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Simple Guide for Buying Budget Gaming PC Hardware by "Osama Javaid"
Building a gaming PC is very simple task if you know what is your budget, what are you going to play on your PC, what are the necessary parts for that task and where to buy them. I wrote this simple guide for gamers with a medium budget who want to spend that money to find the best PC components possible within that amount for their gaming needs of today and near future, and by medium budget I mean around 100,000 rupees because that is the amount required to build a decent gaming PC with brand new components. I will not go into the details of how to join all the components together to build it, I will only guide you for buying the right components from the right place. At the end of this guide, I will give links of some videos and articles which have extremely useful information about selecting PC components and how to build them all together. If it is still hard for you, you can always ask someone else who knows it, to build it for you (Just sit next to them while they are building it, because it is very simple to learn). For this build, I am suggesting mid-range components. I am not suggesting very cheap components which will cause performance issues and obviously regret now and in the near future and also I will not suggest the cutting-edge components which are too high in price and totally not your requirement anytime soon (unless you can afford them easily or you want the games to reach ultra settings at very high resolutions).
The cost for this build is higher than consoles but it is totally worth it and necessary for good gaming. If I wanted, I could have suggested even cheaper components, but I avoided it keeping in mind the minimum requirements of heavy games of today and future. Still, I only suggested the components which are very necessary for current demands of gaming and tried my best to avoid any useless expenditures. You can also lower the cost of this PC build by purchasing used components from OLX, pakgamers.com or your local computer market, but for buying new components, I advise you to buy from trustworthy websites like czone.com.pk , beegeek.net, galaxy.com.pk and homeshopping.pk . They offer home delivery services all over Pakistan and also provide you warranty. I also suggest to never buy a used motherboard, power supply and hard drive because these may have problems which even the seller may not know about. Also never buy used GPUs and processors which have been overclocked. Keep in mind that searching for unboxing and performance videos, benchmarking tests and review articles about the hardware components on the internet will answer any questions you have in mind about a specific product. Also, I tried to keep this guide as simple in language and as easy to understand as possible for casual gamers and I only mentioned very important and major features to look for in any product. If you want to know any minor details or features, you should search online for the official description of that product. I haven’t discussed very minor details and specifications in this guide.
So, lets go through the components of a GOOD GAMING PC one by one, you should also buy the components in this order :
Casing is the house of your hardware. Casing comes in various sizes, designs and colours. Mid-tower casings are standard size casings and full tower casings are very large size casings. When buying a casing, keep few simple things in mind :
– It should be big enough to accomodate all your hardware easily, especially the PSU, motherboard and GPU.
– It should be lightweight to carry around, but still strong enough to protect your PC components.
– It should have some front panel USB and headphone/mic ports (if you need them)
– It should have some fans for good airflow or at least a place to install an intake and an outflow fan.
– It should not have unpainted metallic areas on front, top and sides which may cause electric shock.
– It should match the colour of your monitor or other components for a better looking setup, but this is just your personal choice.
Casings can start from as low as Rs. 2600 to as high as Rs. 35000 or more, so just spend carefully. Casing colour and design is all about your personal preference. Casing size should be according to the components you are going to purchase and the future upgrades you have in your mind. You can search the casing/chassis sections at www.beegeek.net, Galaxy Pakistan’s Leading Web Store – Buy Online Laptops – Desktop – Graphic Card – Tablets – iPad – iPhone – Gaming Notebook – Accessories – Smart Phone and Computer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi for a lot of options. The casing I suggest for this build is the casing I use myself, it is a Corsair Carbide 100R Standard Edition which is available for Rs. 6200 on Computer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi Also,
Read this article for more information about choosing a casing :
Building a PC: Everything You Need to Know About Cases – GameSpot
Motherboard is the main component of your system which lets all the parts connect to and work with each other, casing and motherboard are also very important in determining how much you can upgrade your PC in the upcoming years. Just look for few important features in the motherboard :
– Processor Socket : An LGA1155 socket will support a 3rd generation Intel processor (Ivy Bridge Series) and an LGA1150 socket will support a 4th generation Intel processor (Haswell Series) , Motherboards with AM2 or AM3+ type sockets are for AMD processors, Only buy them if you want to buy an AMD processor (Check socket compatibility accordingly), Intel processors will not fit into AM2 or AM3+ sockets. Also do not buy motherboards with LGA1156 socket because this is a very old socket or
LGA2011 sockets because these are for high-end processors and not suggested for a budget gaming PC.
