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Dad trying to help his son build a gaming PC needs some help.

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February 7, 2014 12:53:38 PM

The last computer I put together was in the late 90's. My son was not even born then. LOL

Anyway he is 14 years old now and has been begging me for a gaming PC for over a year. I guess the xbox and his laptop are not doing it for him anymore.

The xbox games he plays the most are GTA5 and COD (what ever the new one is I don't remember)

So far the only thing I bought was the case: http://www.directron.com/syclon2bk.html?gsear=1#caption He picked because it looked cool. LOL

Anyway I have been reading all I can for the last week and I am as confused now as I was when I started putting a parts list together.

About the only thing I do know is I want an SSD for the main drive and a large 7,200 RPM drive for storage.

He really wants to run 3 monitors and I told him we would get that too.

I am guessing AMD CPUs are good but then everyone says Intel is better.

Every how to article I have read seems to contradict the last one I read.

Please someone, anyone, help an old man, help his son build this.

I am open to all questions and suggestions.

More about : dad son build gaming

a b 4 Gaming
February 7, 2014 1:05:04 PM

I can't really build a parts list for you now as my work computer is rather ancient and does not fancy PCPartPicker.

But running three monitors will take a fair amount of power. A total budget for the required items would be incredibly helpful (as I assume you're purchasing three monitors as well).

But for the most part, AMD CPUs are a great CPU for budget minded people, and will give you adequate performance for the regular gamer. Intel's CPUs give you raw performance, and will pretty much beat any of their AMD equivalent; but with choosing Intel, you also pay a slight premium for the extra performance (in the grand scheme of things, it's not a whole lot more money, but if you're on a budget, ~$100 can make or break you).

A SSD I would recommend is the Samsung EVO (250GB is a sweet spot, allowed me to just use it as my primary and not even get a secondary HDD for storage). The EVO is incredibly price friendly, is highly reliable, and is one of the faster SSDs out there.

HDD is pretty much up to you, but a Seagate Barracuda would likely do for storage.

Do not skimp on the PSU, as it can lead to a whole slew of problems. Depending whether or not you plan on using two graphics cards or not, will dictate the PSU you'll need. A single GPU system will likely only need a 650W unit, for dual GPU, I prefer 860W+. PSU brands I would recommend are SeaSonic (the very best), XFX (made by SeaSonic), and Corsair (HX/TX/AX lines, AX860 is my current PSU with dual GTX 780s).

GPUs, AMD is getting up there in performance, but tends to run a tad bit hotter (95C? ew.), and have a larger power draw. Nvidia runs cooler, uses less power, and tends to have the best performance, but again, at a premium.

So a good balance between parts would be ideal. I'm not entirely sure what it takes to run 3 monitors, and I'm not sure what your son is satisfied with. But a i5-4670k, Z87 motheboard, and possibly a GTX 780 Ti would allow your son to run three monitors relatively well.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 7, 2014 1:10:31 PM

no accounting for the aesthetic tastes of kiddos, but I think the rest can be doable.

Running 3 screens is possible, but can bring even high end machines to a crawl. What sizes and resolutions are we talking about? He will need 3 identical monitors, preferably ones with very small bezels.

To push 3 monitors you will need 2-3 GPUs to keep frame rates up. Once we know resolution then we can suggest the best options. AMD typically has the best GPU options for multi-screen gaming... but expect driver issues on occasion. triple head (3 screen) gaming is doable... but it is more a religion than a science still and there are bugs to be worked out.

To support 3GPUs you can get by with an Intel i5 processor... but you may need an LGA2011 based system to push enough PCIe lanes to do things right. The extra processing cores will not help much, but more lanes means less bottlenecks. You are absolutely looking at an Intel chip though. AMD has all but given up on the high end.

Once you have GPUs picked out then you will need to pick your power supply. Be sure to get something that is 80+ gold or platinum to ensure that you have good stable clean power for running several GPUs. Pick your wattage once you know the rest of the system.

For SSDs, look for a Samsung 840 EVO. 256GB may be enough for a small game library, but 512+GB is suggested if he is into a wide varieity of games.

Don't worry so much about getting a large storage drive. Get a NAS for your home and use it to store all of your movies, music, and other bulk files.



Lastly (and most importantly) what kind of budget are we talking here? 3 monitors, plus a rig to push them is talking well north of $2,000. That is a decent chunk of change to just play 2-3 games on, and it will still be obsolete in 3-5 years.

