a few noob questions i have while building my first gaming pc


Hi, i'm looking to have a custom gaming pc built thru microcenter and i have a few questions. the only thing I really need the pc to do is run the game "Hearthstone" by blizzard perfectly(without any dropped frames/lag spikes) and stream it on twitch using OBS in good quality. my budget is around $2000 usd. any help would be greatly appreciated!

1: as far as processor goes, should i be looking into getting the i7 or i9 core from intel?

2: for cooling, does a gaming PC need to use liquid cooling? or can I get away with a fan system? obviously looking to make sure it doesnt overheat but don't get a great feeling from the idea of having liquid in my pc. I also noticed its cheaper to have an air system installed so looking to cut costs if possible.

3: another question about liquid cooling, is there any maintenance required with them usually?(like replenishing water?)

4: for the video card, i see options are pretty scarce. If i dont want to go with any of the options they have available in store, am I able to purchase a gpu somewhere else and bring it to them to put in my custom build? I would still do the order thru them and have them put it together.

thank you for any help you can offer!


  • ChanceChanceChance
    ChanceChanceChance Store Associate
    First Anniversary First Comment Micro Center Store Associate Photogenic

    Hey Dylan I'd be happy to give some advice. $2000 is a great budget for a gaming PC with tons of room for flexibility.

    Here recommended specs for Hearthstone:

    • CPU: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo (2.2 GHz) or AMD® Athlon™ 64 X2 (2.6 GHz) or better
    • CPU SPEED: Info
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • OS: Windows® 10 64-bit
    • VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA® GeForce® 240 GT or ATI™ Radeon™ HD 4850 or better

    As far as specs go, this is a very low requirement. Hearthstone itself is a very lightweight game that is meant to be played on even the most basic of PC. You wanting to stream the game to Twitch makes the requirement a little higher but still very easily doable within your budget.

    To more directly answer your questions:

    1. Because you are looking to stream your games and/or record gameplay at the same time I am going to recommend at least an i7 processor for best results. The processor is responsible for running part of your games and solely responsible for encoding your game into data that is sent to Twitch or Youtube. So a higher end processor is definitely a must. You mention an i9 as a possibility and while that certainly would be an upgrade, you wouldn't see too much of a performance bump for the price. Because Hearthstone is such a non-demanding game, you may even be able to get away with using an i5. Also consider an AMD Ryzen processor as well, as their higher core count is more preferable to multitasking workloads such as simultaneous gaming and streaming.
    2. No, a gaming PC does not need liquid cooling. Air cooling is a great option that is not only cheaper, but also often a lot easier to install and maintain. There are also 2 types of water cooling. The one you are probably referring to is custom loop. With custom loop, you (or we at Micro Center) would need to heat and bend pipes, screw on custom fittings, and fill and clean the cooling in the tubes manually. This generally looks the most desirable and flashy, but by far the most expensive and risky. The second type of water cooling is called All In One (AIO) water cooling. This a a happy medium in my opinion between air cooling and custom loop cooling. With an AIO, you are still getting all the benefits of water cooling but without all the extra hassle or cost. The liquid is all contained within the unit and there is absolutely no maintenance with it such as refilling or cleaning. AIO is what I personally prefer but the choice is yours on what to do. There have been multiple tests and benchmarks run on the debate of air cooling vs. water cooling and both come out with compelling reasons to use either.
    3. I kinda already answered this one in the previous answer. But yes there is required maintenance in custom loop water cooling, and there is not maintenance in AIO water cooling.
    4. Yes you can bring in your own components and have us install them for you.

    I specifically work in the pre-build systems department so I'll link a pre-built unit that would be a great fit to use since I am much more familiar with them. If you love that one, you can certainly come in and pick it up, or just use it as a reference for your search for parts.


  • Thanks a bunch for your help! The prebuild stuff definitely looks like the way to go, checking out some others on the site now.

  • JohnMagee
    JohnMagee Store Associate
    5 Likes First Comment Name Dropper Micro Center Store Associate

    Hey @DylanDreyer255 !

    When it comes to the processor choice, it really depends on what you are doing on the machine. If you find yourself using software that requires a lot of processor cores to complete the task, it may be worth while. However, if you are just playing video games / internet browsing / office work, I would say that the i7 would be able to accomplish the task no problem.

    Most of the time, a system can get away with a fan system. Typically, the only time I recommend an AIO liquid cooling system is when the user is going to be overclocking the system. For the i7, I would recommend the Cooler master 212, and for the i9, I would recommend the Noctua D15.

    For first time builders, I recommend an All in one liquid cooling system. These kits do not require any additional maintenance once installed.

    You would absolutely be able to bring in the card for us to install. The only stipulation would be that we would not be able to cover the GPU in our 90 service agreement with the build.

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