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Building the Best PC for Escape from Tarkov: Recommended Hardware for 60FPS & 144FPS

May 23, 2021

A notoriously demanding game on both the GPU and CPU (even RAM), the popular hardcore shooter Escape from Tarkov is still in early-access and consequently a little unoptimized in that your mileage can vary greatly as to what sort of performance you get. It can be difficult to get super smooth, consistent frame rates across all situations. Here are my findings after scouring all corners of internet land for every EFT benchmark I could lay my eyes on, to bring to you recommended PC builds for 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, along with tips on maximizing performance.

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The Best PSUs for 2021 Builds (& Specs FAQ)

April 21, 2021

Often overlooked when building a PC, the power supply is a crucial part that makes up a computer. Selecting a cheap, poor quality one is setting up your PC to encounter problems down the line. In this guide we cover the best quality and best value PSUs on the market right now, along with everything you need to know about PSU features if you're new to building computers.

The Best Value Prebuilt Gaming PCs (VR Ready)

April 6, 2021

It seems graphics cards will remain difficult to purchase for at least a while longer, with premade PCs actually being an easier way to get a hold of the ever-evasive, massively in-demand RTX 3000 and RX 6000 series. Since my last prebuilt PC guide was published last year, it's time for some all new recommendations based on my latest findings this past week, including tips on how to find reliable prebuilt PCs from good manufacturers in order to avoid wasting your money on a dud.

How to Install the Noctua NH-D15 (& Fan Setup)

Mar 14, 2021

The NH-D15 is a standout high-end CPU cooler, often featured in our recommended builds. Installation isn't hard but there are a few key things to know that may not be apparent from solely following the official instructional manual.

Why GPU Prices Are So High in 2021 (& Will NVidia Help Normalize the Market Soon?)

Mar 3, 2021

To say it's not the greatest time to buy a new graphics card would be understatement of the century. Let's talk about it, including what NVidia is trying to do to help gamers.

Cyberpunk 2077 vs Mid-Range Gaming PCs: RT/DLSS Performance Analysis (1080p, 1440p)

Feb 16, 2021

Everyone knows Cyberpunk is one of the most demanding games on the market, but do you really need monster specs? We put the game to the test against a typical mid-range gaming PC setup to see whether high/ultra settings and/or ray tracing is viable without having to sell a kidney for a top of the line graphics card, including a look at how different DLSS settings affect performance.

Choosing the Best Graphics Settings for Faster Cyberpunk 2077 Performance (& DLSS Explained)

Jan 28, 2021

I've tinkered around with Cyberpunk's settings for a while now, and here are my findings including a ton of screenshot comparisons of various presets, ray tracing, and DLSS settings to help you more easily find the right balance of performance vs image quality.

Building the Best PC for Cyberpunk 2077: Requirements for 1080p, 1440p, 4K (& RT)

Jan 24, 2021

I've now had time to play and benchmark one of the biggest releases in modern gaming history, and here are my thoughts on the game and what to know about choosing parts to achieve your desired level of performance for your gaming monitor's resolution.

How to Choose the Best CPU for Gaming: Top Recommendations & What to Look for in a CPU

Jan 21, 2021

AMD is sitting pretty on top of the CPU stack, but the slightly higher than average release prices of their latest Ryzen 5000 series has opened the door for Intel to be a very reasonable "value" alternative. Competition in the CPU market is fierce right now, and if you want the best value, we break down the chips you're looking for.

How to Choose the Best GPU for Gaming & VR in 2021 (Recommendations & Features Explained)

Jan 9, 2021

Unless you've just returned from Mars courtesy of SpaceX, graphics cards are in huge demand right now without the supply to meet it, meaning you'll need a little luck or cunning to grab one of the new GPUs from NVidia or AMD (and at a regular price). But it's not impossible, so if you're up to a challenge these are the top models I suggest to get the fastest gaming performance for your budget.

Do New B550 and X570 Motherboards Need a BIOS Update for Ryzen 5000? (FAQ)

Jan 1, 2021

Confused about BIOS updates and 500 series (B550 and X570) motherboards? This guide breaks down what to know when planning a new PC build with a Ryzen 5000 CPU like the 5600X, 5800X, 5900X or 5950X - there is a chance that you will need to update your motherboard's BIOS before being able to boot up with one of these new processors.

