Parts Needed to Build a Gaming PC

Javed Ali Javed Ali
Updated
Parts Needed to Build a Gaming PC

Finding the correct parts for your gaming PC build is tricky. Every part needs to work together flawlessly, so there is no bottleneck in the process. You also need to consider that there will be future upgrades to the gaming PC while finalizing the parts needed to build a gaming PC. System requirements for developed games keep increasing quarterly every year, and you need to increase your pace to keep playing at 4K. To make logically correct decisions while purchasing, you will need to understand the significance of each component which we will discuss in our step-by-step guideline. The impact on your gaming frame per second (fps) and graphical output must be weighted concerning each component. Alongside performance, we would mention if the component could also play a role in the aesthetics of your PC case interior.

Gaming PC builds can be divided into three simple categories: High-end, Mid-range, and Entry-level. Depending on your gaming requirement, the user can select the category. High-end gaming PCs are expensive and mainly target 4K (Native) gaming at 60+fps. Mid-range target 1440p gaming at 100+fps and Entry-level aim to achieve 1080p at 100+fps. Depending on the display size, resolution can be decided. Monitors larger than 32” should be fed with 1440p or higher resolution, but any display below 32” can be fed with 1080p resolution to produce enough pixels per inch to make the screen feel silky smooth. We will start with the CPU and then move to the motherboard, RAM, GPU, Storage drives, PSUs, System cooling, peripherals, and the last operating system. If you don’t understand certain terms, then don’t worry; we will discuss them in detail.

Computer Parts List (PC Components)

Let’s take a deep look at each part to elaborate on the whole process of building a custom PC.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

CPU sits at the center of all the processing your PC carries out either during gaming or performing simple tasks such as web surfing or watching YouTube. It handles all the data from the storage drive and sends it to the proper components. As our prime target is to achieve gaming performance, we would consider the importance of the CPU for gaming. AAA titles like The Witcher 3, CyberPunk 2077, and GTA V, which utilize AI-based algorithms to simulate a virtual world around the player, require a powerful processor. It should be able to process the way the car will crash at a different speed. The impact of bullets at varying distances and the way sound create chaos among the city dwellers are all calculated by the CPU. The CPU also processes to give every car unique handling.

While gaming, the CPU can get hot, and we will discuss later how we can cool it, but the heat indicates the flow of electrons in the CPU circuits leading to a useful output on the monitor display. CPU comes in anti-static packaging, and there are two major CPU manufacturers, Intel and AMD. AMD is leading in gaming price/performance ratio with their 2000 and 5000 series processors. On the other hand, Intel is ahead with their 12th Gen processor supporting PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 technologies. As a gamer, you should consider whether you are going for an entry-level or a pro gaming PC. Processors are critical while streaming and encoding videos. If you want to make a career in social media, it’s better to go for a high-performance CPU that will encode videos faster and stream at higher fps.

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Motherboard

Motherboard

A motherboard is a vital component in a PC build, providing a pathway for the devices to communicate. The capability of the motherboard can affect the gaming performance of your PC build, as any bottleneck in the protocols provided by the motherboard will lead to frame drops or hiccups in gaming smoothness. After deciding on the CPU, you can look for a motherboard with a compatible socket size. A motherboard is recognized through its chipset as it gives the motherboard capability to understand components attached to it and make sure that they communicate efficiently. For AM4, X570 chipsets are preferred; for Intel, LGA1700 Z690 takes the lead in performance. Find the right chipset for your CPU and components to make them work faster.

There are mainly four sizes of motherboards available, and each of them has a purpose of its own:

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Memory (RAM)

Memory (RAM)

RAM stands for Random Access Memory, a volatile storage space that loses its data when power is turned off. The use of RAM is associated with a processor. The processor is incredibly fast at processing data, and that data is brought to the CPU via the RAM. In gaming, the RAM stores the continuously fetched files by the CPU. Like in-game physics and environmental interactions. If you do not give a game enough RAM to store its data, the CPU will have to fetch data from slower storage, that is, the storage devices connected to the motherboards. All the AAA titles require greater than 8GB of RAM as an 8GB is occupied mainly by the operating system leaving less space for the game. The lack of RAM space generally causes a sudden drop in frame and stuttering movements.

