Need help building my first computer

Hi all! I'm mostly new to building computers but I have done minor repairs on my families laptops in the past. My old laptop is beyond repair. I just moved into my first apartment and dumped a bunch of money into getting it furnished. Having a permanent location and working on a budget both point to one thing: a PC.

I do enjoy gaming but I'm not exactly a graphics snob. If I can get modern games to run on low settings I'm usually happy. I do want longevity though.

My current plan is to buy an old(ish) computer for $50-$100 and upgrade it. I plan on reusing the case, power supply, disc drive, and potentially the ram. I want to get a new motherboard, cpu, and graphics card(possibly with more ram to add to what I have).

Will this be viable? What should I look for in the old case, power supply and ram? What specs should I aim for with the new cpu and graphics card? WTH do I even look for in a motherboard? Help please.

If any of you out there are military
I am also in the air national guard and know that the military offers a lot of discounts and free offers on some software. I checked and microsoft has a military discount but I was wondering if there are any other resources out there.
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  1. if you do the old computer and upgrading it.. I dont recommend reusing the power supply, and RAM will most likely but unusable for new motherboards. Less you find a really good deal.

    As far as reusing the case and DVD-Rom that is entirely possible... But... In order to re-use a case. you're going to have to make sure its not made by one of the big name companies.. DELL,HP,Apple,Ect ect unless you wanna take some time and acutally manually cut out the backplate for the IO Sheild, often they are designed to house ONLY that specific motherboard. And even then theres quite a few nuances that might just foil your plans. Personally id just save your money and buy all the components at once, maybe getting something with intergrated video until you make the jump to a good video card.

    I cant stress this last point enough though... DO NOT GO CHEAP ON THE POWER SUPPLY.. Get something reputable with many favorable reviews from acutal IT professionals.. Above all the power supply is the most important piece in any computer.
  2. I agree completly with Imadirtybirdy. you can actually do better starting from scratch and you will be happier too.
    I dont know what your budget here so here is a starting point. we can adjust things from here depending on what you want to spend.

    That should give you a foundation to work with. we can cut corners on certain parts but I agree that the Power supply cant be penny pinched.

    EDIT: Yes I listed a Z97 board and its slight over kill for the chip I suggested but I did this to give you room to grow, if you want to upgrade a year or so down the road its much easier to just pop a new chip in rather then replace the motherboard.
  3. Best answer
    Here is another build similar to the first:

    This is a slightly cheaper AMD build, Personally I love this chip because its got good build in graphics. my son has something similar to this and it rocks even without a video card.
  4. Thanks for the tips guys. I am really trying to get something for under three hundred. I could go up to five hundred but it would involve me waiting another couple of months until I get more settled. It is the cheapest I have ever tried to spend on a computer but unfortunately other expenses have taken over my budget.

    I really like that second build. Would I get reasonable performance out of a built in gpu? Like I said before I don't mind running games on low graphics but it needs to be able to at least run them.

    Imadirtybirdy: what is so important about the power supply? Honestly I kind of figured that power is power. Same watts = same performance.
  5. Save up the $500 and build this:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i3-4130 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor ($118.94 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: MSI H81M-E33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Micro Center)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($77.40 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.00 @ B&H)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Superclocked Video Card ($144.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Cougar MG100 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($28.99 @ Mwave)
    Power Supply: Antec Basiq 350W ATX Power Supply ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $503.29
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-28 01:39 EDT-0400

    It can play just about any game at ultra settings (with around 30-50 FPS) and at lower graphics settings should have no problems reaching 100-ish FPS. See my comparable build here:

    Computer's aren't like cars in the sense that you can fix them up to look like a brand new fresh off the line from 50 years ago.

    If the computer is an old POS when you buy it, it's gonna stay an old POS.
  6. no, amps are involved too, not to mention old or no name power supplies when they fail... take out the rest of your parts. There are people who can give a more in dept answer, but please trust me on this lol.
  7. The power supply is one of the most vital parts of the computer because not all power supplies are equal. for example a Corsair AX850 platinum unit will run you $160 and an equivalent Raidmax unit might cost you $60. the Corsair unit will likely be there in 10 years where the Raidmax units have a nasty reputation for catching on fire. I have heard of several horror stories where they send surges that fry motherboards. This is an extreme comparison but the gist is that there is a clear division of quality. higher quality units will deliver clean and stable power where less reputable units tend to fluctuate and ripple when it comes to power flow. here is a pretty comprehensive list of power supplies that have been tested and vouched for quality and graded on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the worst.

    The A10 build I offered is a champ. my Son uses an A10 and plays tons of games with no problem. I think he plays Skyrim on medium settings and he plays Diablo II on the highest settings. The beauty of the A10 is next year if you want to boost the graphics for cheap you can spend $60 and get an R7 250 graphics card and plug it in then set the computer to run in duel graphics mode so the computer will think it has two graphics cards. It wont hold a candle to larger, more expensive cards but this method is fairly cheap and easy.
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