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Guide to Building a Gaming PC — Choosing Components

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Gaming PC

If your Christmas bonus is burning a hole in your pocket, the idea might occur to build a gaming PC.  However, the idea of building your own PC rig can be daunting. With this in mind, OnlySP has compiled a guide to help you.

  • Things to Consider:

When you have made the decision to build a gaming PC, a number of decisions are still to be made. The most immediate and obvious is your budget. Not everyone has the cash to splash on top-of-the-line everything. In that case, should you adopt a middle-of-the-road approach or put as much money as possible on one or two key components?

Another key component is timing – if a new graphics card or CPU is due to come out, waiting for that release might be worth it. Even if you cannot afford the new component, the older models are quite likely to see price cuts as retailers try and shift older stock.

In addition, if you want to go for some virtual reality (VR) gaming, you need to consider device you will be using, a Windows Mixed Reality headset will tend to place less demand on a system than a HTC Vive Pro.

  • Choosing Your Components:

First, you should always look to purchase PC components brand new and from a reputable retailer. For those in the UK, companies such as Scan and Overclockers are both good choices for reliable retailers who can provide great customer support and have a good product selection. While you can get some great bargains on eBay, you might not always get what you pay for. As always, buyer beware.

When selecting components, the first thing is to make sure that everything is compatible with each other. Sites like PC Part Picker will help, with a handy check box that will, when selected, only display components that are compatible with items you have already picked out.

First thing to pick is a motherboard. For the most part, these will fall into two categories: AMD-compatible or Intel-compatible. AMD boards and the CPUs that accompany them tend towards being cheaper, but do have more of a history of reliability issues, and have been known to refuse to play nicely with Nvidia graphics cards. While these issues are largely in the past, especially with the current line-up of Ryzen CPUs, they are still worth baring in mind. The CPU is also one area where striving to get the best you can afford is the best approach.

(For the record, I used an AMD-compatible board and a Ryzen CPU)

Second thing to pick is your graphics card, which you might also see listed as GPU. The GPU is one area where you will see some truly eye-watering prices, so buying the best you can afford is a good choice. For the most part, sticking with Nvidia GeForce cards is best, as they have excellent driver support and the GeForce 1060, 1070, and 1080 lines all boast good compatibility with the biggest games on the market, as well as VR. A GeForce 1080 is the best choice if you can afford it, but a 1060 or 1070 will serve you perfectly well.

While a GeForce 2080 might look tempting, benchmarks have shown that its normal (non-Ray-tracing) performance does not much exceed a GeForce 1080, which means that unless you have a lot of money to burn, it probably is not worth the asking price.

Next up is your power supply. Again, squeezing as much as possible from your budget here is the way to go. A more powerful PSU means you can demand more of your machine before it fails, and options such as modular cabling means you will have an easier time setting it up.

RAM – Get as much as your board and wallet can handle. RAM with ludicrous things such as LED lights and other flashiness on them is unnecessary. Basic stuff will mostly do the job just as well.

Hard drives – If you can afford an SSD, get one, and then get a large-capacity standard HDD. The SSD will hold your Windows install, while the larger HDD will be your data drive. The SSD means your boot time will be lightning-quick.

PC Case – For the average PC builder, three case fans is a good place to start. Some incredible cases offer features such as liquid cooling, but this is really for advanced builders. A standard ATX form-factor is usually best, as mini or micro ATX cases do not give a lot of room to work in.

For the most part, your monitor, keyboard, and mouse  do not need to be fancy. A bewildering array of keyboards and mice are available and the choice mostly comes down to personal preference. Pick something comfortable for you.

In addition to the PC components, you will also need a Phillips screwdriver, a pair of pliers, some cable ties, a torch, some arctic silver thermal paste, and a static-proof mat. You can also get an anti-static bracelet if you are worried about static discharge, but for the most part as long as you remember to regularly earth yourself, this is not needed.

Come back tomorrow for a step-by-step guide to assembling a gaming PC. For news and updates on the games industry, follow OnlySP on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in May 2019

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May

May offers no respite from the big, bold games that have released so far in 2019, bringing with it a host of games almost certain to appeal to gamers of every stripe.

Close to the Sun

Release Date: May 2, 2019
Platforms: PC, consoles later in the year

May’s first major release may also be its most intriguing. Close to the Sun has regularly attracted comparisons to BioShock for its art style and premise, though the relationship between the two titles is, at best, spiritual.

Players take the role of journalist Rose Archer as she steps aboard Nikola Tesla’s ship, the Helios in 1897. Like Andrew Ryan before him (or after him, depending on perspective), Tesla has created a microcosm in which scientific freedom is unrestricted, with disastrous outcomes. Rose’s first impression is of a quarantine sign at the entrance to a still, dead ship, but she presses on regardless in search of her lost sister.

With Close to the Sun, developer Storm in a Teacup aims to provide an intense horror experience. The Helios holds none of BioShock’s shotguns or Plasmids. Instead, players have no means to defend themselves, with gameplay focusing on hiding from and escaping the threats on board.

Check out OnlySP’s final review of the game here.

RAGE 2

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For anyone to whom the slow, meditative approach does not appeal, Bethesda is busting out the big guns with the long-awaited, little-expected sequel, RAGE 2.

This time around, id Software has tapped Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios for assistance in developing an open-world game. The result, if the trailers are any indication, is a breakneck, neon-fuelled experience that focuses on insanity and ramps up all the unique aspects of the earlier game.

One focal point of development has been ensuring the interconnectedness of the game’s structure, and the teams have promised a greater focus on narrative this time around. Perhaps in keeping with that, RAGE 2 is being distanced from its predecessor, taking place 30 years later with a new protagonist and a whole new story, though some callbacks will be present.

Although id’s legendary first-person gunplay is a driving force throughout the game, it will be supplemented by some light RPG elements, robust vehicular combat, and post launch challenges and support (though the developers deny that RAGE 2 is designed with a games-as-a-service model in mind).

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Out on the same day as RAGE 2 is the vastly different A Plague Tale: Innocence. A historical adventure, the game challenges players with overcoming obstacles with brains rather than brawn.

Players become Amicia, an orphan girl struggling to survive in a plague-infested medieval France while also keeping her younger brother safe. With the landscape rife with rats and members of The Inquisition, one of the core tenets of gameplay is reportedly the need to use these threats against each other. As such, though Amicia has a sling to use, the gameplay is designed more as survival puzzles than combat ones.

Developer Asobo Studio is not a household name, though it has a lengthy history of adaptations and support on major titles, including Quantum Break and The Crew 2. Furthermore, even though A Plague Tale is yet to release, publisher Focus Home Interactive has displayed remarkable confidence in the project by extending its partnership with Asobo.

Honourable Mentions

Although RAGE 2 is the incontestable action-blockbuster of the month, gamers in search of another kind of frenetic may want to wait until May 21, when Curve Digital drops American Fugitive, which has a more than passing resemblance to the earliest Grand Theft Auto games. Alternatively, PlayStation VR owners may want to look into Blood and Truth come May 28.

Sega also shines this month, dropping Team Sonic Racing on May 21 and Total War: Three Kingdoms two days later.

Anyone looking for an RPG has indie’s answer to The Outer Worlds, Within the Cosmos, to look out for on May 30, while those looking for slower stories get the latest episode of Life is Strange 2 on May 9, Observation on May 21, and the fjord-noir Draugen at a yet unspecified date.

Have we forgotten anything that you’re excited for? Let us know down below or on our Discord server.

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