If you aren’t sure what is required in a simple gaming PC build, look here for a builder’s advice for beginners! In this first part, PC build hobbyist Torey Stickrath shares his knowledge and covers topics like components to aim for (and cost of a build), where to get them, and Stickrath’s ideal simple build.
First — and fair — question many would-be builders have is what a gaming PC build costs.
TOREY STICKRATH: “For a simple run of the mill ‘gaming’ PC, I’d say base estimate would be about $700; but that depends on market right now, honestly. Graphics Processor Units (GPU, or just ‘video cards’) are selling for a mint and a half right now due to 7nm chip shortages thanks to the pandemic and crypto currency miners. NVIDIA is working on that though with their new ‘Light Hash Rate’ boards which restrict how much crypto can be mined, making that line of cards less appealing to anyone doing things with crypto.”
TOREY STICKRATH: “As for part prioritization, start with your motherboard. That’s the major leader in what you will/won’t be able to put in your PC. For example, my next build I’m looking at using something that can handle the new Ryzen series from AMD, as well as PCI-E 4.0 for the new 30 series NVIDIA GPU. My current build is based around Intel’s 4th Gen processors, and PCI-E 3.0 since I’m running an NVIDIA 1080 Titan which was top of the line for its day.”
TOREY STICKRATH: “Your motherboard can also determine what kind of RAM you’ll need as well as if you can use things such as M.2, USB-C, or Lightning. Also, the form factor of the motherboard will help determine how much you can put in and what kind of case you’ll need; for reference, ATX is what you’ll normally see in prebuilts, but there’s m-ATX, which is smaller and m-ITX which is about the size of a game console or smaller.”
Now with some advice on what to buy for parts, I asked the builder to name three top stores for them; his top choices are NewEgg, Micro Center, and TigerDirect. That said, a gaming PC build results in asking which is the best route for the inexperienced: building one’s own PC, buying a prebuilt PC, or entrusting the build to a friend with know-how.
TOREY STICKRATH: “If you’re HONESTLY interested in building your own, and have no idea where to start, and you have a friend who has experience with building, I’d enlist their help in building. Right now there’s been issues with prebuilts being put on market as gaming PCs that cost more than what the parts within them are worth; so its really a ‘buyer beware’ kind of situation. If you’re too concerned about breaking something with building your own, and you feel more comfortable with a prebuilt, then look around online and see what people are saying before you buy.”
TOREY STICKRATH: “But if you’ve done your research and you know what you’re getting into with your build, or you don’t know anyone who can help or you’re afraid of getting scammed on a prebuilt, then go for it alone. All of your parts will come with instructions (which sometimes are fantastic, and other times not so much), and will explain the step-by-step process of how to actually install the various parts, as well as diagrams showing where everything needs to go.”
I then asked Stickrath what his ideal gaming PC build should have; he listed the necessary parts.
TOREY STICKRATH: “AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600 CPU, Nvidia’s 3060 Titan Founders Edition LHR GPU, ASRock B550M/ac Motherboard, Crucial Ballistix DDR-4 16gb Memory, EVGA 650w Gold+ PSU, Thermaltake Core V21 Micro ATX case.”
For a final thought, I asked Stickrath of any personal businesses or content he wanted to recommend for readers of this article.
TOREY STICKRATH: “I’d recommend looking into JayzTwoCents and Linus Tech Tips on YouTube for ideas as well as great explanations on how to build as well as why. And PCPartPicker has some great build ideas for everyone, even people who haven’t built their first, and can help with planning your first build.”
A little info gained; but there’s more still to come in the next part of this exploration on beginning a gaming PC build! Stickrath has a few more facts to share from his experience: terms like “water cooling” and “overclocking”, a little about proper ventilation, and more!