Gaming Buyers Guide
What to consider:
● When in the market for a new gaming rig, it’s important to ask yourself what kind of game it is that you wish to be playing regularly. When looking at modern new release titles such as Diablo 4, Elden Ring, Hogwarts Legacy, higher-end gaming computers will allow you to play these games how they were intended to be played, with all the graphics turned up to max.
● If games such as Fortnite, Minecraft and Stardew Valley are more your style, then a lower to mid tier gaming computer should suit your needs just fine. However if you wish to play a more graphically intensive game then expect to turn the graphics right down, or in some cases, prepare to upgrade in order to achieve the required performance.
● What resolution you wish to run your games at should also be a major consideration when picking out a gaming computer. The main determinant of resolution is your chosen graphics card paired with the monitor you wish to play on, therefore some thought should go into picking the right one for your set-up.
Which Graphics Cards should you buy?
● If you're looking to run your games at 1080p then a good NVIDIA model to look at would be an RTX 3060, RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 4060 or RTX 4060 Ti. The Ti models boast a small boost in performance. Prefer an AMD graphics card? Then look towards the RX 6600, RX 6600 XT, RX 6650 XT or RX 7600. XT models similarly boast slightly better performance.
● If you wish to see massive graphics improvements and play on a 1440p monitor with great performance, then looking towards these graphics cards is a must. On the NVIDIA side we recommend the RTX 3080, RTX 4070 and RTX 4070 Ti. AMD offerings for a 1440p gamer include the RX 6700 XT, RX6750 XT and RX 6800.
● When it comes to graphics, 4K gaming sits at the top when it comes to visual experience and immersion. With PC hardware evolving so quickly, 4K gaming has never been more accessible. Being at the top of the gaming experience does unfortunately mean requiring top-tier hardware to run it all smoothly. If you own a monitor that supports 4K and want an NVIDIA card that is up for the challenge, we recommend looking at the RTX 3080 Ti, RTX 4080 or RTX 4090. For AMD options to pair with your 4K monitor, look towards the RX 6900 XT, RX 7900 XT or the RX 7900 XTX.
Which CPU should you choose?
● The two major manufacturers of CPUs are currently Intel with their Intel Core selection and AMD with their Ryzen selection. Both companies offer fantastic options for gaming and have models to suit any budget.
● Intel Core i3 and Ryzen 3 are the introductory models and are suited for gamers on a budget. These CPUs will only run low-end video games and may struggle to maintain performance in more CPU intensive games.
● Intel Core i5 and Ryzen 5 are good for mid to high-level budgets and offer good performance for most types of gaming. It is the best option for gamers on a budget.
● Intel Core i7 and Ryzen 7 typically have better performance than the Intel Core i5 and Ryzen 5 due to more cores and a higher clock speed. They generally offer the best price to performance for gamers. When paired with a high-end graphics card these CPUs are capable of handling most new release games with fantastic performance.
● Intel Core i9 and Ryzen 9 are the enthusiast grade offerings of both companies and give extremely high performance for high-level gaming, multi-tasking, professional video/audio editing and 3D rendering.
What monitor is the best for gaming?
● Choosing a monitor mainly comes down to what resolution you are aiming to play your games at and what your hardware will allow.
● 1080p (1920 x 1080) is the standard resolution for gaming and best for gamers on a budget. Look for a monitor that supports 144 Hz or above for even better performance in competitive games.
● 1440p (2,560 x 1,440) is a popular resolution used for better looking graphics paired with great performance. Look for 144Hz and over for a competitive edge in online games.
● 4K (3840 x 2160) is the best possible resolution for gaming. Giving you breathtaking visuals and allowing for a truly immersive gaming experience. To power gaming on a 4K monitor, you will need a powerful computer with the latest high-end hardware.
Deciding between a gaming desktop or a gaming laptop:
● Desktop computers often offer better performance for cost, are less noisy, have cooler temperatures and will allow you to upgrade parts in the future.
● Gaming desktop computers can sometimes be big and bulky, meaning space can sometimes be an issue. Only opt for a desktop computer if you have enough space for an entire desktop set-up. Gaming desktops can also be quite heavy meaning that portability is a major issue. If you are looking for a more portable gaming set-up then a gaming laptop is the choice for you.
● A gaming laptop is the more affordable and portable option for the casual gamer who finds themselves constantly on the move. They offer the added benefit of coming with an in-built screen, keyboard and trackpad, unlike a desktop where essential accessories need to be purchased separately.
● When comparing similar specifications, gaming laptops generally don’t offer the same performance of a gaming desktop. Gaming desktops will very often outperform laptops in most scenarios. Performance can still be very good on a laptop, but battery life tends to be a little short whilst gaming. Ensure that you carry a charger with you for longer gaming sessions.
The key components of a computer
● The CPU acts like the brain of the system. It runs all programs, calculations and operations. A computer cannot function without one.
● Generally, the higher the clock speed (GHz), the faster the CPU. The more cores, the better the performance and multi-tasking capabilities.
● Look for a CPU with a high clock speed and high number of cores if you plan on running demanding software, running multiple tasks at once or playing intensive games.
● When looking at a CPU, the major manufacturers are Intel and AMD. Both companies have a number of great options to suit any budget and workload. Intel offers the Intel Core series, whilst AMD offers the Ryzen series.
● If building your own computer it should be noted that an Intel CPU must be paired with an Intel motherboard and an AMD CPU needs to be paired with an AMD specific motherboard.
● The graphics card creates the image on the screen and is generally only necessary for gaming, video editing, graphics design and 3D rendering.
● You may need a dedicated graphics card if you want to use multiple monitors but your motherboard only has limited display connections, or in cases when a CPU does not support integrated graphics at all.
● The core clock and the memory size of the graphics card are the two most important factors to look at when purchasing.
● It is a good idea to buy a graphics card with the highest memory size and core clock that you can afford to maximise your performance in games.
● When looking at a graphics card, the major manufacturers are NVIDIA and AMD.
● RAM stores small amounts of data but transfers it at extremely high speeds.
● Aim for at least 8gb of RAM for everyday use. This amount will allow for comfortable multitasking whilst using simple programs.
● When gaming 8gb is the absolute minimum, however this will limit multi-tasking ability and background program activity. Modern games are quickly beginning to require up to 16gb of ram for maximum performance and is the recommended amount for many new release games. 16gb of RAM should also be considered if you plan on using two monitor screens and use multiple programs at once.
● For intense video/audio editing software, programming or 3D rendering, 32gb may be required to get the best performance.
● When considering a storage device, think whether a Solid-State Drive (SSD) or a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) suits your needs.
● An SSD generally has high speeds but smaller storage amounts while a HDD will have high storage amounts but slow speeds. This means that SSDs are typically more expensive than HDDs.
● You may choose to have both in a desktop computer to combine the speed of an SSD with the large space of a HDD without breaking the budget.
● Having Windows and your favourite games installed on the SSD will reduce the loading times and allow you to get into your games a lot faster. You can then install larger games and other programs on your hard drive to prevent your SSD from filling up.
● If more space is required, consider an external storage device for your system. This will allow you to back up important documents and save any additional files.