How to build a game development PC

If you want to develop games, of any level of quality, you should build the best PC you can possibly get your hands on, and you should build it’s specs around your engine. Building around Unreal Engine 5 is a good way to future proof your machine, for the next 5 or 10 years. However, if you are building on a budget, and want to work in game design, the requirements for Unity or Unreal 4 are less demanding. However, I would encourage you to get the best quality machine, with maxed out requirements, and develop in Unreal 5, even if it takes a few months to save up for it.

Oh while you’re at it, if you’d rather design a top of the line LAPTOP instead, check out this article here:


So let’s go over the recommended requirements….


What are the Recommended System Requirements for Unreal Engine 5?

  • 12-core CPU at 3.4 Ghz
  • 64 GB RAM
  • Geforce RTX 2080 or AMD Radeon 5700 XT or better
  • SSD Hard Drive
  • Windows 10 64-bit

What are the Minimum System Requirements for Unreal Engine 5?

  • Quad-core CPU at 2.5 Ghz
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Geforce RTX 2080 or AMD Radeon 5700 XT or better
  • SSD Hard Drive
  • Windows 10 64-bit

So Unreal Engine 5 has a wide range of specifications that it can run on, everything from the lowest, weakest PC in existence, mine, to a space computer from the moon, with 12 cores running at 3.4 GHz. So you might say, I can buy whatever I want on the market and still run Unreal, well no…. If you’re developing for high end systems, and you should be, you’ll want to at least be able to run the Unreal 5 Nanite Techdemo, or in other words, you should be able to use everything Unreal 5 has on offer, as a basis for proper development.

PC GAMER DID AN ARTICLE ON THIS, it’s a few years out of date but it’s still solid advice I’m sure.


What are the Recommended System Requirements for Unity?

  • 12-core CPU at 3.4 Ghz
  • 64GB RAM
  • Geforce RTX 3090 for VR or RTX 2080 without
  • SSD Hard Drive
  • Windows 10 64-bit

What are the Minimum System Requirements for Unity?

  • X64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support
  • 8GB RAM
  • Graphics card with DX10 (shader model 4.0) capabilities.
  • Windows 7 SP1+, 8, 10, 64-bit versions only; macOS 10.11+

Unity is a bit difficult with regard to tracking down minimum and maximum recommended requirements, since it’s tied so closely to the content of your game, so if you are making a VERY SIMPLE game, you can get by with a jawdroppingly simple computer. That said, it never hurts to go all out, if you want to make really complex powerful games, especially in VR, then you could do worse than something capable of running Unreal 5. Make sure to get an SSD, it makes things go faster.


What are the Recommended System Requirements for Unreal 4?

  • 6-core CPU at 3.4 Ghz
  • 64GB RAM
  • Geforce GTX 970
  • 2TB SSD Hard Drive
  • Windows 10 64-bit

What are the Minimum System Requirements for Unreal 4?

  • Quad-core CPU at 2.5 GHz
  • 8GB RAM
  • Geforce GTX 470 or AMD Radeon 6870
  • Windows 7 64-bit

So the requirements for developing in Unreal 4 are a bit more lax, you can develop with a machine like this, or for a baseline comparison, by i7 920 with a GTX 1080 ti, and 32 GB RAM is enough to crush the requirements and develop some really fine games.


If this is the case, you really have no alternative except Unreal 5 with the recommended Unity specs or better. Unreal 5 isn’t just the best option for an indie developer, it will also give you vital job skills highly sought after in the current market. You can actually end up with a high paying career if you get good with Unreal 5, and it’s a fun hobby too. There’s not much that’s more fun than sitting down and playing a game you built yourself.

Oh good lord, jealousy and fairness are concepts which are NOT foreign to a dog, this results in jealous barking every time the cats are fed, even if I give him something equivalent.

Sorry, moving on….

Having the setup I just described, will allow you to make games of THIS quality, from home. Period. If you’re a serious game developer this is what you are angling to do.

Don’t cheap out on your desktop

If you just want to make games, then a modest machine is fine. If you want this to be your profession, then a 2000-3000 dollar investment is far from out of the question. If you’re not willing to sink 3000 dollars into your career, then you’re not really serious about it. That’s a year of college tuition in most places.

Actually here’s the quantum of how to spend your hard earned money career wise.


This about sums up my feelings on the topic. You would spend more money and time at 4 years of college learning “Game Programming” than you would on a Top Tier Development PC, but if you bought that PC, and spent that time studying at home, you’d probably get better results.

However, that said, if you’re willing to sink 20 or 30 thousand into your tuition, Software Engineering or Computer Science will get you the high paying job. You probably won’t make games, because it doesn’t pay as well, but if you WANT TO, that is how it’s done.

You can also complete the task by developing at home on your own machine, if your portfolio piece is good enough, you might be able to sneak into that high paying career.

But I must warn you, 4 years studying Game Programming at college will not give you much of anything to work with, the best you can hope is to learn something along the way, but if it’s Unreal or Unity or CryEngine you’re working with, well…. It’s nothing you couldn’t have learned from home.

