How to build a Gamer PC
If you are a gamer, there comes a time when you feel the need to build your own gamer PC . But for this, you must know the internal components of the computer well. Otherwise, you will not be able to choose and assemble each one correctly.
That is why, in this article, we will explain the main points that you should take into account when building your gamer PC : what components to choose and how to select each one.
In summary, in this article you will learn how to:
- Choosing the correct motherboard
- Choosing and comparing a gaming processor
- Choosing and comparing a video card
- Combine the components according to their compatibilities
- Buy correctly according to your budget
- Assemble a gaming PC correctly
Components of a gaming PC
Most gamers know that the video card , the RAM and the processor are the three main components that will determine the performance of our gaming PC . But, to be able to choose these parts correctly, you have to take into account other components, such as the motherboard and the power source . In this tutorial we will begin by analyzing the motherboard .
As most of you know, the motherboard is the part of the computer that will determine what we can connect to, be it the type of graphics card, processor or RAM .
Motherboard for a gamer PC
The motherboard, motherboard or motherboard , is a vital component in our computer, thus being the heart of it. Why? Because basically, this card is the one that will determine what we can connect and what not. This means that the rest of the parts must be compatible with the type of connection that our motherboard has .
Broadly speaking, we will concentrate on the motherboard of our gamer PC having :
- One or two PCI Express x16 3.0 or higher
- Four DIMM slots preferably
- Maximum capacity of 32 GB or more of RAM
- High frequency DDR4 support (2400 MHz minimum)
- Socket compatible with the i3, i5 and i7 family of the latest current generation in case you want an Intel processor
- Socket compatible with AMD Ryzen in case you want an AMD processor
- SATA connection of 6 GBs or higher.
- Be ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte or AsRock branded
Now what are these connectors and features? (skip to video card if you already know these components)
PCI Express x16 3.0, 4.0 or higher
The PCI Express x16 is the slot where our video card will be connected . The x16 determines the length and the 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, etc., the version. What you have to know is that the higher the version, the higher the transfer speed it will allow to the video card . Currently graphics cards work with a data transfer speed at level 3.0 and 4.0. Although there are higher versions, they are not being used.
If your motherboard has a PCI Express x16 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 or 5.0 slot , it doesn’t matter in terms of “compatibility”, but it does matter in terms of performance. In all the mentioned cases, you can connect a video card as long as it requires PCI Express x16 of course. However, if the version does not match, the only problem you will have is that its performance will drop a bit. So, if you are building a gamer PC, you should get a motherboard with the version of PCI Express x16 that your graphics card uses or a higher one . In this way, you will ensure that you do not lose even 1% of its transfer speed.
Is SLI or Crossfire worth doing?
On the other hand, if you want to place two graphics cards to maximize your video performance, then you will need two PCI Express x16 slots. The latter is what is known as “AMD Crossfire” or SLI in Nvidia . Anyway, today it has honestly been largely unimplemented. This is because if you use two high-mid-range video cards , you don’t get ‘usable’ graphics performance in games. The opposite case is if you have two less powerful video cards , since by combining their powers, you will achieve usable graphics performance.
In short, before doing SLI or Crossfire with two graphics cards, think about the following:
1) Two high-end video cards will not add anything to your performance, since one is more than enough.
2) Buying two mid-range video cards is not convenient. For that you buy a high-end one.
3) If you already have a low-end graphics card and then get another, you can increase your performance at low cost. This is a passable option only in this circumstance, that is, with a gaming PC already in use and with a low budget. Otherwise, don’t buy two low-end ranges, but one mid-range.
DIMM slots for RAM
The DIMM slots are those where your RAM memory is placed . Although two will be enough, we advise you to have four spaces. Why? Because if you put two 8 GB RAM memories today, you will have room to expand your maximum RAM memory if at any time you need it. We all know that games consume more and more RAM each year . Although it is also true that nowadays, few games consume 16 GB, so your gamer PC could be armed with 16 GB and it would be enough.
From what was explained above, it would be best if your motherboard had 4 DIMM slots. Then, you would put 2 x 8 GB and you would have two free spaces to later place the RAM you need.
Maybe you were left thinking, why not choose 2 DIMM slots and put 1 x 16 GB? Ok, that’s a very good question. You can do it and it will be fine. However, as we want to put together a gamer PC , we take advantage of every drop of extra performance. And here’s the trick: “take advantage of the dual channel, dual channel in Spanish.” This technology means that when we put the RAM memories “side by side” , their performance increases slightly.
