The most important thing to remember when putting together a new computer build is your budget. It is critical that you put together a realistic budget of what you are willing to spend on your new build and stick to it.
Thanks to the countless hardware options that are available nowadays, you do not need to overspend on the components for your brand new gaming PC. With so many choices being available you will be able to find something that suits your needs.
Often, people overspend on items such as their power supply, computer cases, monitors, and peripherals, only to find that they don’t have enough budget left to purchase a decent motherboard, CPU, or GPU.
Our advice is to start with the hardware that most directly affects performance, the motherboard, CPU, and GPU. This is the hardware that gives you the performance that you are seeking in your new build. Once you have chosen these, then go and look at the remaining items that you need for the build.
You are better off spending more of your budget on those critical hardware pieces and spending a little less on those items that don’t provide as much of a performance impact.
Be conscious of your budget!
Which form factor do you want to go for?
Next up you need to consider what form factor you want to go for with your build. Bigger is not always better.
There are four main form factor sizes that gamers consider when putting together a new gaming computer:
This is the most common motherboard size and is the main standard. It is a full-size board that generally comes in at around 12 x 9.6 inches, provides 7 expansion slots, up to 8 RAM slots, supports up to 4 GPUs and up to 12 SATA ports.
E-ATX boards are larger than ATX motherboards, coming in at 12 x 13 inches. These motherboards allow for a greater feature set and increased build options. Commonly E-ATX boards will have more PCI-E slots and connectivity options than ATX boards.
MicroATX boards are the middle ground in terms of sizing. Coming in at 9.6 x 9.6 inches they provide 4 expansion slots, up to 4 RAM slots, generally supporting up to 2 GPUS and up to 8 SATA ports.
The Mini-ITX form factor is small. It is perfect for a very small form factor PC build. Mini-ITX boards are 6.69 x 6.69 inches and have 1 expansion slot, 2 RAM slots, supporting 1 GPU and up to 6 SATA ports.
So which do you choose?
Which form factor to go for depends on your particular use case, and everyone’s preference is different. The most common form factor is ATX with MicroATX also growing increasingly popular amongst gamers that are looking for something for a smaller footprint.
By choosing ATX you will have more build configuration options available to you thanks to the additional hardware slots and functionality. In addition to this you will have more choice on what hardware will be available to you.
ATX is a great choice for those gamers that want the freedom of choice when it comes to what hardware to use, and for those that want to leave a clear upgrade path for the future. By going for the larger build you will often find improved airflow which will help wth your computer performance.
The one downside to ATX builds is that they can be quite large depending on what computer case you choose. This can be an issue if you have limited space to place the computer or if you want to palace it on top of your desk.
If you do opt for an ATX build, try and choose a decent mid tower case. This will ensure that the computer won’t be as large and cumbersome, and will not be as heavy.
Another popular choice amongst gamers are MicroATX builds. This form factor is the sweet spot for gamers that are looking for a compact, more portable build, whilst still packing a whole heap of firepower.
The beauty of MicroATX builds is that, although being smaller, they still provide with you much of what ATX builds offer. You can still make use of 4 RAM slots which you are not able to do with smaller form factors, and still have access to multiple expansion and storage slots.
MicroATX builds are perfect to showcase on top of your desk as they dont take up alot of space. It also makes these builds a great choice if you want to take your computer with you to somewhere like a friend’s house or lan party.
If opting for a MicroATX build, you will just need to be a bit more conscious about the hardware that you are going to use and ensure that everything fits into the case that you are going to build in.
Z790 and B760
As we all know, the latest 13th Gen Intel CPU offerings are now on the market, and with that comes the release of the Z790 and B760 motherboards. These motherboards take advantage of the latest technology such as DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 and help give your gaming PC the performance that you need.
The new Z790 chipset motherboards support both the 12th gen and 13th gen Intel processors. This is great for those that are looking to do an upgrade to their current gaming rig and are looking to re-use their 12th Gen CPU. This means that money saved can be put towards something else, such as a better GPU or higher end motherboard.
The Z790 platform fully supports PCIe 5.0 on both of the PCIe x16 slots as well as the M.2 slots. This is important for those that want to make use of the latest PCIe 5.0 SSD options available and latest generation GPUs. When it comes to PCIe 4.0, the new Z790 chipset provides up to 20 downstream PCIe Gen 4 lanes, compared to the 12 downstream lanes of the Z690 chipset.
