PCs are still the most powerful platforms for gamers seeking breathtaking graphics and fluid game play, but what PC gaming really comes down to is dollars. Money ya’ll. If you’re on a budget, you might consider sticking to a console. Hold it! Just wait a minute. I can hear everyone losing their minds right now… Bare with me.
Yes, consoles are approaching a point where PC game play may very well be surpassed for the average Joe that doesn’t have a few thousand to drop on a custom build. Yes, console gaming can also be a very expensive habit, but in general, PCs are going to set a consumer back more than an Xbox or Playstation.
Now that that’s settled, let’s pop this juice box open, take a sip, and see just what’s out there to choose from. If you’re new to PC gaming, or just looking to upgrade, here’s a list of components for building an awesome gaming machine in 2013. (I’m not going to go in to specifics on how to build a computer, and I’m not covering minor components like a case, or power supply unit in this article.)
I personally prefer Intel-based processors over AMD. I don’t have anything against AMD, in fact if you’re on a budget, AMD processors could work very well for you. They’re typically less expensive than Intel processors. My issue with AMD stems from stress testing results between the two manufacturers’ CPUs and per core efficiency results. There isn’t a doubt out there among hardware experts, if you’re building a high-end gaming PC, Intel is the top choice when it comes to a CPU. Here are my recommendations, in order of would-be builders’ budgets:
$$$ Intel i7-3770
$$ i5 2500K, i5 3570, or i5 5370K
$ AMD A10-5800K, or i3
You can drop a lot of money on high-end graphics cards, but unless you’re loaded I’d stay away from anything that’s higher than $500. I personally have no preference between ATI, or Nvidia. With the right configuration I think both can make excellent graphics cards.
$$$ Nvidia GTX 670/660 Ti
$$ Radeon HD 7850/7870
$ Nvidia GTX 650, or Radeon HD 6770
8GB should be plenty for most users. If you want to be an overachiever you can always grab 16, or 32GB.
For maximum performance you can run all solid state drives (SSDs), but that could get a little pricey. I’d recommend using a SSD for your primary OS and games you’re currently playing, while using a standard hard drive (HD) with decent capacity for everything else.
Consider a 128GB SSD with maybe a 1TB hard drive for storage.
$$$ Multiple SSDs
$$ SSD primary with HD storage
$ Multiple HDs
The only real factors here are compatibility, expandability, and overclocking. Weigh your options and pick something that fits the build the best for you.
It really comes down to personal preference and budget. If you’re an AMD fan, or Intel supporter, more power to you. I have many friends that swear by AMD builds and wouldn’t ever consider using anything else. The same can be said about graphics cards, some love Nvidia and some are sold on ATI. It’s really up to you. The recommendations listed above reflect cost versus price and are based on industry reviews, consumer reviews, and performance tests.
Let me know in the comments below if you think I missed something. If you want to share that new build with everyone here at T3kd, post your specs below.