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Novice tech user looking to build a new computer

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November 20, 2013 2:49:26 PM

I am in high school, and would like to have a new computer to do a number of school related things, as well as some games. For school I would like to run some of the Engineering programs I have been using (Nothing too complicated) And I would like to play some games with decent fps. What specs should I be looking for? Anything I should know that is not commonly known? Any tips/tricks for someone who knows next to nothing about computers, let alone building one?
November 20, 2013 3:05:24 PM

to build a computer with no knowledge will require some research. I'm a professional electronics engineer, but my last computer build was 7 years ago, so I researched it by trawling forums for 2 months before hand. Even so, there were a few things I could have done better. I would suggest doing the same and using youtube and reading guides on how to build a PC.

some things you need to decide on are;
Cost?
what games, resolution, graphics quality, number of monitors?
performance eg. fastest PC possible for engineering simulations?
Size?
Complexity?
Longevity?
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November 20, 2013 3:52:14 PM

leeb2013 said:
to build a computer with no knowledge will require some research. I'm a professional electronics engineer, but my last computer build was 7 years ago, so I researched it by trawling forums for 2 months before hand. Even so, there were a few things I could have done better. I would suggest doing the same and using youtube and reading guides on how to build a PC.

some things you need to decide on are;
Cost?
what games, resolution, graphics quality, number of monitors?
performance eg. fastest PC possible for engineering simulations?
Size?
Complexity?
Longevity?


Thank you for responding! I have a decent budget, most likely around $1,500.
I don't expect to play anything too complex... though it is possible. The game that I would most likely have the most difficulty playing is something like Assassin's Creed.
I think I would only use one monitor, as I do not think there is anything that I would need on a second... Although you are right, that, among other things, is something that I should put more research into.
I'm not entirely certain what you're referring to with size. A medium-large tower would be fine, physically. Technology-wise, I think I would prefer about a TB of storage and 8 gigs of ram if possible.
Engineering simulations would not be too complex, so something like what you were referring to would not be necessary.
Complexity.... I would prefer to be decent. Not overly difficult, but with some useful features. I AM a novice, though I have some near-experts able and willing to help.
Longevity is something I really would like in this computer. This is going to be a computer that I will be using for a long time until more funds will be made available (Likely after college). The time that I will make use of this will most likely be about ten years.

On a side note: I do not plan on making this particularly soon, so I will have plenty of time to research and decide on the more detail-oriented matters.
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November 20, 2013 3:55:13 PM

As far as specs go, here are some details for the different parts you'll need:

  • CPU: I recommend a Quad-Core CPU for what you are looking for. If you are on a budget, I would go for an AMD one. Otherwise go with either an i5 or i7 from Intel (2nd Gen and higher).
  • GPU: A GPU with great power, and at a decent price is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 ti BOOST. This GPU will last you a while.
  • RAM: For RAM, I would recommend 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz. This is becoming the standard for a lot of gaming systems, so later on I would recommend upgrade to 16GB.
  • Storage: Now as far as Hard Drives go, I recommend getting (at least) one 1TB drive. They are pretty cheap, only around $60-$80, and they have plenty of room for and will last.
  • Power Supply: For a power supply (or PSU), I would get a 500-650 Watt PSU. Brands don't typically matter with a PSU, but i would check how people rate them first.
  • Motherboard: Now for the part where everything comes and connects. Now your motherboard is dependent on the type of CPU you get. If you get an AMD CPU, you will need to get a motherboard compatible with said CPU. If it is an Intel CPU, the same thing applies. A good motherboard won't every really cost more than $75.
  • Case: Now a case pretty much comes down to style. I would research different case styles and see which ones appeal to you. Just make sure it has the right kind of motherboard mount.
  • Optical Drive: AKA the CD drive. Unless you plan on burning blu-rays, a little $15 drive will be just fine.
  • Operation System: What most people get for gaming now is Windows 7. I'm sure you can find that around for about $85.

  • That's pretty much the basis for specs you need in a good PC. Now as for things that aren't commonly known.

    • You don't need high-tech water-cooling. A simple heat-sink/fan combo for your CPU, will be plenty good.
    • Google is your friend. Some people are very hesitant to look up help online because of people who like to lie. But websites like this can be your greatest asset.
    • Expensive isn't always better. You can build a great computer for only a few hundred dollars. There is usually no need to spend over $1000.

