Computer brand DIY Gaming PC build yourself: Components at a glance
Table of contents
- 1. The processor
- 2. The motherboard
- 3. The memory
- 4. The graphic card
- 5. SSD or HDD
- 6. Build your own gaming PC: The power supply
- 7. The case
- 8. The cooling
- 9. The extras
- 10. The right tool
It’s hard these days for PC enthusiasts to build a gaming PC themselves. Scalpers spoil the prices for graphics cards and processors. These are traders who use software (bots) to buy up hardware in bulk, only to resell it more expensively. Manufacturers can’t meet the high demand and normal consumers don’t stand a chance against bot retailers. Nevertheless, the gaming PC brand self-built has many advantages:
- If you build it yourself, you’ll understand the machine (almost)
- Pre-installed software (bloatware) is not an issue
- DIY builders decide on the size and appearance of the PC
- Better price-performance ratio to ready-made computers
- Have fun at work (if everything works out)
If you’re an absolute novice in the field of PC building, don’t worry. Building your own gaming computer is easier than you think. As in love, all that is needed for the first time is a bit of calm, patience, clarification and tact.
Below, the article explains why and how which components harmonize with each other and what is hidden behind the cryptic identifiers of the manufacturers. As an example, you can see a compilation of components for a gaming PC.
1. The processor
- Socket: Socket AM4
- Kernels: 6
- Threads: 12
- Clock frequency: 3.70 gigahertz
- Boost: 4.60 gigahertz
- TDP: 65 Watt
AMD or Intel, red versus blue – it’s the eternal dispute among gamers and enthusiasts. With the Zen3 architecture, the Reds have overtaken Intel in terms of gaming performance. The architecture is found in the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, which is in direct competition with the Intel i5 10600K. Both processors are six-core. However, the i5 10600K clocks at 4.1 gigahertz, the Ryzen 5 5600X at "only" 3,7. But it doesn’t matter, because the Ryzen processor works more efficiently, its architecture is better.
And this is reflected in the performance: even if you heavily overclock the i5 10600K, it doesn’t come close to the performance of the AMD processor. Intel therefore felt compelled to reduce the prices of its processors – a first for the manufacturer. Due to the high demand, the Ryzen 5 5600X currently costs around 350 Euros, the Intel i5 10600K is about 100 Euros cheaper.
Both processors have in common that they are the final stage of their socket generation. AMD is expected to launch its AM5 socket in early 2023. If you want to update the processor in two years, you have to buy a new motherboard from Intel and AMD. However, AMD is keen to allow its customers to upgrade the processor later and therefore changes the socket of its chips less often. Intel drives a different strategy: Every two generations, the competitor changes the sockets of its processors.
Another plus point for AMD: If the Ryzen 5 5600X is too expensive for you, you can also go for the previous generation with Zen2 architecture. The Ryzen 7 3700X is currently a bit cheaper than the Ryzen 5 5600X and harmonizes easily with the latest AMD mainboards. Its performance is weaker in games, but it offers two more processing cores. If you cut videos or edit pictures in your spare time, you’ll do well with the 3700X.
When you compare processors, you’ll notice two retailer identifiers: Boxed and Tray. Boxed processors usually come with a CPU cooler, tray processors don’t. AMD usually sells its Ryzen chips as boxed version with cooler. If you want to overclock the processor or place special emphasis on quiet cooling, you still need to purchase a CPU cooler. The confusion is made perfect by Intel’s upper class processors like the i9 9900K: They are in a box, but come without a cooler.
By the way: TDP is the abbreviation for Thermal Design Power and describes the thermal power dissipation of the processor. This is important for the choice of processor cooler. Cooler manufacturers specify how much TDP a cooler can handle.
2. The motherboard
- Form factor: ATX
- External connections: 1x DisplayPort, 4x USB 2.0, 1x Gigabit LAN, 5x audio, 1x HDMI, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 3.2 Type-C, 1x S/PDIF Out Optical
- Connections internal: 1x USB 3.2 Type-C, 1x USB 3.2 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0, 6x SATA 6Gb/s, 1x TPM header, 2x M.2 slots
- Slots for expansions: 2x PCIe 4.0 x16, 2x PCIe 3.0 x1
We have chosen the Ryzen 5 5600X, which has the AM4 socket. Accordingly, we need a motherboard that offers this socket. However, the choice isn’t quite that simple, because not every motherboard with an AM4 socket can handle the processor. Why? The board names of the various manufacturers usually hide formulas like B550, X370 or B450. They describe nothing more than the chipsets of the different motherboards.
