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How Do I Choose a Gaming Computer

March 07, 2013

some universal requirements on the kind of gaming computer

Gaming computers are probably the second most often purchased types of computers, after office computers. When purchasing a gaming computer, keep in mind the requirements are completely different than when considering office computers. Depending on a buyer’s point of view, the amount spent on a gaming computer might be more than enough at $1,000, while others may think even $2,000 isn’t enough.  So it is quite difficult to give specific advice on what to buy or how much to invest in each component.

Generally, there are some universal requirements on the kind of performance you need for different types of games and what to focus on while shopping.

Recommendations on buying a gaming computer:

  1. Graphics card – The most important component in a computer game is a graphics card. Modern 3D games use it the most. So, if a merchant offers you a well-performing computer with a weak graphics card for gaming, go to another store. Of course, all components need to be performing well, but for a smooth video game, a good graphics card is a must. It should be the most expensive component in the computer.
  2. Game style – The style of gaming you play also should influence your computer buy.  As mentioned above, the graphics card is almost always the most important component; secondarily, is the gaming computer’s use.
    For strategies – Maybe even more than a graphics card is the CPU and RAM (many moving objects will need it).
    For 3D actions – Definitely, a graphics card should be priority.
    For RPGs – The computer should be tuned but truly the CPU is the most important element.
    For adventures – Like RPGs, focus on CPU.
    For flight simulators – It is similar to 3D actions, so the focus should be on the graphics card.
  3. Quality components – For gaming computers, it is important to buy good quality components. Read reviews and actual buying recommendations, but never grab the low-end model for your gaming PC. The only exception people can save on is the DVD optical drive. 
  4. Motherboard – The name of this component says it all. It is the main board. The motherboard interconnects all the components in your computer, so buy a good one. Let the merchant recommend one or read some online reviews. In terms of cost, the motherboard should be around 1/10 of your entire computer price.
  5. CPU –If the graphics card is the most expensive part of your computer, the CPU should be second. There are multi-core processors available from AMD® and Intel® and it can be difficult to choose the right one. Preferably, a 4-core computer gives the biggest performance for the price. Again, look at reviews and tests before deciding. Intel® Core i5 series or AMD® FX are very popular.
  6. Storage – Focus on faster hard drives. SSD drives would be the best solution but they may be too expensive. Choose the SATA III and it should be sufficient in supporting your hard drive’s needs. The higher the RPM, the better the gaming solution; so if not using SSD, look for 10,000 RPM.
  7.  RAM – The recommendation is for 8GB (or more) of DDR3 modules running at least on a frequency of 1,600 MHz. Choose a better series from well-known manufacturers with passive cooling (gaming editions, extreme editions, etc.).
  8. Cooling – Good gaming computers produce high performance and a lot of heat. The components need to be reliably cooled so they don’t overheat. Instead of using cheap, box coolers, invest in better solutions from specialized companies like Arctic Cooling®, Zalman®, Akasa®, Thermaltake, etc., at least for the CPU and graphics card.
  9. Power supply – Get an oversized power supply unit. Count the watts your components need and buy a unit with at least a 20% higher performance in watts. If you are buying a computer, you have to trust the manufacturer, which usually provides a sufficient amount of power.
  10. Case – The only recommendation is to avoid buying the cheapest one; but, do buy the one you like.

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