For years, I was full-time on a MacBook Air, and if I wanted to use my Steam library, I would have to use 'Boot Camp', in order to boot into a Windows partition.
However, with rumours abound of Apple switching to their own chips and my full-time use of an iPad, something else was needed to take advantage of the full Steam library, alongside other vendors.
Late last year, I decided to build a Gaming PC; piece by piece, and in October of this year, it was finally complete, thanks to a delay in GPU availability.
With that, here's some lessons I learnt in the journey from start to finish.
A Little History
I've always had an interest in PC hardware, even building my first PC back in 2005. I still remember its specs:
- Intel 3.2GHz 'Northwood' CPU
- 512MB DDR Memory
- 120GB HDD
- GeForce 5600 GPU
- 19" 1280 X 1024 Display
Coming into plans for a new PC, I wanted something that was able to be upgraded with ease, while having the existing specs for this PC to last for two years at least.
From October 2019 to Jan 2020, every week a new component was bought. It was researched, the best price was looked into, and then added to the pile. Here's the current specifications of the now-complete PC:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3400G with Radeon Vega GPU
- 16GB (2x 8GB) Dual-Channel DDR4
- 256gb M.2 SSD Drive
- 4TB 5400 RPM HDD
- AMD Radeon 5700XT GPU
- AOC 32" 1440P Monitor
The one component that changed the most was the CPU. With rumours of a GPU from Nvidia and AMD in late 2019, I had completely forgotten of Ryzen having some processors with an integrated GPU.
This allowed the PC to play games, albeit at lower settings, but still better than the MacBook Air, but it meant that the wait for the GPU could be better helped.
It wasn't until October of this year, nine months after the PC was finished, that the 'AMD 5700XT' was bought and installed, easily running games in their maximum settings.
The Lessons Learnt
Now that the Gaming PC is complete, there's plenty that can be run on the system with ease; at least for the next eighteen months on 'Very High' and 'Ultra' settings.
However, in the meantime, here's a few tips in case you're looking to buy a fully-built Gaming PC, or components to build one yourself:
- Look for the best deals; PriceSpy is a fantastic place to compare prices at reliable sites.
- What resolution are you wanting to play the games at? If it's 4K, surround the plan with recent components that can render games in 4K.
- Keep an eye on the vendors such as 'Epic Games Store', 'Steam' and others. There are plenty of offers and free games available almost every week, so look around.
- If you want a controller, one by Xbox or PlayStation will easily suffice for Steam and the other vendors offering games.
- Have a motherboard that's upgradeable. There's plenty that offer the 'sockets' for specific CPU components, so look for ones that can accept current and future processors.
Of course, everyone has different tastes and aims to what they want from a Gaming PC; one may want to stream more than having a 4K display; so the CPU and a capture card will be given more priority.
But the main point, regardless of plans, is to have a realistic budget. Take your time, and eventually you'll have a PC that's suited to your tastes, and upgradeable for any future uses.
For more articles like this, take a look at our PC Building page.