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Since we get more than a few questions about PC buildsFollow

#1 May 02 2013 at 4:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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http://lifehacker.com/5840963/the-best-pcs-you-can-build-for-600-and-1200

I'm not a fan of their CPUs, I think i7's are worth the extra scratch (I do a lot of code compiling though), but I think it's fairly solid advice for anyone looking for a starting point.
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#2 May 02 2013 at 5:12 PM Rating: Good
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Even the i5's are great for gaming and most applications. AMD is slipping, I hope their next gen picks it up a bit.

For people building their first PC and balking at prices I think I would suggest buying a quality full gaming tower, their soundcard of choice, and a large wattage (600ish) power supply... (more if you planned on going SLI or Crossfire at some point) and then sitting back and buying the rest as sales arise. Newegg constantly has sales and bundles on AMD and Intel CPUs/MoBos/RAM.

If you're just gaming, AMD CPU's and especially MoBo's are a great deal any day of the week. Especially when you look at their typical process of multi-generation chips working on the same MoBo, it becomes and excellent financial cost vs enjoyment/capability investment.
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#3 May 02 2013 at 5:23 PM Rating: Decent
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Not bad advice, although by the time ARR gets released im sure the price of these components will go down. I'm just waiting for that day and if i get really hooked on ARR, i will more than likely upgrade my desktop.
#4 May 02 2013 at 5:25 PM Rating: Decent
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Newegg is even cheaper with my employee discount :)
#5 May 02 2013 at 6:24 PM Rating: Good
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Also if you have a Micro Center near you, consider using their online store with in-store pickup for buying a CPU. For no apparent reason, this tends to be in the neighborhood of 100-120 cheaper than buying a CPU from anywhere else.

As for i5 vs i7.. yeah, for gaming you don't need an i7. Most games won't take advantage of the hyper threading you get with an i7. That being said, if you're interested in video rendering or streaming, an i7 can be helpful. If you just want to play games, i5 is fine.
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#6 May 02 2013 at 9:17 PM Rating: Good
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Oh sure after i just spent a little under 1k in building mine you post that, thanks Wint. Smiley: bah
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#7 May 03 2013 at 12:20 AM Rating: Good
Always tough building computers on a budget, especially when things like a case and PSU can last you for YEARS if you spend decent coin up front. I suppose if you know you'll never have the money, then go with those budget builds and hope they last you awhile. If you know you'll eventually have the money, save up for good parts in terms of case, PSU, hard drive, cooling, etc. All you'll need to swap out afterwards is motherboard, CPU, ram and GPU. Those are obviously the pricey ones, but if you wait around for good deals you can amass the parts over a bit of time and build every few years.
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#8 May 03 2013 at 5:25 AM Rating: Excellent
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Very true, I ordered this in 2008 and still use it to this day.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129028
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#9 May 03 2013 at 8:16 AM Rating: Good
Montsegurnephcreep wrote:
Always tough building computers on a budget, especially when things like a case and PSU can last you for YEARS if you spend decent coin up front. I suppose if you know you'll never have the money, then go with those budget builds and hope they last you awhile. If you know you'll eventually have the money, save up for good parts in terms of case, PSU, hard drive, cooling, etc. All you'll need to swap out afterwards is motherboard, CPU, ram and GPU. Those are obviously the pricey ones, but if you wait around for good deals you can amass the parts over a bit of time and build every few years.


+1

I would add when buying a PSU spend the money for a quality product and buy it with an eye toward future upgrades, don't want to get a shiny new GPU and find out your budget PSU can't power it adaquately. Also, there are some really good cases to be had for not a lot of cash out there. I mod cases so I'm always looking for inexpensive, quality cases to feed my habit. I'm a fan of the low end of Corsair Carbide series (200R, 300R) no frills but solid cases.
#10 May 03 2013 at 9:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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Perrin wrote:
Even the i5's are great for gaming and most applications. AMD is slipping, I hope their next gen picks it up a bit.

For people building their first PC and balking at prices I think I would suggest buying a quality full gaming tower, their soundcard of choice, and a large wattage (600ish) power supply... (more if you planned on going SLI or Crossfire at some point) and then sitting back and buying the rest as sales arise. Newegg constantly has sales and bundles on AMD and Intel CPUs/MoBos/RAM.

If you're just gaming, AMD CPU's and especially MoBo's are a great deal any day of the week. Especially when you look at their typical process of multi-generation chips working on the same MoBo, it becomes and excellent financial cost vs enjoyment/capability investment.


My system was built this way, piecemeal. I got a NewEgg bare bones kit since I had my own Win 7 license. That came with a tower and DVD burner, a PSU, a motherboard and chipset combo, 4 gigs of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive, all for around $300. I added in a $75 video card to start out. I had two mismatched dual monitors (one eventually died.) I bought cheap $11 speakers.

