How To Choose A Gaming Computer 2011

You’re about to spend a lot of money, and the thought of it probably makes you feel nauseous. You want to own a spankin’ new gaming computer, but the idea surrounds you in clouds of options and alternatives. Making a purchase of a gaming computer is a daunting task. This is one task that you need to take careful thought to in order to get the most bang for your buck. This decision is also one that you will need to consider a whole host of options for as different options create different performance results. If done right, if will provide you with an excellent PC that will play all of your games just the way you want to see them look.

This guide is going to help you look for a gaming computer that will give you great gameplay and performance. It will also give you an idea of what exactly to look for when it comes to the parts and components. Finally, you will get to know some of the great gaming computer manufacturers so to head you in the right direction when it comes to your purchase without getting ripped off.

The following are the most important computer parts you will need to take into consideration

Video Card

CPU (processor)
Power Supply
RAM (memory)
The Video Card

A video card is the part of the computer that processes your game’s 3D graphics and is the most important part of your game’s performance. Getting a good video card is absolutely essential for a good gaming computer. Without this, your gaming computer is only a regular computer. The best advice for your gaming computer is to not skimp on the video card.

In choosing a video card there are two computers which hold on to the entire market – Nvidia and ATI (owned by AMD). Nvidia’s consumer end brand is the Nvidia GeForce. ATI commands the Radeon HD line of video cards. Although, these two companies offer great options for gaming, there are few differences in performance when you buy a gaming level model (we’ll get to good models soon). In my personal opinion Nvidia cards have an edge because they come with a technology called PhsyX that adds more realistic effects to many games which are optimized for it. Some PhsyX effects include life-like clothing and flags, exploding particles and more. PhsyX will only work with games that use PhsyX and only work on a video card build for it from Nvidia.

Now to the models. When searching for a model you need to look at the model numbers. The first number is the model line and the numbers after give you the exact model. For instance, Nvidia’s 400 series includes the model 450, 460, 470 and 480. Generally, the higher the exact model number, the better the performance you will see from it.

What model to get? We recommend Nvidia so we’ll give you the best of their cards

GTX 460 or better (GTX 460, GTX 460 2Win, GTX 470, GTX 480)
GTX 550Ti or better (GTX 550Ti, GTX 560Ti, GTX 570, GTX 580, GTX 590)

The CPU
The CPU isn’t quite as important to gaming as the video card but it is still one of the most important as the speed of your computer is based on the CPU. Currently there are two companies which dominate the market – Intel and AMD. We recommend AMD as they offer the best bang for your buck. Also, Intel isn’t favored by most gamers because you pay extra to get a technology called hyper-threading which isn’t used in PC games.

The latest trend in the CPU is multi cores. These are important and you should try and get the most cores possible since more cores generally mean better speed and performance. We highly suggest that you get AT LEAST 4 cores (quad core) since many games are optimized for quad core cpu’s.

AMD offers two main model lines for CPU’s – Athlon II and Phenom II. The Phenom II is preferred for gaming and tend to have better performance than the Athlon II. Furthermore, the Phenom II Black Edition models are even better.

RAM
Random Access Memory has nothing to do with how much space you can have on your computer, but that isn’t important. What is important is that there are different types of memory. The latest type of RAM is DDR3. Every new computer (gaming or not) should include DDR3.

The most important thing about memory is amount and NOT speed. There is nearly no performance change between 1333MHz and 2000MHz, but there is a HUGE difference between 2GB and 4GB. We recommend to have 4GB and 8GB if you want to ‘future-proof’.

Another aspect to RAM is Cas Latency. This is not as important as the amount of RAM, but it does matter more than speed. We recommend a Latency of 9 or LOWER.

The Power Supply
This is a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE, HUGE mistake people make. Power Supplies are the things that take the power from the plug in the wall to all the components in your computer. Power Supplies don’t really matter much in your gaming performance; however, they are extremely important.

