There have been lots of major developments in hardware this year. New CPUs, new GPUs, ultrawide gaming, VR etc — all of which may have tempted you to build a new gaming rig. As long time PC gamers, we would like to share some tips on how to spend your hard earned $$ without breaking the bank and at the same time getting a decent gaming rig that can tackle most if not all of your gaming needs.
Every PC gamer knows that the 3 longest lasting investments you can make in your gaming rig are your power supply, case and your monitor. The shortest lived investment will probably be your GPU. Before you can decide on these 3, you actually have to consider a few more things first.
Want Vs. Need
Think of the motherboard as the skeleton of your build. It is a printed circuit board that will host and connect your other crucial computer parts. The CPU, your graphics card, your hard drive/s, RAM, power supply and other bits are all connected to the motherboard (MOBO). When buying a MOBO, and this applies to almost everything, you have to weigh your WANT vs. NEED. A few questions you should ask yourself when selecting a MOBO are:
- What kind of processor will I be using?
Each motherboard supports specific kinds of processors so you have to determine what CPU you intend to buy and make sure that it is compatible with the MOBO you select. There are 2 companies that rule to roost. Intel and AMD. It comes down to application need and personal preference (although budget comes into play as well) when deciding which processor you will be using. Any modern CPU will have more than 1 core and as a rule of thumb the more cores you have the more threads or computational tasks your CPU can perform – this, as expected, comes with an increase in price as well. In the current hardware wars, expect to see CPUs that have as little as 4 to as many as 10 cores available to the general public.
2. How big is my computer case going to be?
Motherboards come in several different form factors — just as computer cases range from small that can hold mini or micro ITX motherboards, all the way to E- ATX which are best suited for those FULL tower cases like the corsair 900 that Shane is running. Bigger cases allow for easier assembly, better airflow and allow for better cooling options since you can put in larger radiators and more fans. Smaller cases allow you to move it around easier since it is smaller.
3. What kind of GPU/s will I be using?
There are 2 main choices. NVIDIA with its GTX series or Radeon with it’s RX series. Both are built mainly for gaming. However, just because they advertise the cards as being mainly for gaming, they are more than capable of tackling other tasks such as video editing, image compositing in photoshop as well as rendering using your favourite non-linear editor. There are cards to fit pretty much any budget. If you intend to do a lot of gaming, and maybe some VR, I would suggest nothing less than a GTX 1060 or it’s Radeon RX Vega 56 equivalent (both cards roughly around 400$). I will not go into multiple GPU set ups this time but will revisit the topic in the next part of the series.
Take some time and answer these questions. In our next post, we’ll give you some recommendations for each price point then continue with our buyers guide as we talk about RAM, PSUs and other hardware must haves.