What Specifications to Look When Buying a Gaming Computer

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Part of the fun of being a PC gamer is building or picking out your gaming computer. From the internal organs that run your CPU like the memory and processor, to the appendages like your mouse keyboard, every part makes a difference in the gaming experience. Whether you’re a neophyte gamer looking for a suitable gaming PC, or a techy gamer after the highest specs, this article is for you.

We’ll give you expert guidance on what to look for in a gaming computer. We’ll talk about hardware specifications and even go into smaller details as nitty-gritty as mouse recommendations. By the end, you should have a better idea about the kind of specs you need for your next gaming machine.

If you’re really into building or buying a high spec’d computer, you might want to check out MSI gaming computers for a complete ready-to-use machine.

Key Features

When it comes to machine performance, it’s all about specs, specs, specs. For the context of this article, the specs we will be recommending here are computer specifications for serious gaming. These are for more demanding AAA titles like Monster Hunter and Witcher 3. If you’re just playing Minecraft or Limbo, any generic PC that can run your office suite should do.

Before we get into the fine details of the specifications you need, let’s have an overview of what we’ll be talking about in this article.

Display 

  • The display, or screen, is where you’ll be experiencing games and seeing graphics, so it’s important to have one that will fully maximize the internal specs of your CPU.

GPU

  • The graphics processing unit, or graphics card, is responsible for converting gaming information to what you see on your display.

CPU

  • The central processing unit is responsible for how well the demands of your game can be executed by your computer.

Memory

  • Directly working with the CPU, the memory is what allows your games to run fast and perform optimally.

Storage

  • This is where all the games on your computer reside.

Port And Inputs

  • This is where your peripherals like the monitor, mouse, keyboard, and other external hardware can be hooked up.

Did you know? 48% of gaming activities are done on PC.

Specs In Detail 

Here’s what to look for in a gaming desktop:

Display

  • When talking about the display, it’s always about choosing the right monitor; there are many out there to suit all preferences.

Size

  • The first thing that probably comes into your mind is size. Bigger can mean better, but in general, 24 inches should be the starting point.

Shape

  • There is also the issue of getting curved or flat, wide, and ultrawide. If you’re going ultrawide, having curvature works well for seeing the far edges. Note, though, that some games might not work well with ultrawide screens.

Resolution

  • For resolution, don’t go below 1080p. Of course, if you can go 4K, then all the better. 4K resolutions will make your images look a lot crisper with many finer details showing.

Refresh Rate

  • Low refresh rates can cause fast-moving images to look blurry. When playing fast-paced action games, make sure to get a monitor with at least a 144hz refresh rate and a response time of 0.5ms.
  • For a 24 inch monitor, the ASUS TUF gaming monitor will serve you well.

GPU

To a certain extent, this can be one of the most important pieces of hardware when buying a gaming PC since it will set the boundaries of your games’ visual performance. For most games, 8GB of onboard memory is the benchmark. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series or any of its equivalent brands, such as those from AMD, should be more than enough. These graphics cards will bring out the most detailed and realistic lighting atmosphere on certain games, not to mention sharp and beautiful images.

CPU

What you want to look for in a CPU as requirements for a good gaming computer are two main things – core and clock speed. Think about the core as a processor within the processor. AAA titles require at least four cores. Clock speed determines how fast a chip can operate and is measured in gigahertz or GHz. A slow processor will not be able to keep up with fast high-performance games. A barely adequate processor will cause your games to be sluggish and occasionally stutter. If your processor is far from being adequate, it may not even run the game at all. It’s recommended to have a clock speed of 3.0 and above for optimum performance. The AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processor or an 11th Gen Intel Core will be a good bet.

Memory

Some high-end games only require 4GB of memory to work properly, but as always, bigger is always better. Having a memory of 16GB should make your PC ready for anything you throw at it. But if you want to maximize the intended performance of those AAA games, better go for 32 GB. If you have an AMD Ryzen as your processor, the T-Force Xtreem ARGB 16GB memory makes a good pair for your gaming PC specs. It has a speed of 3600MHz and a CAS latency of 14. With the right combination of CPU and GPU, this will make more demanding games run smoothly.

Storage

If you play AAA titles, then you’ll need a huge memory especially if you like to have many games inside your drive all at the same time. These games usually take up around 100 to 250 GB of storage space depending on the title. Call of Duty Modern Warfare, which is a very popular title, already demands 231 GB of storage space. Some games even have expansion packs that are also space-demanding so make sure to be prepared for that too.

Size

512GB of storage is your minimum specs for a gaming PC. That should be enough for a handful of small games, or two to three large games. If you’re a collector who likes keeping finished games for a long time, 1TB would be more than adequate.

