Gaming Science & Technology

All the parts you need to build your own gaming PC

Computers are expensive, but buying your own parts can save you a lot and teach you about the machines in the process.

I need a gaming PC. But rather than buy one ready-made, I have decided to buy all the parts myself and then get some professional help to assemble it. Baby steps, right?

If you are planning on building your own PC or just picking out parts for a PC, come learn about it with me.

A website that I would recommend for you is PC Part Picker, where people who have built their own provide guides for various builds. The site also allows you to select your own parts, which it will then check for compatibility, and provides comparative pricing for you so you can find the cheapest price for those parts.

As you start to select your parts, I suggest you start with the motherboard because it is the most important part of the PC–it connects everything together. Pick your motherboard before you pick a case because you’ll have to match the two. (I learned that the hard way.) There are many companies have made their own variations of motherboard. Some of the bigger companies are ASRock, ASUS, Biostar, Gigabyte, and MSI. Personally I chose an ASUS motherboard because it was at an affordable price and had many good reviews. Most motherboards go for between $250 and $500. On every motherboard there should be a processors and memory.

A processor, better known as a central processing unit (CPU) is the part that instructs the computer. It is the brains of the machine. There are two main companies that run the CPU business: AMD and Intel. Most CPUs can go for between $100 and $500 personally I went for Intel because they are the more trusted company.

After you pick your motherboard, you have to match the case to it. The different sizes of cases are Full tower ATX, mid-tower ATX, and mini-ITX. My motherboard was for a ATX case. Unfortunately, I did it wrong. I picked out a case first and had to change it later.

The job of a CPU Cooler is just what it sounds like–it cools the CPU down. There are two types: fans and liquid coolers. The most common type is a fan cooler where they but a big fan on top of the CPU to keep it cool. Fan coolers are for a PC that will not be working a lot. It is for small games and online projects. You can find good enough fans to cool gaming PCs but I would suggest a liquid cooler. It cycles water through tubes around a radiator to cool it down and back over the CPU to absorb the heat. The big companies for CPU cooling are Be Quiet!, Cooler Master, Corsair, Noctua, and NZXT, I went for a Corsair cooler.

Random-access memory sticks (RAM) is the PC’s “working memory,” storing information temporarily. RAM sticks (not to be confused with a USB thumb drive, which can also be called a memory stick) will attach on the motherboard. I decided to get a Kingston RAM stick that will go into the motherboard, and again based on the fact that in my research they are the most trusted company. Some other common companies are Corsair, Crucial, and G.SKILL.

The next thing that you will need to make your computer work is a power supply, when I looked up on what type of power supply I needed for my computer I only found power calculators that were really confusing and or didn’t give me the option for add-ons that I had like SSD cards. I then found a website for one that I like: the EVGA calculator. There are also a lot of different companies for power supply such as Cooler Master, Corsair, EVGA, SeaSonic, and Thermaltake.

If you are thinking of building a gaming PC, I would suggest getting a solid-state drive (SSD) card for the fact that its job is to make everything load faster and that can be from loading screens to turning your computer on. Most SSD cards will go for $38 to $84 and the big companies are Crucial, Kingston, Samsung, Seagate, and Western Digital. I decided to go for a Kingston SSD card.

Video cards are the most important part of your PC if you are planning on gaming because without it you would have more fun watching a potato grow. Video cards go by many names such as graphic cards, graphic adapters, display card, and display adapter–all these names can be used for this component. The purpose of the graphics card it to put images on your screen. Gaming often requires high-powered graphics. Companies that produce these components include ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, and Zotac. There are many types of graphic cards out there and you can get whatever one you want but i would highly suggest that you look up what type of frame-per-second (FPS) you need for the game you want it for. Personally, I went for a RTX 2080 MSI graphics card.

Those are the key parts that you will need if you want to have a nice gaming experience with your own gaming PC and not an overpriced pre-built PC.

Image credit: Flickr / Deborah Lee Soltesz

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