– PCIe 3.0 Slot : It is where your GPU plugs in, PCIe 2.0 slots are old and have less bandwidth as compared to PCIe 3.0 slots, so your motherboard should have at least one PCIe 3.0 slot for installing your GPU.
– SATA 3.0 Port : It is where your hard drive will plug in, SATA 2.0 ports are old and have half speed as compared to SATA 3.0 ports, so your motherboard should have at least one SATA 3.0 port. If you have only one SATA 3.0 port on your motherboard, use it only for connecting your hard drive for better data transfer speeds, not for your DVD drive or something else. You can plug the DVD drive into SATA 2.0 port.
– USB 3.0 ports : You should aim for at least two USB 3.0 ports on your motherboard. USB 2.0 ports are old and have less data transfer speed as compared to USB 3.0 ports. A motherboard usually has both types of USB ports. USB 3.0 ports are blue coloured USB ports.
– DDR3 RAM Sockets : It is where your RAM sticks will plug in, a motherboard has a minimum of two sockets which are fine but four sockets would be better. DDR2 is totally obsolete and DDR4 is new, very expensive and not compatible with most medium range motherboards.
All other motherboard features are not to be worried about (unless you are a very interested into technical details). Some good motherboard manufacturers are Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock and Asus. Always buy a brand new motherboard because this is a very important component and old motherboards may have problems which you can’t check when buying them. The motherboard suggestion for this PC build is Gigabyte GA-B85M-D3H which has an LGA1150 socket so it supports Intel 4th generation processors. It also has all other necessary features I talked about. It has a current price of Rs. 8300 at Computer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi
Processor is like the brain of your PC. For gaming, you can use a Dual-core processor like Core-i3, but it is better to buy a Quad-core processor like Core-i5 or Core-i7 because many upcoming games are now getting very demanding, they are designed to make use of multiple cores and a Dual-core will not be a standard for gaming in near future. Also a Dual-core processor bottlenecks the performance of a good GPU and cause relatively low framerates than a Quad-core processor. If you use the same GPU with a Dual-Core and a then a Quad-Core processor , you will get much higher framerates with a Quad-core processor.
The basic difference between Core-i3, Core-i5 and Core-i7 is :
Core-i7 has 4 cores and 8 threads
Core-i5 has 4 cores and 4 threads
Core-i3 has 2 cores and 4 threads
Processor clock speeds and cache are the features to be surely considered but not to be worried about these days because in modern processors, these are never set too low to impact any performance. But if you are deciding between two processors with same generation and same number of cores, just buy the processor with more clock speed and cache. For this PC build, I will suggest a Core-i5 which is the balanced choice between performance and cost. It is a Quad-core processor, but before buying a processor make sure it will fit into the socket of the motherboard you purchased. First of all, Do NOT buy a 2nd generation (Sandy Bridge) processor (the model number will start with a 2 like 2100 etc). A 3rd generation (Ivy Bridge) processor (the model number will start with a 3 like 3220 or 3470 etc) will fit into an LGA1155 socket but, as I have suggested a motherboard with an LGA1150 socket (which supports a 4th generation processor), so I will only suggest a 4th generation (Haswell) processor to fit into that motherboard (4th generation processor model numbers will start with a 4 like 4130 or 4670 etc), The processor suggested for this build is Intel Core-i5 4690 which is a 4th generation Quad-core processor with 3.5 GHz base clock speed and 3.9 GHz turbo clock speed (compatible with LGA1150 socket of the motherboard) and it is currently priced at Rs. 24300 onComputer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi
Make sure you do NOT buy a simple Intel pentium, Intel Core 2 Duo or Intel Core 2 Quad processors (even if they have higher clock speeds) because now these are old and will not fit into the socket of the suggested motherboard. Also AMD processors are considered generally not as powerful as Intel processors even if they have more clock speeds or cores, and these will not fit into the socket of the suggested motherboard so do not buy them. Although you can buy an AMD processor if you like it but in that case you also have to buy a motherboard with a socket required for that particular AMD processor. Majority of gamers in Pakistan prefer Intel processors so this section is limited to Intel processors only. Also remember that more cores are better than more clock speed, so a Quad-core with 3.1 GHz is better than a Dual-core with 3.3 GHz (but this rule does not apply on a Quad-core of a very old generation which will be weaker anyway). In the end, I would only recommend buying a 4th generation Intel Core-i5 or Core-i7 processor.
