I’ve always dreamed of building my own gaming PC, hoping to end a desktop gaming existence with painfully long loading screens, slow gameplay, and dated graphics. I also found every excuse in the book for not doing it, instead hopping on consoles to get my fix of recently released big budget games. But as I learned firsthand, there is no secret entrance to the world of PC building, no black door with a gold star on it guarding an exclusive club for fans and gurus of technology. Anyone can build a PC from scratch with a little patience and the right guide. For me, this guide was a video game.
Parts list for my first PC build
By the end of last year, my boredom during the pandemic had peaked, and after spending dozens of hours researching – and agonizing for weeks on the parts to buy that would best match my unreal standards. and to my very real savings account – I realized the most useful tool was a game called PC construction simulator.
The internet is full of great resources and guides for enthusiasts, but if you’re new to the world of PC building, the amount of information can be overwhelming. It’s hard to anticipate any questions or issues you might run into once you get started.
PC construction simulator is designed for those novices. Literally a game about repairing and building personal computers, it features a catalog of actual parts from manufacturers like Asus and MSI and accurately reproduces them on a work bench. You can choose components like cases or motherboards that you have had an eye on and inspect them closely with the camera or click to plug them together.
For beginners, there is a tutorial mode that puts you in front of a workbench and lets you build a PC from scratch. You start by holding the mouse down on the side panels of the case to remove them, after which you unscrew the mounting bracket from the power supply. Then you hit a bunch of parts and choose, say, the motherboard, where text bubbles appear to indicate features like the SATA ports on the hard drive or the chipset. If you click on a bubble, you get a summary for that part: for example, it explains that SATA ports are where hard drives are connected and I / O (input / output) ports are there. where peripherals such as keyboards and mice are located. plugged. If you don’t know anything about PCs, the tutorial is a sure-fire way to get up to speed quickly.
Before trying the game, I had defined the parts to buy. (My approach of buying first and learning how to build then was a little silly, but it all worked out in the end.) I wanted a small PC that was light and compact enough to move around easily, but I also wanted power. . Despite a deep desire for the best graphics and the fastest performance unlimited money can buy, I couldn’t justify spending thousands of dollars on this particular project. Instead, I set a budget to splurge on certain components without getting too out of hand.
The GPU market has been drastically affected by global component shortages and manufacturing issues, and as a result, even mid-range and low-end cards have either inflated their price or disappeared altogether. This made availability an important variable in my decision making. I chose to use the graphics card from my old computer, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, a solid card that met my needs enough to orient my build around it. More importantly, I already had it.
With my GPU as a base, I started collecting ideas for potential parts using a website called PCPartPicker. You can find and purchase parts on PCPartPicker, and you can use the site’s filters to find options that work with your existing or planned parts, budget, or other needs. Once I finally felt confident in the choices I had made for building my dreams, a question always arose: would they all fit?
While it’s pretty easy to find size measurements for each room, mapping the physical location and free space for everything is a different challenge if you’ve never been under the hood of a PC before. It’s there that PC construction simulator saved the day.
The game’s Free Build mode provides open access to the full coin catalog and doesn’t interrupt you with challenges or scenarios to play. I easily found almost every piece of hardware I wanted to buy in the catalog, and after completing the in-game tutorial for a basic explanation of each component, I switched to Career mode.
There you operate a PC repair shop and use parts from the catalog to repair computers with various problems. Customers ask you for help with issues like recently upgraded PCs that keep crashing, and the game guides you to identify and fix them. In one case, this prompted me to install a new power supply capable of supporting the upgraded parts. After a few hours, I had taken so many client computers apart that I felt like I could do it in my sleep.
Then it was time to practice in Free Build mode, where I virtually built my PC at least three or four times until I felt comfortable tackling the project for real. Of course, I ran into problems when I built the computer in real life. The game had accurately simulated the build process, but nothing prepared me for the difficulty of connecting wires to tiny ports on the motherboard or screwing the world’s smallest screws onto the heatsink, where my hands covered almost everything in sight. When you just click in a game, the challenge of these tasks is greatly minimized.
I ran into issues – most of the user manuals that came with the parts are usually unnecessary – but I built with a lot more confidence than before PC construction simulator. I knew where each part had to go, the role each played and, more importantly, that everything would fit and be compatible.
Spend a few hours with PC construction simulator can be decisive if you are new to understanding computers, are overwhelmed with the amount of unfamiliar vocabulary, or are completely turned off because you don’t know where to start. I still take the time to play some games or genres on my PlayStation or Nintendo Switch, but after a few months with my new PC I’m spending a lot more time at my desk for long sessions of World War Z, Valheim, and Death by the light of day.