There are numerous benefits that come with building your own gaming computer, and one of them is your regular ability to upgrade your setup. A great gaming computer is never technically a “finished” product, but rather one you can continuously tweak and upgrade as new programs or technology formats become available.
At Walter, we’re proud to offer build-your-own setups for our gaming desktops, laptops and custom workstations alike. We also love to keep in touch with our clients, helping them learn about new developments and potential upgrades they might consider making to their system based on their needs. What are some of the top specific components of your gaming computer that you might consider tweaking or upgrading, and when is the right time to consider this? Here’s a basic primer.
Hard DriveIf your gaming setup is working with an older or slower hard drive, it can be time to consider making a switch. SSD hard drives are becoming less expensive by the day, and their faster speeds make them an attractive upgrade in any computer system. From boot times to game load screens, you’ll notice the speed difference pretty quickly when upgrading your hard drive.
You have a huge range of options when it comes to the type of solid-state drive you go with, though. You can opt for an SSD that has enough memory to act as a primary hard drive (with the original operating system and software programs on it) or pick up two different SSDs, one for your OS and the other to use specifically for game data.
In addition, you should likely be focused on how an upgraded hard drive will impact other components in your machine. For example, if you’re looking to upgrade your GPU (graphics card), you might want to consider making sure its compatibility with the hard drive is somewhat flexible.
GPU Upgrade Speaking of the GPU, or graphics card, it’s another of the most popular upgrades for gamers to consider. In many cases, as a gamer’s system becomes dated and the games being played become more complex and demanding, this singular component may need replacing or updating before all other components in the system.
You should have a pretty good idea of what type of graphics card will be compatible with your machine before you make a purchase, but also consider the amount of power you’re looking to get out of it. Will you be able to improve your frame rate? Do you want better HD quality and definition, or just an improved load time for games?
Frankly, you might be shocked at just how effective this upgrade can be. Some of the newest graphics cards on the market, like NVIDIA’s GTX 1080, are beyond powerful and can make even some of the latest games act faster and look better than you’ve ever imagined.
Operating System Depending on how much you rely on your gaming computer for entertainment or even productivity, Windows 10 is a great upgrade to consider. It offers better security than previous versions, improved streaming capabilities and even integrates virtual reality into the OS itself.
There is also the even newer Windows 11 transition taking place in some circles, though how gamers feel about this program is a topic that needs more data before we can speak on it with authority.
RAMRAM, short for Random Access Memory, is one of the most important components in your gaming computer. Essentially acting as its short-term memory bank, this component makes it possible for the CPU to read data from various sources while you are playing a game or running other applications on your machine.
The higher quality of RAM you have, the more detailed and complex your games can be. When you are working with enhanced graphics or multiple sources of visual data simultaneously, modern RAM can help your computer stay on top of this information seamlessly.
You’ll also want to consider the type of RAM you’re getting for your machine. DDR1, DDR2 and DDR3 are still available today, but upgrading to DDR4 makes a big difference in your gaming experience.
CPU Upgrade The CPU is your computer’s central processing unit, and it acts as its brain, so to speak. It is responsible for handling all of the data coming into and out of your machine, basically acting as the conduit between other components like your motherboard, GPU and RAM.
If you want to upgrade this component in your system, it’s best to focus on newer processors that are compatible with your particular motherboard. For example, if you have an Intel Core i7 920 processor in your machine right now, try to find an upgraded version that is compatible with this chip before choosing a whole new motherboard.
If you’re really looking for the best possible performance, though, consider how much overclocking you’ll be doing. If the answer is a lot, look into buying an unlocked processor that allows you to do this, like the Intel Core i7 4790K.
Monitor You might not think of your monitor as an upgrade area for your gaming computer, but it can make a difference in how effective your machine is at handling resource-intensive games or applications. For instance, if you’re looking to buy a new monitor, you might want to consider getting a larger screen. This will not only increase your viewing area, but also allow you to see more of your game as it’s happening on-screen.
Another factor is resolution, which refers to the number of pixels available in the display area of an LCD monitor. More pixels per inch typically means better definition for game consoles and other graphic-heavy apps like YouTube or Netflix.
Cooling While all these bells and whistles are great, you have to be sure your machine has adequate cooling in order to effectively manage temperature. As your computer overheats, it not only becomes less effective at meeting your demands, but can also become unstable and result in crashes or slowdown over time.
You have a few options when it comes to cooling fans for your machine, including cooling fans, cooling liquids and even water cooling. If you like to upgrade frequently, it may be best to opt for fans rather than liquids, as they are easier to replace or even move around if necessary.
For more on the components you might consider upgrading in your gaming computer, or to learn about any of our gaming computers or other accessories, speak to the pros at Walter today.