How to Setup a Gaming Desktop Rig
There are many ways to build a gaming desktop, but the most popular method is to choose a pre-built gaming desktop and then upgrade it yourself.
If you want to try, you can even build the gaming desktop from scratch. The only thing you need is a motherboard, CPU, RAM, GPU and a power supply unit (PSU). You will also need an OS to run your new gaming computer.
Below is a list of most important factors you should consider when choosing the best gaming desktop. Hopefully it would be helpful for you in making a decision.
The Processor: Intel or AMD?
The processor is one of the most important components in every desktop. The processor determines how fast your computer will run and what programs you can run on it without any lags or freezing issues.
If the processor is not good enough, it can make your computer slow even with a good graphics card installed in it. So always choose the best processor that fits your budget.
There are two popular choices of processors – Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices). Intel processors are very popular due to its stability and performance features when compared to AMD processors.
However, for most users, AMD processors are more than enough for their needs because they are cheaper than Intel processors and offer similar performance at lower price range.
If we talk about gaming computers specifically then Intel processors are better choice as they provide better gameplay without lagging issues compared to AMD CPUs (more on this in later sections).
Most high-end gaming computers come with an Intel Core i7 CPU inside them although if you want to keep your budget low then buying a Ryzen 5 2600 or Ryzen 7 2700 processor will give same performance as an i7 CPU.
But with much lower price tag on it which allows you to spend more money on your graphics card instead of buying an expensive i7 CPU which has no use if you have low budget graphics card installed in your computer (more on this in later sections).
For example, if we compare Core i7-8700K vs Ryzen 5 2600X both of these CPUs have 6 cores but Core i7-8700K has 4GHz clock speed while Ryzen 5 2600X has 3.6GHz clock speed but despite having lower clock speed Ryzen 5 2600X offers higher performance when compared with Core i7-8700K.
Because its core count is higher than i7-8700K (8C/12T vs 6C/12T). But for users who don’t want to mess around too much with all these technical specifications then I would recommend them to go with either Ryzen Thread ripper 1900x or Core i7-8700K. Both are good gaming processors for their price range.
The Graphics Card: Nvidia or AMD?
The graphics card is another important component which should be capable of providing better gameplay experience to the user and should also be powerful enough to run demanding games and application without any lags or freezing issues.
The best graphics card for gaming can be expensive and it is recommended that you should spend your money on a quality graphics card instead of buying cheap graphics cards which are not worth it.
In terms of performance, Nvidia is the leader in the market but AMD is catching up rapidly in terms of performance as well as game support (more on this in later sections).
So if you can’t afford a top tier graphic card then buying a mid-range Nvidia 1060 or AMD RX 580 will be more than sufficient for your needs. This budget will also allow you to buy a good processor and RAM instead of spending all your money on GPU which is not necessary.
For example, if we compare Nvidia GTX 1060 vs RX 580 both of these GPUs have 3GB VRAM but there are again some differences that make them different from each other.
For example, GTX 1060 has higher clock speed than RX 580, but overall performance wise both are almost equal when it comes to running games at 1080p resolution.
Although RX 580 is slightly faster than GTX 1060 at 1080p resolution but it becomes slower when higher resolution such as 1440p or 4k is used because RX 580 doesn’t have enough VRAM compared to GTX 1060 (3GB vs 6GB).
However, if we talk about running games at ultra settings then GTX 1050Ti would be able to handle it easily while RX 580 will need some overclocking and fine tuning before achieving similar performance level (more on this later).
So if you have low budget then I would recommend buying either GTX 1050Ti or Radeon R7 370 with 8GB GDDR5 memory as they do offer good value for their price tag while keeping your CPU and RAM free from any bottlenecks (more on this later).
But if you want to play games at 4k resolution with 60fps then either GTX 1070Ti or Vega 56 would be able to handle them easily with some minor tweaking while keeping your CPU free from any bottlenecks.
If you want budget-friendly high-end GPU then I would recommend buying either one among these two – Radeon Vega 64 or RTX 2080 Ti, both of these GPUs have excellent performance and are capable of running games at 4k resolution with 60fps on max settings.
The Size of the Hard Drive: HDD or SSD?
When it comes to gaming computers, one of the most important things to consider is the size of the hard drive. The larger amount of storage space you have in your computer, the more games you can install in your computer and play them without any storage issues.
But new technologies have made this process easier with a hybrid hard drive that allows you to store your OS and other files in SSD (Solid State Drive) giving you fast bootup speed but there is also an option to store your games in HDD (Hard Disk Drive) which is much cheaper but slower than SSDs.
So if you want best possible performance then I would recommend buying a large sized SSD with enough space to install all your games on it while buying a HDD for storing other files in it (more on this later).
There are two popular choices when it comes to computer drives – HDD and SSD. It is recommended that you should buy an SSD for storing operating system and applications because they provide faster bootup speed compared to HDDs.
However, if price tag is not an issue for you then I would recommend getting an NVME M2 SSD as they offer much faster read/write speeds when compared with SATA III standard drives which reduces load time during game loading screen (more on this later).