What we need to know:
Budget
Monitor(s) and resolution (3x 1080p? 1440p? 1600p?)
List of games played (GTA, COD Ghosts... ????)
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a b 4 Gaming
February 7, 2014 1:14:19 PM

What's your budget here? And does he want to be gaming across all 3 screens?
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February 7, 2014 1:18:12 PM

Don't spoil your son with 3 monitors, if your getting him 24 inch 1080p monitors then well...
This build could be over $3000...

You need a strong GPU for gaming on 3 monitors, I recommend the 780ti.
http://au.pcpartpicker.com/p/2P3Sn

It comes to over $3000 Aud.
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February 7, 2014 1:27:57 PM

WOW, Lots of help finally.

I will try my best to answer.

No idea about resolution. He has never really gamed on a PC before and I am sure he will be the first of his friends to have a gaming PC so he is no help.

What is the recommended resolution?

Also I will be buying the monitors all at the same time so the match. I do know that from my Dell with 2 monitors.

I was not really sure what it would take to push 3 monitors so that is important info about the processor. Never really thought the processor mattered with that.

Also is there one video card that can do it or do I need 3 or??

Budget is pretty big. I would like to also make sure it can be upgraded as needed without having to but it all over again. He is really a good kid. Not some smart mouth punk. I think he deserves it. Still if I could keep it around $2,000 that would be great.
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February 7, 2014 1:28:04 PM

What is your budget for this build most builds that game across 3 monitors start around 1200 or so for decent fps.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 7, 2014 1:32:32 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2P4mY
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2P4mY/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2P4mY/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.97 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus Maximus VI Hero ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M500 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($122.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($87.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($499.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($489.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Thermaltake VN300M1W2N ATX Full Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 850W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) ($99.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $2021.86
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a b 4 Gaming
February 7, 2014 1:47:17 PM

master38851 said:
WOW, Lots of help finally.

I will try my best to answer.

No idea about resolution. He has never really gamed on a PC before and I am sure he will be the first of his friends to have a gaming PC so he is no help.

What is the recommended resolution?

Also I will be buying the monitors all at the same time so the match. I do know that from my Dell with 2 monitors.

I was not really sure what it would take to push 3 monitors so that is important info about the processor. Never really thought the processor mattered with that.

Also is there one video card that can do it or do I need 3 or??

Budget is pretty big. I would like to also make sure it can be upgraded as needed without having to but it all over again. He is really a good kid. Not some smart mouth punk. I think he deserves it. Still if I could keep it around $2,000 that would be great.


Well hell, I was a pretty awesome kid (just ask me! lol) but if I wanted anything good then I had to save up for it myself, and learn how to build/maintain it myself. I was a bit annoyed about it at the time, but now that I am older and can actually take care of my things I think it has really put me pretty far ahead of my peers in life. In a few years when my kiddo is old enough to get his own box I'll supply him with $500 twards a basic build, but if he wants something special then he has to supply the extra. And he is absolutely going to have to build and maintain his own rig. Dad is there to help... but Dad has better things to do than to become the full time home sys admin. I do that enough at work.

Parenting advice aside:
Resolution and screen size are the big deciding factor here. At work I have 3 24" monitors at 1920x1200, and they are OK. At home I am using a single 28" monitor at 1920x1200 and the resolution is far too low to be really enjoyable. At that size then 1440p or 1600p would be far more appropriate, but I am saving up and waiting for a 35-40" 4K monitor (and a proper GPU to push it) for my replacement. Just waiting for 4K monitors to get to a point where they can run on a single controller.

But if you are doing 3 1080p or 1200p screens, then a single high end GPU like a GTX 780ti should be able to do it with out much issue, though 2x 770 cards may be better. Also, it has been my experience that nVidia cards do a better job scaling with detail, while AMD cards scale better with resolution and typically offer better multi-monitor support. Maybe the tables have turned since the last time I looked into it, and I am sure someone here will correct me if I am wrong on that, but that does seem to be the way things go.

If you are doing 3 larger screens with 1440p or higher resolution, then you will need 2 very high end cards, or 3-4 moderately high end cards to push the pixels out fast enough. Up to 2 GPUs is more than doable with a simple i5 processor... but once you start talking about 3+ GPUs then you need to move up to an LGA2011 platform, which adds some serious money to the mix.

Once you know what screen size and resolution, then you can look into what GPU support is needed to push out a good frame rate. Once you have that, then you pick your platform (LGA2011 or LGA1150). Then you decide if you are going to overclock (and the answer is probably yes), and pick your air or water cooling solution. Once you have all that sorted out then you pick a good quality gold or platinum power supply

Then you hand your kid a bunch of boxes and walk away :D 
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