How to build and upgrade your extreme gaming PC
Building your gaming PC can be an intimidating, exciting, stressful, and rewarding experience. Creating a machine on your own, with a selection of electronic parts, is very exciting. It also allows you to make something customized for you and built to your budget, specifications, and preferences.
Building a gaming PC can save you money compared to buying a pre-built machine from a retailer or allow you to create a monster gaming machine that will run games on ultra settings for years to come. If you’re looking to create something that can handle high-end gaming, video rendering, and even streaming, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve put together the following guide to show you what to build an extreme gaming machine that includes all the parts you’ll need and why they’re worth it.
How to budget your PC for extreme gaming
Before you begin, you will need to consider your budget. We’ll get into this assuming you have a good chunk of cash poking a hole in your pocket and you want to invest in some serious gaming power.
It is always worth getting the latest hardware in our minds to prepare your system for the future. It is counterproductive to spend all your hard-earned money on something that will need to be updated in a year or two.
The absolute joy of building your gaming PC is that if you build solid foundations, you’ll only need to update a couple of parts every few years to keep your PC up and running for years to come.
It is worth spending more on the core parts of the machine, the CPU and the motherboard, as they are the foundation of the computer and are much more difficult to replace and upgrade in the future.
What components do you need?
Building your gaming PC requires several different components. It’s essential to do your research and make sure you buy the correct parts for your PC and that they all work together. Certain specifications of each component will affect this, and you need to make sure everything is correct even before placing your order.
Motherboards for extreme gaming
Think of the gaming motherboard as the foundation of your extreme gaming PC. Although each of the components plays its role, none of them could function without the motherboard support. Every device within the PC connects to it to allow the computer to function.
Choosing the correct motherboard for you will depend on other factors. It is essential to remember to thoroughly examine your motherboard specifications before purchasing other parts to make sure they fit and work with your system.
As our goal is to create an extreme gaming PC, we chose a motherboard to match. These high-end motherboards support a large amount of RAM, the ability to install multiple graphics cards, and much more.
The motherboard we are using for this extreme PC version is the MSI Meg Z940 Ace. This motherboard supports DDR4 RAM from 2133MHz to 5000MHz in dual-channel format. Those are three different things to keep in mind just concerning one component.
Dual-channel means that two sticks of RAM work in pairs on the motherboard. You should use two at a minimum, but you could fill all four slots with up to 128GB of RAM in total.
The frequency of the RAM is measured in MHz. This motherboard can take RAM with a maximum frequency of 5000MHz but neither more nor less than 2133MHz either. You need to make sure you buy RAM that fits into the correct category.
This may all sound not very easy, but you need to make sure you have the correct architecture (channel, MHz, type, and size), and it will work.
High-end central processing units (CPUs)
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain that powers your computer. It’s another part where it’s important not to skimp as it does a lot of work for games and other tasks like rendering videos and supporting rendering for streaming if that’s your plan.
There are two leading CPU manufacturers: AMD and Intel. These manufacturers also make a variety of processors with different chipsets. To determine which CPU suits which motherboard, you will first need to choose the manufacturer and calculate how much money you have to spend.
Let’s take Intel as an example. The current model of Intel CPU is the 10th generation of processors known as Comet Lake. These are the best gaming processors in the company, with a lot of power and overclocking potential.
These processors are LGA1200 sockets, which means you need to make sure that the motherboard you purchase can accept this socket type.
Motherboards are also purposely sold as AMD or Intel-compatible to make this easy for you.
At a basic level, the higher the number, the more powerful the processor. We have an Intel Core i9-10900K for this extreme gaming build because we want to create something that can handle anything you throw at it. This is the current flagship, but you can go for something smaller like the i7-10700K if you want to save some money elsewhere.
These high-end gaming processors are expensive, but they are also competent. If you plan on gaming in 4K, streaming to Twitch, and editing videos for YouTube, you won’t be disappointed with the processing power here.
If you don’t want to use the same processor as us, Intel has a helpful tool to find the right CPU for your motherboard or vice versa.
The graphics card is the component that does most of the workload when it comes to powering your games.
Newer graphics cards will run the latest games on ultra settings and support 8K while offering decent frame rates. The result is incredible graphics that will leave you drooling on your keyboard. However, these devices come at a hefty premium, and, aside from the extreme CPU, they are likely the single most expensive component you will add to your machine.
Graphics cards are produced by two manufacturers: Nvidia and AMD. These vary in price and power. Our goal is to create a high-end gaming machine, which is why Nvidia’s 20 series of graphics cards is the pinnacle of today. These cards are RTX Ray Tracing compatible and deliver stunning visuals in a variety of the latest games, as well as incredible gaming performance.
Another consideration could also be virtual reality. If you want to build a gaming machine that is capable of running VR, you will need to know the minimum system specs of the HTC Vive Pro or Oculus Rift S.
Both devices require an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480 or better. It’s worth paying for the added graphics power to get the most out of virtual reality.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
RAM is the memory of the computer. On a gaming PC, it helps the computer to act quickly and efficiently while you play. The more RAM you have and the higher the MHz frequency, the faster your computer can run.
Most modern computers will run DDR4 RAM in a two or four-channel format. Those, along with the MHz frequency, are what you’ll need to consider to make sure the RAM will work on the motherboard of your choice.
RAM size is measured in GB. For an extreme gaming PC, the more RAM, the better, especially if you can also afford high-frequency or overclockable RAM.
We suggest that you will need at least 32GB of RAM for good high-end games. This amount is beneficial for streaming and content creation. You would be surprised at how much RAM is used when rendering videos. Also, let’s not forget how RAM hungry Chrome can get!
The great thing about RAM is that it is one of the easiest things to upgrade on a gaming PC. As long as you buy RAM that matches the size, frequency, and model number, you can double the size in the future. If you want to save money now, buy 16GB to start with, and then upgrade with another 16GB in the future.
Update your PC in the future
As we said earlier, once you’ve completed a build, your PC should serve you well for years to come, but you can also upgrade by adding multiple parts. The easiest upgrades are additional RAM and a new GPU. You can also add another hard drive relatively quickly if you need more storage. RGB lighting and fan upgrades also make your machine look sleeker.