How to Build an Ultimate Gaming PC

Anyone can buy a customized PC from Dell, HP, or other manufacturers, and get a good computer. But if you want something special, you need to make it yourself, this will take more time, but being able to say "I MADE this computer" gives a pretty good feeling.


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    Consider your price range. If you want to spend $1,000, you're going to have a much different layout than if you're willing to put in $1,500 or $2,000. You get what you pay for.
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    Look into what you plan on using this computer for. Obviously gaming, yes, but what type of gaming, graphics intensive or not, single player or online? These will bring differences to your build.
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    Now you start researching parts. Keeping those things in mind, you have a lot of options. It's a good idea to spend a lot of time looking at different parts, spending a month looking into different parts can make a drastic difference in your computers performance.
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    First big decision: what central processing unit (CPU/processor) line. Intel is by far superior to AMD in nearly all aspects, but AMD has extremely good value. But in most cases, in the low to mid range price point , AMD is a better choice due to their higher clock speeds and minimal effect on frame rates as long as a decent GPU is equipped. AMD's FX (or Athlon X4 for low budget) series is great for people looking for the most dedicated performance with a separate graphics card. Or an A-series APU processor which includes built in graphics that you can put into AMD Crossfire technology with an AMD graphics card. On the Intel side of things, your offerings are a i3, i5 (most common in gaming uses), or a i7. An i3 processor is a solid, efficient chip that does not generate a lot of heat and takes little power. An i5 is offered in dual-core with Intel Hyper-Threading or quad-core with no Hyper Threading. Some models are over lockable and are popular for gaming. And finally, the i7 is the weapon of choice for enthusiasts, but this luxury comes at a steep price. An i7 in most sub $1000 machines is not suitable to work with and will not help with frames on a mid to low range graphics card, but if you have money to burn make sure you are equipped with a monster graphics card to take advantage of this chip's power.
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    What do you plan on doing with this CPU? Chances are, your stock heatsink will do reasonably to withstand up to moderate loads. You will want to replace that heatsink if you would like to lower your temperatures to extend CPU life, or if you plan on overclocking. You probably want to look into water cooling for overclocking, but air cooling should be fine otherwise.
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    Now, you're going to need to match things up based on that. Starting with a Motherboard. Your motherboard should be specifically designed to match your CPU, not just socket, but by wattage, and maybe even suggested for that particular line. If you look at (and some other sites), you will find combination suggestions, which can help you decide what parts to put together. High rated motherboard manufacturers include ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, or Foxconn, your research should give you a good idea.
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    Time for a graphics card. You have a couple of options, based on your motherboard choice, the first of which is - single configuration graphics or multi-configuration graphics (nVidia SLI, Radeon Crossfire, etc.). Make sure your motherboard (and other hardware) can handle it. Most of the time, just one more powerful one will suffice, but if you're looking into very intense games like Crysis, spending the extra $100 or $150 will help you increase your FPS (Frames Per Second) a reasonable amount. However, if you look around enough, you should be able to find what you are looking for based on what types of games you plan to play, and price. Also, chipset limitations can determine your graphics configuration; AMD chipsets support nVidia SLI and Radeon Crossfire X, while Nvidia chipsets (n Force) support SLI fully and limited Crossfire.
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    RAM time. GBs don't mean everything, in fact, for 32bit Windows OS's, there is a maximum of 3 GBs that is being read. You can step up to 64bit (theoretical up to 16 Exabytes), but for less than 4GB it will not give a real advantage, and it might take more system resources. First thing to consider, you are probably going to want to start with 2GB (usually, 2GB (2x1GB) is ideal but 4GB (2x2GB))), and then you can upgrade later, if your system will allow it. The next thing to look at is compatibility, DDR2 or DDR3? 800MHz or 1066MHz? Your motherboard will be able to provide this compatibility information, then you make the call based on price and CAS latency (lower is better).
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    Let's look storage, as in Hard Drives. There's a number of options here, the first of which is a big one. 15000RPM, 10000RPM, or 7200RPM? Most people go with 7200RPM and more storage, but if you are looking for optimal performance regardless of other setbacks, you can buy an SSD (Solid State Drive), but they are pretty expensive. Next, how much storage? This is mostly a 'how much do I need, how much am I willing to pay?' issue. Some people find that 250GB is enough, 500GB is ideal, enthusiasts and extreme gamers use a 10000 RPM as the boot drive and a couple 7200 RPM TBs for games and media. For the most part, Cache and Interface speed are negligible , but higher cache could provide higher speed, and higher interface speed could do the same.
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    Based on your decisions so far, you'll need to make a decision on a case. Case size is the most relevant aspect, as getting a case that's too small will be problematic. After you determine what you need, it's mostly aesthetic. Don't expect to use the power supply the case comes with, they're generally not great quality, and usually will not have enough power for higher end computers.
