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How To Build A Custom Gaming Desktop

CrystalDreamer59CrystalDreamer59 Member Posts: 32
First of all I am still learning about computer hardware and how it works, but since I am about to get into learning to program video games I want to someday build a reasonable priced, but high end gaming desktop computer. Though I probably could buy a high end gaming desktop it would probably cost more and It wouldn't be as personalized as a custom computer. A laptop will work for now but I just feel as though a desktop would eventually be much better for what I want to do. I've tried searching youtube and google for tutorials, but I am unsure which one would be good. Could someone direct me to a good tutorial. 


  • kicjazkicjaz Member UncommonPosts: 15
  • CrystalDreamer59CrystalDreamer59 Member Posts: 32
    Okay this is a good start and very interesting read. 
  • AlverantAlverant Member RarePosts: 1,207

    I've built my own computers for years. Here's two bits of advice:


    1) Don't go for the bleeding edge stuff. The price difference between the latest and greatest and 2nd best is enough to counter any difference in hardware specs.


    2) If you go to a computer parts store to buy all your parts, check into if they do any kind of installation. The place I went to for my case, motherboard, power supply, RAM, and CPU offered to put it together it for $75. They did a great job and saved me hours of time. The CPU is not something you want to mess up and since I had a full tower case with some bells and whistles (extra fans, front USB ports, front eSATA port) it was worth the money. All I had to do was install the hard drives and DVD drive.

  • VrikaVrika Member EpicPosts: 6,422

    Short tutorial:

    1. If you need a good gaming computer to learn to do programming, then you're doing the learning wrong.

    2. If you'll ever get to be good enough at programming to actually need the gaming computer, then you won't be needing the tutorial

    EDIT: For programming just about any computer will suffice at first. If you get any more serious you'll want to invest to good keyboard, good large monitor (or possibly two monitors), and good chair because you'll going to be sitting on it a lot. Some people, like me, want to also invest to making their computers as silent as possible.

    High graphical performance offered by modern gaming computer is rarely needed or useful for programming /EDIT

  • CrystalDreamer59CrystalDreamer59 Member Posts: 32
    I know a simple computer will do for now since I'm just beginning but I have plans to get serious into programming so eventually I am going to need a high end gaming desktop computer. It will probably be a few years until I really need a high end computer. And a laptop is really a better choice for me right now since I'll hopefully be studying computer science at university. 
  • TamanousTamanous Member RarePosts: 2,997

    I use my pc as a multi-media home system but also want gaming capacity (even though I actually don't play games other than 1 mmo and perhaps dabble from time to time in a very few others).


    I won't go into technical aspects but usually follow the following rules (baring changes driven by hardware evolution):


    1. Research every part you plan on buying. I typically look for articles such as, "Best bang for the buck". I then read professional and consumer reviews of each part.

    2. Never buy highest end hardware. I purchase hardware that is roughly 50% of high end for cost but 90-95% in performance. Personally I only buy nvidia for gpu. The hardware race is irrelevant. Nvidia is winning the software race.

    3. Never, ever buy factory overclocked parts. But quality parts that can be OC'd manually.

    4. Gaming rarely utilizes multi-core or hyper-threading well. Look to fast cpu's that will not bottleneck gpu performance. Gamers running 20 high resource applications in the background when running a game are doing it wrong. If programming is your future then your application demands will win out and likely will not align with gaming.

    5. Buy a quality PSU ... not a part to cheap out on.

    6. I prefer factory build water cooling (easy to install) and high volume, quiet air flow for cooling. How quiet and cool your pc is is a point of pride for pc builders. 

    You stay sassy!

  • sschruppsschrupp Member UncommonPosts: 603

    The reddit posted above, tomshardware.com, and anandtech.com followed by Newegg and/or Amazon will be your best buddies if you really want to build your own system. You can also check out online retailers to get an idea of what some ready-built systems look like such as ibuypower.com.


    If you look at their systems you get a good idea of all the parts you need to buy. You said you probably won't be building one for a few years though which means don't bother getting into which video card is best right now. Every year computer technology gets faster, cheaper, and more powerful. Or taking that line of thought, look at the most powerful stuff out now. In a few years that's what you'll probably be buying for real cheap.


    For general information, the gaming PC's main components are the CPU (processor that well... processes everything the computer does), GPU (graphics card... this is the most important piece for gaming), and RAM (memory... as the CPU is doing stuff it shoves information it needs to use into RAM).


    Those are generally the components many people spend a lot of time and/or money researching/buying to get the best performance they can for gaming. There are of course many more components. Hard drive (SSD are super fast compared to regular platter drives but more expensive for the size), motherboard (everything attaches to the motherboard. It's like our torso.), power supply, cooling fans, optional sound and network cards, etc.


