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How hard is it to build your own gaming PC?

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June 22, 2014 9:33:50 AM

So, I'm planning on building my own PC, I've always wanted to and I see the value of doing it for yourself.

That being said, dealing with individual warranties as opposed to one warranty for one machine from a pre-built vendor is kind of daunting/frightening. Furthermore, if you put together the whole system and something doesn't work, how are you supposed to figure out what went wrong? Especially when you're a total noob to computer hardware and construction?

Are component manufacturers honest with customer support usually? Can you trust them to honor warranty guarantees?

It seems like a lot can go wrong, especially for novices. I was looking at, out of curiosity more than anything, Digital Storm's Vanquish system. It looks very nice and is well priced, the only issue is the hold, outdated H81 motherboard that doesn't offer much in the way of future upgrades. It also doesn't include an OS, monitor, mouse, keyboard, or any other "accessories" with it.

I see the value in building your own system, the money saved and what not. For the price of the "best" or level 3 Vanquish, I can get a good H97 motherboard, or for a little more, a Z97 motherboard, I can get a 1080p monitor, a keyboard, and Windows 7 or 8.1. So building your own clearly saves money and allows you to choose the nice components you want and allows you to decide whether you care about future upgradeability.

With all those pros, it should be clear which is the best move, but building your own as a novice is a scary task, even though the challenge would be fun and thrilling, a lot can go wrong and diagnosing what went wrong is where I'd struggle the most.

I guess what I'm asking for, is, is it really such a rutheless task, to build your own PC? All these articles of pre-built vs custom built outline the pros and cons of each, but emphasise the building of your own rig's cons as the things that can go wrong and the difficulty of diagnosing the issue.

More about : hard build gaming

June 22, 2014 9:38:18 AM

Here's an example of a computer I just found while perusing a site weighing the pros and cons of pre-built and custom built.

http://elitegamingcomputers.com/gaming-computers/#4

It looks amazing for $1000 USD, R9 290 and i5 4670k, plus a Z97 mobo. Seems too good to be true.

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June 22, 2014 9:44:17 AM

Yea a lot can go wrong and hardware can brake and have to be replaced BUT there are soooooo many videos on how to build a PC on YT.
My first PC, a friend of mine helped me build, the second I did it in less than 2 hours. It is realy easy if you are interested in researching and learning about pc parts and how to put them together.
btw the chances of one part being broken or having to be replaced are pretty slim (usually...)
And if there is a problem this forum can usualy help a noob (no offence)
If I were you I´d watch some build guide videos from YT channels like Linus Tech Tipps etc. and go for it :D 
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Related resources
June 22, 2014 9:45:33 AM

MrCanEHdian said:
Here's an example of a computer I just found while perusing a site weighing the pros and cons of pre-built and custom built.

http://elitegamingcomputers.com/gaming-computers/#4

It looks amazing for $1000 USD, R9 290 and i5 4670k, plus a Z97 mobo. Seems too good to be true.



I would not be surprized if that PSU gave up after one afternoon of gaming...
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June 22, 2014 9:46:24 AM

1. Warranties are a tricky subject for most pre-built PCs because many times you have to pay for that 1, 2, or 3 year extended warranty, which can cost hundreds more on top of the actual cost for the PC. And the standard warranty for that pre-built PC might be less than one year, and not include the issue that happened. While dealing with individual warranties may seem like a bit of a process to deal with, many times you get a better warranty for free. For example, my power supply came with a five year warranty. There is no PC that comes with a five year warranty for any aspect of it.

2. If you are worried about having issues diagnosing problems with a new build or preparing for a new build, you can always do a lot of research and ask questions on sites like this one. If you have a horrible issue, it may take some time to get helped completely, but through the members of this site you should be able to get pretty far. Google, YouTube, and tomshardware.com are huge help for information.

3. Many component manufacturers are pretty honest with customer support, but that is where research comes in. Go with a reliable and recommended brand and component that may cost a bit more, rather than just go cheap for cheap's sake. Besides, most manufacturers are better than the pre-built companies with providing customer support and fixing issues.

4. If you are wanting build recommendations for a particular budget for comparison against a system like the one you mentioned above...just post that in a question on the forum and see what sort of build people can offer up. Give as much information as possible so that they can give you a build that is as close to what you want...I personally ask these questions when trying to assist someone:

Questions:
1. Do you need a keyboard? Any preferences? Wired/wireless/mechanical?

