Adding a fancy name and shiny colors to a computer case can fetch a lot in the consumer market, but you don't have to pay for that. Gaming computers especially are becoming more expensive as new games, new developers, and amazing levels of complexity require more power than the standard computer. Thankfully, there are ways to bring a standard, modern computer up to gaming standards if you're willing to make some changes. Here's a look into what gaming computers really are and how you can build or modify a system for cheap.
What Is A Gaming Computer?
A gaming computer is a personal computer that is tweaked to play computer games with better performance than standard computers. By "games" it doesn't just mean Farmville, Candy Crush Saga, or any games that are played in a browser or with relatively low levels of graphics. Although those are highly played and profitable games, in terms of system resource demand, they don't require anything special.
The most important part of a gaming computer is the graphics card. Modern games using complex graphics have specific instructions that are designed to take advantage of specific features that can only be found on the graphics card. It isn't a matter of loading up a normal computer with more memory or a stronger processor; a standard computer simply doesn't know what to do with the instructions coming from the game.
Instead, a graphics card acts as a miniature computer on a small board that creates an environment for the game. It has its own processor called a graphics processing unit (GPU) as opposed to the central processing unit (CPU) and memory, and although the computer's main resources are used to an extent, the card does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to game calculation.
What Else Is Needed?
After the graphics card, everything else is for your personal comfort. Modern gamers use multiple monitors to perform different tasks while gaming, especially online gamers who interact with a real-time world and have some downtime between events. Modern video cards are already equipped with multiple ports to connect up to two monitors natively (without any other changes).
You'll need to have more resources than what your computer needs, since new demands and issues such as memory leaks can cause unexpected spikes in usage. The bare minimum is no good for gaming, as your system will crash if all of the resources are used up. Your game will have a set of recommended specifications that will tell you the video card, processor, and memory requirements, and you'll just need to go up from there. First, take a look at random access memory (RAM) requirements.
As a lot of gaming is done on Windows systems, it's good to add the system requirements of your version of Windows and your game together. Using the Windows 10 requirements, you can see that 2 gigabytes (GB) of memory is needed for a new system. Ignore the 32-bit part, since even though 32-bit can be used for gaming, it limits your memory to just over 3GB.
That's the minimum for Windows alone, not counting other programs. Many sources cite 8GB as a good spot, which is good for many games, and some gamers go even higher. It all depends on your game's needs as well as other activities.
For the processor, go with the game's requirements as they factor in what the operating system (OS) uses as well. Contact a wholesale computer professional if you need a new, modern computer to build up to gaming standards.