If you’re looking to create your dream gaming rig, a very viable option is to build your own. These days, there are tons of marketplaces and resources for you to easily get your parts together. It’s a great option for new gamers who want to maximize their first set-up, especially if they’re on a budget and want some more flexibility and customizability. Below, we discuss all the parts you need to build your budget gaming PC along with some other important considerations to make.
Quick Things to Consider
When building your PC, you have to think about whether or not the parts you’re getting are compatible with each other. Sockets and components can vary depending on the generation or brand, so it’s important to make sure that your parts are built to run together. Another aspect to consider is “future-proofing”. Though it’s not a requirement, it’s best to pick parts that have room for upgrades.
The actual act of building your gaming PC takes time and care. Make sure you have a clean, dry, and cool space to get this done, and compile all the tools you’ll be needing. A screwdriver, some cable ties, and an antistatic strap are pretty much the most important tools you’ll need. Nervous newbies can also bring parts to a technician so they can set things up for you, though this may dink your budget a little.
Because of the massive shift to remote work, home schooling, and the rise of crypto mining, the availability of components on the market has been affected. Make sure you have multiple options for parts and manage your expectations. You might have to adjust your timeline to make room for delays, or opt for alternative parts and manufacturers.
Though it’s best to buy brand-new parts, there’s no shame in getting refurbished ones if they are still fully functional. This can help you save on some areas so you can splurge a bit more on the crucial pieces (like your CPU). Before you get ahead of yourself, set a budget that you can follow so you can base all your product searches there.
Why Build vs. Buy?
Simply put, this lets you have flexibility for the entire system. You get to pick the parts you want, you’re free to mix and match, and you are not bound to desktop brands that come with a heftier price tag because of their name.
Parts You Need
If your PSU is not powerful enough, either your components will suffer or they just won’t run at all. Don’t scrimp on this one, since a poor power supply can cause an explosion or fry your PC. If you don’t know how many watts you need, you can use a power supply calculator to determine how much power your parts use up. Get an AVR for surge protection, but consider a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) over the former as well so you can protect your PC from outages.
This is the most important part of your build, as everything connects to it. None of your parts would run without your circuit board. PCB layout challenges can affect your build, so make sure you pick the right form factor for your planned parts and case. Generally, you can pick from the standard ATX, the mATX (micro-ATX), or the small mini-ITX. Each of these will have a different number of ports, and can determine what tower you can use.
It’s also best to check what CPU sockets are compatible with it, especially since that will determine your future upgrades and other parts.
The brain of your system is the processor. It’s crucial for system performance, so you want to pick one you’ll be happy with for years to come since it is a little more complicated to upgrade. Different generations are available from both Nvidia and AMD, but what you want to look at are the cores, clock speed, and cache memory.
Quadcore should be your minimum number of cores for ample program operations. For clock speed, you generally want at least 2.6GHz to play decent titles, though single-thread performance is something to check as well. Cache memory has to do with data, so if you launch games often and have multiple saves, you’ll need to see this.
While 16GB is a great option for gamers, a solid starting point is 8GB. If your mobo has dual channels, you can just add more RAM later on. Contrary to popular belief, you can actually mix and match brands as long as they have the same DDR generation and frequency. A budget build can have solid performance with at least 2400MHz.
This is a gaming rig, so it’s very clear that you’ll want a graphics card that can display all those visuals. While many budget processors like the Ryzen 5 3400G or the Intel Core i5-8400 have pretty solid integrated graphics included, it’s still better to get yourself a dedicated video card so you can render high-quality resolutions and newer games. Because of crypto, there has been a GPU supply shortage and a price hike that has barred budget builders from newer options, though Nvidia RTX has made steps to bar miners.
For now, you should be able to enjoy gaming with a 4GB GPU like AMD’s RX 580 or the 6GB GTX 1060.
Chassis and Cooling
All your components will be inside your chassis, so make sure you get a case that actually fits your motherboard and all your parts. A mATX tower is a common choice these days, though an ATX will definitely fit everything (even fat GPUs and big CPU coolers). Aesthetics are up to you, but always consider good airflow. Make sure the chassis build has spaces to avoid heat build-up.
Get at least 2 fans for intake and outtake to cool your rig when you’re gaming, and consider a CPU cooler like the Gammax GTE that may do better than most stock fans.
Your OS and all those games you want to play will go into your storage drives. Nowadays, the SSD market share has greatly surpassed HDD, though the latter is still more affordable. A good middle ground for budget builders is to get a small 128 GB SSD as your boot drive, then a 1 TB HDD for your storage and gaming.
Finally, you have your mouse, keyboard, monitor, and headphones or speakers. For budget builds, you can simply go for a mouse-keyboard set, as long as it is responsive enough for gaming. Your audio devices just need a good sound stage so you can track in-game movement.
The most crucial part is your monitor. The minimum specs you’ll want for a budget build are 60hz and no more than 5ms response time. This can help prevent screen tearing and input lag. As for color production, IPS is the most accurate panel.
Once you’ve got all of your parts, the next step is to either bring it to a shop for a technician to put together or save some bucks and build everything yourself. The latter option may seem intimidating but it is actually very simple as long as you study your PC parts’ manuals and check tutorials online. It adds that extra personal touch of satisfaction when you finally have your own gaming rig. Check out Techsive’s homepage and subscribe for more articles and guides.