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Old 11-12-2010, 09:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

Hey everyone,

Well after years of just talking about it I've decided I'm going to get myself an early Christmas present and build my first computer. Now while I consider myself pretty smart overall with computers I have never built one. I have installed simple things like hard drives, memory, and what not but have never taken on the task of putting together an entire computer. This is where I would like help from all of you experts here. Luckily I have a friend who has built several computers himself and is going to help me do it but I want to get more opinions and ideas.

I guess to start I should go ahead and tell you what I am looking to get out of this computer. I have recently started to get into computer gaming. I love it and while my laptop can handle it decently I want something powerful so that I can get everything out of the games I am paying for. I also am a big multimedia guy. I download tons of music, movies, and television thus I'd like to have plenty of hard drive space. Finally like anyone else I enjoy surfing the web quite a bit. Overall the biggest priority for me is having a very powerful gaming computer.

I am one of those people that is willing to spend the extra money if the high-end equipment is truly worth what it costs and will stay ahead of the curve for a good amount of time.

So having said all that what would you advise me to go with equipment wise? Basically from head to toe every piece I would need. At the moment I am going to say my budget is around $2,000. I am not sure if that will accomplish quite what I am looking for but I am hoping that budget could build me a fairly powerful computer.

Again I have some help but I am new so I need to know everything I will need to put this together and what you all feel is the best bang for the buck.

Thank you all in advance. I know this thread is a little all over the place I'm pretty tired so I apologize. I hope you get the just of what I am asking. If you have any questions to help me to help you understand what I am asking please feel free to ask.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

Hey Zandre... well not to sound nerdy or anything but building a computer is actually a pretty fun experience. I've only done it once successfully. There's actually nothing easier. Your budget should allow for a nice configuration but depending on your choices, it might not.

Things to consider would be water cooling vs conventional air cooling. Software RAID vs hardware RAID vs plain old setup.

Since you plan on making this a gaming/multimedia system, a nice chunk would go into a video card.... an easy 150-300+ alone. RAM as well.

I'm a little out of date on what current market prices are. Your post is actually tempting me to consider doing the same thing to keep me busy this winter season!

Keep this thread updating on your choices... I might piggy back on your research
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhtd45 View Post
Hey Zandre... well not to sound nerdy or anything but building a computer is actually a pretty fun experience. I've only done it once successfully. There's actually nothing easier. Your budget should allow for a nice configuration but depending on your choices, it might not.

Things to consider would be water cooling vs conventional air cooling. Software RAID vs hardware RAID vs plain old setup.

Since you plan on making this a gaming/multimedia system, a nice chunk would go into a video card.... an easy 150-300+ alone. RAM as well.

I'm a little out of date on what current market prices are. Your post is actually tempting me to consider doing the same thing to keep me busy this winter season!

Keep this thread updating on your choices... I might piggy back on your research
Thanks for the reply.

I am quite excited actually to build my first computer and can imagine how fun it'll be. I've always been a tech fan but admittedly don't have quite the knowledge to do this on my own that is why I decided to start this thread and hope that some of you all could lead me in the right direction. I do luckily have a friend that has done this before but I don't want to have him just simply tell me what to get I want to learn and research this myself so that when I go to do it again I won't need so much help and can maybe even help some others.

As I hope I explained in the beginning of my thread at least to some extent I know what goes into making a computer but I don't. I know that makes no sense but basically I just need to know what all I need from top to bottom. I mean I know the obvious things like hard drive, video card, RAM, processor, motherboard, ports (I don't know if that is the right term) for ethernet, usb, speakers, microphone. Of course a tower to put all of these components into. A cooling system of some kind so that all those nice expensive pieces don't fry to nothing. However I know there is a lot more than those obvious things. That is where I need help and want suggestions. Basically what ALL and I mean ALL do I need to get to build myself a computer. Within the price range I stated which is about $2,000. I am willing to spend a little more than that if it will make a large difference in certain areas. I also think I would want to go with water cooling since I believe while more expensive is the better of the two options.

