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How to Choose the Best Gaming PC for Your Needs
Sometimes, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on your couch and kicking back with some console games.
But serious gamers understand that sometimes a locked framerate and resolution won’t cut it. Sometimes you need more from your gaming experience. And while there’s no wrong way to play, we understand that you’re after the best.
If that sounds like you, there’s a good chance you’d benefit from a gaming PC.
PCs offer tons of advantages over their living-room counterparts. From graphics to Steam sales, to streaming capabilities, there are tons of great reasons to choose a PC over a console.
But if you’ve never bought or built a gaming PC, you may find the whole process a little intimidating. Not to worry, we’re here to help!
Here are a few of the biggest factors to consider when choosing a gaming PC for your needs.
Pre-Built or DIY?
Before salivating over the hottest new graphics cards or worrying about liquid cooling or fan cooling, you’ll need to make an important decision: how will you obtain your PC?
Now, you have two different options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
First, you can always choose to make your own PC from scratch. Many in the gaming scene find building their PC to be a rewarding process, plus it allows for more in-depth customization.
Additionally, it’s easier to save a few dollars here and there by building your own PC.
Stores like Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics often run store-wide sales on holidays and holiday weekends, so obtaining specific parts for your PC doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Of course, you may not have the time or knowledge to build your own PC. There’s nothing wrong with that!
If this is your first gaming PC, you may want to leave it to the experts. Plenty of great companies like Alienware and BLD offer customized ordering, so you can play how you want without having to worry about putting the PC together.
Gaming computers get a bit of a bad rap for being more expensive than their console cousins. It’s true that, on average, you’ll spend far more building a PC than just buying a console.
But for most gamers, it tends to be worth it.
Now that you know what type of PC you want – pre-built or custom – it’s time to budget accordingly.
Of course, how much you’ll need to spend varies wildly depending on who you ask.
In general, expect to spend between $700 to $2,000 on your shiny new gaming rig, depending on its specs.
And don’t forget that virtual reality is still alive and kicking. While many thought it to be a fad, it’s clear that Oculus and HTC are in it for the long haul.
If you’re at all interested in experiencing games like SuperHot VR and Doom VFR, you’ll need to make sure your PC is powerful enough to handle VR capabilities.
Don’t forget that you’ll need to set aside money for a monitor, as well, as they aren’t included in the initial price of the PC.
If you’re spending all of this money on a massive gaming PC, you’ll need to make sure you get an equally powerful monitor, otherwise, you’re not getting the full experience.
Imagine playing Overwatch on an old CRT monitor, or suffering through Dragon Ball FighterZ at a single-digit frame rate.
Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?
Take it from someone who played through both Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 on a standard laptop: your games deserve better.
Gaming computers tend to be quite a bit heftier than your everyday computer. Therefore, don’t forget to consider the necessary spatial requirements.
You’re going to need a nice-sized corner to store your PC, ideally away from windows and vents.
If you’re tight on space, you’re not out of luck. There are plenty of laptops on the market that are equally powerful as their beefy desktop siblings.
Future-Proof Your Machine
There’s one distinct disadvantage that gaming PCs suffer from, and that’s the need to periodically replace and refresh parts.
If a console gaming experience is static, with a gamer guaranteed to have a place to play their favorite games, then a PC experience is dynamic.
There’s no guarantee that your PC can run a game that comes out two or three years from now.
As a result, you’ll need to think about the future when considering your computer. It’s certainly more affordable to buy lower-end graphics cards, but before you know it they’ll be obsolete.
What Games Do You Want to Play?
So far we’ve neglected to discuss the single biggest considerations when getting a PC: the actual games!
What type of gamer you are will factor into the type of PC you buy or make.
If you tend to stick to indie games like Owlboy, Into the Breach, or Terraria, you’re not going to need something with a super-powerful graphics card.
However, if you play mostly AAA games like Battlefield, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and the like, you’ll need something that can handle both graphical fidelity and frame rate.
We recommend checking out BLD’s site, which features a handy tool that lets you choose your favorite games and sets a budget accordingly.
Choosing Your Gaming PC
Choosing the right gaming computer can very quickly become overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re doing. We hope this guide helps make your decision a bit easier.
To wrap things up, do your research, set a budget, and think about your current and future gaming habits. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your games in a whole new way!
Don’t forget to check back on our blog for up to date info on all things gaming, entertainment, and pop culture. And if you have any advice on how to build or buy a great gaming PC, let us know in the comments below!