To get started, you need to understand what each of the computer parts does. You’ll find some components in almost every gaming PC built out there: Computer Case, Power Supply Unit (PSU), Motherboard, RAM, and Processor.
We’ll discuss these individually below but we want to take a second briefly to talk about computer compatibility. If you’re buying any of these components on your own, make sure they are compatible with each other.
There are a few different standards when it comes to computer parts. Most gaming PCs are built using generic system components, which work with almost any other type of hardware. However, some specific manufacturer systems use unique technology and will only work if they are compatible with the other hardware in your build.
Don’t worry about this too much when you’re first starting as most common components that are sold today will conform to a universal standard like ATX or microATX for motherboards and power supplies.
In addition to these basics, there are also more advanced computer parts that may be included in your build: Optical drives, network adapters, sound cards, case fans, or even graphic processing units (GPUs). We’ll cover some of these more advanced computer parts later in this guide.
There are a lot of options out there and it may be overwhelming to figure out exactly what you need at first, especially if you’ve never put together a gaming PC build before or don’t have much experience with computers. To make things easier for you, we’re going to break down each component separately so that you know what they do and what their functions are.
After getting all the details on each component, we will then discuss how they work together when building your computer as well as provide information on different styles of gaming PCs so that you can decide which kind is best for your needs, budget, space requirements, etc.
Finally, at the end of this guide, you’ll find a detailed list of our favorite parts and brands for building a gaming PC. This will make it easy for you to know exactly what computer hardware components are compatible with each other and will help keep things organized so that your gaming PC build goes as smoothly as possible.
HOW COMPUTERS WORK
Computers have been around for more than 50 years now, but most people still don’t understand how they work. You can spend a lot of time learning all about computer architecture, binary code, etc., or just learn the basics to get started building one yourself.
Before deciding which way is right for you, let’s start by briefly discussing what computers do. A computer is an electronic machine that processes information automatically. Computers are typically used for things like spreadsheets, word processing, and browsing the web, but there are also a lot of other activities that they can be used for as well.
Computer hardware uses a combination of numbers and binary code to process this information. For example, computers use ones and zeros (0s & 1s) to represent data in the form of letters or numbers (like 0x234). Each letter or number has its unique numerical value so it can be easily identified by the computer’s processor. This is called binary coding, which is just using ones and zeros to identify every single piece of data created within your PC.
What this means for you is that to work with a computer, you need to be able to understand the way it processes information and how all of those and zeros make up everything we use and see on our computer screens: web pages, images files, videos, etc.
With all the computer knowledge acquired here by reading our guide, you will be able to build computers for any purpose.
The main Computer Parts:
- CPU (Central Processing Unit)
- Graphics Card/Video card/GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
- RAM (Random Access Memory)
- Gaming Computer Case
- Power supply unit (PSU)
- Hard drive (SSD/HDD)
- Gaming monitors
- Gaming mice
- Gaming keyboards
- Gaming speakers
- Gaming headsets
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
Selecting a CPU for your build is arguably one of the most important decisions you will make as it not only affects the amount and type of software that can run on your machine but also how well everything else performs through its clock rates and system bus.
Going back to recommendations here since budget constraints are no longer an issue; the nice part about newer boards is they all support modern processors which make comparisons between them much easier.
I’ve tried to introduce them with additional information on each so you can get a good idea of where performance sits at various levels. The information is based on modern processors available from Intel, AMD, and a few others with integrated graphics solutions.
If you don’t plan on overclocking your system very far (or at all), it might be best to stick with one of the “stock” cooling options that come with the CPU since they should be more than adequate for most users though I’ll still provide some details below.
Ready to buy? Shop CPUs.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a CPU.
Graphics Card (Graphics Processing Unit)
The graphics card is the hardware component connected to most monitors these days, responsible for displaying images onscreen and interpreting instructions from your CPU about how to do so effectively?
The type of graphics card you choose will determine what games you’ll be able to play and how well they’ll run. You can choose from three different types of graphics cards: integrated, dedicated, and hybrid graphics cards.
Ready to buy? Shop Graphics Cards.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Graphics Card.
The motherboard is the central hub of your PC. It connects all of the different components and provides a platform by which each component can work together efficiently with the others within your system build.
Your motherboard comes in two general styles: ATX or Micro-ATX style (there are smaller versions known as Mini-ITX boards but we won’t go into those now). Most gaming PC builds will use an ATX motherboard.
Ready to buy? Shop Motherboards.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Motherboard.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
The RAM is the memory used by the computer to store information it needs quickly and easily. RAM allows your CPU to perform tasks more efficiently when compared with using a hard drive alone.
Your computer will “swap” information back and forth between the hard drive and RAM when transitioning between applications or programs, which is why you should try to get as much RAM as possible if you plan on having lots of programs open at once while playing games on your gaming PC.
Ready to buy? Shop RAM.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a RAM.
Gaming Computer Case
The case is the box part of your gaming PC. It may also be called a chassis or system unit, and it’s basically where all the other hardware components get attached once you build your computer. The type of case you choose will depend on how much internal space is available for you to work with, and what parts/accessories you plan to use as well.
The case is the part of your gaming PC that houses all the other hardware components, so it’s important to choose one that you like the look of and will be easy for you to work with later on. You should also get something that gives you enough room to grow as your gaming PC evolves.
Ready to buy? Shop Gaming Computer Cases.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Gaming Computer Case.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
The power supply unit converts AC into DC, which in turn powers all of the hardware components within your computer. It also acts as a filter for most of the power coming into your PC system.