Then, over the course of two years, I added in the following:
- 16 gigs of RAM, snagged on sale for $50
- New Radeon HD 7770
- 128 GB SSD to act as primary OS drive
- 800 watt PSU
- 2 matching 1080p 22" monitors on a big steel monitor stand
- Windows 8 Pro (got for free thanks to my school)
- 5.1 speakers (my motherboard supported it, so no sound card needed)

All in all I've put in around a thousand dollars and I have a souped up gaming system that would have cost me twice that if I bought it from Alienware or whatever.
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#11 May 03 2013 at 7:28 PM Rating: Good
Another thing that can save you some cash (though always comes with some risk), is following some buy/sell/trade forums. Hardforum, anandtech and hardwarecanucks are some I follow. I've purchased most of my pieces over the last 3-4 years from there and have never had an issue, not to mention it's saved me tons of cash. Often times you'll just have enthusiasts who buy this stuff just to bench it and sell it 2 weeks later at a discounted price.

Like I say, you always have to be cautious when doing these deals, always get proper contacts, feedback and what not, but the savings can be huge.
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#12 May 03 2013 at 7:59 PM Rating: Good
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Nvidia apparently will be releasing their 7XX series soon, AMD prices are usually quick to fall for an even better deal... just some food for thought considering the previous/current mid/low offerings from both vendors are very sufficient for 2.0, you could get a current gen mid-range or better for a much better price just before 2.0 official launch.
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#13 May 04 2013 at 8:04 AM Rating: Good
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I'm actually looking to build a new gaming pc soon but I'll have to buy it piece by piece over a period of time. I'm worried that by the time I get to components like the GPU or CPU that the ones I'm looking at will be outdated. I'm hoping to be finished by the end of the year. What order should I purchase my parts so that none of my parts start falling into yesterday's news by the time it ships to me?
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#14 May 04 2013 at 10:08 AM Rating: Good
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reptiletim wrote:
I'm actually looking to build a new gaming pc soon but I'll have to buy it piece by piece over a period of time. I'm worried that by the time I get to components like the GPU or CPU that the ones I'm looking at will be outdated. I'm hoping to be finished by the end of the year. What order should I purchase my parts so that none of my parts start falling into yesterday's news by the time it ships to me?


RAM is pretty interchangeable in builds - DDR4 isn't very widely available yet,so get the best deal on DDR3 that you can get, probably in 4 gig sticks, and it'll serve you well for pretty much any motherboard that takes DDR3 RAM. Same goes with PSUs and cases - provided you get a full size tower and a big enough PSU (at least 600-800 watts), they'll handle anything else you can throw in them. Hard drives are not likely to go off SATA standard so any SATA III hard drive, or multiples, such as a smaller SSD and a big fat 1-2 TB platter drive, will last for years.

To get the most value for your money, save your CPU and motherboard til second to last (just make sure it's compatible with that RAM you bought) and for the very last get your video card. A $600 video card today will probably be half that price a year from now.
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#15 May 04 2013 at 11:28 AM Rating: Good
Catwho wrote:
reptiletim wrote:
I'm actually looking to build a new gaming pc soon but I'll have to buy it piece by piece over a period of time. I'm worried that by the time I get to components like the GPU or CPU that the ones I'm looking at will be outdated. I'm hoping to be finished by the end of the year. What order should I purchase my parts so that none of my parts start falling into yesterday's news by the time it ships to me?


RAM is pretty interchangeable in builds - DDR4 isn't very widely available yet,so get the best deal on DDR3 that you can get, probably in 4 gig sticks, and it'll serve you well for pretty much any motherboard that takes DDR3 RAM. Same goes with PSUs and cases - provided you get a full size tower and a big enough PSU (at least 600-800 watts), they'll handle anything else you can throw in them. Hard drives are not likely to go off SATA standard so any SATA III hard drive, or multiples, such as a smaller SSD and a big fat 1-2 TB platter drive, will last for years.

To get the most value for your money, save your CPU and motherboard til second to last (just make sure it's compatible with that RAM you bought) and for the very last get your video card. A $600 video card today will probably be half that price a year from now.


The PSU wattage does matter, but make sure it has plenty of amps on the 12v rail (single rail preferably). I've seen some 1000w PSU's that were utterly garbage and some 550w psu's that would probably outwork the 1000w psu. Something like this for example http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6391018&CatId=2534 (similar to what I own). Plenty of amps to support most things you're going to install. Where as something like this http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3276567&CatId=2533 pretty big watts, but low amps meaning meh.

The cases like Catwho says, just depends on what you got room for really. The full size HAF cases are great if you got the room, if not there's some really nice mid size towers with good airflow too. The GPU, you just have to accept that fact that what you buy will be outdated easily within a year or less. Every time you buy something, a month later a new line is announced. That being said, most cards can last you a solid 3 years if you get something higher end from the start.
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#16 May 04 2013 at 11:37 AM Rating: Good
Another thing to always consider spending some money on is a decent CPU cooler (especially if you plan to overclock).
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#17 May 04 2013 at 11:09 PM Rating: Good
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Montsegurnephcreep wrote:
Another thing to always consider spending some money on is a decent CPU cooler (especially if you plan to overclock).


