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How to buy a gaming PC without being stripped

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There are generally three ways to buy a new gaming PC. You can make your own, buy from store shelves (including Amazon, etc.), or visit the manufacturer’s website to set up your dream system.

And now that it is so difficult to find affordable PC components, especially graphics cards, more and more people are getting ready-to-use gaming PCs. However, there are many pitfalls when you visit CyberPowerPC, Maingear, or Dell websites to configure your Alienware gaming PC. This means that you can spend a lot of extra cash without actually having a great experience.

Unfortunately, this means that at least some literacy is needed to know how to set up a gaming PC for the amount of money you are actually spending on PC components. However, during PC Gaming Week, we decided it was time to take it seriously and explain a few things to look out for when buying a new gaming PC.

(Image credit: Avenir)

Don’t buy entry-level models

If you visit the manufacturer’s website, you can easily see a PC that starts at around $ 1,000, which sounds like a lot, but it’s rare. For example, Dell is now offering the Alienware Aurora R12, our beloved computer, for just $ 1,129. But if you click on its starting configuration, you’ll get an Intel Core i5-11400F, 8GB of RAM (and probably a stick more later) and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super. To make matters worse, I have a 1TB spinning hard drive and no SSD.

And it’s not just Alienware. Just looking at iBuyPower, “Intel 10th Gen Gamer Daily Deal” is listed starting at $ 1,429. But this Also It only has a single 8GB RAM and starts with Intel Core i3-10105F.At least at the beginning there are SSDs and AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT, but it is No I’m sorry about the $ 1400 PC.

There are several manufacturers who have more rational entry level configurations. Maingear and NZXT BLD are both great at not offering a completely crappy PC just because you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars. However, both of these options are generally expensive.

Maybe a lot of people will look at this and ask, “Is it hard to look at the specs to see what you’re buying before you go to checkout?” However, many people trying to pick the first Alienware to appear on the page are just parents trying to give their kids a Kick-Ass birthday present. The latest technology. Especially if it’s the iBuyPower option mentioned above, the starting configuration at $ 1,429 includes the latest-gen processor.

MSI Z490

(Image credit: MSI)

Don’t get lost with all the options

One of the first things that you will notice as soon as you visit these store designer websites is that there are a lot of different customization options. It’s a dream come true for anyone who really wants to build a dream machine, but a nightmare for those who are new to the wonderful world of PC components.

If you look at this Cyber ​​PowerPC-promoted PC, you’ll find 51 chassis options, 19 fan sets, and 26 CPU coolers. To make matters worse, when trying to save money, you may get an error message shouting that you are making the wrong choice.

For example, for this PC, I chose Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition which is one of the best CPU coolers on the market, but I didn’t find it powerful enough to handle the default CPU. Is just an Intel Core i7-11700KF. Yes, that probably won’t push this processor into the stratosphere with high overclocking, but in a factory setting it will keep that little chunk of silicon cool enough.

But even worse, there are plenty of CPU cooler options out there that can cost up to $ 253, so someone is threatened with such a warning message and switched to an unnecessarily powerful AIO cooler. Can be seen completely.

With so many options available, it’s very easy to spend money that you don’t really need to spend in a way that has virtually no impact on your shiny new PC experience or gaming performance. ..

Intel Core i9-11900K processor review

(Image credit: Avenir)

Don’t worry about overclocking

Many boutique PC builders have an option when configuring their PC to overclock the system. Now, we love overclocking more than anyone, but in terms of the extra performance you’ll get, it’s probably not worth the extra money.

After all, the central appeal of overclocking is getting a bit of free performance from your computer, but that appeal is diminished when you have to pay. At best, you will see a 5-10% difference in the game. Impossible, Especially for overclocking the processor.

Our advice is that if you really want to mess around with overclocking your PC, then do it yourself after you get your PC. This process is pretty much certain at this point and probably doesn’t require BIOS access like it used to be.

You can overclock your graphics card using EVGA Precision X1 or MSI Afterburner. In addition, security measures have been taken to prevent permanent damage to the GPU, however extreme. And when it comes to processors, all you need to do is think about overclocking the Intel chips. AMD chips don’t overclock that well. You can run it safely just using the Intel Extreme Tuning utility.

So if you can download the app and get the same result with just pressing a few buttons, it’s probably not worth paying Origin or CyberpowerPC to overclock your PC. These options made a little more sense maybe 10 years ago when you had to overclock your BIOS to change complex and dangerous settings, but they don’t.

It’s not worth it at this point. Get everything with factory settings. Even in the best scenarios, overclocking doesn’t differentiate between running and not running the game.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

(Image credit: Avenir)

What should you really look for?

In general, the advice on buying a gaming PC is about the same as what you should put in it. It depends on the situation.

However, for most people it doesn’t really matter which motherboard your default motherboard is, especially if you’re not the kind of overclocking fiddler.

When it comes to processors, we’ve found that Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processors are ideal for most gamers. If you need additional computing power, for example when editing video, you can increase it, but for most people a 6-core processor will suffice.

However, be sure to get the current generation one. You’ll probably be spending over $ 1,000 on a platform, so you need to make sure you get an 11th gen chip for Intel and a 5th gen chip for AMD Ryzen. If you get the midrange according to our advice, it’s an Intel Core i5-11600K (or 11600KF) for Team Blue and an AMD Ryzen 55600X for Team Red.

When it comes to graphics cards, it depends a lot on what resolution you want to play at. Sure, many want the shiny new RTX 3080, but unless you’re playing the game in 4K, it’s probably not worth the extra cost. If you just want to play everything in 1080p, the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 will do.

As a tip, don’t spend more than $ 1,000 on a gaming PC running something like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super. The card is not worth the amount in cash, even if it is inflated for crypto mining.

Finally, take the accessory elsewhere

Almost all of the companies that sell gaming PCs also try to sell items like monitors, keyboards, and headsets. Our advice? Buy gaming rigs only from PC Builder.

In many cases, you can save a lot of money by simply purchasing the peripherals or accessories you need from Amazon or Newegg instead of bundling them in your machine.

  • Welcome to TechRadar PC Gaming Week 2021. It celebrates the biggest gaming platform on the planet. Despite the global pandemic and the continuing GPU shortage, PC gaming is more dynamic and exciting than ever, mirroring this throughout the week with in-depth articles, interviews, and a selection of important buying guides. To do.


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