Many of you reading this are building your first gaming PC and will be doing so on a budget. Whether you’re working a seasonal job to save up money or your good grades earned you a sweet rig doesn’t matter; there are some things you should consider before you spend a single cent.
Here are 5 tips for building your first gaming PC:
#1 Know What Video Games You’re Going to Play
Believe it or not, a lot of games don’t require high-powered hardware so you can play them. In fact, most of today’s popular titles are able to run on PCs with “just average” hardware.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the 10 most popular video games on Steam:
- Dota 2
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Team Fortress 2
- ARK: Survival Evolved
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Clicker Heroes
- Football Manager 2015
- Garry’s Mod
- Sid Meier’s Civilization V
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
None of these game require more than 4GB of RAM and most of them will work just fine with a dual core 2.0GHz or equivalent processor and a video card with 1GB of RAM. Sure, you may not be able to play new games like Grand Theft Auto V at ultra high settings, but that leads me to my next tip…
#2 Don’t Try and Keep Up with the Competition
I know your favorite Twitch streamer is using an overclocked i7 CPU with dual Titan X’s and 32GB of RAM. But that’s because they need that power for livestreaming, video editing, and benchmarking the newest games. And while it would be nice to have those specs inside your own gaming PC, it doesn’t mean you need them.
If all you want to do is play video games, save yourself some money and buy the hardware you actually need. Trust me, you’ll never be able to keep up with those awesome PCs you see online because technology moves too fast. By the time you’ve saved up enough money to buy those dual Titan X’s you’ve been eyeballing, the next best thing will already be here.
To prove my point I’d like to share with you my own personal gaming PC. I spent about $1000 for modest specs that allow me to play any video game I want at 1080p resolution and 60fps. I know it’s not the fastest or most powerful gaming PC in the world, but it’ll last me a couple of years.
#3 Do Your Research Before Buying Anything
I get it. You want to build your first gaming PC and you want to do it now. But do you actually know what you need to buy? I thought so.
I know you’re on summer vacation and the last thing you want to do is study but now is the perfect opportunity to learn as much as possible about PC hardware.
- download the “How to Build a PC” eBook
- watch the “How to Build a PC” videos
- ask us questions on Reddit
Once you’ve figured out what it takes to build a gaming PC, head on over to PCPartPicker and start piecing together the components. This process is a lot easier once you know what everything does, why you need it, and how to install it. You should also take a look at the Completed Builds list to see different options for various budgets.
#4 Wait for Sales and Shop Around
There’s more than one place to buy PC hardware and all of these stores are competing for your business. And if you take the time to click around the internet you’ll find good deals at different places every day of the week.
Here are the best days to scoop up a deal during summer:
- Graduation Day
- Father’s Day
- 4th of July
- First Week of School
Every store will have sales during these days and you’ll be able to buy PC hardware at huge discounts. And if you don’t buy all of your parts from the same place you’ll probably save even more money.
#5 Buy Games Before You Build a PC
Summer is the one time of year where you can buy great video game titles at next-to-nothing prices. Steam, GOG, and other PC gaming storefronts have daily deals all summer long and you’ll be able to save a lot of money.
Some of the best video game deals I’ve seen this summer:
If you’re saving up money during the summer, you can still buy these games without having to download any of them. And If you don’t have a PC you can use right now, you can bust out your smartphone and shop from there. Take advantage of these summer sales because you probably won’t see games this cheap for another year.
Building your first gaming PC is fun but it’s also an opportunity to avoid the mistakes previous first-time builders made in the past. Hopefully my tips help you prepare for your PC gaming adventure and help you save a few bucks in the process. As always, you can get in touch with us if you have any questions or need any more help!