In summary, we recommend 4 DIMM slots on your motherboard and 2 x 8 GB DDR4 of RAM.
The type of RAM currently used is DDR4 . If your gaming PC is new, then you should build it with DDR4 compatibility. This must be so, since the difference with DDR3 is noticeable, and a lot, especially in the FPS and when you play current and heavy games.
RAM memory frequency
Finally, another important point is the frequency of the RAM . You should know that the higher the frequency that our motherboard and processor accept, the better. The frequency should be 2400 MHz up.
A very common question among gamers is to ask about the compatibility between the frequency allowed by the motherboard and the frequency that the RAM memory brings . Regarding compatibility, it is not the maximum frequency of both components that matters but the type. That is, your motherboard must accept the same type of RAM (be it DDR3, DDR4, etc.).
Now, we do have to take into account another point. If your motherboard works for example with 2400 MHz and the RAM you bought is 3000 MHz, your motherboard will lower the memory frequency to 2400 MHz. In this case it is a waste to buy a 3000 MHz RAM memory. buy a RAM memory with a frequency similar to what your motherboard accepts, just not to waste money. The same is true for your processor or CPU , since it will also have an accepted RAM memory frequency limit.
The socket for the CPU
The processor is located in a square or hole called a socket. Each motherboard accepts a CPU brand and socket type . That is, it will accept AMD or Intel and a size type for the CPU (chip). You must take this into account, since you first have to decide if you will use AMD or Intel . Then you must look for the compatibility for the processor model you want to place.
In summary, to correctly assemble our gamer PC we must look at what type of socket it accepts. Or, what is more advisable, once you have chosen the CPU, look for a motherboard that accepts that processor. For example, in the case that Intel is our processor , we will have to make sure that it accepts the i3, i5 and i7 family of the latest available generation, ninth, tenth, etc. The same goes for AMD and its best CPU family , which is Ryzen . Be one or the other, check well that your motherboard accepts the CPU model you choose.
SATA connection of 6 GBs or higher
The SATA 6 GB (or higher) connection will determine the data transfer allowed on our hard drive (HDD) or SSD. Although the hard disk or SSD does not play a relevant role when it comes to playing games, we have to have a decent disk for our gamer PC , in our opinion.
However, it is important to clarify that an SSD is not necessary to build a gamer PC . What’s more, considering it is a gaming PC , installing games on an SSD as a game installation disk will further shorten its lifespan. Not so on an HDD. Ideally, you should have a “small” SSD where the operating system and basic programs are installed; and on the other hand a “big” HDD with the games. The latter is the most recommended.
From the above, our advice is that, if you are short of money, buy only one HDD. Games today easily take between 50GB and 125GB installed. Therefore, having a space of 1 TB is almost essential to have several games installed. If you don’t have enough money to buy a 1 TB HDD, and a 120 or 240 GB SSD to install the operating system there, buy a 1 TB HDD and install everything in it.
Do not spend money on a large SSD because it is a waste for a gamer PC . Instead, put in that money to buy a better graphics card, processor, or RAM . Also, in the future, changing a hard drive or SSD is the simplest thing there is.
In summary, if you already know everything you need about a motherboard and complying with the items mentioned above, then we are ready to proceed to choose the rest of the components. Of course, when building a high-end, mid-range or low-end gaming PC , the kickoff will not come from the motherboard , but from the graphics card . So let’s move on to it.
You can check later if you want the ranking of the best motherboards on the market .
Video Card of a Gamer PC
The key component of a PC Gamer is the video card . The graphics card is the main part of our machine, as it will take care of the graphics performance of our computer through its GPU , largely freeing up our available CPU and RAM .
The “power” of our gamer PC is largely in the level of quality of our graphics card , that is why it should have the following points:
– A graphics memory of the type GDDR5 (DDR5), GDDR6 or HBM.
– An amount of graphics memory of 4 GB or more.
– A graphic memory frequency higher than 4000 MHz (4.0 Gbps).
– A GPU (graphics processor) frequency higher than 1000 MHz.
– The bus width (interface) must be from 128 (bit). If it is older, the better.
What brand to buy? NVIDIA or AMD?
The leading brands in the market are NVIDIA and ATI Radeon HD (AMD) . In turn, each one has different manufacturers, such as ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, etc. Within them there are low, medium and high ranges. Then if you buy AMD or NVIDIA it does not matter in the least. What matters is the graphics card model.
