If you’ve recently purchased a pre-built PC and are wondering how to make it compatible for gaming, then you’ve come to the right place. Modifying your new PC into a gaming PC can be as easy as installing an updated, new generation graphics card into your system and then calling it a day. However, there are a few things you’ll need to check before you do make any changes at all, so you know with the utmost confidence that you’re making the right modifications to it. We’ll make sure to fill you in on the nitty-gritty.
Firstly, you most likely are aware of the base specifications that your system came with when you first purchased it. If the system didn’t come with a graphics card pre-installed, then it most likely wouldn’t be able to play triple-A titles very easily and neither at a decent or stable frames-per-second.
If your system has a newer generation Intel Core i5/i7, or Ryzen 5/Ryzen 7 processor or above built-in, then your option range for graphics cards are quite wide as most graphics cards will perform completely fine with the paired processor. This can include up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti, however, there are power consumption warnings that you need to be aware of before installing a high tier graphics card like that, which we’ll discuss later on.
If you have an Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 processor, your options are more limited, as you do not want to get a graphics card that doesn’t perform as well as it could due to the limited speed of your processor that’s paired with it, (otherwise known as “CPU bottlenecking”). Our recommendation would be to look into entry level and low-tier graphics card like the NVIDIA GTX 1650 or AMD RX 570, or mid-tier graphics cards such as the NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super or the AMD RX 5700.
Secondly, the power supply that is built within your pre-built PC must be considered if you are thinking of adding a graphics card to your system. The overall power consumption of your system is very important as it needs to fits within the specification of your power supply. Adding a single graphics card can greatly increase the consumption rate when the system is at maximum power consumption, so it’s best to confirm the max wattage of your power supply and intended graphics card, to ensure you have sufficient headroom in your PSU.
If the included power supply within your pre-built system has a max wattage of 750W or anything above, you should be able to put any graphics card within the system with no issues at all; up to an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti. For example, the power consumption of a Ryzen 5 3500X processor paired with an RTX 2080 Ti can reach up to 450-500W load wattage at base specifications. The calculated would then recommend at least a 600W or 650W 80+ Gold rated power supply to pair with your system. If you are thinking of installing two compatible NVLink/Crossfire graphics cards instead, you would need to follow the same principle by calculating the max load of the configuration and make sure your power supply fits within the recommended wattage output. With Dual RTX NVLink or GTX SLI graphics card configurations, you’ll most likely reach just under 800W-900W or near the 1000W mark at max load, therefore, our recommendation would be a 1000W or greater power supply.
Efficiency rating is something you may also like to consider. A power supply’s ultimate job is to convert the AC power from your wall outlet to DC power so your system’s components can use it. The efficiency rating is the power being outputted to the components within the system, divided by the wattage drawn from the power socket. A 400W power supply with a 40% efficiency rating would draw 800W to get to its peak output. The other 400W is wasted as heat in that conversion process.
Generally speaking, the more efficient a power supply is, the less energy is wasted as heat. Less heat means less need for cooling, meaning the unit’s cooling fan has less work to do, which also generally means a quieter unit overall. It is also generally accepted that the more efficient the power supply, the higher quality the unit is overall; there are exceptions to this, but going with a reputable brand is always highly recommended.
The generally accepted standard of power supplies is the 80 Plus system and the varies tiers within it, including White, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium ratings. The White, Bronze, Silver and Gold ratings are relatively common within consumer PC power supplies as they are frequently available via many manufacturers on the market. Platinum and Titanium ratings are generally reserved for very high capacity PSUs used in workstation PCs and very high-end gaming PCs that have up to dual powerful graphics cards like the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti.
Lastly, how your system looks will be the easiest way to determine whether it looks like a custom gaming PC or not. This includes the case that is used, lighting; such as LED or RGB lights and overall build aesthetics. If you’re not comfortable with re-building your entire system into a new case, then adding a few RGB lighting strips within your system’s case can make it feel alive! Most RGB LED kits that are PC compatible are powered via Molex or SATA power connections which are usually easily accessible on the other side of the case where the should be a few spare connectors available. Once you have them installed, you’ll be able to see that your new desktop will be looking a lot more vibrant and exciting – this is what PC building is all about.
Some RGB LED kits have motherboard RGB connectivity which allows the strips to be controlled by RGB software. Depending on the motherboard manufacturer there are different software for each brand, such as the following: ASUS AURA Sync, MSI Mystic Light, Gigabyte RGB Fusion 2.0, etc. However, do not assume that your pre-built system will have compatibility out of the box for this. It’s always best to check, confirm if it does, and then proceed with adding the upgrade to your system.
We hope that this guide has given you a bit more insight into how to make your pre-built PC look like a gaming pc. If you’re interested in upgrading your PC to Prebuilt Gaming PC and adding a few new components, then please check out our Allied Components range which includes Power Supplies such as the Engin series and RGB Lighting Kits like the Nebula.