Gaming is a great way to have an adventure, explore new worlds, and have fun with friends. PC Gaming allows you to take this a step further with options to upgrade components and customize peripherals to enhance your gaming experience. As new games, components, and peripherals are released you may start to wonder “what improvements should I make to have more success and fun?” To answer this question we’ll explore topics of when you should upgrade components, when you should buy a new gaming PC, and whether you should upgrade peripherals.
This article is part of an educational series about PC components. Click here to see the rest of the series.
When should I upgrade?
Before diving into upgrading your PC components you should first see if your computer is capable of running the games you want to play. Head over to the game manufacturer’s website and you’ll find information on the minimum and recommended hardware required to run the game. This will be for your first hint at what your gaming experience will be like.
If your computer meets the minimum requirements then the game will be playable but at the lowest graphics settings. At these settings the game may not play as smoothly and will have a reduced visual experience. Whereas if your computer meets or exceeds the recommended settings, the game will run smoother with better graphics resulting in a better gaming experience.
Now that you know how your computer stacks up to the recommended game settings you can use that information to identify components that may need to be upgraded. Usually, the three most common components to upgrade are the video card, RAM, and storage. These components are most commonly upgraded because they are easily swapped out of a computer system. On the other hand Central Processing Units (CPU) are less likely to be upgraded as this requires a new motherboard and a complete system rebuild.
Video cards or Graphics Processing Units (GPU) are arguably the most important component in your gaming PC and your gaming experience. Computers rely on GPUs to do the heavy lifting of processing the 2D and 3D graphics of games. The more powerful the GPU, the faster it is at processing high quality graphics and producing high frames per second (FPS). This combination is ideal as it creates a smoother gaming experience. For these reasons, gamers will most often upgrade their computer’s GPU in order to keep up with the demands of new games and to maintain a smooth experience.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is your computer’s temporary data storage and is used for all active applications including the games. While playing games, your computer uses RAM to hold important game information so that it can load in real time. If your computer does not have enough RAM, you will experience stuttering and lag that impacts your gaming experience.
Storage is the computer’s storage space for everything including games, movies, and pictures. While RAM handles all active applications, storage is where all other data is kept. Storage is the third most commonly upgraded component; faster data reading and writing leads to a smoother game experience. Larger game installs and growing game libraries also means a demand for higher capacity. It is common for gamers to replace slower mechanical hard drives (HDD) with newer Solid State Drives (SSD). The latest generation of SSDs are Nonvolatile Memory Express (NVMe) drives, which are up to 25x faster than traditional HDDs.
When should you buy new gaming PC?
The decision to buy a new gaming PC usually comes down to two reasons.
- The cost of upgrading components in your PC exceeds the cost of buying a new pre-built gaming PC.
- Your current PC hardware is not compatible with the newer components necessary to run the games you’d like to play. For example, new RAM, Central Processing Unit (CPU), or NVMe are not compatible with your existing motherboard.
If you are in need of a new gaming PC you’ll find pre-built PCs at Best Buy from all the leading brands including Alienware, Dell, ASUS, MSI, and HP.
Should I just change gaming peripherals?
If you’re happy with your PC hardware and are looking for other ways to enhance your gaming experience, upgrading peripherals is a great way to do this. Here are a few of the gaming accessories that can help you have more fun!
Sound is a key component of gaming and gaming headsets are a great way to improve your listening experience. Many gaming headsets come with 5.1 surround sound, immersing you in the environment of your games. Need to talk to your teammates or just want to socialize with your friends? Gaming headsets have you covered there as well. You can use the included microphones to have fun and coordinate with your friends in multiplayer games.
Gaming monitors are designed to bring you the best visual experience possible. Key advantages of gaming monitors are their adaptive display technology, faster response times, and resolution. Adaptive display technology, aka G-Sync/Freesync, synchronizes your monitor’s refresh rate with your GPU resulting in a smooth picture. On the other hand, response time is the time it takes for a a monitor to shift from one colour to another. The faster the response time, the better the monitor is at displaying images/videos in real time. Together, the adaptive technology and fast response times produce a smooth high quality gaming experience. Resolution is also important to a gamers visual experience, the higher the display resolution the more detail is produced resulting in a sharper image. For more information about gaming monitors checkout our gaming monitor guide.
Sitting for long periods of time in a poorly designed chair can result in discomfort and pain, which can take away from your gaming experience. For those extended gaming sessions you’re going to want to be comfortable. Gaming chairs are designed with support and comfort in mind. They have an ergonomic set-up that offers back, shoulder and head support, and are designed to be adjustable so that you can find optimal positioning while playing your favourite games. To learn more about gaming chairs, check out our gaming chair buying guide.
Gaming mice and keyboards
Mouse and keyboard are your primary inputs when gaming. As such, comfort and response times are key to your experience. Depending on the game you’re playing there are different options to suit your needs. If you’re playing first person shooters, input speed is key. Wired mechanical keyboards and mice offer fast tactile response times. However, if you’re playing role playing games, then comfort becomes more important. In that case, ergonomic keyboards, or wireless keyboards are another option. For more information on selecting the right keyboard and mouse combinations, check out our guide on how to choose a gaming keyboard and mouse.
Now that you’ve learned more about how computer components and peripherals can enhance your gaming experience, check out Best Buy’s selection of gaming PC’s and accessories.
Thanks Marcus, this article really gives me things to think about. I just bought a base level gaming pc, and in the years to come I plan to make upgrades rather than needing to purchase a whole new system.
I am definitely interested in a gaming chair. I will have to start looking into those soon, as the dining room chair I currently use is not the most comfortable for long sessions.
Thanks again for the article, I look forward to seeing more of your posts in the future!
Hi Ian, thank you for the compliment that means a lot! Your plan to upgrade components as needed is very practical! I agree with you on the dining room chair. I made the transition a few months ago and the difference was night and day!
Marcus! Thanks for the article. I would absolutely love to one day build a PC. It’s a long term goal for me, very informative article. All the best!
Thanks Joe, I’m glad you enjoyed the article!
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