Currently, most Windows-based personal computers, found at such stores as your local Best Buy or Wal-Mart, are not capable of running newer video games. Many of the gaming capable computers they do have available will cost several hundreds more than the latest gaming console systems; however, games released for computers often have more settings, more customization for gameplay, and more user-made content. An alternative to spending outrageous retail prices for a gaming computer is the possibility of upgrading your current home computer. With this option you gain the additional benefits of running games from your computer at a lower cost. Before reading on, you should determine a budget of how much money you are willing to spend on this project, and you should have a basic understanding of installing/uninstalling programs and basic computer operations. Throughout this instructional, we will discuss:
– What does your game require of your computer?
– What does your computer need upgraded to run the game?
– Finding out your motherboard model
– Finding specifications of your motherboard
– Is it practical to upgrade your computer?
Step 1: Terminology
Picture of Terminology
CPU: The CPU (central processing unit) is an electrical component that acts as the “brain” for your computer. Most video games require certain speeds for the processor to run at in GHz (gigahertz). The games may also specify different speeds for different brands and types of processors. (Tutorial on how to replace your CPU)
RAM: Your RAM (random access memory) is your computer’s “short-term” memory. It stores the current information your game may need to use or manipulate while the game is running. Game specifications normally require an amount of memory in GB (gigabytes). (Tutorial on how to replace your RAM)
Video Card: Your video card (otherwise called a graphics card or GPU) processes and stores graphics information for your game. Most games specifications require models of video cards and video memory required for the game. This is often the most needed upgrade for computers to be able to run higher end games. More-than-likely if you must replace the video card, you will have to replace the PSU as well to meet the new power demands. (Tutorial on how to replace your GPU)
Hard Drive: Your computers hard drive is the “long-term” storage for the computer. It is where all the program data is stored when the game is running and not running. Most games will notify you in its specifications how much free hard drive space the game will need for an install. (Tutorial on how to replace your HDD)
PSU: The PSU (power supply) is the component that supplies the power to the entire computer. This will not be labeled on a game specification, but it may still be necessary to upgrade if much of the computer needs to be changed to accommodate the new power requirements. Here is a great website that allows you to plug in all your computer components and will calculate your power needs. (Tutorial on how to replace your PSU)
Sound Card: The sound card is the device the computer uses to output the sound to your speakers. It is often unnecessary to upgrade this, but does reduce a small margin of processing stress on the CPU. (Tutorial on how to replace your Sound Card)
Motherboard: The motherboard (aka mainboard) is what all the other components are plugged into and connects everything together. For the purpose of this tutorial we won’t be covering replacing the motherboard. This guide is meant to showcase easy upgrades to existing prebuilt computers.