Gaming On A PC. What You Need To Know To Get Started

Gaming on your PC. What can I say? It’s going to be a part of your best gaming moments and quite possibly your worst. Why do I say this? Well… because of something we all hate when gaming and that’s *sigh* lag…

Lag is something you shouldn’t be afraid of if you build a Gaming PC that fits the standards of the games you want to play.

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There are plenty of things you’ll need to know too, but fret not my friends. I will be explaining it to you and taking you through each step while trying to make it as simple as possible.

First you’ll need to know what is a Gaming a PC. No, it’s not a PC that you’re just regularly playing ‘Peggle‘ or any other random ‘Pop Cap‘ game. It’s a PC that is built from the ground up to accommodate intense gaming such as you would see on consoles and the like. It should be able to handle resource intensive games. This would mean that the games graphics are of a higher quality (than ‘Peggle‘) and would require more of your PCs juice to run them.

An example of these games would be ‘Crysis‘. I know it’s old, but many have complained about how it made their PCs cry and with Crysis being well known for its graphical intensity, the developers even decided to add a new graphics setting called ‘can it run Crysis?‘, which I found hilarious because we gamers all know Crysis has taken the life of many a PC.

I digress, here’s the other thing, without certain components and the right setup, your PC itself might not be able to launch the game you’re trying to play. Take this for instance, if you try and run a game without a Graphics card it might give you an error or not even notify, but would simply not run the game. I sadly experienced both of these occurrences.

The components for gaming on a PC are all important, some more than others, but to me, I’d said every little factor even the small ones count. A gaming PC is all of its components as a unit and cannot stand alone. Take this for instance, if you had an ample amount of RAM with a mediocre CPU and no graphics card, then you wouldn’t even be able to run the games you’d like to play let alone open them. Remember what I said about the graphics card?

Let’s go through some components.

Components To Game On PC

The Gaming PC Case

This might seem as something that you’d expect to not make much of a difference, but I think it does. Due to the fact that the case holds all your components. Think about this… if you have something great and powerful, but would have it in an enclosed and cramped space, would it still perform the same as it would in a well ventilated and freeing place to strut its stuff? With Gaming PCs it might?

I’d still like to think your little beast needs to be housed in a case that would allow it to be free. It would probably attribute to cooling since some cases are built to allow airflow better than others. You need to find a case that would fit your components. Such as the Motherboard for instance…

The Motherboard To A Gaming PC

Another very important component, the motherboard. No, it’s not the mother of all boards. If one thinks about it maybe it is. Anyway… the motherboard houses all the components that would allow your PC to run, such as the RAM, CPU, GPU, etc.

The Motherboard needs to be compatible with each of those components and needs to be able fit into the casing you chose. You might have seen that Motherboards are coupled with these phrases: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX and more. They’re what’s called ‘Form factors’.

These are just the sizes of the motherboard. There’s no need to worry about the special phrasing, but it does make a difference. Smaller Motherboards would have less space for components. ATX, micro-ATX and Mini-ITX are the form factors you’re most likely to see by the way. The dimensions of an ATX Motherboard is 12″ by 9.6″ while micro-ATX (mATX) Motherboards are measuring in by 9.6″ by 9.6″ and mini-ITX Motherboard measures might measure in with 6. 7″ by 6.7″.

So, make sure your casing will be able to house the type of motherboard you buy. Let’s move on to other components…

CPUs

The CPU is basically the brains of the operation. Since they’re the brains, you’d obviously want to have a smart brain to game right? It can get a little tricky though. Due to the fact that there are many factors with this as well as many of the other parts in a PC.

Firstly, let’s talk about the two big game players in the CPU industry or rather the CPUs they create.

Intel CPUs

If your motherboard is leaning towards ‘Intel‘ then you’d obviously need an intel CPU. Since it’s ‘Intel‘ the CPU would usually be a Pentium, Celeron, i3, i5 or i9. There are more CPUs other than that, but that’s for another post.

Another thing that’s worth noting is the generation of your CPU and the socket that is required to use that CPU, the socket does factor in with the generation too. Let’s say, you possess a 10th Generation mother board that uses a 1200LGA socket it would stand to reason that you can’t insert a 2nd/3rd Generation CPU that should be inserted into a LGA 1155 socket.

It just won’t work, due to the sockets being different, the pins, architecture and so forth. The fan that needs to cool your CPU would also need to be compatible with the socket of your motherboard and since we’re here with CPU fans let’s talk about cooling next…

Cooling… while Gaming on a PC

There are tons of things that factor in when it comes to cooling your PC down, but since the previous topic was about CPUs, let’s talk about the CPU Fan first.

Like I said… it needs to work together with the socket of your motherboard. Since you’ll be attaching it directly to your motherboard and since it’ll be seated right on top of your CPU it only makes sense that it goes together with your CPUs socket type right?

Next, We have the types of cooling, there’s air cooling and for extreme enthusiasts there’s Liquid cooling.

Did I say ‘Liquid Cooling’?

Of course I did! Although… it does sound like a dumb idea. LIQUID in a Computer? However, it’s one of the best ways to cool down your computer and is quite safe with the way liquid cooling components are manufactured… (that is ONLY if they won’t break).

