Updated March 18, 2017
KillaRad Computers - Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
How do you know if a "gaming PC" is any good?
With so many spec's, and changing technology all the time, how do you make the best choice in buying that new computer? Here is a very detailed bullet-point guide going into PC processors and graphics cards, and touching on what makes a KillaRad gaming PC better.
Some of the most important components of a gaming PC are the choices of processors, chipsets, and graphics. Different games will be playable on different hardware, but in the context of a gaming PC, the emphasis will be on popular current PC games, also going back to the previous two years. Certain games will have landmark popularity and continue to be played for over two years, and often they will receive updates that take advantage of newer PC hardware. So in that case, older PCs will play these games with standard settings, and newer PCs will play them even better with more fluid performance and better effects. Part of the challenge of choosing a gaming computer comes down to dealers selling a PC that's underpowered for current popular games, while calling it a "gaming PC". At lower prices they could have attractive glowing LED lights with a gaudy-looking kiddie appeal, with woefully underpowered graphics. The information in this guide can help you with your expectations and your budget.
- There are two main brands of processors: Intel and AMD.
- AMD Ryzen CPUs are new on the scene in 2017 and show great potential, although when it comes to PC games, Intel has the edge.
- For Intel, choose a 4th generation or above quad core CPU (Core i5 or i7).
- As of this update, 7th generation is the latest Intel desktop Core series, and getting the latest generation is usually recommended.
- For AMD, choose a Ryzen CPU. They come out on top for more intense multi-core programs like high resolution video editing or workstation graphics rendering.
- Dual Channel memory vs. Triple Channel memory or Quad Channel memory is not important, but greater than 8GB of RAM is currently good for enthusiasts.
- Both DDR3 and DDR4 are good. It takes DDR4-3200 to be worth moving from DDR3, which also requires an enthusiast class PC. DDR4 is now in use by all of the latest Intel and AMD CPUs
- Enthusiasts will prefer an Intel Z270 system with dual graphics card support.
- Demanding power users will go with dual GPUs and a solid state drive.
- SSDs have come of age and are included as default options in all KillaRad PCs, however, no-name brands or cheaper models have a lower reliability rating.
- You need a UPS battery backup for added protection from data loss from power outages or brown outs with an SSD.
- KillaRad does not sell overclocked systems. It's ill advised to buy a gaming PC with an overclocked processor since there are no guarantees that you won't encounter problems.
- For a gaming PC, selecting DirectX 12 graphics is the way to go now.
- Four GigaBytes is a good amount of graphics memory these days, allowing for detailed textures and powerful graphics filtering at high resolutions like 1080p.
- Choosing a GPU with more than 4GB is recommended for 4K Ultra HD or 2560x1440 resolution gaming.
- Both AMD Radeon and nVIDIA GeForce are similar with graphics performance and capability. nVIDIA has a little more to offer.
- KillaRad gaming PCs are capable of multiple graphics cards: a pair of nVIDIA cards or a pair of AMD cards. This requires a better, more heavy duty design which is to be expected in a modern gaming computer.
- Upgrades may be prevented or otherwise impractical with off the shelf PCs. KillaRad uses industry standard parts, providing more overall potential.
- nVIDIA GeForce enthusiast class cards support SLI for dual cards for nearly double the performance in some games. Now their mid-range no longer supports SLI, so GTX 1050 and 1060 do NOT support dual cards.
- Off the shelf PCs WILL have slower memory and less upgradability, with a low end system board. The power support may not be suitable for a nice $400+ GPU.
- When you line up the specs, a KillaRad PC can save you from $100 to $800 or more on comparable systems from other gaming PC companies.
- The simple solution to choosing a gaming PC is to go to KillaRad.com, browse for a while, and buy what you can afford. All of the gaming PCs can do 1080p with modern GeForce or Radeon GPU software tailoring game settings for your hardware. Choose more expensive systems and more expensive graphics if you want to play with more detail, and in higher resolutions such as 4K Ultra HD.
- KillaRad Specific Advice:
- The Radical Value Plus is a better choice, but not quite as affordable.
- The GamerNova i7 comes equipped with a full tower case, the top of the line GPU, an SSD, and room for more drives for extra storage.
- Instead of buying a PC with an overclocked processor, use the budget for a GamerNova i7 with dual GPUs, a fast SSD drive, and a large LCD monitor.
In conclusion, choosing a gaming PC company to go with can be tricky, but armed with knowledge of the latest CPU models, and knowing how to read a GPU model, you're prepared to shop prices, compare specs, and make the right choices. At KillaRad we select the best balances of CPU and GPU, combined with upgradability, and the reliability that you expect to pay for.