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Merrymaker_Mortalis
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 07 Oct 2014, 09:36

My stuff is only 20MB.
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AdmiralMemo
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby AdmiralMemo » 07 Oct 2014, 09:57

Anything that ends in PU and refers to computers usually means "Processing Unit"

I have a network card with an NPU in it.
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CancerBottle
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby CancerBottle » 07 Oct 2014, 15:55

Metcarfre is right. An $800 build quickly becomes a $1300 build with a monitor, mouse, keyboard, operating system (OS) and speakers/gaming headset. Fortunately, those peripherals and the OS will likely be one-time purchases that will last through years of upgrades and new builds. Especially, your OS. There's no reason to upgrade unless you're required to for work or something.

Logical Increments has suggestions for monitors and other peripherals as well. With monitors, high refresh rates and low response times are better for gaming.

It's worth buying your monitor locally. Pick up the extended warranty for your monitor too. Poorly-built ones (and it may be difficult to identify one as such; for example, a while back, Samsung monitors built in Mexico had a lot of issues, while ones built in Singapore were apparently pretty good) can develop flickering issues or dead pixels. I bought my Samsung monitor at Fry's Electronics. It started flickering and whatnot. With the warranty I bought from Fry's, they gave me a loaner while mine was returned to the manufacturer for repairs. Eventually, they gave me a replacement after the Samsung couldn't be repaired.

ch3m1kal wrote:As for space, it's hard to buy drives that are smaller than 1TB these days. Ideally you'd want a 2-3TB drive for your por... err "stuff" and a 120GB SSD for your operating system.

As for peripherals, fairly decent ones can be bought for reasonably cheap and are the easiest thing to upgrade when the time comes.


Yeah storage is cheaper than ever, which is good because you start filling it up once you have it. It's hard to find hard drives smaller than 500 GB these days. A high quality Western Digital 500 GB hard drive will run you under $50.

I wouldn't suggest an hard drive larger than 1 TB if you're running Windows as the OS has issues with drives larger than that.

Since storage is so cheap, it would also be a good idea to pick up a large external hard drive or two that connects to your PC via USB for backup and storage.

A solid-state drive (SSD) is great. An SSD is basically a big flash drive (though sticklers will note that the memory actually works quite differently). The point is there's no moving parts, no spinning platters. Load your OS and basic drivers onto an SSD and your boot time from pressing the "on" to your loaded desktop, ready to go, will be under a minute.

As for deals, see if Best-Buy, Microcenter, Fry's Electronics, or whoever the big-box electronics retailers are in your area do Internet price-matching. You can make out like a bandit that way without waiting for shipping.

There's a good subreddit for tracking PC part sales here: http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapcsales
Last edited by CancerBottle on 07 Oct 2014, 16:21, edited 1 time in total.
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CancerBottle
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby CancerBottle » 07 Oct 2014, 16:20

Basically, here's what you need:

-CPU/processor
-motherboard
-RAM
-*GPU/graphics card
-hard drive
-DVD reader or DVD writer (you need a DVD drive to install Windows and the drivers that come with your parts for one!)
-power supply (PSU)
-computer case
-monitor
-mouse
-keyboard
-audio (speakers or a headset)
-operating system

*Some Intel and AMD processors have on-board graphics processing, such that you could probably get away without a graphics card for some games, like say Minecraft or Counter-Strike, but you pretty much do need a graphics card for gaming.

Here's what is really nice to have:

-a 128 GB solid-state drive (SSD) for your operating system in addition to a large older, spinning platter and magnetic head drive for program files,

-a good CPU cooler. AMD processors are usually cheaper than Intel chips, but they run hotter as well. Personally, I wouldn't build an AMD computer without an aftermarket CPU cooler.

EDIT: Epic derp on my part. You definitely need a PSU. Thanks, empath.
Last edited by CancerBottle on 07 Oct 2014, 17:50, edited 5 times in total.
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empath
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby empath » 07 Oct 2014, 17:10

Oh, AND a 'PSU' or Power Supply Unit - something that takes the mains juice and translates it into suitable voltage/amperage/etc. for all the components you've listed¹; sometimes you can get a power supply WITH the case, but it might be better to get a powerless case and a quality PSU that's suitable to run the components you choose (e.g. a bigger, more powerful graphics card will need more wattage)

But yeah; what's listed above is a fantastic primer on how to plan to build a computer.

