Useful things to know before building a gaming PC

(Pocket-lint) – Building your own computer can be intimidating. There are a few things to consider beforehand. These tips will help ease your worries.

We have written various detailed guides on how to build an extreme gaming pc, a mini-ITX machine, a budget gaming pc and more. But there are things to think about before you start.

Easy Compatibility Checker

One of the hardest things about building a PC is knowing which parts fit together and making sure everything is compatible, both in terms of size and system stability.

Luckily, there are solutions to these problems and tools you can check out before you even make a purchase.

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Review power requirements

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One mistake people make is buying the wrong power adapter. It’s important not to skimp on your power supply, as an inferior power supply can ruin an entire system. It’s tempting to save money, but a poor-quality power supply can potentially short out, overload, or just plain destroy your entire PC. In other cases, it might just fail and render the entire machine unusable.

The old adage – buy cheap, buy twice – has never been more painful here. So make sure you buy a quality power adapter with a good rating.

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Power requirements of the power supply

The other important thing to work out is the power requirements of your system. This depends on what you add to your PC. When you add a powerful GPU, high-end CPU, multiple hard drives, SSDs, and more, you’ll quickly find that the performance requirements add up.

Luckily, this tool lets you determine your power supply needs with a simple PSU calculator that lets you input your system specs and get a recommended wattage. Fill out everything you provide and you will not only receive the estimated usage, but also a purchase recommendation for the power supply. Use this to ensure you have a PSU that has enough wattage to power your system (don’t buy a lower wattage PSU or performance will suffer), but also to avoid that you’re spending a lot of money unnecessarily on something that’s too powerful.

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Plan your purchases

If you’ve done some research, you might know some of the parts you want to buy. For example, if you already know the specific CPU you want, you can use this system builder tool from PCPartPicker to plan out the rest of the build and see which parts will fit.

This tool allows you to search for specific parts, add them to the system and then find other matching parts. Maybe you could start with a PC case and then choose the motherboard and other components like RAM and other things. This will ensure that everything fits together nicely. It also keeps you from buying things that don’t fit or just don’t work in the system.

It’s a great tool that’s free to use and even shows you where to buy the parts.

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get a graphics card

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Buying a graphics card has been difficult in recent years. That will improve as Nvidia (and others) promise more effort to alleviate supply shortages. Competition is also intensifying as Intel moves into the graphics card space soon, so buying one should be easier in the months and years to come.

Nvidia recently launched a campaign called “Restocked & Reloaded” that promises a range of GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards available now. So it’s definitely going up.

In the meantime, if you’re waiting for a particular graphics card to drop in price or become available for purchase, the good news is that you might be able to get away without one in the short term. We’ve tested and written about how it’s possible to build a gaming PC and play games without a graphics card.


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Optimize your investment

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We’ve already said that it’s important not to skimp on your power supply or risk eventually destroying your entire machine.

There are other things that are worth spending more on initially. Some things may be replaced and upgraded in the future. It’s really easy to add more RAM, for example, or swap out your graphics card for a newer model, but that doesn’t apply to everything.

We have written a guide on how to do this how to upgrade your CPU relatively easily. But something like your motherboard isn’t that easy to swap out. We like to think of the motherboard as the foundation of your PC. If you ever need to replace it, you’ll have to remove it from the case, and that can be a hassle, not only because you have to unplug everything, but also because it’s considered such a significant change that you’ll need a new license for Windows.

Find and buy a motherboard that ticks all the boxes for your needs. Pay attention to IO ports, NVMe ports, PCIe lane speeds, and other things. Consider whether you really need a high-end motherboard for overclocking, or whether a lower-priced motherboard is a better option.

RAM you can save money on as you can always start with 8GB or 16GB in two sticks and upgrade to more in the future. So be sure to save there if you must.

What do you need your PC for?

Before you buy, ask yourself what you will be using your PC for. If you plan to play games, a good graphics card is important. However, if you plan on doing other intensive tasks like video editing, you might find that higher capacity and faster MHz RAM are also beneficial.

Once you know what kind of games you will be playing, you can get an idea of ​​what you need by looking at the minimum and recommended system specs. Many games list these to give you an idea of ​​what experience to expect. If you always want to play the latest triple-A games at maximum graphics settings, you probably need a PC with plenty of processing power. If you prefer indie games, they are often less graphically intensive and you can get away with a lower spec system.

However, keep in mind that technology is evolving rapidly, and if you buy a lower-spec device, your specs may soon be even below the minimum spec requirements of modern games.

However, you can get more FPS out of your graphics card with a few tweaks, and DLSS can help with frame rates too.

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Budgeting beyond the PC

When budgeting for your PC, don’t forget that you probably also have a lot of money to spend on a good gaming monitor, keyboard, gaming mouse, and headset. The costs can add up quickly when you factor in all of these things, so don’t neglect planning there either.

Writing by Adrian Willings. Edited by Chris Hall.