iMac Image

iMac ImageAs any serious gamer will tell you, building the first gaming computer is quite the milestone. In fact, the process is probably even more important than the end-product, given the huge array of attractive parts one has to choose from. This includes the graphics card, making sure to get the best gaming mouse for first-person shooters, and the most capable power supply to make sure it runs. Here’s a short list of must-have computer parts for a gaming rig you can show off to your friends.

  1. The PC Monitor

You might find it curious that we begin with this external component; but it truly determines the caliber of gaming experience you’ll have. Do you want to play games in 1080p, or perhaps even 4K for an Avatar-like experience? Starting with the monitor will help you decide what graphics card you should end up with – because not all of them can handle too much definition.

  1. Deciding on Your RAM

Random access memory is the workhorse of the computer; in the sense that people who use their pc for everyday tasks rarely need more than 4GB worth of RAM. If you’re a gamer, however, then you know that the more involved fps and massively-multiplayer role playing games start out at 8GB on the low end.

You can generally have positive experience with 8GB of RAM for almost any game – but keep in mind that more intensive ones would have to be played at the lower settings. If you can, aim for a full 16GB; or, at the very least, make sure your rig is expandable up to 16GB if you decide to settle for a robust 8GB of RAM.

  1. Choosing Your Graphics Card

Graphics CardThis is truly the engine that decides how good your gaming experience will be. In short, having a capable GPU takes a lot of the burden off the CPU. If you want legit 1080p and maybe even 4K gaming, your GPU has got to be upper-tier. It’s probably the single most expensive item in your new rig; but it determines how well everything else runs, in a sense, so don’t cut any corners on it.

A gaming card with 2-3GB of RAM is often enough; 4GB is elite and should be able to handle the best games on the highest settings without taxing your computer and causing you to force-quit applications from the task manager. Expect to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a very good graphics card.

  1. Storage – Hard Drive or Solid State?

The primary difference between the two is the speed. With an SSD, you’ll experience lightning-fast boot times and loading times; much more so than even the adequate speed of a USB 3.0 connection. Although this isn’t necessary for gaming and doesn’t affect performance, if you’ve got the money to spare, then you might consider a hybrid system. Beware, though, SSD is quite expensive if you start tacking on the gigabytes.

Some gamers use SSD solely for the boot files and frequently-used files. As one who has experienced the difference in speed, you won’t want to go back to HDD once you experience SSD; but you won’t know what you’re missing if you hold off on this expensive addition. HDD is more than good enough, basically.

  1. The CPU

CPUNo computer can run without one because, after all, the CPU is the computer. As the core processing unit, it’s the mother brain, in a sense; it tells everything else what to do. There are budget CPUs and high-end ones; it all depends on the games you intend to play. Intensive games like Far Cry and Call of Duty, for example, require advanced CPUs that cost about as much as a high-end graphics card. Intel Core series and the AMD-Athlon are a good start for your investigation; but there are a lot out there so don’t glance over capable alternatives.

Ultimately, you’ll only need the best CPUs if you do a lot of high-quality video editing and top-notch gaming at the very highest settings. It’s time to start building your gaming rig!