  • As far as tips and tricks go for building a computer, you basically just have to connect everything to the motherboard and put it into the case. People make it sound hard, when it really isn't. But when you put everything together, keep your cables organized. Unorganized cables not only make the computer look bad, they can also result in wires being burnt and possibly frying the PC. So be careful.
    If there is any other advice you need, feel free to contact me on my email me at asjasjasj1@gmail.com

    Hope this helps!
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    November 20, 2013 4:09:03 PM

    Vernonia1 said:
    As far as specs go, here are some details for the different parts you'll need:

    • CPU: I recommend a Quad-Core CPU for what you are looking for. If you are on a budget, I would go for an AMD one. Otherwise go with either an i5 or i7 from Intel (2nd Gen and higher).
    • GPU: A GPU with great power, and at a decent price is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 ti BOOST. This GPU will last you a while.
    • RAM: For RAM, I would recommend 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz. This is becoming the standard for a lot of gaming systems, so later on I would recommend upgrade to 16GB.
    • Storage: Now as far as Hard Drives go, I recommend getting (at least) one 1TB drive. They are pretty cheap, only around $60-$80, and they have plenty of room for and will last.
    • Power Supply: For a power supply (or PSU), I would get a 500-650 Watt PSU. Brands don't typically matter with a PSU, but i would check how people rate them first.
    • Motherboard: Now for the part where everything comes and connects. Now your motherboard is dependent on the type of CPU you get. If you get an AMD CPU, you will need to get a motherboard compatible with said CPU. If it is an Intel CPU, the same thing applies. A good motherboard won't every really cost more than $75.
    • Case: Now a case pretty much comes down to style. I would research different case styles and see which ones appeal to you. Just make sure it has the right kind of motherboard mount.
    • Optical Drive: AKA the CD drive. Unless you plan on burning blu-rays, a little $15 drive will be just fine.
    • Operation System: What most people get for gaming now is Windows 7. I'm sure you can find that around for about $85.

  • That's pretty much the basis for specs you need in a good PC. Now as for things that aren't commonly known.

    • You don't need high-tech water-cooling. A simple heat-sink/fan combo for your CPU, will be plenty good.
    • Google is your friend. Some people are very hesitant to look up help online because of people who like to lie. But websites like this can be your greatest asset.
    • Expensive isn't always better. You can build a great computer for only a few hundred dollars. There is usually no need to spend over $1000.

  • As far as tips and tricks go for building a computer, you basically just have to connect everything to the motherboard and put it into the case. People make it sound hard, when it really isn't. But when you put everything together, keep your cables organized. Unorganized cables not only make the computer look bad, they can also result in wires being burnt and possibly frying the PC. So be careful.
    If there is any other advice you need, feel free to contact me on my email me at asjasjasj1@gmail.com

    Hope this helps!


  • Thank you very much! I'm still in the process of research (As made quite apparent by the lack of information in the post...) This really does help a lot, as I do often get caught up in the "Spec mumbo-jumbo" that often leads to $2,000+ price range, when I really do not expect that much from my computer! I will begin my basic research based on the information you gave me, which should certainly narrow down the options greatly. I will hold on to your eMail address, and contact you if I have any more specific questions :) 
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    Best solution

    November 20, 2013 4:17:27 PM

    good recommendations above.

    I'd add an SSD, 256GB if possible (around $160). I've found nothing that makes a PC feel fast as an SSD. HDD are ancient slow things, but good for bulk storage.
    Initially, I thought I wouldn't be interested in o/c, but glad I went for an o/c CPU and mobo as I feel I get 30% more performance for almost nothing! You can stick to stock clocks now, then when you need more grunt in 2-3 years, do an o/c.
    If you are not o/c'ing, then any cheap mobo will do, otherwise Z77/87 for intel CPUs.
    I would suggest a better GPU for any decent gaming. GTX 760, 770, 680, HD 7950, 7950, R9-280x. Or dual GPU eg. 2x7950 for a big over $400 exceeds Titan, R9-290x, 780ti performance.
    Dual GPU needs two PCIe 3.0 x8 slots (preferably) with 2 slots between them ie. a ATX board, not uATX.
    It's best to get an overated PSU, particularly if considering o/c on GPU/CPU as you don't want it running near max, hot and noisy. Calculators online.
    I7 expensive not required for gaming, only for video rendering, complex multitasking etc.
    AMD CPUs generally cheaper for similar overall performance, but tend to offer less performance for single threaded apps and are less efficient, use more power and are hotter.

    hope that gives you some ideas.
    Share
    November 20, 2013 4:45:07 PM

    leeb2013 said:
    good recommendations above.

