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Nov 29, 2017

Just for fun,

Build your own

Take a look at the Global Games market and you’ll be amazed. It’s a huge market and growing at a rapid 7.8% year on year growth to what is now $108.9Bn annual revenue. Whilst the mobile gaming sector (including smartphones) is exploding and will see global revenue increase by 19.3% to $46.1Bn, there has been a decline in the revenue generated from PC gaming by -2.6% year on year revenue to a modest $29.4Bn. 

Nathan, our Senior Data Analyst, spends many an hour winding down with his favourite PC games, such as Assassins Creed: Origins and Destiny 2. And not to be outdone by his fellow gamers he’s invested in some of best technology. What Nathan wanted to share was just how customisable this technology has become and building your own PC gaming set up is getting easier than you might think.

A few years ago PC gaming was literally an ‘off the shelf’ solution. Now though, online specialists and retailers are understanding the benefit of allowing their consumers to customise their PC gaming equipment, as it makes for a richer gaming experience and drives revenue sales in a slightly depleting market.

To get under the skin (if you excuse the pun) of PC gaming, we asked Nathan some key questions, that should help to provide a clearer understanding of why ‘build your own’ PC gaming has taken off so much recently.

1.       What’s the main benefit of customisable PC gaming?

If you do the research on how to build one and do it safely, you can get a much higher specification of a computer for a significantly better price. Plus as you’ll be building it yourself you’ll have the knowledge about your computer and this will make future upgrades or repair a whole lot easier, as well as providing a key skill set in the technology driven landscape we now live in.

 2.       Is it more expensive than other off the shelf options?

It can be specification depending, but it is usually cheaper. It’s a little bit like home cooking, make it yourself and save money.

 3.       What elements can you customise?

With PC building, virtually everything is customisable and manufacturers are catching onto this making it easier for consumers to do this. Even cases come with so many extra parts, brackets and screws, so you can literally have your components wherever you need them to be.

RAM sticks can have extra interchangeable heat sinks for better heat dispersion or even be water-cooled. Power supplies can have skins added onto them for aesthetics or with fully modular power supplies, braided cables can be beneficial for a more stable power output and look.

Motherboard heat sinks can be replaced with higher end materials, as they disperse heat better and again can be water-cooled. My own motherboard and others have lighting strip brackets and a 3D printed bracket slot for that extra customisation.

Hard drives on the other hand, can be customised but they don’t have to be. Because if your hard drive is overheating there could be a fault or obstruction of air flow. They can have skins added to them to make it match your case or components, but for the hardcore enthusiast, the new M.2 Sata drives can be water-cooled. 

Graphics Cards are fully customisable and sometimes even encouraged by the manufacturer. A few top end manufacturers like EVGA and XFX will maintain your warranty even if you upgrade their graphics card with a water-cooled block. 

CPU’s are only customisable physically with fans or water-cooling. For the high end gamers CPU’s and the graphics cards can be overclocked, but this isn’t for amateurs as it can takes hours or even days of testing. Saying that, there are plenty of options out there if this is something that you would like, as many manufacturers sell an OC (overclocked) edition of their products, where they themselves have overclocked it so it runs safely and efficiently.

 4.       Can you get this from a high street shop?

It’s mostly online, but there are a few computer shops where you can buy basics like a case, or a RAM upgrade. But fully customising comes down to the consumer or specialists.

You only have to take a look at any one of the clear benefits associated with customisable PC building to see why this option is booming in popularity.  So whilst it’s not the cheapest hobby to take up, the rewards of having something that meets your own specific gaming requirements, is what still makes this market so buoyant and competitive. 

If you are considering building your own PC, research is key. There’s nothing worse than ordering parts, that then don’t fit because of incompatibility. There are plenty of online platforms which can help for component compatibility, such as www.pcpartpicker.com while YouTube is a wealth of information for reviews and fitting guides.