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Old 12-13-2009, 12:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default General Computer Building Questions

Hey Guys! I've been a lurker on the forums for a while now and I'm finally getting to the point where I'm about ready to start coming up with a build for a new computer. This is my first attempt at building a computer from scratch, so I'm a little nervous about the whole process. Just some background info: I'll be working with a budget of 600-700 dollars, and plan on using the computer for some gaming and video editing. WoW will be one I play of course, but I'd also love to be able to play some newer titles at 1280x1024 with the settings pretty close to maxed. I plan on posting the build I come up with here and submit it for your approval, but before I get to that point, I had a few questions...

AMD or Intel?

I know the debate of AMD vs. Intel rages on endlessly, but it seems to me that at the moment the majority on this forum are in the AMD side of the camp. I've tried to do a little bit of research but a hard and fast answer seems to vary with the opinion of the authors. The general response I seem to have seen is that AMD delivers more performance for the same amount of money as Intel. Is that an accurate assessment?

Video Card?

Whether it's a Radeon or Nvidia depends on how the above question gets answered, but my question is a general one. When you're looking for a video card, what do you look for? Which numbers are the ones that provide the largest bearing on performance? I'm assuming as with most things in life, bigger is better, but is that always the case?

General Compatibility?
One thing I'm worried about is whether or not everything I get is going to physically fit inside my case properly. I managed to find a decent Alienware tower on Craigslist for 30 bucks but I'm concerned about how likely it is that the CPU fan sticks out too far or the video card doesn't quite fit to the motherboard... Generally speaking, are those things usually standardized to some extent or is it really just a matter of knowing the exact specs of everything before hand?

The Building Process?
Last question, I promise. As I said above, I've never built a computer before. I've got no specific tools or extra parts or anything. Will the components I buy all come with their own mounting hardware? (Mobo, HDD, extra fans, etc.?) Is the thermal paste the CPU comes with sufficient, or should I get the name brand stuff? What general tips or tricks do you guys know now that you wish you knew on your first build?

Thanks for taking the time to read through this, I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Old 12-13-2009, 12:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: General Computer Building Questions

Is your budget for the tower only or do you need a monitor as well?

Right now ATI delivers more gpu power for your dollar.

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Old 12-13-2009, 01:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: General Computer Building Questions

I will try and answer your questions as well as I can and as accurately as I can, making no promises here though.

With a budget of 600-700, you could probably get yourself a nice Intel i5. The reason that some people go with AMD is because you can build a pretty nice rig for less than what it would cost for Intel. As for performance, at least to me, it always seems that Intel is a bit better when it comes to gaming, etc. Again this is from what I have seen on benchmarks and personal use.

Video card - This really depends on how much you have to spend on it. Right now ATI has a bit of a leg up on Nvidia when it comes to DX 11 compatibility and price. I usually go with Nvidia, but if I were to buy right now (before Fermi) then I would probably pick up one of the new 5000 series ATI cards.

Cases - Go with ATX if there is no space constraint and you should be fine (as long as you don't pick up one of the new dual core 5890s)

Thats my 0.02 at least.
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: General Computer Building Questions

I built my first computer a few years ago, I have a new MB coming and will be building my new one nezt year, so I have been doing some research also.

CPU: Intel does make faster more powerful CPU's and the bechmark ratings like on Tom's Hardware show better scores than AMD. But myself, I prefer AMD as their power to price ratio is better than Intel. Basicly an AMD CPU will deliver plenty of speed for most use, gaming included. Of the CPU's I looked at, the Intel would cost me about $100 more than the AMD, does the Intel deliver $100 more of speed?? I most likely could not tell the difference in performance to justify the higher price. Thats just my opinion.

GPU, another personal choice. I hear ATI has more power to price than Nviidia, I think ATI was behind and is now catching up to Nvidia. I know that Nvidia supports PhysX , which basicly mean the CPU perfoms more of the physic crunching , which may not mean much to some, but it does make a difference in some games. My freind told me in one of the newer Unreal Tournamment games, you can shoot through walls WITH and Nvidia GPU, with out one, like ATI, you have to play on another server where you cant becasue ATI doesnt have that feature, an Nvidia exclusive. ATI supports DX11, but no games or software do either yet so thats a bit of a mute point to me.

That's my coupla cents on those two questions.
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: General Computer Building Questions

This link will help you with the assembly
Build a PC - Introduction to Building your PC -
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: General Computer Building Questions

Thanks for the responses so far! I should've been more specific about my budget. I plan on frankensteining what I can from my current computer and setup, so I already have the optical drive, HDDs (though I'm thinking about getting a new TB drive), monitor, and possibly the power supply. I believe what I'm running at the moment is a no-name 430W power supply, so depending on what the final build looks like I may get a new one.
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: General Computer Building Questions

As for whether you should go with AMD or Intel it's really all a matter of your budget. For the $600 range you'll get more bang for your buck with a AMD system. If you could go $700-$800 I think you could squeeze in a nice Intel i5 system depending upon the sales available.

And you'll definitely want to buy a "Good" Power Supply.

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