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Building a Gaming Computer Overview


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#1
Doooz

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One second of lag can cost you a match. I wrote this guide to provide an overview of all necessary parts you need to build a gaming computer. The guide also includes information on how your computer hardware can affect your gaming.

Monitor

The monitor displays your game with your preferences. The monitor you choose can help or hinder your game play experience. You want your monitor to be set for whats comfortable for you. Brightness, contrast, sharpness can be tweaked to fit you and improve your gaming.

Your monitor can also provide you advantages over other gamers by increasing your Field of View or FOV. What this means is buying a larger monitor and increasing your aspect ratio you can see more of the game on your screen.

Mouse

The mouse is your controller, it is what interfaces your movements to the game. The accuracy of which your mouse tracks your movements determines its quality. There are both optical and laser computer mice but only laser mice should be used by gamers.

The Dots Per Inch (DPI) determines the maximum sensitivity of your mouse. A gamer who plays a sniper would want higher DPI for more precision where a machine gun blood lust gamer may want a lower sensitivity. Gaming mice can change DPI with the mouse or hot keys to accommodate changing game play.

Gaming mice come in different sizes. Hand sizes and grips vary from gamer to gamer it is important to pay attention of who it is designed for. The standard most manufacturers use is the average sized male hand which is 189 mm, if you measure your own hand and find it more then 20 mm away from this standard you need to look for a mouse designed for your hand size. Women, have on average 172mm hand size so gaming mice advertised for women are ideal for gamers with smaller hands.

Mouse Pad

The mouse pad is the surface between your mouse and the desk, it can also provide cushioning for your wrist. What makes a quality mouse pad is how it interacts with your style of game play.

Some gamers like cotton mouse pads because they are comfortable but the ideal mouse pads are solid non flexible materials. The reason professional gamers use sold mouse pads is because it prevents dipping. If your mouse pad is made of a soft material it can dip and if it dips the laser on the mouse will see this dip, resulting in a erratic movement of the mouse.

While eliminating erratic moments hard services also allow you to glide faster. Mouse pads can be designed for specific gaming mice to give gamers a more comfortable or faster mouse glide to fit their game play.

Keyboard

This is your second controller, using it simultaneously with your mouse. The keyboard can do anything the mouse can except move the pointer. You need to decide what actions you want your mouse to do then set your keyboard to do everything else.

Make it comfortable for your hand to reach all your hot keys. Make sure to memorize and burn into your mind what every hot key does because when using your mouse and keyboard you do it subconsciously if you have to think about what key to press you already lost.

Headset

Playing a team game with others you need to be able to communicate clearly. Headsets need to have microphones that let you do this. Also with a headset on you aren't listening to speakers you may want to spend the extra money for surround sound headset. When a game gives you 3D sounds make sure to utilize it with either surround sound headset or a combination of a headset and speakers.

Speakers

Sound quality is important it can tell you the location of a firefight or an approaching enemy. The quality of your surround sound determines the accuracy of what you hear.

Computer Tower


Motherboard

The motherboard should be the first component you look at for your tower, it determines what your computer will be compatible with.

It determines the maximum speeds of which devices can interact and the number of devices (slots) you can have.

If a motherboard says a device can only operate at a certain speed it doesn't matter how much it costs or what the box says it will only go that fast. For example CPU speeds, particularly Front Side Bus (FSB) speeds, you want your motherboard equal to or higher than the FSB of your CPU.

Motherboard also limits you in number of devices, for multiple graphics cards SLI although I do not recommend it for most games it is important to have not just the right amount of PCI slots but also enough space between them as more and more graphics cards have built in fans making them larger.

The motherboard also limits the amount of RAM you can use by limiting the slots and limiting the size and speed of RAM that can be put into that slot.

I recommend choosing your motherboard first so you can check and make sure each piece after that is compatible.

CPU

This is the central processor unit. It provides your computer with speed, everything your computer does it uses this to manage your requests. Want to turn on your computer, start your game or load your character it is all done through the processor.

The faster your processor the faster your computer but remember it has to fit with your motherboard and will only go as fast as it will allows.

RAM

The Random Access Memory stores a small amount of information that is currently being used on your computer. It stores it here instead of the hard drive because its faster to access. The more memory you have the more data you can store, the faster your memory the quicker you can change that memory.

The maximum speed and memory size is determined by the motherboard.

Video Card

The motherboard can do basic 2D graphics such as text but for 3D applications you need a dedicated graphics card. Graphics cards come in all shapes and sizes but have to features, speed and memory size. Graphics cards come with built in memory, the more memory the better as long as it comes with the additional speed to match it. Video cards are fairly straight forward the higher the speed the more memory the better.

Multiple video cards can be used with some motherboards, this is not recommended. Yes, using two video cards is faster than using a single one but for the cost of the two cards you could have bought a single higher quality video card. One graphics card is the way to go, if for some reason you are set on using multiple video cards make sure your game and motherboard are compatible or you may notice no improvement for double the cost.

The performance of video cards in games is often bench marked by gamers in Frames Per Second (FPS). When looking at graphics cards I recommend looking at bench mark sites that use the same computer with different graphics cards and compare the FPS of different games as this would show how much your computer will improve with that new video card.

