When a company that builds gaming PCs is telling you how to build your own gaming PC something must be wrong! It has never been easier to self-build. Access to help is readily available and components are relatively inexpensive. Before you dive right in, there are a few points to consider.
There are a few negative effects of building your own gaming PC. I will go through them first to let you know what you are getting into. This is especially true when good budget gaming PCs are available. However, if you can get past the cons, the pros make it a very rewarding endeavour.
If you decide to build your own gaming pc, you will not have the comfort of a two year warranty from the machine builder like the one we offer, or the option of an extended warranty. Also, you will not have a lifetime of technical support to back you up.
You will be relying on your own experiences and Google searches for your technical support.
You will receive the standard hardware warranty provided by the components manufacturers. This is usually 1 year. Therefore if you have a hardware failure, the option of returning the component to the manufacturer for a replacement will still be available to you. As with all PC related matters, diagnosis of the issue may not be 100% straight forward. For the inexperienced, this could be difficult.
As mentioned above, access to a lifetime of technical support can provide you with the peace of mind, that there will always be someone on hand to provide some advice when things go wrong.
This could be through a ticket system, phone support or a knowledge base. Whichever method is available to you, that can be vital help and will speed up most warranty claims.
Successfully building a DIY gaming rig is not beyond the capability of most people. As long as you understand each on the components and how they fit together and interact, you should be able to complete a build if you are careful about what you do.
However, it is possible to damage components with a static shock. Although this is rare, you will likely feel the shock if it happens, you should be careful to ensure you have a good build environment and not touch any of the motherboard components during installation.
There is also the obvious damage potential of dropping components or spilling your coffee on them! Rare these may be for damage to a PC, that can be costly if you break a £1000 GPU.
This is an issue that precedes any warranty claims. You complete your build, fire up your new gaming PC and nothing happens.
As a DIY project, you will be responsible for finding what the issue is repairing it. With a PC purchased from a builder, it will be checked and verified before it is shipped. Again giving you peace of mind and easy life!
But what about the benefits of building your own gaming PC?
When you spec your new system, there will inevitably be a compromise between cost and performance.
You will install the components you want, but you may have to compromise on RAM speed for instance.
When you learn how to build your own gaming PC, you will be able to choose a motherboard with upgrade potential. Your current budget may only stretch to 2333mhz RAM, but you can spec a motherboard which will take up to 3600mhz RAM for a future upgrade.
A PC builder will most likely install a motherboard that the maximum RAM speed is what has been installed. Any future RAM speed upgrade would only operate to the maximum supported. A DIY build can ensure this is not the case.
Changing a graphics card is not a difficult job. However, undertaking a self build will give you the confidence to make the swap quickly and easily.
Overall a self built gaming PC can be changed and altered over time to maximise the potential of the machine. Although this is true with any PC, specifying the correct components at build time will provide a much wider range of upgrade options and save you money down the line.
One of the principal reasons many will have for building a gaming PC will be to save money.
As explained above, you can allocate your build budget wherever you want and make changes later to increase performance.
Therefore you will not be paying for the additional costs of the build, warranties and the additional costs and overheads associated with buying from a PC builder.
Even buying components at retail prices, you should be able to save money in some areas. Alternatively, you may find you can install a branded component for the same cost as a builder who may use a more budget option.
Completing the build of your own gaming PC is a very rewarding experience. The satisfaction gained from learning a new skill and educating yourself in a topic that you may have a passion for is a great feeling. The knowledge you have gained will help you for years to come.
How to choose components for a DIY gaming PC
Choosing the correct components is something you should spend some time on before you spend any money or start a build.
Most PC websites have a PC configuration tool. This is somewhere you should spend time ensuring that you decide on the right parts for your budget, keeping an eye on future upgrade potential and ensuring you are ordering compatible parts.
Here are the specific things you should be looking out for:
When you order a motherboard for a gaming PC build, you need to check for a few things before you click the buy button.