B760 motherboards are similar to their Z790 bigger brothers, but come in at a more affordable price bracket. These motherboards are designed to be the perfect entry and mid tier point for gamers thanks to their price when compared to Z790. They are able to come in at a more affordable price due to them having a few less specifications than the Z790 motherboards:
CPU Overclocking support: Yes
CPU PCI Express 5.0 Lanes: 20
Chipset PCI Express: 28
Max Number of USB Ports: 14
Max USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Ports (20Gbps): 5
Max USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 Ports (10Gbps): 10
Max USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 Ports (5Gbps): 10
Max USB 2.0 Ports: 14
CPU Overclocking support: No
CPU PCI Express 5.0 Lanes: 20
Chipset PCI Express: 14
Max Number of USB Ports: 12
Max USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Ports (20Gbps): 2
Max USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 Ports (10Gbps): 4
Max USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 Ports (5Gbps): 6
Max USB 2.0 Ports: 12
Although they come with a slightly more limited featureset than that of the Z790 motherboards, they offer tremendous value and can handle things such as 4K without breaking a sweat.
DDR5 Memory is the latest memory standard that is now being used in the latest PC gaming builds.
DDR5 is designed to essentially perform better than DDR4 in practically every way. What this means is that you will be seeing faster frequencies, greater power efficiency, more bandwidth and faster speeds.
If you are someone that requires a lot of memory then DDR5 provides you with all the memory that you could possibly need. Unlike DDR4 that supports up to 128GB of RAM across 4 DIMM slots, DDR5 supports up to a mammoth 512GB of RAM. this is great news for content creators and those running more memory intensive productivity tasks.
Like DDR5 is the replacement for DDR4, PCIe 5.0 is the replacement for PCIe 4.0.
The most immediate improvement that PCIe 5.0 offers when compared to its predecessor is its vast speed improvements. PCIe 5.0 doubles the speed of PCIe 4.0 by supporting 128GB/s of bandwidth, 32GT/s of gigatransfer, and a frequency of 32GHz.
At the moment PCIe 4.0 may be able to handle the hardware currently available but that won’t be the case for long as we see more and more higher performing hardware components enter the market. This new hardware will require the performance only PCIe 5.0 can provide.
For example, NVMe drives are the standard nowadays when we talk about storage for your computer. They offer great performance and are now available at affordable prices. PCIe 5.0 offers double the data transfer speeds with PCIe 5.0 NVMe storage when compared to NVMe Gen 4 storage.
What this means for gaming is that developers will be able to truly utilise this increased speed to develop games that are more intuitive, seamless and demanding. Not to mention that your computer will be insanely fast when it comes to read and write operations.
All of these increased speeds mean that you have a motherboard that is future proof and will be able to make use of future hardware that is developed.
AORUS Z790 and B760 motherboards
When it comes to picking the best motherboard to put in your gaming computer, our recommendation is always the GIGABYTE AORUS range of motherboards.
The AORUS range of motherboards are known amongst gamers as being some of the most reliable, feature rich and powerful motherboards available. If you are someone that is looking to get the most performance possible out of your computer hardware, then look no further.
And the good news is that they have a motherboard offering for all budgets.
Before we jump into our top picks for the perfect AORUS motherboards to consider, we thought that we would highlight just a few of the key features that make AORUS an industry leader when it comes to motherboard design.
It’s all about thermals
We all know that thermals are one of the biggest factors when it comes to computer performance. If the components are getting too hot in your computer then things are going to slow down, or even worse, get damaged.
The AORUS series of Z790 and B760 motherboards are able to effortlessly keep thermals under control thanks to their outstanding thermal solutions. These thermal designs provide everything that you need to keep your hardware running nice and cool, even when under heavy load.
AORUS motherboards come with M.2 thermal guards that help to prevent instances in which throttling and bottlenecks can be experienced with high speed M.2 SSDs. It is able to do this by dissipating the heat generated before it is able to become an issue that affects performance. In addition to the M.2 thermal guard, AORUS motherboards make use of enlarged M.2 heatsinks to improve cooling performance even further.
