Putting together or buying the right PC is always an exciting process. The mind marvels at how far we’ve come, and what new devices could be capable of that older systems could never even begin to accomplish. It is also, however, an area filled with confusion and misunderstandings. Technical specs and a constantly moving marketplace create uncertainty about what users need, leaving buyers unsure if they’re going too far, or not far enough.
With this in mind, there are a few elements that can help demystify the process, streamlining it into something much more understandable. Working in three tiers of system power, we’re going to separate what you need to know, and which elements can be left by the wayside.
Entry Level Computer
In the modern-day, even the humblest computers can still have access to vast libraries of games. This is especially the case if players are after older titles or those which operate from websites. For example, players interested in a variety of different games from the websites on VegasSlotsOnline will be able to play just fine even with integrated graphics. From playing the titles themselves to collecting bonuses and general browsing, low requirements are the name of the game. Since these games also perform flawlessly on mobile phones, this makes sense.
In terms of system hardware and peripherals, the following should serve as a baseline.
- 8 gigabytes of RAM
- Dual-core CPU of 2.8 GHz
- Integrated graphics
- Solid State storage recommended
- Any standard mouse and keyboard combo
- 60 Hz monitor with 1080p output
Anybody looking at recent eSports titles, which tend to have lower requirements than other games, might consider adding a graphics card into the equation. Benchmark websites are a great help here, where you should buy a little above the cards recommended to hit 60 FPS, as future updates often raise game requirements slightly.
Playing current games at low-medium settings means a big step up from the previous tier, where things are becoming a little more complicated. In this stage, players need to take a greater look at which games they want to focus on, as bigger titles can be unpredictable in what they require. Doom Eternal, for example, is incredibly well optimized and can perform well on mid-range machines. Cyberpunk 2077, on the other hand, is a notorious hardware hog, which can require a lot more to hit the all-important 60 FPS marker.
If we use these games of Doom and Cyberpunk as a baseline, here’s what players should look at as a minimum for a viably performing system.
- 12 gigabytes of RAM
- Intel Core i7-4790 / AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
- GTX 1060 6 GB
- Solid State Storage
- Any standard mouse and keyboard combo will work, though a mouse with more buttons is a plus
- 60 Hz monitor with 1440p output
At this point, players should be able to manage 60 FPS with all the games released up until this article’s publishing date, at least at reasonable settings. That said, ray tracing won’t be available at this tier, as this requires much more demanding (and expensive) hardware.
For the true next-gen experience, players are going to have to be a little freer with their wallets. Hitting frame-rates above 60 at higher resolutions than 1440p is going to require a lot of horsepower, especially with ray-tracing enabled, which can be a little problematic. That said, the following setup should suit you, even in Cyberpunk.
- 16 gigabytes of RAM
- Intel Core i7-8700k /AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- RTX 3070 / AMD RX 6800
- SSD or NVME Storage
- Most standard keyboards will be fine, though a 5-10 button mouse can prove to be a big help
- 120 Hz monitor with 4k output
At this hardware level, your PC will vastly exceed the power of the new consoles, meaning it should carry you well into the new gaming generation. One thing to keep in mind, unfortunately, is that these graphics cards are hard to find at the moment, due to buy-ups by cryptocurrency miners. Hopefully, this won’t be an issue in the future, but be aware that this could be a hurdle, and that you should avoid buying unreliable products from scalpers.
Understand these three basic tiers of gaming and you’ll be set on the journey for your next gaming device. Before we go, there are a couple of extra elements to consider. The first is that for the lower and upper tiers, you could expect some level of consistent performance in at least the next five years. Low-requirement games tend to stay that way, and most upper-tier titles will stick to the console standardization, which decent machines should keep track of.
Mid-tier machines, on the other hand, might eventually struggle with the coming features of new games. For this reason, buying a machine with an upgrade path could help, in which case going AMD for CPU might be a better choice. Other than that, you should have some leeway in the peripherals you want, and which items are the best for you. Best of luck, and we’ll see you out there on the battlefield.