PC Hardware Explained
Created by Jimmy Thang on
8-7-17 update: This story has been updated to reflect new CPUs, GPUs, motherboard platforms, and more.
For the uninitiated, building a computer might sound as daunting as building a rocket ship, but assembling a PC is not rocket science. As a matter of fact, if you’ve ever put together a Lego set, then you’ve got the chops to build a basic PC. The more challenging part of the process is simply educating yourself on what parts to buy, but planning out your build is also arguably the most fun part. To help you enjoy this process, we’ve written this PC component shopping starter guide, and by the end of it, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running to start building your own custom PC!
First things first:
Building a PC doesn’t have to be expensive. If you plan to do most of your gaming at a resolution of 1080p (which is by far the most common gaming resolution today) and you only want to play less-demanding games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, or Hearthstone, you could spend as little as $400 on your PC. If you want to jump into the deep end to play games like The Witcher 3 at pupil-splitting 4K, then yes, that’s where the multi-thousand dollar PCs can come into play. Of course, there’s also a middle ground if you want to play demanding games, but aren’t concerned with turning up all of the graphical bells and whistles. As we mentioned, there’s a ton of flexibility here.
Generally speaking, you want to get the most bang for your buck. If you spend more money on a component, chances are you will get slightly better performance, but you’ll be paying a high premium for it. Conversely, if you spend too little, you might end up making some compromises down the road, and might be better off with spending a few dollars more for a better long-term experience. Deciphering all of that may seem difficult, but we’re here to walk you through it component-by-component.
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