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Tips and recommendations for buying a gaming computer

 Tips and recommendations for buying a gaming computer

Tips and recommendations for buying a gaming computer

  In addition to consoles, computers are excellent options to consider when playing games.  Although it allows thousands of tasks to be performed, one of the uses that we players offer the most is precisely: gameplay.  However, getting a gaming PC is not a simple task as it happens with video consoles: apart from stock issues, there are many factors that we must take into account.

  Because when we buy a console, besides taking into account the catalog that we will have on each platform and the available internal storage options, each model is similar to the others in terms of hardware.

  But in the field of computers, it opens us up to a wide range of possibilities in terms of components, which we can combine at will (within certain limits, of course) to obtain equipment tailored to our needs.

  Thus, when faced with the purchase of a gaming PC, we have two main options: to move to pre-assembled units from those that we find in specialized stores and which benefit from the fact that they are already built but, on the contrary, are more expensive, or we buy all the parts ourselves to assemble them later  .

  Then we will see some models from the first, but for both options and the other, if we want to be successful in the purchase, we will have to take into account a series of questions to know for sure what we will acquire, what will be offered to us and if the price we pay is appropriate.  So we will now move on to those basic aspects to learn about the specifications of our future equipment.

  Graphics Card:

  The graphics card is the main component that we have to consider when considering a gaming PC.  Although it is true that it is not necessary for other uses, and we can use the computer simply with the built-in computer it has many processors, in terms of gaming, things change.

  Basically, graphics are the component that you have to build the rest of when setting up a gaming PC.  And while now is not the time to buy any due to the serious supply and inventory issues plaguing the market, this guide can serve us whether we manage to get one in spite of everything, or when the waters are back on track.

  In that sense, and while Intel will soon be joining the party, there are two graphics manufacturers we can play with: NVIDIA and AMD.  Each one has its advantages and its audience.  Some prefer some, others and there are those who are not interested in one brand or the other as long as it meets their needs.

  Having said that, we just need to know which model is best suited to us and the use we are going to give it to.  Because playing Full HD is different from playing Ultra HD.  Nor does it do at 60 fps or 144. Although current standards are, increasingly, too close to a setting that allows us to reach (or get close) to 1440p at 144Hz.

  So, taking this configuration as a reference, we can narrow down the options a bit in terms of graphics.  With regards to NVIDIA, anything equivalent to or exceeding RTX 2060 Super or better would be worth it for this scenario we propose (although it is something that depends largely on the rest of the components, the game in question, the software configuration we have...).  Although the ideal, of course, is to start with the recently released 3000 series: from the RTX 3060 Ti onwards.

  For AMD cards, for their part, the same thing happens: a new family of GPUs has entered the market, the choice of which would be the most optimal.  However, given the stock and price issues mentioned above, it wouldn't be a bad idea to settle for the previous generation chart.  So, two good options from both last and current season could be the RX 5700 XT and the RX 6700 XT, respectively.

  In this case, all this will have to be taken with a lot of tweezers;  As we say, the market is now pretty crazy, and either there is no stock or what little is in the ceiling.  But these aspects can serve as a guide for the future.


  After the graphics card, the next component that we must prioritize and allocate a significant part of the budget is the processor.  A good CPU, along with the rest of the hardware, will give us a large number of frames per second.  And that's exactly what we're looking for.

  As with graphics cards, the manufacture of CPUs, especially the best we can find for gaming, is monopolized by two companies: Intel and AMD.  The first has dominated the market for many years, but the second has managed to stand up to it and in recent generations of Ryzen processors we have seen a huge jump in quality.

  So much so that today AMD has taken the lead and some of its models such as Ryzen 5 3600 of the last generation or Ryzen 5 5600X of the current generation, are among the most recommended models of gaming equipment if we consider the value for money.

  Can we spend more and go to higher ranges?  naturally.  Also less and go for less.  But considering the cost of these CPUs and the performance they offer, they will be more than enough for most users.  As for Intel, for its part, one of the most balanced processors in this sense, which competes with the mentioned processors, is the Core i5-10400F.  Or a little more, its new eleventh-generation model: the i5-11400.  From there to the top.