The PSU is one of the most important parts of any PC build and should be carefully chosen and researched before making your purchase. You can find out how many watts you need by doing some research on what each component in your PC build requires.
Ready to buy? Shop Power Supplies.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Power Supply.
The purpose of cooling is to disperse heat that builds up inside those various pieces of hardware that we mentioned previously such as CPU, graphics card, RAM, etc…
This heat generation comes from electricity running through those pieces or from using certain parts/software that generates more heat than others do.
Ready to buy? Shop Cooling Systems.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Cooling System.
Hard Drive (SSD/HDD)
A hard drive (HDD) is a storage device for your computer. It can be used for anything from storing photos or music to playing games and working on documents.
The main difference between an HDD and an SSD is that the former uses moving parts (spinning platters) to store data, while the latter uses flash memory, which doesn’t require any movement at all.
It might seem like using a spinning disk would take longer to access information than a nonmoving solid-state drive, but this has pretty much stopped making a difference in everyday use years ago. The main benefit of an SSD is that it doesn’t have any moving parts, so it will last longer and won’t fail as easily as an HDD.
Ready to buy? Shop Hard Drives.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Hard Drive.
Gaming Peripherals and Accessories
Choosing a monitor can be very difficult, especially when you don’t know what to look for. We’ve spent many hours researching the most important factors in selecting a gaming monitor for your computer build or upgrade and have hopefully made it easier for you.
There are two main things to consider when choosing an optimal gaming monitor: panel type and input lag.
Three different panel types should be considered: Twisted Nematic (TN) Panels, Vertical Alignment (VA) Panels, and In-Plane Switching (IPS) Panels. Each one has its benefits and drawbacks.
Ready to buy? Shop Gaming Monitors.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Gaming Monitor.
Similar to gaming keyboards, there’s no “best gaming mouse” since they all offer different features. So instead of recommending one model, we’ll discuss the most important factors that you should consider when choosing one for your specific needs.
Most gamers will use a sensitivity setting between 400 and 3200 which determines how fast the mouse moves across the screen based on the distance it travels.
The higher this number is set, the faster it will move – meaning that you have less time to react and click onto enemies while aiming in-game. This aspect may take some getting used to before it feels like second nature, but if you play first-person shooters then this might be something worth experimenting with after you become familiar with the game.
Ready to buy? Shop Gaming Mice.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Gaming Mouse.
Just like gaming mice, there are tons of different keyboard models for your gaming PC build but choosing one that meets your needs comes down to two main factors. They’re key switches and key rollovers.
There are three types of key switches most commonly used with mechanical keyboards: Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Black, and Cherry MX Blue. Each offers a different level of responsiveness which is described in terms of actuation distance (how far you have to press the key before it registers) and actuation force (how hard you have to press the key). For example, a switch will require an actuation distance of 2 mm with an actuation force of 45 CN when using a cherry MX black switch.
Red switches require the least amount of actuation force and are best suited for gaming where instant reactions are necessary while black and blue switches take just a bit longer to press, making them ideal for typing since you can hold your finger down on them without worrying about accidentally pressing another key. There are also “clicky” versions of each switch that provide tactile feedback whenever a key is pressed and released as well as linear versions which don’t make any noise when they’re used.
Ready to buy? Shop Gaming Keyboards.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Gaming Keyboard.
Choosing the right gaming speakers for your build or upgrade is a tough process – there are so many different options out there and you want to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck. Since there are tons of products available, we’ll highlight what makes a good set of speakers: size, type of sound reproduction, and connectivity options.
Size refers to how physically large they are which may affect whether or not they can fit inside your pre-existing setup without any issues.
You should also consider the type of audio reproduction used by most high-quality gaming headsets such as dynamic range compression (DRC), bass reflex ports, transducers (drivers), and satellites – these aren’t necessary but will provide more satisfying sound output.
For your gaming PC build or upgrade, the speakers should ideally have a 3.5 mm jack (audio in) and/or an RCA output (auxiliary audio-out). You can also choose between 2.1 and 5.1 speaker setup – remember that you don’t necessarily need to have all of them connected for it to function properly.
Ready to buy? Shop Gaming Speakers.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Gaming Speaker.
Selecting a gaming headset can be quite challenging, but there are several factors that you should consider before making any decisions. The first is compatibility; if it’s not compatible with your PC then it doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than as regular headphones or earbuds. Some headsets come equipped with various microphone jacks (3.5mm and USB) while others also have controller input options so you can plug in an Xbox 360 controller, PS4 controller, etc to use the headset when playing games on those platforms as well!
When it comes to sound quality many people prefer over-the-ear models since they prevent outside noise from interfering too much which is especially helpful for gamers who get a little too into their games and forget about the world around them!
A good pair of headphones should have high sound reproduction for crisp audio quality without any annoying static or buzzing, comfortable padding to help prevent irritating your ears/head over time. Headphones should also be designed with a solid build quality since you’ll be moving them around quite frequently – you don’t want to break down mid-game do you?
Ready to buy? Shop Gaming Headsets.
Want to learn more? Read our in-depth guide to choosing a Gaming Headset.
We know that buying computer parts can be a daunting task. There are so many different types of components, and they all have their specific nuances to consider when purchasing them.
This article is designed to help you navigate this process with ease by providing an overview of the most important aspects of each type of component you may need for your build.
The main computer parts (CPU/GPU) will be covered first before we move onto other considerations like RAM or cooling units. If there’s anything else about these topics that interest you but was not addressed here, please leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible. Thank