Buying Your First Gaming Pc ((NEW))
The first thing to decide is whether you'd like to build your own PC or whether you'd prefer to buy a pre-built system. If you've never built a PC before, it can seem intimidating, but these days it's a relatively simple procedure.
buying your first gaming pc
Whether you're buying or building, the most important components for gaming are the processor and the graphics card. The processor is the brain of the PC and performs calculations, so it's important for open world and strategy games like Civilization 6 or Grand Theft Auto 5.
If you're wondering how your hardware will perform in real-world gaming, you can look up some benchmarks. These are where users describe what hardware they have and submit information on how many frames per second they see on various games. One site where you can find this kind of information is UserBenchmark.
You might want to consider users for your PC other than gaming. For example, maybe you are a YouTube creator and you want to use your PC to edit videos. Or maybe you want to stream your games to Twitch or another platform.
Video editing requires lots of memory, so while a pure gaming PC can get away with just 8GB of RAM, a content creator would ideally want 32GB or even more RAM. And streaming requires a lot of processing power, so you'll need a better processor relative to your graphics card if you want to stream as well as play.
That's why, if you're looking for longevity, you should prioritize your processor and motherboard. Although different types of motherboard probably won't have much impact on gaming performance, they will offer different features such as support for M.2 SSDs.
These tips can help you when buying your first gaming PC, whether you opt to purchase a pre-built computer or to build your own. And once you've made your purchase and got your gaming PC up and running, don't forget to check out these vital tweaks to optimize your PC for gaming.
Buying a gaming PC used to be only for people with more money than time (or sense), but times have absolutely changed. Prices have come down to the point where building your own doesn't save you as much as it once did. Even if you do pay a price premium, you get perks like support, warranties, and discounts by buying prebuilt. But before you whip out your credit card, here are some things you should think about first to make sure prebuilt is right for you.
One final note about memory: Make sure your configuration comes with at least two sticks. Some gaming desktops advertise 8GB of RAM but only include a single, 8GB stick. Two sticks will allow you to take advantage of dual-channel memory on most motherboards, which effectively doubles the data transfer speed versus a single stick.
When setting up your gaming desktop, keep in mind that your gaming ecosystem is a careful balancing act. You have to figure out what you prefer and want from your overall gameplay experience and then invest in the resources that will make that happen.
Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater; frame rate is still equally important. But frame time reveals a lot about how a game can feel during play and goes deeper than just the number of frames your system can output every second. We're going to help demystify what frame time is, how you can measure it, and why you should pay attention to it when looking at your gaming PC's performance.Frame time versus frames per second
Usually, it's hard to upgrade the processor yourself in a gaming PC, but it's often one of the simplest tasks in gaming hardware to replace the RAM. If you feel comfortable with a screwdriver, you can usually upgrade the RAM yourself at a later date.
Assembling your own computer is an alternative to buying which lets you customize everything from the start, including memory, processors, and appearance. You'll start with a basic case and then buy the components (including a logic board, memory, CPU) and install them.
The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) will have the most impact on your gaming experience. The GPU is essentially what allows your computer to do the complex graphics calculations that allow your PC games to look so good. Though many CPUs have integrated graphics, a GPU is absolutely required if you want to have a modern PC gaming experience.
Unfortunately, this means that you'll need at least some literacy when it comes to PC components to really know how to configure a gaming PC that's actually worth the money you're spending on it. But, for PC Gaming Week, we decided that it's time to really get into the nitty-gritty and give you a few things to keep your eyes open for when shopping for a new gaming PC.
There are probably plenty of people out there that will see this and just say "how hard is it to just look at the specs to see what you're buying before you check out?" but a lot of the people that are going to opt for the first Alienware that pops up on the page are going to be parents just trying to get their kids a kick-ass birthday present, and they might not necessarily be up to date with the latest tech. Especially when it's something like that iBuyPower option we mentioned earlier, which has a last-generation processor in its $1,429 starting configuration.
With so many options available, it's incredibly easy to spend money that you don't really need to spend, in ways that aren't really going to materially affect your experience or gaming performance of your shiny new PC.
More often than not, you're going to save a pretty substantial amount of money by just buying the peripheral or accessory you want on Amazon or Newegg, rather than getting it bundled with your machine.
One of the most significant advantages of building your PC is the ability to hand-pick every single component in the system. This enables you to shop around for deals and find the best combination of parts to fit your budget and performance needs. The downside for most inexperienced builders is that this process can take some time and cause quite a headache if something goes wrong. You only get warranties on the individual components, not your finished build, and this is where the best prebuilt gaming PCs shine.
When you pay the premium to configure or purchase a prebuilt PC, you pay for more than just the parts. You pay for warranty service, support, and peace of mind that professionals put your system together. These are some of the things we value highly when considering what the best gaming PC is. We also look at other selling points, like design, upgradability, and anything you wouldn't be able to do when building it yourself.
The best gaming PC is meant to bring you hours and hours of joy. It's more than a collection of fancy bits stuffed in a case. That's why what we look out for in our testing is a complete system built with care by professionals and tailored to gaming performance. We also want to see that the manufacturer has put thought and care into selecting its components to fit your budget without cutting corners. And after all our testing, the best gaming PC is the NZXT BLD Kit (opens in new tab). The range offers the perfect mix of affordability, power, and sheer joy. You don't have to put it together yourself, you get to, and it's genuinely fun.
We've all seen how hard it's been to get components like the best graphics cards throughout the last couple of years. And if finding them wasn't difficult enough, they often sell well above MSRP to the point where it feels like a rip-off. There has been some improvement in product availability and pricing in 2023. Still, it remains true that the buying power of system builders means they generally have a better chance of getting hold of a new piece of hardware than you do on your own. That means it's easier and often cheaper to chase down that desirable new GPU by buying the best gaming PC and, for the most part, passing those savings onto you. I get it; nothing is better than building your own gaming rig, but not everyone has the know-how or the patience to make it happen.
The NZXT Streaming Plus BLD Kit (opens in new tab) isn't your typical off-the-shelf gaming PC. You end up with an absolute monster of a machine, but you have to put most of it together yourself. NZXT offers more traditional builds for would-be buyers, but this doesn't feel too much for most PC gamers to handle.
The rest of the spec is solid, with a 1TB NVMe SSD and 16GB of DDR4-3200. You're only looking at a PCIe 3.0 SSD, specifically the WD_Blue SN570, but at least you've got plenty of capacity to play with. This SSD comes with Windows 11 Home installed by default and seeing your new build boot into Windows for the first time is always a pleasing experience. The only thing NZXT has left for you to do is to download and update the graphics drivers. There are plenty of Windows updates to work through too, but it's not an arduous process.
Build Redux sets out to make buying a new gaming PC a much easier affair than normal. The traditional frustrations of wading through nonsense names trying to work out whether they'll handle your game of choice will be familiar to any PC gamer. This system builder offers three main gaming PCs to choose from and each one can be configured slightly further by throwing a bit more cash at the system if you do want to dig into the details.
Overall, the Build Redux 'Good' is a capable gaming machine representing strong value for money. The component selection is mostly spot on and SSD aside, this should last you a good few years of gaming without worries. If you don't want to build your own PC with the better value NZXT BLD Kit above, the ready-made Build Redux is a good, and still good value, alternative.
Lenovo's Legion gaming PCs are solid, if rather uninspiring systems with which to start your PC gaming experience. That probably sounds like I'm damning them with faint praise, but if you're looking for your first gaming PC then buying a full system from a reputable company is likely what you want to be doing, and Lenovo rigs represent a reliable platform to build upon in the future. Though they do not, however, start out with the most exciting component list. 041b061a72