If people could just point me in the right direction for each component that is needed to fit what I explained above to build the computer for what I'd like to do it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

Alright. Do you know the basics of compatibility? If not I outlined them out in response to someone else:
Quote:
As far as compatibility, you only need to worry about a couple things.
First off, your graphics card must be compatible with your motherboard. Most graphics cards on the market today use either PCI Express x16 2.0 or 2.1. Most motherboards on the market have at least one, and up to 5 or more PCI-E x16 2.0/2.1 slots.
Then there's the CPU. The only thing you need to worry about is the socket. Current Intel sockets include LGA 1366 and LGA 1156. Current AMD sockets include AM3 and AM2+. The CPU and mobo must have the same socket.
There are a few other compatibility checks, most of which relatively minor. The PSU must have enough watts and must have the right connectors for your equipment (make sure it's 24 pin if you have a 24 pin mobo, enough SATA connectors, enough PCI connectors, etc.). RAM, obviously- use DDR3 in a DDR3 mobo, ddr2 in a DDR2 mobo, etc. If you have SATA hard drives, make sure you have enough SATA ports on your mobo. If you have IDE devices make sure your mobo supports them. Make sure your case connectors are supported by the motherboard.
That's pretty much it. There really aren't as many compatibility issues as it seems- really it's just a bunch of minor nitnoid things.
you're looking at a high-end PC. I'd go with an i7 and a high-end mobo, as you can afford it. 6GB RAM, 1600 MHz or above. SSD for OS, quite obviously, and a Caviar Green storage drive (you might even want two SSD- one for OS and one for games and other programs). HD 6870,5870, or 5970, or GTX 580, 480, or 470. You might want to look at a ATI system with dedicated PhysX card.
look at a high-quality full-tower case, such as HAF 932.
If the components come out too much for WC, don't sweat it. It's probably better to have fancy components and air cooling than lesser components and WC.
I'll give you a sample build from NewEgg.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

Here's a parts list:
$16 cheap ODD (doesn't really matter)
$50 WD Caviar Green 500GB Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$100 GTS 450 Dedicated PhysX Card Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GV-N450-1GI GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$50 Cooler Master V8 Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER Intel Core i7 compatible V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
$50 Blu-Ray Drive Newegg.com - SAMSUNG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Drive - Bulk Model SH-B083L/BSBP LightScribe Support - Blu-Ray Drives
$215 OCz RevoDrive PCI-E x4 OS SSD Newegg.com - OCZ RevoDrive OCZSSDPX-1RVD0050 PCI-Express x4 50GB PCI Express MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$600 i7 950, HAF 932, mobo combo Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!
$375 HD 5870 and PSU combo Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!
$380 SataIII SSD (for programs/games) and Win7 Pro x64 Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!
Comes out to $1880 with shipping, $120 under budget.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

Why two SSD? One SSD with 128GB for OS and main games/programs is enough.
I would get a 5970 instead of 5870 and 450.
Get this RAM Newegg.com - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8T-6GBRM
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

I would go with a 60gb SSD and a 1tb HDD. If you make a lot of HD videos save them to the SSD when your a bit short on time (like day) so that its done quicker then copy it to the HDD at quiet times (Like night) and delete eveything on the SDD. Thus you would be able to spend more time playing games instead of saving a bunch of videos to a HDD. two 1TB HDD with what is it Raid 0? The stuff you copy would be sent to both HDD so there would be less chance of corruption after copying. I think that would work anyway.

Doesnt the 6870 require less voltage then a 5870 and have about the same score while being cheaper? If you cant get a 6870 on NE you can get it off of Ebay
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoF Ripsaw View Post
I would go with a 60gb SSD and a 1tb HDD. If you make a lot of HD videos save them to the SSD when your a bit short on time (like day) so that its done quicker then copy it to the HDD at quiet times (Like night) and delete eveything on the SDD. Thus you would be able to spend more time playing games instead of saving a bunch of videos to a HDD. two 1TB HDD with what is it Raid 0? The stuff you copy would be sent to both HDD so there would be less chance of corruption after copying. I think that would work anyway.

