How to choose the best gaming PC for you. How to know if a computer is good for gaming

A motherboard doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be reliable, so buying from a reputable manufacturer is important. The options we recommend are ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI.

How to choose the best gaming PC for you


If you are like me when I first started playing on the computer, your first and most important question is probably “Which computer should I buy?” This is a very difficult question for all concerned, and the answer to it is complicated. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide to picking your first gaming PC.

This guide is designed to help you buy a pre-made computer. That is, one that is already assembled and working, not one that you have to build yourself. If you want to know how to build a new PC, we also have a guide on it. Buying pre-made slot machines has advantages such as availability and reliability for those unfamiliar with building them. Of course, it is much faster and easier to buy ready-made sets. So, if building your own system isn’t an option right now, here’s what you need to consider in order to get the best gaming PC for you.

Find your PC gaming goals

The first thing any prospective gaming PC buyer needs when embarking on this journey is to realize what their real goals are. Here are some of the most important things to consider.

  • Am I only buying a computer to play one game or am I going to play multiple?
  • What are these games?
  • Are these games graphically demanding?
  • Do I want a computer with a future that can play AAA titles with high-end graphics for years to come?
  • Am I going to be doing anything other than playing games on my computer, such as streaming or rendering video?
  • Do I want to play games outside my home, travel a lot, or will I want more durable equipment at home?

Each answer to the question will change the type of computer you are looking for. If you’re going to be playing mostly an older game like Overwatch or Rainbow Six Siege, you don’t need something incredibly powerful to run the game, even at the highest graphics settings. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in newer games like the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, Control, Final Fantasy XXIV, and more, you’ll need a more powerful setup. If you travel a lot, there are strong contenders for gaming laptops. And if you want to multitask to stream or work, you need a computer with a specific type of processor.

Ask yourself all of these questions, think carefully about what you want to do with your new computer, and write them all down. Once you have your note list, go to the next step.

A budget of $ 300-400 will allow you to build a gaming PC that can run some games (such as esports titles) at low settings, but not enough to build a computer suitable for playing AAA or high-definition games.

Beware Intel Graphics

First, one big warning: if your computer uses Intel integrated graphics instead of a dedicated NVIDIA or AMD graphics card, you are likely to run into problems with newer, graphically demanding games.

Most laptops that aren’t billed as gaming laptops use Intel’s integrated graphics, which are cheaper and use less power. These gaming laptops typically offer both Intel integrated graphics and a dedicated graphics card, switching between them depending on what you are doing.

Many desktops also use Intel integrated graphics to keep costs down. For desktops, however, it’s usually fairly easy to purchase and install a dedicated graphics card to give yourself a boost in gaming.

Intel’s embedded graphics performance has improved over the years, but not enough when it comes to gaming. Even the latest Intel graphics hardware is much slower than using a dedicated graphics card from NVIDIA or AMD. If you only have Intel graphics, you may not even be able to play the latest games on the lowest graphics settings.

Check Your PC’s Specifications Manually

We’ll cover the more automatic method later, but we’ll look at the manual method first. You need to know your computer’s hardware – first and foremost, the speed of the processor, the amount of RAM, and the details of your graphics card. You can find this information in a number of different ways, including browsing laptop specifications on the Internet.

However, the easiest way to find all these details is with the System Information tool. We recommend Speccy (the free version is fine), made by the same company that makes the excellent CCleaner. Download and install Speccy, then run.

The main summary screen shows what you need to know:

  • Processor type and speed in GHz.
  • The amount of RAM in GB.
  • The model of your computer’s graphics card and the amount of RAM your graphics card has on board.

Then check the system requirements for the game you want to run. You’ll usually find this information on the game’s website or on the website of any store that sells it. For example, it is located at the bottom of every game page on the Steam store.

Compare the information shown in Speccy with the details listed in the game. Pay close attention to the requirements for the CPU, memory and graphics card. After remembering your basic PC hardware, checking system requirements is as simple as browsing them and comparing them to memory.

You’ll want to note the difference between the minimum requirements and the recommended ones. The minimum requirements are what it takes for the game to work at all. Typically, you will need to run the game on the lowest settings, and it may not be a fun experience. If your PC meets the recommended specs, you’ll have a better time playing this game. You may not be able to tweak all your graphics options to their maximum settings, but you should find a nice, playable balance.

“So the real reason to build your own computer is because you think it would be fun. Everything from the study of the parts to the assembly itself is an educational experience that many find very enjoyable – especially when they play games on something they have built with their own hands.”

Checking Which GPU You Have

Once you’ve figured out what processor your computer is using, many will naturally want to find out which graphics processor (graphics processing unit) your computer also has. You’ll be pleased to know that checking your GPU is as simple as finding the CPU you have. However, you will have to make one more click.

