Technology moves so quickly these days. By the time you’ve bought a PC, it’s guaranteed that most of the parts will be out of date within a few months. This can also depend on where you buy your PC from. A lot of companies sell PC packages that can seem like a good value for money at the time. They bundle a printer, scanner, and other add-ons with your PC, but then you find out that you’re spending tons of cash on ink, your PC is too generic, and not good enough for what you want to use it for: gaming!
If you drop by your local Best Buy or PC World to look for a new PC to play the latest games, then you’re going to run into problems. A lot of gamers these days make or at least customize their own PCs from scratch. Why? Because they know what’s needed to run these games.
90% of PCs today that are sold through those types of stores in packages are aimed at the average “I want a PC so I can surf the Net, play music, and watch DVDs” consumer. These PCs are acceptable for those needs, but if you want to play the latest games, then you haven’t got a chance of getting them to run to their necessary requirements.
Too many times I’ve seen people go out and buy a brand new PC, try to go online and play a new game such as Battlefield 2 or Quake 4, and find out that the game runs badly, even on the lowest settings. They then end up spending twice as much on a PC by having to buy a new one from scratch or upgrade a lot of the parts because they’ve made the mistake of buying an eMachine type “deal” in the first place.
So you have an old PC you want to upgrade so you can play the latest games? The main components you will need to look at for upgrading are:
- Power supply (PSU)
- Processor (CPU)
- Memory (RAM)
- Graphics card
- Sound card
I put them in this order for the below reasons, although some people may disagree with me.
The motherboard is the main component in your PC as it ties all the other components together. You can buy the best CPU and graphics card and sound card, but if your motherboard stinks, then they aren’t going to be able to work to the best of their abilities.
The power supply is extremely important. If you can’t get enough power to the rest of the parts in your PC, then nothing will work properly; in some cases, they won’t even work at all. You can pick up a cheap power supply for about $20. but normally with technology these days, you get what you pay for. If you intend to have a top-notch graphics card and powerful CPU in your PC, then you need a good quality power supply that is stable and capable of powering all your PC’s parts effectively.
The CPU (central processing unit) is the heart of your PC. If you have a slow CPU but the best graphics card and motherboard, then your CPU will hold back the other components in your PC.
Your computer’s memory is just as important as the CPU. This will be used to store and transfer the data on your PC fast and if you have bad, slow, or not enough memory, then it’s going to slow the rest of your PC down.
The graphics card is extremely important for today’s games. If you can’t render the graphics fast enough then you’ll experience lag and slowdown in your games no matter how good the rest of your PC is. Most “bundled” graphics cards are built into the motherboards in packaged PCs and share the actual system memory. This is BAD for gaming!
The sound card isn’t as important as the rest of the components, but it can help your PC perform better. If you have a standalone sound card, it takes some of the workload off of your CPU and motherboard and a lot of today’s best sound cards even have their own special sound system that is used by a lot of new games.
Obviously if you want to be able to play the best games on the market and if you play competitively online, then you want to be able to play to the best of your abilities and not have to worry about your PC not being able to handle the needs of today’s games.
It can be expensive, but there are easy ways for you to upgrade on a budget. Maybe if you’re thinking of upgrading now, then you should go ahead, but even starting to look for the best parts to upgrade your PC can be a daunting task.
Personally, when I’m upgrading, I never go for the very top of the range. You don’t have to buy the best (as you know it’s going to be going down in price dramatically in the next few months), but you can still get some great PC hardware for good prices that will run those games without any slowdown and still make them look and feel great to play.
One bad link in the chain will hinder your computer’s performance. When you want to upgrade or even buy a new PC you must ensure that each part is as good as the others to get the best performance and stability for any type of computer tasks.
About the Author
Chris G. Williams has been a gamer for the past ten years playing competitively in the online gaming scene. His latest site can be found here.
[tags]Chris G Williams, cash4gamers.com, gaming PC, CPU, upgrade[/tags]