Every gamer seems to have an amazing setup for their gaming PC and peripherals. What do you actually need to think about when it comes to making your own? What does it need in order to be the envy of all your friends? Read our top tips about what to think about when it comes to creating the best full gaming PC setup.
1. Do your research
When it comes to gaming PC setups, nothing is more important than knowing what you’ll be doing with them. This isn’t just researching the best parts, but knowing whether they’re suitable for the games you currently play, and any future releases. This also applies when considering if all the parts are compatible, as you don’t want to spend money on a part and then find out that it doesn’t work with the other parts that you buy.
2. Set a budget
Gaming PC setups can get very expensive, very quickly. Having a budget means you can spend more on the parts that really matter, like the graphics card or processor, by making savings on things like storage.
3. Internal Components
Your internal components are key. You want them to be able to be upgraded in the future if you choose to. You also want them to be compatible with each other, and last long enough that you won’t need to upgrade them immediately. You’ll also have to take into account if you’re planning on overclocking your machine, and the consequences this can have (better performance, more power consumption, potentially shorter lifespan for overclocked components).
We’re going to discuss the different internal components and which ones are good examples of what to look for when picking the parts for your PC, or even if you’re choosing a pre-built PC.
The processor is the brain of your gaming PC. AMD are the current leaders in the CPU race for gaming, having overtaken Intel in recent years. The Ryzen 5 3600 is an excellent processor with six “cores” and 12 “threads”. The number of cores tells you how many central processing units are on the chip – so the Ryzen 5 3600 has six of them, which means it can do six different things at once. Most cores also have two threads, which let them multitask.
Graphics card (GPU)
Nvidia produces the best graphics cards, and of those, the 30-series is by far the superior option. In terms of price, the 3090 is the most expensive and is made nearly obsolete by the 3080Ti. If you want something a little less expensive than either of those, the 3060Ti is better than the 2080 Super, considered to be one of the best GPUs of Nvidia’s 20-series.
The motherboard is the nervous system of the gaming PC, and is the part that determines things like how many USB ports you have, whether your gaming setup comes with a built-in wifi card or Bluetooth connection. A really good example of what to look for in a motherboard is the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming. Although it can be a little pricey, it contains everything you might need for your gaming PC setup, and possibly some things you wouldn’t think of.
RAM is your PCs short-term memory. It comes in sticks of a certain number of gigabytes (GB), and you can have up to 128GB of memory in a PC, but this would be a waste of money when the vast majority of games won’t use more than 32GB. The ideal type of RAM is DDR4, which is the fastest type of memory, and it should have a frequency (usually listed in megahertz, or MHz) of at least 3000MHz.
There are a lot of different companies that make RAM, so you’ll be spoiled for choice but some of the best brands include: Corsair, Samsung, HyperX, G.Skill and Gigabyte, but there are plenty of others available.
You’ll probably have multiple storage devices in your gaming PC. Your boot drive, or where your operating system and key programs are, should be as fast as possible. This means you’ll probably need an M.2 NVME SSD (solid state drive). These are faster because unlike older hard disk drives (HDDs), they have no moving parts, but they’re also more expensive. This means that you’ll probably have a smaller boot drive, and store most of your games on an HDD, which are much cheaper but might add a few seconds to the load times of some of your games.
Samsung’s M.2 drives are among the best out there, and in terms of HDDs, WD Black is both the fastest and most reliable, but the most expensive of the HDDs. Seagate Barracuda and WD Blue are good alternatives to the WD Black, and you’ll get much more storage for a fraction of the cost as HDDs can come in sizes as large as 8 terabytes (TB), so you’ll be able to install all your games at the same time if you want to.
Power supply (PSU)
It needs to comfortably provide more power to your PC than the machine is using, without being too powerful. If you’re overclocking any of your parts, you’ll need to factor in the extra power that overclocking consumes when considering a PSU. You’ll also need to ensure that it has at least a gold efficiency rating to ensure that you don’t waste power when using your PC, which could mean you spend more on your electricity than you would otherwise have to.
