How To Build A Gaming PC | Guide For Beginners (2019)

Welcome To My How To Build A Gaming PC Guide | For Beginners (2019) Edition. My name is Robert and welcome to PC Hardware Junkies.

Over the past 10 years or so we have seen a catastrophic rise in console gamers migrating to PC gaming. Why is this? Its because the experience on PC is greater than console because gaming consoles are closed systems.

PC Gaming is bigger than it has ever been with the constant updates in PC hardware technology. Today, we can say that you can build a kick-ass gaming pc that can not only play games, but surf the web, edit photos, and videos, watch movies and youtube videos, etc. We are no longer bound by what we can or can’t do on our Custom Gaming PCs.

So with the rising incline of console gamers migrating to PC and new gamers choosing PC as their preferred platform for gaming I decided to help out with creating a kick-ass step by step guide on building a custom gaming pc.

Ladies and Gentleman, Welcome To My How To Build A Gaming PC Guide For Beginners (2019 Edition)

How To Build A Gaming PC 101

There are a few things you should consider before going out and building your first custom gaming pc. The first thing which is probably the most important is “Choosing Your Budget”.

Budget Planning

This is where all the magic happens. You have to ask yourself what exactly do you what to build a custom gaming pc for. I want you to think about that for a minute, we will talk about it more in the next section.

When you building your first gaming pc you really want to start off with a budget of at least $300 but I prefer $500 to give you some wiggle room. Yes, you can build a custom gaming pc for less than $500 and it can be on par with consoles on the market today, “Crazy Huh”.

A build between $300 – $500 is considered an entry-level build or budget build. Most of these types of builds are really small and minimalistic usually use an ITX form factor (Motherboard Form Factor). However, these gaming pc builds do come with their disadvantages.

Disadvantages of a $300 – $500 Budget Gaming PC Build

When building a gaming pc at this budget most likely all you want to do is play some video games. You don’t really care about other features and capabilities. As long as you can play games at low to medium settings with between 30 to 60 FPS you are happy. Which is totally understandable…

If this is you, then this is defiantly the build you want to go for. Now, of course, there are other paths to take so to speak especially if you want to play more cutting-edge AAA modern titles today.

Advantages of Budget Over $500 for Gaming PC Builds

To play most AAA titles these days you need a decent CPU and GPU. You don’t have to go out and buy all the most expensive pc hardware parts you can find. As a matter of fact, if you keep your budget between the $400 – $600 range you can play most modern games with no problem at comfortable FPS as well.

Now if you wanted to take it a step further, let’s say you are interested in some VR technology that seems to be on the rise these days. Then a budget between $600 to $800 would be a good start. However, that’s not the end… There’s more…

Now if you are a hard-core gamer and BIG gaming enthusiast like myself then you probably want to consider a budget between $1000 – $2500. Now, you probably wondering why is the gap for this budget so high its because you have to take in effect gaming peripherals such as Gaming Monitors, Gaming Chairs, Gaming Keyboard and Mice, etc.

Also, just to mention most PC Gamers are “Content Creators”. Which means they either stream on websites like Twitch TV or similar or they build gaming videos on YouTube such as Let’s Plays, Reviews, Reactions, etc. So, if this is something you see yourself doing in the foreseeable future then you might want to consider this budget.

Ok, so let’s simplify this because I know this is a lot to take in.

In simple terms, you have to ask yourself what exactly do you what to build a custom gaming pc for. This will automatically give you an idea of your budget you need to work with.

Now, I said the phrase “You have to ask yourself what exactly do you what to build a custom gaming pc for” twice know, so lets talking about this as I promise before. Which brings us to the second most important thing to consider, ask yourself why you’re building a custom gaming pc in the first place.

Understanding Why Your Building A Gaming PC

Most of you are just building a gaming pc to play video games. However, some of you are designers, video editors, etc. So you’re not just building a Gaming PC, you maybe want a Video Editing Rig, Designing PC, etc.

At this point you need to ask yourself a few questions like “What types of games will I play?”, “Will I make content on YouTube or Twitch TV?”, etc.

If you’re into Esports and competitive play then your budget will not be as much as you think. You can build a great Esport gaming pc for under $500. Plus, most of the platforms you play on such as Twitch TV Live, YouTube Live, etc will record the video as they stream it.