List of Motherboards That Have BIOS Flashback

Jan 1, 2021

A lot of modern AMD and Intel motherboards have a BIOS flashback button that gives you the ability to update the BIOS without a CPU installed, but not all. Here is a complete list of all current motherboards that have this neat feature, which is especially handy for anyone building a new Ryzen 5000 build that may require you to update the BIOS prior to being able to boot-up with a Ryzen 5000 CPU.

How to Update Your Motherboard BIOS Without Needing a CPU (USB Flash for Ryzen 5000)

Dec 29, 2020

If you buy a B550 or X570 today, you still might need to update its BIOS before being able to boot-up your new system with one of the latest Ryzen 5000 CPUs (5600X, 5900X, etc). Here I detail exactly how to do this on any motherboard and answer common questions surrounding this somewhat mysterious yet sometimes crucial method.

The Best Gaming PC Builds for December 2020

Dec 20, 2020

Another overhaul of my previous recommended builds that takes into account the many changes in the market; the 5600X and 5900X make their first appearance, there's a ton of new B550 and X570 recommendations, and I show which parts you need for 60FPS in Cyberpunk at any resolution.

Hunting the Best Cyber Monday DIY PC Deals

Nov 30, 2020

Cyber Monday is about on-par with Black Friday when it comes to online tech deals, so just like on Friday I'll be searching for, vetting, and listing any noteworthy deals on quality components, systems, accessories, and more.

Hunting the Best Black Friday 2020 Deals for PC Builders and Gamers (US Picks)

Nov 27, 2020

Black Friday weekend is here and as I do every year I'll be tracking down the best standout deals I find on all things PC building and gaming, including accessories, VR, software deals (ie VPNs), and whatever else I can find that's worth considering.

How to Install the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition on AMD Motherboards (Photo Guide)

Nov 25, 2020

A comprehensive step by step guide on installing one of the most popular CPU coolers of all time. Some beginners find installing this cooler a little confusing if you solely rely on the basic diagrams of the included manual; the photos and explanations in this tutorial are here to make things easier.

The Best Software to Install On a New Gaming PC (Security, Performance, Utility Programs)

Nov 19, 2020

Last year we made a list of the most useful, trustworthy applications to consider installing on your fresh new custom build, but just like hardware components, the software game also changes quite quickly. It's time for a new, updated list of software recommendations for this year, including the current best anti-virus and security software, the best hardware monitoring and FPS benchmarking programs, and everything in-between (including VPNs).

The Best 4K 144Hz Gaming Monitors for a RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT

Nov 16, 2020

4K 144Hz is the ultimate resolution and refresh rate combination for gaming right now, but choosing a 4K 144Hz monitor isn't easy as it's going to cost a sizeable chunk of change (if not a kidney). You really want to do thorough due diligence to select the right model, as no monitor is perfect; there's always a compromise somewhere. After looking into every single 4K 144Hz model I could find on the market right now and analyzing the findings of professional reviewers and general consumers alike, these are the models I can suggest.

The Current Best Gaming Monitors: November 2020 Edition (Casual & Competitive Gamers)

Nov 3, 2020

After 2 weeks of in-depth research on the current state of the gaming display market, our monitor buyer's guide gets a complete overhaul with brand new recommendations for Q4 2020 and a bunch of useful tips and knowledge nuggets to help you more fruitfully navigate the oftentimes-confusing monitor market.

The Best Headphones for Gaming: Q4 2020 Edition (& FAQ on Choosing the Perfect Pair)

Oct 17, 2020

A good pair of headphones will almost always beat out a similar priced gaming headset in terms of sound quality for the price, as the latter are almost always average headphones with a cheap mic slapped on, along with gamer-focused marketing and fancy-sounding features to inflate the price.

Up Your Audio: The Best Value Computer Speaker Setups for Gaming (2.1 & 5.1)

Oct 13, 2020

If you're after the ultimate gaming setup, sound quality is part of the equation. Here we break down some of the better value speaker sets on the market right now, including the top budget speakers, mid-range 2.1 setups, and high-end 5.1 systems for epic surround sound.

Is Building a PC As Easy As They Say?

Oct 11, 2020

Within PC gaming communities you often hear that building your own PC is really easy these days and that anyone and everyone can and should do it. Even Grandma if she suddenly woke up one day with a sudden strong urge to dominate some sorry noobs on PUBG - apparently she should build a new rig too. But is it really as easy as they say? Should everyone build their own PC, even if they have 0 hardware knowledge?

