Whether you’re buying your first gaming computer or upgrading an old desktop, it’s a good idea to take your time and shop around, so you can find a computer that fits your gaming needs and your budget. Many manufacturers build computers specifically for gaming. Furthermore, they can customize a computer with the components needed to maximize your gaming experience. Here are a few items to consider while shopping for a gaming computer:
How much do I want to spend?
Gaming computers have a large price range—from a $1,500 economy–friendly HP to a $13,000 luxury powerhouse Voodoo. The average gamer will have to consider price when purchasing a new computer. When researching the price versus value, consider shipping costs as well as the cost of any upgrades. Sometimes a desktop appears to be an excellent buy but after adding the necessary upgrades, it becomes impractical.
The most important components in a gaming PC are the RAM, graphics card and processor. Complex games like Massively Multi–player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) require higher–end components to avoid lag.
Do I want use my computer for applications other than gaming?
Most people don’t use their computer solely for gaming. The other applications for which you plan to use your computer will help determine what kind of computer you buy. Are you going to use your computer for home or office applications like word processing or media editing or for academic purposes? If so, consider the size of the hard drive and software packages that the manufacturer offers.
Additionally, consider the peripherals you want to use with your new PC. If you want to hook up joysticks or other gaming devices, you’ll want accessible USB ports or maybe even a FireWire port.
Do I want my gaming PC to be portable?
Some gamers enjoy taking their PC to friend’s homes or joining a LAN party. This is a group of gamers that get together and set up a local area network (LAN). Here they play against each other or other groups over the Internet.
Some companies like Shuttle and Falcon Northwest have designed towers and screens with portability in mind. These towers are smaller—some even come with practical handles or a carrying case.
What other devices come with the computer (printer, speakers, monitor, etc.)?
If you’re upgrading your computer you may already have a monitor, mouse or keyboard. However, if this is your first computer or if you want to upgrade your peripherals, you may want to find a package that includes a monitor, mouse and keyboard. Gaming packages that come with the essentials can be a big money–saver.
Some companies even offer a free security suite or come with popular games like Age of Empires III or World of Warcraft.
How important are warranties and customer support?
Warranties and customer support is especially important for custom–built gaming computers. Every computer should include at least a 1–year parts and labor warranty. HP and CyberPower offer a 3–year parts and labor warranty. Most manufacturers offer extended warranties for purchase.
A computer game is only as good as the computer supporting it. A gaming computer with a top of the line graphics card and processor can make a huge difference in your overall gaming experience.