So we talked bout the importance of space in memory. The performance of RAM is also calculated via its frequency and timing. The frequency and timing together impact the benchmark performance. RAMs are also overclockable. You need a motherboard that supports Intel XMP or AMD DoCP. Increasing the RAM clock speed and decreasing timing allows for better performance in gaming. However, compared to entry-level RAM, the best RAM in the world only provides a 3% performance boost. Timings of a RAM are primarily represented in CAS latency, and it should be as low as possible, as tighter timings result in improved latency. RAMs that are overclockable come with heatsinks, and their heights are more prominent than those non-overclockable. While buying a RAM, be sure to observe the height of the RAM as it can hinder an air-based cooler.

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Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

A gamer’s heart is the graphics processing unit (GPU) and a vital component in parts needed to build a gaming PC. It is responsible for processing the visual representation of all the games. Currently, GPUs are the bottleneck in gaming visuals. To understand its importance, you need to know how it works. Let’s take the example of GTA V; the in-game environment is generated by the CPU and GPU working together. The CPU is in charge of fetching the data from the storage drive and turning it into a form understandable by the GPU for further processing. A CPU will gather information about the car, shape, structure, and how it will interact with the world. The characteristics are defined to the vehicle by the CPU; then, the GPU turns that information into a graphical representation that you see on the screen.

You might think the CPU has more work to do, as it is already taking inputs from the mouse, keyboard, and other hardware, but the graphic card has the most complex work. The modern GPUs come with PhysX, which makes explaining the role of both hardware complex but keeps it simple CPU handles all the data and logic of the game, like when a car hits a pole in GTA V, the way the pole is going to bent and damage to the card will be calculated by the CPU. The car will look because the graphic card will work out the car and pole interaction.

The GPU’s TDP(Thermal Design Power) determines the heatsinks' size. As heatsinks take away the heat produced by the GPU, a larger and more powerful heatsink can provide overclocking capabilities. Just like a RAM or CPU overclocking, the users can tweak the GPU clock speed and the RAM clock speed to make them more powerful, but that is performed via software. Any mismatch can cause the card to stop working and boot. That is why dual-BIOS is provided on the graphics card. Overclocking will eventually lead to better frames per second in gaming, but the number of cores in the GPU and its architecture primarily define the graphic card’s performance. When buying an Nvidia or AMD graphic card from a seller, you purchase the GPU support system, i.e., the graphic card.

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Storage: SSDs, HDDs

SSD

Storage devices are responsible for retaining data even after the power is turned off. It started with punch cards in 1725 to IBM 1311, a removable disk pack capable of storing 2 million characters. Now storage devices can store data in terabytes(TB). There are two main subdivisions of a storage device SSDs and HDDs.

HDDs:

HDDs (Hard Disk Drive) have a mechanical system that reads and writes data. Spinning disks inside the HDD where the data is stored with a magnetic nature. The data is stored and retrieved via the “heads” or transducers. These drives make noise when they access data due to the continuous motion of the head. Typically the disks inside rotate from 5400 to 7200 RPM. They also have a cache for storing data temporarily, making the HDD faster. We can compare the HDD to a classic record player. It also has a head that reads the musical notes stored on a continuously rotating disk. Similarly, the arm keeps moving across the disk to read/write data in HDD.

HDDs have been around long enough to be called legacy hardware. The technology is mature and comparatively costs less than modern solutions. Laptops and Desktops both utilize HDDs. For gamers, HDDs are particularly useful for storing data that will not be frequently used, like game installation files or video and photos that are kept as memories. To maintain the balance and decrease the cost of gaming, buying a larger HDD over an SSD is preferred. The use of both techniques is feasible. Hard disk drives now use SATA protocol to communicate with the motherboard and other hardware. You can install and expand storage as much as your motherboard SATA ports allow. Usually, the HDD is available in two sizes, 2.5” and 3.5”.

