This one's for the gamers.

Gaming Computer Rig

If you're tired of the drag of lag on your gaming experience, then it's probably time to say GG on your old setup.

However, finding the right upgrade is is a perilous and daunting quest, given the overwhelming choice offered by the market.

But, good news! This guide is here to help.

We use a holistic approach to understanding and selecting the right gaming computer, addressing several key factors such as system specifications and cost.

Tailoring Your Setup: Know YOUR needs

Choosing the right gaming computer hinges on your desired gaming experience.

Whether it's for competitive eSports or immersive AAA titles with cinematic graphics, performance is key.

Performance is measured in frame rates per second, resolution, and game settings ranging from low to ultra.

But contrary to popular belief, you don't need an expensive setup for PC gaming.

That misconception is fueled by the high costs of cutting-edge components, like the Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU priced at $1,700. But rest assured, top-tier parts are not a prerequisite for enjoying PC games.

Indeed, advanced features like 4K resolution and ray tracing do require expensive hardware, but they're not essential, let me explain why:

Games these days come with all sorts of graphical settings, accommodating even modest hardware. I actually think the true charm of PC gaming, compared to console gaming, lies in its versatility.

4K resolution refers to a high-definition display with about four times the pixels of standard 1080p screens, resulting in sharper and more detailed images. Ray tracing, on the other hand, is a technique for rendering light and shadows in a way that mimics how they behave in the real world. It creates highly realistic lighting effects, such as reflections on water, glass, and other surfaces, and more natural shadows, making the virtual environments in games and movies look more lifelike. Both 4K and ray tracing contribute to a more immersive and visually impressive experience, but they do require more powerful hardware to run smoothly!

Games like League of Legends has options for less powerful PCs, ensuring accessibility.

Other games, like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, are known for their extensive modding community, which creates mods that enhance performance on lower-end systems.

Opting for lower graphics settings might not deliver the most visually striking experience, but it does guarantees a smooth and enjoyable gaming session.

The takeaway is simple: you don't need the latest hardware for the majority of PC games.

And besides, you can always enhance its performance by upgrading parts in the future.

Selecting Core Components

When choosing your pre-built, you will inevitably run into long spec sheets or be asked to select between different components when customizing your computer or laptop configurations to build.

Here are some pointers regarding the most important components of your new gaming rig.


The central processing unit (CPU) is the primary component of a computer responsible for executing all computing tasks. It functions as the brain of the computer, processing instructions given to it from a software you're running and performing basic arithmetic, logical, control, and input/output (I/O) operations.

In the context of gaming, the CPU's role is crucial as it not only executes the game's programming but also coordinates those operations with other hardware components like the graphics card (GPU), memory (RAM), and storage.

Consequently, the performance of a CPU directly affects the game's ability to run smoothly, particularly in processing complex game mechanics, physics simulations, and managing multiple tasks simultaneously.

A quad-core processor, which contains four independent cores that can read and execute instructions, is often considered the minimum requirement for modern gaming. This setup allows for decent performance in most games.

However, games and gaming environments are increasingly demanding more processing power.

As such, a six-core or eight-core processor is recommended for a more robust gaming experience.

These processors have additional cores, which significantly enhance their multitasking capabilities and overall performance. More cores means the CPU can handle more tasks at once, which is beneficial not only for gaming, but also for other intensive tasks like streaming, video editing, or running multiple applications simultaneously.

Popular CPU choices among gamers include AMD’s Ryzen series and Intel’s Core series.

AMD Ryzen processors are well-regarded for their high core and thread counts, excellent multi-threading performance, and competitive pricing.

Multithread performance describes performance in more parallelized workloads able to utilize many cores at the same time. A core in a CPU is an individual processing unit that can read and execute program instructions, with modern CPUs typically having multiple cores to handle several tasks simultaneously.

This is advantageous for applications that can divide their workload, such as video editing, 3D rendering, and multitasking, allowing for quicker processing of complex tasks. They are often chosen by gamers who also engage in content creation or multitasking across other multi-threaded applications.

Choosing the Right CPU For You

The Ryzen 7 7800 X3D is currently considered the fastest gaming CPU overall.

On the other hand, Intel’s Core series, particularly the i5, i7, and i9 models, are known for their high single-thread performance, which is critical for some gaming.

Thread count is how many different things your computer can do. Single-thread performance is how fast it can do each of those things.

That's because CPUs with high performance "per core/thread" will generally do well in apps that rely on single-core performance - which is still the majority of older games.

For example, the game World Of Tanks was famous for not being able to use multiple cores at all.

Therefore, a CPU boasting a handful of powerful cores cores trumps a workstation-grade CPU packed with dozens of slower ones, simply because the game is unable to distribute the workload among them.

Interestingly, in order to use multi-cores, the game has to be specifically programmed to process individual instructions in different cores.

You could handle the physics calculations of a scene on one core, manage the geometry processing for rendering on another, and execute AI computations for non-player characters on a third core, among other tasks.

Over time, however, coding these games is HARD and it can become increasingly challenging to efficiently distribute these tasks across multiple cores.

For this reason, a lot of Indie games run on fewer cores.

Increasingly, however, modern AAA titles are now using multiple threads and I don't think Intel's advantage is still a deal breaker in 2024. Either manufacturers are good.

GPU / Graphics Card

The GPU's primary role is to render images, animations, and video to the monitor.

It is specifically designed to handle graphics rendering, possessing hundreds or thousands of small cores optimized for parallel processing, ideal for graphics tasks.

High-fidelity textures, real-time lighting effects, particle systems, and physics simulations, are now handled by the GPU. Although, these tasks were previously handled by the CPU.

By offloading these tasks from the CPU, the GPU enables smoother graphical performance. This division of labor is crucial, especially in the visually complex scenarios present in modern games.