The other cooling components would be extra fans or extractor fans that need to fit properly in your PCs case so make sure to measure. They remove the heat from the inside of your entire PC and obviously the fans on your GPU and PSU are there too for their own reasons…

PSU

The PSU is what powers your entire Computer. In full, it is the Power Supply Unit. Make sure that its wattage is high enough to give each component the juice that it needs.

Please make sure to check each components required wattage. Since the PSU connects to most parts in your PC, such as the Hard Drive, Motherboard and GPUs, you will have to make sure it has everything you need to plug into your components. So, check out each individual part thoroughly.

AMD CPUs

Ah… I almost forgot!

AMD!

I forgot to talk about ‘AMD‘ CPUs. AMD would be the other popular CPU manufacturer. Like ‘Intel‘, they have their own line of CPUs. You will most likely see a name like ‘Ryzen‘ coupled with AMD CPUs. Or if you’re really looking for a beast… look no further than the ‘Threadripper‘!

Sounds scary. Doesn’t it? Yep, it should be.

It is a CPU with immense power. The ‘Ryzen‘ line of CPUs are kind of like i3s, i5s, i7s by the way, but just AMD. The ‘Threadripper’ would be the i9 of ‘AMD’ ??. I’d like to point out that the sockets play a big factor here as well. Be sure to check that they’re compatible and that you’re not buying an ‘Intel‘ CPU for an AMD Motherboard or vice versa.

Next up! GPUs…

GPUs

This is your Graphics Card or ‘Graphics Processing Unit‘ if you want to be specific.

Firstly, you should check that your Motherboard supports it. It will read “PCI“, “PCIe” or “AGP“. It’s the connector type that you’ll have to be wary of when you purchase a graphics card.

You are not able to use a “AGP” Graphics Card in a “PCI” slot on your Motherboard after all. Other factors would be; Memory type, how much memory of that type is required and which manufacturer you’ll choose. When I say Memory type, I definitely mean the DDR kind, like with RAM as well you’d get DDR, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, etc.

Let’s just say the higher the DDR “number” the faster the Graphics Card. The more Memory the better as well. When you have a better memory type mixed with more memory, you will get a better gaming experience. There are more factors concerning GPUs though so make sure you do as much research as possible before equipping your PC with a GPU.

Look out for the Graphics Cards processor as well.

Let’s take ‘Nvidia‘s Graphics Cards for example, a GTX 1080Ti would be far better than a GT 730 and a RTX 2080 would be better than both.

Be sure to check which GPUs are coupled with your Graphics Card. Same goes for AMD GPUs (Yes. You heard me, I said AMD, they make graphics cards as well). I advise you to check if the casing can house the Graphics Card as well.

RAM

RAM is used to store data and is used instead of the Hard Drive because it’s way faster. So, your games data would be temporarily stored on your RAM.

It means that if you have more RAM, you will have more data stored on it at once and would make things a whole lot better.

More RAM = better Gaming experience

If a game had to pull data from your Hard Drive on its own, the entire time, your gaming experience would be extremely slow.

In a previous post, I’ve mentioned the Different types of RAM so check be sure to check that out.

Anyway RAM types play a huge part in the speed of your system. Similar to Graphics Cards, the memory types comes in DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4. Again, the newer the RAM type/technology the faster and better the RAM would be. A newer RAM type incorporates faster speeds and less work for your PC as a unit.

EXTRA factors

Hard Disk Drive Or Solid State Drive?

I’ve been gaming with a ‘Western Digital Blue Hard Disk Drive‘ for a while now and I have no complaints, but lets face it… Solid State Drives are better. They’re more durable, have faster transfer rates and are smaller in size. A fair warning, they can be a bit pricey.

It will improve gaming a bit, such as load times. If you’re a little low on cash, I suggest buying a Hard Disk Drive with plenty of storage space to store all your games and use a Solid State Drive with just enough space to transfer the games you want to play immediately. If you want to avoid that all together, prepare yourself to pay quite a hefty price for a Solid State Drive with loads of space.

Monitors

Before you purchase all your components, consider the Monitor you want to run your games on. Think about a resolution you would like to game on…

This also plays a key factor on how your games would run. A quick example I could use is, if you have a PC that is made for full HD gaming, but you want to game with a 4k/ultra HD monitor. Since you built your PC for full HD/1080p, you would see a performance drop from your system.

Please consider the type of Monitor or resolution you’d like to play on. There are other things that could affect the way your games look such as contrast ratio, refresh rates and so forth. If you’d like to know more about Monitors check out my post: What is a Monitor?

Gaming on a PC…

Using a Keyboard & Mouse Or Controller

This one is up to you to think about what type of gamer you are.

What are you most comfortable with?

If you’d like to game or feel a bit closer to console gamers… you should consider getting yourself a controller. You’ll find that most controllers manufactured are compatible with gaming PCs. Make sure that your games support them as well.

If you’re a keyboard & mouse gamer, it is up to you to have the right set. The right keyboard and the right mouse. There’s a variety of Keyboards and Mice out there and there’s a mouse/keyboard out there for every type of gamer.

I hope this post helped you. Thank you for reading.

Regards,

@Shay

(Co- Founder of ComputeeZA)

(EDITED BY @Aly)

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