Keeping your gaming PC cool is an excellent way of giving it the longest possible life. Different types of cooling exist, and they produce different levels of noise. Water cooling uses water to cool different parts of the PC, while air cooling uses fans. Many cases also come with extra fans, so there are a lot of ways to keep your PC cool.
Bigger cases are more expensive, but they also make it easier to replace parts because there’s more space inside, and there’s more airflow so the machine ends up being cooler. You won’t want a case that’s any smaller than a mid-tower as otherwise the parts will be too close together and will overheat much more easily. Full tower cases might not fit under your desk, so be aware of how large they are when you pick one.
Some cases come with all sorts of lighting options to make your setup one to show off, but this will also come with extra costs, especially for the glass panels on the side of the case.
//Copy: There are lots of different peripherals you can get for gaming PCs, like steering wheels, hand keyboards and VR headsets, but we’ll be focusing on the essentials – mouse, keyboard and monitor. Having the right ones will give you the best gaming PC setup. There’s a lot of choice for all of them, so make sure you know what you want – like a backlit keyboard or a mouse with buttons on it to make gaming easier.
The three main brands when it comes to gaming mice are Razer, Corsair and Logitech. The fancier you want your mouse to be, the more expensive it is. If you don’t want a really fancy mouse, just a standard gaming one, then the Logitech G502 is a good place to start – it isn’t prohibitively expensive, and will help you get an idea of what you want for a gaming mouse.
A keyboard can really make your setup pop, due to the backlighting that is very common on many keyboards, especially those by Razer, Corsair and Whirlwind. A lot of the keyboards also come with macro keys, which you can program for specific combos in certain games, or to help you with your everyday life. Again there are a lot of different options, so find one you like the look of (either mechanical or membrane) and give it a go.
When it comes to monitors, bigger is better. You’ll want as large a monitor as you can afford, with a good refresh rate, low response time and high resolution for the optimal gaming experience.
Your refresh rate should be a minimum of 60Hz, unless you play a lot of first-person shooters, and then it should be 144Hz as a minimum. The better the refresh rate, the more true-to-life your gaming experience will be. G-sync and Free-sync help the refresh rate vary a little to give you the best experience you can, so these are a must.
A low response time means that any mouse movements will show on the screen much quicker, so it’s vital that this is as low as possible for many kinds of games. This should be no more than 3ms (milliseconds).
Your resolution is also really important because the better it is, the better the games you’re playing will look on the screen. 1080p is the minimum resolution, but if you can 1440p, you’ll have a fantastic time when you’re gaming.
Having two or more monitors can be really helpful when gaming, depending on what you’re playing. Racing simulators lend themselves to triple monitor set-ups because of the increased field of view (FOV), which means all your monitors need to be of the same quality for you to be good at playing the game. Other games might just need you to be able to reference a guide while you’re playing to make sure you get every item or make friends with every villager, so your secondary monitor wouldn’t need to be the same quality as your primary monitor. You might also want to be able to watch a video or stream while playing games, which an extra monitor will definitely help with.
You’ll need a fairly large desk to put all of your different peripherals and maybe even your PC onto, so make sure you have one that’s right for you. You should also think about arm support and how much it might help you to be able to rest your elbows on the desk while gaming. A final piece of advice: don’t be afraid of making an unconventional desk that might suit your needs better than a store-bought one.
There’s an awful lot to think about when it comes to the ultimate gaming PC setup – the internals, peripherals, where you’re going to put them. The most important thing is to do your research – you don’t want a PC that can’t play the games you love, and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on things you decide aren’t for you later on.
For the internals, think about how the processor, graphics card, motherboard, memory and storage all benefit you, and how much power you’ll need in a power supply, and how much cooling it will require. Then you can think about the case and what that will look like for your ideal setup. Add to this mouse, keyboard and monitor, and you’re set to go – as long as you have a desk to game on.