Purchasing a pre-built gaming computer is a solid option for gamers with specific requirements and a budget that doesn't stretch to a custom built rig. However, there are benefits to building a PC yourself, including total control over the components, picking a case that meets your personal aesthetic, and the ability to upgrade components down the line.
As with any type of computer build, it's important to set a budget before you begin shopping for components. This will ensure that you don't accidentally overspend or purchase unnecessary components that will slow down your system. Additionally, a budget will give you an idea of what features are worth splurging on. For example, you may want to consider spending extra on a case with premium features like tempered glass sides or noise dampening.
When deciding on components, start with the motherboard and work your way up. The motherboard will dictate the physical dimensions and size of your computer, as well as what other hardware it can support. This includes the CPU (processor), which will determine how fast your rig is, and the GPU (graphics processing unit), which will handle the graphical aspects of games you play.
It's also a good idea to select a PSU (power supply unit). A quality, well-made PSU will provide adequate power for all your components and should come with a warranty. If you're on a budget, a non-modular PSU is a great choice, as it will save you money and time by allowing you to remove unused cables. This is especially important because unused cables can block airflow and negatively impact performance.
You should also consider picking up a hard drive and/or SSD for installing Windows and your game library. An SSD will allow for fast boot-ups, and a HDD will serve as backup storage. If possible, it's a good idea to pick up an SSD with enough space to accommodate all of your games. This will prevent you from having to buy a second SSD down the line for your new games.
While a gaming PC can be built for as little as $400 or $500, it's best to plan ahead and keep future upgrades in mind. This will help you avoid spending more money than necessary on the initial build, as well as save time and frustration. The best way to do this is by selecting a case, motherboard and power supply that will easily accommodate additional components down the road.
If you're looking to get into PC gaming but are on a tight budget, the good news is that it's still possible to create a rig capable of playing games at a high frame rate with acceptable settings. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when building a gaming PC on a budget.
First, it's important to realize that you are going to have to make sacrifices in terms of components. For example, you might have to settle for an older graphics card or use a dual-core CPU instead of a more powerful quad-core. Also, unless you're willing to buy a used motherboard or power supply (which we wouldn't recommend), you will have to pay full price for the parts in your build.
Additionally, you should be aware that prices on PC components fluctuate regularly--sometimes even hourly. This is particularly true during the pandemic, so it's important to keep an eye on prices online and be prepared to jump on a deal as soon as you see one.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are plenty of cheap and affordable gaming components out there that are just as good as the more expensive options. As a result, it's not impossible to find a decent gaming PC build on a budget, but it will take some research and patience.
If you're a first-time builder, it might seem intimidating to put together a PC from scratch. However, there are plenty of resources available to help you including How-To Geek articles, YouTube video tutorials, and online PC-building tools like pcpartpicker. You can also ask questions on forums such as the helpful r/buildapc subreddit.
Before starting the build itself, it's a good idea to have all your materials ready. This includes a large table that you can work on without risking anything getting damaged. You should also avoid assembling your computer on carpet as this can generate static electricity, which could damage sensitive components. Finally, you should have a few basic tools such as a screwdriver (size 0 or 1 should suffice) and a pair of long-nose pliers in case you drop a screw behind the motherboard.
To start, you'll need to remove the protective plastic covering from the CPU socket on your motherboard. This will reveal the metal arm that you can use to install the AMD Ryzen processor. Once you've done this, you can then plug in the motherboard and power supply cables.
After that, it's time to add in the rest of your components. The last part to install is the GPU, which you can insert by sliding it into its mounting bracket. You'll then need to attach the cooler and attach it with the included thermal paste. After that, you can install the RAM modules and connect the SSDs and hard drives to the motherboard. Finally, you'll need to install an operating system, which can be downloaded from the official Microsoft website here.