So if you need the footage just ask for it.

Now that we got those few things out the way let’s learn how to build a gaming pc in 2019.

Choosing Parts For Your Custom Gaming PC

First, there is a lot to take into consideration when choosing pc hardware parts for your gaming pc build.

Most people will go for the cheapest or the most popular pc hardware that is within there budget, which is a smart move. The reason this is a smart move is that the pc parts have already been reviewed and tested so you kinda get an idea of what to expect if you purchase these specific pc parts.

However, there are other considerations you need to understand such as compatibility. Some parts are not as compatible with others as some parts are very compatible with each other… “Say that 10 times real fast”

A great website to check out that helps you with compatibility issues as well as build your gaming pc from the ground up is PCPartPicker. PPP is a PC builder website that helps you build your computer from the CPU choice all the way to peripherals and it recommends the best place to purchase.

Of course, all our builds here are curated from the ground up to take into consideration compatibility, power usage, productivity, etc. So you can save A LOT of time when considering which pc parts to buy.

The reason compatibility is so important and that you should do your due diligence in research before buying is you DO NOT want to make a rookie mistake and purchase a $300 Graphics Card (GPU) and wonder why your $60 Central Processing Unit (CPU) is bottlenecking and you can’t play your favorite games.

This is what we are trying to avoid my young padawans…

When building a custom gaming pc these are the parts you will need:

  1. Central Processing Unit (CPU)
  2. Motherboard (MOBO)
  3. Graphic Card (GPU)
  4. Memory (Ram) or Random Access Memory
  5. Storage (SSD – Solid State Drive or HDD – Hard Drive)
  6. Power Supply (PSU)
  7. Case

Know of course these are the basic parts for a gaming pc build. There are many other peripheral you can add later such as gaming keyboard and mouse, speakers, Blue Snowball Microphone, etc.

Right now we want to get the particulars out the way then we can take about monitors and all that good stuff.

Before we move on let’s break down each one of these pc parts briefly. I will also leave links to wikis and other sources for more information if needed.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The processor or central processing unit (CPU) is essentially the “Big Brain” of your computer. It is the second most important part that has an impact on your gaming and productivity experience while using your computer. This is why you want to choose your CPU wisely because based on your choice will reflect its capabilities.

There are three things you need to consider when choosing a CPU. Those are Clock Speed which measures the processing speed in Gigahertz or (GHz) (Higher the better). Then there are the Cores which are assigned different task when using your system. There are some applications that use one core and there are some that use multiple cores. It really depends on the software, but in turn, will give you better performance.

Lastly, there are Threads which are really considered with the Cores of your CPU. For instance, if you have an 8-Core CPU such as the i7-9700K from Intel it has a feature called “Hyperthreading” this essentially adds a virtual core for each physical core which gives you a total of 16-Core Threads. In simple terms, your CPU will run like a 16-Core CPU ( 8 Physical Cores, 8 Virtual Cores) essentially doubling the performance and capabilities so to speak.

Bonus

Another reason to consider is if you want to use either Windows or Mac. Over the years there has been some major progress in building Hackintosh computers. If you don’t know what a Hackintosh computer is, then check out tonymacx86 for more information.

Simple terms it’s a Custom PC Computer will Intel CPU and Motherboard that can run MacOS and Windows.

The Two CPU Families

There are two major brands of CPUs, which are Intel CPUs and AMD CPUs. Intel processors are more know for there single core performance which is why they are usually the best choice for custom gaming pcs. Today’s games are still single core optimized but are slowly changing with advancements of technology that are giving game developers more and more capabilities.

AMD processors are known for there multi-core performance which is great for productivity and multi-tasking. AMD processors also have made great improvements in single core technology as well which is putting them almost on par with Intel single processor capabilities. This, of course, makes the AMD CPUs a lot cheaper than Intel CPUs.

So in retrospect, Intel is good for gaming and AMD is good for productivity and multi-tasking. So in my opinion, if I was going to build a gaming rig then I would go with an Intel CPU, but if I was a content creator and wanted to create a YouTube Channel I would consider an AMD processor for better performance multi-tasking and video editing.

