Category: Editorials

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Easy PC Redux – 6 – Monitors

When it comes to choosing a monitor for your gaming PC, you’ll be hard pressed to make any really terrible decision.  Unless you’re buying an ancient, used CRT from a dodgy eBay seller called “t0t4l1y l3g1t”, you’re probably going to get a passably decent viewing experience for combined web browsing and gaming.  Thankfully, this article will be more of a checklist; the more boxes you tick when picking out your new monitor, the better.  Don’t feel like you have to cover every base, since monitors can be ridiculously expensive in exactly the same ways that pre-built gaming PCs can be.  Instead, choose which features you feel will be most important to you and try to stick within your budget. Read more …

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Easy PC Redux – 5 – Peripherals

It’s all very well having the major components of your dream gaming PC delivered and installed, but it’s equally important not to forget the smaller items.  Keyboards, mice, speakers, headphones and even optical drives are crucial items that, despite recent advances in technology, are still absolute requirements for a modern gaming rig.

With the advent of touch-screen technology, iOS, Android and Windows 8, everything appears to be moving towards poking things directly with your finger, as opposed to indirectly with your mouse.  Some consoles seem to be going a step beyond this, requiring you to simply dance around like an idiot in front of your telly to play games, without touching a thing.  As fluid and intuitive as touch interfaces can be for selecting and organising windows, apps or data, there’s really nothing that’s come close to the precise control offered for just about everything else that a mouse and keyboard provides. Read more …

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Easy PC Redux – 4 – Cases & Power Supplies

Now that we have the vast majority of the internal components sorted for our gaming PC, we need to source two particularly important pieces of kit: the power supply (PSU) and the case.  A lot has changed in the last few years for both of these items, with key performance factors no longer being as relevant as they once were.  You may find that what you thought you knew is no longer accepted thinking.  On the other hand, a lot has stayed the same; PSUs and cases have, for the most part, stayed true to a few sizes and standards, much like motherboards in this regard.  Make no mistake, the PSU is possibly the single most crucial purchase you can make for any PC; this is doubly true for a gaming machine, which can draw a lot more power than your average desktop.  The case, meanwhile, needs to be chosen with a level head, but isn’t as “make or break” as your PSU.

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Easy PC Redux – 3 – HDDs & SSDs

With all those other components out of the way, it’s time to concentrate on the next crucial part of your gaming PC – the hard drive.  In years past, this decision was a lot easier, but with the advent of decently-priced Solid State Drives (SSDs), a new factor has been thrown into the equation.  A modern gaming machine should certainly have both an SSD and a traditional HDD, since they each provide distinct advantages that the other does not.  As a quick example, you’re not going to see any affordable 1TB SSDs any time soon, but you can quite easily (and comparitively cheaply) buy a 2TB HDD for all your storage needs.  The trouble is that the HDD isn’t that quick at accessing its data, whereas an SSD is blisteringly fast.  In this instalment of Easy PC, I’ll talk you through the differences in detail and explain why you should seriously consider owning at least one of both. Read more …