Check GPU in Windows 10

To check what graphics processor your computer has, follow these steps:

  • As before, right-click the Windows icon in the lower left corner of the desktop
  • On the menu that appears, click the “Device Manager” tab
  • In “Device Manager”, click the “>” arrow next to “Display cards’
  • In the drop-down menu, you will see the graphics processor used by your computer.

Again, a simple task. It’s worth mentioning, however, that some people may encounter two options in the “Display Adapter” drop-down menu and this is nothing to worry about. In this case, your computer has both integrated graphics and a dedicated standalone graphics card – not a bad thing.

However, the one you’re looking for is a dedicated graphics card, which will be the more powerful of the two, and the one your computer uses to process graphics. Usually it will be the second of the two options.

If your computer has an Intel processor, you probably have integrated graphics, and it’s usually “Intel HD 400 Graphics”. All of this means that along with the actual GPU, your CPU has its own built-in GPU. This will always be less efficient than your standalone GPU.

Your GPU is what you need when you replace your PC or upgrade, and it will usually be some variation of the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 950,960, 1050, 1070, 1080, and so on. If it’s AMD, it’ll be some form of Radeon R 3-9.

Checking Which Motherboard You Have

Now we’re entering a bit more challenging terrain, still very reachable, just a little more sophisticated in terms of what you’re looking for and how to get there.

If you have a computer, the simplest and easiest way to check will be to open your computer and look at the motherboard itself, where it will have both the brand and model number. Easy.

If you don’t have a little-known motherboard, you’ll come across ASUS, Gigabyte, or MSI, which is a brand. It is usually followed by a series of numbers and letters which is your motherboard model number. If you want to upgrade or sell your computer, this is as much information as you will need.

However, if you are unfamiliar with popular motherboard brands and don’t quite understand the numbers and letters for a chipset, it will be easier for you to go the latter.

To check what motherboard your computer has, do the following:

  • In the Windows Search tab, type “System Information” and hit enter
  • On the left side of the “System Information” field, highlight the “System Summary” tab
  • In the list on the right, find “Motherboard Manufacturer”, “Motherboard Model” and “Motherboard Name” which contain everything you need to know about your motherboard

Check the motherboard in Windows 10

Unfortunately, for some, the information that you will find in these tabs will seem a bit strange. Put simply, the motherboard manufacturer is the brand of the motherboard. The baseboard model should show the model number (chipset number), which is handy to know if specific hardware can be upgraded or not. It’s worth noting that on older motherboards, this section may say “not available” and if that’s the case, you’ll need to physically look at the motherboard itself. Finally, the name of the backbone is how the motherboard appears on your system. Not very important.

Triple monitors that show what’s in your peripheral vision while driving and flight simulators? Yes. Motion tracking accessories that will make you feel like you are in the game? Oh yes. Fragrant oils that give off different scents depending on your gaming experience? Well, it’s not quite yet, but there are prototypes!

A great GPU makes a great gaming PC

GTX 1070 Ti

If you’re serious about gaming, your graphics card is the area where you should pay the most attention. This is the component that beautifies your games the most, gives you high FPS and allows you to play at higher resolutions.

The model numbers tell a lot about this story, with higher-numbered cards generally representing greater performance, although there are some caveats there, and overclocked models from external GPU partners can close the performance gap between versions. For example, the RTX 2060 Super is almost as powerful as the more expensive RTX 2070.

Starting at the bottom, entry-level GPUs like the AMD RX 570 or Nvidia GTX 1650 provide decent performance when playing at 1080p. If you want to play 1440p with a decent frame rate, you’ll need something more powerful like the last-gen RTX 2060 or RX 5700. Out of the current generation, the Nvidia 3060 Ti is the only option in the same price range, at least for the moment.

Those interested in gaming at 4K resolution or over 100fps for anything but simple esports games will need to look higher and deeper into their pockets. High-end graphics cards will cost you a lot, reaching over 400,000 in some cases. At 4K resolution, the Nvidia RTX 3080 and AMD 6800 XT are the best options.

Your graphics card is the most important part of your computer if you mainly play games. While high-end cards show diminishing returns – the “best point” is around $ 400, where the RTX 3060 Ti is – they will still show performance scaling in most games. However, that doesn’t mean you should just spend more on the GPU. Before figuring out your GPU budget, it’s important to consider the game you want to play.

Still, overall it’s a good idea to go for newer cards, which in this case are the Nvidia GTX 20 series and RTX 30 series GPUs, and the AMD RX 6000 series. However, older cards are also of great value and may be your only option as inventory issues persist with the latest Nvidia and AMD graphics cards.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 and 64 review

Bill Roberson / digital trends

One of the often confusing parts of graphics cards is video memory (or VRAM). It’s easy to see how much system RAM you need, but GPUs are a bit more difficult to figure out. You can choose from two cards that are similar but offer different amounts of VRAM. More VRAM by itself does not have a significant impact on overall performance, but allows the graphics card to better support some visual features and is necessary for higher resolutions.

