How to Build a PC Gamer: Step by Step Guide (2021 Edition)

Today, we’ll explain how to build a gaming computer, with our easy-to-follow step-by-step guide. By the end of this article, you will know everything you need to know to properly assemble a PC.

Throughout this guide we will help you:

  1. Finding the best components for your PC, with your budget and personal requirements (the games you play) in mind.
  2. Understand how each component works and why they are important.
  3. Use the correct tools for the job and preparation to build the PC.

Before we dive in, it should be noted that this guide to building a gaming PC will also help you when building a regular PC.

Things to consider before building your own gaming PC

Before anyone builds a PC, there are a few things to consider. First, you need to make sure that you understand your own needs in relation to the components that you can afford to buy. After reading this section, you will know if building a gaming PC is the right option for you (most likely it is) or if you should choose a pre-assembled machine instead.

Choose your budget

So how much does it cost to build a gaming PC? Well, the truth is that, the price can vary drastically depending on whether you want a low, medium or high-end PC.

When buying components for your new PC, we recommend starting with a minimum budget of between € 300 and € 400. It is important to know that this would be considered low-end and would not be useful for gamers who want to play AAA titles in high graphic detail. That said, a PC in this price range could run esports games reasonably well at low graphics quality.

To get reasonable frames per second on modern AAA titles, with low graphic quality, you’ll want to spend between € 500 and € 600. This price range will allow you to consider a more powerful graphics card or processor, giving you better performance. At € 600 you’d be at the top of the mid-range territory you can get pretty reasonable gaming results if you shop wisely.

With a budget of between € 700 and € 800, you will be well equipped to play modern titles and even enjoy VR gaming. VR gaming is not particularly resource-intensive, so this price range will offer optimal performance for your VR titles. If you go the AMD route, you will be able to add multi-threads to the list of attributes that your PC has, which means that it will be possible to do some content creation. This price range will allow you to play most games at 1080p with high graphic quality and also offers competitive players more than 144 FPS with some settings.

When you start reaching € 1000 – € 1500, you are already in high-end territory and while you begin to notice that the performance does not increase as much as the price, you will have a fairly powerful PC layered with much more than gaming. The extra performance that comes with these PCs is quite useful for gaming in maximum graphic quality at 1440p or higher, with limited 4K performance. However, it is advisable to go to the next price range if what you want is flawless 4K performance.

With a budget of more than € 2000, you are in the realm of smooth 4K gaming and can usually install the best PC components available on your computer. In addition, the extra performance of your machine will allow you to do quite heavy work like streaming or video rendering.

Understand your needs

Before building a PC it is important to have an idea of ​​how you will use it, whether it is the type of games you are going to play or if you would like to use certain software.

Esports titles like CS: GO, Overwatch, and Fortnite, are developed to be more accessible than other AAA titles and are generally considered basic in a graphical sense. As we already mentioned, esports titles like these will run on a € 400 PC, but for the best overall experience, you should focus on the € 500- € 600.

In order to have a good all-round PC that can potentially run as much as you want, you’ll want to focus on a $ 700- $ 800 PC. A PC of this price will offer you a more immersive experience, more FPS, and better detail. Also, components in this price range should last you for a good three to four years.

If gaming is one of the priorities in your life or you identify as a professional gamer or streamer, then a bigger investment can make a lot of sense. Paying more than € 1000 for a PC is certainly a luxury, with components powerful enough to run games at higher resolutions and render video.

Should you build a PC or buy a pre-assembled PC?

Here at PC4U, we pride ourselves on our recommended PCs and have a genuine passion for attracting newbies to the PC gaming world. Despite this, we understand that the process of assembling a PC can be intimidating for some people and while we recommend trying it, there is an alternative option – a pre-assembled gaming PC.

While a pre-assembled PC comes with the benefit of being pre-assembled, tested, having software and a warranty, they come with a premium factor. Since they cost a bit more, you will often find that these PCs are less powerful for their price.

What do you need to build a PC?

To build a PC you need your components and a small amount of tools. First of all, when choosing parts to build your PC, you want to make sure that all the parts are compatible with each other (CPU, RAM, Motherboard) as the last thing you need to do is find out that your CPU is causing a bottleneck in the rest of your system.

