8 pc gaming setup ideas and tips for your dream mancave
Like any other investment, building your gaming PC setup requires some good knowledge about PC components and stuff. While you could go for the easier option of buying a prebuilt gaming PC, that is never the best option. Custom built PCs tend to come with a bunch of limitations, not mentioning their insane price tags. Building your own, however, gives you the freedom to decide what you want and what you don’t. That’s why in this article, I am going to give you my PC gaming setup tips to build a pro gaming rig. You don’t really have to be a tech guru to do this.
There are thousands of free gaming setup tutorials and build guides online to refer to, but they all have one problem. Most will only show you how to build some insanely priced PC. To be even, we are going to go through budget setup guides as well as expensive gaming computers. I’m also going to save you the trouble of doing that by listing awesome YouTube Channels and Pinterest boards for gaming setup ideas that you should be subscribed to at the end of this guide.
These resources helped me build my setup way from a “WTF is this disaster” to a “OMG this is insane!”
Starting this guide, I think we should first focus on what every gamer begins with – A cheap gaming setup. I know the feeling. You know that your setup is not anywhere near even the crappiest that appear on setup wars but that doesn’t pull you down. You got a cheap desk from the local furniture store, a nice PC with some GPU that can just about play games on high setting, a monitor or two, a $20 keyboard and mouse “Who cares, its LED-backlit just like a $100 one and has the same functionality”. For your sitting, a cheap office chair will do the job, for now, you say.
When you are at this financial state, getting the best setup out of your restricted budget is the best thing you can wish for, and this is exactly what I will show you today.
PC gaming setup tips for a cheap pro setup
1. If you are after value for money, make sure its a desktop
Compared to gaming laptops, desktops are way cheaper, yet in most cases, offer better performance. A gaming laptop can cost as high as 3X what an equivalent spec gaming desktop would cost. Some gaming laptops nowadays come with the latest graphics card and processor, these, however, will also get outdated. As new and more resource – demanding games are released, some GPUs become almost obsolete, same to CPUs. It’s easy to upgrade components in a desktop and futureproof yourself, but the story is not the same for a gaming laptop. It will only start having limited roles in your gaming room. One day, it will have to join all your electronics that go to die.
The Gaming PC
Okay so if building a gaming PC yourself doesn’t work, buying a ready one is never a crime. You could be living in a place where latest PC components are not available, and E-commerce stores such as Amazon and eBay don’t ship their products to.
If you think of it, you’ll be stuck with old hardware, not good enough to play the games you’re bleeding for. International shipping for complete PCs, however, is not as difficult as how it is for the internal components. Depending on where you live at the moment, you’ll almost always find a prebuilt PC seller that can ship the desktop to your location. These gaming PCs are built by professionals. Besides that, you also get things such as warranty cover and customer support.
If you have the budget, buying a prebuilt gaming PC is never a bad idea. Just think of it. If your custom built PC suddenly decides to call it a day, you have to figure out the problem on your own. Some of the individual components might be covered by warranty, but what if the whole rig is fried?
Best processor for your cheap gaming computer
Now, this is something a lot of new gamers get wrong. Just because you have a fifth or sixth generation i3 or i5 does it mean that your PC is not fast enough. These processors, paired with 8GIGs of ram or more and a good graphics card can really crunch games in high fps with no problems at all.
Just get a good fifth or sixth generation CPU. If you have a little extra to spend, you might want to go for the i5 7600K. The 6800 and 7700 from have really pushed down the price of this unlocked beast.
If these are still well ahead of your financial reach, I have a good alternative as well. Go for the intel pentium G4600. This little beast operates at 3.5GHz. This is one of the few hyperthreaded Pentiums that Intel is targeting gamers on a budget with. It comes with 2 cores and 4 threads, hence should be able to handle most current games with no issues at all. If you want to get into the finer benchmarking details for this processor, I found this review helpful.
The Pentium G4600 will set you back between $60 – $100, depending on the where you shop.
If you are the AMD guy, I would recommend the AMD FX 6300 processor. In my opinion, there really isn’t any better gaming processor $100 or less can buy you. It has 6 cores, which makes it a great CPU for multi-tasking and playing resource-intensive games. Compared with a duo core i3, this still trumps the i3 in performance and price.
Even though the 3.5GHz will be sufficient for most tasks and games, you can overclock this affordable CPU to 4.1GHz and if you invest in a custom cooler, you can push it even higher. With 6/8 MB l2/L3 cache, this is truly one of the best CPUs for the price.
Best Graphics card for your cheap gaming computer
For this one, you’ll be forgiven for wanting to spend as much as you are able to on one. Getting good graphics is the ultimate dream of every gamer. Not long ago, I used to play PC games with the shittiest graphics in the world. It was normal for me to have my video settings set at low in every field. You don’t have to begin there really, as there are some pretty good GPUs at the moment that are reasonably priced.