If you want optimal performance on your gaming PC , you should choose a medium, medium-high, or high range. In this way you will ensure a quality video card for several years. But you should also bear in mind that when we talk about low to high-end graphics cards, we are talking about the best video cards in the world, that is, the 150 best in our ranking. That is why a low-end video card for a gamer PC is actually a very good video card.
I recommend that you then go through our article with the ranking of the best video cards for gamers .
Does the processor influence?
When buying a graphics card to build your gaming PC, be clear that the processor you buy must be able to support it. That is, if you buy a high-end graphics card, don’t buy a low-end processor. Check our ranking of processors for it. If you do not comply with this, you will have performance and temperature problems that will end up ruining your gaming PC . That is why you should buy from equal ranges, or at most with a range of difference.
For example, a high-end or extreme video card with a mid-range or higher processor would be suitable. Always the CPU can be in a lower range than the graphical one, but not more than that.
Choosing a CPU according to your video card
As we already anticipated, once you have selected your motherboard and your graphics card , you need a CPU that is compatible with your motherboard but that at the same time fully supports your video card. In this way you will get your computer to work at maximum performance, avoiding what is called a bottleneck caused by a poor CPU with a much higher graphics.
To build your gamer PC you don’t need to buy the best processor on the market . What you should do is choose among the 300 best CPUs. The 10 or 25 best processors on the market are for those extreme gamers, the kind you see with multi-screens on the Internet and ultra graphics in games.
In summary, according to the range you want your gaming computer to be and how powerful your graphics card is, you can choose from a low-end gaming processor to an extreme one. Broadly speaking, in Intel it would be i3 / i5 / i7, the low / medium / high ranges. While in AMD we have the Ryzen 3/5/7 as low / medium / high. Of course this is taking into account “the last generation” that launched each brand. On the other hand, there are other families of CPUs in both brands that are neither Core nor Ryzen and that also have models suitable for building a gamer PC. But as we have clarified before, choose a processor and video card of the same range, or at most with a range of difference.
Points to consider when buying a CPU
Now, your gamer PC must have an Intel or AMD gaming processor with the following points:
– the CPU must be multicore with at least 4 cores (cores), for example a Core i3 / Ryzen 3.
– The processor frequency must be 3.0 GHz or higher. In the case of high-end i5s or i7s, you can have at least 2.5 GHz. The same for the Ryzen 5 and 7. Also, always keep in mind that the higher the frequency, the higher the performance.
– the choice of Intel or AMD will depend on the motherboard you have chosen.
The truth is that choosing between AMD or Intel is a matter of taste. Both brands are equally good at putting together a gaming PC . All performance will depend solely on the CPU model. The only difference is that Intel exceeds AMD in number of processors. Yes, Intel is superior in server CPUs, both in quantity and quality, with the famous Intel Xeon. Which is of no interest to us for our purpose. Currently AMD is balancing its forces with its AMD Ryzen.
RAM memory of a PC Gamer
The third pillar of a gaming PC is RAM . We all know that the blessed RAM memory was always important. Before, when video cards didn’t exist, RAM and processor were everything. RAM memory is still essential today. You can have the best CPU and the best graphics card, but trust me, if you don’t have a good amount of memory, you’re wasting your time.
To build a good gamer PC you will need DDR4 RAM and a medium-high frequency, from 2400 MHz. Onwards. Now, keep the following points in mind as well:
– The amount of RAM should not be less than 12 GB. The ideal is to buy two 8 GB to add 16 and take advantage of the dual channel.
– Try not to combine memories of different capacities. That is, don’t buy a 4GB and an 8GB and a 2GB one. Buy two of the same, same quantity, same frequency, same brand.
– Buy a well-known brand. They generally perform better and last longer.
RAM memory latency
On the other hand, when comparing different RAM memory models , you should know that latency is very important. Basically, after looking at the size and the frequency, the latency is the value that will finally tell us which RAM is faster. This value is usually identified by manufacturers with the letter “C” or “CL”. Thus, a C15 or CL15 would indicate a general latency of 15.
Power Source for a Gamer PC
The hidden component of every gaming PC is the power source . Many forget it and others do not give it importance, but the truth is that the power source is today a necessary component for the entire computer and directly vital to build a gaming PC , so you must choose carefully.
The power source should initially be around 600 to 800 Watt of “real” power, not generic please. In turn, you must bring individual x2 and x4 pin connectors with you.
Several video cards require “individual” x6 or x8 pin connectors. Your power supply must have that many connectors, be it 4 of x2, 2 of x4, etc. In a word, it must have the number of pins necessary to be able to connect the graphics card you have chosen.
More tips and guides can be found here