Power Supplies are measured in wattage where higher amounts provide more power. It is absolutely vital to get a high powered power supply. We recommend a 550 to 700 watt power supply for a gaming computer with a the video cards we listed above. For the GTX 480, GTX 580, and GTX 590 a 650 watt or greater power supply is needed.

Now to the mistakes people make.

Weak Power supplies – A power supply that is too weak and doesn’t provide enough power can destroy or permanently damage vital components by having them operate without enough power.

Cheap Brands – The price range for a 550 watt power supply can range from $20 to $100. Sure the $20 supply sounds like a convincing deal as it offers 550 watts, but these power supplies break down easily and VERY often only last 8 or 9 months. It they die while the computer is on or slowly lose efficiency, they can damage components. The best brands out there are Corsair and Ultra. We recommend paying the extra 20 or 30 bucks them. You computer will thank you.

Best Prices
Shop around…longer than you should. You can find an excellent PC but you really must be patient. Don’t make a bad purchase because you didn’t want to wait.

Where To Avoid
Ebay- Although there are plenty of great sellers on ebay, there are also plenty of bad sellers. If you really want to purchase from eBay, make sure the seller is reputable and read all the negative feedback.

Dell- The computer company may sell plenty of great consumer computers, but they simply don’t have a strong performance computer or product line for gamers.

Alienware- Now owned by Dell, Alienware is a WAY overpriced extension of Dell computers.

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Guide to Building a Gaming Computer

A Gaming Computer, also known as gaming PC, is a personal computer that is capable of playing computationally and graphically demanding video games. They are very similar to conventional computers with the exception that these machines are fitted with performance-oriented video card and other specifications. This type of computers can be easily bought in the market but at a much higher price compared to the conventional computers. Since most of the gamers are both cost and performance conscious, most of them opt to build their own gaming computer than buying a built-in gaming computer.

Building your own custom gaming computer simply means you buy all your computer components separately and piece them up together to guild your gaming PC. With this method you can achieve a fast and cost-effective gaming computer suited to your own gaming needs. Besides saving a lot of money and having an efficient machine, building your own gaming computer can also be a lot of fun.

How to choose your components?

Perhaps the biggest challenge one can face when building their own gaming computer is choosing the right components for your needs. So without further ado, here is a simple guide in order to help you in building your own gaming computer.

1. Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is one of the most important core components in all computer systems. The CPU is a portion in the system that carries out the instructions of a computer program. In simple terms it could describe as the brains of the computer. The performance of your games and other applications will depend on this microprocessor.

Choosing the best Central Processing Unit (CPU) for your gaming computer can be a hard decision to make. Picking the latest, fastest, or most expensive processor on the market won’t always result in the right CPU for your particular system. Some processors are designed to work with a certain or specific motherboards, thus the CPU type limits the motherboard type you can use.

For a gaming computer, you will really need a powerful CPU for it to performing superbly. Luckily these CPUs are supplied by Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) at an affordable price.

Intel has the Core i7 and Core i5 processor models. Currently these models are the most popular ones used for gaming purposes, which are mostly recommended for gaming computers.

AMD, on the other hand, has the Athlon and Phenom series. If you want to go AMD, you can try the most recommended Phenom X4 series.

2. Motherboard

The motherboard is the hub of the computer system. It is where all other components are connected to. If we consider the CPU as the brain of the computer system, then the motherboard is the central nervous system. Thus buying the best motherboard is a good investment.

After choosing your CPU, next you need to consider choosing your motherboard for your gaming computer. When selecting a motherboard, you should remember three things.

First, a motherboard will generally support one type of processor only. Different CPUs have different connectors that physically vary with one another, Make sure that your CPU plug is suitable to your mother board connector.

Second, motherboards have a certain speed limitation depending on the processor model. Maximum processor speed allowed by the motherboard will be quoted in the motherboard specifications. Before buying, check whether your selected motherboard can support your chosen CPU.

Third, motherboards are the ones who can dictate the type and amount of RAM you can have. In a gaming computer, you would want to have either DDR SDRAM or RDRAM which is at least 1G worth. So ensure that your motherboard can support this type and amount of memory.

