PC Build Questions FAQ
When you're building your first PC, there are going to be lots of questions floating around, and they are probably the exact same questions that a lot of other people have asked at one point.
So, in an effort to save both your time and mine, I've put together this page containing the most frequently asked questions that PC Game Haven gets about putting together gaming PC builds.
By no means am I trying to discourage you from leaving a comment by guiding you to this page, but sometimes I can't get to every comment right away, and this page just might have the answer you're looking for!
If you can't find an answer to your question down below, then feel free to fire me an email via this Contact Form, or leave a comment on the build your question is about.
Does PC gaming cost more than console gaming?
PC gaming typically costs more than console gaming, but it doesn't have to. It really depends on the PC you build. Most consoles are a few hundred dollars - for example, the xbox one is about $200-$300. Typically, PC gaming computers are anywhere from $500 on the low end to about $2,500 on the high end.
Do I have to build my own PC?
You do not have to build your own PC. If you are uncomfortable doing so then you can hire someone nearby or go to a computer repair shop to do it. However, it's very fun and rewarding to build your own PC, as you'll learn a lot about the process and are likely to build other ones later.
You can also buy pre-built PC builds that will come with everything together and built for you. It makes it easier to find a working stack, but you will pay extra for the convenience.
How much does it cost to build a gaming PC?
How much it costs to build a gaming PC ranges from about $500 to $2,500 USD. Most casual gamers are okay with about $500-$800 as you don't need a big budget to have a great experience with games. The requirements for a PC also depends on the game though. Games like League of Legends do not require powerful PC builds to get 100 FPS. My cousin has a Macbook Pro that consistently runs at 100 FPS on League, for example.
How long does it take to build a PC?
It takes about 3-4 hours to build a PC if it is your first time and on your own. If you are experienced you can typically get it done within 1-2 hours, but it also depends on your set up. For example, it might take a little extra time to optimize your cable management.
Watch PC building videos, read tutorials, and make sure you have the manual ready!
How hard is it to build a gaming PC?
It is not hard to build a gaming PC. It requires some patience, but you can easily get it done with a few hours of work even if it is your first time. It is best to do it all in one session if possible so that you can stay focused and learn from it.
What tools do you need to build a Gaming PC?
The tools you need are just 2- a phillips screwdriver and an anti-static wristband. The screwdriver helps you build the PC while the anti-static wristband helps with safety against static build-up. Not having a wristband can damage your PC while you are building it.
Do I have to buy Windows for my Gaming Computer?
You do not have to buy Windows operating system, but it is definitely the best one for gaming. Almost all games made are compatible with windows - the same is not true for MacOS or Linux. Linux computers can work fine, but you won't have as many options as on Windows. A vast majority of gamers use Windows and you'll get the most support if you go with Windows. I personally use Windows for all PC gaming activities.
Do I need to buy a disc drive?
You do not need to buy a disc drive. Almost all games are available for digital download now so the only time you MIGHT use a disc drive is during your OS (Windows, Linux, MacOS) installation. However, you can opt for a USB installation instead of a disc.
Should I buy extra case fans?
You don't always need to buy extra case fans. Some cases come with more fans than others, but we always recommend having AT LEAST two - an exhaust and intake fan. Getting more depends on the fans you currently have, cooler you have, the size of your case, and the CPU which all contribute to building the case temperature.
What parts do I need for building a Gaming PC?
The parts you need for building a gaming PC include:
- Case (holds everything together)
- Motherboard (processing)
- CPU (processing)
- Cooler (can be included with the CPU)
- RAM (8 GB recommended. 16 if you have the budget or playing intense games)
- Power Supply (to power your machine)
- Storage (HHD vs SSD, there are pros and cons to both)
Of course, you also have to make sure these parts are compatible with each other. They don't all have to be from the same company but need the same or similar specs in some areas.
What do I need to overclock my CPU?
