Gaming PCs are becoming all the more common these days. Since gaming has really taken off with a lot more people playing, the demand for a gaming PC has increased. This means that most computer repair shops will be seeing fairly powerful components on systems that they repair. It also means you’ll be getting more customers interested in building a gaming PC.
If you want to build the best system that satisfies your customers, you’re going to need to know all that there is about building gaming PCs. This guide will help you on your mission by detailing all that you need to know.
What do you need?
To build a gaming PC, you’re going to need a few integral parts listed below.
- Processor: this is the main component of your PC, and will dictate a lot of the choices you make for the rest of the build.
- Motherboard: your processor needs a compatible motherboard to manage everything.
- Graphics Card: the heart of a gaming PC. Most graphics cards fit into the motherboard, although some come bundled with the CPU. The most costly item in your build.
- RAM: an integral part of any PC. Most RAM modules today support RGB lighting, giving it some extra coolness.
- Storage: comes in the slower mechanical HDD or the faster SSD.
- Power Supply: all your components will be powered by this component.
- PC Case: the chassis for your entire build. Think of this as the body to a car.
These are the major components that will go into your gaming PC build. You can add more things like extra fans and peripherals, but for the most part, this is what you’re going to need.
To help with the build, a standard Philips-head screwdriver will be needed to secure the components. For cables, have some zip ties on hand to keep your build clean. And while it’s not essential, getting some anti-static equipment would help in keeping things safer.
What is your budget?
While it’s important to know what to put into your PC build, the main thing that governs it is how much your customer’s budget is. Each component is going to cost them some money, with some being more expensive than others. It’s important to square away a budget ceiling when building a gaming PC and finding the most affordable parts in that range.
Generally, your customer’s budget will depend on the performance that they desire. If they’re looking to play the latest AAA games at 4K resolutions, then you can expect them to shell a pretty penny for those features. However, if they’re comfortable with gaming on medium settings at full HD resolutions, then costs will be low. Many titles also support VR, so if that’s their thing, they’ll have to pay a premium for it. Finally, high framerates are also fast becoming a requirement for most gamers. If your customers want to play many conventional games at 120+ FPS, then they’re going to want to invest in a higher-end setup.
Be sure to get a fix on what your customer’s budget is so you can start planning for what components you’ll need for the build.
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for our gaming PC, it’s time to start building it. Let’s go over each of the individual components and see what the best way is to make your choice.
As mentioned before, this is the core ingredient of your PC. Choosing a certain processor governs how the rest of your build will go, hence making it an important part of the process. Right now, there are two popular manufacturers of desktop processors: Intel and AMD.
The Intel line of processors is known to be pretty commonplace. They rank as some of the most used processors in the world, with their Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 series dominating many global markets. AMD, on the other hand, is a major powerhouse in computing that has its own line of processors. The AMD Ryzen series delivers excellent performance that is comparable to Intel’s offerings. However, there is a slight difference in the CPU architecture from both manufacturers. Whichever one you choose, it mostly comes down to personal preference.
Processors have three key metrics by which they are distinguished: the number of cores, the clock speed, and the number of threads they can run. This is basically a numbers game, where the more you have, the better it is. The cores of your processor are responsible for housing information and performing tasks. The more cores you have, the more tasks your CPU can perform. Running in conjunction with cores are threads, which acts as the pipeline for all your software running on a single core. Many CPUs these days are multi-threaded, i.e. they can run multiple programs on a single core, allowing for faster processing. The clock speed is considered the cycle speed of your CPU, determining how frequently your CPU can communicate with all the other core components. Basically, it represents how fast your CPU is.
The motherboard is the main stack to which all your components are plugged in. It’s responsible for interfacing with all your devices and making sure you can use their full potential. The motherboard generally depends on the type of CPU you choose, and come in a variety of different sizes. Some of the most common ones are ITX, MATX, and ATX, from smallest to biggest respectively.
Each board will have a number of USB ports, PCIe slots, and RAM slots that you can fill. The smaller the size of your board, the fewer ports you’ll be able to find. Other ports include pin connectors for power and a CPU bracket where you can install your processor.
The motherboard comes with its own pre-programmed software known as the BIOS. You can use it to set options for your board to detect certain hardware, toggle certain options for hardware and software, and determine the boot order of your system, among other things. Many powerful gaming motherboards allow users to overclock their components to get even more juice out of them. However, that is an advanced feature that many gamers might not need, so setting up overclocking is going to be rare on your rig.
Now comes the most important component for a gaming PC. The graphics card is the ultimate component for a gaming machine and will determine the quality of the games that can be played. There are a lot of options out in the market, and once again, it all depends on how souped-up your customer wants their rig to be. While many CPUs come with a built-in graphics processor, we wouldn’t recommend them for anything more than lightweight games from a couple of years ago.
There are currently two manufacturers that dominate the graphics card space: Nvidia and ATI. Both of them are well-known for producing great graphics cards. However, the more popular choice among the two is Nvidia with its GTX/RTX lineup and advanced ray-tracing capabilities. Since it’s the more well-known of the two, you’ll usually get more requests for it.