Doesnt the 6870 require less voltage then a 5870 and have about the same score while being cheaper? If you cant get a 6870 on NE you can get it off of Ebay
No, RAID 0 is data striping, so if one of the hard drives goes bad all of the data is lost. There's twice the chance of corruption than with a single drive.
The 6870 is NOT a replacement for the 5870. It performs on a similar level to the 5850/5830.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redfish View Post
Here's a parts list:
$16 cheap ODD (doesn't really matter)
$50 WD Caviar Green 500GB Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb&#47;s 3.5&#34; Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$100 GTS 450 Dedicated PhysX Card Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GV-N450-1GI GeForce GTS 450 &#40;Fermi&#41; 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$50 Cooler Master V8 Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER Intel Core i7 compatible V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
$50 Blu-Ray Drive Newegg.com - SAMSUNG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Drive - Bulk Model SH-B083L&#47;BSBP LightScribe Support - Blu-Ray Drives
$215 OCz RevoDrive PCI-E x4 OS SSD Newegg.com - OCZ RevoDrive OCZSSDPX-1RVD0050 PCI-Express x4 50GB PCI Express MLC Internal Solid State Drive &#40;SSD&#41;
$600 i7 950, HAF 932, mobo combo Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!
$375 HD 5870 and PSU combo Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!
$380 SataIII SSD (for programs/games) and Win7 Pro x64 Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!
Comes out to $1880 with shipping, $120 under budget.
Thank you so much for the sample build with all the links. This is basically exactly what I was looking for. I am extremely excited to be doing this for the first time. I know it'll take some more researching but I knew this would be a great place to start. I have one question I would like to ask you about the build above in regard to the HDD. I figured since the build you offered already brings me in under budget why not get a little bit larger one. I searched newegg and found this HDD...

Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EARS 1.5TB 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb&#47;s 3.5&#34; Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

I figure for the extra $35 I could get 1TB more space and to me it is worth it. Would that HDD still be compatible with the sample build you provided above?

Also one more quick question would the video card you suggested be able to allow me to play most of the newer MMO games with the graphics on high/ultra?

Also I think I maybe getting in over my head but I have been fortunate enough to get a decent sum of money in the since I actually made this post and could probably stretch my budget to closer to $3,000 now. Honest opinion would it be dumb of me, being a first time builder and a bit of a noob to all this, to invest that much into a high-end gaming computer? What would the differences/upgrades in the sample build you provided above given the increased budget?

More than likely I will still probably go with something similar to what you have provided as a sample build at around that price because I'm assuming that will be able to fully fulfill my gaming/multi-media needs.

Thank you so much again for all the help everyone. It is much appreciated and any more help would be awesome. I will be sure to update everyone on my progress.

EDIT: I thought about one more question I noticed farinha's suggestion for RAM. Was the RAM not included in the sample build? I don't believe it was but just wanted to make sure. Also what about things like an HDMI Output, DVI Output, etc? Would all that have to be purchased also. Like I said I am new to all this but have been researching and haven't yet talked to my friend, who has done this before, about this yet. However he is going to help me build it but I kind of would like to make the choices on my own so that I can educate myself on the different components/parts.

One final stupid question all of this putting together of the parts would basically be plugging in correct? I wouldn't have to do any soldering? Because that is something I definitely wouldn't feel too comfortable being able to do myself.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Want to build my first computer. Need advice.

About the HDD, yeah any SATA drive should work but don't replace the SSDs. If you want more storage I would suggest getting two 1 TB HDDs to run in RAID 1 for reliability- although technically you won't be increasing capacity who really needs 1.5TB except for those running a business? I included the Revodrive and an additional SSD for programs because I don't know about the write reliability of the RevoDrive and running games off it might be a little dangerous. Plus, it's cheaper to buy an additional SATA SSD than to buy the larger size RevoDrive.
You're not going to see much performance increase in a build fancier than this. There would be some increase in getting an i7 Extreme edition, but not really worth $1000. The biggest performance increase would be to run SLI or CROSSFIRE with multiple GPU's. If I were you, I'd spend the extra money on a better monitor (or more monitors) or a WC loop if you plan on overclocking. Keep in mind that the accessories (e.g. fans lights sleeving etc.) do add up so account for a decent portion of you budget for fancy extras. If you go with the HAF or a similar case with side panel window I suggest that you sleeve your cables- I just sleeved my PSU yesterday and tacked on a couple more UV cold cathodes and it looks amazing, as opposed to the cables all over the place before. frozencpu.com has all sorts of case mod and sleeving supplies.
I would totally go with a build similar to this, I think that a $2000 or so budget is probably the best price range you can be looking at in terms of performance and price. Anything over $3000 is probably a little redundant.
uhhh... whoops I think I did leave out the RAM. Just make sure you get triple channel RAM in 6 GB (twelve is unnecessary).
Like I said, the biggest upgrade you can make is in graphics. GTX 480 or 580 in SLI would be really expensive, but could probably whoop anything other HD 5970 in CrossFireX.
Don't worry- you don't have to solder anything, unless you plan on doing electrical case mods such as replacing power switches etc.
You don't need an additional HDMI/DVI output- the graphics cards have plenty.
I was a total newb too when I built my PC a few months ago. I think I picked up on it quick- once you get the hang of it, it's really easy. I'd be glad to help instruct in the actual building part as well.
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