2. Do you need a mouse? Any preferences? Wired/wireless/DPI?

3. Do you need a monitor? If you already have a monitor/tv, what type is it and how many hz is it? Do you plan on using multiple monitors? Or do you have any monitor/tv preferences? Screen size, built in speakers, resolution, refresh, hz?

4. Do you want a blu-ray drive, dvd/cd drive, or no drive? If you already have one, what is it?

5. Do you prefer Intel or AMD processors? If you already have a processor, what is it?

6. Do you want to be able to overclock the processor?

7. Do you prefer NVidia or AMD graphics cards? Do you plan on using multiple GPUs at a later date?

8. Do you plan on overclocking the graphics card?

9. Do you want to have more options for upgrading later on, such as adding extra RAM or running multiple graphics cards together?

10. What operating system do you prefer, Windows 7 or 8.1, or Ubuntu/Linux? If you already have an operating system, then what is it specifically? For example: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. (list the entire specifications for your operating system. Check this link if deciding what Windows OS you want http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop...(v=vs.85).aspx )

11. Does your budget include the operating system?

12. Do you prefer air cooling or liquid cooling?

13. Is there a particular case size you would like to go for, mid tower, full tower, etc?

14. Is there a particular theme or color scheme that you prefer, or a particular style case? (Please give a few examples)

15. What is your budget, minimum and maximum costs?

16. What sort of games or programs do you want to use? (Please give plenty of examples)

17. What settings, fps, resolution do you want to play those games at?

18. What country do you live in, so we can know what currency and/or sites to link for you?

19. Do you have a hard drive type preference, such as normal hard drive, hybrid, or SSD? Or do you want a smaller SSD for the operating system and a normal hard drive for saving files to?

20. Is there any other component that you already have that was not asked about specifically already? If so, what is it?
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a b 4 Gaming
June 22, 2014 9:54:29 AM

Not that amazing. The exact same parts if purchased separately come out to $993.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($228.98 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: MSI Z97 PC MATE ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($88.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($75.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 4GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($399.99 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT Source 220 ATX Mid Tower Case ($53.96 @ TigerDirect)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($45.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $993.84
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
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June 22, 2014 9:55:08 AM

SHADE117 said:
Yea a lot can go wrong and hardware can brake and have to be replaced BUT there are soooooo many videos on how to build a PC on YT.
My first PC, a friend of mine helped me build, the second I did it in less than 2 hours. It is realy easy if you are interested in researching and learning about pc parts and how to put them together.
btw the chances of one part being broken or having to be replaced are pretty slim (usually...)
And if there is a problem this forum can usualy help a noob (no offence)
If I were you I´d watch some build guide videos from YT channels like Linus Tech Tipps etc. and go for it :D 


Good advice, thank you, I think I'll postpone the build for a bit and watch some of these videos and read guides so I feel better about doing it. I had a friend in my first year of uni who had a friend help him build an $800 gaming PC, and it ran like a dream. I've done tons of research, but am still unsure of some things, like the important parts of RAM and what not. I will definitely be asking for help on Tomshardware haha, without a doubt.

Thanks for the friendly advice!
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June 22, 2014 10:00:28 AM

USAFRet said:
Not that amazing. The exact same parts if purchased separately come out to $1093.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($228.98 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: MSI Z97 PC MATE ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($88.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($75.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 4GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($399.99 @ TigerDirect)
Case: NZXT Source 220 ATX Mid Tower Case ($53.96 @ TigerDirect)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($45.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.98 @ OutletPC)
Other: Dell Optiplex 755 Core 2 Duo Desktop Computer 2.66GHz- 2GB RAM -250GB Vista ($99.99)
Total: $1093.83
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available


Wow, you do save a lot, I didn't bother looking at the price of the motherboard or power supply. I know price doesn't always dictate quality, but the motherboard is insanely cheap, and for a Z97, I'd be wary of something so cheap. Plus the PSU is super cheap, that's definitely not something you'd want to skimp out on. I feel like a motherboard that cheap wouldn't overclock very well. I guess I'll forget about pre-built then lmao, it seems like they skimp out on core components.
That being said, the price on your build is excellent, but I think I'd stick with Newegg.ca, they're supposed to have stellar customer support, which I'd need to rest a little more easily.

Thank you for the enlightenment, I wasn't planning on going pre-built, but I may have considered it down the road, as the building process is daunting.

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June 22, 2014 10:01:44 AM

SHADE117 said:
MrCanEHdian said:
Here's an example of a computer I just found while perusing a site weighing the pros and cons of pre-built and custom built.

http://elitegamingcomputers.com/gaming-computers/#4

It looks amazing for $1000 USD, R9 290 and i5 4670k, plus a Z97 mobo. Seems too good to be true.



