Community//

Components of a PC: What Are the Key Parts for the Best Gaming Rig?

A gaming PC is the ultimate piece of gaming kit that you can buy. Sorry to the console gamers out there, but it’s true: a great PC will always beat consoles when it comes to power. The key problem with building a gaming PC is choosing the right gaming PC parts. Understanding the components of a […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

A gaming PC is the ultimate piece of gaming kit that you can buy. Sorry to the console gamers out there, but it’s true: a great PC will always beat consoles when it comes to power.

The key problem with building a gaming PC is choosing the right gaming PC parts. Understanding the components of a PC is essential if you want to build a great machine, and this is a big barrier to entry.

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at various gaming PC components that you need to know about so that you can build the best gaming rig that you can afford.

Are you ready to learn more about the guts and various inner workings of the ultimate games machine? Then read on and find out more!

The CPU

The most important part of your machine is the CPU. This component is the chip that you have to insert into your motherboard (but more on that later). The CPU is the part that carries out all the different mathematical equations that need to be done to run your computer.

The speed of the CPU is measured in gigahertz or GHz. You may think that the bigger the number the better, and, in general, you’re right. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

The CPU is made up of multiple cores. Each core can run mathematical equations individually. What this means is that a dual-core CPU can run two sets of equations at once, a quad-core can run four, and so on.

What this means is that a dual-core CPU that runs at 3 GHz will be slower, in most cases, than a quad-core CPU that runs at 2.5 GHz. This does depend on the software being coded to run across multiple cores, but most software supports multithreading nowadays.

You should also take a look at cache size when choosing a CPU. The more memory in the cache, the faster the CPU will be able to process data.

Motherboard

While the CPU is your computer’s brain, the motherboard is the nervous system. Without the motherboard, your CPU can’t communicate with the rest of the components, nor can it draw power. 

While the motherboard isn’t a particularly exciting component, there are a few things that you should look for. You should consider how many USB sockets you need and what kind, as many of these will be on the motherboard rather than the case. You should look for a motherboard with at least four USB 3.0 ports.

You should also make sure that the motherboard has the right kind of socket for your CPU. AMD and Intel CPUs fit into different sockets on the motherboard: choose the wrong one and your motherboard will be nothing more than an expensive paperweight.

You should also make sure that the motherboard has enough space for all your components. Think about your future expansion and upgrades too, and take these upgrades into account.

Power Supply

The power supply, as you may have guessed, supplies power to all the components of your PC. When it comes to choosing a power supply, you need to make sure that it’s made by a reputable manufacturer, as these units have to deal with hundreds of watts of power, and a poorly-made one can cause serious issues.

When choosing a power supply, there are a few things that you need to take into account other than the manufacturer. You should consider how much power all your PC’s components need. Use a wattage calculator and give yourself a few hundred watts of headroom in case you want to upgrade.

You should also consider the issue of noise. Power supplies can be very noisy and if this will bother you, it’s worth shopping around to find a power supply that is designed for quiet operation.

Hard Drives

Your hard drives store all of your data. This means that you need to pick hard drives that are reliable, will last you a long time, and are speedy. 

There are two main types of hard drives: HDDs and SSDs. While SSDs aren’t technically hard drives, they’re still called hard drives, so we’ll refer to them as such.

An HDD is the traditional style of hard drive. It’s made up of a spinning magnetic disk which is housed in a chassis with a needle that reads data from the disk. The disk will need to spin back and forth continuously to access different sectors.

An SSD, by contrast, has no moving parts. It is essentially a larger version of an SD card: all the data is stored in flash memory.

Thanks to the lack of moving parts, SSDs are a lot faster than HDDs. There’s no need for the disk to spin up to the right sector. They are, however, a lot more expensive than HDDs, too, which means that an HDD is still the best option for bulk storage.

The best option is to own one of each. Look for an SSD that can hold at least 500 GB of data, and install your operating system and your favorite games on this disk. Add an accompanying HDD that’s at least 2 TB in size and use it to store all the games you don’t play as often, movies, music, or other data.

This dual-disk approach is commonly used by manufacturers like Lenovo on their gaming PCs.

RAM

Next up, we have RAM, which is one of the least well-understood computer components around. Its principle is very simple: it stores files that your CPU needs to access regularly to run applications faster. So, if you’re playing a video game, certain files will be stored in the RAM which allows for smooth gameplay.

When it comes to buying RAM, there are two things to consider: capacity and speed. 

You should have at least 16 GB of RAM if you want to play the very latest games. If you’re on a very strict budget, you may be able to get by on 8 GB, but it will vary from game to game. If you want the very best performance, consider upgrading to 32 GB.

In terms of speed, look for RAM that has a speed of at least 3000 MHz. Any slower and you will notice severe performance issues in intensive video games.

Graphics Card

While some CPUs have onboard graphics these days, they’re no match for a dedicated graphics card. These are specialized combinations of a CPU and memory that render video. 

Case

The case may seem like a boring part but it’s your chance to determine the aesthetics of your PC. Your case says a lot about who you are as a person, so pick a design and color scheme that appeals to you.

You should also consider some more practical aspects. How many USB sockets and other sockets does your preferred case have, for instance?

It’s also worth thinking about interior space. Your case needs to have enough space for all your components and any upgrades that you might purchase. Having too little space can seriously impact airflow, so take your case purchase seriously!

Monitor

You can have an amazing rig but a bad monitor will ruin it all. We’d recommend buying a monitor with a resolution of at least 1440P, though some may find 1080P to be acceptable.

You should also consider refresh rate. If you have a 120 Hz or 144 Hz monitor, your picture will be smoother. 

Take a look at online reviews and consider refresh rate, resolution, and color depth when making your purchase.

The Main Components of a PC: Solved

By now, you should have a good understanding of the different components of a PC and how they all work. Now get out there and make a gaming PC budget and choose your parts!

For more great informative content like this, check out the rest of our site!

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Rex Stover and Jeff Palumbo of Lenovo: “Gaming was already one of the fastest growing and most popular activities”

    by Jason Hartman
    Community//

    Rex Stover and Jeff Palumbo of Lenovo: “Listen to customer feedback (good and bad)”

    by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
    Community//

    Rex Stover and Jeff Palumbo of Lenovo: “Listen to customer feedback”

    by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.