Here we have our list of PC parts and all the components you will need:

  • Processor (CPU)
  • Motherboard (MOBO)
  • Graphics card (GPU)
  • RAM)
  • Storage (SSD or HDD)
  • Power supply unit (PSU)
  • PC case

A screwdriver is the only essential tool you will need. However, if you are going to manage your cables in an organized manner you may also want to invest in cable ties and bases. Also don’t forget that, to be on the safe side, you’ll want to invest in anti-static gear as well.

Note on PC Toolkits

If you don’t have a Phillips screwdriver handy, we recommend the excellent iFixit Toolkit . This one has more than enough for you to start building your first PC, including the star heads and an anti static bracelet.

Processor (CPU)

The Processor or Central Processing Unit is essentially the “brain” of any computer. The CPU is considered the second most important component for a gaming PC, after the graphics card, but the most important for content creation. The processor executes instructions and is a crucial component of any PC.

The three most important things to know about a processor are its clock speed , cores, and threads .

The clock rate is a measure of processing speed in gigahertz (GHz) and refers to cycles can perform a few second core house. Each processor is made up of cores and threads, with the cores normally assigned to different tasks in your system. Additionally, modern CPUs often have multiple cores, allowing them to efficiently multitask. A CPU also comes with threadswhich are essentially a virtual version of a CPU core. The threads can only perform one task at a time and correspond to the cores, but if you see a processor with twice as many threads as cores, then it is called a “multi-threaded” CPU. A multi-threaded CPU allows two programs to run on a single CPU at the same time, as long as they do not use the same type of instruction.

Clock speed and the number of cores are only a direct measure between processors of the same generation, because the architecture that makes up a CPU is constantly evolving and improving.

To ensure that you have the best performance and that your PC is future proof, you will want to buy the most current CPU that your budget allows.

Intel processors are known for their powerful performance per core, which is why they have always been known as the best processors for gaming. While this is true, it shouldn’t be a factor influencing your decision when shopping for gaming purposes, as CPU prices are criticized for being overly inflated.

AMD processors are known for their powerful multi-core performance and affordable prices, making them excellent for multitasking and heavy-duty tasks. With recent innovations, AMD’s performance per core has also improved making them a serious adversary in the CPU market and almost catching up with Intel.

Motherboard (MOBO)

So, you have decided on a processor. Now you need a compatible motherboard. When looking for motherboards, the main difference between low-end and high-end is usually overclocking abilities and some premium features.

So, you have decided on a processor. Now you need a compatible motherboard. When looking for motherboards, the main difference between low-end and high-end is usually overclocking abilities and some premium features.

If you plan to overclock your CPU:

  • On Intel CPUs, you will need a K-series processor and a Z-series motherboard.
  • On AMD CPUs, you can overclock all of their processors, but you need a B or X series motherboard.

Once you’ve decided whether or not you’re going to overclock your new PC, it’s time to decide the shape of your MOBO and your case. The most common sizes for gaming PCs are generally: ATX, MATX or ITX.

Things like USB ports don’t usually switch between sizes, but the smaller it is (with ITX being the smallest and ATX being the largest), the fewer RAM and PCIe ports you have. Keep in mind that Mini-ITX motherboards tend to be more expensive, so if you have a specific budget, you should look at the ATX and MATX sizes, which will fit in most cases or cases.

The motherboard doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to be reliable, so it’s important to buy it from a reputable brand. ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI are recommended options.

Graphics Card (GPU)

The graphics processing unit, or GPU, is the most important component on any gaming PC and is often the most expensive component on any shopping list.

To better understand how a GPU works, imagine that you are playing a multiplayer shooter game. As you play, the CPU takes care of tracking physical objects, such as players and objects, and where they are on the map. However, the GPU takes this information and renders the graphics you are viewing, at the resolution and graphic quality that you have configured.

The GPU is without a doubt the most important component in a gaming computer. However, it still needs a CPU to work. If the CPU is not processing what is happening in the game fast enough, the digital output of your GPU will be affected by a bottleneck, because it has to wait for the CPU to reach it.

