Whether you love first-person shooters or hunting for treasure in pixelated paradises, there are times when you’ve wanted a little more from your gaming experience. Maybe you want to experience your virtual worlds in higher definition, or you’re curious about exactly what makes your computer run the way it does. Building your own computer is the answer. Not only do you have complete control over which components you choose, you also get to peer under the hood and see what makes a PC run.
Your central processing unit, or CPU, is often referred to as the computer’s brain. It controls the number of tasks your computer can accomplish at once and how quickly it can complete said tasks. While there are a lot of specs you can use to compare central processing units, for your first build it’s OK to find one that’s a little cheaper but gets the job done. Ask friends who game what processors they have and how they like them. Research their recommendations and pick the one that seems best for you.
The motherboard houses the various components of your gaming PC. Like a flesh-and-blood mother, it takes the disparate pieces, sits them down in their proper places, and helps them behave well together. Take some time to think ahead about the other members of your PC family—like the video card, memory, and other components you want to use—to choose a motherboard that accommodates them.
Graphics processing unit
The graphics processing unit, also known as the GPU, graphics card, or video card, is a pretty flashy component. Not only does it look cool, but it makes your games appear photorealistic without crashing your computer or slowing your gameplay. There are sites that stress-test graphics cards and publish reviews pointing out flaws in aesthetics and execution. Reading these is a great way to figure out what card to buy.