Planning to build a gaming rig of your own?
Building a gaming PC can be cheaper than purchasing a readymade setup. You also get to choose the components, ensuring you get the right build for the games you play.
That said, building a rig is a lot easier said than done. It’s easy to make a few gaming PC building mistakes that can ultimately slow a PC down or render it useless.
If you want to avoid those expensive mistakes, continue reading our guide below. We’ve listed some of the common mistakes people make when building their first gaming rig:
1. Incompatible Gaming PC Components
A common gaming PC setup mistake is getting PC components that can’t work together. Don’t rush purchasing!
It’s too easy to buy a graphics card or a processor that won’t work with the motherboard you got. You might not even be able to add more RAM if you have an older type of motherboard. You might get a decent heatsink but what if it won’t fit or what if your graphics card HDMI ports aren’t in the right spot for your CPU case?
Start with your processor and graphics card. Do they work well together? If they do, start looking for a motherboard that can support both, as well as 8 GB RAM or more.
Don’t forget that your choice of motherboard will also affect the size and choice of your cooling components and accessories.
2. Forgetting to Purchase an OS
Another common mistake is to focus too much on buying the hardware that you’ll forget to get a working operating system (OS). It’s also easy to get caught up with the different packages and discount offers to buy the wrong OS.
You should aim for the latest Microsoft Windows. As of the time of writing, Windows 10 is still the staple in the market but Microsoft did reveal Windows 11. It will roll out by the end of the year and into 2022.
The good news is Windows 10 owners can update to Windows 11 for free, with no hidden fees. Yes, you still have to check if your hardware can handle the requirements for Windows 11 first. However, if you build a future-proofed gaming PC, Windows 11 should run well smoothly on your setup.
Windows has the highest compatibility with modern games available on Steam and the Epic Games Store. You can also run older versions of Windows or use a DOS emulator to run much older games.
Avoid getting Linux or an Apple OS for one simple reason: not every game runs on those operating systems. They work well for work or other purposes but if you’re building a PC to stream games on Twitch or for gaming with friends, you’ll need an OS most games run on.
3. Not Checking Temperature
Forgetting to check the temperature will lead to an immediate waste of money. There’s a high chance of your PC setup breaking down the moment you try to run high-end games, like Cyberpunk 2077 or The Witcher 3 on ultra settings.
Overheating leads to sudden restarts or shutdowns. It can also lead to a slowdown, which explains why your games might begin to glitch or abruptly terminate. This all happens because too much heat will melt parts, cause cracks in internal components, and disrupt power flow.
Not sure how to check the current temperature of your components? You can use software like Core Temp or HWMonitor to consistently see the temperature. Keep in mind that each component has an optimal temperature range.
This is why you need to invest in separate cooling components per piece. Get different heat sinks for your processor and one for your GPU. You might want a liquid cooling system to keep the whole CPU unit cool and invest in a better ventilation setup.
4. Installing Pieces Incorrectly
There’s no denying that building a gaming PC is no easy task. There’s a lot to remember and a lot to put together.
For example, you might want to add a component to mask your PC and monitor ID, like HWID, but do you know how to fit it into your unit? Do you know where to hook up your new GPU card or how to fit in the gigantic cooling fan you bought for your processor?
It doesn’t even have to be a major mistake to cause problems.
Hooking up your monitor to your motherboard instead of your brand new graphics card is a common mistake. Your PC will run on the integrated graphics card instead of the new external one you bought when this happens. Your PC will struggle to run games on high settings and this leads to slow down and overheating.
Before you turn on your gaming PC, take some time to double-check and make sure everything connects to the right port, using the right cables.
5. Buying Outdated Hardware
Are you buying an Intel i5 or i7 processor? Don’t simply look at the name of the processor. Make it a habit to check if it’s the latest one.
There are eleven generations of Intel i7 processors. Getting an eleventh-generation i5 may make your PC more powerful compared to buying an eighth-generation i7. More modern hardware can keep up with the demands of today’s video games.
What’s the point in buying a new graphics card if it can’t run a game from 2021 in moderate settings? You also need to consider graphical features like ray tracing in titles like Control.
This also applies to your motherboard and RAM. Don’t buy an outdated motherboard because it might not work well with newer components, such as the latest processor or graphics card.
