So you’ve finally given in and decided to build your first gaming PC. But now that you’re looking for parts, you’re bombarded with tons of options. If you don’t follow the tech space, you’re probably confused and might even consider settling for a next-gen console instead.
But don’t give up just yet! Before you go out and look at parts again, read these six tips we’ve put together to help you get the best gaming rig for your budget.
1. Work within your budget
Whether you’re buying a car, a house or a PC, knowing what you can buy will help you make definitive decisions. After all, if you haven’t set a budget and started looking at parts and peripherals, you can get hyped with all the power and performance you see in ads and reviews.
But once you figure out what you can afford and realize it doesn’t cover the cost of the high-end parts, you’ll be disappointed and frustrated. By setting a realistic budget right from the start, you’ll know what to look for when looking for computer parts. You can also see reviews and build guides within your price range.
2. Check the system requirements of your favorite titles
Once you have your budget, it’s time to look at the games you want to play. After all, if you’re buying a gaming PC for titles that don’t require a lot of system resources, it wouldn’t make sense to go all out on your specs.
While you may be tempted to use top-shelf systems to future-proof your gaming PC, future-proofing is not something we recommend. Instead, get the parts you need to run the games you want, then gradually upgrade your PC as new titles and technologies roll out.
If you’re looking to buy a laptop or PC similar to what your friend already has, you can use the Xbox app’s Game Performance Fit Indicator to see if your computer’s specs work with your favorite games. If it is, get a system similar to what they have and it’s a guarantee that you can play them with little to no hiccups.
3. Avoid system resource bottlenecks
Let’s say you’re working on a budget and you decided to go with a top-shelf GPU like the NVIDIA GeForce 3090 Ti. But since you’ve hit the budget limit on your system, you just bought a 10th gen Intel i3 processor and put them in a poorly ventilated case.
When you do that, you put system performance on the table. It is because the weak processor cannot maximize the power of the GPU. Also, the poor cooling of the cheap case will cause the parts and peripherals to thermally throttle.
So whatever your budget, your system needs to be well-rounded in every way. Your processor, GPU, RAM, storage and PSU all need to work in unison so you can get value for money in your build. Most importantly, don’t go cheap when buying a PSU. A poor quality power supply can fry your parts, rendering hundreds (to thousands) of dollars worth of components useless.
4. Choose a storage capacity and type that suits your game library
When building a gaming PC, it is advisable to have at least two different drives: one to install the operating system and another to keep your games. If you can afford an SSD solution, go for it; but if not, the drive where you install Windows should at least be an SSD to ensure fast boot.
When choosing a drive to install your games on, consider the size requirements of the titles you play and how many games you can play at once. If you don’t play a lot of video games with large install sizes, consider buying a smaller capacity SSD over a larger but slower HDD.
It is usually better to have a faster SSD than a larger HDD. That’s because the save type will affect the game’s loading speed. Also, you can always uninstall titles you don’t play that often and download them later from your online game library.
5. Consider your preferences when choosing a monitor
If you come from console gaming, you probably think that 4K screens are the way to go when buying a monitor. Resolution isn’t the only game in town though – if you’re into fast-paced gameplay like Battle Arena or FPS titles, you should also look at your screen’s refresh rate.
If you have an unlimited budget, you can probably get the best of both worlds: a 4K display with refresh rates greater than 120Hz. But for others who can’t afford these expensive screens, you’ll have to choose between one or the other.
So if you’re into fast-paced gaming, you’ll probably want a high-refresh screen. But if you prefer titles with good storylines, well-developed characters and stunning scenery, then a high-resolution screen is a must. You might even want an ultra-wide screen to maximize immersion as you go through the scenes of your favorite titles.
6. Consider the additional requirements for streaming your gameplay
Streaming your gameplay on Twitch and other platforms has recently become popular entertainment. It allowed people to share what they played and encouraged many to start their own gaming channel. It has grown so big that some people can make a good living streaming games.
So if you’re planning to dive into this hobby, consider the system overhead you’ll need to capture the screen and send the stream to your preferred platform. If you have an old computer, you can use it to stream your gameplay via an inexpensive capture card.
But if you only have one computer (the one you plan to build), don’t stick to the minimum specs for your favorite games. OBS Studio, one of the most popular streaming applications, requires at least 4GB of RAM and a 2nd generation Intel i5 processor or AMD equivalent.
However, just run the app. Since you’re running it alongside your game, you should also consider the game’s specs, plus the system resource consumption of the browser you’re using to receive the stream. Therefore, it is wise to have at least 16GB of RAM on your PC if you plan to share your gaming sessions with the world.
Build a gaming PC efficiently
Whether you have $500 or $5,000 to build a gaming PC, you deserve to have a system that works harmoniously and well. By following our tips, you ensure that you build a computer that gives you the best possible performance in relation to the price range and your use.
After all, if you can afford but don’t need an Intel Core i9-12900K and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, you can save money by buying cheaper parts and spend those savings on other peripherals that will greatly improve your gaming experience.