    I'd add an SSD, 256GB if possible (around $160). I've found nothing that makes a PC feel fast as an SSD. HDD are ancient slow things, but good for bulk storage.
    Initially, I thought I wouldn't be interested in o/c, but glad I went for an o/c CPU and mobo as I feel I get 30% more performance for almost nothing! You can stick to stock clocks now, then when you need more grunt in 2-3 years, do an o/c.
    If you are not o/c'ing, then any cheap mobo will do, otherwise Z77/87 for intel CPUs.
    I would suggest a better GPU for any decent gaming. GTX 760, 770, 680, HD 7950, 7950, R9-280x. Or dual GPU eg. 2x7950 for a big over $400 exceeds Titan, R9-290x, 780ti performance.
    Dual GPU needs two PCIe 3.0 x8 slots (preferably) with 2 slots between them ie. a ATX board, not uATX.
    It's best to get an overated PSU, particularly if considering o/c on GPU/CPU as you don't want it running near max, hot and noisy. Calculators online.
    I7 expensive not required for gaming, only for video rendering, complex multitasking etc.
    AMD CPUs generally cheaper for similar overall performance, but tend to offer less performance for single threaded apps and are less efficient, use more power and are hotter.

    hope that gives you some ideas.


    Alright, I will take this all into consideration! To be honest, at this point a good amount of that looks like it's in a different language :/  I will think about finding some better equipment while going through all of this after figuring out exactly what I would need for my range of gaming.
    Multitasking is something that I would likely do often while working on some of the more heavily work oriented Engineering projects I would be working on. If I do over clock my computer (I assume that's what o/c means) I will look further into how to keep it acting normally. Thank you for your advice!
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    November 20, 2013 8:03:21 PM

    pikmin1223 said:
    Vernonia1 said:
    As far as specs go, here are some details for the different parts you'll need:

    • CPU: I recommend a Quad-Core CPU for what you are looking for. If you are on a budget, I would go for an AMD one. Otherwise go with either an i5 or i7 from Intel (2nd Gen and higher).
    • GPU: A GPU with great power, and at a decent price is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 ti BOOST. This GPU will last you a while.
    • RAM: For RAM, I would recommend 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz. This is becoming the standard for a lot of gaming systems, so later on I would recommend upgrade to 16GB.
    • Storage: Now as far as Hard Drives go, I recommend getting (at least) one 1TB drive. They are pretty cheap, only around $60-$80, and they have plenty of room for and will last.
    • Power Supply: For a power supply (or PSU), I would get a 500-650 Watt PSU. Brands don't typically matter with a PSU, but i would check how people rate them first.
    • Motherboard: Now for the part where everything comes and connects. Now your motherboard is dependent on the type of CPU you get. If you get an AMD CPU, you will need to get a motherboard compatible with said CPU. If it is an Intel CPU, the same thing applies. A good motherboard won't every really cost more than $75.
    • Case: Now a case pretty much comes down to style. I would research different case styles and see which ones appeal to you. Just make sure it has the right kind of motherboard mount.
    • Optical Drive: AKA the CD drive. Unless you plan on burning blu-rays, a little $15 drive will be just fine.
    • Operation System: What most people get for gaming now is Windows 7. I'm sure you can find that around for about $85.

  • That's pretty much the basis for specs you need in a good PC. Now as for things that aren't commonly known.

    • You don't need high-tech water-cooling. A simple heat-sink/fan combo for your CPU, will be plenty good.
    • Google is your friend. Some people are very hesitant to look up help online because of people who like to lie. But websites like this can be your greatest asset.
    • Expensive isn't always better. You can build a great computer for only a few hundred dollars. There is usually no need to spend over $1000.

  • As far as tips and tricks go for building a computer, you basically just have to connect everything to the motherboard and put it into the case. People make it sound hard, when it really isn't. But when you put everything together, keep your cables organized. Unorganized cables not only make the computer look bad, they can also result in wires being burnt and possibly frying the PC. So be careful.
    If there is any other advice you need, feel free to contact me on my email me at asjasjasj1@gmail.com

    Hope this helps!


  • Thank you very much! I'm still in the process of research (As made quite apparent by the lack of information in the post...) This really does help a lot, as I do often get caught up in the "Spec mumbo-jumbo" that often leads to $2,000+ price range, when I really do not expect that much from my computer! I will begin my basic research based on the information you gave me, which should certainly narrow down the options greatly. I will hold on to your eMail address, and contact you if I have any more specific questions :) 


  • You're very welcome! If you want, I can show you a base computer with pretty high specs and you can modify from there.
    You can contact me whenever. Just make sure I know it's you. :) 
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