Building a computer is quite possibly the most rewarding experience that one can have without actually playing games. It’s also very intimidating, especially when you go into it with no previous knowledge on how to build a PC. Read on for step-by-step instructions on building your first gaming computer.
Let’s start with the case: Cases come in many shapes and sizes, but we would like ours to look kind of like the Lian Li O Series tower (with modifications). Your case isn’t going to make or break your rig, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Just make sure that your case has enough room for all of the components you plan on using, remember that some cases can be pretty cramped with large graphics cards.
Remember, if you want to go the cheap route; there are plenty of second-hand cases on Ebay that will work just fine for less than $60. They’ll also offer adequate cooling and space for most reasonable builds (our’s included). If you do choose this option though I would still recommend investing in a new power supply, unless the one you get is already modular (and high wattage).
The next part we need is the motherboard: This is where all of our components plug into so it’s important to get a good quality board. We will be using a micro-ATX board and we’re aiming for something between $100-$150. Just make sure that there’s enough space around the CPU socket to fit your cooling solution (more on this later) and you’ll also want to make sure it has all of the features that you need, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, USB 3.0, etc…
What about AMD? Well don’t let me stop you from getting an FM2+ Socket motherboard with a Kabini or Richland APU in it, but Intel is going to be performing better right out of the box in most cases. You can save some money here by choosing a H81 chipset board if your’e only planning on overclocking the CPU, but I would still recommend spending a little bit more to get the Z97 chipset so that you have room for future upgrades.
Next is our processor: If you’ve got a little extra cash feel free to choose whichever CPU your’e most comfortable with, just keep in mind that this build is geared towards gaming so if you’re unsure on where to start I’d go quad core. AMD offers the FX-8320E 8-core chip which will perform better than its i5 counterpart however it’ll use quite a bit more power (95W vs 84W). Intel’s Haswell chips are also great alternatives and they even outperform some of their Ivy Bridge counterparts. Our choice for this build is an i5 4670k which will offer great performance without costing too much.
The last part we need for the base build is the graphics card: This is one of the most important parts in a gaming PC so it’s best to go with something that you’re familiar with, especially if your’e planning on playing games at 1080p or lower resolutions. The R9 270 is a cheaper, but similar alternative to the GTX 760 which are pretty much equals in terms of price/performance. However if you’re willing to spend more for something that offers better performance per dollar feel free to choose another card, I would recommend the R9 280X or GTX 770 as they offer slightly better performance than their counterparts with higher prices.
Remember, you can always save money by going with an AMD graphics card as they offer a better price/performance ratio. If you do choose this route however I would still recommend choosing a card between the GTX 650 Ti Boost and the R9 270X as they’re generally cheaper than their R9 200 equivalents. However if you want to go with an Intel CPU then you will need to get a dedicated graphics card as the HD 4600 IGP is not fully DX11 compatible.