Also, Read this article for more information about choosing a processor :
Building a PC: Everything You Need to Know About CPUs – GameSpot
GPU or graphics card is the component which has to do a lot of task in gaming so it should be bought after careful market research. There are lots of models to choose from but there are few simple things to keep in mind for making a good purchase :
– AMD or NVIDIA : It is a totally a matter of personal choice and budget. Both have some exclusive technologies but both are good. NVIDIA GPUs are usually expensive and AMD GPUs usually consume more power. Both have some exclusive graphics technologies. Some game features e.g, PhysX are exclusive to NVIDIA while other features like TressFX and Mantle are exclusive to AMD. So, it is all about your own personal choice and budget.
– DDR3 or GDDR5 memory : Only GDDR5 memory because DDR3 is old and will impact your gaming very badly. Your PC can never go beyond low settings/low resolution and your gaming will be limited to very low framerates on any good game on a DDR3 GPU. Only buy a GDDR5 GPU.
– 1 GB, 2GB or more : 2 GB minimum (Never think that a 4GB DDR3 GPU is more powerful than a 2GB GDDR5 GPU, because DDR3 will always be weaker than GDDR5 no matter how much amount of video memory it has, but if you are comparing two GDDR5 GPUs which are close in price and other specifications, a 3GB or 4GB GDDR5 GPU will definitely be better than a 2GB GDDR5 GPU) . Your GPU should have at least 2GB GDDR5 video memory for modern gaming, 3GB or 4GB would be even better.
– 128, 192, 256, 384 or 512 bits : Minimum standard today is 128-bit but it is a very important feature to look for, if you can afford a GPU with 256-bit or 384-bit you should definitely buy it. But sometimes high end GPUs have 128-bit and low end GPUs have 256-bit, in that case you can simply decide by just buying the GPU which is higher in price. If two GPUs are close in price, buy the one with more bits. Bits is like thickness of a pipe through which the data has to flow. More bits means more data flow and less bits means less data flow (but this rule doesn’t apply to high end GPUs which are powerful and can push the data faster even on less bits)
– Core-clock and Memory-clock : They vary among GPUs, once you decide two GPUs with same type and amount of memory and same bits but you can’t decide which one to buy, just buy the one with more core-clock and memory-clock, Just keep in mind that some high end GPUs may have less core-clock than a weaker GPU but that doesn’t mean they are weak. The deciding factor is again the price, YES ! The more you spend, the better GPU you will get. It is a simple rule in buying a new GPUs. Just make sure you know what are you buying so someone can’t loot you by selling you a low end GPU for a high price.
– DirectX 11 and Pixel Shader 5.0 Support : All modern GPUs support these but you should make sure before buying that your GPU supports them.
– Output Ports : Make sure your GPU has an output port for the type of monitor/TV you are using, currently most GPUs have a DVI port and some have an additional HDMI port which is necessary if you want to give display from your PC to an LCD TV in your home, VGA port is now totally obsolete.
For this PC build, I will suggest ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 960 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5 GPU with a price of Rs. 27800 onComputer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi right now.
Also, Read this article for more information about choosing a GPU : Building a PC: Everything You Need to Know About GPUs – GameSpot
RAM is a very simple component to purchase, DDR3 RAM is the standard now. DDR2 is obsolete and DDR4 is very latest technology, both will not fit into the motherboard suggested above. Most games now require 8GB of RAM for optimal performance and it is also a cheap component so just buy 8GB RAM. Don’t buy 4 or 6 GB because that will not be enough for most heavy games. Make sure to buy 2 sticks of 4GB rather than 1 stick of 8GB because 2 sticks of equal amount of memory and speed will perform in dual-channel mode which is a faster access method. Also keep in mind that although RAM speeds impact the performance of RAMs but are not very important. Just buy a 1333 MHz or 1600 MHz RAM (The suggested motherboard above supports only these two speeds of RAM, so it is very important to only buy the RAM which your motherboard supports). Make sure to buy both sticks of same type, same speed and by the same manufacturer to avoid any compatibility problem. My RAM suggestion for this PC build is Corsair Value Select 1600Mhz 240-Pin DDR3 Desktop Memory. It is currently priced at Rs. 3200 on Computer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi for 1 stick of 4GB, Buy 2 sticks for Rs. 6400 for 8GB.
