Even with all the humor made about the infamous “master race”, PC gaming is still the best way to fully experience any kind of game: no console will ever match the ever-growing performances of computers and their possibilities of expansion. But with this kind of flexibility, it needs to be said that it’s extremely easy to get lost in all the technical details and easily hided shortcomings when it comes to choosing your own personal gaming system.
Misconceptions start with the advertised power of such machines. CPUs’ market is still solidly sailing on a strict duopoly dominated by the usual suspects: Intel and AMD fight their own war with faster processors, new generations of cores and improved reliability. When it comes to gaming, a good quad-core i7 CPU (in Intel language) will carry you through most games without problems, just be sure to go over (or slightly below) the 3GHz clock-speed mark.
As easy as it is to fill your cheap RAM banks, don’t fall for marketing tricks: most games will run perfectly with just 8GB of volatile memory, but if you want to be sure you can reach 16GB. To speed things up you can save up for an SSD; you’ll get less available space than a standard hard drive, but incredibly fast performances both with writing and reading.
Don’t save up on your GPU instead, as it’s often the piece of hardware that makes a huge difference from shallow results to a great overall experience. The graphics card is probably the most important aspect of a gaming PC, rendering all the visual aspects and delivering it punctually to the end-point: Nvidia & AMD are the main manufacturers and have a great assortment of models, but we recommend buying GPUs starting from 350$ onward (a Nvidia GTX 960 for example), as these will carry you for few years without the need of upgrades.
Don’t worry too much about the dedicated memory, as more than 3 or 4 GB are usually overshooting the final objective; focus on bandwidth and type of VRAM instead. Needless to say, if you wish to implement a VR device you’ll have to go for more expensive graphic cards.
Sound-wise most motherboards come with their integrated audio chip, but you can always buy an external one to enjoy a more detailed reproduction on a pre-existent 5.1 or 7.1 system.
Speaking of end-points, it would be inadequate to use a brand new GPU with an old monitor: always check its maximum resolution, refresh rate, size and connections. HDMI ports, USB 3.0, Bluetooth connectivity… All these features would be a nice addition to the package.
Last, but not least, don’t forget about all the physical aspects of a PC. All these components need a home, so try to get a large enough tower, not only to fit them all but also help with heat dissipation and power management.you