Introduction: PC Advantages and Misconceptions

The personal computer was born in the 1970s and it’s safe to say that it’s come a long way since then. Nowadays, PCs can seriously do it all. From gaming to content creation, the right high-end PC should be able to accomplish every task on your list, even if it’s a long list. And our lists are long.

It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which options are right for you. From selecting the parts and building a PC yourself, to configuring a custom PC from a boutique like MAINGEAR, the process can be incredibly personal. Like brewing the perfect cup of coffee, having the ability to customize a PC means everything. If you drink coffee, you know what we mean.

If you’re ready to make the jump to the high-end PC platform, it’s important to consider a few factors that can help you decide which parts will cross off which boxes on that list of yours.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to buy your next PC. What are you using your PC for?

The necessary parts for a PC build can vary greatly depending on what you plan to use it for. So, when considering models and parts, you first must dig deep. Get to know yourself. What type of PC user are you?

Are You An Esports Gamer?

If you are, then you probably already know all about DOTA, League of Legends and CS:GO. eSports gamers design their builds around competitive multiplayer games, focusing on smooth framerates and high performance so that they can compete to the best of their abilities. A correctly configured PC can offer exactly that and give you an advantage over your competition.

eSports games tend to be less demanding on your PC to run and don’t have a heavy emphasis on graphics, so they won’t require too much from the hardware that you choose.

If this sounds like you, then congrats – you can officially consider yourself an eSports gamer.

AAA Gamers - Maybe you're a AAA gamer?

AAA gamers prefer to explore the boundaries of graphics and effects in games, especially huge AAA titles like Battlefield, the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 and the Call of Duty series. Is anyone else freaking out from the excitement?

Think of a AAA game as a blockbuster movie. The big budget, highly produced movies that you see constant commercials for before they hit the theaters. If you’re set on chasing the latest titles, AAA gaming PCs are specifically designed to provide the ultimate gaming experience for all current and past blockbusters.

There’s a good chance you might be using your PC for content creation, too. Are we right? We think we’re right. Most gamers are becoming content creators in their own right or aspire to be ones through platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Mixer. A build optimized for content creation is considered ideal for those who intend to stream and play games simultaneously, or for creators who are video editors, photographers, 3D designers and beyond. Content creation can be incredibly demanding on PC hardware and most core content creators build their PCs around their workflow.


WHAT’S THE ADVANTAGE OF A PC?

Now that you know which type of PC user you are, it’s time to look at what a PC can bring to the table.
We have a feeling that these advantages will make your choice a whole lot easier.

Advantages for Esports

If you’re looking to have the edge on your competition, the PC is the only option. For starters, a PC provides the ability to use a keyboard and mouse giving you much more control than you ever would with a game console or mobile device. Especially with eSports games, you want control, and a PC can give you that. In fact, the wireless peripherals found in console controllers contain latency which can degrade gameplay. Combine this with the substantially better FPS you will get with a gaming PC and you’ll drastically improve your gaming skills. Additionally, many of the most popular eSports titles are either available exclusively on PC or have their most active, thriving communities on the PC platform.

Advantages for AAA Gaming

The advantages of a PC remain true for AAA gaming as well. Honestly, the advantages of a PC remain true for everything.

Playing AAA games on a PC is all about having the best graphics and experience possible. A gaming PC is the only way to play the hottest games in gorgeous 4k at over 60 FPS. Speaking of visuals, 4K PCs also allow for technologies not available on the console, like real time ray tracing. Ray tracing provides dynamic lighting effects, realistic shadows and reflections allowing you to look at a reflective surface in-game and see your enemy in the reflection. Consoles are simply unable to create dynamic reflections and instead fake the static reflections, so that’s another win for PCs.

PCs also give you the freedom to experience your games the way you want to. A powerful PC allows you to mod (modify or customize) many AAA titles (like Skyrim, Fallout, and GTA5) in order to customize almost every aspect of the game, and still enjoy a smooth framerate and a high resolution.

Advantages for Content Creation

A PC is the ultimate platform for content creation. With access to the latest hardware, programs like Adobe Premiere and Photoshop all run notably better on the PC platform. Overall, you are getting more bang for your buck, or, more hardware for your money, by not having to pay a premium for sub-par performance. After all, who wants to pay more for sub-par performance?

PCs also offer upgradeability as they can be changed to adapt to different stages throughout your creative career. PCs can grow as you do, since they can be customized and upgraded to fit your exact workflow.

We’ve talked about the advantages of a PC, and now it’s time to school you on some misconceptions. PCs have gotten a bad rap for way too long and we need to set the record straight on some of these myths.

A PC IS TOO EXPENSIVE

If you think a PC is too expensive, you’ve been reading the wrong news. Many new PC enthusiasts assume that it’s going to be too expensive to purchase a computer that’s pre-built and has enough power to reliably meet their needs. The fact of the matter is that a PC starting at around $700 is more than strong enough to play nearly every eSports title. Oh, and you can build it yourself for even less.