    For each component there is a vast variety of models. CPUs are made by Intel and AMD, each company having a very large line of CPUs ranging from terrible to frighteningly powerful. Video cards are made by nVidia and AMD, and again there are a ton of models. Some people have favorites (Chevy is better than Ford, nVidia is better than AMD, etc.) and they don't always have a good reason for why it's their favorite. So it's best to keep an open mind and let performance benchmarks and reviews do the talking.

  • ArclanArclan Member UncommonPosts: 1,550

    I'm sure everyone has their opinion, but for the past 15 years I've stuck with:

    Intel CPU
    Asus motherboard
    Nvidia graphic cards
    Corsair memory

    For HDD, almost exclusively seagate.
    For solid state drives, you can probably take your pic; but I did have a Crucial SSD die, and have since switched to Intel SSDs which, based on news, have vastly higher reliability.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • CrystalDreamer59CrystalDreamer59 Member Posts: 32
    Thanks for all the replies. Since I don't plan on building my own computer for at least a few years and technology changes so fast I'm probably getting way too ahead of myself as usual. I have a habit of sometimes getting too ahead of myself especially lately since lately I've been trying to be more focused on the near future. When the time comes I'll be sure to do my research so I build a good computer to fit my needs at a reasonable price. 
  • BattlerockBattlerock Member CommonPosts: 1,393
    It's actually pretty easy, match form factors and dont plug the circle into the square, the harder part is the drivers.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,094

    There are two separate pieces:

    1)  Picking which parts you'll use, and

    2)  screwing everything together.

    For the latter, you mostly follow the motherboard and case manuals.  For the former, you can ask people who know more about parts than you do.  But make sure you ask when it's time to buy, not months or years ahead of time.  Even over the course of weeks, prices can change considerably.  And of course most of the hardware on the market today will make no sense whatsoever to buy new three years from now.

    Also, ignore the fanboys who push particular brand names without recommending particular parts.  It's not hard to come up with a situation today where you should definitely buy an Intel CPU but not AMD, or vice versa.  Or where you should definitely buy an AMD video card but not Nvidia or vice versa.  And all of the major brand names have parts out that you definitely shouldn't buy.  It's not the sticker on the label that matters; it's the hardware inside.

  • AnirethAnireth Member UncommonPosts: 940

    As long as you are just starting out with programming, the computer is nearly irrelevant.

    Once you get into it more, you still won't need a high end gaming pc, though a good CPU and fast HDD can help depending on tasks. For MMO (given that this is MMORPG.com) you obviously need a high end gaming pc. If you get one, it will almost automatically exceed any requirements imposed by programming.

    Regarding different manufactures and brands, i can only talk about my experience:

    AMD CPUs are not always supported with regards to virtualization. Like, Intel provides images for the Android simulator, with which you can actually reasonable use it. This does not work on AMD CPUs to do additional requirements like Intel's own Hardware Acceleration Manager (HAXM). If you want to run OS X in a virtual machine Intel it is again. Nigh imposible to get it to work on AMD. Didn't encounter any "deal breaker" regarding gaming with CPUs.

    Graphics isn't as important, but Nvidia has PhsyX, which depending on the game *may* make it run faster  or to simulate physics more realistically. Not that big of an impact, the card itself is more important than the manufacturer.

    Also, DVDs etc. kinda fell out of fashion with fast internet, but if you still handle them a lot i suggest a known brand like LG or so, they can more reliably read the discs compared to no-name brands. Not sure if that holds true for Blu-Ray drives, too. If you already got a DVD drive that you're happy with, there is no real benefit in getting a new one. Same as when you can't remember the last time you had to use one. They are cheap though, so maybe better safe than sorry?

    Never had real trouble with hard drives, so never paid much attention to the manufacturer, but you'll find horror stories about prettty much every manufactures.

    For both gaming and programming, a SSD can prove beneficial. Windows itself (or any OS) will also boot up almost instantly, so i would defintively get one.

    If as you said you'll wait a few more years, there might not even be reason to still keep a regular HDD as SSD sizes will grow while the price will keep going down. Unless ofc. you want to keep *everything* stored.

    I'll wait to the day's end when the moon is high
    And then I'll rise with the tide with a lust for life, I'll
    Amass an army, and we'll harness a horde
    And then we'll limp across the land until we stand at the shore

  • CrystalDreamer59CrystalDreamer59 Member Posts: 32
    I agree it's the hardware not the name brand that usually counts. I am seriously thinking now that what I have is fine for now and I'm getting way too ahead of myself with thinking about building a high end desktop computer. 
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