There is an incredible amount you can learn about video cards if your dedicated but if you don't want to have to read mountains of information just be aware of FPS and choose your favorite bench mark site that compares different video cards for your game.

Hard drive

Solid state and mechanical hard drives store all the data on your computer. Everything from booting your computer to loading your game can be improved by using a solid state hard drive. They are expensive right now but buying a 32 GB solid state for your operating system and game is all you need, use the less expensive mechanical hard hard drive for everything else.

Make sure your motherboard is compatible with solid states hard drives and multiple hard drives.

CD reader

If you still need a CD to play your game you need a compatible CD reader. If you have a solid state hard drive you want to make sure the game boots from your computer without the disc otherwise you wasted your money buying a solid state hard drive.

Sound card

The headset and speakers don't create the sound, it is done here in the sound card of your computer. If you have a low quality output from your sound card you will hear a low quality sound from your headset and speakers.

Make sure your sound card is compatible with your motherboard, games 3D surround sound and your speakers/headset.

Cooling

Cooling can be achieved in many ways. The most common are Fans, liquid cooling and simply taking the side of the case off.

When adding fans to a computer tower make sure to consider the air flow. An example of good use of fans is to have a fan in front blowing air into the computer, a fan on the side blowing air out, and a fan(s) on the back blowing air out as well.

Liquid cooling may sound scary, no one wants water to leak inside their computer but there are systems like Thermaltake that are all in one cooling devices. They are designed to replace standard CPU fans with water cooled heat sinks connected to radiator / fans that go right to the end of the computer. This type of plug and go cooling system is great for beginners as it is safe simple and costs about the same as it replaces the standard CPU fan.

Also for those on a budget if your in a clean environment removing the side panel from your tower will improve airflow. Be careful not to let dust or metal objects into the tower.

Power Supply


The power supply should be purchased last. What you want to do is add up the power requirements of all devices and buy a power supply greater than what is necessary to run them.

Case

The case of your computer tower needs to have the external connections for all your devices and enough space for your hardware. Make sure they all fit and remember the more space the easier it is to work with and cool.

Over clocking

This involves going into the bios or through the devices software and changing the speed from manufacturer specified to a faster speed. Check your devices warranty overclocking often voids the warranty. Some devices are made to be overclocked and by increasing the speed you gain performance at no additional cost. Increasing the speed of a device too much will begin to degrade performance of your computer, once this starts happening you can increase voltage to gain offset this degradation but it can damage the device.

Overclocking speeds will cause errors if raised to high, increase voltage to stop these errors gaining more speed but increasing voltage too high will destroy your component.

Overclocking shortens the lifetime of your device and should only be done by people who know what they are doing. No, you will not cause your computer to explode and kill you with shrapnel, step up the voltage too much you can destroy your computer.

Operating System

Microsoft and MAC, are your two main choices as gamers. Majority of games are now compatible with both, to be safe go with Microsoft, the most popular PC operating system.

PC is an acronym for Personal Computer.

I hope you found this guide useful, the the source of this guide is: www.ProGamingTours.net

Please post any questions or comments you have on the guide I will reply to them all :)

Edited by Doooz, 09 September 2011 - 08:37 AM.

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#2
Neil Jones

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"If you are going to spend a lot of money on one component this is it." with regards to the motherboard.

I disagree.

For gaming purposes the graphics card is more important because the benchmarks have shown that you can increase gaming performance on an older computer by simply replacing the graphics card with a better one, and getting a boost that would outweigh the increase seen in upgrading the processor.

Spending a fortune on a motherboard does not a better system make. Yes it will probably do more but if you have no intention of using the extra features beyond the basics, it's a pointless investment when you can usually add the extra functionality via an add-in card at a later date.

Your power supply line also needs a note with regards to the brand. The output of a power supply does not necessarily mean it can do it, a lot of cheaper ones can't. A half-decent brand, as well as being more efficient, will cope better under load and when it does go bang, shouldn't take the rest of the system out with it.
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#3
Faoeoa

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To be honest, if your a AMD CPU guy, you can make a smooth LAN gaming rig for £500 ($800)
6 cores, the m-ATX boards are extremely cheap for AMD, Intel you have to goto about £900 ($1600)
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#4
Doooz

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"If you are going to spend a lot of money on one component this is it." with regards to the motherboard.

I disagree.

For gaming purposes the graphics card is more important because the benchmarks have shown that you can increase gaming performance on an older computer by simply replacing the graphics card with a better one, and getting a boost that would outweigh the increase seen in upgrading the processor.

Spending a fortune on a motherboard does not a better system make. Yes it will probably do more but if you have no intention of using the extra features beyond the basics, it's a pointless investment when you can usually add the extra functionality via an add-in card at a later date.

Your power supply line also needs a note with regards to the brand. The output of a power supply does not necessarily mean it can do it, a lot of cheaper ones can't. A half-decent brand, as well as being more efficient, will cope better under load and when it does go bang, shouldn't take the rest of the system out with it.


I agree, trying to add importance to not over spending on one component like CPU when the motherboard isn't rated high enough I over stepped. The motherboard can be as cheap as possible as long as it is rated to work with the devices and the speed of those devices.

Also added to the guide is more information on video cards and frames per second bench marking.

I will look into power supplies and either make a list of what to look for or a list of recommended brands.

Thanks Neil, for your comments my guide is better because of them :)
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