A PC is Too Complicated - Right? Wrong!

Thanks to the wide world of the internet, you have access to a friendly community of other gamers and PC lovers who are more than happy to welcome you into their squad and answer any questions you may have. PC gaming has also gotten simpler as well thanks to a variety of platforms. For example, you can use Steam to buy games instantly, Discord to stay in touch with friends and GeForce Experience to have your games automatically optimized.

Windows is Not Ideal for Creatives

If you’re in the creative community, you may have heard the rumor that Windows is not ideal for creatives. Yeah, so have we.

In all actuality, most creatives use third party software that run on Windows or Mac. So, if you’re creating content on Windows, you’re not locked into an ecosystem like you are with Apple’s software. The same software is available for Windows but runs faster and more smoothly on a PC. Modern versions of Windows do everything you need them to and allow you to work or play with ease. Windows also has upgradability, providing a very stable platform on which security updates happen quickly and efficiently. The words quickness and efficiency are like music to our ears.

Prebuilt PCs are More Expensive Than Custom PCs

To round out the debunking, we want to set the record straight when it comes to the idea that prebuilt PCs are more expensive than building one on your own.

Companies like MAINGEAR offer extremely competitive pricing compared to building it yourself, with small premiums. We’re focused on providing you with the best quality product without breaking your bank. The components that we pair together are always properly qualified in a lab and assembled with the latest Windows updates and drivers. It ultimately takes the pain and hassle out of building your own PC, where a lack of PC building experience can lead to the underutilization of certain components.

Our PCs are built by hand in New Jersey by gamers and content creators just like you, which sets us apart from the rest.

NEXT UP, YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S INSIDE YOUR GAMING PC. AFTER ALL, IT’S WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS. LET’S TAKE A LOOK.

Chassis

A chassis, or case, is an essential part of a gaming PC. It’s essentially the shell of your PC that protects all of the hardware that goes into creating a PC. When deciding on a chassis for your PC build, the three main factors under consideration should be size, flexibility and cooling.

Ask yourself this: how much space do I need for the future? You will want a large enough case for upgrades while also providing room for excellent cooling. You need enough room to grow, you know?

MAINGEAR’s VYBE offers a do-it-yourself option, allowing you to customize your PC to match the size of your desk and how many components you want inside, including storage and liquid cooling. We like to think of a chassis as a piece of art you can put in your home or office, making it not only functional, but pleasing to look at as well.

Think of the CPU as the brain behind your gaming PC. When building a new PC, you have to consider the processing power required to not only get the job done, but get it done fast.

In that sense, the CPU you need will depend on what you’re using your PC for. Remember when we asked you to dig deep and get to know yourself? That comes in handy now, too.

If you’re using your PC for eSports, a 4-6 core processor with an APU for integrated graphics, should work quite well. However, for better PC performance, a 6-8 core processor is desirable. Not only will it be able to play AAA games, but it will be optimal for eSports as well.

12-16 cores are recommended for most creative applications, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, since video processing is a more intensive task that can really push a CPU. Regarding brands of processors, AMD and Intel are both excellent choices. .

RAM

You have the CPU, which is essentially the brain of the PC, and now you need some memory to go along with it.
The amount of RAM you need will vary depending on what purpose your computer serves.

Depending on what purpose your computer serves, the amount of RAM you need will vary. It’s recommended to have about 8 GB for a basic, starter PC, at least 16 GB for a PC intended for AAA gaming and at least 32 GB for a PC on which you will be doing content creation.

However, the general rule of thumb is to always purchase more RAM than is required so that you have additional headroom to work with. In this case, more really is better.

Motherboard

The mother of all PC components is the motherboard. Pun intended. We recommend starting with a brand you trust and selecting a board that has all of the ports and expansion slots you think you may need for the future. Consider things like USB ports, integrated WIFI, premium audio and PCIe slots if these fit the overall theme for your build, of course.

Graphics Card

Gaming isn’t complete without a graphics card. Graphics cards are the main piece of hardware that will determine how much performance you will have in-game. In general you will want to get the best GPU you can afford in your budget.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the highest graphics card is always the best choice. For the gamer who mainly wants to participate in eSports, an APU or entry-level graphics card should suffice and give you the framerate you need when starting out. If you’re a tried and true AAA gamer, or want the best performance in eSports, the type of card you should purchase varies depending on what types of games you’re playing, your budget and your desired screen resolution.

Pricing varies for each graphics card level. For entry-level enthusiasts who want to play their games at 1080p, most mid-level cards will be able to run games at this resolution smoothly and will usually cost from around $150 to $200. For those that are seeking higher resolution at 1440p, a graphics card between the mid-level and the highest quality available will cost around $200 to $350. For the hardcore gamers that play their games in 4K, the graphics card that’s right for you will typically cost over $600.

Of course, the quality of your graphics also depends on the screen resolution of your monitor, which is why it’s so crucial to do your research before deciding which to purchase. Your favorite games should tell you the specs you need for optimal performance.