  Motherboard and RAM:

  These two components we just saw, as well as the rest of them, need support to connect to them and allow them to communicate with each other: the motherboard.  So a motherboard is just as important as a good processor or good graphics.  There are many models that focus on the gaming sector (which includes RGB lights and a very distinctive style), although any of them beyond certain requirements will be valid for the task we are looking for.

  When we are the ones buying the parts independently to assemble ourselves, the ideal is to choose a motherboard that meets our minimum requirements and without spending a lot of budget.  But in terms of already assembled equipment, the choice of this part (as well as the rest) goes through the standards of the manufacturer in service.

  Anyway, any motherboard with "gaming" in its name will have several SATA inputs for hard drives, one or more PCIe for graphics and other expansion cards, and two or four RAM slots, in case we want to expand.  In the future.

  And with that we move on to that other component, one of the four most important when it comes to gaming: RAM.  There really isn't much to mix up here beyond how much gigabytes your computer has and the speed at which it operates.  Before with 8 GB, we are left, but more and more of the standard is found in 16 GB of RAM.  So any device with a size of 16GB or more would be a good choice in this regard.

  In terms of speed, manufacturers generally choose RAM models that go to the ideal frequency for the associated processor.  So in this regard we will not have many problems.  As a guide, one of the most used RAM today hovers around 3200MHz, and it could be somewhat lower or higher depending on the platform chosen: Intel or AMD.

  And one aspect to keep in mind about RAM: if we use two modules instead of one, it will be better.  In other words, assuming that the computer we want has 16 GB, it is better if it comes in two modules of 8 GB each rather than just 16 GB;  This way we take up more space on the motherboard and reduce future scalability, yes, but we gain in performance, which is what matters to us.

  The icing on the cake: hard drives, power supplies, heatsinks...

  Finally, and before we move on to some of the best gaming PCs we find on the market in mid-2021, let's briefly review some other aspects that can make the difference between a well-rounded PC and a less attractive one.  We have already seen the main parts that make up the bulk of a computer, but there are many other pieces that we must not forget as well.

  One of them is the hard disk.  Because while it won't have a direct impact on the number of frames per second we can achieve or the graphic quality we can access, it will be noticeable (and a lot) in load times.  In fact, the new generation has made a big bet on this aspect.

  The ideal then is to have one or more SSD disks, if possible in M.2 NVMe format.  These double the speed of mechanical discs longevity, which translates to fewer waiting times during transitions between levels and content within video games.

  Although that doesn't mean we can't continue to use mechanical discs to install games.  On a tight budget, manufacturers tend to cut back on this aspect, introducing a lower-capacity SSD for installing the operating system and a much larger mechanical hard drive for hosting games (which increasingly take up more GB).  .  And it's not a bad decision: it's something the user can easily extend to adults.  So a good mix would be 256/512GB SSD plus 1 or 2TB HDD.

  Another essential element is the power supply: it is responsible for supplying and distributing electric current between all components.  So we want it to be of a minimum quality to avoid electrical problems, which can leave one or more pieces unusable in certain situations and to have enough watts so they don't short out.  It depends a lot on the equipment as a whole, but in general, starting from 650/700 watts up, we will leave more.

  Coming to the end, we came across additions like the heatsink that the processor carries.  It should be solvent enough to keep the high temperatures in place.  Here we will find options including air cooling and other options that choose liquid.  Finally, there's something that goes hand in hand with the case and the rest of the PC fans: the more open it is and the more fans it has (with good airflow, yes), the better temperatures we get while gaming, thus avoiding component thermal throttling and premature wear.

  Our favorite gaming PCs:

  And now yes, and with all of the above in mind, let's see some interesting models of gaming PCs already assembled, with which we can run everything we have on the market right now.  And what will come of course.  We go with them!

  PCCom Gold i5 / 3060 . Computer

  The first model on the list (1466.93 euros) is one of several pre-assembled equipment that we will see by PcComponentes.  This store specializes in hardware products and of course games.  So they offer balanced gaming PCs tuned for all kinds of budgets.  This computer is one of the best ways to move to the newly released NVIDIA 3000 series without spending a lot.  Includes the RTX 3060 along with an Intel Core i . processor