Choosing the Right PC Based on the Games You Play
PC gaming is often considered the best way to play games because it offers so much more freedom and choice than gaming with a console. With games, you can adjust settings to increase the fidelity or tune the settings to get the maximum possible framerate. With buying games, you have many different market places such as Steam, Origin, Epic Games, and even resellers like Humble Bundle and GOG which offer even greater sales on certain games. With the PC desktop, you can upgrade and adjust the parts inside to give you a better gaming experience that fits your individual budget. Plus, a PC can create documents, edit photos and videos, and even be a platform for programming and developing more games. While there area few games that are exclusive to consoles, there is a larger push to move those games to be PC compatible, such as Horizon Zero Dawn and the Halo Series. Right now is really the best time to get into PC gaming.
Deciding on a Budget
This, of course, is the most important consideration that needs to be made about choosing the right computer. There is no right answer in how much you need to spend on a gaming computer to get a good gaming experience, but the more you spend, the better the experience will be. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great gaming experience at $600, but not every computer is created equal, so the goal here is to make sure that you are spending your hard-earned cash on the right things without wasting too much money. What you should keep in mind is that all gaming computers will be more expensive than a gaming console, so be warned.
Apex Gaming PCs is one of the best places to buy a prebuilt desktop computer. They offer competitive prices with other sellers in the market but greatly simplify the buying process to just the more essential parts you need to worry about while maintaining enough customizability to have performance tuning, great RGB options, and price-conscious add-ons. Check them out if you’re looking for your first gaming PC of any price.
Entry-level for most brand new, pre-built computers is defined as PCs priced between $600-$1200. All computers cheaper than these are not gaming computers, but just general computers, which will greatly lack gaming ability. The issue that most customers have at this budget is that they disregard the monitor, keyboard, and mouse when these things could very improve your gaming experience. Make sure that you have at least $200 allocated to these, as they will definitely make a difference.
Mid-range builds are those between $1200-$2400. These computers are good for all games and will work well for any computing task. People with this budget should still seek to focus on performance over excessive RGB or aesthetic upgrades. Computers here are generally complemented by a nice gaming monitor, good headphones, a name brand gaming mice, and mechanical keyboards. For those peripherals, look to spend $400-600 for more quality brands.
High-end computers will be $2400 or more. This is the point of diminishing returns for gaming computers were spending more than this won’t get you any more performance, but it can get you fancier components such as RGB lights and fans, more RAM, and even custom-liquid cooling loops. You can spend more on a fancier monitor as well to get features such as ultrawide, high-end HDR, or super-fast response times. You could almost spend as much on peripherals as you could on your computer at this point.
There are some universal recommendations for all gaming computers that do exist though, no matter how much you spend.
- 16 GB of RAM is enough for all gaming computers. Buying more will not make any gaming computer work better, even if the computer is streaming while gaming.
- Better power supply won’t make the computer any better. 650 watts is realistically the most any gaming computer would need. You would need more if you have two graphics cards in your computer, but two graphics cards are highly not recommended.
- Make sure that you have enough storage, preferably with as few drives as possible. It is more economical to buy a hard drive with a computer to store games while a small SSD will be good enough for Windows, but managing storage is a constant focus at that point. It is much easier to get a 500 GB or 1 TB SSD to fit all your games rather than have many other drives.
- RGB does not, in fact, make your computer faster. Upgrade your GPU first.
Type of Games
There are over a billion different games that you can play on PC right now, so it’s hard to make a recommendation for every single one, but luckily you don’t need a different PC for every single one. Arguably, a good gaming computer will be good for all games, but different kinds of games attract different kinds of gamers. While there are other game taxonomies that are more specific and can help you find games that you like to play, this list is geared towards different computer requirements and the computer hardware.
The first type of game that garners the most media and what drives a lot of people to dip their toes into PC gaming is the E-Sports games. This includes games such as Overwatch, Fortnite, League of Legends, Valorant, Apex Legends, Dota 2, and CS: GO. These are games that benefit from very fast frame rates, low latency inputs, and the fastest internet connection. While you can turn up the fidelity of the games and still maintain good frame rates, professional gamers play at low settings to always have the fastest response times and highest framerates in games. But these games can also be run on $300 laptops with no gaming focus at all, so the minimum requirements for these games are low, but people who are serious about these games want performance-focused computers with no extra fluff. Indie games such as Cuphead, Hollow Knight, and Stardew Valley also will have the same computer recommendations as E-Sports games, but really don’t need anything special in the way of monitors, keyboards, or mice.
