Here at Evatech, we get a lot of questions from people not quite sure which gaming PC suits them. Which one is the best value? Will it run Battlefield? World of Warcarft? The latest Call of Duty? To really answer these questions you first need to consider a few different angles.
What is ‘value’ to you?
Is value the cheapest possible price today or are you willing to look at something a little more expensive that will hold its gaming performance a little longer? The cheapest gaming PC today might be enough to play your favourite games today, but in a year or two it may struggle to keep up with the latest releases. The more you invest up front in a gaming PC the longer it will be able to keep up with the incremental increases is gaming system requirements.
When you ask will it ‘run’ a certain game, what do you mean exactly?
In 99% of cases any new gaming PC sold on the market today will run any game, but when you take in to account quality settings and resolution you can really start to see the differences between a $600 machine the $2000 ones. Are you happy with a standard HD resolution and medium presets on most games? If the answer is yes, then maybe the low end systems are exactly what you’re looking for. If you expect high resolution and max presets across the board on your brand new gaming computer then you might want to consider something a little more powerful.
How much more? What do I need to spend to get a system that can max out all my favourite games?
Games vary hugely in their requirements when it comes to maxing out their graphics settings. Depending on the style or game and the engine it was built on you may need to focus more on RAM, others may require more video processing power while some would benefit from much more from extra CPU cores or a higher CPU clock speed.
As a general rule, if your favourite games are big budget first person shooters such as the Battlefield or Crysis series, your main focus should be on the video card. On the other hand if you’re more of a strategy, RTS or simulation game fan the CPU is generally the key component to pushing every possible frame to the screen.
So now I have all this information, how do choose?
It’s always best to, if you have the time, take a look at reviews for video cards and CPUs. These are really the heart and soul of any gaming PC and will make the biggest impact to your buying decisions.
Set a budget and spend the time to do a little research on all the options on the market in your area. Prices from store to store vary by large amounts and 10 minutes on Google could save you quite a few dollars when you actually go to buy your PC.
If you’re on a tight budget avoid the flashy cases and fancy RAM with massive heat sinks. Focus your spending on the components that count, every dollar extra you sink into more graphics processing power and CPU cores the better your games are going to perform.
SSDs are one of the best ways to decrease load times, not only gaming but across the board, however, in certain games they make little to no difference. If you don’t mind waiting that extra 2 seconds for the next level to load and prefer a higher capacity hard disk then you might want to avoid an SSD until the price comes down a little more.
As far as SLI and Crossfire is concerned, if you’re not an enthusiast with money to burn we usually advise against it. As a general rule the price / performance ratio on a video card setup has always greatly favoured single GPU machines. Having two video cards does not mean you will have twice the performance. In theory the physical hardware is there however game engines, graphics drivers and the entire process of synchronising the two cards takes a heavy toll on overall performance.
I’m still not entirely sure, what would you recommend?
Well, if you would like to shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of exactly what you’re after we would happily try to help you out and guide you in the right direction.