Recommended PCIe Sound Cards for the Ultimate Gaming Audio Experience (Sound Geeks Only)

Oct 7, 2020

Sound cards are a rare inclusion in a gaming PC build, and it should absolutely remain that way. However, while 99% of gamers shouldn't even consider getting one, there's always exceptions to the rule and the audio fanatics among us sporting seriously super-powered professional-grade headphones or speakers may want (or even need) to look beyond what motherboard audio can provide to take full advantage of that golden gear. If you're part of the audio 1%, these are the best internal sound cards we can recommend.

The Best Gaming PC Builds for the Money: Q4 2020 Edition (October Update ft. RTX 3000)

Oct 5, 2020

The new RTX 30 series graphics cards from NVidia has changed the hardware market, and in this latest update to our recommended PC builds we break down what to know when planning the best RTX 3060 Ti, 3070, 3080, or 3090 build along with our usual budget PC recommendations for anyone planning a super cost-effective rig. If you need help choosing the best value parts for a new system build, this comprehensive guide is here to help you avoid getting stuck in eternal research land of doom.

How to Save MORE Money When Building a PC

Oct 1, 2020

It's well known that picking parts yourself and building your own computer will save you money, but there's a few key things to know when choosing components that if you're not aware of can lead to overspending. Here we cover the basics of picking parts to save money, plus a bunch of extra tips to cut costs further if you're on a tight budget where every dollar counts.

Are Refurbished Prebuilt Gaming PCs Worth It?

Sep 23, 2020

Buying a refurbished gaming desktop is an option worth considering if you want to cut costs when buying a prebuilt system, but only if you find the right deal from a trusted place and understand what refurbished really means (and the risks). We explain the pros and cons to buying refurbished computers and hand-pick some of the better deals we could find on the market right now.

How to Buy a Used Graphics Card Without Getting Ripped (& Fair RTX 2000 Prices Guide)

Sep 20, 2020

The used graphics card market has seen a flood of gamers and enthusiasts selling their current or previous gen cards in the hopes of upgrading to RTX 3000 this holiday season, meaning it's a decent time to find a bargain within the still-modern RTX 2000 or RX 5000 series if you can't afford the shiny new 3000 series, or don't want to wait until next year to get a GPU (which may be the only hope of getting a 3000 card due to the well-publicized low-stock (and/or high bot) launch of the 3000 series.

An Update On the State of SLI: RTX 3000 Support & NVIDIA's Announcement to Axe SLI

Sep 20, 2020

This week NVIDIA has finally well and truly put a coffin in SLI as we know it, and starting next year won't be releasing official SLI drivers for future games. However, multi-GPU setups will live on thanks to DirectX 12 (or Vulkan) mGPU, though only if developers choose to implement mGPU in their code themselves. We break down what it all means in as simple terms as possible, including a revisited look at the pros and cons to SLI for those considering it for older cards (or for the 3090, which actually will support it, despite future-game SLI drivers to be officially off the cards).

The Overwatch PC Build Guide: 2020 Edition (Specs for 60FPS, 144FPS, 240FPS, 360FPS)

Sep 9, 2020

We re-visit our Overwatch build guide with a fresh look based on the 2020 market to see which CPU, GPU and RAM you'll need to reach the performance level you desire, and more tips including whether NVIDIA or AMD is faster, the most popular monitors used by pros, and more.

The League of Legends Build Guide: 2020 Edition (Required Specs for 60FPS, 144FPS, 240FPS)

Sep 3, 2020

League of Legends is one of the most popular eSports on the planet and we take a fresh 2020 look at which modern PC parts you'll require to get flawless 60FPS, 144FPS, or 240FPS performance to play at your absolute best without lame lag getting in the way.

B550 vs X570 Chipset Differences: Choosing the Right Mid-Range / High-End AMD Motherboard

Aug 28, 2020

The recent release of the B550 chipset has made choosing an AMD board more confusing than it already was, but with a little basic understanding of the differences between these two types of AMD boards and whether they apply to you, the decision becomes a lot simpler.