Not only do AORUS motherboards make use of advanced M.2 cooling, but they also include advanced MOSFET and heatsink designs to keep thermals efficient with improved airflow and heat exchange.
The motherboards include improved copper PCB designs which make use of additional copper on the PCB inner layer. These new PCB designs are able to result in lower component temperatures thanks to their ability to dissipate additional heat away from your hardware.
To give you even more control over your gaming PCs cooling performance, AORUS motherboards come loaded with Smart Fan 6 which provides you with various cooling features that ensure that your fans are running optimally at all times. With Smart Fan 6 you are able to easily set fan curves based on different temperature sensors, quickly and easily, using the user-friendly Smart Fan 6 interface.
Gain an advantage with GIGABYTE BIOS
We know what every gamer wants to get out of their gaming PC, they want to get the best gaming performance possible and achieve every FPS possible whilst gaming.
Well, with the AORUS Z790 and B760 lineup, they have put the power in your hands with the GIGABYTE BIOS. Easily gain additional performance boosts with the click of a button.
For gamers that are making use of XMP memory, you are able to take advantage of a couple of memory tweaks in the GIGABYTE BIOS. These are the High Bandwidth and Low Latency options found within the BIOS. By enabling the High Bandwidth and Low Latency options in the AORUS ELITE BIOS, you will see around a 10% boost in performance of your XMP DDR5 memory.
Don’t worry, if you are not using the latest XMP memory, the AORUS lineup still has you covered. The GIGABYTE BIOS provides you with a DDR5 Auto Booster option, which when enabled will automatically give you additional levels of performance by providing a higher frequency for non-XMP DDR5 memory.
Leading power design
Power design is one of the most critical features of any motherboard. This is because the power delivery is directly linked to the performance that you get out of your connected hardware components and also the overclocking headroom that you have available.
AORUS motherboards are built with gamers in mind and careful thought has been put into their power design, ensuring that you get the most you can out of your gaming PC.
Computer components depend on electricity, but each of them has different power consumption requirements. How does a motherboard handle it? All motherboards come with a VRM (or Voltage Regulator Module). It’s one of the most crucial parts of your motherboard, as it controls proper power delivery. When it comes to power delivery, it’s all about efficiency.
VRM makes sure that all of the components are getting the correct voltage reliably, and at a continuous and steady voltage. Motherboards that have low quality VRM can cause a whole load of issues for you, such as poor gaming performance, risk of damaging hardware, computer stability issues.
AORUS motherboards come equipped with a Digital VRM design which leads the pack when compared to other motherboards. All power is handled with extreme efficiency and optimises the performance that you get out of your gaming PC
Our motherboard recommendations
Now that we know of some of the benefits of including the AORUS motherboards as part of your gaming rig, here are our top picks.
The AORUS MASTER series of motherboards is one of the hottest options amongst gamers the world over. The Z790 AORUS MASTER is known for providing some of the best gaming performance possible, whilst also giving you plenty of room to push things even further via overclocking.
This motherboard comes with some of the best cooling features available that keeps your gaming rig running cool and gives you additional overclocking headroom.
Key features of the Z790 AORUS MASTER
Intel® Socket LGA 1700: Support 13th and 12th Gen Series Processors
Unparalleled Performance: Direct 20+1+2 Phases Digital VRM Solution
Dual Channel DDR5: 4*SMD DIMMs with XMP 3.0 Memory Module Support
Next Generation Storage: 1*PCIe 5.0 x4 and 4*PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 Connectors
Fins-Array III & M.2 Thermal Guard III: To Ensure VRM Power Stability & 25110 PCIe 5.0 M.2 SSD Performance
What if you are a gamer that doesn’t need to do all the crazy overclocking but still wants to make the move to a high end gaming PC? Then the Z790 AORUS ELITE AX is your answer.
Offering amazing gaming performance and packed full of features, the Z790 AORUS ELITE AX is a great choice for most gamers. If you do want to dabble in some overclocking to get an additional performance boost then this motherboard has got you covered.