NVMe SSD

Go for NVMe SSDs for maximum speed. With today’s standards, it is highly unrecommended to get traditionally spinning HDDs if you’re after performance. For high performance memory storage, the WD Black SN850 1TB is the fastest PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD to date.

External Storage

If you’re planning to play on multiple PCs, best get an external hard drive. Another one from Western Digital worth mentioning in this gaming PC buying guide is the WD Black P50 Game Drive 1TB.

Intel Optane Memory Technology

If you have slower SSDs and HDDs, the Intel Optane Memory can provide additional speed. The technology works by disk caching by providing fast access to SSDs together with HDDs’ higher capacities.

Ports

Ports allow your computer to be connected to other hardware that you’ll need. Mice and keyboards usually use wireless connectivity these days, but other peripherals still need to be connected physically to be able to communicate.

USB

USB 3.0 has the fastest speed for gaming purposes. It’s got near-instant responsiveness, and also offers ultra-fast charging for your gaming accessories such as controllers and wireless keyboards. You can get a USB hub if you’ll be connecting many peripherals. The Vava 7 in 1 is a sleek choice that offers seven USB 3.0 slots connected to via USB-C.

Audio

Specs for a good gaming computer should always consider headsets. These devices are specifically designed to project super accurate game sounds like explosions and other effects. Aside from receiving audio, they also have mics for communicating with other players. There are two types of ports typically used for connecting your audio devices – the 3.5mm audio port and a mic port. These are the pink and green colored ports where you plug your device. Pink is for mics and green is for earphones. Another is via USB 3.0. USB powered headsets for gaming are enhanced to offer better audio quality.

SD Card Slot

As an alternative to external disk drives, you can use SD cards for your games. This comes in a handier option if you want to carry along something smaller. There is now up to 1TB of storage for SD cards which is more than enough to store a couple of games. Gaming performance is the same, perhaps with the only noticeable difference being in starting the game where SD card-loaded games boot a little slower.

Keyboard

When it comes to gaming computer specs, you’ll need a more specialized keyboard other than the ones you use for typing documents. You’ll need high performance devices with fast responses and could stand a good amount of abuse when the gaming experience gets a little more intense. Depending on your preference, you can choose between low travel or high travel keys. For extra room effects, get those with RGB backlights; for maximum comfort, look for one with a wrist rest. The Corsair K100 RGB optical comes with many bells and whistles to deliver a superb gaming experience.

Mouse

What makes a good gaming PC mouse is how comfortable it is to use. Using a mouse you’re not comfortable with can lead to hand strain which not only affects your gaming, but your health! When it comes to comfort and ergonomics, hand size is the greatest variable here. Mice that are too small for a large hand will make it hard to grip and move the mouse constantly, causing wrist problems and finger fatigue from the awkward posture. This isn’t the same case, though, with larger mice for small hands, although gaming performance will still be affected. If you have large hands, the Corsair Ironclaw RGB should suit you well. If you have smaller hands, the Logitech G Pro Gaming FPS Gaming Mouse is a good bet.

Key Takeaways 

Maximize AAA titles by getting higher specs.
You can use SD cards as a more compact alternative to external drives.
For the minimum specs for a gaming PC, never go below 16GB of RAM, four cores of CPU, and 8GB of GPU.
Choose a mouse suited for the size of your hand.

Conclusion

Good gaming PC specs mean a machine fully decked out to handle the most demanding games. As a rule of thumb, higher specs are always better so you’ll always be ready for that new game that’s more demanding than the last generation. Aside from internal specs, peripherals are also important. If you truly want to maximize your gaming experience, consider investing in peripherals like a proper gaming keyboard, mouse, and headset. If you’ll be replacing your current computer with a new one, have a look at what you can do with old computers.

FAQ

How much is a good gaming PC?

The best specs for a gaming PC that’s ready for demanding AAA titles should cost about $1,800 at the minimum; that doesn’t include the monitor, sound system, or keyboard. Depending on how decked out you want these peripherals to be, be prepared to spend about $2,500 to a whopping $4,000. Else, you can look at the best gaming computers under $500.

What do you need for a gaming PC?

As previously mentioned in this guide to buying a gaming PC, it’s all about specs, specs, and specs. Large processing power, large memories, large screens, large everything. The higher the specs, the better the gaming performance, meaning the better overall experience.

What kind of computer do I need for gaming?

When you know what to look for in a gaming computer, it’s easier to know what kind of computer you’ll have to get. Since most computers are primarily intended for typical office work, you’ll have to get a PC that’s built especially for gaming. By following our tips in this article, you could even be able to build your gaming PC!

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