Here are some examples of well-known motherboards manufacturers where you can browse for your perfect gaming motherboard: ASUS, ABIT, MSI, XFX, EVGA, Intel, and Gigabyte.

3. Hard Drive

The hard drive is the computer component responsible for storing your files and programs. When buying a hard drive for your gaming computer, consider these three main features: speed, size, and the type of interface.

[Speed] Basically the faster the hard drive spins the fast you are able to access and transfer your data. Currently, the best hard drives in the market these days can have a speed around 7200rpm (rounds per minute). In a gaming computer, you don’t want anything less than this; else it will cause delays between reading and writing data.

Faster hard drives that reach speeds of 10,000rpm and 15,000rpm are available in the market at a higher price. For your gaming computer, a 7200rpm hard drive is already enough for but if you can shell out more money, then you can opt for these faster hard drives.

[Size] Hard drives come in different sizes, which can range from 80GB to 500GB and more. For your gaming computer, it is always recommended that you purchase the largest hard drive you can afford. This will allow you to store lots and lots of software and data (including games).

[Interface] The interface of the hard drive is responsible for managing the exchange of data between a computer and the hard drive. Currently, the most commonly used hard drive interface used today is Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA); which comes in two forms, the original Parallel ATA (PATA) and the newer and faster Serial ATA (SATA).

There’s also the expensive Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) which are used primarily for high-end workstation computer. For you gaming computer, it is sufficient enough to have the SATA if your motherboard can support it.

4. Video Card

Choosing the right video card that is supported by both your CPU and motherboard is a very important and tough decision to make. The gaming video card you choose will be responsible for producing the dazzling 3D graphics and effects seen in the latest computer games. A better graphics card can deliver a better 3D gaming experience, so the best and affordable video card should be bought for you gaming computer.

The graphic processing unit (GPU) can be connected to your motherboard through AGP or PCI Express slot. For you gaming computer, it is recommended that you use a graphics card connected through a PCI Express slot on your motherboard.

The speed and efficiency of the GPU should not be the only thing that counts when buying your video card. You should also consider the advance 3D rendering effects such as anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, bump-mapping, pixel shaders and much more. For your gaming computer, consider a video card that can support such latest 3D rendering techniques in the software world.

Like the CPU market, there are two primary competing companies that current dominate the graphic card. These companies are ATI and nVidia. ATI is responsible for the Radeon series, while nVidia is marketing the GeForce line of cards.

5. Power Supply

One of the vital and overlooked components of the computer system is the power supply. Without a power supply, the computer will not be able to operate its functions. Its main purpose is to convert AC power from the main line to usable low-voltage DC power for the internal components of the computer. The power supply gives out three different DC voltages to your computer 12VDC, 5VDC, and 3VDC which are used differently by computer components.

Each power supply has a certain amount of energy or wattage based on their maximum output power. Wattages commonly ranges from 300W to 500W but some high-end gaming power supply can reach ranges of 800W to 1kW.

If you want to use a power supply for you gaming computer, it is recommended to have at least a power supply ranging from 500W and above.

6. Gaming Monitor

One of the most expensive components in your gaming computer would be the computer monitor. When buying a gaming computer monitor you only need to consider three things: size, native resolution, and price.

[Size] Computer monitors comes in different sizes from the small 15 inches to a larger 23 inches, and even larger. 17 inches is a common size and large enough for most people, but if you want to increase your viewing and gaming experience then a larger size monitor is advisable.

[Native Resolution] Each monitor has been designed for a certain resolution, which is known as the native resolution. If you change the resolution of a monitor to a resolution that doesn’t coincide with its native resolution; the image will then be scaled and the quality will be lessen significantly. Native resolution of a monitor is dependent on its size. Here are some examples of native resolution for common sizes:

17 inches 1024×768

19 inches 1280×1024

20 inches 1600×1200

[Cost] Prices vary greatly between sizes, where smaller ones cost cheaper than larger ones. So choose a size that can satisfy your need while taking into consideration your budget.