If you are outpriced for the GTX 1060 or the AMD RX 480 at the moment, look no further than the RX 460. This 4GB DDR5 graphics card does not even require an external 6 pin PCIe power connection. This can come in handy, especially if you are upgrading a basic dell or hp office computer.
Now again for the Intel guy, I also have a bunch of recommendations for your gaming setup. The GTX 1050 will only set you back between $100 and $150 depending on where you shop. However, keep in mind that this is the 2GB 1050 I’m referring to here. If you can afford, you can buy the 1050TI, which comes with a 4GB GDDR5 memory size.
Since the 1060s start from over 220USD, I don’t think that will be a good idea for a sub $500 gaming desktop.
Both of these GPUs mentioned above have HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4. Feel free to suggest any better GPU within the $100 to $150 price range in the comments section. Have you tried the Zotacs? What’s your experience with them?
PC gaming setup tips and ideas for a high-end pro setup
Say you are upgrading your gaming setup or have a reasonable budget set aside for a nice new gaming setup, these are the setup tips to help you make the best setup.
Best processor for your top of the range gaming computer
If money was not a problem, I definitely would like to keep my gaming hardware up to date with industry releases. I have a strong feeling the idea is mutual. 🙂 Back to high-end gaming processors, you have a good number to choose from. Intel has the new core i9 on top of the powerful i7s and i5s that have unlocked versions for even more performance.
My top Intel CPU recommendations would be the unlocked i7 7700K, which can be overclocked to 4GHz, or the i7 6800K and 6950X.
AMD, on the other hand, has always been the cheaper alternative for Intel’s flagship processors. Top recommendations for a high-end AMD processor would be the Ryzen 7 1700X or the R5 1600X. The AMD 1700X has definitely given Intel a run for its money, but Intel could still hold a performance edge over AMD again. All the same, these are two really good processors that can be overclocked and also come with 6 cores/12 threads.
Best Graphics card for your high-end gaming computer
At the moment, most of us agree the GTX 1080Ti is the top range GPU one can have. However, considering its also the most expensive GPU, I thought we would start by looking at the former GPU that got dethroned of its flagship status in March – the GTX 1080. This GPU now costs below $500 and the price is expected to continue dropping.
Back when it came out and even at the moment, the GTX 1080 is the cheapest graphics card for smooth 4K gaming. This thing is a beast. If you only have a single 1080P monitor hooked up to this GPU, you are not using your $500 plus effectively. You will experience the true capabilities of the GTX 1080 with a 4K monitor or in a 2 or 3 1440p monitor setup.
If you are also thinking of doing some VR gaming, this is also the best option you can go for. A lot of people say the 1080Ti would be overkill if you only game on a single monitor, and I agree. If you, however, have a real estate of monitors, investing in one or two 1080Ti is a good idea to render all those pixels.
Can’t fork out 500USD or more for a graphics card? No problem, the Radeon RX 480 would be a good option. You might also want to also look at less expensive GPUs such as the GTX 1070, 1060 or two 980Ti in SLI.
2. Where to Buy – pc gaming setup tips
If you have your mind set on buying a gaming computer that’s already built, never buy gaming computers from places like HP, DELL, ACER, or brands like Alienware. These vendors will charge you an insane amount for a not very good gaming computer.
These computers are often built using cheap components that don’t last very long. These components are also not made to handle heavy multitasking or gaming, hence if you go for one, you might end up with a computer that keeps on overheating.
Generally, you’ll find these PCs priced about a thousand dollars more than they should be. If you are after value for money, build your custom PC, or hire someone to do it for you. You will save a lot, which you can spend on other items such as a racing wheel or gaming chair.
Instead of buying from these guys who make desktops for office use, you’ll be better off buying from custom PC builders. Depending on where you live, you can always find one that can ship to you at an affordable rate.
3. Sound System – pc gaming setup ideas
When it comes to speakers or sound systems, there are lots of ideas you can try. If you are on a budget, sound bars are a great option. Those long bars that go in front of your TV work really well with computers and gaming consoles. Most of them are multi-input, come with a subwoofer and will not cost you more than $200. Some really nice models worth checking out include the LG NB3530A and the Sony HTCT. Both sound cards mimic surround sound pretty well.
4. Headset – pc gaming setup tips
If you live in a busy location with lots of people, you may want to use headsets to hear your audio better. However, if you also just are into gaming headsets, here’s the deal. I would suggest models such as the Audio Technica ATH-m50X and M40’s. HyperX makes some really good cheap gaming headsets as well. Check their best-rated gaming headphones here. These are models that can plug into your PC and they are really good.
Though these are pc gaming setup tips, we need to talk about how these headsets work with your console. For the Xbox, you can make these headsets work using a 3.5mm optical audio adapter.Have some extra bucks to spend? Step up to wireless gaming headsets. The ones with surround sound will push the price higher, but the quality you are getting is worth it. For a gaming setup around the $500 mark, stereo headsets will just do.