When it comes to content creation, the available graphics cards can be split into gaming graphics cards and professional graphics cards. Luckily, these pieces of hardware will have the same performance for the most part, being capable of running your favorite games as well as programs like the Adobe Creative Cloud. You’ll get the best of both.

The strength of the graphics card you should purchase largely depends on your workflow. You should know how many monitors you want to have and make sure that it supports them. It is generally recommended to not go below a mid-tier gaming graphics card (costing around $300).

Cooling

In order to keep your new PC cool and performing at its best, you should invest in a reliable cooling system.

What cooling options are out there? Well, the most basic option available is air cooling, which involves fans paired with a heatsink inside the computer tower. Air coolers are fine when starting out but it’s not recommended for PCs that will need to handle heavy workloads. If you know that you and heavy workloads go hand in hand, typically, all-in-one liquid cooling would be the smartest option.

All-in-one liquid coolers are closed loop systems that do not require maintenance, keeping your processor cool and quiet without any work on your end. All-in-one liquid cooling systems are recommended for PCs of any kind because of their effectiveness and the fact that they are maintenance-free.

The final and most advanced option for cooling is open looped cooling. While this is mainly recommended for AAA gaming PCs, it can also be implemented in computers used for content creation if acoustics and fan noise are a concern. Maintenance is required to keep this cooling system running effectively, but it will last as long as your PC does. And that should be a while.

Power Supply

This may seem unimportant, but when it comes to buying a power supply for your PC you do need to think about a few things. The general rule of thumb is to look up the power requirements for the other parts in your PC, plug them into a calculator and purchase 30% more wattage than is required.

According to some basic estimates, you should have about 500 to 650 watts for eSports, about 750 to 850 watts for AAA gaming and at least 1200 watts for content creation. It’s important to never settle for a cheap power supply – if your power supply fails, your entire PC will fail as well. Let’s make sure that never happens, right?

Monitors

Once you’ve built your PC, it is important to purchase a monitor that’s the best fit for your specs. The first aspect of a monitor you’ll want to look at is resolution. It is generally recommended to buy 1080p for entry-level gaming or eSports and 1440p or 4K, based on your preferences and budget for any higher end tasks.

Another important aspect of a monitor is its screen size. It’s important to get a high enough resolution for the size of the monitor you’re using. If the resolution is too low for the screen size, the image will be pixelated as opposed to sharp and crisp. For 1080p graphics, you’re going to want a screen that is less than 27-inches so that it does not stretch the image. For 1440p and 4K, you will need a screen that is 27-inches or larger.

There’s a lesser known distinction between two different types of monitors: IPS and TN. IPS monitors tend to be more color-accurate and have better viewing angles. That’s why they’re recommended for content creation. TN monitors are fast and typically less expensive, so they are recommended for gaming. For those interested in AAA gaming, the type of monitor you purchase just comes down to preference. See, knowing which PC user you are comes in clutch.

The Refresh rate is a metric that depicts how many frames you can see on the monitor per second. When making your purchase, ensure your monitor of choice has a high refresh rate so that gameplay will be smoother.

DIY VS BOUTIQUE

Okay, so now that you’re totally sold on owning a PC, there’s one last thing to think about. There are typically two options when it comes to owning a PC: building your own or buying from a boutique PC shop like MAINGEAR. There are pros and cons to both. Let’s see which one is right for you.

DIY PC's

Getting down and dirty with a DIY build is typically more challenging than buying a PC from a boutique store, but it can be a very rewarding and fun experience. It’s entirely customizable which lets you pick every component that goes into the build. You can also incrementally build and rebuild your PC and re-use old parts to save you some money over time. Building a PC yourself isn’t for everyone. It can be a daunting task to try and troubleshoot your new PC without the proper knowledge or experience.

Boutique PC's

Boutique PCs, like those sold by MAINGEAR, allow you to buy a hand assembled PC with industry standard components. We offer both pre-configured systems optimized for different performance levels and fully customizable machines where you can pick every component for your dream PC.

Preconfigured PCs give the buyer the ease of selecting a machine that’s optimized for exactly how you plan to use your PC. Since we’re experts ourselves, you can trust that a preconfigured PC is being built with the same tender love and care that a custom PC builder would use.

For those who might be new to the world of PCs or are making their first PC purchase, a preconfigured PC is a very reliable option. Buying a PC that has been built to serve a specific purpose (eSports, AAA games, content creation), like the MAINGEAR PCs, reaffirms that your new computer will do exactly what you need it to.

Conclusion

We want to make sure that you know how to buy your next PC. After all that info, we hope that you have a better idea of how to do it. We tend to geek out when it comes to this stuff, can you tell? Seriously, though. We stand behind our VYBE because as gamers and builders ourselves, we understand that you want to get the most out of your PC. That’s why we do what we do, and that’s why our preconfigured VYBE models are made for you.

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