How To Create the Perfect Gaming and Work PC
If, like me, you're a gamer that works at home - whether a fully-fledged or hybrid WFH employee, or to develop your own skills in your free time - your PC needs to be able to keep up with your needs. Working at home should offer you the comfort and personal space to focus on getting through your workload interruption free, whatever that workload might be.
In most cases it's much easier to work on a gaming PC than it is to game on a work PC, as gaming typically demands a higher PC spec. So unless your job is to 3D design and render Na'vi for James Cameron you'll be best off evaluating the hardware requirements of your gaming needs first. Most workplace tasks don't require an RTX 4080, for example - but if you want to play, for example, Starfield on 1440p in Ultra settings when it releases in September, you might want to take this into consideration when shopping for your build.
Take a look at the recommended spec for some of the games you want to play, and consider the highest one you find to be the minimum you want to aim for - as you'll want to continue playing games at that level for a number of years.
If you need some help with this, you can always check out our PCs by Game section for some guidance, if we've covered the games you want to play.
Home Office & Casual Gaming PCs
If the extent of your gaming needs is some after-work chill time in League of Legends, Fortnite, Minecraft, or one of the many thousand lofi indy games out there then you likely don't need a big stonking graphics card turning your otherwise peaceful PC into an electricity munching box of polygon domination. In-fact, maybe you don't need a graphics card at all.
The game titles I've mentioned, along with many, many others, can be comfortably played with an APU such as AMD's Ryzen 5700G, and YouTube is filled with the FPS benchmarks to prove it. These processors act as both CPU and GPU, freeing you from the obligation of a dedicated graphics card when buying one isn't necessarily practical. Plus you can always add a graphics card later down the line, should your demands and expectations change.
If you're considering this as an option, take into account that APUs don't have their own memory like a dedicated graphics card does, meaning they rely on your system memory (RAM) instead. This isn't an issue by means, but it means you'll be looking at a minimum of 16GB RAM, preferably running at 3600MHz, especially if you're the type of person that likes leaving a thousand Chrome tabs, Discord, Excel and Word open in the background when you're firing up your games at the end of the day. Personally, I'd opt to go all the way up to 32GB RAM as I am unfortunately exactly that person, and I'd rather have the buffer than not.
If you're setting up a PC for dual purposes, you're going to want to ensure you can keep your work and personal files apart. The ideal way to approach this is to use an internal NVMe for your system, with an external hard drive for your work files. This gives you the freedom to disconnect your work drive and take it into the office with you if needed, providing an easy, physical separation between your two purposes.
Here's an example of the type of PC specification you might want to consider for a Home Office & Casual Gaming PC - you'd need to shop for the external hard drive separately.