That's because, in systems without a dedicated GPU, the CPU handles all processing tasks, including graphics. However, since CPUs are designed for general-purpose processing and not specialized in graphics, their ability to render complex graphics efficiently is limited.

When a dedicated GPU is added to the system, it takes over the bulk of the graphics rendering work. This frees the CPU to focus on other important tasks such as running the game's logic, physics simulations, AI, and managing system operations.

The GPU is actually composed of thousands of smaller cores that work in parallel to process multiple tasks simultaneously. This makes it particularly good at handling the complex mathematical and geometric calculations necessary for rendering graphics.

By dividing the processing work between the CPU and GPU, the risk of bottlenecking is significantly reduced.

Bottlenecking occurs when one component is overburdened, slowing down the entire system. With the GPU handling graphics, the CPU is less likely to become a bottleneck, ensuring smoother performance in games with high graphical demands.

Choosing the Right GPU For You

In gaming, the noticeable impact from the GPU is manifested as frame rates and image quality.

A more powerful GPU will display higher resolutions (such as 4K), advanced graphical enhancements (like ray tracing), and maintain higher frame rates.

Frame rates, measured in frames per second (fps), are crucial in gaming because they dictate how smooth the game looks in motion. A stable and high fps count is particularly important in fast-paced, competitive games where quick response times are essential.

Therefore, it's little surprise that.. your budget should prioritize this component!

NVIDIA’s RTX and AMD’s RX series are current leading options for gaming.

When selecting a GPU, consider the gaming resolution (1080p, 1440p, 4K), the games you wish to play, and the settings you prefer.

As of the last few years, GPUs like NVIDIA's RTX series have introduced dedicated ray tracing cores for realistic lighting and AI-driven features such as DLSS for improved performance at high resolutions. AMD’s offerings, with their RDNA architecture, have also emphasized efficiency and high performance per watt, providing competitive alternatives.

In the context of future-proofing, and this can't be overstated - __a higher-end GPU will extend the life of a gaming PC. __

New game releases will continue to push graphical boundaries, and a GPU with more power will keep up with those demands longer than a lower-end model.


Random Access Memory (RAM) plays a pivotal role in the overall performance of a gaming computer. It acts as the system's short-term memory, temporarily holding data for quick access and use by the CPU and GPU.

In the realm of gaming, RAM temporarily holds game assets like textures and shaders, which are needed promptly by the GPU for rendering. The CPU on the other hand might use RAM to store and manage the game's code and logic operations, such as AI behavior, physics calculations, player inputs, and game mechanics.

Faster access to this data results in quicker game load times, less in-game stuttering, and smoother transitions between scenes.

Insufficient RAM can lead to bottlenecking, where the CPU has to wait for data to be loaded from the slower storage devices. This delay can result in lag, especially in games designed to utilize high amounts of memory.

Choosing the Right RAM For You

When selecting RAM, balance is key. For gaming, 16GB is currently the sweet spot, but 8GB might be sufficient for less demanding titles.

Modern games often recommend 16GB of RAM for the best experience, with professional gamers and streamers opting for 32GB or more to handle simultaneous gaming, streaming, and background applications.

Speed should be considered alongside capacity, with 3000MHz to 3600MHz being optimal for most modern CPUs without breaking the bank.

RAM speed, measured in megahertz (MHz), refers to how many cycles per second it can perform. Latency, on the other hand, measures the delay before data can be transferred. Higher speed RAM with lower latency can lead to marginal performance gains in some scenarios, particularly in CPU-intensive games or when using integrated graphics solutions.

For the sake of longevity, I would recommend 32GB for serious gamers in 2024.

Side note: RAM Upgradability and Motherboard Compatibility

Choosing a motherboard with extra RAM slots can provide a pathway for future upgrades. This is particularly useful as games and applications continue to evolve and consume more memory.

Compatibility with your motherboard is also essential, as some motherboards may not support higher-speed RAM, or may require specific configurations to run RAM at advertised speeds.

Upgrading RAM is one of the simplest ways to extend the lifespan of a gaming PC!


There are two main types of storage hardware: SSDs (Solid State Drives) and HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) - and they differ significantly in their technology, performance, and usage:

When choosing a gaming PC, the decision between either can greatly affect your gaming experience.

SSDs offer significantly faster load times, leading to quicker game loading, faster boot times, and a generally more responsive system. This is particularly beneficial in games with extensive loading, like those with large open worlds. Additionally, SSDs are more durable and reliable, as they have no moving parts, making them less prone to damage and wear, especially important if you frequently move your PC.

On the other hand, HDDs are more cost-effective, offering larger storage capacities at a lower price, making them a good choice for storing a vast game library and other large files. However, they are slower in performance, can add more noise and heat to your system, and are more prone to physical damage due to their mechanical nature.

I'd thoroughly suggest an SSD, for all the reasons above.

For an optimal gaming setup, some gamers opt for a hybrid approach: using an SSD for the operating system, top-played games, and frequently used applications for speed, alongside an HDD for additional storage needs. This combination balances the speed and responsiveness of an SSD with the storage capacity and cost-effectiveness of an HDD.

At the end of the day..

You want my honest advice? Set yourself a budget and try to stick with it.

The upper limit of gaming hardware is very expensive, and there always seems to be another more powerful component.

However, if you follow the suggestions above, you should be fine for the vast majority of your gaming needs. But please try to supplement my advice with some additional research!

Try to invest wisely in critical areas such as the GPU and CPU, which will significantly enhance your gaming experience without breaking the bank. Additionally, consider the future upgradability of your system to ensure it remains competitive over time.

Ultimately, a well-planned budget gaming PC can deliver a compelling gaming experience that aligns with your financial constraints and gaming aspirations. Good luck!