However, with that said there are still some other things to consider which we talk about later in the guide.

For more information about Central Processing Units (CPUs), Check out the official wikipedia page.

Also checkout the Best CPUs for gaming.

Motherboard (MOBO)

So know that you have picked your CPU by hopefully weighing the Pros and Cons of which brand is best suited for your gaming pc build. Now we need to choose a compatible motherboard that you can house your CPU on.

The motherboard and CPU are like a hat and a head…. or a hand and a glove or a….. You get where im going with this… I hope…

The big difference between what we consider low-end MOBO and high-end MOBO is based on the features and capabilities it has. For instance, perhaps the most popular feature for most mid to high-end motherboards is the capability of overclocking.

Overclocking in lamins terms is the capability to push your CPU, RAM, GPU beyond its specified clock speeds to get either better performance or NOTHING… Most commonly CPU overclocking is what most people perform. I personally don’t see the reason to overclock RAM or GPU but that just me.

To overclock you CPUs there are few rules you got to follow such as:

  1. Intel CPUs – You can only Overclock K-series CPUs (ex. i7-8700k) that is paired with a Z-series MOBO (ex. MSI Z390-A Pro MOBO).
  2. AMD CPUs – You can overclock really any modern day AMD CPU because they are all overclockable. However, you will need either a B- or X-series MOBO to perform a overclock.

When it comes to overclocking Intel are the most recommended because of there low power consumption. They have low wattage while AMD CPUs tend to heat up A LOT more which kinda hurts there overclockability. This is changing as the new architecture AMD uses gives a little more headroom for overclockability with better temperatures.

Once you decide whether you’re going to overclock or not, it’s know time to decide the size of your gaming pc you want. Basically, there are 3 common types of motherboard sizes which are ATX, MATX and ITX, there are more but these are the most common that is used today.

Generally, not too much changes between the sizes, just know that the smaller you go (ATX – Biggest, ITX – Smallest) the more features or peripheral you loose such as PCIe slots, Max Memory (Ram) capabilities, and more.

Once you get past the choice of either overclocking or not all there left is choosing the best brand for you. Most people choose based on look because today you can have some pretty badass RGB setups that correspond with your MOBO, RAM, GPU and more.

The best and most reputable manufacturers are Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI, EVGA, and ASROCK. Just remember that the MOBO has no effect if any on gaming performance. So don’t go out and buy a $300 so-called “Gaming MOBO” because it really doesn’t matter. As long as the MOBO has what you need is really all that matters. I recommend you consider the brands for good quality products.

I personally recommend ASUS or MSI.

For more information on Motherboards, Check out the wikipedia official page.

Also, checkout the Best Motherboards for gaming.

Graphics Card (GPU)

The Graphics Processing Unit or GPU will be the most important pc component that will impact your gaming performance depending on the game.

GPU also plays an important hand in content creation as well. Especially if you use Adobe Products such as Premiere Pro, After Effects, etc. This software is optimized for Open CL and Cuda Core technology.

Which means AMD GPUs and Nvidia GPUs will work but Nvidia GPUs will work better because of the Cuda Core Technology. AMD GPU is better for other video editing software such as Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, etc.

The GPU basically renders the actual graphics that you see on your screen. The more powerful your GPU the better experience you will see. The CPU plays its part in this scenario as well.

As the CPU keeps track of what you are doing and where you are at. The GPU makes sure you can see it yourself in the best quality possible. This is why it’s important not to get an expensive GPU and Cheap CPU to prevent bottlenecking.

If you go in having this mindset which is “Im going to spend most of my money on my CPU and GPU you will be fine… Because you will…

A general rule I personally follow is to set a semi-budget when your budget for CPU and GPU. As the time of me writing this guide, pc hardware parts are fluctuating like crazy, so I can bet prices are high right now. So defiantly take that into consideration, because waiting a few months can mean saving 100s of dollars.

As an example, if my budget was $2000 then I would make my CPU and GPU budget in today’s prices about $1000. For instance, I could get an i7-8700k which runs for about $350 and an RTX 2060 for about $350.

