People may like playing games on consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox One or Sony’s PlayStation 4, but when it comes to having the best hardware specification possible, PCs still reign supreme!
I personally built a custom gaming rig, but there are some games that I can’t get for the PC platform sadly, so in those instances I use my trusty games consoles. In the near future, I suspect that we will all be playing computer games powered by online servers, with no specific hardware required at home, other than a “terminal” or “box” that connects to the Internet.
But, for now, we still have to use our PCs and games consoles for the most part. If you quite fancy the idea of building your own ultimate gaming rig, here are some expert tips for you to get the best performance and value-for-money!
The first thing you need to think about when building any PC is the case you are going to utilise for it.
There are all sorts of weird and wonderful cases on the market, and whilst some folks opt for cases inspired by the Alien films, for example, others, like myself, prefer function over aesthetics.
For my gaming rig, I used the durable and sleek Fractal Design Core 3000 case. It has a nice matt black finish to it, and the PSU is mounted at the bottom of the case, behind a removable filter to aid in ventilation.
I’ve known people to spend a few bucks on some “cheap and nasty” power supplies for their gaming rigs, and then complain a month later when it blows up because of the inferior components used in it!
The Corsair 80+ power supplies are my preferred PSUs because they look great, perform well and are highly reliable. But whatever brand you go for, make sure your PSU is modular so that you don’t have loads of excess power cables taking up valuable space in your rig.
Motherboard, CPU and RAM
I could list specific motherboard, CPU and RAM combos that I recommend for gaming rigs, but the chances are they will probably become obsolete after a short period due to the speed at which manufacturers release their PC products!
For motherboard, CPU and RAM combos, my advice is simple:
- Stick with motherboards that work with Intel CPUs, and offer USB 3.0 and 2x PCIe x16 slots for graphics cards;
- Use DDR3 1333 RAM, and don’t buy anymore than 8GB to 16GB RAM (you won’t benefit much from faster clock speeds or bigger RAM capacities in games);
- Go for a quad-core or better CPU, such as the Intel Core i5 or i7.
A friend of mine runs a shop that offers computer repair in London, and one of the things he finds with faulty gaming PCs brought into him is that people attempt to use inferior graphics cards. His advice is to stick with known card manufacturers such as XFX.
Thanks to the cheap price of solid state drives in 2014, there is no excuse for not buying a 256GB or bigger SSD as your main Windows drive.
You can buy a traditional 1TB or bigger hard drive for games data storage as the speed boost is utilised by the games applications themselves rather than any saved games files.
Image credit: Docklandsboy on Flickr.