For an affordable computer that can work well is the Apex Silver with a Ryzen 3100. For less than $750, you cannot buy a better computer than this. At medium settings, all of the ESports games should be able to get 144 FPS or greater. At this price point, a 144Hz, 1080p monitor is your best bet. Higher refresh rates mean that you’ll see more information each second and be able to react quicker to events in-game, and motion will appear a lot more smooth. Lastly, a name brand mouse like the Razer Viper Mini will help ensure you have the most accurate input device for those pixel-perfect games where accuracy is vital.
For something more higher-end, look no further than the Apex Platinum with a 2070 Super. The new 10600K that this comes equipped with is one of the fastest processors that money can buy and will keep your graphics card very happy when trying to hit 300 FPS or more. At this high framerate, you’ll want a 240Hz monitor that can keep up with it.
Action/Adventure and Single Player Games
These are the games that will move the technological envelope of video games. Games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Sniper Elite 4, Control, Metro Exodus, and Cyberpunk 2077. They implement the new ray-tracing features, are the most demanding of both CPUs and GPUs, and have some of the most cinematic and beautiful scenes of any real-time computer program. Gamers who like these games don’t care about super-high frame rates but instead, try to get as close to maximum graphics quality settings as possible.
For demanding games like these, you want to start with at least the Apex Streamer. This starts with a 6-core CPU and a GTX 1660 Super, and will easily be able to play all games at 1080p 60 FPS at Ultra settings. A 1440p, 144Hz monitor is recommended here as the 2K resolution will improve visual fidelity and make the game look better. Any keyboard and mouse can work fine for these games as they are majority singleplayer, so even an Xbox controller will work fine.
If you are aiming higher, then the Apex Zen with a 3700X and 2080 Super is your best bet. It’s one of the most beautiful desktops you can buy and has the performance to boot. The best monitor to pair with this is either the LG 27GL850 or an ultrawide monitor so that you have a more immersive field of view.
These games are real-time and turn-based, require a lot of focus and management of resources and units. Civilization, Warhammer, Starcraft, Command and Conquer, Age of Empires, and X-COM. Multiplayer isn’t a requirement for these games. Despite there being a lot of parallel elements in these games, most of the game engines implement all actions as a series of consecutive actions that are queued together. This means that you don’t need to waste money on new CPUs with tons of cores, but instead a fast couple of CPU cores. The focus is instead just having enough GPU power to have a smooth experience, and the monitor and peripherals play a bigger role here. If you check out videos of people who play Starcraft professionally, you see how much abuse that the keyboards and mice must withstand.
The Apex Gold is great for these kinds of games and is quite affordable. What you save though with your computer, you should invest in a bigger and better monitor. A 32-inch monitor is really great for strategy games as elements will be easier to see, and a high refresh rate like 144Hz is recommended for games that occur in real-time. You’ll probably also want a budget mechanical keyboard. If you can spend more on the computer, then pair that same monitor with an Apex Carbon. For intense sessions where you use a lot of macros, a Razer Huntsman mechanical keyboard will be your best bet.
Simulation games are hyper-realistic games that try to replicate experiences from the real world into a virtual world. While these don’t always look the best visually, they push themselves to have very realistic environments and physics. Games such as F1 2019, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Farming Simulator, and Truck Driving Simulator are great examples. These games don’t need the best of the best computers, but if you really want to get invested in any of these games, you’ll want the custom steering wheels, airplane yokes, and pedal setups that these games can utilize.
To start, the Apex Gold is what is recommended for simulation games with a tighter budget, which should allow you to get a solid gaming monitor and maybe some basic simulator peripherals. If you can spend more, then a triple monitor setup or an ultrawide monitor is a good upgrade path, paired with an Apex Zen.
As you’ll see, there is a decent amount of overlap between the computer for the different kinds of games, but the CPU and GPU recommendations specifically tend to differ between games. Sometimes you need more CPU cores, sometimes you want more speed, and sometimes any CPU won’t improve performance so you need to choose a better GPU. Make sure to checkout Apex Gaming PCs for a great PC that is perfect for your games. Hopefully, you also figured out that the monitor you’re looking at while playing games is just as important as the computer driving it, so choosing a proper monitor is also important. The same goes for the mouse and keyboard since you won’t compete nearly as consistently if you have unreliable hardware. A good computer is only as good as the things that are plugged into it.