I would not be surprized if that PSU gave up after one afternoon of gaming...


Ya... At $45, it's a pretty sketchy deal. I don't think I'd want to put $1000 into such shitty core components, especially something as crucial as the PSU.
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June 22, 2014 10:02:23 AM

when you build a PC consider your PSU!!!!! no way a 550w will run a R9 290!!!! it will blow
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a b 4 Gaming
June 22, 2014 10:02:29 AM

MrCanEHdian said:
USAFRet said:
Not that amazing. The exact same parts if purchased separately come out to $1093.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($228.98 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: MSI Z97 PC MATE ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($88.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($75.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 4GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($399.99 @ TigerDirect)
Case: NZXT Source 220 ATX Mid Tower Case ($53.96 @ TigerDirect)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($45.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.98 @ OutletPC)
Other: Dell Optiplex 755 Core 2 Duo Desktop Computer 2.66GHz- 2GB RAM -250GB Vista ($99.99)
Total: $1093.83
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available


Wow, you do save a lot, I didn't bother looking at the price of the motherboard or power supply. I know price doesn't always dictate quality, but the motherboard is insanely cheap, and for a Z97, I'd be wary of something so cheap. Plus the PSU is super cheap, that's definitely not something you'd want to skimp out on. I feel like a motherboard that cheap wouldn't overclock very well. I guess I'll forget about pre-built then lmao, it seems like they skimp out on core components.
That being said, the price on your build is excellent, but I think I'd stick with Newegg.ca, they're supposed to have stellar customer support, which I'd need to rest a little more easily.

Thank you for the enlightenment, I wasn't planning on going pre-built, but I may have considered it down the road, as the building process is daunting.



See my revised post. I had an extra $100 item in there.
Actual parts $993 if purchased separately. Plus, you get the benefit of knowing exactly how it is put together.
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June 22, 2014 10:34:41 AM

NBSN said:
1. Warranties are a tricky subject for most pre-built PCs because many times you have to pay for that 1, 2, or 3 year extended warranty, which can cost hundreds more on top of the actual cost for the PC. And the standard warranty for that pre-built PC might be less than one year, and not include the issue that happened. While dealing with individual warranties may seem like a bit of a process to deal with, many times you get a better warranty for free. For example, my power supply came with a five year warranty. There is no PC that comes with a five year warranty for any aspect of it.

2. If you are worried about having issues diagnosing problems with a new build or preparing for a new build, you can always do a lot of research and ask questions on sites like this one. If you have a horrible issue, it may take some time to get helped completely, but through the members of this site you should be able to get pretty far. Google, YouTube, and tomshardware.com are huge help for information.

3. Many component manufacturers are pretty honest with customer support, but that is where research comes in. Go with a reliable and recommended brand and component that may cost a bit more, rather than just go cheap for cheap's sake. Besides, most manufacturers are better than the pre-built companies with providing customer support and fixing issues.

4. If you are wanting build recommendations for a particular budget for comparison against a system like the one you mentioned above...just post that in a question on the forum and see what sort of build people can offer up. Give as much information as possible so that they can give you a build that is as close to what you want...I personally ask these questions when trying to assist someone:

Questions:
1. Do you need a keyboard? Any preferences? Wired/wireless/mechanical?

2. Do you need a mouse? Any preferences? Wired/wireless/DPI?

3. Do you need a monitor? If you already have a monitor/tv, what type is it and how many hz is it? Do you plan on using multiple monitors? Or do you have any monitor/tv preferences? Screen size, built in speakers, resolution, refresh, hz?

4. Do you want a blu-ray drive, dvd/cd drive, or no drive? If you already have one, what is it?

5. Do you prefer Intel or AMD processors? If you already have a processor, what is it?

6. Do you want to be able to overclock the processor?

7. Do you prefer NVidia or AMD graphics cards? Do you plan on using multiple GPUs at a later date?

8. Do you plan on overclocking the graphics card?

9. Do you want to have more options for upgrading later on, such as adding extra RAM or running multiple graphics cards together?

10. What operating system do you prefer, Windows 7 or 8.1, or Ubuntu/Linux? If you already have an operating system, then what is it specifically? For example: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. (list the entire specifications for your operating system. Check this link if deciding what Windows OS you want http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop...(v=vs.85).aspx )

11. Does your budget include the operating system?

12. Do you prefer air cooling or liquid cooling?

13. Is there a particular case size you would like to go for, mid tower, full tower, etc?

14. Is there a particular theme or color scheme that you prefer, or a particular style case? (Please give a few examples)

15. What is your budget, minimum and maximum costs?

16. What sort of games or programs do you want to use? (Please give plenty of examples)

17. What settings, fps, resolution do you want to play those games at?

18. What country do you live in, so we can know what currency and/or sites to link for you?

19. Do you have a hard drive type preference, such as normal hard drive, hybrid, or SSD? Or do you want a smaller SSD for the operating system and a normal hard drive for saving files to?

20. Is there any other component that you already have that was not asked about specifically already? If so, what is it?


That first point is an excellent one I failed to consider, the PSU I'm looking at is a nicely priced EVGA for $129.99 with Gold rating, and has a crazy long 10 year warranty. I guess they figure if it works for five, it'll likely last much longer than you'll use it for.

So the warranty may only cover certain components in a pre-built? I was an idiot when I was kid, and spent an enormous sum of money on a "gaming" laptop from Dell's XPS line of apparently extreme performance systems. The laptop was a total joke, and again, me being the idiot I was, bought a 3 year full coverage and accidental warranty for $300. I will never, in a million years do that again, what a waste it was for all of it. The PC was a joke, with a 256Mb GPU, and the standard was becoming 512Mb at the time, the PC could barely run Mass Effect on the lowest settings.

Anyways, the extended warranties seem like a scam almost.

I will be using Tomshardware for sure, and also contributing in attempt to "give back" for all the help I've received over the months, which has been an immense amount. I went from knowing absolutely nothing about anything, to knowing a decent amount, which is thrilling.

I'm glad manufacturers of components are good at honouring promises with warranties. I feel I'll stick exclusively with Intel, and either AMD or Nvidia for GPUs, specifically Asus, MSI, Gygabite, EVGA or something like that.

I'm almost certain what I want for the build, I'm just juggling around the Xeon vs i5 and the H97 vs Z97 still, otherwise I'm almost completely ready to build.

Also worth throwing in, my currency is Canadian dollars, so the price will rise since I'll be doing business with American manufacturers, of course.

I'm going to answer those questions:

1. I do need a mouse and keyboard, I prefer wired and a backlight on the keyboard would be nice but not necessary. Other than those things, nothing else is necessary other than two buttons for the mouse and the scrolling thing in the middle.

2. I need a monitor, I've included a $120-$140 for a 1080p monitor (although I'm fine with 720p since I'll often be scaling down I think due to my choice of GPU, GTX 760). Speakers would be nice, but I'll be using a headset for most of the things I will be doing. Refresh rates can be low, no biggie, 90% of my PC gaming will be stratgey games, many of which will be turn based. I don't need ultra graphics either, I might play some online shooters, but not many.

3. I threw in a cheap dvd/cd drive from Samsung for $19.

4. I plan on using Intel CPUs, I'm not against AMD but I hear Intel is best for gaming.

5. I don't plan on overclocking, but if I find a nice sale on a good Z97 that makes the price difference between it and an H97 negligible, I will go Z97 and consider someday maybe overclocking. I don't know much about it.

6. I prefer Nvidia, but for trivial reasons, I don't know much about AMD GPUs. I'm down to try them out if there's more of a benefit.

7. I didn't know you could overclock GPUs, and I don't know how to do it or what needs to be considered to do it. I'll have to do some research, but I wasn't planning on overclocking them.

8. For the OS, I'll likely go Windows 7, but I'll consider Win8.1, whichever is better for gaming. I won't have a touch screen for Windows 8.1 though. I need to buy the OS and my budget has taken it into consideration. The OS needs to be 64-bit, not much else really. Likely the OEM version, whichever is cheapest I guess.

9. I prefer air cooling for monetary reasons, but I'll consider liquid cooling. Because I'm not planning on overclocking, I'm thinking air cooling. The Evo Hyper 212 seems awesome, but it's heavy and the Gygabite H97 supports a max of 450g, while the Evo cooler is supposed to be something like 650g. I found another Coolermaster cooler that was highly regarded for 29.99 that weight about 420g.

10. For case side, mid ATX or full ATX would be preferred. I wasn't planning on spending much more than $80, $100 if absolutely necessary, but mid ATX seems to be the only nicely priced ones I can find, which offer good cooling and air flow options. Aesthetics don't matter at all in the case or motherboard, only performance, quality, and cooling matter to me

11. No colours or styles matter to me at all, it could be the ugliest case, as long as it works well and is durable, I'll be very happy.