The base for modern games around 1080p should be 3GB, although we’d go up to 4GB if there’s not a lot of money in it, as most new cards now have that value. If you want to play at higher detail settings and future-proof your system, it’s worth spending a few dollars more for 8GB, but it’s not strictly necessary, especially at lower resolutions.

We don’t recommend multiple video cards. While it was once a great choice for high-end games, today multi-card setups often face driver or game support issues that prevent them from realizing their full potential. Many cards are also louder and hotter than one card, and the latest Nvidia GPUs don’t even support this (unless you’re looking to spend $ 3,000 on two RTX 3090s).

Don’t waste money on unnecessary RAM


We have tested systems such as the Alienware Area-51 R5, which are equipped with as much as 64 GB of system RAM. This is overkill in games.

A good base for modern gaming systems is 16GB, especially considering how much prices have fallen in recent months. But you can get away with 8GB if you’re playing older games, or don’t mind sacrificing detail or frame rate for extra savings.

After all, memory is one of the easiest things to update later – and one of the cheapest.

Here’s the current memory requirement landscape for six popular games to give you an idea of ​​what you need on a desktop computer:

  • Fortnite – 8 GB minimum, 16 GB recommended
  • Doom Eternal – 8 GB minimum, 8 GB recommended
  • Destiny 2 – 6 GB minimum, 8 GB recommended
  • PUBG – minimum 8 GB, 16 GB recommended
  • Overwatch – 4 GB minimum, 6 GB recommended
  • Half-life: Alyx – 12 GB

That said, the extra memory above 16GB is just not used. Any money that can be spent on RAM above 16GB should be spent instead on the component that has a greater impact on performance.

However, keep in mind that system memory isn’t just used by games. Everything that runs on your computer requires memory, from the operating system to the mouse and keyboard drivers. If Destiny 2 itself uses 6 GB of system memory while it is running, you’ll need enough memory for everything else. Therefore, the developers recommend larger amounts so that your PC can breathe while the game remains active.

And since all applications use a certain amount of RAM, 16 GB may not be enough. If you’re just playing, 16GB is perfect. However, if you plan on running other demanding apps – like a DAW like Pro Tools or video editing apps like Adobe Premiere – 32GB is better. 64 GB is overkill in almost all cases, unless you have very specific needs, and 128 GB on a consumer computer is just bragging rights.

One final note on memory: make sure your setup includes at least two flash drives. Some gaming desktops advertise 8GB of RAM but only include one 8GB pen drive. Two flash drives will allow you to use dual-channel memory on most motherboards, which effectively doubles the data transfer speed compared to a single flash drive.

Once the compatibility is gone, the enclosure you choose comes down to design and build quality. Always check case reviews as you will often be able to read about the experiences building up in that particular case and whether it was easy or difficult.

Using Can You Run It

Can You Run It is a fantastic online resource for several reasons. It analyzes the relevant specifications for you, removing all the guesswork. Moreover, the site compares your PC’s hardware with the minimum and recommended requirements of the specific game you want to get. You’ll know in seconds what kind of gameplay to expect, if at all.
Can You Run It is a legal site. Millions of people use it, so you don’t have to worry about viruses or other malware.

Here’s how to use this handy tool.

1. Navigate to the website

To access the site go to or simply follow the link we have provided above. The following main page will appear.

2. Find your game

Start typing your game name in the search box above, then select it when it appears in the drop-down menu.

Note: For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using the same game that we analyzed in the previous section.

3. Install the System Requirements Lab software

If this is your first time using Can You Run It, you need to install a tool that will allow your website to analyze your computer. Don’t worry: this is a legitimate program that won’t harm your computer. Additionally, it will come in handy during future game tests.

Click the Can You Run It button on the right to start the installation process.

You will be taken to the second screen (below). Select Can You Run It again to start the download.

Follow the on-screen instructions to install the software. After downloading, the detection program should appear in your web browser.

5. Run the software

Click on the download file shown above. The program will start automatically. You should see the following popup image when the software is working its magic.

After the process is complete, you will be taken to a screen showing your computer’s hardware and its compliance with the game’s requirements.

By confirming our previous findings, we can see that our computer more than meets the specifications of this game.

To better understand the current CPU market, check out our article on CPU hierarchy to see how different CPUs stack up against each other.

Should you buy or build?