But if price tag is an issue for you then go with SATA III standard drives as they are still very much suitable for their price range and offer good read/write speeds.
For example, if we talk about WD Black 500GB SATA III standard 7200rpm hard drive its read/write speeds are up to 180 MB/s while Seagate Firecuda 2TB SSHD hybrid drive has similar read/write speeds as WD Black.
But, its solid state part has 1TB capacity which means there will be some performance drop while reading data from solid state part of SSHD drive but overall it will still be better than WD Black because its solid state part offers faster performance compared to WD Black’s 7200rpm mechanism.
That makes SSHD drive more suitable choice for gaming computers compared to high-end gaming computers like Alienware Area 51 or Razer Blade Pro where price tag does not allow them using expensive NVME M2 SSDs due to their high pricing.
The Amount of RAM: DDR4 vs DDR3?
RAM or Random Access Memory serves as a temporary storage area for all the running apps and games you have opened on your PC. It holds data temporarily to be used by the CPU.
So the more RAM you have, the more apps and games you can open at a time without experiencing any lag or lagging issues. The most common types of RAM are DDR3 and DDR4. The main difference between these two RAMs is that DDR4 is newer and much faster compared to DDR3.
But if you are on a budget then I would recommend getting an 8GB of DDR4 RAM as it will provide you with enough speed for gaming while allowing you to store some apps and files in your HDD (more on this later).
However, if price tag is not an issue for you then go with 16GB of DDR4 RAM as it will ensure that your PC does not run out of memory even if you have a lot of apps and games opened at a time.
CPU (Central Processing Unit) or GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)?
Now let’s talk about CPU vs GPU debate. Which one should you choose? Well both CPU and GPU perform important tasks in our computer but they are very different from each other.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brains of our computer while Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is its brawns. In short, CPU handles all the complex calculations while GPU does all the heavy lifting when it comes to games.
It rendering calculations or playing heavy games like GTA V or Battlefield 1 smoothly without any lag issues, so getting a good combination of both CPU and GPU is essential for building a good gaming PC that can play all newly released games smoothly without any lag problems.
Even if they are demanding AAA titles requiring high-end hardware specifications to run them at their full potential.
So what do I recommend? Well if your budget allows then I would suggest go with Intel i7 8700K which offers really good performance coupled with Nvidia GTX 1070 which offers excellent performance when playing games like GTA V, Battlefield 1, Overwatch etc without lag issues even at maximum settings plus.
There are also some bonus features like ShadowPlay that captures gameplays in video format so that you can share them online on YouTube without having to edit them manually in video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Windows Movie Maker etc plus Nvidia Geforce Experience app.
Also allows recording gameplays automatically using simple button press which means saving time by not having to record gameplays manually using screen recording software like Fraps etc.
But there are also some other alternatives such as AMD Ryzen 5 2600X which offers better value for money coupled with Radeon RX 580 which is a more cost-effective choice but it still offers great performance when it comes to gaming.
But if your budget is not large enough then I would recommend getting a i5 8300H coupled with GTX 1060 which is a good combination of CPU and GPU offering decent performance for its price tag.
To sum it up, CPU and GPU are the two most important components while building a gaming PC but you have to decide what’s more important to you whether it’s the CPU or GPU or whether you want to go with Intel or AMD.
The best way to decide which one is better for you is by comparing their gaming benchmarks and features like overclocking support etc on Intel vs AMD processor comparison page.
Cooling is Equally Important While Building a Gaming PC
CPU and GPU are the most important components of your gaming PC but they also need to be cooled down properly because without proper cooling, your CPU and GPU’s life will get shortened significantly which means you will need to buy new CPU or GPU again in a very short period of time.
So when it comes to choosing a case for your PC, make sure it has enough room for installing 240mm radiator or larger if you are going for liquid cooling setup.
It is also recommended that if you are going with air cooling setup then choose a case that supports at least two 200mm fans as they offer better air flow compared to 120mm fans that come with most cases. Also, I would like to mention that there is a difference between using 120m
m fans and 140mm fans even though both of them can fit into any case’s holes. The main difference between these two fan sizes is that 120mm fans have shorter blades than 140mm fans which means they move less air for their size compared to 140mm fans which have longer blades and move more air for their size.
When we are talking about gaming computers here so I would recommend getting 140mm fans instead of 120mm ones because they offer better air flow plus they also reduce noise when compared with 120mm fans which is good for our ears as well as our CPU/GPU.
But, if you don’t want loud computer then go with Fractal Design Silent Series R2 120mm fan 3 pack as its premium quality quiet fans designed by keeping both performance and noise levels in mind.
I would recommend not using stock fan that comes with your CPU/GPU cooler as it will not provide the best possible cooling performance due to its cheap quality and cheap price tag.
So, I would recommend getting Noctua NF-A14 FLX premium quality copper bearing fan or Noctua NF-A14 PWM premium quality plastic bearing fan which has rubber pad designed for reducing vibration noise.
Hence offering excellent airflow efficiency coupled with quietness compared to stock cooler’s cheap metal cooling fins plus they also come with 6 years manufacturer warranty!