What you need to overclock your CPU are CPUs and motherboards that will actually let you overclock - not all of them do. For example, Intel "K" series CPUs and all AMD CPUs will let you overclock out of the box. Others need particular motherboard chipsets to allow you to overclock. Keep this in mind when buying your CPU and motherboard.
Where to buy a gaming PC?
You can buy pre-built gaming PCs from Amazon. iBuyPower, Skytech, and HP Omen has some good pre-built ones. However, if you are building your own you can simply follow some of our build guides and order the parts from Amazon or Best Buy, as you would a normal PC.
Do I have to buy everything at the same time?
Nope! Lots of people buy 1 or 2 components at a time until they have everything assembled. In fact, this is smart so that you can save money as there are always a number of discounts and deals on products, depending on the time of year and company.
Should I use an anti-static wristband?
Although anti-static wristbands are definitely helpful, there are other ways to beat static build-up.
One of the most basic ways to beat the static is to keep a random piece of metal nearby that you can touch sporadically to discharge any built-up static.
Do I need to buy mounting hardware & cables?
99.9% of the time, no. The components I pick will ship with the various bits you’ll need to get it plugged in / set up. But one thing to keep in mind is that only 2 SATA cables are included, and if you’re running an HDD an SSD and an optical drive, then you will need a total of 3 SATA cables.
Do I need a CPU cooler?
Unless you’re buying an unlocked Skylake or Kaby Lake processor (like an i5 6600K or i5 7600K), you don’t need to buy an aftermarket CPU cooler. Yes, an aftermarket cooler will extend the life of your PC compared to a stock one, but you definitely don’t *need* to buy one.
Do I need more than 8GB of RAM?
If it’s in your budget, it would be highly recommended to run more than 8GB of RAM. 12-16GB is ideal for most gaming desktops, but 8 GB will still run most games well.
DVD Drive - Do I need one?
If you have to ask, then you likely don’t have much use for an optical drive.
Although they’re handy to have, and used to be necessary, now they’re mostly used to install Windows and then never used again. But, you can actually buy Windows installers on USB flash drives now, and as long as you have a working internet connection you’ll be able to download all of the other drives that you might need – so you can definitely get by without a DVD drive.
Do I need to buy more case fans?
As long as you have 1 in the front sucking air in (intake) and 1 at the rear to blow it out (exhaust) then you should be okay. Feel free to add more, but keep positive vs. negative air pressure in mind.
Nvidia VS AMD graphics card? Which one is better?
Both brands have their pros & cons, and are good for different price points & games. At the end of the day, you’ll get extremely similar performance out of competing cards, so support whichever brand you prefer! Go for the better deal (price vs. performance) and avoid all of the bias!
I don't like the case you picked, are there others?
Lots! Depending on the motherboard form-factor (mATX or ATX) and the length of the graphics card, there are tons of cases that would work for each and every one of my builds. Look around, find one you like, and feel free to ask me about it!
Can I overclock the graphics card?
Short answer, yes. Each company puts out its own overclocking utility to go along with their cards. These utilities are almost necessary if you want to squeeze the maximum performance out of your graphics card.
Can I overclock the CPU?
It depends entirely on the processor and whether or not it’s unlocked.
Most new AMD processors will be unlocked and you’ll be able to OC them assuming you have the proper chipset to do so. Generally, these chipsets will be variants of Bx50 and Xx70 chipsets like the current “B450” and “X470”.
Intel CPUs, on the other hand, are a different story altogether. Only some of their processors are unlocked and able to be overclocked, this is indicated by a “K” following the model number. Like, i5 9600K or i7 9700K. Unlike AMD, Intel only has 1 chipset that supports overclocking, the Zx70; currently Z370.
Will overclocking the CPU give me more FPS?
It depends on the game and how high you’re pushing the clocks. In most cases, you’ll only see a 5 fps increase, which is usually not worth the extra stress on a CPU.
Where do you plug things in?!
Open up your manuals and check the diagrams! It’s easy to build an Ikea table without the manual, but building a PC is going to be a little tougher!
Your motherboard’s manual will have the best diagrams showing you exactly where everything should go.