It hardly matters if you are a video game addict or just an enthusiastic gamer, as long as you spend quite a lot of time playing demanding games and what have you, you’d soon desire a special PC that would meet your gaming needs. Irrespective of whether you are buying or building one from the scratch, you definitely need a good understanding of what to look out for. We have put together some of the most important specifications for a gaming computer, have a look.
The first thing that should go into your shopping cart if you’re building or tick off the list if buying is a good graphics card. The importance of a quality graphics card cannot be overemphasized. For every image which is received from the CPU, the card takes care of its rendering and processing; this then leads to the image being displayed on the screen. Shabby and boring graphics are the products of a low-quality graphics card. A good card equates to a faster and smoother gaming experience.
Okay, we hear the warning bells chiming as you try to make a pick between two different graphics card with different memory capacity. Just be rest assured with the fact that 4GB is the least reasonable memory for a card. If you’ll be playing lots of 4K games, it means you’re a pro so by all means, opt for two graphics card which runs in tandem.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Almost all computers, gaming computers inclusive come with their packaging labeled according to the brand of processor they contain. This has led most persons to see the CPU as the most important aspect of a computer but this isn’t so for a gaming computer. Not to worry though, it comes in second place to the graphics card.
Now that you know this, you should also know that there are two basic things to look out for in a processor – the clock speed and the number of cores. Simply put, the clock speed is the speed at which a processor performs instructions. It is measured in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz) and it goes without saying that a higher clock speed should be desired. Cores are the part of the processor that read and then execute the instructions. There are other minor factors that determine the output of a processor but if you can get a good quad-core CPU with a high clock speed, then you’re good to go processor-wise.
The RAM which stores short-term memory (information) is as useful as the bottle of water on your bedside table when you get thirsty, you can easily get a drink without getting up and reaching for the fridge. Same goes for your CPU needing information and being able to access it from the cache rather than going all the way to the hard drive. It might not seem so important but it sure contributes to a good gaming experience.
Most of the games available today require only as little as 4GB or 8GB. Spending more money to get more RAM might just be futile investment except you intend to build some serious gaming rig then 16 GB would be fine for you.
This is where all your games get installed and it matters in basically two ways – loading time and capacity. If you are a heavy duty gamer, then you need a large capacity hard drive to store all your game files on. You’ll also need a hard drive with a fast loading time or get prepared to spend all day waiting for your CPU to access the game and load it. The two should definitely go hand in hand.
Be it a solid-state drive or a mechanical drive, our recommendation is between 500 GB to 1 TB, depending on what you can afford. However, take note that a solid-state drive is way faster than a mechanical drive. This equates to a game that will load in 30 seconds on a mechanical drive to load in 10 seconds on a solid-state drive. A solid state drive is more expensive than a mechanical drive though, so you will really want to take a very close look at your budget.
Every single piece that makes up the computer is connected together by the motherboard. The motherboard also provides an electric connection for all the major parts. A good motherboard should enhance the rate of information transfer rather than limit the processor’s speed. For a detailed explanation on motherboards, refer to our post on ‘How to Choose a Motherboard – What to Consider.’
A game is either installed from the internet, a drive or even played from the disc itself. While the last two options are not so common in present times, they are still being used by some games. If a game needs its installation disc to function, then it means that there is information on it which it requires constantly. If that be the case, then you wouldn’t want a slow optical drive, because the process of the CPU accessing information from the disc is slow already in itself. A faster disc drive will, therefore, make a faster access.
Imagine setting up all the components of your gaming computer without a fine display monitor to view your gameplay and the entire actions you carry out. For your monitor, it is important to take note of the screen’s resolution (the number of pixels on the screen). The graphics card can get overloaded if you try playing games with your screen set at its highest resolution. Not to worry though, this can easily be resolved by tweaking the resolution of your display monitor.
Computer hardware is known to generate a lot of heat and this can affect everything. As the components heat up, it gets to a point where they begin to wind back their speed automatically in a bid to prevent overheating. It, therefore, means that you need to be certain about its cooling system as well before investing your cash.
The power needs of your components will ultimately determine what your power supply should be. 500W is a good start for most gaming computers to run basically almost everything but components with increased needs will require much more power. It is important that you understand what your computer needs in this regard and feed it exactly that.
The cliché ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’ holds true in almost every situation, your gaming computer inclusive. We understand that beauty is relative so we aren’t giving a clear-cut recommendation of a computer case to install or look out for. However, we know that it is important to get a case that you love. While this might not be as important as your graphics card or processor, it still counts. We believe that it could be a good source of motivation to play more games and also play better. Bottom line is, do what you like, be utterly creative and shameless in designing your computer case. It is a representation of you.
But to be fair, a gaming computer case that facilitates a good cooling; allows for more room to expand, and compatible with your motherboard are actually more important factors to look out for than aesthetic gratification but well, beauty is key too.
As important as other components are, the most important factor in choosing a gaming computer or building one is actually your budget. You might wonder how? Now imagine choosing all the amazing components that suit your taste and needs but they surpass your budget by far and you just can’t pay for them and make them yours. That will hurt so much and you shouldn’t let that happen to you. For this very reason, you should consider your overall budget first before any other component.
It is imperative you work within this budget and get the more important components first before the others. However, never skimp on some while going all out for the others, this will ultimately lead to a bottleneck performance in no time. Always go for compatible components within your budget so as to get the best gaming experience. If you want to play 4K games then throw all caution to the wind and get a higher version of every component.
Now that you are fully armed with adequate knowledge, go get (build) your gaming computer and let’s play a game or two, shall we?