A GPU is made up of different components to perform quick calculations, which result in a rendered image. Let’s look at some terms that you might see in the specifications of a graphics card.

Clock speed. Together with some other components of a GPU, it determines the capacity of the GPU in its gaming and processing tasks. We only recommend using clock speeds as a performance metric between the same model from different manufacturers.

VRAM. It is a more useful measure, but it is important to know that VRAM varies from card to card. GDDR5 was the old standard and is still present in many low-end inexpensive GPUs. Don’t choose any GPU inferior to this! GDDR6 is the new standard and is present in the latest cards from AMD and Nvidia.

  • With 4GB of VRAM, you can expect decent performance in 1080p resolution with standard definition textures
  • With 6GB of VRAM, you can expect decent performance at 1440p, or at 1080p resolution with HD textures
  • With 8GB or more of VRAM, you can expect good performance in VR titles, 4K and 1440p resolutions with HD textures.

We’ve already made our recommendations for the best GPUs for gaming, but to get a better understanding of the performance of certain cards, it’s worth reviewing the results of benchmarks. Just Google “[card you’re interested in] benchmark results.” Since there are several GPU models on the market, it might be helpful to check out our GPU hierarchy article to see what’s available and the differences.

RAM)

Random access memory, known as RAM (Random Access Memory) or Memory, is considered the third most important component to have good gaming performance. RAM is essentially your PC’s short-term memory, it’s fast and easy to access, but it’s temporary. This is where your computer stores data that is being actively used. During benchmarking tests, it has been shown that having an adequate amount of RAM can improve the performance of your CPU, and something you should know is that if you have more than you need, you are wasting money.

While you can use single-channel memory on your new PC, it is important to know that you should always try to have dual-channel memory. Dual-channel memory can positively impact your gaming performance and if a memory card stops working, you can continue to use your computer.

You may see terms like DDR when looking for RAM on the market; Make sure you buy the latest standard, which is DDR4.

While the speed or frequency of the RAM is not the most important factor, it has been shown that the latest AMD processors benefit from fast memory. On all of our AMD PCs here at WePC we try to make sure they have speeds of 3600MHz, giving you better gaming performance.

As a side note, when you buy RAM, it will probably run at its default speed (2133 MHz). There is no problem with RAM running at its default speed and you probably won’t notice much of a difference. That being said, changing the speed of your RAM to its full potential is pretty simple these days, so it’s worth doing. First, make sure your motherboard can run RAM at the advertised speed, and then you can overclock it in the system BIOS.

Speed ​​can help you get some extra FPS in certain circumstances, but RAM capacity is a bigger factor to consider. Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the better the system will be at running multiple applications and modern game titles.

  • 4GB: This is the minimum amount of RAM. 4GB will only be used for basic computing tasks and very light gaming, as modern games would be too demanding.
  • 8GB: A gaming PC with 8GB of memory today would be considered low-end. While this would work well for just gaming, multi-tasking could be somewhat limited. For example, if you are playing a fairly intense modern game and you want to tab to the desktop, a higher RAM capacity would make this task more fluid.
  • 16GB: At the moment, this amount of RAM would be perfect. For some, this might be too much, but having 16GB of RAM on your system will improve your overall experience and prepare your PC for the future.
  • 32GB: This is more than you need for gaming and while it feels good to have, the price would not be worth it unless you plan to do video editing or content creation work.

Storage (SSD / HDD)

We used to store everything from applications and Word documents to games on our HDDs, but since SSD technology appeared, all of this has changed. An SSD , or Solid State Drive, is a storage device with no moving parts and the information is stored on microchips, making SSDs faster.

For the best quality storage, buy yourself an SSD. It is faster, durable, and generally smaller. That being said, it is much more expensive than an HDD. HDDs offer more storage for less money, but the quality is not as good as an SSD.

That said, an HDD can be used to store your multimedia files (music, movies) and your single-player games, where load times are not that important.

To help you find the best storage devices for your PC, we’ve created separate guides: one that highlights the best hard drives, and one that helps you find the best SSD .

Power Source (PSU)

The power source, or as it is commonly known, the PSU (Power supply unit), is basically what its name implies and provides power for your entire system. When buying a PSU for your PC there are some rules that you must follow.