Unless you want a super-fast game loading time, you should be comfortable with a normal hard drive. SSDs offer super fast access for loading of games but are also very expensive (a 240GB SSD will cost the same as a 1TB mechanical hard drive), so I will suggest to buy a normal mechanical hard drive. You should aim for a speed of 7200 RPM and at least 1TB size because movies and games are getting bigger in size day by day. Also you should only buy a SATA 3.0 hard drive, because it is twice as fast as SATA 2.0 hard drive. The motherboard suggested in this build also has a SATA 3.0 port so you should only purchase a SATA 3.0 hard drive. The suggested hard drive for this build is Seagate Barracuda 1TB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPMHard Drive currently priced at Rs. 5800 on Computer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi , Do not buy caviar green hard drives by western digital because they are slower in read/write speeds and have low RPM. If you are buying a western digital brand hard drive, only buy a caviar black or caviar blue. Finally, always buy a brand new hard drive.
A power supply will provide the required power for all your PC components to function properly and it should be of enough power and reliable to perform this task safely. For the components listed in this suggested build, a minimum of 550W power supply is necessary. Just keep two things in mind when buying a power supply :
– It has all the required connectors for PC components (for example, one or two 6-pin or 8-pin connectors for the GPU and two 4-pin ATX CPU connectors are very important, although some motherboards can also function even if only one 4-pin ATX CPU connector is attached, but it is better that a power supply has two 4-pin ATX connectors)
– It should be from a reliable manufacturer, no compromise should be made on the quality of power supply. Never buy a used or cheap power supply of a local company because it has false wattage advertisement on the box and also they don’t have over-voltage, under-voltage and short-circuit protection. A bad power supply can damage your expensive PC components too. Good and reliable manufacturers of power supply are Corsair, Cooler Master, Thermaltake and Antec. For this build, I will suggest aCorsair VS650 Value Series 650W priced at Rs. 6500 on Computer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi or Thermaltake Smart SE 630W Modular which is currently priced at Rs. 6800 onComputer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi and it is also a modular power supply which means you can only connect the required cables for the components and detach the others for a clean looking inside of your PC. Good power supplies also have bronze, silver, gold or platinum certifications, which shows how efficient they are. The better the rating, the less energy it wastes as heat. You should buy the power supply in last after checking the required connectors of your GPU and motherboard, and calculating the required power for all your PC components by using power calculators like these :
Cooler Master Power Supply Calculator eXtreme Power Supply Calculator ASUSTeK Computer Inc. -Support- Recommended Power Supply Wattage Calculator
Also, Read this article for more information about choosing a PSU :
Power Supplies Explained: How To Pick The Perfect PSU For Your Computer
Make sure to buy wired peripherals to avoid the hassle of charging and wireless interference management. I personally prefer mouse, keyboard and headphones by A4Tech because these are not too expensive and are long lasting. Peripherals vary in prices from few hundreds to many thousands so just buy according to your budget and requirements.
Mouse : A simple USB optical gaming mouse like A4Tech Bloody V3 or V5 or V7 will cost you around Rs. 2000 but you can also do gaming with any cheap optical mouse. It is not at all necessary to buy an expensive gaming mouse or gaming mouse pad to play games. Make sure you are comfortable with the size and shape of the mouse. Don’t buy a PS/2 port mouse because motherboards do not come with a PS/2 port now. Also make sure that the length of mouse wire is sufficient according to your setup. Buy a simple mouse pad of reasonable size which will only costs below 200 rupees.
Keyboard : Mechanical gaming keyboards are totally unnecessary. Any simple USB wired keyboard you like is enough, it will cost you less than Rs. 700
Headphones : Any wired headphones you like (with a mic, mic is necessary for cooperating with your teammates in online gaming) but don’t spend too much on them. Just make sure it is strong enough because headphones are usually used very carelessly and it has a comfortable design. Buy any good headphones according to the shape of your choice within a range of Rs. 1500 to 2000
Optical Drive : It is totally optional, now a days even windows can be installed through a USB drive but still if you use CD/DVD discs, buy any cheap combo DVD-RW optical drive by Samsung, HP or Sony.
