How do I build a gaming CPU

Build your own PC: Avoid these 14 mistakes

Michael Schmelzle

If you are assembling a PC yourself for the first time, there are 14 important things you should be aware of. Otherwise there is a risk of unpleasant surprises.

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When assembling a personal computer for the first time, there are a few things to keep in mind. Michi has put together 12 important tips for you so that you do not experience any unpleasant surprises with your finished gaming monster.

►To the article and competition form:

Tip 1: split the budget sensibly

Good planning is half the battle. And it starts with the budget! Ask yourself honestly how much you can or want to spend on your gaming PC. You put at least 50 percent of this in a 2: 1 ratio in the graphics card and CPU. With a 1200 euro PC that is around 600 euro. Of these, ⅔ go into the graphics card and ⅓ into the CPU. Specifically, this is currently the combination of an RTX 2060 graphics card such as the INNO3D GeForce RTX 2060 Compact X1 (from 399 euros) and the Intel Core i5-10600K (from 205 euros). But you can see for yourself that the 50 percent rule is of course a rough guide, here - like at the supermarket counter - it can always be a little more.

Build your own gaming PC:The best hardware for every price range

Tip 2: keep your eyes open when buying a motherboard

The central component of a PC is the motherboard, this is where the connections of all components come together. So be sure to check whether the mainboard has the internal connections for the housing, such as USB-C for the front panel. The motherboard should also be easily upgradeable so that you don't have to buy a new PC in a few years, but can upgrade the CPU and GPU again. So pay attention to the CPU socket and the connection technology of the graphics card:

The AM4 socket from AMD has been around for a few years and is expected to give way to a new CPU slot for the Xen 4 processors in the second half of 2021. Nevertheless, all motherboards with the AMD chipsets B450, X470, B550 and X570 offer a wide range of upgrades up to the top gaming model AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (3.7 to 4.8 GHz / 12 cores with 24 threads). PCI-Express 4.0 for a later graphics card update, on the other hand, is only offered by X570 and B550 mainboards. Our price tip: Gigabyte B550M S2H (from 69 euros).

Should you opt for an Intel platform, only mainboards with a Z490 chipset offer the option of upgrading to the next 11th core generation (market launch: March 15, 2021), which has its own chipsets from the 500 series. The PCIe 4.0 support is unclear here: Although some manufacturers advertise it, it is not certain whether Intel will also "enable" PCIe 4.0 for the Z490 chipset. And the 12th core generation, which will be released at the end of 2021, should use a new CPU socket again. Mainboards with a 500 chipset from Intel are only "sustainable" for a ridiculous 6 to 9 months.
Our advice: If you really want to buy an Intel CPU, wait until the end of the year for the "Alder Lake" generation for the LGA1700 CPU socket and motherboards with 600 chipset. Alder Lake will probably be upgradeable for two years - and will then also support DDR5 memory and PCI Express 5.0

EnlargeWell equipped and future-proof: ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming

Tip 3: plan overclocking

If you want to overclock the CPU, the mainboard should offer a good power supply with at least six real phases. Of course, you then also have to cool the CPU better. The "boxed" cooler included in the scope of delivery usually offers little overclocking potential, so in this case we recommend a more powerful cooler or an all-in-one water cooling system. Our price tip: Arctic Freezer 13 (from 30 euros) and be quiet! Pure Loop 280mm (from 90 euros).

Tip 4: Ensure that the housing is well ventilated

However, you only have good conditions for overclocking if the airflow in the case fits. Good ventilation of the case also ensures a stable system. If you pay attention to the thermodynamics, the fans must suck in fresh air through the front and blow it out again at the back / top. A housing is ideal in which at least two fans are preinstalled at the front and at the rear and top. Set the fans so that there is neutral air pressure in the housing, i.e. the air throughput is the same at the front, rear and top. Please note that dust filters reduce the air throughput. For example, if your housing only has dust filters at the front, you also need to increase the air throughput there, for example with an additional fan, a faster rotation speed or a larger fan diameter. Our price tip: be quiet! Pure Wings 2 PWM (from 7 euros)

Tip 5: Don't skimp on the housing

Speaking of the housing - that is of course a matter of taste. Some like it with glass panels and RGB lighting, others may prefer a functional design with noise insulation. The main thing is that you don't get a cheap home for 20 euros. Good cases should have enough space for hardware and cable management (2 cm or more). Dust filters on all ventilation grilles are also recommended. Dust filters reduce the airflow, but dusty components are also more difficult to cool - and you don't have to use the vacuum cleaner once a month. Magnetically attached dust filters are particularly practical - they are very easy to clean. Our price tip: Fractal Design Core 2300 (from 45 euros) and for RGB fans be quiet! Pure Base 500DX (from 95 euros).

Enlargebe quiet! Pure Base 500DX

Tip 6: Buy a power supply unit with more power and energy efficiency

Speaking of saving in the wrong place: Spend a few extra euros on the power supply unit for more power and higher energy efficiency: the highest degree of efficiency - i.e. how much of the power from the socket comes to the PC components - you have at half load of the power supply. If the hardware consumes 300 watts, ideally use a 600 watt power supply. In addition, more powerful power supply units still offer scope for a later upgrade, for example with a fast processor or a better graphics card. The second important point is the “80 Plus” certificate of a power supply unit - this indicates the energy efficiency:

EnlargeMinimum efficiency of the "80-PLUS" certification.

As you can see, we have the highest level of efficiency of 96 percent at half capacity in the highest “Titanium” level. For every 100 watts from the socket, 96 watts reach the hardware. A good compromise between price and performance is the gold level. A positive side effect of the highest possible “80 Plus” certification: You save immediately on your electricity bill - and the environment also says thank you! Our price tip: