Are you new to PC gaming and don’t know where to start? Are you asking yourself “What do I need know about moving from console to PC?” Are you looking for the cheapest way to get in? Are you just getting back into PC Gaming?
Overall, you want to know if it’s worth making the switch.
In this ultimate guide, I’ll be showing you how to get into PC gaming in 2018 and if you should make the switch.
What you will learn:
- if you should be moving from console to PC
- Positives and negatives of PC gaming
- Debunking myths
- Computer parts and what they do
- Building a PC VS pre-built
- Top 10 games every beginner should
- Tips & tricks
- How to optimise your PC for gaming
What Makes Me Qualified To Tell You?
I went through the whole process of getting into PC gaming a few years ago and the memories are still fresh in my mind, I can tell you everything I went through, the ups and downs.
I was researching all things PC gaming related, my research would include looking at different generations of computing technology and how well they would benchmark against different games.
Comparing different parts and brands against each other to see which one would deliver the best bang for my buck.
I’ve taken it a step further by having studied computing in College, still to this day I like to keep up with the latest news in the computing world and how the new and older components do against new and older games.
So yes, I’m the person you would want to ask for advice if you are thinking about switching to PC gaming.
So Should You Get Into PC Gaming?
Positives of PC Gaming
Cheaper (long term)
So you might be thinking “isn’t a gaming PC expensive?” Well yes, it can be, but over time you would have spent less money on your PC than your console because games on PC are so much cheaper.
You can get games only a fraction of the price on a PC than what it would cost on consoles. Deals can go from 50% to 90% off every week on Steam.
If a component in your PC fails like your Blue-ray drive, then you can purchase another one and swap it out by literally just sliding a new one in and it only takes a few minutes.
Unlike a console, you wouldn’t have to send your PC back to the manufacturer and wait weeks or even months to get it fixed.
No huge upgrades like buying an entire system. Instead, if you want a boost in performance, you can purchase new PC components over time. Giving you decent or drastic changes in performance or you can turn down the game settings to increase performance.
Mods can make a game last forever, take a game like Skyrim and you can literally tweak everything, the graphics like how tall you want the grass to be, how an NPC reacts and you can add entire levels for free.
These are only a few things that mods can do. Super popular games were born from mods like DayZ which came from a game called Arma 3.
Not to say there aren’t immature players you will come across, but the PC community is generally mature and you won’t come across that annoying 12-year-old kid on the microphone who keeps telling you he slept with your Mom.
Different games produce different communities. Playing a game such as Counter Strike, you can get extremely rude players but playing a game like Civilization, the community is a lot more friendly and mature.
Online is Free
No more paying $60 a year just to get on the internet. A console’s lifespan is generally 7 years and by not having to pay a fee you would have saved $420!
You could purchase the latest console for that kind of money or better yet, build a new gaming PC.
Customizing your PC is endless. You can decide what color your keyboard and mouse lights up, if your PC case lights up, what kind of effects you want those lights to have.
The style of your PC case, if you want a nice, sleek, minimalist look, or want a ton of LEDs like you’re at a rave. The Options are endless.
Better Controls And Smoother Experience
You may not know it yet but mouse and keyboard is better. When you get used to the mouse, your movement speed is much more fluid and you land exactly where you want to be.
With the keyboard, you can program every action to any key you like. I remember going back and playing Battlefield 3 on PS3 with a controller and it felt so sluggish and slow.
With the higher frame rate and not being capped like the consoles, this can make your entire gaming experience smoother and overall, more enjoyable.
The eye can’t see more than 30 frames per second is a myth, our eyes are not a camera.
If you ask someone who has been playing on a 144hz monitor to switch back to 30 frame-per-second, they would consider it unplayable.
Of course, the most obvious and you’ve probably heard it so many times “PC graphics are amazing!” And that’s true, I remember playing Witcher 3 for the first time and I was completely blown away, it had the best graphics I’ve ever seen in a game.
In fact, I purchased a new graphics card just to play that game maxed out and it was a damn good experience. There were so many moments where I would just look at the scenery and think “my God, this is amazing”.
You can see graphics comparison videos on YouTube but they don’t do the game justice. Since YouTube compresses the video files and you just see a filtered version of a game.
PC is the only platform where you can play a game from a decade ago whiles playing it on the latest system and never purchase the same game twice. If you purchased Tomb Raider on the PlayStation 1, you would have has to purchase again for the PlayStation 2 and 3.
Sometimes if you purchase a game on the PlayStation Vita, you would not have to buy it again on your PlayStation 4. This isn’t always the case though.
Do More Than Just Gaming
It’s not just a gaming PC, it’s a fully equipped computer! You can do anything, like video editing, Photoshop, multimedia, movies, work and the list goes on.
Negatives of PC Gaming
PC gaming isn’t all sunshine and rainbows if that’s what you were thinking. There are plenty of negatives but I won’t go into too much detail about them because the positives weigh out the negatives so freaking much. (You will encounter more negatives further down this guide.)
What you really need to know if you should buy a gaming computer:
Do you like plug in and play?
What I mean by this is, do you like to press the play button and not have any problems at all?
Are you OK with your games sometimes crashing and doing a tiny bit of research to fix it? If you don’t mind dealing with occasional bugs and looking up how to fix it then PC Gaming is for you! If you like to tweak games to just how you want it then PC gaming is also for you!
If you only like plug-in and play and can’t stand a single hiccup, don’t make the switch to PC. Stick to your good old console. (Damn peasant)
PC Gaming Myths
Probably the biggest myth and what’s preventing people from getting into PC gaming.
You can get a gaming PC for the same price but it will perform just a little better than the consoles. In my opinion isn’t worth switching if you’re not willing to spend a little extra for an incredible experience.
In the short term, sure, a desktop PC may cost more than consoles but in a few years, you would have spent a lot less than if you were on console.
PC games are hilariously cheap and online is free. Adding just these 2 factors up and your console could go over $1000 in its lifetime.
Which platform is expensive now?
Using Mouse & Keyboard Is Impossible
Another giant misconception, when you’ve never used a tool then you need to learn how to use it.
When I made the switch to PC, it took me a couple of weeks to get comfortable with the controls and there was a huge skill gap between PC gamers and Console gamers. Not because PC gamers are smarter than console gamers. It’s because the tools PC gamers have are more accurate and easier to control.
If you want to plug in a controller for action games like Batman or Devil May Cry, go ahead, PC accepts that too!
I’ve heard this one so many times and let me tell you, I have come across so many more hackers on console than I have on PC.
I remember when my brother hacked his PS3 and he could download any game for free and when playing Call Of Duty, he could decrease player progression ranks back to 1 and even freeze someone else’s console.
You will come across hackers on any platform and it all depends on what game you’re playing. I can’t even remember the last time I came across a hacker on PC.
There Are No Noobs, Only Hardcore Gamers
No noobs on PC? That’s hilarious. There are noobs on all platforms.
There’s a big skill gap between PC gamers and consoles gamers and that’s because of the tools they use. I’ve come across noobs all over PC and that’s inevitable. There will be players who are new to a game, they’re coming back to the game after ages, they’re new to the platform and the list goes on why someone could be a noob. The lesson here is, there are noobs, noobs everywhere.
You get the great player who like to have fun and play the objective and you get all the awful players who don’t know what the hell they’re doing.
No Problems At All
Remember what I said earlier? ‘course you don’t. I said “PC gaming isn’t all sunshine and rainbows” it isn’t always perfect, you will come across bad PC ports, crashes, noobs and the list goes on.
If you can look past these issues then PC gaming is for you and you’re going to enjoy it so much. The positives weigh out the negatives.
It’s Impossible To Build A PC
Seems like everyone I talk to about building a computer, thinks I’m a genius, building a computer is like putting Lego together and that’s no understatement.
The way I learnt how to build a PC was watching some YouTube videos and I soon became confident and couldn’t wait for my parts to arrive and get stuck in.
You know those guys who have an attachment to their cars? They have built, maintained and even named it! Well you will want to do the same and your PC will become a passion.
PC Parts And What They Do (NOT TECHNICAL AND SIMPLY DESCRIBED)
Motherboard– where components such as your graphics card, processor, RAM, fan are inserted. This allows the components to work with each other.
Processor (CPU)– The brains of the computer, handles mathematical algorithms and in video games will be a huge key to how well your games run.
There are 2 big CPU brands you will be choosing from and that’s Intel and AMD.
A lot of people like to think more cores in your CPU is better. This is simply not true. For example, AMD puts a bunch of cores in their processors and Intel chips which have half the number of cores, can perform better.
Same applies with gigahertz, more does not mean better, cores and gigahertz work together. The best thing to do when picking out your processor, is to look at benchmarks.
Processor Fan– cools your processor and helps your processor run optimally at all times and can increase the longevity of the processor.
You can choose to cool your CPU through air or water. Water is more expensive but it will cool down your component tremendously. On the other hand, air cooling is inexpensive and still gets the job done, even if you’re overclocking.
With water cooling you can get a standard off the shelf water cooler or have your own full custom loop, which is very expensive, averaging $600 for a full kit.
RAM– this stands for random access memory. It will allow your computer to get access to data in an instant. Greater capacity of memory is better, if you plan to just game then I would recommend 8GB of RAM or even 16GB is worth investing in because games are utilizing more than 8GB.
If you plan on video editing, I would highly recommend you getting the most amount of RAM you can afford. Video editing can take a lot of resources and therefore you should get as much RAM available.
Ram type depends on what type of motherboard you get, simply check your processor and motherboard’s description and see what type of ram they’re compatible with. It could be either DDR3 or DDR4 type RAM.
The speed of RAM does not matter as much, benchmarks show this. I personally would recommend 1600MHZ or above as this is optimal speed which comes at a reasonable price.
Graphics Card (GPU)– the juicy part of your gaming PC, it will be the main factor in determining how well your games run. Your GPU will basically render pictures on screen.
Previously when we talked about the CPU and how cores don’t matter, same applies with the graphics card. More cores does not equate to better performance.
GPU memory or VRAM is directed to a game’s texture. Again, best way to pick out the graphics card is by looking at benchmarks.
The general rule of thumb is, 4Gb of VRAM when playing at 1080p unless you are going to implement a lot of texture mods to your games. If that’s the case then you can and should go above 4GB of VRAM.
8GB or above of video memory is recommended for gamers looking to play at 1440p and 4K.
Internal Storage– there are 2 main types of internal storage. It’s either a standard HDD drive (hard disk drive), or an SSD (solid state drive). What you need to know is that the HDD is standard and inexpensive. The SSD on the other hand is 7x faster and will cost a lot more.
If you don’t have the money to spend or you put yourself on a strict budget, I would recommend a standard HDD drive which runs at 7200RPM. RPM simply implies how fast the hard drive will load data that’s stored on it. Higher RPM equates to decreased loading times.
There are many brands of internal storage, make sure to go with the more trustworthy brands like Seagate, Samsung, WD and Hitachi.
Optical Drive– this is simply your DVD/Blue-ray disk drive. You can do standard things like save data such as movies and documents. Also how you can install your operating system.
It’s 2018 and you don’t really need an optical drive. You can watch movies easily online, save documents on a USB stick and install your operating system via USB and the USB is much faster.
The optical drive connects via SATA cable which plugs into the motherboard.
Power Supply (PSU)– pretty much what it says on the box, it will power up everything. (Make sure to get a good brand, it’s giving life to your PC and you don’t want to get some crappy power supply or else you will be sorry) Make sure to a good reliable brand like Corsair and CoolerMaster.
Case– This will house all your components and assists in cooling your components down. Bigger the case, the more room for airflow. Cases or towers they can be known as, can allow you to mount fans at the front, back, top, bottom and side.
Depending on the case size, it can hold mini-ITX motherboards which is a tiny case, micro-ATX motherboards which are small sized cases, mid-tower cases which are normal, and full tower cases which house full sized motherboards. Leaving plenty room for airflow and storage.
Some cases come with fans and these fans can be of great quality or not so great quality. You can purchase and even customize your fans separately.
What I have mentioned above are all the components you will need for your PC to actually function accept from the optical drive, that’s optional.
Building A PC VS Pre-Built
Why You Should Build A PC
Cheaper– you cut out the person who spends the time building the computer. You will save money on shipping and packaging since the computers are heavy and heavily protected. Shipping a weighty product is expensive.
By cutting these few things out you can easily save hundreds and use that money to spend on better components.
Easy To Upgrade And Maintain– By building your computer you would’ve learnt everything that goes into it. So, if a component fails you know how to comfortably switch it out for another one.
Or you’re planning to make an upgrade, you don’t have to research it because you did it in the past and there’s no need to send it back to the manufacturer for them to upgrade it for you. You will save not only money but time.
You Will Be More Passionate– Kinda feels like you built your own car, you become proud of what you have built and because your blood, sweat and tears (not literal), went into it you will have better appreciation.
This may seem kinda weird but trust me, it’s true. Just ask someone who has done it.
Why You Should Buy A Pre-Built PC
No Problems– you don’t have to care about research or worry if the computer will boot up for the first time.
Professionals have built your computer and you don’t have to look up a single thing. (This will be a negative when something fails or you want an upgrade)
Will Look Better– lets face it, the first pancake we make is never as good as the second, well… at least in my case (no pun intended).
First time builders will generally have pretty terrible cable management and it will likely look messy. But a pre-built computer will look a lot tidier and just cleaner.
Top 10 Games For Beginners
Counter Strike Global Offensive
The daddy of first-person shooters, having the biggest e-sports events in the world. A twitch shooter that will teach you the giant difference in skill between PC and console and how good you can really get at a game.
League Of Legends
The most played game on the planet with millions of active players. I have sunk so many hours into this game because it’s so amazing and addicting. Your aims and objectives are to destroy the enemy’s turrets and get to their nexus.
This is my most played game of all time.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
A huge open world game and when adding mods into the game, it’s a whole different experience.
I can’t play Skyrim without mods whether it be graphical or gameplay mods. I haven’t come close to completing this game because I’m distracted by the mods. Have I said mods enough times?
Left 4 Dead 2
This will show you how important teamwork really is, you can not survive without being with your team, and trust me, I’ve tried.
The experience is totally different from the consoles, like when I made the zombies turn into brain-eating Teletubbies thanks to mods.
A massive online multiplayer and juggernaut in the gaming industry. Traverse the huge maps whiles getting stuck in the dirt, riding horses and dogfighting. Playing on the PC and looking at everything thinking “Wow… they’ve created a masterpiece.”
Sharp and gorgeous is what the Battlefield series are. By purchasing the previous Battlefield series to the latest, you will get to appreciate how far we’ve come in the gaming industry.
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt
Story rich and insanely gorgeous is the definition of Witcher 3. This is one of the greatest games I’ve ever played, so big and so much to do. Beautiful mods and it’s so much better than the console version because of the frame rate, graphics, mods and the list goes on.
I personally upgraded my graphics card just so I could play this game maxed out, and boy was it worth it.
Grand Theft Auto V
This is just a blast on the PC with mods and so many of them. When the PC port released, it had much greater visuals and ran so smooth on the systems.
Sit back, plug in your controller and have a blast on the PC version.
An amazing strategy game. In fact, the Civilization series is my favorite strategy franchise, and playing it on the PC is the only way to go.
I couldn’t imagine this on the consoles because of the controls. Civilization is one of those games where you say one more turn but you’re still on it 100 turns later. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves the strategy genre.
So we’ve talked about graphics on this list, but we can’t talk about graphics without mentioning Crysis. When the first Crysis game came out it took the most powerful PCs down to their knees and still to this day, Crysis gives powerful machines a run for their money.
An awesome franchise worth playing for the graphics alone. You play a guy named Prophet, he wears a Nano suit capable of increasing his strength, speed, defence and granting him invisibility .
Team Fortress 2
A great example of the skill gap between console and PC player, although it’s not as hardcore as Counter Strike Global Offensive it’s definitely super fun.
The console version of this game sucks because of the controls. It’s a free cartoony game and doesn’t take its self seriously.
Tips, Tricks & Optimisation
Turn Off Mouse Acceleration
Turning this off will give you raw mouse input and improve your accuracy 10,000%. I’m not kidding, it will make a huge difference.
To do this go to:
- Control panel
- Hardware and sound
- Devices and printers
- Right-click “USB OPTICAL MOUSE”
- Mouse settings
- Uncheck “Enhance pointer precision”
Stop Changing Your Set-up
If you keep changing your settings like mouse sensitivity then you’re going to have to keep adjusting the way you play.
Try to play a few games on a sensitivity and decide whether or not it’s for you and then change it. Keep changing your mouse sensitivity/speed, until you find a set-up which you’re comfortable with and you will do well.
Practice makes perfect, you’re switching to a whole new platform and the controls are completely different.
You have to keep trying to make yourself better and trust me, within 2 weeks you will be so much better than you were on a console.
Friends will make a huge difference and if you have friends who already play on PC, you can ask them for advice. Skype them and have fun!
When I switched to PC, all my friends were on console and I decided to get into chat with the other people on the game I was playing.
Don’t be afraid to talk, remember the PC community is a lot more mature. If you make a forum post on steam that you want people to play with. Most likely you will get positive replies.
Try Controlling The Recoil
When I would play a first-person shooter, I always forgot to control the recoil, but when I decided to move the mouse and stop the recoil. My shots were a lot more accurate. This is an awesome tip for you gamers who are into first-person shooters.
STOP RAGE QUITTING!
When you make the switch you’re going to want to punch your monitor, but don’t do that. Instead, if you feel like quitting a game, just keep going and you will get better at the whole switch. Think of how you can improve and over time you will become a pro at it.
How much should I spend? $$$
I would strongly recommend you building a PC with around a $600 US budget or around £500 if you’re in the UK.
This is the sweet spot price point and where you will get the best value for your money. You can play games the way developers intended, at MAX settings and you won’t have to worry about upgrading in the coming few years.
Which PC Components Should I Get?
So you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you want to make the switch to PC.
Well if that’s the case then you have a lot of super boring research ahead of you. Research that is tedious and mind-numbing, especially if you’re a beginner.
I will do the research for you!
I will pick out the correct parts for you and make sure you get the best value for money. And don’t worry, I will keep updating components for the future.