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    Power supply (PSU) time. Based on the choices above, your power usage will vary, but expect at least 500W for a lower-end gaming computer, and 750W+ for a top notch computer or overclocked computer. Doubling up on PSU's is not usually a good idea unless you have two separate systems running inside your computer. If you have a -sometimes- overclocked computer, and have a higher end cooling system (for liquid only, really) that you want to turn on or off, you could have 2 PSUs. Not recommended.
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    Want a CD Drive? Consider what you will use it for, burning CDs/DVDs? No DVD compatibility necessary? Need Blu-ray? Based on those choices you will want to make a choice. A standard DVD Burner should fit most people's needs, but Blu-ray may be worth the extra money. However, they cost a lot!
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    Sound system? For most computers, the sound system (speakers/headphones) determine quality, but if you want to step up your system, look into an internal sound card. Digital audio (optical/coaxial) or analog (3.5mm standard for most PCs), 24 bit (HD) or 16 bit (SD)? "AC97" audio is usually what you will find in many PCs, but some motherboards have started to include HD Audio, therefore eliminating the need for an external sound card. You can find a good Creative X-fi or something for a reasonable amount. You may want to look into this as an upgrade you do later, after testing your onboard sound card. Also, don't expect free/cheap headphones to be a good judge of whether your sound card made any difference on your sound output.
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    Look at what you have so far. Based on those components, you will need to decide on a cooling system. For most (even customized) computers, air cooling will be sufficient, even if it means having 3 or 4 case fans. Most computers will not require liquid cooling unless there is high overclocking or a system costing over $1200. Liquid cooling is fairly expensive ($200 for a basic system), but if your computer runs too hot, it may be necessary.
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    You just customized a computer, congrats. Now let's look at accessories.
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    Display. Most people are okay with one monitor, but decide if you want widescreen or not (for gaming, widescreen is best (better field of view means you can see more of the battlefield). Then, look at your graphics card, what is the max/recommended resolution? What resolution do you want to run at? You should be able to find a monitor with sufficient resolution that you can run web browsers only in large, comfortable settings, but that will support and run well under lower settings for games. For most visual pleasure, look into HD monitors that support 1080p, or even 4K, but make sure your graphics card(s) support it.
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    Sound. We already covered the sound card, but for headphones and speakers, there are a number of options (5.1 configuration or 2.1). For the top of the top, there's pretty much anything Bose. Creative has a number of good options through various price ranges. Logitech has good higher level gear, as well. Do not look into big names like those 3, unless you want to spend at least $50, their products below that point are much lower quality. For gaming headsets, look toward Creative, Logitech, and Razer (in order by price, quality, performance).
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    Keyboard. You will have a lot of options here, as well. Logitech provides great options between $40 and $100. Razer provides good options for above that price range. Consider that, when gaming, you may want keyboards with functions keys (Logitech G13 or G15, for example) with sound or programmable keys.
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    Mouse. Microsoft, Logitech, Razer (in order by price, quality, performance) are the top options for anything above $30. Optical tracking or laser? Primitive "ball" mouses are one of the worst ideas for fragging your buddies effectively. The Logitech MX518 (optical) or G9 (laser) would be best.
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    Also look into a power strip that has a power surge suppression feature. This ensures that if there is a power outage or a lightning strike or something else, that your computer will not be fried (if it doesn't get hit by the lightning itself..).
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    For actually building, you may want an anti-static wrist band. This will help protect your new, expensive pieces from receiving a shock from your touch, which may break the piece.


  • Now there are also Solid State Disks (SSDs) on the market. These are still fairly expensive, but are very fast and very effective for storage. I don't recommend SSDs unless you have a 64bit OS, 2.6+ GHz processor, 6+GBs RAM, and a need for rapid memory access. Otherwise, your extra money spent on an SSD will go to waste, and a 15000RPM HD is a better option.
  • Check out gaming blogs to see what kind of PCs hardcore gamers are building. Oftentimes, hardcore gamers are building on a budget like right
  • Most parts come with a short, no questions asked warranty, so you can build your computer, troubleshoot, and return a part that is DOA (Dead On Arrival) before missing that period. There are also longer warranties (from 3 months to 3 years) to protect your use, but don't count on following their guidelines to remain qualified.
  • For most installation, simply read the instructions provided. Installation is fairly straightforward. Act with confidence, but do not jump to conclusions, read and double check your thoughts first.


  • If you have not done this before, you should try to get a friend to help you, who has experience. Breaking any of these pieces will lead to much confusion and a lot of time wasted (as well as money, potentially).

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Categories: PC Games