How to: Build a gaming computer

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Updated January 7, 2021

Are your fingers been itching to build your own gaming computer, but you're not sure where to start? It's actually a lot easier than you might think. We have gathered the key components along with some pro-advice on who to easily build your very own gaming computer.

Why should you build your own gaming computer? Which are the best parts? What does it cost? We will answer these questions and many more in this guide. And the best part about it? You don't need to be a rocket scientist or tech expert to be able to build a computer. All you need is the right information and some expert advice.

With the help of Godsent-founder and e-sport pro Markus "Pronax" Wallsten we will guide you through the basics of computer building as well as giving you some pro hacks both for a budget and premium setup.

Why should you build your own gaming computer

There are many reasons as to why you should consider building your own gaming computer instead of just buying one.

  • Building your own computer will in most cases save you some money, it will also ensure that your components are of higher quality it also makes upgrading in the future easier.

  • When you buy a finished computer there will often be "bait-parts" promoted, like a great processor and graphics card, the manufacturer may then skimp on the power supply, motherboard and memory card to keep the production cost low.

  • If you build your own computer from scratch you will be able to select each part piece by piece and make sure they're all optimal for your use and of good quality.

  • If you're not a tech-expert, building a computer from scratch is a great way to learn all the components and their use that make for a great computer.

Which components are worth splurging on?

All components are equally important to get a balanced and high-functioning computer, however there are some parts that are worth spending a bit extra on.

Power supply

Investing a few extra pounds on a good quality power supply is a very good idea. Even if there are cheaper power supples that can get the job done they usually don't last for very long and what could be worse than running into issues and blue screens during a gaming session?

"Some advantages with putting a few extra pounds on a better power supply is that it will be more quiet, more energy efficient and it will last longer. Even if you have the exact same set-up a better power supply will generally consume less energy from the wall socket and you will get your money's worth if you use your computer a lot." -Markus "Pronax" Wallsten

Tip! A power supply should ideally be used at 50% of max capacity for maximum energy efficiency. This will of course vary between different power supplies. So if all components in your set-up consume 400W you should look to use a 800W power supply. The easiest way to find out how much your set-up consumes, is to ask someone who is well versed on computers or on an internet forum.

Corsair RM750x V2 750W

Corsair RM750x V2 750W

A power supply that delivers 80-PLUS Gold efficient power, a fully modular cable set, a 10-year warranty and is essentially noiseless. According to Sweclockers.com "This year's edition of the Corsair RM750x continues to be a top choice in its price range, with amazing power and silent performance."

Hard drive

It is also worth putting a bit of extra money on a NVMe M.2 SSD (Solid State Drive) that can be fitted in a M.2 expansion slot on the motherboard. These are significantly faster than standard SSDs since they are connected directly onto the motherboard instead of a SATA cable. Make sure that the motherboard supports M.2 expansion slots so that it can fit one of these faster drives. For added benefit, look out for SSDs that support PCIe 4.0 that comes with faster read speeds in order to future proof. If the need for more storage should arise you can very easily expand it with a slower SATA SSD that offers a bit more GB for your money.

Samsung 980 Pro Series MZ-V8P500BW 500GB

Samsung 980 PRO PCle 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD 500GB

The Samsung beast NVMe SSD with the latest PCI 4.0 interface which is twice as fast as the PCIe 3.0 and over 12 times faster than a SATA SSD and can reach speeds of up to 7 000 MB/s.

Motherboard

When you buy a ready made gaming computer the motherboard will in most cases be a cheap one that doesn't measure up to the normal standard when it comes to size or compatibility with the RAM memory. Since it usually is a custom model there will rarely be any BIOS-updates that can support the new software. It's good to bear in mind for the future that it is often very hard to upgrade components.

ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming

An affordable motherboard with ATX-form factor and amazing performance. It supports AMD Ryzen 3000-series processors and even the latest PCI Express 4.0-standard which gives twice as high band width when compared to the earlier generation.

Corsair Vengeance LPX Black DDR4 3200MHz 2x16GB (CMK32GX4M2B3200C16)

Corsair Vengeance LPX Black DDR4 3200MHz 2x16GB

Vengeance LPX is designed for high-performance overclocking. The heatspreader is made of pure aluminum for faster heat dissipation, and eight-layers of PCB helps with cooling and provides superior overclocking headroom.

Customise your gaming computer with RGB-lighting

Add some spice to your computer with colourful water coolers. Here are two popular water coolers with RGB-lighting

Corsair SP120 RGB Pro 120mm LED

Corsair SP120 RGB Pro 120mm LED

Easily customise your computer with a bit of colour and cool down your set-up at the same time with these high-performance fans with 8 controllable RGB- LED lines per fan hub and with a fan speed of up to 1400 rotations per minute.

Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix

Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix

This high performance water cooler from Corsair delivers a powerful and silent cooling system in combination with a pump head with 33 colourful RGB-LEDs and 8 RGB-LEDs per fan hubs to make sure that you have an amazing cooling system that also looks great.

Q&A with Markus "Pronax" Wallsten

We're chatting with Godsent-founder and e-sport pro Markus "Pronax" Wallsten, know as one of the world's most successful CS:GO player during his time in the super team Fnatic.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when building a computer?

Use common sense and ask for advice if you feel stuck. It's much easier to build your own computer than most people think.

What is a common mistake that most people make?

Many use too much thermal paste and it's not uncommon for first time builders to forget to remove the plastic from the CPU-cooler's heat sink. You should avoid rushing building your computer and it's always good to read the manuals thoroughly if you're not already familiar with the components that you will be building with.

It's quite common for people to not follow the manual properly when installing the RAM-memory. Many motherboards support Dual-channel for RAM memory, which essentially means that the memory speed will double if they are installed correctly, you will often find the information on how to install it properly in the manual.

How can I make sure I get the best value for my money?

Stay up to date with news about upcoming hardware. It's not uncommon that new and improved components are just around the corner, which offer better performance at the same or a lower price point.

A great resource for product news is Techradar

What should you not buy?

Everyone has different needs, so it's a bit hard to say. At the moment I would say that it's quite un-necessary to pay for Anti-virus. Microsoft Defender, which is included in the Windows package is one of the best anti-virus programs when it comes to finding a virus in the system and also one of the most resource-efficient as well.

What is your ultimate set-up?

A computer that would never give me any trouble or need cleaning :)

How much can you customise your build?

Essentially as much as you want. There is everything from RGB-fan's and waterblock's to custom-chassi's.

Are there any trends to keep and eye out for?

AMD has the benefit of being the only ones in the market that create both CPUs and GPUs themselves. The newly launched Ryzen 5000-series and the 6000-series graphic cards will work very well together. They communicate in a very special way that gives up to 11% better performance while gaming compared to if you were to use the graphic card with another CPU.

Pronax top 3 tips when building a gaming computer...

  1. Check out YouTube videos of other people building computers from start to finish, and take note of what they do.
  2. Ask someone with more experience if you ever get stuck.
  3. Take your time, especially if you're new to computer building. Rushing the process might be an expensive story. (Many guides on how to build your computer won't mentions spacers and standoffs. They are like small bolts that sit between the chassi and motherboard, they are very important to use to avoid a short-circuit. )

... and what you should avoid

  • Cheap power supplies and membrane-keyboards!

Best product for a budget set-up

Pronax lists some great products for when you're building your computer on a lower budget.

Best products for a premium setup

Pronax lists premium products if you're looking to splurge on your set-up!

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