Requirements for a good gaming PC


Welcome parents and grandparents!  If you have met the requirements for a good gaming PC, that means your sons or grandsons overall experience will be rewarding and exciting. However, a computer is only as strong as its weakest link, so when you are looking for a new PC gaming console, do your research and make sure that it has the best quality and compatible components that your budget can afford.  To get the best gaming experience at 1080p, let's get started...

Case

Unless you have decided to get a mid-tower because of space constraints or for aesthetic reasons, a full-tower would be the better way to go because they are easy to upgrade and can support hardware that mid-towers cannot.  Also, the full-tower allows for better cooling capacity.  You’ll want to make sure that all of the components are nicely tucked away and cabling is neatly arranged so the air can flow through it efficiently with little to no obstructions; because keeping your gaming PC properly cooled is essential for proper operation and performance.  You may also want to consider the additional space for future expansion, additional fans, or even liquid cooling if you are considering overclocking. 

Three system fan setup inside the gaming PC case

CPU/Processor

To run most games at full HD (1080p), at minimum, you will need a 2.5Ghz processor consisting of two - four cores, however if you do not run your games on max settings, two cores will work; but using four cores would be ideal.

Keep in mind that if you intend on overclocking your gaming PC, this will increase its power consumption as well as the core PC temperature; so you will need to make sure that the CPU supports overclocking because processors have to be paired with motherboards that support it.

Motherboard

With respect to the CPU and motherboard, the socket types for these two components need to be compatible.  You’ll also need to figure out how many USB ports and expansion slots are on the motherboard in order to meet your current and future needs in case you intend to upgrade at some point.  Regarding RAM, its type, capacity, speed, size and RAM slots will need to be compatible with the motherboard and the PC case as well.  Most motherboards come equipped with a LAN connection, however you will need a port for the wireless adapter if you intend to have a wireless connection; and some higher-end motherboards come equipped with built-in wireless. Regarding the sound card, most of those that are pre-installed on the motherboard are good for gaming; and hardly ever require another sound card.

5 Top Rated Gaming PCs

RAM

Be careful selecting the RAM as they are not all the same and must match the requirements of the motherboard.  The newer motherboards generally use DDR3 or DDR4 which are physically different from one another and cannot accidently be installed on the wrong type of motherboard.  Secondly, you’ll need to know how many RAM slots are located on the motherboard so you know how much RAM can be added, if needed.  Generally, 16GB of RAM is more than enough to run games at 1080p full HD.  If you require a machine that needs to perform other intense tasks, you may have to increase the RAM up to 32GB, but for gaming purposes 16GB will work nicely.

Storage drive (HDD/SSD)

When storing your data, you have the choice of using either a HDD or a SSD; the difference being that the HDD is a slower mechanical type drive whereas the SSD is not, and performs much faster (more expensive).  Keep in mind that the storage device has no effect on gaming performance.

If you go with a HHD, be sure to get a 7200RPM with 8-16MB of cache memory; and the interface must be compatible with the ATA, PATA, or SATA of the motherboard.  About 250GB-500GB of storage is more than adequate.

If you go with a SSD, the games will load faster.  Keep in mind that the interface once must again be compatible with the ATA, PATA, or SATA of the motherboard.  Also, get one that has at least 200GB of storage and select a stick-type drive as opposed to the cartridge-style (hard drive type) as they perform faster.  Additionally, make sure that you use the SSD as the primary storage device where you place the operating system as it will quickly boot up and provide faster performance; and could also be used to support your more demanding games as well.  If you need a lot of space because you have a variety of many games, getting another secondary HDD or SSD could be beneficial for storing them or other files you would like to keep readily available.

Video/graphics card

Many things need to be considered when selecting a video/graphics card; and to enjoy your gaming experience, you will need a minimum of 4GB of dedicated memory in order to maintain a solid 30-60fps (frames per second) so you can avoid that annoying lag and really enjoy playing most of your favorite games in 1080p; however 8GB would be ideal.

If you intend on playing VR, you will need to bump it up a bit so that you have a consistent 90fps to avoid the lag.

Also, you’ll want to make sure that the video card has a DVI output (monitor as well).

If you intend to hook up your computer to your TV, make sure you have an HDMI output as well (HDMI 2.0 for 4K)

If you are running dual monitors then you will need a graphics card that has multiple DVI, HDMI or VGA outputs.

If you intend to use dual monitors, you will need a graphics card that includes multiple HDMI, DVI or VGA video. You should also check to make sure that your power supply can support the power needs of the card.

Additionally, a 600Mhz core clock would be required if you intend to play in full HD.

If you are thinking about playing in 4K you may want to consider using two graphics cards in tandem (SLI/ Crossfire), but be aware that doing so could create problems with drivers and game support.  Additionally, dual-card systems typically create more noise and run hotter than if you were only using one.

Power supply (PSU)

The power supply provides various voltages to a variety of components and should be a minimum of 500W for gaming PCs. 

500W power supply inside the gaming PC case

If you intend to upgrade or add additional components in the future, make note of any increases in power consumption and check to make sure that your current power supply will meet your needs, if not upgrade the PSU as well.

Items Not Needed

Items such as sound cards, USB ports, Ethernet adapters and such are not needed so save your money. Modern motherboards come equipped these features and some even have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; however, for gaming purposes, it is recommended to use an Ethernet connection for uninterrupted game play.

Monitor

If you intend on playing in 4K, it is important to match the fps of the monitor with that of your gaming PC, and a 75Hz monitor translates to 75fps, which would be the minimal requirement to have the experience you desire. When determining what size monitor you need, Hz = fps.

Also, keep in mind that if you are considering a large monitor, you’ll need to be aware of the pixel density because higher density monitors can acquire scaling problems which produces a blurry effect and creates a frustrating user experience.  FYI - Microsoft Windows’s maximum level is around 200ppi.

In conclusion, if your PC gaming console meets the requirements for a good gaming PC as illustrated in the graphic below - you will be on your way to gaming at 1080p. 

Requirements for a good gaming PC

Here are 5 Top Rated Gaming PCs that are designed to perform and provide you with the value you expect; so you can totally be immersed in your gaming experience.