Building the perfect gaming PC is no laughing matter. From graphics card to RAM to motherboard, every single component needs to be considered carefully, because although you’ll be able to swap them out later, most gaming PCs should last for a pretty long time without needing to replace parts. The benefit of PC gaming is that if your machine isn’t perfect to start with, you can upgrade it later, but you want to get as much right in the initial build as you can to make it easier on yourself down the line.
With that in mind, we’ve assembled a guide on how you can build and maintain the perfect gaming PC. Bear in mind that perfection is going to look different to everyone; our idea of the greatest gaming PC ever built might not match yours, and yours might not match the next gamer’s. Still, there are certain universal aspects to a great gaming PC that are constants across the board. Here’s what you’re going to need if you want to build the perfect gaming PC.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to escape the sometimes prohibitive cost of a great gaming PC. Even entry-level components can cost as much as a gaming console in and of themselves in some cases. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to shore up cash for your build. If you’re just in need of a quick short-term injection, why not check out some online personal loans to build some funds? Alternatively, you could sell other gaming peripherals and paraphernalia you’ve got lying around, or double down and sell off your gaming consoles if you’re feeling brave.
A great graphics card
As we said earlier, your definition of a great graphics card will differ from those around you. Are you intending to play at 1080p resolution or 4K? Do you care much about frame rates? How about ray tracing? All of these decisions will play a role in which card you opt for. As far as we’re concerned, the GTX 1660 is absolutely the best budget all-rounder for 1080p, while for 4K gaming, you can’t go wrong with the monster that is the RTX 3080 (if you can get one, that is). The 2080 Ti is also an excellent option.
Most good gaming PCs don’t need more than 16GB of RAM. You can scrape by on 8GB, but that’s the absolute minimum; any less than that and you’re eating into Windows’ memory usage, which isn’t ideal. We strongly recommend 16GB if you’re going to be multitasking a lot while gaming, too, because RAM is what carries the multitasking load when you’re browsing the web and gaming at the same time. If you want to be truly extravagant, load your machine up with 32GB and watch it glide effortlessly through every task.
A fast processor
There are lots of different options when it comes to grabbing a processor for your gaming PC. Intel’s newest Rocket Lake architecture powers its 11th-generation chips, and if you’re going to be doing a lot of streaming while gaming, it’s best to opt for the top-of-the-range i9 chip. However, for most people’s purposes, the i5-11600K is the best option. It’ll handle every gaming task effortlessly, and a little light streaming won’t break your processor either.
The right peripherals
A great gaming PC is nothing without the right peripherals. You’ll need to make the decision as to whether you’re going to go for a mechanical keyboard, but we’d recommend doing so, because there are many excellent budget options and the feel of a mechanical keyboard is absolutely irreplaceable. You should choose a mouse with high DPI, too, because this will increase the speed and precision with which you can game on your new PC.
A great monitor (or two!)
Even if you’ve built the most beastly rig imaginable, it won’t reach its full potential unless you pair it with an equally monstrous monitor. For the full decadent gamer experience, we’d recommend two monitors side-by-side, because that way you can game on one and call up whatever else you might need on the other. 4K might be a little extravagant for PC gaming, especially if you’ll be sitting close to your monitors, so 1440p is probably the sweet spot you should be aiming for in terms of resolution.
To truly immerse yourself in a gaming experience, the sound needs to match what you’re seeing on screen in terms of quality. That’s why a great gaming headset (or pair of PC speakers) should accompany your build. If you really can’t stand cables, you could opt for wireless or Bluetooth speakers or headsets, but since most PC gamers sit fairly close to their rigs, you’ll get better sound quality and a better overall package if you don’t forgo the wire.
A great gaming desk
Many PC gamers neglect their gaming desk, but this is actually one of the most important parts of your setup. A good desk has solid ventilation – your PC is going to be getting pretty hot, so it’s important to keep it cool – as well as room for everything you need and some storage space for your peripherals and accessories. Try to aim for a dedicated PC gaming desk if you can, but if not, something spacious with plenty of “real estate” is what you want to be looking at.
We hope this guide on how to put together the perfect gaming PC has been helpful. Of course, there’s one other thing you need for a great setup – games! There are a whole host of digital storefronts out there offering constant deals and bargains on the best games around, so whether you’re a Steam fanatic, a GOG devotee, or an Epic lover, we’d like to welcome you to the world of PC gaming.