Safety : Buy a good voltage stabilizer for added protection of your PC from voltage drops or surges. Also, never try to overclock your processor or GPU (no matter how much anyone tells you about its benefits) because it always puts your components at risk of damage and void their warranty. The advantage is very small as compared to the risk involved. Components running at their default speeds and frequencies are safe and durable. If you are buying used processor or GPU, make sure to ask the seller that they have never overclocked it. Also, if there are no fans in the casing, buy 2 simple casing fans for good airflow, one for air intake and one for air exhaust. Do some cable management inside the casing after building your system to avoid any cable getting stuck inside fans. Keep your CPU in a cool and dustfree place which is also protected from sunlight and away from the reach of little children.
Buy any good LED monitor with the screen size and resolution you need and the port compatible with the output port on your GPU. Resolution should be at least full HD which is 1920×1080 in dimensions. Just make sure your monitor has a minimum refresh rate of 60Hz. Refresh rate is the number of times the monitor can refresh in one second or it is the maximum amount of frames a monitor can show in one second. Expensive gaming monitors have even higher refresh rates like 144Hz, if you can afford them, they are even better for gaming because they can show upto 144 frames per second. Monitor suggestion for this build is Asus VS228NE 1080p 21.5” LED
Monitor which has a current price of Rs. 13500 on Computer Zone Pakistan | Computer & Laptop Prices in Pakistan – Gaming Products – Graphic Cards – Karachi . Dell and HP are also good LED monitor manufacturers. Monitor shape and design are totally your personal choices. Monitors also come with even higher resolutions and features like 1ms response time and G-Sync (Ability to adjust the framrate according to the frames being generated by your GPU), these are even better for gaming but also very costly.
Read this article for more information about choosing a monitor :
Building a PC: Everything You Need to Know About Monitors – GameSpot
Windows 10 just released with many new features especially Dx12 support so it is best to go for windows 10. Other than that, Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit gives the best framerates possible in games. Even if you install windows 7 64-bit, there won’t be any problem. Windows Vista is very heavy on system resources and Windows XP is now obsolete. Always make sure to install the 64-bit version of the windows you are installing (mentioned as x64 during installation). Do not install 32-bit (x86) version because modern games do not support it.
Finally, Here are few links I want to share with you which contain very simple tutorials and information on comparing and buying PC components and building a PC, you should definitely see them, I learned a lot from these. Few of them are older and may not represent the current hardware market and gaming needs but still are very useful to learn PC building. The first few links contain videos with simple tutorials on how to build a PC :
In the end, I just want to say that this PC may look expensive at first but trust me, this is the minimum you should aim for your PC gaming needs. Anything less will cause slower, sluggish and poor performance in any demanding game and will leave you with annoying gameplay experiences. A gaming PC is definitely more expensive than an office computer. PC games like THE DIVISION and STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT will be much more demanding than BATTLEFIELD 4, CRYSIS 3, GTA V, WATCHDOGS and METRO LAST LIGHT. Many people say that buying an XBOX One or PS4 is cheaper than building a PC at this price, but keep in mind the cost of console games and yearly multiplayer fee which will be eventually be more expensive in the long run. PC games are cheap to buy and are often free and you can use your PC for lots of other tasks besides gaming. Many console games are still limited to 30 frames per second and 1080p which is totally not the case on PC.
They are 100% trustworthy and they offer legit games keys to redeem on steam/origin/uplay and accept payments via bank transfer or easypaisa/upaisa/mobicash/ublomni etc.
Finally, If you have any questions or suggestions, you can contact me. I’ll try to answer to the best of my knowledge. I wrote this guide for my fellow Pakistani PC gamers just to give them a better knowledge of gaming PC hardware. The idea behind this guide was to give you a simple understanding of the current PC gaming needs and PC hardware.
Suggestions given in this guide are only for example. You can buy your PC in even less budget, or if you can afford, you can definitely buy even more powerful and better components. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for most of you. Share it around to others. If I think any changes or additions are required in this guide, I will make the changes and post a new version of this guide (This is the 5th edition of this guide since August 2014). Remember, building a PC with selfpurchased components is always cheaper in price and better in results than buying a branded PC.