Despite all the hype and scarcity surrounding both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, the place to get games at their best is still on a PC. Along with the potential for much higher performance and power, you also have a more versatile machine that you can upgrade for years to come. The only catch? Building a PC isn’t as easy as just plugging in a console and off you go.
So our friends at Intel helped us build a compact computer powerful enough to run new games at high settings without breaking the bank, something light and small enough that it could sit comfortably next to your computer. living room multimedia unit and do not raise eyebrows. Better yet, by plugging it into our TV, we could save money on a PC monitor. Here’s what we’ve built and a five-step guide to doing the same.
1. Choose your budget wisely
There’s no denying that a gaming PC will cost you dearly. The exact amount is really down for you, but we’ve focused on the mid to high range for this version, which will set you back around £ 800 before deciding which graphics card to choose. We went with Nvidia’s latest RTX 3070 (from £ 469): a card that can use new ray-traced lighting technology, but is considerably cheaper than Nvidia’s 3080 and 3090 models. In total, the build is £ 1,250.
2. Be prepared to wait for a graphics card
At the time of writing, RTX GPU stocks are also pretty hard to come by, thanks to an unhealthy trifecta of the global semiconductor shortage with millions of gamers stuck in their homes during the pandemic and the products of Nvidia being particularly popular among cryptocurrency miners. If you’re willing to wait, we’d recommend it, but you can still use one of Nvidia’s older 20 series which will be easier to get your hands on. Elsewhere, we’ve gone for an Intel Core i5 processor that pairs well with gaming up to 4K while keeping the overall cost low. You just want to borrow our construction? Here are the details…
3. Don’t worry about the construction
Putting the parts together on a PC is often the most time-consuming aspect of the whole process, but it’s really not that difficult. You just need to book a party with a little bit of time, have a decent empty space on your dining table, and set up YouTube on your iPad or phone or whatever else you have handy. As with everything these days, you just need to make sure you take things slowly, with a video tutorial on hand. Listen and pay attention to the different parts, wires, and ways things are connected and also make sure you are ideally not standing on a carpet. In fact, try to be away from anything static – it can be a PC building killer.
4. Take your time
The finished PC was ready and installed Windows in just two hours of starting construction, although this was the first time I had built a PC like this and only the second that I had completely assembled. There were a few issues along the way with the way the motherboard was wired, but it was all fixable by going through a few steps and fixing minor issues. When you really take this process down to its basics, you’re just plugging in bits and screwing in stuff. If you can put together an Ikea piece of furniture, a computer will not be a problem.
5. Get games that make the most of your new setup
Once the PC is ready and you have everything installed, from Steam to the Xbox PC client, the game is launched. The lineup on PC is huge – most of the stuff you’ve seen on console is also available on PC, albeit prettier and at higher frame rates – but you’ll also find some pretty special PC exclusive games. Here are some noteworthy products in the two categories that shine on PC: