Building Your Own Gaming PC - dummies

By Danny Briere, Pat Hurley

You can build your own gaming PC to add PC-based gaming to your home theater, rather than having to purchase a Windows Media Center PC. With the right hardware, PCs are sometimes even better than gaming consoles in terms of game-type stuff, such as frames per second (or things blown to bits per millisecond).

Creating your own home theater PC is a valid approach — as long as you keep in mind that it might take a bit more PC expertise than just buying a new Windows Media Center PC designed for such use.

To use your PC as a gaming machine in your home theater, you need just a couple of things:

  • A graphics card that can connect to a television and display properly on the television (meaning it can output the right resolution for your particular TV)

  • A sound card that can connect to your home theater receiver using analog (RCA) jacks or a digital connection and that can provide the receiver with analog Dolby Pro Logic or (preferably) Dolby Digital signals

Purpose-built gaming consoles make sense for most people in a home theater. They’re ready to go out of the box; with Plug-and-Play, they’re simple to connect, set up, and play. Most PCs, on the other hand, need some serious tweaking to do gaming in a home theater environment.