The Q3 2020 Gaming PC Build Guides: How to Build the Fastest, High-Airflow, Best-Looking PC

Aug 5, 2020

If you're planning a build in Q3 and don't care to wait for upcoming GPU and CPU releases later this year, I'm excited to share with you 14 brand new build guides for this month - all in the one complete guide. These builds have been over 3 weeks in the making, and have all been designed from the ground up based on the current August market as great examples of how to maximize gaming performance, cooling and aesthetics for 14 different budgets (IMHO).

How to Choose a Compatible Motherboard for a 2020 Gaming PC (Important Features Explained)

July 10, 2020

Choosing a motherboard can be one of the more confusing component choices when building your first PC. Following the recent launches of B550 (AMD) and Z490 (Intel) motherboards, we've revisited our main motherboard buyer's guide for beginners and done a complete re-write from scratch. The makeover includes new diagrams, 2020 motherboard/CPU compatibility "cheatsheet", and a bunch of new FAQs covering almost everything you'd need to know as a beginner shopping for your first motherboard.

MSI B550-A Pro vs MSI B450-A Pro MAX Specs Comparison (What's the Best Budget AMD Board?)

July 6, 2020

The MSI B450-A Pro MAX is one of the best overall "bang for buck" budget AMD motherboards for a practical, non-flashy mid-range gaming PC. Its new B550 brother is set to become available any day now, but comes in at roughly $40 (US) more. Are the improvements over the B450 worth it?

B550 vs B450: Overview of the B550 Launch, Differences Explained, and is B550 Worth It?

July 3, 2020

Choosing an AMD motherboard just got more confusing with the release of the B550 chipset, as B550's have been released in quite dramatically different price tiers, all the way from < $100 for the cheapest model to around $300 for the top model (which is well within X570 territory). The questions being asked by every gamer and his goat this month is whether or not B550 is worth it over B450 for budget PCs (which we'll cover today), and if B550 is a better buy than X570 (article on that coming soon).

What is PCIe 4.0? Do PCIe 4.0 SSDs and GPUs Noticeably Improve Gaming Performance?

July 3, 2020

B550 motherboards bring PCIe 4.0 to the masses, but you might have heard that it's no big deal. We explain why that is, how PCIe 4.0 affects SSDs and GPUs (the only two devices that can use it right now), and when (or if) PCIe 4.0 will actually be important for a gaming PC. We'll also cover other common questions surrounding PCIe in general for good measure, as it's often a confusing topic for beginners.

Will All B450 Boards Support Zen 3? AMD Brings B450 Back from the Dead

June 17, 2020

After first stating the exact opposite, AMD recently confirmed that B450 motherboards will indeed be getting support for future 4th generation Ryzen processors after all. We break down the initial controversial decision, the following about-face from AMD, and what it means exactly including whether ALL B450 boards will be getting support, which B450 boards are the safest bets for Ryzen 4000, how the upgrade would work in terms of doing a BIOS update if you've never done one before, and cheap AMD memes 'cause why not.

Top 5 Best Value B450 Motherboards for Budget AMD Builds

June 15, 2020

B550 boards are just around the corner, but that doesn't mean B450s will completely disappear off the map as smart bang for buck buys, especially thanks to AMD announcing recently that B450 boards will indeed be able to support future Ryzen 4000 processors (after initially announcing they wouldn't support it).

The Best Value 2020 Prebuilt Gaming PCs for Time-Poor Gamers (& How to Avoid a Dud)

June 5, 2020

Pre-assembled desktops often get a bad wrap, but for good reason as most just aren't worth it compared to building your own (and are often made up of subpar quality components). But not everyone has the time, interest, or patience to build their own system, so if you don't mind paying a little extra for the convenience of a premade ready to go system, we've carefully analyzed the US prebuilt PC market and hand-picked the most respectable models we could find that provide decent value.

Building the Best Value PC for CS:GO (Get 144FPS+ for Less)

May 29, 2020

Our original CS hardware guide was published a couple years back, but the most popular FPS in the world (yep; still) deserves a fresh new look at in 2020. In this completely rewritten guide we break down the current hardware market for gamers specifically looking to get the highest FPS possible for less money, which also takes into account the latest Intel releases. CS:GO is not demanding overall, but for 144FPS or even 240FPS (all pros use 240Hz monitors or better) you will need a capable CPU.

Recommended Gaming PC Builds: Q2 2020 Edition (May and June)

May 18, 2020

Our latest PC builds for gamers explain our current top hardware component recommendations for all budgets, taking into account the brand new Intel and AMD CPUs that hit the market this month. To cut a long story short, Intel still retains its crown for maximum gaming performance for high-end setups, with AMD owning the value market.