The processor you have chosen will be compatible with a certain socket type. For instance, all of the latest AMD Ryzen processors are compatible with the AM4 socket. Threadrippers are different and the latest generation needs an sTRX4 socket.
For intel, it used to be more complicated, but they have simplified the 10th gen lineup.
If you are looking pre 10th gen then the 1151 socket, for instance, is different for Coffee Lake and Sky and Kaby Lake and you will require specific chipsets depending on the processor you buy.
With 10th gen systems, the choice is more in line with AMD and you have one socket type until you get to the i9 Extreme range.
RAM Speed and Capacity
As previously stated a motherboard will only support RAM of a certain speed. Therefore it would be pointless putting 3000mhz RAM in a board that only supports up to 2666mhz. In addition, a board will only have the capacity for a certain amount of RAM. Therefore potentially limiting your upgrade options down the line.
When I use the phrase connectivity I am referring to USB ports, fan ports, M.2 slots etc. Each modern motherboard will have these; it will be a matter of how many of each.
My personal preference is for M.2 storage, therefore I would be looking for a couple of bays for that. If you like a lot of LED fans, you will need to make sure there are sufficient spaces for them. A case like the Corsair 220T RGB has a separate junction box in the back of the case connecting all of the fan USB wires. Therefore only using one motherboard slot.
All things to be considered when choosing a motherboard for a self build gaming PC.
Choosing a CPU for a gaming rig is always a compromise of performance and cost. Given the choice, we would all happily install an i9 Extreme or AMD Threadripper. However, most games do not need these units to get top frame rates.
The question you need to answer is what tasks you will be performing alongside your gaming. If you are planning on streaming you will need to ensure you have the best multithreading capability.
A thread is the smallest unit of execution in computer terminology and a process is made up of multiple threads. A multicore processor can execute multiple processes at once, therefore increasing the available performance. A process cannot be split between different cores, which is why some software, which is not multithreading optimised, cannot make full use of the available CPU cores, such as Autocad.
A quick benchmark comparison will give you an indication of which CPU is for you, allowing you to compare different units at different price points to get you pointed in the right direction.
System RAM is often the bottleneck in many gaming PC systems. Therefore choosing not only the amount of RAM, but choosing fast RAM is imperative.
Having said that, there is no use in installing too much and the PC just not making use of it, it’s a waste of money.
Most modern applications and games will need 8GB as a minimum or recommended amount. If you are planning on multitasking then 16GB would be the minimum you want to install and 32GB if you are a power user. For a new gaming PC in 2020, there are not too many reasons to install more than that.
We all want the latest and best Nvidia has to offer. A 2080 ti Turbo is nice to have and at over £1000.00 should be as good as it says on the tin.
An excellent gaming card and more budget-conscious is the 1660 range. These have been given tremendous reviews and are well worth your consideration.
We only install Nvidia on gaming machines and do not go for Radeon unless it is a workstation card. This is mostly a preference of ours because, as gamers, that is what we like to use for our own rigs.
Therefore for a gaming PC Graphics card, we would install whichever Nvidia card suits your budget and preference.
The PSU installed needs to have sufficient output wattage to run the components you have installed and then allow a bit of headroom. Also, you will need to check the connectors that are included to ensure you have sufficient. To be honest, power supplies are quite inexpensive, therefore stick to a known brand and you won’t go too far wrong. We just happen to like Be Quiet, but it will be personal preference.
In terms of the output wattage mentioned above, a good PC configurator will only show you compatible units based on the chosen components.
So if you are planning on building your own gaming PC, hopefully, this guide has shown a few of the pros and cons of doing so.
Also, we have tried to give you some pointers on how to spec the build to help you along the way. Building a DIY gaming PC is a hugely rewarding experience, not without its pitfalls so you can look at the options we have as an alternative. We have a few spec builds, alternatively, you can configure your own. If you really know what you want and we do not advertise it, contact us as we are happy to discuss a bespoke gaming PC with you.