12. My budget is odd, theoretically, I can put $2000 CAD into it (so something like $1800 USD or so), but I'm looking to keep the price below $1500, as I don't need super high end components like a super high end GPU, since I'll never use it with 720p-1080p. I won't be going above 1080p for my resolutions and if I need to scale graphics back for improved performance, then so be it. There is no official minimum cost, but I want quality components that will last several years, and I want to be able to upgrade components, so a decent wattage and high quality PSU is important, and I'd like to be able to upgrade to Broadwell (if it turns out to be worth it), so a 97 series mobo is important.

13. For games, mostly strategy games, like: Civilization 5, Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, Planetary Annihilation, Wargame: Red Dragon, Civilization: Beyond Earth (when it comes out in the Fall), Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion.

I'd also like to be able to play FPSs like Planetside 2, games like DayZ Standalone, and survival games like The Forest, or the Stomping Lands.

I can't think of other games I really want right now.

14. For settings, I'd like at least medium settings in all games, an at least 40-60 FPS, with resolutions of 720p-1080p. High and ultra settings would be very nice, but not necessary for me.

15. Canada.

16. In order to cut costs, I'll likely go with an HDD with 7200 RPM, at least 500Gbs. I don't think I'll go with an SSD, and instead use the money on a GPU or something.

17. For other components, a built in sound card and LAN card into the motherboard is fairly important, I can't think of anything else though. I guess I'd like to say that high quality core components like the PSU and Mobo are high priorities, I can always improve the GPU or CPU down the road, but the motherboard will be hard to upgrade later on I think.

Thank you so much for the help, this is an insanely detailed answer with so much to offer!






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June 22, 2014 10:35:26 AM

SHADE117 said:
when you build a PC consider your PSU!!!!! no way a 550w will run a R9 290!!!! it will blow


I'm looking at a gold rated EVGA Supernova with 750w to be on the safe side.
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June 22, 2014 10:37:08 AM

USAFRet said:
MrCanEHdian said:
USAFRet said:
Not that amazing. The exact same parts if purchased separately come out to $1093.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($228.98 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: MSI Z97 PC MATE ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($88.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($75.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 4GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($399.99 @ TigerDirect)
Case: NZXT Source 220 ATX Mid Tower Case ($53.96 @ TigerDirect)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($45.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.98 @ OutletPC)
Other: Dell Optiplex 755 Core 2 Duo Desktop Computer 2.66GHz- 2GB RAM -250GB Vista ($99.99)
Total: $1093.83
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available


Wow, you do save a lot, I didn't bother looking at the price of the motherboard or power supply. I know price doesn't always dictate quality, but the motherboard is insanely cheap, and for a Z97, I'd be wary of something so cheap. Plus the PSU is super cheap, that's definitely not something you'd want to skimp out on. I feel like a motherboard that cheap wouldn't overclock very well. I guess I'll forget about pre-built then lmao, it seems like they skimp out on core components.
That being said, the price on your build is excellent, but I think I'd stick with Newegg.ca, they're supposed to have stellar customer support, which I'd need to rest a little more easily.

Thank you for the enlightenment, I wasn't planning on going pre-built, but I may have considered it down the road, as the building process is daunting.



See my revised post. I had an extra $100 item in there.
Actual parts $993 if purchased separately. Plus, you get the benefit of knowing exactly how it is put together.


It's insanely cheap to do it yourself! That being said, I'd probably spend more on a better motherboard and PSU. Thank you for the input!
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June 23, 2014 2:26:17 PM

NBSN said:
1. Warranties are a tricky subject for most pre-built PCs because many times you have to pay for that 1, 2, or 3 year extended warranty, which can cost hundreds more on top of the actual cost for the PC. And the standard warranty for that pre-built PC might be less than one year, and not include the issue that happened. While dealing with individual warranties may seem like a bit of a process to deal with, many times you get a better warranty for free. For example, my power supply came with a five year warranty. There is no PC that comes with a five year warranty for any aspect of it.

2. If you are worried about having issues diagnosing problems with a new build or preparing for a new build, you can always do a lot of research and ask questions on sites like this one. If you have a horrible issue, it may take some time to get helped completely, but through the members of this site you should be able to get pretty far. Google, YouTube, and tomshardware.com are huge help for information.

3. Many component manufacturers are pretty honest with customer support, but that is where research comes in. Go with a reliable and recommended brand and component that may cost a bit more, rather than just go cheap for cheap's sake. Besides, most manufacturers are better than the pre-built companies with providing customer support and fixing issues.

4. If you are wanting build recommendations for a particular budget for comparison against a system like the one you mentioned above...just post that in a question on the forum and see what sort of build people can offer up. Give as much information as possible so that they can give you a build that is as close to what you want...I personally ask these questions when trying to assist someone:

Questions:
1. Do you need a keyboard? Any preferences? Wired/wireless/mechanical?

2. Do you need a mouse? Any preferences? Wired/wireless/DPI?

3. Do you need a monitor? If you already have a monitor/tv, what type is it and how many hz is it? Do you plan on using multiple monitors? Or do you have any monitor/tv preferences? Screen size, built in speakers, resolution, refresh, hz?

4. Do you want a blu-ray drive, dvd/cd drive, or no drive? If you already have one, what is it?

5. Do you prefer Intel or AMD processors? If you already have a processor, what is it?

6. Do you want to be able to overclock the processor?

7. Do you prefer NVidia or AMD graphics cards? Do you plan on using multiple GPUs at a later date?

8. Do you plan on overclocking the graphics card?

9. Do you want to have more options for upgrading later on, such as adding extra RAM or running multiple graphics cards together?

10. What operating system do you prefer, Windows 7 or 8.1, or Ubuntu/Linux? If you already have an operating system, then what is it specifically? For example: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. (list the entire specifications for your operating system. Check this link if deciding what Windows OS you want http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop...(v=vs.85).aspx )

11. Does your budget include the operating system?

12. Do you prefer air cooling or liquid cooling?

13. Is there a particular case size you would like to go for, mid tower, full tower, etc?

14. Is there a particular theme or color scheme that you prefer, or a particular style case? (Please give a few examples)

15. What is your budget, minimum and maximum costs?

16. What sort of games or programs do you want to use? (Please give plenty of examples)

17. What settings, fps, resolution do you want to play those games at?

18. What country do you live in, so we can know what currency and/or sites to link for you?

19. Do you have a hard drive type preference, such as normal hard drive, hybrid, or SSD? Or do you want a smaller SSD for the operating system and a normal hard drive for saving files to?

20. Is there any other component that you already have that was not asked about specifically already? If so, what is it?


I ended up getting 350 back from taxes, something I hadn't put into my budget, so I'll probably put it into the PC build, maybe go for a better GPU or liquid cooling, or liquid cooling and a Z97 or some other higher end motherboard. Not really sure how to use it right now.
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June 23, 2014 3:30:52 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/dFxK23
Price breakdown by merchant: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/dFxK23/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.58 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock Z97 PRO3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($92.50 @ Vuugo)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($82.69 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.97 @ DirectCanada)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 4GB Superclocked ACX Video Card ($329.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Rosewill Line Glow ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($129.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.82 @ DirectCanada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($105.84 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $1086.35
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available


First off, I actually used the pcpartpicker Canada site to give you an appropriate pricing and item list for your location.
There are a few things to consider with this potential build...
The power supply allows for future upgrades and will power the system well enough. Since you are not sure about future overclocking, I saved some money by going with a non-overclockable CPU. The system will play games decently...and we could have upped the performance a bit by going with a GTX 770 and 16 GB of RAM...but to keep the price lower I opted for this setup. I left out a CPU cooler since the stock cooler should perform decently.



Also, I did not know what size monitor and such, so I did not include that. Nor did I know if you preferred a mechanical keyboard (more expensive) vs a normal one. You could probably pick out the mouse and keyboard better since you will know what you prefer.
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June 23, 2014 5:20:30 PM

NBSN said:
PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/dFxK23
Price breakdown by merchant: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/dFxK23/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.58 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock Z97 PRO3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($92.50 @ Vuugo)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($82.69 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.97 @ DirectCanada)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 4GB Superclocked ACX Video Card ($329.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Rosewill Line Glow ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($129.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.82 @ DirectCanada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($105.84 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $1086.35
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available


First off, I actually used the pcpartpicker Canada site to give you an appropriate pricing and item list for your location.
There are a few things to consider with this potential build...
The power supply allows for future upgrades and will power the system well enough. Since you are not sure about future overclocking, I saved some money by going with a non-overclockable CPU. The system will play games decently...and we could have upped the performance a bit by going with a GTX 770 and 16 GB of RAM...but to keep the price lower I opted for this setup. I left out a CPU cooler since the stock cooler should perform decently.



Also, I did not know what size monitor and such, so I did not include that. Nor did I know if you preferred a mechanical keyboard (more expensive) vs a normal one. You could probably pick out the mouse and keyboard better since you will know what you prefer.



I got the monitor and keyboard sorta ready I think. The build is nice, thank you, but you don't think I need any cooling? Not even one of the $30 coolermasters? I do kinda want a better CPU, because of all those strategy games, if I follow that build, I might throw in a bit more for an Xeon or 4670 or 4690.

Thank you for the valuable input!

Also, is the performance boost for the GTX 770 worth the extra money over the GTX 760? What do you think of an R9 290x? It looks nice but the reviews are iffy.
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a c 607 4 Gaming
June 23, 2014 5:44:49 PM

If giving thought to a 290X, might take a look at the 780s...they run much cooler, OC better and overall are a better card
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June 23, 2014 6:31:49 PM

From what I read the stock versions of the R9 290X run extremely hot but aftermarket versions are much cooler.
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a c 607 4 Gaming
June 23, 2014 6:39:23 PM

I've worked with a few of the aftermarket ones and most all ran hot and had little OC headroom....the 780s all seem to OC pretty well, I've got a 25% OC on a pair in SLI in my Z87 Hero (in sig) and head to head the 780s perform better overall (and meant to mention earlier, the actual building part is no big deal, my kids started building when they were 5 and 7 respectfully, and the oldest has made a career out of the systems field
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Best solution

June 24, 2014 2:38:09 AM

MrCanEHdian said:
NBSN said:
PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/dFxK23
Price breakdown by merchant: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/dFxK23/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.58 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock Z97 PRO3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($92.50 @ Vuugo)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($82.69 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.97 @ DirectCanada)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 4GB Superclocked ACX Video Card ($329.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Rosewill Line Glow ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($129.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.82 @ DirectCanada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($105.84 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $1086.35
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available


First off, I actually used the pcpartpicker Canada site to give you an appropriate pricing and item list for your location.
There are a few things to consider with this potential build...
The power supply allows for future upgrades and will power the system well enough. Since you are not sure about future overclocking, I saved some money by going with a non-overclockable CPU. The system will play games decently...and we could have upped the performance a bit by going with a GTX 770 and 16 GB of RAM...but to keep the price lower I opted for this setup. I left out a CPU cooler since the stock cooler should perform decently.



Also, I did not know what size monitor and such, so I did not include that. Nor did I know if you preferred a mechanical keyboard (more expensive) vs a normal one. You could probably pick out the mouse and keyboard better since you will know what you prefer.



I got the monitor and keyboard sorta ready I think. The build is nice, thank you, but you don't think I need any cooling? Not even one of the $30 coolermasters? I do kinda want a better CPU, because of all those strategy games, if I follow that build, I might throw in a bit more for an Xeon or 4670 or 4690.

Thank you for the valuable input!

Also, is the performance boost for the GTX 770 worth the extra money over the GTX 760? What do you think of an R9 290x? It looks nice but the reviews are iffy.


I don't really see a need for any aftermarket cpu coolers for that CPU because it is not OCable...and because I picked out a case that already has a few pre-installed fans which will help push more heat out of the case. If it was a case that had only 1-2 fans or if the CPU was a k version, then I would recommend an aftermarket CPU cooler though.

I thought about putting a better CPU and GPU in the build, but the CPU itself works just fine for games and there was not much reason to. However if you are somewhat trying to "future proof" it, then I would definitely recommend at least a i5-4670k and at least consider a GTX 770. Take a look at EVGA.com...the 760 and 770 lists at these links:

http://www.evga.com/Products/ProductList.aspx?type=0&fa...

http://www.evga.com/Products/ProductList.aspx?type=0&fa...

And the main reason why I went with an LGA 1150 Z97 motherboard was so that you could switch out to a better and overclockable processor now or later if you wanted to without actually having to buy a new motherboard. And please note that the motherboard only supports one GPU, so it might be better to go with a more expensive one that is also most powerful. I was just trying to keep the costs down as low as possible for the same or similar performance.
Share
June 24, 2014 2:41:48 PM

Tradesman1 said:
If giving thought to a 290X, might take a look at the 780s...they run much cooler, OC better and overall are a better card


I don't know why I was thinking about the 290X, I mean, is there any reason to get a 290X or 780 for 720p-1080p gaming?
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June 24, 2014 2:42:52 PM

Icaraeus said:
From what I read the stock versions of the R9 290X run extremely hot but aftermarket versions are much cooler.


By aftermarket versions, do you mean versions "improved" and resold by companies like MSI, Gigabyte, Asus, EVGA etc?
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June 24, 2014 2:44:42 PM

Tradesman1 said:
I've worked with a few of the aftermarket ones and most all ran hot and had little OC headroom....the 780s all seem to OC pretty well, I've got a 25% OC on a pair in SLI in my Z87 Hero (in sig) and head to head the 780s perform better overall (and meant to mention earlier, the actual building part is no big deal, my kids started building when they were 5 and 7 respectfully, and the oldest has made a career out of the systems field


Ya, the upper level AMD GPUs all seem to have some sketchy issues, not to mention, are power hogs. Is it easy to overclock a GPU? Is it safe? 25% extra performance? Damn, not bad at all. Damn, that's amazing that they started so young and one is making money off of it, congratulations to them haha.
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June 24, 2014 2:48:37 PM

NBSN said:
MrCanEHdian said:
NBSN said:
PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/dFxK23
Price breakdown by merchant: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/dFxK23/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.58 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock Z97 PRO3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($92.50 @ Vuugo)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($82.69 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.97 @ DirectCanada)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 4GB Superclocked ACX Video Card ($329.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Rosewill Line Glow ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($129.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.82 @ DirectCanada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($105.84 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $1086.35
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available


First off, I actually used the pcpartpicker Canada site to give you an appropriate pricing and item list for your location.
There are a few things to consider with this potential build...
The power supply allows for future upgrades and will power the system well enough. Since you are not sure about future overclocking, I saved some money by going with a non-overclockable CPU. The system will play games decently...and we could have upped the performance a bit by going with a GTX 770 and 16 GB of RAM...but to keep the price lower I opted for this setup. I left out a CPU cooler since the stock cooler should perform decently.



Also, I did not know what size monitor and such, so I did not include that. Nor did I know if you preferred a mechanical keyboard (more expensive) vs a normal one. You could probably pick out the mouse and keyboard better since you will know what you prefer.



I got the monitor and keyboard sorta ready I think. The build is nice, thank you, but you don't think I need any cooling? Not even one of the $30 coolermasters? I do kinda want a better CPU, because of all those strategy games, if I follow that build, I might throw in a bit more for an Xeon or 4670 or 4690.

Thank you for the valuable input!

Also, is the performance boost for the GTX 770 worth the extra money over the GTX 760? What do you think of an R9 290x? It looks nice but the reviews are iffy.


I don't really see a need for any aftermarket cpu coolers for that CPU because it is not OCable...and because I picked out a case that already has a few pre-installed fans which will help push more heat out of the case. If it was a case that had only 1-2 fans or if the CPU was a k version, then I would recommend an aftermarket CPU cooler though.

I thought about putting a better CPU and GPU in the build, but the CPU itself works just fine for games and there was not much reason to. However if you are somewhat trying to "future proof" it, then I would definitely recommend at least a i5-4670k and at least consider a GTX 770. Take a look at EVGA.com...the 760 and 770 lists at these links:

http://www.evga.com/Products/ProductList.aspx?type=0&fa...

http://www.evga.com/Products/ProductList.aspx?type=0&fa...

And the main reason why I went with an LGA 1150 Z97 motherboard was so that you could switch out to a better and overclockable processor now or later if you wanted to without actually having to buy a new motherboard. And please note that the motherboard only supports one GPU, so it might be better to go with a more expensive one that is also most powerful. I was just trying to keep the costs down as low as possible for the same or similar performance.


Case fans are great, but would throwing in one of those $30 Coolermaster CPU fans that seem to be all the rage for budget coolers be a bad call for a locked Intel CPU? I want the system to last a long time, I figure $30 isn't too much for some additional cooling and "insurance" against overheating. Low costs are fantastic, I'm all for them, as long as the motherboard and PSU are high quality and reliable, and that the case has good cooling/airflow.
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June 24, 2014 4:20:48 PM

You can't go wrong with using one of the Coolermaster CPU fans. I would say to go for it, and only left it out for cost purposes. Yes it should help cooling a bit, which is good. And honestly I wish I knew exactly how much it would actually help, but that could vary quite a bit depending on setups. Good luck.
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August 7, 2014 2:22:52 PM

Building your own PC isn't hard if you know what to do. If you are new to the whole process then having a guide by your side is a perfect solution. I highly recommend this guide from lifehacker here on http://www.karlstech.com/?p=49
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8 minutes ago

karrlander133 said:
Building your own PC isn't hard if you know what to do. If you are new to the whole process then having a guide by your side is a perfect solution. I highly recommend this guide from lifehacker here on http://www.karlstech.com/?p=49


I didn't know what I was doing and found it a bit tricky. I ended up getting some immensely valuable help from TinyVoices, in fact, I don't know if I would've done it correctly without his help. Thank you for the link though, I will keep it in mind, or in my favorites, for future builds and for my friends who now want to make the transition to PC gaming.
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!