7. Gaming Keyboard

Custom built keyboards designed specifically for gaming can give an edge to a gamer using it. But currently, there is no general gaming keyboard that can be recommended for all gamers. Why? This is due to the fact that different gamers have different or varying styles of play, posture, and wrist anatomy. So basically, there is no such thing as a gaming keyboard that is best for everyone.

According to Build-Gaming-Computers, one of the best gaming keyboards available in the market is the Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard. This keyboard has been custom-made to meet a gamer’s need. It specifically features:

a. An adjustable, backlit LCD screen that displays important in-game information during gameplay;

b. Backlit keys to play in the dark or low-lit areas;

c. 18 programmable “G keys” used to execute macros; and

d. Timer controls to keep track of game events.

8. Gaming Mouse

Like the gaming keyboard, choosing the best gaming mouse can help increase the level of your gaming experience. Using a custom-designed gaming mouse gives the best accuracy and control which allows you to play games at your best.

Computer mouse come in different types which are the optical, laser, and ball mice types. Currently, optical and laser type mouse are commonly used due to their precision and better tracking, allowing for more accuracy and control.

When selecting the best mouse for your gamin computer, you should consider a number of factors. One of the most important one is the resolution. Resolution is the number of pixels per inch a mouse’s optical sensor and focusing lens can see when you move the mouse around. The higher the resolution a mouse has, the better the accuracy and precision.

Next consider the responsiveness of the mouse. It is the number of megapixels per second the mouse can process. This is important especially in fast-paced games such as first person shooters games. The more megapixels per second the mouse can process, the more responsive it is; thus it offers faster and precise control in your games.

So when buying a gaming mouse, consider the resolution and responsiveness of the mouse you are going to buy.

Custom Gaming Computer Builds

Here are some examples of custom gaming computer builds suggested by Build-Gaming-Computers.

The Budget Gaming Desktop

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Quad Core Processor

Price: 140.00

Motherboard: Asus M4A79XTD EVO Motherboard

Price: 100.00

RAM: Corsair XMS3 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM

Price: 50.00

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB

Price: 55.00

Video Card: Sapphire 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 Video Card

Price: 100.00

Power Supply: Thermaltake TPX-775M Toughpower XT 775W Power Supply

Price: 70.00

Total

Price: 515.00

The Mid-Range Gaming Desktop

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K BX80623I52500 Unlocked Processor

Price: 230.00

Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 Pro Intel P67 Motherboard

Price: 200.00

RAM: Corsair XMS3 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM

Price: 50.00

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB

Price: 55.00

Video Card: XFX HD585XZAFC Radeon HD 5850

Price: 150.00

Power Supply: Cooler Master GX Series 650W

Price: 95.00

Total

Price: 780.00

The High-End Gaming Desktop

CPU: Intel Core i7 960

Price: 570.00

Motherboard: ASUS P6T Motherboard

Price: 230.00

RAM: Corsair XMS3 Tri Channel 12GB

Price: 230.00

Hard Drive: Intel X25-M Solid State Hard Drive 80 GB

Price: 220.00

or

Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB

Price: 95.00

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 2GB

Price: 680.00

Power Supply: Corsair TX750W 750-Watt Power Supply

Price: 110.00

Total

Price: 2135.00

Miscellaneous

Mouse

Logitech MX518 Gaming Mouse

Price: 43.00

Logitech Gaming Mouse G500

Price: 50.00

Keyboard

Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard

Price: 95.00

Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard

Price: 190.00

Monitor

ACER X223WDbd 22″ Widescreen LCD

Price: 150.00

Samsung P2570HD 25″ Widescreen LCD

Price: 290.00

Samsung P2770HD 27″ LCD Monitor

Price: 350.00

HP 2709M 27″ Full HD Widescreen LCD Monitor

Price: 380.00

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Best Gaming Computer: Schools of Thought

With the current advancement in the computer gaming industry, more and more people are contemplating on what are the best specifications to include in their gaming PC. After all, in a world were graphics and speed really matters, who wouldn’t want to own the best gaming PC there is.

