Custom built gaming computers
By 2012 it had become increasingly popular for gamers to custom build their own PC geared toward gaming. Custom-building PCs allows for more budget control and easier upgradability. More often than not, it is possible to maximize performance for the best value when building a gaming rig. There are several components that must be considered when building a gaming rig, which include CPUs,memory, a motherboard, Video cards, Solid-state drives, Power supplies, and cases. It is also common for gamers who don’t want to build their own computer to purchase a purpose-built Gaming PC built by certain companies or a friend willing to help.
When building a custom built gaming PC, builders usually turn to independent benchmarks to help make their hardware selection. Organizations such as AnandTech and Tom’s Hardware Guideprovide such benchmarks and hardware reviews. The benchmarks include ratings for PC components that are necessary to build a gaming PC. It is also crucial to consider Computer cooling, as this is required to remove the waste heat produced by gaming computer components.
A graphics card also known as a GPU is essential to any custom built gaming PC. Modern cards connect to a computer motherboard using the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCI Express or PCI-E). There are two major manufacturers when it comes to selecting a GPU for a gaming PC, AMD and NVIDIA. These companies provide GPU’s which other companies design circuit boards and cooling shrouds for, making up between them the combined item known as a graphics card. While most graphics cards are designed (apart from the GPU) by the hardware vendor which sells it under their brand name, sometimes the GPU manufacturer will send out reference cards (with the PCB and cooling shroud entirely designed by the GPU manufacturer) for reviews or evaluation. Some models, like the AMD Radeon R9 290 or Nvidia GTX TITAN, are only authorized to be sold with the GPU manufacturer-designed circuit board and shroud.
Another major component that cannot be overlooked in a gaming computer is the processor, or CPU (Central Processing Unit). Again, there are two major brands when it comes to selecting a CPU,AMD and Intel. According to benchmarks conducted in 2012, the Intel Core i7 appears to have a major performance advantage over its AMD counterparts. This is no surprise as the i7 is marketed towards high-end personal computing.It is worth noting, however, that after a certain point, CPUs often have limited impact on actual gaming performance (often less than 5% in frame rates). In the world of technology, it is important to stay up to date on all the current benchmarks.
Motherboards – Top Notch Asus & Gigabyte
The motherboard is the component inside of every computer that brings all the hardware together. It manages the input and output connections. Motherboards come in different form factors, or physical sizes. The most common form factors are ATX, mATX, and Mini-ITX. Gaming machines typically use ATX motherboards, as their size allows for greater future expansion. Most gaming motherboards provide Overclocking ability to enhance system speeds and support high amounts ofRAM.
Memory is essential to system performance. Adding more memory will increase system performance. The most current type of memory is DDR4 SDRAM (double data rate type four synchronous dynamic random access memory). The current average minimum RAM in modern machines is 8 GB. However adding memory up to 12 or 16 GB will have a performance impact.
Solid state drives
Solid-state drives (SSD) are a newer form of data storage which is gaining in popularity. The more common and traditional hard disk drive (HDD) is still the more widely used, but many gaming enthusiasts are turning to SSDs in favor of the advantages they offer over HDDs. Unlike HDDs, SSDs have no moving mechanical parts, meaning they are less susceptible to shock and also run silently. SSDs also offer faster access time, as HDDs require time in order for the moving parts to speed up to operating specifications. An SSD drive can be 4 or 5 times faster than a traditional HDD drive. For an SSD drive, files almost open instantly. This means with an SSD, booting up a system and launching programs take less time. SSDs will increase the performance of a system by how often the game accesses the drive in order load items from the game such as levels and textures.However, SSDs cost much more than HDDs do per gigabyte, meaning in terms of pure capacity, they are not as cost effective. They also currently offer a lower common maximum capacity than HDDs.
Power supply units – Top quality to handle the best performance
Although occasionally overlooked, the power supply unit (PSU) is still an important component to consider. The wattage needed to run a system is dependent on the hardware, so often a PSU calculator is used to determine the wattage needed. In addition, future upgrades to a gaming rig will possibly require more power, and PSUs lose power as they age, so it is often a good idea to buy a PSU that has the capability of lasting through several years and upgrades. The PSU must also be compatible with the other hardware pieces.
There are two types of PSUs, modular PSUs (MPSU) and non-modular PSUs. Non-modular PSUs come with fixed cables, meaning unused ones will be left unconnected. Both fulfill the same purpose, but often MPSUs are preferred because they allow for better cable management, as they remove the issue of unused cable clutter that non-modular PSUs often have.
Due to the common issue of multiple video card configurations many gamers overclock their CPUs to enhance performance. With the CPU running hotter due to overclocking, cooling systems are the logical remedy. Taking place of a simple fan and heat-sink a liquid cooling system is a quiet and more effective solution.
Choosing a computer case involves several considerations. For one, there is a large range of sizes. A larger gaming rig will allow for future upgrades. The case must also be compatible with the motherboard’s form factor. Because games are oftentimes demanding on a system, one of the most important factors of choosing a case is cooling. In order to avoid the risk of overheating hardware, a computer case with good airflow and a quality fan will go a long way in ensuring proper cooling. Other additional features such as fan speed controllers, filters for dust management, and clear side panels are all useful as well. Custom-building allows a builder to personalize their case if they so desire for aesthetic purposes. There are many designs for computer cases so the builder can choose to their liking.
Pre-built gaming computers
While many “advanced” gamers build their gaming PCs themselves, some choose to go with prebuilt or custom-built gaming PCs. These PCs can often be more expensive than building one’s own, with higher premiums attached to high-end brands with varying levels of customer service. Different companies offer varying degrees of customization, some almost as much as building it oneself. There are however, drawbacks to building one’s own computer. Assembling a computer means being personally responsible for any problems that may arise, both during the assembly phase, and after it is in regular use. Instead of using a single technical support hotline to cover the entire system, often one will have to deal with individual component manufacturers.
Due to the wide inconsistencies in after-purchase support from component manufactures, trying to get support can be a daunting task for even the most patient of people. Customer support is a major reason why even extreme gaming enthusiasts may look to a system integrator for their custom PC builds. There are many positive aspects in choosing to build one’s own system, such as no longer being tied to specific configurations. Pricing on individual components is often better, and thus can save quite a lot of money on a comparable pre-built system. Warranties are often included with the price of each individual piece of hardware when building a PC, whereas a prebuilt PC’s warranty may cost an additional fee or may be as little as 1 or 2 years for the entire system. Those who choose to build their own PC often seek help from an online community or forum in the absence of a consumer helpline.