5 Things To Know Before Building Your First Gaming PC

By September 12, 2016Gaming


So you’ve decided to try your hand at building a custom PC for gaming. Terrific! There are numerous benefits to building your own computer, and the results are simply unparalleled. When it comes to building your own gaming PC, you are limited only by your own creativity (and to a lesser extent, your wallet). That said, it’s important to be very careful when handling expensive internal components, so before you dive right into your first build, keep these five tips in mind. It’ll save you a great deal of grief in the future!

Tip #1: Start small

If you’re working on your first PC build, it’s a good idea to start small. You don’t want to drop $1,200 on the latest and greatest components only to find out that they aren’t compatible with each other. Worse still, with your first build, the chances are very high that you’ll mess something up, and you can very easily turn a powerful piece of computing equipment into an expensive paperweight.

For your first custom gaming PC build, a reasonable budget would be somewhere in the $600-800 region. No, you don’t need a Core i7 to play the newest games: a Core i5, i3 or something from AMD will do just as well. Consider starting with 4 to 6 gigs of RAM; this is sufficient to run most games smoothly, and you can always add more later. A graphics card will provide a significant boost in gaming performance, but if your CPU has a decent integrated graphics processor, maybe hold off until you get a better idea of what you’re doing.

With that said, the two things you definitely do not want to skimp out on when building a gaming PC are your motherboard and power supply. Your motherboard is the foundation of your PC, and a cheap power supply can cause a power surge, frying your expensive parts. If you need some help finding good parts for your first build, you can also check out our articles on the Best CPU For Gaming and our favorite Affordable Motherboards.

Tip #2: Get all your parts from one place

You may be tempted to get the various parts for your PC from many different sources. Maybe you found a great deal on a motherboard+CPU combo on Amazon, a price drop for a GPU on Newegg, and a doorbuster sale for a case at Best Buy. However, if you can afford it, the most convenient way to order your parts is all at once, or through as few different sources as possible.

This is ideal for a few reasons. First, the fewer orders placed, the fewer receipts you’ll need to keep track of in case something goes wrong. When ordering parts online, getting them all in one package will reduce the time you’ll have to wait for your parts to come in before building, as opposed to having to wait an extra week because your CPU got lost in transit.

Now, this isn’t a rule that’s set in stone, but it’s your best option. If you consolidate the majority of your purchases, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and hassle if you need to deal with warranties or customer support. On the subject of warranties…

Tip #3: Get the extended warranty

If the retailer from where you’re ordering your parts offers an extended warranty, take it. This may seem like a waste of money, and this is true for a lot of things for which retailers offer extended coverage plans, but for computer parts they are absolutely necessary. Often times, the base warranty will cover only incidental damage, so if you accidentally fry a component (which you are highly likely to do on your first build), you’re out of luck.

For your motherboard and CPU, get a warranty with at least two years of coverage. For your power supply and graphics card, try to get at least one year, and for your memory, usually the standard warranty is sufficient. This will grant you peace of mind when building your computer, and can save you a great deal of despair further down the line.

Tip #4: Have a clean workspace

So you’ve figured out a budget, ordered all the requisite parts, and purchased generous warranties in case any of them fail. Now all that’s left to do is to tear open all the boxes and splay the parts out on your bed, right? Wrong. You can be as careful as a surgeon when constructing your gaming rig, but if your workspace isn’t up to snuff, you can have some serious issues.

For starters, make sure you’re grounded. Even the slightest spark of static electricity can instantly kill your CPU or motherboard. This can be accomplished with a rubber or silicone foot mat, or simply touching a metal part of your computer case to discharge any static you’ve accumulated. Also, you’ll want a cup or bucket to store the numerous small screws you’ll need to keep track of when opening your case and seating your motherboard.

Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

No matter how sure you are in your PC building abilities, you should always refer to a friend or trusted authority before beginning your build. If you have a friend who has experience building his own PC, have them take a look at your parts and workspace to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. If they’re available, you may also want to convince them to assist you in the building process. Most friend groups have that one friend who’s good with computers, so ask around.

If you don’t have any geek friends, you can always go to a professional. Talking to someone from Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics will provide plenty of helpful information, and they can even build your PC for you if you’re too lazy or nervous to do it yourself. Just know that they usually charge an arm and a leg for the service, and it can take a few days for them to get around to it if they have other clients. Finally, there’s always YouTube and other online resources to find helpful step-by-step tutorials for building your gaming rig.

There you have it: five important tips to consider before diving into your first custom built PC. There are plenty of important things to know before starting, and many ways you can inadvertently mess it up. If after reading all this you’ve become intimidated and no longer want to try building a PC, don’t worry! There are plenty of reasonably priced pre-built gaming PCs you can get online. For some suggestions, you can check out our list of the Best Computers for Gaming Under $600. However, if you’re still determined to build the ultimate gaming rig, keeping these tips in mind will ensure your computer runs smoothly, looks great, and attracts the envy of all your peers. Happy gaming!

Bassem Girgis

About Bassem Girgis

Bassem G. is a writer/screenwriter with a special passion for music. After numerous years of being in the music industry, working closely with some of the top musicians, and performing in legendary venues, he shifted his focus onto various styles of writing. Whether it is music, photography, or writing, Bassem chooses to use art as a platform and a foundation for all of his work.