Key features of the Z790 AORUS ELITE AX
Intel® Socket LGA 1700: Support 13th and 12th Gen Series Processors
Unparalleled Performance: Twin 16*+2+１ Phases Digital VRM Solution
Dual Channel DDR5: 4*SMD DIMMs with XMP 3.0 Memory Module Support
Next Generation Storage: 4*PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 Connectors
Advanced Thermal Design & M.2 Thermal Guard III: To Ensure VRM Power Stability & M.2 SSD Performance
Extended Connectivity：DP, HDMI, Front USB-C® 10Gb/s, Rear USB-C® 20Gb/s
Smart Fan 6: Features Multiple Temperature Sensors, Hybrid Fan Headers with FAN STOP
Q-Flash Plus: Update BIOS Without Installing the CPU, Memory and Graphics Card
Take the time to choose the most suitable CPU for your needs
When choosing what CPU to use for your gaming PC, it is important to consider what you are going to be using the PC for. Are you looking for a PC solely for gaming? Or are you looking for a computer that is good for gaming but also capable for productivity tasks such as content creation?
When considering your CPU make sure that you take these things into account.
Obviously, you are going to want to go for an Intel CPU for your build. For this you have 2 options. Due to the fact that the Z790 and B760 motherboards support Intel 12th Gen and 13th Gen CPUs you can go for either of those.
If you want the latest and greatest CPU for both gaming and productivity then you will want to go straight for an Intel 13th Gen CPU.
The 13th gen Intel processors make use of Raptor Cove microarchitecture and pack in a bunch of performance (P-cores) and efficiency cores (E-cores). The performance cores are designed to tackle single and lightly threaded tasks which makes it perfect for both gaming and productivity workloads.
The efficiency cores aim to maximise the CPU efficiency, taking care of multi-core workloads and background tasks. This in turn leaves the P-Cores free to focus on handling heavy workloads.
If budget is no option then take a look at the Intel 13900k CPU, these things are a powerhouse and are fantastic for overclocking to get even more grunt out of them. If you don’t need all of that power, or have a more conservative budget, the Intel 13700k is the perfect mix of performance and price. Both CPUs will handle anything you can throw at them.
If you are on a more limited budget it might be worth taking a look at some of the 12th Gen CPU offerings. You can get these nowadays at heavily discounted prices and they are still incredibly capable at gaming and productivity tasks. If this is something that you are leaning towards, try and get your hands on a 12900k, you can get these at a great price now and they are very powerful and fairly priced.
Make sure you consider your airflow and cable management
Airflow is one of the most important factors that greatly impacts the performance of a gaming PC. If there is not adequate airflow in the computer case you will find that your hardware components will get a bit too toasty. The hotter hardware gets the more likely they are to perform poorly and even cause lasting damage.
When putting together your new Intel gaming rig, it is important that you consider what computer case you are going to opt for. Take the time to make sure that it provides a good amount of cooling. Take a look at how many fans are included in the case and where they are positioned.
It is important that you have both intake fans that draw cool air into the case and outtake fans that extract hot air out. Make sure that the computer case that you like has enough ventilation in order to allow cool air from outside to be easily drawn into the case. The more cool air you can get flowing through the case, the better performance you will get.
You do not need to spend a fortune on a computer case, choose a case that you like the looks of, but that also is known for good thermal performance. There is no need to overspend on the computer case.
Cable management doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing in the world, however it is incredibly important if you not only want a system that looks amazing, but performs at its peak as well.
When it comes to computer performance, airflow is king. If you are not getting enough air going through your computer case and passing over your hardware components you are going to see a drop in performance.
This is where cable management is critical.
Think of it this way, you can build the best computer that you can afford with amazing hardware, cooling fans and CPU cooler. But what happens if there is no clear pathway for the air to go once it is inside your computer case because all of your PSU cables are all over the place? Simply put, the airflow will be limited.
If air cannot freely pass over your computer’s hardware components, those components are unable to stay cool so their temperatures keep rising. As this hardware keeps getting warmer you will start to notice what is called thermal throttling. Thermal throttling is a process that is designed to help keep your computer hardware safe when they start getting hot. It does this by reducing the performance of the hardware to try and keep temperatures lower.
By having properly managed cables inside your case you are leaving all of the interior free for cold air to be easily drawn into the case, pass over the hardware to keep it cool, and finally exhaust the warm air out of the case on the other side.