While there are many great off-the-shelf systems out there, many PC enthusiasts prefer to build their own. You can save some money if you choose to build your own system, and building a computer alone brings a particular level of satisfaction. However, you should also consider whether you want to spend the time it takes to build your computer or prefer to have something you can plug in and start playing out of the box.

“A lot of people will say it’s cheaper to build your own, but that’s a bit of a myth,” says Sebastian. “Yes, it may be minimally cheaper, but unless you put a literal zero value on your time, you could probably just outsource the assembly to someone for less than it will cost you.

“So the real reason to build your own computer is because you think it would be fun. Everything from the study of the parts to the assembly itself is an educational experience that many find very enjoyable – especially when they play games on something they have built with their own hands.”

If you decide to go the DIY route, check out our guide on how to build a gaming PC.

Bottom line

Whether you choose to build your own platform or take advantage of many excellent preconfigured options, buying a good PC will open you up to an almost endless library of titles and give you a gaming experience you just won’t find anywhere else. Good luck with your travels and have fun!

Note: Prices above reflect retail prices at time of publication.

However, if you are unfamiliar with popular motherboard brands and don’t quite understand the numbers and letters for a chipset, it will be easier for you to go the latter.

What Do You Need To Build A PC?

To build a personal computer, you will need components and a small number of tools. First, when selecting the parts to build your PC, make sure all the parts are compatible with each other (CPU, RAM, motherboard) as the last thing you need to find is the CPU bottleneck in the rest of the system.

You have your workspace set up and you know what size you need. Now it’s time to find out what hardware and components you need to bring your gaming PC to life. This is where things get a bit more technical. However, knowing what all these components do on your gaming PC and what their acronyms mean will make building your PC a lot less daunting.

We’ll go over each of them below and give you a bit more detail about what each of them does, while also trying to keep as little jargon as possible.

PC Toolkit Note

If you don’t have a Phillips screwdriver nearby, we recommend the ingenious iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. That’s more than enough to get started on your first computer build, including the required Phillips bits and a handy anti-static strap.

Processor (CPU)

The processor or central processing unit is basically the “brain” of any computer. The processor is considered to be the second most important component of a gaming PC after the graphics card, but the most important in content creation. The processor carries out instructions and is a crucial part of any computer.

DSC08459 scaled 1

The three most important things to know about a CPU are its clock speed, cores, and threads.

Clock speed is a measure of the processing speed in gigahertz (GHz) and it refers to the number of cycles that the core takes every second. Each processor is made up of cores and threads, with the cores typically assigned to different tasks on the system. Moreover, modern processors tend to have multiple cores, allowing them to efficiently multitask. The processor will also be equipped with threads, which are essentially a virtual version of the processor core. Threads can only do one task at a time and correspond to the cores, but if you see a processor with twice the number of threads per cores, this is a so-called “multi-threaded” processor. A multi-threaded processor allows two programs to run simultaneously on a single processor core, as long as they are not of the same type of instruction.

Clock speed and number of cores are really direct measures of performance only with CPUs of the same generation, as the underlying architectures that make up the processor are constantly evolving and improving.

To ensure you get the best performance and future-proof your setup, you’ll always want to buy the most modern CPU your budget can afford.

Intel processors are widely known for their high single-core performance, which means they have always been considered the best gaming processors. While this is true, this is not a factor that should influence your purchasing decision specifically for games as Intel CPU prices are heavily criticized for inflated prices.

CPU + Cooler

If you’re planning on overclocking, or even if you’re generally concerned about overheating your CPU and other hardware, it’s a good idea to invest in additional case fans.

There are three main things you need to consider when looking at case fans; Airflow, RGB lighting and noise output. Here is a simplified explanation of each of them:

  • Airflow: This is the primary function of the fan and the main cooling element, so it’s by far the most important of the three. Fan airflow is measured in “CFM” (cubic feet per minute) and the higher this number, the more efficiently it will keep the CPU cool.
  • RGB Lighting: This doesn’t have much of an effect on the cooling capabilities of the fan, but adds a stylish lighting effect to your PC case. Extra cables are likely to be needed here, so it’s worth considering if you really need RGB lighting.
  • Noise Level: Ideally, the fan should be as quiet as possible without sacrificing cooling performance. If your fan is too loud it may affect your gaming experience.

Liquid Coolers

You can also use a liquid cooler to prevent the CPU from overheating. They are much more expensive than air coolers and also much more complicated to install and maintain. However, they are probably better at cooling.

This is because they use water as a thermal conductor to dissipate heat from the CPU. So instead of just blowing air on them, they actually absorb heat. As a result, everything remains cool at all times and the noise level is significantly reduced.

Some CPUs also come with included coolers to help keep them from overheating, but if you’re determined to overclock your CPU an additional fan or liquid cooler is basically a necessary addition to your build.

Rate article