For those who have not been able to find pre-built gaming laptops and PC options that fit their needs, it can be much easier to assemble a gaming PC yourself. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
The heart of any PC is the processor or CPU. It has a substantial impact on a game’s frame rates, streaming quality, and smooth rendering of gameplay elements.
Intel and AMD are the two go-to brands when it comes to cutting-edge processors. While choosing a processor, you need to check out the core count. Multi-core processors can handle several encoding and decoding operations in parallel as compared to a single-core processor. This simply means they enable your PC to multi-task well while minimising power consumption.
With Intel, the i9 and i7 series processors are meant for serious gamers and multitaskers. These processors have a high core count and offer efficient load-balancing. The Intel i5 series is a better fit for casual gaming, and while the i3 series does provide a platform for games, it might not exactly offer the optimal gaming experience.
AMD has its top-of-the-line Ryzen Threadripper platform for heavy-duty, multicore gaming. You can opt for the Ryzen 9 16-core processor for the AMD AM4 platform, which would be ideal for gaming at ultra settings, while the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 can be used for playing medium to low graphics settings.
The highest-end gaming processor is the 12th generation i9-12900K processor or the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X priced around ₹68,000 online. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider buying the previous generations of processors, which would be discounted by now.
The motherboard is the backbone of all the components of the PC like processor, RAM, Storage, and power, and helps all these components communicate and work together.
If you have chosen an Intel processor, you have Z series boards that support overclocking. The H-Series and B series boards do not support overclocking and fall in the mid to lower end of the Intel board spectrum.
Often one will be able to find motherboards for Intel processors under various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and ASROCK. Intel Z series boards like the Z690 are priced approximately around ₹68,000.
From AMD, you can go for the top-of-the-line X570 or B550-based motherboards. The AMD X570-based boards are priced around ₹38,000 but can differ depending on the OEM.
If the CPU is the heart, then the graphics card is the brain of a gaming computer as its primary job is to crunch billions of pixels per second and makes the top-tier games feel life-like. However, ever since graphic cards have been found to be used for crunch numbers to gather crypto-currency, there has been a perennial shortage of high-end graphic cards, made worse by the global semiconductor crisis.
Two of the most high-end graphics cards available are the Nvidia RTX 3080 that is priced around ₹90,000 or the AMD Radeon 6800XT that costs around ₹60,000-80,000.
For games to load fast, you need ample storage. You can invest in a solid-state storage device but considering the fact that a single game can take up to 100-200 GB in size, a 1 TB SSD is likely to run out of storage quickly. Hence, if you have the budget for it, go for a 2 TB SSD. This can cost you anywhere between ₹14,000 to ₹25,000.
One of the most crucial components in a gaming rig, the RAM is the fastest accessible memory and can double up as a temporary storage for the operating system, applications, and games.
A great gaming system would have 64 GB RAM, while 32 GB RAM would also do a good job. A 32 GB RAM kit is generally priced between ₹14,000-30,000. RAM sticks are best brought in pairs and of similar clock frequency, which has to be compatible with the motherboard as well.
The ideal power requirement for a high-end gaming PC would be 750 watts. This would include power for the motherboard, the graphics card plus add-on hard drives or SATA drives. One could opt for a 450-watt power supply, if you are building a basic-level gaming rig without a graphics card or a 550 Watt PSU, if you are looking to add a graphics card later.
The cabinet is where the processor, motherboard, graphics card, power system, hard disk, and all fit in. It needs to chosen based on the motherboard form factor, the size of the power supply, and the storage peripheral size. You can choose among true desktop, mid-tower and mini-tower form factors. The cabinet can range anywhere between ₹2,000 and ₹70,000 in pricing and can be customised for liquid cooling setups and more. There are brands like Corsair, Cooler Master, Zebronics, and more which give offer both lower-end and higher-end PC cases.
Water cooling is the top-of-the-line tech when it comes to keeping your gaming PC cool. This also forms a major component that would help bring down the number of dropped frames or prevent the system from throttling due to high temperatures.
Water-cooling rigs are for the high-end enthusiasts who would prefer to have their gaming PC run super cool and have a bling factor to go along with it, but the process of installation is complex and at times messy. You can opt for adding cooling fans to the CPU cabinet if there are provisions, but it will become a chore to clean the dust filters in the CPU cases. Water cooling rigs brought as a kit are approximately ₹40,000.
How things are likely to change on a budget?
There are processors that come with integrated graphics, which can handle most AAA titles at low to medium graphics. These would be ideal for those who are building a budget gaming rig without a graphics card or plan to get a graphics card later on. The graphics card and SSD are the most common components that one could swap out if you are on a shoestring budget.
If you are unlikely to upgrade your gaming PC beyond a certain point – then spend on a PSU that has way more power than what would be needed in the future say post a graphics card upgrade. Then some money is up for saving here also.
Also factor in the costs of a good gaming monitor which would have a 120 Hz and above refresh rate and also a 1 millisecond response time. These would cost anywhere between ₹14,000 and 50,000 and will be available across Samsung, LG, Asus, Acer, and Viewsonic.
To top off your gaming rig, do remember to invest in a good mechanical gaming keyboard and gaming mouse to complete your gaming setup, which will be an additional ₹10,000 spending if you are looking to get the best.
Keeping this in mind, the most affordable customised gaming rig could cost you approximately 1.2 lakh while investing in a super high-end system can go upwards of ₹2,50,000.
If this is your first experience building a gaming PC, then you could get the gaming PC assembled at a physical store where all PC components are available. Building a gaming PC can be an exciting and rewarding learning experience for enthusiasts. If you’re feeling adventurous enough, you could buy the parts and assemble the PC yourself.