First, make sure you buy a reputable brand. Unknown manufacturers often sell low-quality PSUs. We well know they can come at a great price, but it’s not worth putting the rest of your system at risk. Stick with trustworthy brands like; Corsair, EVGA and SeaSonic.

Next, you want to make sure you have enough watts for your system. Keep in mind that the PSU requirements listed in a GPU’s specifications will generally be inflated, but you may want to take them into account if you want to overclock or expand your system in the future.

A highly efficient PSU might not save you a lot of money, but now all reliable manufacturers use 80+ efficiency ratings. The higher the rating, the higher the price, but this means that the PSU will be able to use most of the power it creates and will heat up less. You don’t buy a PSU without 80+ certification.

Box

It is up to you if you choose the box or motherboard first, but make sure the shape is compatible like, as we talked about before (ATX, MATX or ITX)

In addition to the aesthetic factor in a box, you only have to worry about its space (and if the components will fit inside it). You will want to look closely and make sure that the box you have chosen fits your GPU (ATX and MATX boxes can usually house the largest GPUs) If you want to build a compact system in a Mini-ITX box, then you will have trouble installing one. large graphics card.

CPU coolers and radiators can also have box space issues, so be sure to check this out when shopping. Also, if your intention is to improve airflow with fans, check if the box comes with any, or how many mounting options it has if you need to buy some.

Once you have checked compatibility, the box you choose will depend on the design and quality. Always read reviews of the boxes as you will often be able to read about the experiences of building a PC in that particular box and if it was easy or difficult.

If you’re looking for a new PC case, we’ve created a guide that covers the best PC cases, with many of these being mid-tower options. If you are new to building PCs, we recommend buying a mid-tower box since they are the most common and generally the easiest when it comes to building a PC.

Choose peripherals and OS

With the components already chosen, you will need software and peripherals to supplement your new PC.

Operating System (OS)

Every PC requires an operating system. If you plan to play with your new PC then you need to buy a Windows 10 license if you don’t already have one. Linux is a great alternative to Windows, but we recommend that you choose Windows to avoid future compatibility issues.

Mouse and keyboard

A gaming mouse and keyboard are crucial for your computer, and if you don’t already have them, you’ll want to buy both. Regardless of the games you play, a mouse and keyboard will be the next step to have an excellent gaming experience. Here at WePC, we’ve tested hundreds of mice and keyboards to find the best ones, so be sure to check out our guides.

Read more:

Best Gaming Mice

Gaming Monitor

Which monitor you choose for your new PC isn’t extremely important, but there are some tips to make sure you don’t waste your money. An example of waste would be: buying a 4K 144Hz monitor for a low-mid-range computer for € 600; it would not make sense.

  • For PCs $ 500 or less, buy a 1080p / 60Hz monitor
  • For PCs between € 600 and € 800, buy a 1080p / 144Hz or 1440p / 60Hz monitor
  • For PCs between € 1000 and € 1500, buy a 1080p / 144Hz / 240Hz or 1440p / 144Hz monitor
  • For PCs of € 2,000 or more, buy a 1440p / 144Hz / 240Hz or 4K / 60Hz monitor

Check out our article on the best gaming monitors in our detailed guide, or if your budget is big enough you may want to check out the best 240Hz gaming monitors or the best 4K gaming monitors .

Fans

If you are planning on overclocking, having powerful components, or just like to keep your system cool, you may want to invest in additional fans for your case.

When it comes to case fans there are a few key factors for your consideration; Airflow, RGB lighting, and noise.

While airflow is the primary function of all fans, some do it better than others, so be sure to check a fan’s CFM, which means the cubic feet of air (Cubic Feet per Meter) that the fan can move.

RGB fans offer excellent cooling performance while looking good, but come with the downside of extra price, more cables to manage, and a bit more noise.

Silent fans offer excellent performance. However, they make a lot less noise so they are perfect for a quiet PC.

Let’s build your first computer!

Congratulations – now you know basically everything you need to know!

If you don’t want to choose your own parts, don’t worry. Get started with one of our predesigned computers, at the following link.

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