Guide to PC Gaming
Building your own PC, whether it be for gaming, media creation, or another market has seen a steady increase in popularity as the overall price of hardware has stabilized. Many see it as intimidating, difficult, expensive, even dangerous, but building a gaming PC is most definitely a good investment.
There are many advantages to building your own PC, namely:
However, with anything there will always be a downside:
When it comes to building your own computer, there are a multitude of parts available. If you haven't quite settled on a price range or don't know exactly what parts you want to buy, there are many guides available to help you choose your parts.
Th !e.FaLconO6 consistently updates an extremely useful and intuitive guide to building a computer on a budget. Includes manufacturer recommendations and price-based bracketing.
ZDNet puts together a bimonthly list of current parts.
PCWorld has posted a similar guide.
Tom's Hardware has combined benchmarks on the latest hardware, allowing you to better compare different parts.
Graphics Card Hierarchy has the Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart, News, and Reviews of Graphics Cards
It can also behoove you to look at the best selling items in each parts category on Newegg to see what other people are buying.
One final thing you want to do when using any of these resources is to shop around. Use these as a starting board, and don't treat them as the be all end all of kits. In looking at alternatives, you may find one that is slightly cheaper or suits you better.
Also try and purchase the parts from as few shops as possible as this will cut down on delivery costs as some online stores will deliver to you for free if you spend a certain amount with them.
While not guaranteed to have the lowest prices all the time, these sites are popular with the PC building crowd:
When purchasing parts for your new PC you may want to consider the option to make it silent.
In a normal gaming PC the CPU, GPU, power supply, and sometimes sections of the case can have their own fan. This may be fine in a regular gaming PC, but multiple fans in a computer can lead to too much noise. Thus, there are special considerations that can be made in an effort to reduce noise.
Liquid cooling is the best way to both keep components cool and silent. There exist kits that allow you to liquid cool the CPU and GPU simultaneously. Motherboards and RAM can also be cooled with water but are uncommon. This can greatly reduce the number of fans running in a PC at a given time. Another option is to create a waterproof case and submerge the whole system in [ mineral oil] or [ vegetable oil].
The makers of such liquid cooling kits include:
Something to keep in mind when buying parts is "bottlenecking". Essentially, this is the fact that the slowest part of your computer will affect the speed of everything else. If you spend the money on a fast CPU and good RAM, but get a cheap graphics card, your computer will run poorly. Make sure all the parts you get are up to speed with each other, or your money will be wasted.
This section isn't meant to be a comprehensive install guide for newbies, you can find those farther down the page. This is a list of things to watch out for; steps the guides often skip or gloss over, and things to watch out for.
Hardware Revolution - A good site for finding a range of options for your build—from economy, to mid level, to beastly machines that will require a second mortgage. You can build a PC based just off of their suggestions with no compatibility issues.
Tom's Hardware - All manner of hardware reviews.
Ars Technica - A cheeky little video series on building your machine.
/r/buildapc - get help with your build here
PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard - helpful resource for getting the best parts for the money; updated constantly as new products are released.
Step by step guide by Testet, With jeff form Giantbomb.
NewEgg - NewEgg is great for finding good deals for computer parts.
PCPartPicker - Great to help you list the parts you're considering and then allows you to solicit feedback.
Logical Increments PC Buying Guide
eXtreme Power Supply Calculator - Handy tool for making sure you don't under- or over-provision the power supply for your planned system.
Pangoly - Useful service that allows you to create and share custom builds starting from your preferred budget. Also PC build guidelines are available.