others.
There are several possibilities, even for something as simple as a pc gaming keyboard. You can choose between mechanical switches' accurate tactile feedback and the more classic feel of a membrane keyboard. Do you prefer wireless or wired? You need macro keys, right? What role does RGB lighting play?
There are several excellent keyboards available, so you may find one that is perfect for you. The Corsair K70 mechanical keyboard is among the most well-liked models. An excellent entry-level mechanical board with Razer optical switches is the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition.
When everything is set up and ready to go, you can begin building.
Many people find this frightening, but once you get going, you'll notice that these parts are made to be put together quickly. It really is just like assembling a fancy Lego set as long as you've done your research and know everything is compatible.
Here are a few more considerations to keep in mind as you begin.
Installing Memory (RAM)
One of the components that is easier to install is memory. To begin, press open the two tabs on either side of the motherboard slot's RAM slot. To ensure that you are installing in the correct orientation, consult the memory guide. Simply press down until you hear a click after aligning the RAM module with the slot, then make sure the tabs are closed. For any additional memory, repeat those steps.
This may be simpler to complete prior to installing the motherboard into the case, depending on your case.
Installing the CPU
Nowadays, the majority of CPUs lack pins because motherboards are often where connector pins are found. This is fantastic because destroying the costly CPU is far worse than harming the (often) less expensive motherboard.
Depending on the CPU and motherboard, the method may differ significantly, although installation often follows a similar pattern.
Unlock the CPU bar first. Open the CPU door, align the CPU with the arrows on both sides to help you line it up, then close the door and secure the bar in place. Your hardware will also determine how to mount the heatsink, but it typically attaches through the four holes nearest to the CPU socket. Typically, screws or locking/twisting plastic pins are used to accomplish this. When installing the heatsink, keep in mind to apply a sensible amount of thermal paste; an amount around the size of a pea is a good guideline.
Additionally, make sure the CPU cooler is connected to the motherboard so it can receive the power it needs to run. The instructions that come with your cooler should be quite specific about the procedure.
To keep things as simple as possible, it is recommended to install the CPU and CPU cooler before the motherboard is installed in the case.
Preparing Your Case
Installing standoffs is the first step in getting your motherboard into your case. To prevent the metal on the motherboard from contacting the metal in your case, standoffs are tiny brass spacers that fit into the screw holes on your motherboard. Install them where there are screw holes in the case, and if it's not clear where these holes are, refer to your case manual.
Installing the Motherboard
Keep in mind that your motherboard is essentially a large circuit board, making it fragile.
It's crucial to take care while aligning the holes and securing the screws to each of the standoffs you set within your case. While you don't want to over-tighten the screws, you do want the motherboard to be stable and not to be loose. You've over-tightened if the board bends at all.
Before screwing it in, the motherboard might need to be pushed slightly back into the expansion slot cover, but as long as all the screws are lined up, you should be ready to go.
Install Everything Else
After your motherboard is installed, the rest is fairly easy. Use the video we previously posted for more information.
The PCIe slot will house the GPU. Remove any expansion coverings, check that it clicks into place correctly, and secure it with screws after installation.
If you have an M.2 drive, carefully insert it into the corresponding motherboard slot and secure it with the included tiny screw. Once more, avoid over tightening.
Use a little force when installing components, but if something doesn't feel right, make sure it's in the right spot by checking again. You shouldn't have to use much force because this material is made to fit together.
The power supply is required to power your motherboard, storage components, and video card.
Your power supply unit should come with the appropriate cables. Use the adapter that came with the video card packaging if not. If you're not utilizing an M.2 as previously mentioned, your hard drive or SSD will additionally require a power wire in addition to a SATA or data cable. Your gadgets should come with each of these cables.
It should be quite evident which cable to use to connect the power supply to the components that require that electricity. Simply match the plug to the connection the component requires, and if it's not entirely evident, consult any manuals.
Your cooling system will determine how you should install fans, but again, it should be very obvious where everything goes. Simply link the cable to the motherboard's input, and if you have any problems, consult your manual.