Not a bad choice, in my opinion, you have a 6 core CPU with an RTX 2060 with 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM which performs like an amped up GTX 1070. Also, you still got $300 of your $1000 semi-budget which gives you $1300 to work with for MOBO, RAM, Memory, PSU, and Case…

Not bad…

When it comes to GPUs there are a few things you need to consider. Those things are:

  1. Clock Speed – This is really used only by reference to another card from another manufactory. For instance Gigabyte, Windforce tends to have higher clock speeds than say EVGA. Ultimately technology is the same just different manufacturers and different looks.
  2. VRAM – Is more important than clock speed in this case. In today’s market, the platform standard is now GDDR6 with the 2000-series Nvidia cards out. Previously it was GDDR5 which you don’t accept anything lower than that. Of course, you may have seen others such as GDDR5X, or HBM which are improvements.

Most Nvidia Cards use GDDR5 which is the 1000-series cards and the new 2000-series use GDDR6. There are some special cards that have the “TI” in their title such as the GTX 1080TI which uses GDDR5X which Im assuming is between GDDR5 and GDDR6 but not quite GDDR6, if you catch my drift.

AMD also uses GDDR5 for most of there mid to high tier cards such as the Radeon 580x and 590x. However, some of there higher-end cards such as the Vega 54 or 64 or the new Radeon VII uses HBM memory, which stands for High Bandwidth Memory.

  • 2GB Of VRam – Low to med settings 1080p Gaming
  • 4GB Of VRam – med to high settings 1080p/1440p Gaming
  • 6Gb Of VRam – mid to high to ultra settings 1080p/1440p/4k/VR Gaming
  • 8GB or above – High to Max Settings 1080p/1440p/4k/5k/VR Gaming

The best way to see how cards perform its best to do apples to apple comparison. There are many websites that do this for you such as GPU UserBench.

In the end, you have to do some product research to make sure you getting the right GPU for you. Personally, if you just building a gaming rig any 1050 or above Nvidia card will do for most gaming. AMD GPU such as the Radeon 580x and 590x with 8GB Of GDDR5 VRAM can perform pretty good in gaming as well.

“Do your research and choose wisely”

For more information on GPUs, Check out the official wikipedia page.

Also, checkout the Best GPUs for gaming.

Memory (Ram)

Memory or Random Access Memory (Ram) is the third most important pc hardware part for gaming performance. The Ram is tied to your CPU so it will affect your CPU performance. Ram is essentially the muscle of your computer in my opinion.

The Ram helps the CPU perform many tasks such as video editing, playing a game, watching a movie, etc. It helps you do multiple tasks at the same time as well for productivity. Most video games depending on what setting you are playing them at can use up to 8GB of Ram to function.

If you run single channel Ram then you’re going to see a decline in your CPU performance. Most mobos are optimized for Dual Channel and Quad Channel Memory, so please use it whenever possible.

In retrospect, Ram doesn’t play any part in gaming or common multi-tasking. RAM plays a part in productivity applications. Now, with that said having at least 8GB of ram which is the standard should allow you to multi-task and be more productive without computer freeze ups or god forbid restarts or blue screens of death.

Today standard for a custom gaming pc is 16GB of memory. The reason why is because have that extra headroom is important and it keeps your system running smoothly with your hickups. Some AAA titles can utilize up to 8GB of Ram while using over 80% of your GPU VRAM if you playing at high to ultra settings.

In simple terms, ram is based on quantity not exactly quality, but it can be a factor. The more Ram you have the better of you will be as far as multitasking and managing applications.

  • 4GB – Bare Minimum. You see a computer with this memory level unless it’s still 32-bit or an old computer.
  • 8GB – This is today’s standard and just about any computer you purchase at base settings will usually have 8GB of ram either DDR3 or DDR4. I am using a 2012 iMac with only 8GB of RAM to write this guide actually.
  • 16GB – The most recommended and best in my opinion. 16GB of Ram gives you that comfortably because you have that extra 8G of headroom to run your system and apps effectively.

For more information about Memory, Check out the official wikipedia page.

Also, check out the Best Brand Of Memory For Gaming.

Storage (SSD or HDD)

This is actually pretty simple to explain. An SSD or Solid State Drive is a storage medium with no moving parts. While an HDD which is a Hard Drive that is a storage medium as well, but has moving parts.