^This. This is the one thing I wish I had invested more in when I got my computer. I have an i5 overclocked to 3.2 ghz, a radeon 2gb graphics cards (one of the earlier models, can't remember which exactly), and a decent motherboard. The heat is the major issue in my build because I stupidly decided not to get the cooling system and rely solely on fans. Granted, if I run my gpufan at 70-80% it's not a big deal, but that gets loud and obnoxious, and for graphics intensive games my graphics card still heats up to 80c. If I could give one recommendation to people buying a new gaming PC, it would be to invest in an excellent cooling system.

My second piece of advice would be your power supply. Get something beefy. I initially only had a 650 power supply and it just didn't cut it. I upgraded to 800 and it made a world of difference.
#18 May 05 2013 at 1:22 PM Rating: Good
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There are several sites out there that can give you a rough estimate as to how much power in watts your system will consume. These can help greatly when trying to build on a budget. On various tests my system seemed to only use 400 watts, so i picked up a quality 600w corsair modular supply. I researched that you generally wanted at least 25% more power than these tests suggest to be safe. I've had no issues thus far. You most likely won't need more than 600 w for a high end, single GPU system. You may need more with overclocking, but I haven't bothered with that yet since my system has performed to my liking on all games thus far.

Also, If you're buying parts over time, be sure that your GPU will fit in whatever case you get. It would suck to get both only to realize the case isn't big enough and your window to return has passed. In my opinion you should just set aside your money that you are willing to spend on your PC and wait until you have a grand or so then buy everything at once. Unless you've been watching prices daily to be able to catch the sales on parts you want, you might end up kicking yourself when you buy a part and it goes on sale a month or two down the road. (or you just miss getting Farcry 3 with your GPU, and then a month or so later they come with two games free >.>)

Edited, May 5th 2013 3:29pm by DamienSScott
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#19 May 05 2013 at 1:59 PM Rating: Good
DamienSScott wrote:
Also, If you're buying parts over time, be sure that your GPU will fit in whatever case you get. It would suck to get both only to realize the case isn't big enough and your window to return has passed. In my opinion you should just set aside your money that you are willing to spend on your PC and wait until you have a grand or so then buy everything at once. Unless you've been watching prices daily to be able to catch the sales on parts you want, you might end up kicking yourself when you buy a part and it goes on sale a month or two down the road. (or you just miss getting Farcry 3 with your GPU, and then a month or so later they come with two games free >.>)

Edited, May 5th 2013 3:29pm by DamienSScott


Pfft, nothing pliers and metal sheet cutters can't fix. I know this from experience when I got my GTX 260 OC back in the day, thing was a behemoth. Had to cut out parts of one of the hard drive bays, worked like a charm! Since then, I just bought a big *** case to never worry about the problem again.
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#20 May 05 2013 at 5:30 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, that's why I recommend getting at least a full size ATX case.

The business machines we deal with in my office are all slim form factors, and we have to order special half height video cards for the X-Ray monitors for the hospital.
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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Curator of the XIV Wallpapers Tumblr and the XIV Fashion Tumblr
#21 May 06 2013 at 1:34 AM Rating: Good
Catwho wrote:
Yeah, that's why I recommend getting at least a full size ATX case.

The business machines we deal with in my office are all slim form factors, and we have to order special half height video cards for the X-Ray monitors for the hospital.


I work at an eye clinic and we use slim-pc's across the office. These things are fairly old and I know they have never been cleaned... It takes my personal pc 7 minutes to fully boot and it sounds like a diesel engine when it does. I have half a mind to walk through and air-can + vacuum all 16 computers on a slow day...
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#22 May 06 2013 at 6:38 AM Rating: Excellent
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Relevant:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2037100/youre-a-dirty-dirty-dusty-pc.html

I do this twice a year, in the spring and fall.
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#23 May 06 2013 at 9:44 AM Rating: Good
Wint wrote:
Relevant:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2037100/youre-a-dirty-dirty-dusty-pc.html

I do this twice a year, in the spring and fall.


I clean my PC every 3-4 weeks pretty religiously. However, after having thr rig for 6 months I realized I had never pulled the EVO 212 heatsink apart and cleaned between the metal grill. It was disgusting! Took a full-powered Hoover to get that thing clean Smiley: lol
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#24 May 06 2013 at 9:53 AM Rating: Good
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Without trying to sound too much like a walking commercial...

Whenever I need to clean out a customer's disgusting PC that they hadn't even realized they should consider cleaning after 10 years.. I reach for this thing.

http://www.garrettwade.com/the-power-duster/p/77V01.07/
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#25 May 06 2013 at 10:38 AM Rating: Good
Ya, the inside of mine stays pretty clean overall, but the radiator on my cooler just inhales dust like it's no one's business (probably why the rest of the case is so clean).
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#26 May 06 2013 at 11:03 AM Rating: Good
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We have an air compressor at the office that runs overnight (it's super noisy so it's on a timer), but it's only good for cleaning 1-2 systems before it runs out of juice.
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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Curator of the XIV Wallpapers Tumblr and the XIV Fashion Tumblr
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