The nitty-gritty details involve: making sure the CPU (processor/'chip') is compatible with the motherboard, and the RAM is also compatible; confirming that the graffix card you wanna use will fit into one of the motherboard's expansion slots; the power supply is rated for all the things you want to have, and has power connectors for all of them; etc. etc.
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby CancerBottle » 07 Oct 2014, 17:40

:facepalm @ myself: I can't believe I forgot about a power supply and a disc drive.

I generally chose a power supply with 250 more watts than I think I need. I've had bad luck with power supplies that totally should have been fine. In my case, a 430 watt PSU should have been plenty for an HTPC I was building for my dad, but it seems that while 430W may have been enough to run the computer, the system drew more power than it could handle when starting up. I RMA'd (returned) every single component before I figured out it was the PSU. Fans and lights started, but drives weren't getting power, for example. It was bizarre.

Definitely check the compatibility between parts. Processors can only fit in motherboards with the correct socket.

As complex as all of this seems, believe it or not, it's easier than ever to build a computer. We're at the point now where it's basically LEGO. Very expensive LEGO. Back in the day, you had to do a lot of soldering and stuff yourself.

This video series is quite old, so DO NOT use it for part suggestions, as many of the standards have changed, but unlike a lot of newer video guides, it gives you a good idea of what everything does and how everything will fit together in the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQo1W_f_Do8
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ch3m1kal
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby ch3m1kal » 07 Oct 2014, 21:42

CancerBottle wrote:I wouldn't suggest an hard drive larger than 1 TB if you're running Windows as the OS has issues with drives larger than that.

That issue has been fixed for years now. All modern motherboards use EFI and I doubt it's possible to buy a controller that does not support GPT.

Besides all was only really a problem if you were trying to use a 3TB or larger drive. Basically Windows 7 has never had a problem with large drives, it was always a hardware issue and it was only really a thing around 2010 when large drives started being available.


On a slightly related note, MS is currently giving away Windows 10 for testing purposes. The build is going to run fine until the end of April next year, when it's going to start complaining that you should buy it.
IMO the best option is to grab that for now and then buy it on launch, since Windows 7 is going to reach end of life soon-ish, and Windows 8 is terrible.

I've been using 10 on my laptop for about a week now and it's been pretty good. It's basically just a faster version of 7 with a couple of things from 8 and without the stupid, useless, terrible, gigantic metro interface garbage.

You can get it at http://preview.windows.com

Also on a related note, I'd personally skip the optical drive. It's a waste of time, money and space unless you have some specific use for it, like maybe old disc based games or something.

Otherwise, you can very easily install an OS from a flash drive, and drivers are always available from the manufacturer's website for whatever hardware you happen to pick.

Here's a guide for that. http://lifehacker.com/windows-10-technical-preview-now-available-for-download-1641212531
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CancerBottle
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby CancerBottle » 07 Oct 2014, 22:58

re: Windows 10, and big hard drives
Cool! Definitely avoid Windows 8.

re: skipping an optical drive
Be sure you won't need one. First, the drivers for you hardware will come on a physical disc. And while you'll probably be able to track them down on manufacturer websites, it can be a bit tricky and important things like the sound won't work until those drivers are installed properly.

As ch3m said, if you have any games or software on disc you'd like to use, you'll need a drive to read them. If you have any CDs or DVDs you want to listen to, watch, or digitize, you'll need an optical drive.

If you ever plan on burning a CD or a DVD, you'll need a DVD writer (which can read and write CDs and DVDs). DVD is still a good storage medium, useful for making backups and the like.

Finally, DVD writers are cheap. They're around $20. I get more than enough usefulness out of mine to justify that price.

If you ever decide to upgrade to a Blu-ray burner, you can burn 20GB of data(!) on a disc in addition to everything listed above.
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby Master Gunner » 08 Oct 2014, 04:17

I would not use Windows 10. It's a still-under-development OS that's not guaranteed to work with all of your software or games. Or your hardware or peripherals, come to think of it. I've encountered bugs with it in just a couple hours of testing.

Windows 7 is still under support until 2020 (potentially longer), and Windows 8, while I dislike their design choices, is a technically solid and perfectly usable OS (especially with 8.1, and a few third-party tools can make it look and act entirely like 7).
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CancerBottle
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Re: Gaming Computer

Postby CancerBottle » 08 Oct 2014, 14:40

Master Gunner wrote: and a few third-party tools can make it look and act entirely like 7).


No kidding. Startdock Software keeps pinging me with ads for their Win8 mods.
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