And that’s exactly what needs to be considered: Although a motherboard with AM4 socket and B450 chipset can handle Ryzen processors of the Zen3 architecture – but only if you have updated the bios first. Stupid: For this you need (in most cases) a processor of the previous generation. Therefore, those who buy new want a motherboard that can handle the new processor out of the box. Most retailers tell customers if the motherboard in the shopping cart needs an update – but don’t rely on that if you’re building your gaming PC yourself! Some retailers offer to update the bios of older boards for an additional charge.
When choosing a motherboard, there is also the question of the form factor: The most common form factors are ATX, Micro-ATX (mATX) and Mini-ITX. Nice: They apply to motherboard and case and differ in size. Logical: ATX is the largest form, Mini-ITX the smallest and Micro-ATX is in the middle.
Important: Decide on a form factor and buy power supply, case and mainboard in the same form factors. Exceptions prove the rule: A case that fits an ATX mainboard usually also takes a Micro-ATX motherboard. Of course, this doesn’t work the other way round.
If you want to build a small gaming PC yourself, you should use Mini-ITX mainboards and cases (in this case you might also have to buy an SFX power supply). But a high-end gaming PC needs space, so we decide for an ATX board. Accordingly, we make sure later when choosing the case that it accepts ATX boards.
A suitable choice for the Ryzen 5 5600X is the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Plus . It comes in the ATX form factor, handles a maximum of 128 gigabytes of RAM with a clock rate of 4.133 megatransfers per second on four slots. It also has a PCIe 4.0 slot for the graphics card.
PCIe is the data highway on the motherboard. The processor uses them to communicate with the graphics card, memory& Co. PCIe 4.0 uninteresting, because no graphics card has the extra data throughput compared to PCIe 3.0 and accordingly there is no performance gain in games. But this may change in the future. Nice: Two super fast M.2-SSDs find room on the board. They already benefit from PCIe 4.0. You can connect HDD hard disks "normally" via a total of six SATA ports SSDs, DVD drive or integrated card reader.
3. The working memory
- CAS latency: 16-18-18-38
- Clocking: 3.600 megatransfers per second
- Two 16 gigabyte slots
RAM has never been more important in a gaming PC than these days, because a fast clock rate is actually reflected in more frames per second on the monitor. If you compare RAM modules with each other, you’ll notice two things in particular: Number strings like 16-18-18-38 and the clock rate of the RAM specified in megatransfers per second. What is it all about?
Behind the number sequence hides the Column-Address-Strobe-Latency (CAS-Latency). This is the delay time between two moments within a computer’s working process. First, the instruction from the memory controller to the memory to access a specific memory column in a module. And secondly, the release of the working memory of the requested data. In general, the lower the latency, the better the performance and the more expensive the memory.
The megatransfers per second reveal how fast the RAM clocks. Here applies: Higher is better. However, mainboard and processor have to play along. If you want to use RAM modules with a clock rate of 4 GHz, you have to use a motherboard.000 megatransfers a second into a motherboard that only has 2.133 megatransfers per second, the motherboard clocks down the RAM – so you waste money on a clock rate that you can’t do anything with. The same applies if the processor cannot process high clock rates of the working memory.
We have chosen the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Plus in connection with the Ryzen 5 5600X. As a reminder: The mainboard can hold a maximum of 128 gigabytes of RAM, which can be used with up to 4.Allowed to clock 133 megatransfers per second. The Ryzen 5600X comes with a maximum of 4 GHz.000 mega transfers per second. Higher clock rates of the working memory would be a waste of money. Currently, the sweet spot between price and performance for RAM is 3.600 megatransfers per second. An increase in performance in games is possible with 4.000 megatransfers per second hardly to recognize.
We thus decide on a RAM module, consisting of two bars with a clock rate of 3 GHz.600 megatransfers per second and the lowest possible CAS latency. All this is combined in the Crucial Ballistix Black 32 GB Kit . 32 gigabytes of RAM is more than enough for gamers, the bars clock at 3.600 megatransfers per second and that with a CAS latency of 16-18-18-38.
If you want to save money, you’ll have to use two 8 gigabyte CPUs, because 16 gigabytes of RAM are still enough for most games. However, gamers don’t want to install only one RAM bar, since two bars run in dual-channel mode. Think of the modules like a highway: Two lanes are better than one.
4. The graphics card