Depending on your workload, the line between a regular desktop and a gaming desktop varies.
Regular computers for business tend to lack conventional components like a dedicated GPU, higher-watt PSU, and most display connections. Parts for workstations and gaming PCs are similar, but prebuilds for business or home use are different.
This article discusses how to separate hardware in regular PCs vs. gaming-oriented ones.
Part Designation Differences For Workloads
There are differences in components like the PSU, CPU, GPU, motherboard, and RAM between Gaming PCs and regular PCs. These distinctions make standard PCs complete tasks like checking email and easily storing and opening files.
A PC meant for office work may struggle immensely due to needing the right components when it comes to gaming. There is nothing dangerous about gaming on an office PC, only its lackluster performance due to limited customization.
Customization and Support
Depending on your prebuilt, some manufacturers sell specific components like the PSUs, motherboards, and cases offering affordable accessibility to a PC at the cost of upgradability.
Gaming PCs tend to be built on a larger platform hosting ATX Power supplies and motherboards capable of overclocking and extended supports for storage and PCIe lanes.
These added features require more airflow due to access heat. This need for added airflow is the main distinguisher between a regular PC and a gaming PC.
When looking at power supplies, a popular designation is an ATX form factor for gaming and workstation PCs. ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended) is a popular standard dating back to 1995 that defines the standard 20-24pin motherboard, 4-8 pin CPU, and a 6-8 pin GPU connection.
Depending on the power requirement of components, regular PCs often have lower wattage available (200-400 Watts) for a power supply to distribute to components. This lower wattage is due to only needing to power the CPU and the integrated GPU located inside the CPU.
Gaming PCs can use a higher wattage PSU (450- 1600 Watts) for more intensive graphics rendering and pushing one or more displays.
Depending on the motherboard manufacturer and system integrator, proprietary boards of regular PCs tend to be set to one speed exclusively due to not needing other hardware profiles Like XMP (eXtreme Memory Profile) or, for some motherboards, DOCP (Direct Overclock Profile)
While these functions are not essential for gaming, high RAM speeds and lower CL (CAS Latency) can increase performance, especially with demanding CPUs like the Ryzen 5800x and up from AMD.
Capable Cooling Systems
Cooling within a non-gaming-oriented case is extremely difficult with intake and ventilation. Fans can ease the heat dissipation from components like the CPU and GPU and clear stagnant air. Regular computers with predominantly enclosed interiors can use small aftermarket fans like Noctua’s 40mm and fan splitters to fit into the nooks and crannies of cases to provide adequate intake or exhaust.
Pricing for regular PCs vs. Gaming PCs depends on cases, fans, and the performance of installed components. PCs geared towards everyday work often need better motherboards, CPU coolers, and performant airflow cases for gaming.
Here are some comparisons in hardware and pricing that separate gaming and regular PCs.
Air-cooled, Water-cooled, and PC Cases
More extensive cooling solutions can put a high cost on a PC for air and water-cooled options. The machining of holes within the chassis of a PC case tends to mark up the retail price. Due to this, case manufacturers often designate new lines from the non-airflow versions.
For example, Phanteks is a popular brand selling many variations of their case line (P300, P300A, P360A, etc.). Let's look at the pricing and designation closer.
The pictures describe both a P300 and P300A and the difference in the machine mesh front panel. This panel, on average, is between a $15-$20 difference which can be substantial.
Image credit: Phanteks
These airflow and non-airflow versions determine factors for both heatsinks and radiators for varying performance by a couple of degrees. Having more holes in the PC case does not make it cooler by default, but it provides more air directed over components via pathways made by fans.
OEM vs. Third Party
A significant factor in motherboards and other PC accessories is design. For many gaming motherboards, slight variations produce similar results for features like Overclocking, memory support, and, most notably, data bandwidth speeds. OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacture) bring proprietary components not seen in the real market.
While not seriously significant for day-to-day work, this saves substantial money per part as the OEM process is substantially cheaper than retail models.
These options above contribute massively to the price of systems. At Apex, we verify and test our components to withstand tolerances for both regular usage and extreme gaming sessions.
Which is Better? Gaming Desktop or Regular PC
Gaming PCs can do almost everything regular PCs can for an often heightened price bump. While Regular PCs can play video games depending on included components, PCs designated for gaming are more performant.
For office work and occasional games, our Apex Bronze can play most esports titles on low to medium settings. For those looking at a comparable gaming PC, I suggest the Apex Zen with its optimized airflow-orientated O11 Dynamic from LianLi, hosting the best components from AMD and Nvidia.
Whatever your office or gaming needs, we hope to fulfill them at Apex!
Written By William Wilson
Header Photo Credit- Macon Leiper