Of course, buying newer, modern hardware will cost you more. However, that’s the price of future-proofing.
You want to buy hardware that will work with newer games and even newer compatible hardware that might come out next year. Otherwise, you might end up replacing old parts every year and that’ll cost you more in the long run.
6. Not Grounding Yourself
It is unlikely static discharge will destroy components in your PC but it’s always a better choice to play it safe.
Before you touch any of the internal components of your PC, ground yourself first. Touch an unpainted metal piece such as your CPU casing before you touch the motherboard and other components.
Do you need something like a grounding strap? These are wristbands that you can clip to a metal surface. These don’t cost much but the good news is you don’t need to go that far to keep your components safe.
Some people like to use grounding sticks. These are metal rods planted into the ground, connected to a cable to keep all static electricity off the PC. These aren’t always necessary but if you wear socks often and live in a heavily carpeted home, you might want to invest in one to stay safe.
7. Not Asking For Help
Don’t hesitate to ask a friend for help!
It’s okay to ask someone to check your list of components. Have them go over your build before you turn it on. This ensures you have a second pair of eyes to spot mistakes.
Can’t ask a friend to visit your home? Don’t fret, you can still ask for help on the Internet. There are many groups on social media platforms dedicated to helping people with their gaming PC build.
Don’t hesitate to get on Reddit or a Facebook group to ask for assistance. Instead of joining a general PC group, look for a group that specializes in assisting people in building gaming PCs. They’ll know the right setup for the types of games you want to play with your hardware.
While waiting for approval from a group or for a reply to your posts, get on YouTube. You might find a tutorial video to give you a headstart in building your gaming rig.
8. Plugging Into the Wrong Port
As mentioned, it’s always possible to plug a cable into the wrong port. You could accidentally push your HDMI cable into a port on the motherboard instead of the new graphics card you got.
Trying to hook a second monitor to your rig? If you’re connecting it via USB-C, make sure it can support something like DisplayPort. Otherwise, you might be sticking a DisplayPort cable into a regular USB-C Thunderbolt port.
Plugging into the wrong port becomes a serious problem when it concerns power connections. Plugging a component into the wrong power supply could seriously damage your hardware. This is why you need to always label your cables, even if you’re only using tape and a marker, to guarantee you don’t get confused.
9. Ignoring Your Budget
Set aside a gaming PC budget and stick with it. Don’t try to push yourself above that limit unless you know you can afford it.
Once you have a hard limit for spending, it’s time to list down all the crucial parts you’ll need. You’ll need to allocate money for the processor, the graphics card, some RAM, and a cooling system. You’ll need money for an SSD hard drive, accessories, and your monitor.
Ignoring your budget is a mistake that leads to bad compromises. Some people spend too much on a graphics card but end up short when it comes to getting a processor. Now there’s an imbalance and the result is a gaming PC that can’t handle games on a high loadout.
One good way to remedy this is to list down your budget per piece of hardware. Have a general budget for the whole setup but then break it down to smaller budget constraints per piece. Now you can see how much you can spend on every important component.
10. Not Reading the Manual
Not reading the manual is almost a comedic meme at this point but that’s a mistake you should avoid. These components cost a lot of money so you’ll want to know how they work, what they’re compatible with, and the factors that could break them.
Simply reading the manual might teach you how to keep your components in good shape and how they’ll affect your gaming setup. You might discover a few concerns not discussed on forums. For example, you might discover that a certain component only works well when paired with a specific processor or a different brand of monitor.
Don’t forget to read the warranty too. Most components you buy will come with a return-and-replace warranty.
The warranty will be your shield when it comes to pieces breaking down. If you know the issue wasn’t your doing, you should be able to bring it back for a replacement.
Unfortunately, not a lot of people read the warranties for the things they buy. They often unwittingly do something that could void the terms of the warranty. This causes a person to lose money since they have to go spend cold cash for a replacement.
Avoid These Gaming PC Building Mistakes
These are some of the most common gaming PC building mistakes you need to avoid. Not asking for help, forgetting to check compatibility, and ignoring your budget can lead to over-spending or a bad build that won’t work.
Of course, building your gaming rig is only the start. There’s still a lot to optimize.
Do you want to learn which games to test your new gaming setup on? Not sure how to fit VR into your setup? Continue reading some of our other tech guides today and discover the answers you seek, right here!