What to know before building a Gaming PC!
Building a Gaming PC can be a stressful and time consuming task. In this guide, I aim to make your experience much more pleasurable by giving you the knowledge, I believe, a first timer should have.
First things first; you’re going to want to set yourself a budget.
When creating the budget, you’ll need to know what type of performance you want and what sort of peripherals (Monitors, Audio Devices, Keyboard et all) you plan on purchasing.
Performance: the price for performance would look like the following if you were to standardise on 1080p and 60fps for new AAA games.
- Low Specs – £70 up to £150
- Medium Specs – £150 up to £350
- High Specs – £350 up to £600
- Ultra Specs – £600 or more
Note that these prices do not include the cost of peripherals and are for the Tower and Internal Components ONLY. So, if I wanted a rig to run Destiny 2 in ultra, I would budget myself £800; £600 for the PC itself and £200 for any needed peripherals or cables.
Note that prices may vary depending on whether or not you are willing to overclock your machine (run it past what is expected of it)
When building a PC, you are going to need several different components and the worst possible thing you could do is buy them one by one.
Ideally, you should save up and purchase all of your components at the same time so that they arrive together and can be easily tested on the date of delivery.
Otherwise, you end up with two slots of faulty RAM that you can’t test until the rest of your components arrive and by the time you realise that they’re faulty, the RAM is no longer under warranty.
With the above said and a budget settled on, you are finally ready to select your components.
What you will need for a functional build is as follows:
- CPU (Central Processing Unit)
- CPU cooler
- GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
- SSD or HDD (Solid Slate Drive or Hard Disk Drive)
- PSU (Power Supply Unit)
- Thermal Paste
- Type of OS (Windows or Linux for gaming)
Once you’ve found these necessary ingredients for a successful build and they fall within your budget, you need to check the compatibility of each and every component.
I like the following website as it won’t let you purchase unless your components are 100% compatible uk.pcpartpicker.com/list
Once you have the physical components in front of you, it’s actually quite easy to assemble the PC as the process is very linear with Component A going into slot B.
Now, there are several guides and videos you can watch to learn how to assemble the PC, Linus Tech Tips on YouTube is a good start but a brief summary for the process would be as follows:
- Make sure you are grounded
- Mount the motherboard to your case
- Place your CPU in the CPU socket
- Apply thermal paste to the CPU
- Mount the CPU cooler atop the CPU (Process varies depending on if the cooler uses push pins or a bracket and they also depend on whether you use liquid cooling)
- Mount the GPU
- Install the RAM
- Install the PSU and connect it to all the necessary components
- Mount the storage device and connect the sata cable to the motherboard
- Connect all appropriate cables to the motherboard (USB, SSD, HDD, PSU, Audio, etc)
- Power the machine into your bootable OS
Drivers and Software
Assuming you’ve followed a good guide, your machine has booted and you’ve installed an OS, your next step will be to download all the required drivers for your machine.
The most important being the one for the GPU as you’ll rely on this the most for gaming.
After all the drivers are installed and your device manager is showing no unknown devices, then you’re good to install software and with this being a Gaming PC, you’re going to want all the gaming platforms.
The ones to download are:
I’ve left this category at the bottom as I’ve assumed your build has been flawless, but as I know from personal experience, this rarely happens for first time builders.
When you try to boot your PC, it probably won’t display an image, my advice is to just troubleshoot, find what’s wrong and fix it.
Easier said than done, I know, but it’s all I can say other than to check the motherboard for an error code and make sure all your components are lighting up.
GOOD LUCK & HAPPY GAMING!