Speed
Current computer games have placed a great demand on the computer’s hardware. These computer games demand too much as too requiring a fast central processing unit (CPU) in order to function. Initially CPU manufacturers relied on increasing clock rate to improve the performance of their processors. By the year 2005, manufacturers have begun to adapt multi-core CPU technology, which allows the computer to process multiple tasks simultaneously. This allows the computer to use more complex graphics, artificial intelligence, and in-game physics which are core elements in modern computer games.

Graphics
Many 3D computer games also demand more on a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) which is responsible for accelerating the process of drawing complex scenes in real time instances. These GPU’s can be integrated on the computer’s motherboard or come packaged with a discrete graphics card. Some modern computer games require physics processing units (PPU), which accelerates physics simulations in modern computer games. These PPUs allows the PC to process more complex interactions among objects which can’t be accommodated by the CPU.

Sound cards are also vital in a pre-dominantly 3D computer games. This hardware provides for improved and enhanced 3D audio of the game.

So what is the Best Gaming Computer then…
The idea of building the Best Gaming Computer is one that has crossed many computer gamers’ mind around the world. But when this idea also comes into play, two schools of thought come into light.

One school of thought is that the Best Gaming Computer is one that has garnered the best and powerful specifications available in the market. PC’s are constructed after a list of computer components found out to be the best gaming machines based on specifications. This is “The Best in the Market” school of thought.

On the other hand, there is also a idea that instead of building the best gaming computer based on the best specifications in the market, one should build the best gaming computer based on the user’s needs. People pursuing this school of thought construct their best gaming computer based on a list of computer components found out to be needed by the user and not what’s the best in the market. This practical school of thought is called “The Best for You” school of thought.

The “Best in the Market” School of Thought
People who are considering that big guns are the best should follow this school of thought. This school of thought believes that the best gaming computer is the one equipped with the best and latest computer component in the market.

The main advantage of this school of thought is that users are assured that they will be enjoying the fastest and best quality (in terms of graphics and speed) experience for their computer games. They can easily play graphically demanding computer games at higher resolutions without a problem.

The main disadvantage of the “Best in the Market” School of Thought is more on the financial aspect. In order to achieve such a gaming computer with the best components in its specifications could shave out thousands, or even tens of thousands, from your budget. If you want the Best then be prepared to pay the price, of course, big guns cost a lot you know.

If you still want to pursue this school of thought and you have the budget to afford such a price then you can visit several websites to check on the best computer components in the market.

The “Best for You” School of Thought
For practical gamers, this school of thought is what suits them best. This school of thought believes that the best gaming computer is one that fits the user’s needs and not the user’s wants.

The main advantage of this school of thought is that it is able to address your gaming computer needs with the less amount of money to shell-out for it. Gaming computers constructed with this in mind may not be the best or fastest there is in the market or in the world, but it is one which is easy on the user’s pocket while delivering the needed specifications to be able to function when playing modern computer games.

If you want to follow this school of thought in constructing the best gaming computer for your needs, here are some hints and questions that you must keep in mind:

Functionality
1. What will I used my computer for?
2. Will I use my computer solely for gaming?
3. Or will I also use for other purpose: such as listening to music, editing pictures, watching movies, chatting with buddies, or surfing the Internet?

Consider the gaming computer you are going to buy or construct. If you are going to use it for simple tasks; it would be a waste of money to spend on high-end computer components if you really don’t need that much power for these simple tasks.

Practicality
4. Do I really need that much power?
5. Is 50MHz really worth having?

Ask yourself if you really need those extra MHz or MB that a high-end computer component can provide you. For example, it is great to have a Quad-SLI machine with four nVidia 8800 Ultras powered by a Quad Core Extreme Processor. But do you really need that much power if you just want to play The Sims 2, which can adequate run on a low-cost GeForce graphics card?

For people who are advocating this school of thought, they always believe that “the hardware you are buying today might be outdated tomorrow, so why buy expensive one when it will be outdated after a few months?”

In the end, if you want to follow this school of thought always remember to ask the ultimate question:Is it worth it?

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