Although laptops and smartphones have taken the forefront in basic computer functions; and consoles are more lucrative than ever to sate gaming needs; something about owning a personal computer offers a satisfaction like no other. And it has many effective aspects as well. For example, laptops often become a trade-off between performance and display/battery life/peripheral aspects. And smartphones are just too smart for dumb people.
While buying a new pc, it helps if you know about the parts you are paying for as opposed to just paying for something. It provides a distinct personal satisfaction. So for those of us hoping to purchase a personal desktop computer, here’s a brief overview of what to look for.
Setting priorities and a budget
It is very important to know exactly what you want when buying a PC. The multitude of choices among parts is easy to confuse anyone. While it was true a year ago that consoles are the most efficient medium for gaming; partly due to the absurd price hikes of PC parts like GPU and RAM and even CPUs later; prices have mostly settled now and it is a good time to get a PC for any kind of use.
It probably goes without saying that if you intend to play games on your PC, you are absolutely going to need an external GPU.
For low-mid end gaming, a budget of 50-60 thousand BDT should do.
Building the core of the system
This is where the magic happens; the PC needs to have good hardware that compliments each other and don’t cause a bottleneck. It’s important to mention that before building a system you need to figure out what kind of monitor you’re going to use. You’ll need to base your most expensive purchase(the GPU) on that. For example, 1080p on 60fps is enough for me. So I use an ASUS VX-229HJ monitor.
It’s easy to cheap out on a motherboard without realizing just how much it contributes to your system. Don’t go for cheap nameless brands here. A decent mainboard can keep your system stable for at least half a decade. It is also important to figure out what kind of processor you’re going to use (buy AMD). But most good motherboards have both an AMD and Intel version. Be cautious not to overspend on unnecessary aspects of the motherboard either. Because on a medium budget, you’re probably not going to need 4 GPU slots or 8 Ram slots. Pick a motherboard with a recent BIOS version and sockets that compliment the most recent generation of CPUs. Since I’m more particular towards the AMD build, personal pick here is the MSI B450 Tomahawk.
Memory and Storage
16 gigabytes of RAM is soon to be (already is) the industry standard for RAM. Again, don’t cheap out with Twinmos or Adata products; get gaming RAM with high (>3000) bus speed. You won’t regret it. It’s a good idea to dual-channel your RAM instead of buying a single stick, except if you plan on upgrading later. I am not into the RGB lighting thing, but get it if you have an extra 500 to spare. The personal pick is Corsair Vengeance LPX-DDR4 3200 MHz bus width RAM.
For storage, please get an SSD if you haven’t used one before. If you have, you really don’t need to know why. If you haven’t, well, how does less than 20 seconds of boot time and virtually no loading time for games sound? Please, at least for your system drive, get an SSD. The Personal pick is Samsung 960 EVO, with storage capacity according to your needs. For HDD, get the Seagate Barracuda 2TB or 4TB, whichever suits you.
Although Intel has occupied the undisputed peak of CPU producers for as long as can be remembered; this is no longer the case. AMD with their Ryzen 3, 5 and 7 lines have usurped Intel’s throne in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. So much so that Intel has basically admitted that they may need the next two generations just to catch up. A high core count and individual thread performance make AMD Ryzen the undisputed best choice for both gaming and multithreading tasks like rendering and ripping. Again, figure out what you need and don’t overspend. Because if gaming is the primary focus, an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is more than enough to handle anything that comes out for at least two more years.
Arguably the most important and expensive purchase. Nvidia still rules the market of GPUs. And AMD hasn’t really matched them in performance; as much as they’ve competed in price. While the allure of ray tracing in Nvidia’s newest RTX cards might get to you; it is relevant to mention not many games even support ray tracing yet. And the ones that do aren’t that good anyway, at least for me. So I wouldn’t recommend breaking the bank to get an RTX card; especially since the word on the internet is they aren’t all that stable.
The resolution of your monitor is going to come into play here. For 1080p gaming on a tight budget, the AMD RX570/RX580 is the way to go, with 4GB and 8GB VRAM versions available. Get higher VRAM if budget allows so. For 1440p and higher, you’re gonna have to go RTX. The 2060 and its super variants are good for 1440p, while 2070 is best for budget-performance at 4k and for VR. Either way, the best card on the market is the 2080, if there was any doubt. Price checks out too. Get RGB on that as well, rub that money on our faces if you will. The Personal pick is the GeForce 1660ti, since it has the turing architecture of the RTX cards without the ray tracing itself; as well as GDDR6 memory. This is the card to go for if you have a slightly higher budget than one for the RX 570. The difference in gaming performance is noticeable, check out some benchmarks online, there’s 8-10 fps difference on each of them.
It is also extremely important to get a good power supply unit for your GPU. Check out Tomshardware and get any of the Tier 1 or 2 PSUs. Unfortunately, a lot of the good ones aren’t available in Bangladesh; and I got my EVGA SuperNOVA Gold plus from abroad. Only thing I can tell you is to take no chances with this part because it affects the performance of your system in general.
Casing and peripherals
I am a minimalist when it comes to stuff that doesn’t directly influence performance. Even so, it is important to get a case with good airflow and dust protection; to preserve device health. It would be unfortunate, to say the least, if your dream system ends up getting trashed due to dusting. Disclaimer, stock fans get wrecked by dust. Consider getting an external cooling system if budget allows. But again, don’t go overboard. Most systems don’t need liquid cooling. Surprisingly, most systems also don’t need RGB lighting. Personal pick on the case is Corsair Carbide Spec-05 and an Antec A400 cooling fan.
A gaming keyboard and mouse aren’t strictly necessary for performance. But peripherals are parts that enhance your experience. You’ll have more fun with a decent mechanical keyboard and a good mouse. However, cheap mechanical keyboards are never a good idea. So go for a Cherry MX blue-switch keyboard. Fair disclaimer, good mechanical keyboards go for 8 thousand BDT at least. Since these aren’t immediately necessary, save up and ease into these purchases. It is ok to use standard equipment until you can afford better.
Good peripherals will only make the experience better. Not having them won’t take anything away.
Lastly, you’ll be spending a lot of time in front of your new system. So it might be a good idea to get a good chair. You do not need an uber-expensive “gaming” chair. Just something with a decent backrest will do; as chairs without backrest can severely affect the health of your spine.
Having a desktop provides a source of fulfilment that other systems just can’t match, at least for me. And it’s a given that you won’t ever be satisfied with a laptop or any pre-built computing system once you’ve had an extended taste of a self-built desktop. So go and decide what you want and build your system yourself. I hope this guide will be helpful in your purchasing decisions.