Graphics cards are usually measured by their VRAM and clock speed, which vary based on the card you’re getting. Each card is feasible for a certain price point, and the higher you go, the better results you get. With 4K gaming becoming more popular and streaming more widespread, you’ll often get requests for top-of-the-line graphics cards for a gaming PC. Keep in mind, though, that graphics cards are the most expensive component out there. A majority of your customer’s budget will go here.
A computer’s RAM determines the kind of load it can bear and the speed at which it can perform tasks. RAM is necessary for all computers since parts of the OS and many other applications need space in the RAM to function. Fortunately, memory has made many advancements over the years, resulting in greater-capacity RAM becoming more and more feasible.
Since the RAM is constantly being read from and written to, it needs to be of a high class and have fast speeds as well. Most RAM modules are measured by their storage capacity, class, and their clock speed. For a gaming PC, a decent configuration would require at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM clocked in at around 2666 MHz. Greater configurations will lead to better results, and it’s always better to have 2 RAM cards totaling the amount (two 4GB RAM dims = 8GB). Like the CPU, your RAM can also be overclocked using the motherboard, so have at it if you want.
Going hand-in-hand with your RAM is your storage medium, better known as your hard drive. Hard drives house your operating system, the installed software, and any other data that you have on a computer. They usually come in two different flavors: the slower but cheaper mechanical drives (HDD), or the faster and more expensive solid-state drives (SSD). Many gaming PC configurations will have one or the other, or may even have both available on the same system. This helps expand the storage a computer has even further since both hard drives can be accessible at the same time.
Hard drives are measured in gigabytes (GBs) and terabytes (TBs). The ideal configuration would be to pack as many terabytes as you can afford. The cheaper HDD will be more feasible in this regard. However, since flash storage has become increasingly affordable over the years, installing an SSD could be worth your while. They’re faster, can write and retrieve data more efficiently, and aren’t as fragile as mechanical drives. The only downside is that you’ll have to slip into the gigabytes if you’re on a budget.
For gaming PCs, it’s usually recommended to install the operating system on an SSD, and all other programs on a mechanical drive. This makes it so that your system is fast and zippy, and only uses the mechanical drive when absolutely needed. Also, consider looking up SSDs that support advanced technologies such as the m.2 NVMe standard. They are faster and have a smaller physical footprint, so you can install them easily in your system without worrying about space.
To power your computer, you’re going to need a power supply (PSU). These are big chunky boxes that go into your system and power everything. They’re easily one of the biggest components in any build and have lots of wires. Some companies have even begun manufacturing modular power supplies, which means that you’ll only need to plug in the wires that you need directly into the unit.
A power supply is measured in terms of wattage. Since it powers everything in your system, especially your power-draining graphics card, you’ll want to invest in a higher-wattage power supply. Something within the neighborhood of 650W will do you good. Our recommendation is that you try to get as close to 800W as you can. Most modern gaming PCs drain a lot of power, so you need to be prepared. Not having enough power could cause your system to malfunction, your machine to suddenly reboot, and can even damage your components over time. Also, getting a PSU from a reputable manufacturer is a safer idea. Many unknown companies may manufacture power supplies, but you don’t want to take the risk here. Their quality will be poor, and they may damage your components much more easily.
Among the best power supply companies are Cooler Master, Corsair, EVGA, and Thermaltake.
Finally, we come to the PC case. This is the housing of your entire gaming rig, giving it a place to live, and adding a few buttons and ports. PC cases are determined by the size of your motherboard, and the components that go in it. You’ll want something that is plenty spacious and allows for good cooling. Making space for your components to breathe and dissipate heat is important. It also helps that the case is aesthetically pleasing since it’s the most visible part of your customer’s gaming PC.
Your average computer case is measured in liters, which is conventionally a unit of volume for liquids. Many cases offer cable management solutions as well. There are often neat little spaces for all your cables to go into to get them out of the way. Some will even have wires running inside it so that it can power the external audio and I/O ports. Finally, many PC cases offer indentations and holes you can use to mount your motherboard. This makes it a lot easier when putting everything in place.
Building a gaming PC isn’t as arduous or scary as many make it out to be. For a computer repair shop, assembling a PC is fairly straightforward. However, when building a gaming PC, you’ll need to be aware of a lot more factors in play. There’s going to be a great demand for powerful hardware, so you’ll need to find the right components that go along with your requirements. Each component needs to be right for the job, lest you run into any bottlenecks or incompatibilities. Finally, be sure to power everything adequately and have enough space for it in your PC case.
To keep track of everything for your gaming PC builds, you’re going to need a competent software. Something that tracks all your components, jobs, and allows you to order special parts. That’s exactly what RepairDesk provides to its customers. RepairDesk is the all-in-one computer repair shop software that takes care of all your needs. It allows you to schedule appointments with customers to take down their requirements, order special parts from suppliers online or IRL, and tracks the number of hours you’ve put into the job. When everything is done, all you need to do is change the status of your repair job, and your customer will be notified automatically via email and text.
RepairDesk makes life a whole lot easier for you at your repair store, and it’s available now for a free 14-day trial. Sign up with RepairDesk today and see how great your computer repair store can be.