5. Mouse, Keyboard and Mouse Pad
There a lot of options for you here. If money is not a problem, Mice from Razor, Asus gladius, and spatha series are a great deal. If you are on a budget, just go to your favorite retailer and pick up your favorite $20 – $40 mouse. They’ll function just as fine.
As for the Keyboard, I’ll say models like the Havit series and the Razor Deathstalker are a great deal when on a budget. Generally, for a price range of let us say $30 – $70, you can get yourself a good mechanical gaming keyboard with all the features you need.
Mousepads are an important requirement for a gaming setup too. The good thing is that there are lots of affordable mouse pads and palm rests to choose from when on a budget.
Go to your favorite store and pick up anything you like in the sub $10 price range. If you have more to spend, check out the Corsair Gaming MM300 gaming mouse pad or the Steelseries Qck. Each of them cost around $15 and are large enough to fit your gaming keyboard and mouse. You can find out the Top 10 gaming mouse pads to complete your setup to find out more on the best gaming mouse pads for all price ranges.
6. Monitor – PC gaming setup tips
When choosing a pc monitor or monitors for your gaming setup, there are three things you first need to look at, one being the response time. Accept nothing with a response time of anything more than 4ms. If you have the budget, go for a monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate, not 60Hz. This will enable you to play in 1080p or more without any motion blurs or lags. The last thing to note is whether your monitor has G-Syn or FreeSync technology. Even though this is going to command a higher price, monitors with this feature will eliminate any screen stuttering, so it’s an important setup idea to consider as well.
I know you might already be thinking of the Asus PG278QR gaming monitor.
Its highly praised everywhere, but wait a sec. This thing costs well over $600. I’m only working on a $500 budget, so no thanks. There are some good 24-inch ASUS, Acer, BenQ, DELL and Viewsonic monitors below $200. These monitors are good for primarily gaming in 1080P, which is what you will be aiming for in a budget gaming PC.
7. Chair – PC gaming setup tips
Finding a quality gaming chair for less than $200 can be a pain, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. More than likely, you just want something that’s comfortable and can let you play for hours without any discomfort. However, there’s the issue of back pain and you really don’t want a gaming chair that’s going to cause you that in the long term.
At or above $300, you can be certain that you are getting an ergonomic gaming chair, but what if you don’t have all that money? We recently wrote a post on the best affordable gaming chairs so you might want to hop over and check them out. If you’d rather just compare the best for all price ranges, here you are:
Some of the best gaming chairs for your gaming setup
8. The Desk – PC gaming setup tips
I have to give it up for the good work most gamers do with their gaming desks. Whether you are buying a ready-made gaming desk or building one yourself, spending the time to customize it is always a good idea. Suppose I buy a desk or table from IKEA or the local furniture store and it comes painted in a color I don’t like, I don’t have to contend with their awful color choice. I can just paint the goddamn thing to match the theme of my setup.
Each day, we see creative gamers post their desks on YouTube and Pinterest. These videos can really give you some cool ideas. If money is not an issue, there are some very good desks out there that will give your setup a premium status. If you have the time, building your own desk/table. By doing this, you won’t run into issues such as a desk or table that won’t fit in your gaming room, or one that’s either too high or too low.
Cost is another factor that can push you to build instead of buy. A DIY gaming PC desk will cost you $100 or less. I have seen some really inspiring budget editions on YouTube that were made for around $80 only.
Go check out our Pinterest account for some amazing DIY gaming room desks you can copy and paste.
Final thoughts and talking points from these gaming setup ideas
A gaming setup is always dynamic. A lot of things will change down the road. As better hardware is rolled out and better games are released, a gaming PC setup needs to be updated. If you can afford them, try out different gaming hardware and compare what works best for you.
As I promised, here are the most informative YouTube channels that you should use to get more setup hacks and tricks.
Ed is a renown Youtuber who reviews tech gear on his channel Techsource. He also runs a series called setup wars where you can really learn from other setups featured on the channel. Every week, hundreds of setups are submitted through the nice app where you guys vote on the best setup, where ED picks the top five and features them on the channel.
Each winner is given $100 to help them make their dream gaming setup as well as a Techsource T-shirt. If you are lucky and your setup gets awarded the seal of approval at TechSource, the loot is even bigger.
If you still have a ridiculous gaming setup, don’t get turned off. Every couple of episodes, there’s always a roast my setup edition where you guys submit the crappiest setups to get featured on the channel.
Any thoughts on these PC gaming setup tips and ideas? I know that everyone has a different setup idea, it would be great if you guys shared your custom built gaming setups here. Leave us a link to your rig and we will showcase top 10 gaming setups each week on our homepage. how about that.
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