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If you’re new to the world of PC gaming building your own rig can be intimidating. But, make no mistake, it’s actually easier than it’s ever been to build a PC. Parts are specifically designed to be put in and taken out, meaning that mixing and matching parts is a breeze. Plus, online so-called PC “gurus” are more than a little obsessive, making it all seem dramatically more complicated than it really is.
First and foremost, what do you want your gaming PC to do? If you’re looking to game in 4K, and expect high frame rates at the same time, prepare to pay. 4K gaming is all the rage, but in reality is not easily achievable. Don’t let consoles fool you. Although consoles do output 4K, they do so at the massive cost of other visual factors. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what you’ll need.
Case And Monitor
If this is your first PC you’ll need a case and a monitor. The good news is that you can pick up a good case for next to nothing. Though, the cheap case is assuming you don’t want something fancy that lights up, has a glass side panel, or is otherwise excessive. Pro-tip; save on your case and you can put that money towards other, more important parts.
As far as monitors are concerned, there are dramatic price differences depending on hertz. Hertz refers to cycles per second, therefore also referring to images that can be displayed per second. 60hz monitors are far cheaper than their 120hz counterparts, though will never display more than 60 frames per second. If you’re aiming for a gaming PC that hits 60 frames per second, save money and buy a 60hz monitor. Enthusiasts and fanatics will insist that you need a 120hz monitor, but you can make up your own mind.
A PC’s central processing unit (CPU) is not as important for gaming as some tend to think. Or as some even tend to insist. Although a good CPU is important, it is not doing the majority of the workload when it comes to gaming. A mid-range CPU is perfectly adequate, assuming you want to save a bit of cash for the GPU.
As it stands in 2023, there are units like the i5 11400f 2.6ghz processor that are reasonably cheap, and offer decent performance. You could pay more for a better CPU, though the actual gains seen in gaming will be minimal, if at all. You’ll find that a midrange CPU like this will be more than enough to play virtually all modern games.
Random access memory (RAM) is important, but is also often overstated by fanatics. As it stands in 2023, the overwhelming majority of games only want 16 gigabytes of RAM. You can get more, but the extra RAM will almost certainly go unused. Additionally, RAM does not require its own dedicated heat control. Of course, outlets will try to sell you expensive, dramatically over-designed RAM. Forget fancy RAM, stick to perfectly adequate cheaper RAM, and put the cash saved towards your GPU.
Now we come to where most of your money will go, the graphics processing unit (GPU.) Again, it’s time to ask yourself what you want out of your gaming PC. If you want to visit Treasure Mile casino you can do so on your phone, and certainly don’t need a powerful PC. If you want to rock the latest games without compromise, you better have the money to back up that desire.
In 2023 the 30 series of GPUs from Nvidia is where most PC gamers live. Keep in mind that a PlayStation 5 has the equivalent of a 2070. The 30 series is, therefore, dramatically faster than a PS5, especially considering that PS5s don’t have dedicated video RAM (VRAM.) An RTX 3060 comes with either 8GBs or 12GBs of dedicated VRAM. Dedicated VRAM, designed specifically to allow for better quality graphics, is what pushes visual fidelity to a whole new level.
Going back to 4K gaming, even a 3060 will allow for 4K resolutions. Though compromises will have to be made in other departments. If you want 4K without compromise look to the 40 series. We suggest a 3060 or 3070, depending on your budget.
The days of hard disk drives are well and truly over. It’s no good having a cutting-edge GPU if your storage works at a snail’s pace. An SSD is, in our opinion, 100% necessary. The only real question is whether you’re going to buy a SATA-based SSD or an NVME SSD. In a nutshell, a SATA SSD is affordable and adequate for most games. NVME SSDs are still pricey in 2023, and aren’t strictly necessary for gaming.
Mouse And Keyboard
Lastly, you won’t be doing much gaming without a keyboard and mouse. There is all manner of fancy keyboards and glowing mice available these days, but the vast majority are completely unnecessary. Unless you’re planning on entering into the ESports world, settle for a simple keyboard and mouse combo.
To be clear, mouse sensitivity is always adjustable in-game, so having a dedicated button to adjust sensitivity on a mouse is the kind of thing only hard-core enthusiasts will demand. Enthusiasts that, apparently, have way too much money.
In conclusion, listening to PC gurus on YouTube isn’t always smart. The reality of PC gaming is that the GPU handles most of the workload, and therefore should be where you spend most of your money. Also, keep in mind that PCs are easily upgradable. So if you buy budget today, but want more power later, you can always just make another, smaller purchase at a later date. The beauty of PCs is that they can be upgraded indefinitely.
If you’re unsure about keeping your PC maintained, research is key. There is endless information available online, meaning that you never need to be confused about what you’re doing. Maintaining a PC isn’t as complicated as it seems, once you realise that Windows is largely designed with common consumer needs in mind.