To put it simply:

If you want faster load times(Games and Operating System), faster rendering times (Video Editing), etc, then you need to pick up an SSD. They are faster, more durable and overall just better… and smaller (2.5inch).

If you just want a hard drive with plenty of storage then an HDD is your man. They are larger (3.5inches and 5.25inches) and less durable.

But, overall if you can afford to get both… DO IT.

Bonus

You can actually get multiple HDDs since they are A LOT cheaper than SSDs and put them in a Raid Array. You can learn more about Raid Arrays by following the link below.

This, in turn, can turn to say three 3TB HDD to a 9TB Raid 0 to increase performance and get SSDs read and write speeds. Pretty Cool Huh.

I call it the “Poor Mans SSD”… HA

For more information on SSDs, follow the link below.

For more information about SSDs, check out the official wikipedia page.

Also, check out the Best SSDs and HDDs for Gaming.

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

The Power Supply Unit or PSU is pretty basic and common sense. Everything needs power and this is what this bad boy is for. It powers up everything from the motherboard, CPU, GPU, Cooling Fan, etc.

There is really only a few things to follow when purchasing a power supply.

  1. By from reviewed and tested manufacturers… EVGA
  2. If you use PCPartPicker it tells you your wattage for your build always double it for futureproofing. For instance, if my build is 400watts then I would get a 750 or 800-watt power supply. In my opinion the higher the better because you won’t have to worry about purchasing a new one if your planning on upgrading in the very near future.
  3. Always buy a PSU with 80+ efficiency rating. It really doesn’t matter if its Bronze, Silver, Gold or whatever. Just make sure its power efficient and decent for the price and it won’t either kill you or last for a decent amount of time.

I RECOMMEND EVGA. Im sure you saw the suggestive hints within the guide. EVGA is just the best brand for PSU. I have never had a problem and I will always buy them. Trust me… A 750 Watt EVGA power supply goes for 60 to 80 bucks which are a steal.

For more information about PSU, follow the link below.

For more information about PSUs, check out the official wikipedia page.

Also, check out the Best PSUs for gaming.

Case

Honestly, this is the simplest to understand. Im not going to go to deep into this like I have with the others, but I will leave a link for you can read more about cases below.

The case is pretty much the embodiment that holds our computer system. Which case you choose really depends on the MOBO that you choose. If you got an ATX MOBO then a “Full Tower ATX Case” would be your best choice.

However, some cases support all MOBO form factors and some don’t. Most ATX cases will support MATX (Micro ATX). Most ITX cases are very small and minimalistic. Simple huh!

Perhaps the hardest part of buying a case is making sure your CPU cooler whether its liquid or air cooling will fit on your motherboard with blocking components. This is why I recommend PCPartPicker because it shows you if there is an issue once you choose the part.

For instance, the Noctua D15 won’t fit on some motherboards without a mounting kit…. Go Figure, Right?

I will leave a link below for more information on Cases.

For more information on Cases, checkout the official wikipedia page.

Also, check out the Best Cases for Gaming.

Build Complete

This is pretty much How to build a gaming pc in 2019. You have all your parts that you need to put your system together. There are plenty of videos on youtube that walks you through building a gaming pc.

I will actually link one of my favorites to help you guys out.

All it is left is choosing some peripherals and software.

Choosing Additional Parts and Installing The OS

Operating System (OS)

So know you have your computer build and running and its post. However, strangely enough, you see a message on your screen saying that an OS doesn’t exist on this drive… HA

Don’t worry if you see that screen then you in good standing, you just build your first gaming pc and its POSTED!. You should be proud! Now we need to give the hardware a way to communicate with us humans. Let’s Install Windows OS

This is what basically what an operating system is because last time I checked its pretty hard to communicate through machine code (Binary Numbers 1s and 0s). I don’t think Im kin to “Seven of Nine” from Star Trek: Voyager…

Now, there are many OS you can choose from. You can choose from Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 10 or you can go the Linux route and install one of the more reputable distros such as Ubuntu or Mint.

Either or they both support Steam these days…

Personally, I would install Windows 10 Home or Pro. There seems to be a big debate about which to install honestly I like features so I install the Pro version, but some prefer the home version.