SSDs:

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are the latest technology in the lineup of storage devices. The name itself suggests that there are no moving parts inside the SSD like RAM. However, unlike the RAM, SSD can keep the data even after being powered off. SSDs are all about integrated circuits, so the storage device’s size is significantly reduced. Mechanical parts require space for operation. Integrated circuits are far more compact and produce negligible noise when operating. The SSDs are similar to a 2.5” HDD and are also available in sizes smaller than a postage stamp. Depending on the storage capacity, the size of the SSD can vary. There are two forms of SSDs available: SATA-based and M.2 form factor. Due to its inherent static nature does not require boot-up or spin-up time like the traditional HDDs. They operate faster and require less energy for operation.

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Best Selling HDDs on Amazon

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

All the PC’s electronics run on electricity, specifically DC(Direct Current). The AC(Alternate Current) source available in our houses is converted to DC using a PSU (Power Supply Unit). A stable power supply is vital to each component’s healthy operation and lies among the essential parts needed to build a gaming PC. An inadequate power supply can damage equipment and cause breakdowns. Modern PCs use the ATX-2 type of power supply.

The standard that is now followed all over the world is 80 PLUS. There are Bronze (82%), Silver (85%), Gold (87%), Platinum (90%), and Titanium (92%) standards available for 80 PLUS-based power supplies. The efficiency of the power supply directly affects your energy bills. A 300W power supply with 80% efficiency will draw 375W from the wall. It means that the higher efficiency will result in lower power consumption. Titanium is the most efficient power supply with 92% or higher efficiency in Energy Star 80 PLUS standard.

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System Cooling - CPU Cooling and Chassis Airflow

System Cooling - CPU Cooling and Chassis Airflow

Cooling is a critical factor in the performance of your PC. Everything from CPU, GPU, VRM, and SSD operation can lead to damage if not appropriately cooled. There are numerous ways through which cooling can be performed. For SSD and VRM, heatsinks typically carry heat to a larger surface area for passive heat transfer, but for CPU and GPU, active cooling is the only choice due to the very high TDP(Thermal Design Power). Fans are installed inside the PC case and can be fitted on the front or rear panel. They carry fresh and cold air from the front and flow over the entire motherboard, GPU, VRM, CPU, and SSD heatsinks. The heated air is then pushed out of the back panel. The graphic card system does GPU cooling, as we discussed earlier. The VRM and chipset cooling is done through the chassis airflow, but the CPU cooling is achieved via two methods air-based cooling and liquid-based cooling.

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Peripherals

Monitor: Monitors are required to display the output of your gaming PC. The screen resolution, frequency, adaptable sync, and latency are the specs you need to look for when buying a monitor. Depending on the screen size and your required gameplay resolution, you should check if the monitor can display the desired output. Display frequency determines the smoothness of your movements in-game when displayed. A low-frequency display will cause tearing and stutter. Adaptable sync will ensure that your monitor’s display matches the data sent by the GPU, ensuring buttery movements. Latency is the time the monitor takes to display the data change caused by connected devices. All these need to be taken into consideration for a better gaming experience.

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Mouse: Mouse in FPS games like Call of Duty or multiplayer open-world games like Fortnite means aims and shooting with accuracy. A higher DPI mouse with low latency and a decent switch is preferred. The type of switch installed represents the mouse’s life, and the sensor manufacturer determines the latency. All of them need to be adequately checked before purchasing.

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Keyboard: Traditionally, a PC won’t even boot without a keyboard and could be stated as essential hardware among the parts needed to build a gaming PC. Movement in gaming is impossible without a keyboard; even logging into the Operating System is also tricky. The most popular keyboard type is the mechanical keyboard with hot-swappable switches. The sound and feel of the keyboard are entirely dependent on the mechanical switch; be sure to study them before purchasing.

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Operating system (OS)

Currently, the most popular operating system is the Windows OS. It has the widest compatibility compared to Linux, Ubuntu, and Mac. As a gamer, you should consider installing Windows 11 as it is the latest and has far better gaming performance than other OS. The Open-world games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon run flawlessly with the correct hardware on Windows 11. Microsoft frequently provides the security feature and latest updates to keep your data safe and software performance optimum.

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