This article is going to briefly describe the difference between a pre-built “off the shelf” gaming computer from a retailer or online vendor and a custom-built gaming computer. You can tell that this article is going to be worth the read because – let’s be real here – our business is called Nerds 2 You and as genuine nerds there’s nothing we love better than an awesome gaming rig that’s pimped to the max.
What Do They Mean by “Gaming Computer” Anyway?
It gets confusing right away because the word gaming means different things to different manufacturers. For some, it’s nothing more than a badge, while for others it can mean the components they include are of slightly better quality than their stock products intended for general business use. They will also sometimes have hardware drivers that are better tuned for gaming performance, but you can’t always count on that.
The one unifying factor that all computers identified with the “gaming” label will have is that they’ll all be more expensive than the standard models from that manufacturer. And while you might expect that will mean you’ll get better performance because you’re paying more, this is not always the result.
The problem is big brands have to compete against each other aggressively. They need to try and keep their profit as high as they can (somebody has to pay for all that marketing, and they’re hoping it will be you), and at the same time, they have to ensure their pricing doesn’t stray too far from that of competitors.
To make it possible to keep profits high and prices low, they must produce everything cheaply. That can mean using lower quality components, employing less qualified workers, or even moving their entire manufacturing operations to countries where they can pay lower wages and taxes. The bottom line is you’re paying more for the brand image than for the quality of the components and workmanship.
A custom-built gaming computer isn’t built with the goal of making as much profit as possible. The goal this time is to get the maximum performance from whatever the budget for the build is. This means there’s no need to cut corners in terms of component quality. It just requires a really good understanding of how to put all the components together in the right way to get the best performance out of them, no matter what they actually cost.
The Chill Factor
You will never see a brand name computer in a case that’s optimal for high-performance computing. It’s also rare for brand name manufacturers to make it easy to upgrade what they provide you with. Some will even have aggressive policies such as that your warranty will be voided if you make any changes, or if you install components that are not made by them.
For the best results from a computer in terms of performance and longevity, it’s important for the internal temperature to be as low as possible. Heat degrades performance and actually causes physical damage to the component, which will add up over time.
When building a computer it is important to consider not just the components, but also the clearance you’re going to allow between all the components. A crucial matter is the airflow around all the components to help keep them as cool as possible (even if you’re using liquid cooling, which brand name manufacturers almost never do in pre-built computers).
This means the case needs to have a lot of room inside, with plenty of clearance, and ideally, the motherboard will also be designed in a way that allows the components that generate the most heat to be distanced from each other. There are even more things that can be done to increase the cooling potential, such as making use of risers, angle change adapters, and extensions.
Strangely enough, making certain that there’s really good cooling is one of the least expensive upgrades to make in a computer design, but the one where manufacturers normally fail the most.
The Best CPU for Gaming isn’t Necessarily the Best CPU
In order to make it seem like you’re getting better value and higher performance, manufacturers will often put a very high end CPU in the system because it doesn’t drive their costs up too much and they can still charge you to the hilt for it. The problem with this is that games don’t really make use of all the features of those expensive CPUs, and you may actually be better off with a CPU slightly lower on the hierarchy and throwing the money you save into providing better cooling for that CPU.
For Gaming you Always Need a Dedicated Graphics Card
Some computers labelled as gaming computers come with onboard graphics. You will never get optimal gaming performance from a machine that doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card. If you’re serious about gaming, this is where most of the money for your computer build should be going.
Even when manufacturers do include a separate graphics card, it’s not always a top quality one, may not suit your specific needs, and it’s also extremely common for the drivers to be incorrectly installed on brand name computers. When you buy a branded computer you’re buying a machine built for the lowest common denominator. If you need more screens or different types of connections than what the manufacturer provided for, then you’ll end up spending more or having to compromise on your results.
Most pre-built gaming computers contain sufficient memory to meet the minimum specifications of the most popular games. That’s fair enough, but you can’t expect to get the best performance by just meeting the minimum standards.
Nerds 2 You Makes Custom Computer Builds Easy
Hopefully, it is really clear that custom built computers will always be better value than brand name pre-built computers. But not everyone is an expert at building computers, and the process can seem daunting if you’re not familiar with all the technology. And you can be certain there are plenty of ways to get it wrong.
Luckily you have experts on call from Nerds 2 You ready to help with all your custom computer building needs. We can supply, assemble, and configure a system perfectly tailored to your needs and budget. It’s a very affordable service and we can come right to your home or office and perform the job onsite. Of course, we can also make it for you in our own workshop if you prefer.
Call Nerds 2 You at (08) 6444 9674 any time you need help with anything related to computers. You no longer have to be a nerd to get the best gaming computer, you just need to have the right nerds to build it for you. That’s us, Nerds 2 You, the Perth company supplying nerds on demand.