Recommended Dedicated Streaming PC Builds for Twitch or Mixer

May 8, 2020

Dedicated streaming rigs aren't for everyone, but if you're a pro streamer wanting a dual computer setup (one for streaming and one for gaming) this is the guide for you. For most streamers, we recommend gaming and streaming on a single setup though (see our other guide below for that).

Recommended PC Builds for Streaming & Gaming on the Same Setup

May 4, 2020

Assembling a new rig for both gaming and streaming? There are a couple extra considerations to take into account which we address in this guide. We also break down some of the common questions regarding streaming setups like CPU vs GPU encoding and how it all works, along with some ready-to-go example builds for streaming if you just want to know which exact parts we recommend right now in 2020. Spoiler: AMD CPU + NVidia GPU - this is the way (best multitasking performance and the best hardware encoding performance thanks to the improved encoders found on new RTX cards).

Choosing the Best Value Webcam for Twitch Streaming

May 2, 2020

Not the best time to be buying a webcam, but once pricing returns to some sort of normalcy (demand for webcams has skyrocketed, meaning super inflated prices right now) these are the best value models IMO if you want to get your Twitch face cam game on. Not the most important part of a streaming setup, as you should place your hardware and other accessories (mic, etc) as a much higher priority, but at some point you will want a decent cam to show that magnificent mug of yours in crystal clear quality to build connection with your audience.

How to Install an Internal PCIe WiFi Card

Apr 20, 2020

Many motherboards don't actually come with WiFi/wireless networking capability, which is often surprising to many beginners building their first PC (and for good reason). But if you can't afford a high-end motherboard that does have WiFi as a feature, the good news is it's easy and inexpensive to add WiFi capability to your build by buying and installing an internal wireless network card. Here's how to mount one inside your PC and set it all up, including what to do about wireless drivers and tips on positioning for the best signal.

How to Install an M.2 SSD (PCIe or SATA)

Apr 19, 2020

M.2 drives are the bees knees 'cause they bring super-fast SSD storage technology in a super-thin little drive that fits snugly inside your actual motherboard, saving room inside your case. They're dead easy to install but here are full instructions and photos should you need a helping hand installing these little guys.

How to Install SATA Optical Disk Drives (CD, DVD, or Blu-ray)

Apr 18, 2020

As physical media continues towards its slow inevitable death, optical drives are also becoming a thing of the past. But unlike their Floppy Drive cousins, who have completely fallen off the face of the Earth and haven't been included in a single PC build since the 1800's, there's still life in disk drives and many new computer builds still include them in their setups for obvious reasons (dusting off and loading up those old HL1 and HL2 DVDs to get ready for HLA - duh).

How to Test Parts Outside the Case (Before Building the Rest of Your PC)

Apr 17, 2020

When you're building a PC, about half-way through the process when you've installed the core parts onto the motherboard (CPU, cooler, RAM, and maybe more), it's good practice to do a quick test of your parts before putting them into the case to check everything is working properly and that you don't have a faulty part. When you do this you can also check that your CPU, cooler, and thermal paste are all working properly by giving a quick look over the CPU temperature in the BIOS.

How to Install Extra Fans in a PC Case (& Computer Airflow 101)

Apr 15, 2020

What to know about mounting additional case fans in your build (or upgrading an existing system with new fans). PC airflow optimization can get real complex real fast as it can quickly start venturing into complicated physics and thermodynamics, but in usual BGC style in this guide we'll break down the basics for beginners or intermediates in simple to understand layman's terms (without getting too technical and minus the jargon).

The Best Gaming PC Builds of the Month: April 2020 Update (Recommended Parts)

Apr 10, 2020

Time for another update to our recommended gaming PC builds. Some industry experts predicted hardware prices and stock availability would take a turn for the worse by now thanks to the human malware outbreak (credit to GN for that term). But at least for now, the predicted slowdowns of manufacturing in China hasn't seemed to have actually happened, and right now PC components have not been affected from what I can see. That's good news if you were planning a build around this time, as prices are still as good as they have been over recent months. Although I'm speaking of the US hardware market where I spend most of my focus (as 95% of you guys are from there), and in my own country (AU) I have noticed a slight increase in prices of late (but nothing too crazy, at least for now).

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