PC Build Guide: How to Choose the Right Parts

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man playing in a computer

Building a gaming PC requires a lot of planning and researching. It is an investment, so you want to get the most out of it. You can do that by having a balanced list of parts. Picking parts can be tricky. It’s best that you ask yourself about the kinds of games that you will play on your PC or what other purposes you have for it, and go from there. But don’t worry. Here is a guide on which parts to choose.

Power Supply Unit

This is the component that will distribute the power to your system. This will also dictate which of the other parts you will choose. In general, a 500-watt PSU can power a midrange system with room for upgrades. If you want extra room, 600 watts should be a safe bet. Seven hundred watts can handle high-end components with room to spare. For non-gaming PCs, 300 watts should be plenty enough.

Motherboard

This is what will house and connect your other parts together. Like the PSU, this will also dictate your part choices later. You will know what your future upgrade path is by checking the features of the motherboard. Here are the things to look for:

  • Chipset. Manufacturers will state if the chipset will let you overclock your processor or not. This can also dictate the number of peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) lanes available for the PC.
  • RAM slots. Mainstream motherboards run RAM sticks in dual-channel mode. This means that if you have two sticks of identical RAM, they can run in parallel for better performance. Check if the board has two or four slots. If you want expandability, go for four slots. More RAM lets you multitask better, while faster clocks can provide a small performance boost.
  • Fan headers. These will determine how many fans you can attach. Any fans connected to the motherboard may be controlled through its BIOS. Otherwise, if the headers are not enough, you will need to attach them using Molex connectors. These will run the fans at full speed.
  • SATA headers and m.2 slots. These will dictate how much serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) or m.2 storage drives you can connect.
  • PCIe. This is where your video card will slot in.

Another thing that you have to look for is the size of the motherboard. The smallest one is ITX, mainly used for small form factor PCs. Due to its size, it usually has only two RAM slots and one PCIe slot. The next size up is micro ATX or mATX. This is a good mix of having a compact size and full features. The next size is ATX. This is larger and has more PCIe slots than mATX.

Processor

This is the brain of your system. If you’re looking into doing some video editing or encoding, having more cores and threads are better. If it’s just for gaming, the midrange processors should be fast enough to handle even high-end video cards. For basic office work, the entry-level ones would do. Make sure that your processor is compatible with your motherboard.

Video Card

A necessity if you’re looking to game on your PC. This is where the bulk of your budget goes. Ideally, half of it should be spent here. What games will you be playing and at what resolution?

Video cards at the $400 to $500 range typically should let you game on high settings at 1440p resolution. You can push it to play some older games at 4K. Two hundred fifty dollars to $350 should give you excellent performance at 1080p. Two hundred dollars below should let you play popular eSports titles at 1080p.

Monitor

dual flat screen monitors

If you’re into competitive games, consider prioritizing the refresh rate. Refresh rates of 144hz and above should let you game with great responsiveness. Other factors you want to consider are the size and native resolution.

Case

Choosing your case is a matter of preference. Find one that suits your taste. Make sure that the motherboard you choose fits in it. Be mindful of its airflow as well. The case should have enough openings.

Others

You can start with a regular keyboard and mouse. The important thing is that you build the best performing PC that you can first before anything else. Your PC’s performance will be the main factor in how good you can play on competitive games. Additional costs will come from the operating system license and other software and peripherals.

So there you have it. With this guide, you should have a better time choosing your PC parts. You’d better start doing your homework now so that you can build your PC soon.

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