Check out our subscription service

While we’re on the topic of learning game design, you might want to check out our subscription service. It’s like Netflix for game design tutorials, they have tutorials on everything you need to learn game design from a beginner’s standpoint, all the way to advanced techniques used by professionals. They can teach you about Maya and Blender, Zbrush, 3d Modelling, Metahumans, whatever you need. Have a look, it might help.


Now, not all of us are as blessed as others. For some people, no matter serious they are about their career, 3000 dollars is just impossible to come by. You’re not doing well, you’re living month to month, you can just barely afford to make rent, and feed yourself, working full time as a burger flipper or something, and you want a way out, although you’re telling yourself you only care about making good games.

Ok, maybe you haven’t maxed out all your credit cards, you have a fresh one with 2 grand on the limit, maybe you went to a payday loan company and asked for a 2 grand line of credit, or specifically, 1500. Even the best of us has parents who sometimes care, maybe your mom or dad, or some friendly relative gave you enough for a PC, maybe your tax return came in really positive this year.

For whatever reason you can come up with, you have enough for a modest machine.

Model Machine: (on a budget)

SKYTECH Archangel Gaming Desktop

  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600 at 3.6 Ghz
  • GTX 1660 Super 6GB
  • 500GB SSD
  • 16GB DDR4 3000MHz
  • Windows 10 Home 64 Bit

$1499.99 CAD on sale with 100 bucks off.

Your gamer friends are going to laugh at you a bit, they’ll say things like “That’s actually not too bad” or “You can still game on it” Doesn’t matter, it’s better than my PC, and I have made some pretty decent games on mine. This is enough to dig yourself out of that hole.

Set aside some time every day, to learn about Unreal Engine um…. 4. It will take you about a year of study to really start getting good with it, but if you have enough skill, and you’re creative, and you learn a lot, and study a lot, you’ll eventually be able to make decent quality games. You should also learn Unity, purely for the employment market, requirements for Unity jobs are typically a bit lower, but focus on Unreal, it’s the better engine. Actually you can learn Unreal 5, just don’t expect to be using a lot of the highest quality stuff.

Market yourself, try self employment

Then, get online and start marketing yourself, start an Upwork account, start talking to people on Linkedin. You’ll quickly find that you can get some entry level work in game dev pretty easily, if you get good enough, which isn’t outrageously difficult or anything, you can suppliment your burger flipping job with a bit of game design on the side, eventually you can just replace your burger flipping job with a game design job that pays about the same.

Keep working at that, and eventually, you might be able to afford that 3000 dollar PC if you can hang onto your money (I can’t), and you can rise up a few levels, and start making a respectable income. Game design can lift you out of poverty, don’t underestimate it.


Ok, so that’s where we’re at. You’ll still need to acquire a computer somehow….. K let’s see, what can we find for you, can you get together 800 bux? A christmas present, work startup fund, something like that? Ah here.

The MSI Nightblade MI3 8RC-023CA Gaming Desktop

  • Intel Core i7-8700 (3.2 GHz)
  • 8GB DDR4
  • 1TB HDD
  • 128GB SSD
  • GTX 1060 3GB
  • Windows 10 Home

$799.99 CAD

Ok, I’ve found a comfy machine for you, this will put you at roughly my capabilities, you can still develop in Unreal 4 I think, Unity shouldn’t be a problem, because even a lot of simple notebooks or low end laptops can run simple games in Unity.

You can still develop games in this. It should fulfill your need to learn. Actually your desire to make games for it’s own sake is admirable, if you can make anything good, put it up on steam and see if you can make a little bit of money at it, then start jobhunting, maybe your situation can improve more than you’re giving yourself credit.

All in all, this machine will let you develop but it won’t do any of the high level tasks a professional will be suited to. Still, everybody starts somewhere.

Wrapping up

You have a wide range of options when it comes to building a game development PC. You’re better off getting the most powerful machine, but that doesn’t mean you NEED to have the most powerful machine to get by, you can manage with a really modest one, and still make a living at it, like I did.

If you’re in a bad place, Game Design can lift you out of poverty and get you out of those food service, security, retail, and other low level unpleasant jobs. You can work from home, just hang out with your family all day, and make your own hours.

Conversely, if you’ve got lots of money, don’t spare any expense on your machine, this thing is going to carry you through the next 5 years of your life, don’t cheap out on it. Get something that can max out Nanite and the Valley of the Ancients, and start developing for the future. Your mastery of Unreal Engine 5 will take you a LONG way, I can assure you. You’ve got money in your future if you’re a master of basically any aspect of Unreal 5. You’ll find job offers rolling in, especially if you’re on Upwork but maybe start looking into Linkedin and other more standard fields of employment.

So, pick your poison, you won’t get much exercise, but if you have a bit of money, you’ll be able to get by. Find a partner in crime who likes videogames and you’re set, you’ll do ok.

Have a good nite, OUT!!!

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