I will leave a link below which will show you how to optimize your windows. In turn, it helps you turn off all this bulls*it that Microsoft has enabled on your PC and bogging down your resources. Trust me you thank me later.

You can find more info about Window 10 Pro below via the link as well.

Get more information about Windows 10 Pro

Click this link to learn how to optimize your Windows for gaming.

I recommend you watch the video below as well for optimizing your windows install for gaming.

 Mouse and Keyboard

Personally, I have nothing BIG to say about a mouse and a keyboard. I PC game but I have never used a mouse and keyboard. PCs have controller support, you can use a PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, etc controllers with ease. Just install some drivers and BAM!.

I see have a custom Mouse and Keyboard as visually appealing which is for eye candy only. There are some great mouse and keyboards sets and single buys out there that are great for MOBAs, MMOs and strategy games. That is if you use a mouse and keyboard instead of a controller… Anyways…

I will leave a link below for more info on Mouses and Keyboards.

Best Mouse and Keyboards for Gaming.

Game Monitor

Again, most guides will tell you to go 4k or 1440p or whatever. I say a good 1080p monitor with a good refresh rate is good enough for me. I never bought into the hype of 4k bs and im not going to drag you into it either.

 However, if you want the best gaming experience then you might want to consider a 4K display because it’s the top of the light experience in gaming right now.

  1. Any build up to $600 bucks 1080p60FPS
  2. Any build up to $1000 1080p144 or 1440p60
  3. Any build $1000 or above 1440p144 or 4k60 
Now granted you can go 4k or get a higher refresh rate monitor if you want and honestly you should if you can afford it. But, if you can afford it guys just stick with a 1080p monitor for know ok.

Plus you see the better frame on 1080p, but I can’t lie one you experience 1440p or a 144 Hz or higher refresh rate… it’s very very hard to go back.

I have a link for more information on monitors below.

Best Gaming Monitors For Gaming.

Fans

This is really optional, to be honest. You can by extra 120mm or higher fans for your case to help with the cooling. If you have a d15 like me then you should have to worry too much. Plus most cases have great airflow control because of the designs.

Either or it’s good to do your due diligence and do some research first. Also as I said many times before PCPartPicker will help you out TREMENDOUSLY, so use it.

Best Case Fans For Gaming.

Let’s Build Your First Gaming PC

Congrats, now you know everything you need to know about building your first gaming pc. As I stated before if you want to try your hands in building your own custom gaming pc I recommend using PCPartPicker because it will help you the capability issues. If not there is an alternative.

If you down want to go through the hassle of picking your own parts, then you can use one of our pre-picked custom pc builds below.

Budget PC builds – Good For Esports and Casual Play

$300 Build – This is an entry-level build. This is for builders who want a build to just play video games.
$400 Build – This is an entry-level second their build. Same as the first but has a little bit more power.
$500 Build – This is our best value build. This build is capable of playing games at 1080p on medium to high settings.

Mid-range PC builds – Ideal for Esports and Casual to Daily Gaming

$600 Build – This is a mid-range entry-level build. This build is capable of 1080p gaming on high settings and VR on 1440p on low settings.

$700 Build – This is a mid-range entry-level tier 2 build. This build is capable of 1080p 60fps gaming and VR. This build is also valuable for light content creation.

$800 Build – This is the best value mid-range build. This build is capable of 1080p 60fps gaming and VR in 1080p to 1440p in low, med, high settings.

High-end PC builds – Capable of Just About Anything

$1000 Build – This is what we consider an entry-level to high end builds. This build is capable of 1080p and 1440p gaming at 60FPS with ease. It’s also capable of 4k gaming at an acceptable framerate.

$1500 Build – This is the mid-level high-end build. This build has the capabilities of the $1000 build but has more power and capabilities. This is an ideal build for content creation and streaming.
$2000 Build Or Higher Builds – These builds are the cream of the crop. This is as far as the mountain peak goes. These builds are capable of 1080p, 1440p, 4k and even 5k gaming and VR with ease. These builds are ideal for the serious game enthusiast who are not just players but content creators and steamers.

Good Luck and Happy Building.

Robert Gee (Founder/Admin) 

 

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