My current computer specs that I run UE4 with:
CPU: AMD FX8350 (you could easily use an AMD FX8320 which is less expensive)
GPU: Nvidia GTX760 2GB
Your CPU is for processing physics and game logic among many other things, Your GPU (graphics card/videocard) is for handling all the shading, rendering the characters and everything, the pretty visuals of your game.
My point is that you don’t need anything more expensive than this set up, you could in fact aim for a bit lower spec PC.
What you need to know about PC hardware:
AMD CPUs are inexpensive, the two I listed range from 99 to 160 depending on where you get them. But these CPUs aren’t as powerful as Intel ones (intel is also much more expensive) AMD gets the job done, but their CPUs run quite hot, and I can only use mine at full power because I manually installed an after market cooler and heatsink with high performance thermal paste, this kind of cooling you won’t get buying stock, but it’s very VERY needed for AMD CPUs. Intel CPUs in general don’t run as hot, but have more power.
The reason why this is an issue because your son needs to know that he has to take care of his computer (that means shutting it down every night, or at least putting it in sleep mode when he leaves the room or hibernate if he’s going to be gone a while). Otherwise there will be a lot of stress on the hardware that will shorten the lifespan of the components.
- So you can spend more money on an Intel processor (which is faster, less hot)
- Or get a LOT more bang for your buck and get an AMD processor (not as fast, and need after market coolers to really last and perform well, I built my PC so installing this wasn’t an issue for me, but if you need to pay someone to install an after market cooler for you, then you should consider just getting an Intel instead to avoid all that).
Two main kinds of hard drives, HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid state drive).
HDD hold data much longer, even without being powered for for a few years. SDD are much faster, but don’t hold data as long.
Remember these two facts if you don’t know them already:
- Fact 1, ALL HARD DRIVES WILL EVENTUALLY FAIL, that’s right ALL OF THEM. So be sure to remind your son to back up is work on cloud storage or something.
- Fact 2, never buy a “Hitatchi Deskstar” brand hard drive, these have the nickname “Death Star” for a reason.
This all might seem overwhelming, but just take this piece at a time. Same goes for your son, his goal shouldn’t be to create next Uncharted or Halo, at least not yet, his goal for now should be just to learn how to use UE4 on a basic level, the process of making games. Once he can open blank project, and create a character that can walk and jump on his own, and maybe even shoot, then that’s an achievement and should be recognized as a milestone (yes, even if he’s using tutorials or guides to do it. Because real developers read tutorials and guides too if they need them)