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How to Choose a Parts List for a Gaming P.C. Build

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Deciding to build your own gaming p.c. can be exciting, and it can also afford the builder the ability to purchase higher end gear than if they had contracted the p.c. to be built for them by another person or company. Building your own p.c. is generally less expensive, and in most cases you have a wider variety of components to choose from. For first time builders, deciding which components to buy can be a daunting task. The components you choose need to be compatible, and also need to be able to perform the tasks and play the games you are designing the p.c. to perform. Below, I have created a list of questions and answers that will help you decide which components to choose for your build. Please keep in mind that this list is designed to be unbiased, and not geared toward Intel or AMD. In the end it is always best the builder chooses which platform will be right for them.
The first set of questions any builder needs to ask themselves is, "What you will be using the p.c. for?" "Mainly gaming?" If so, "What type of games?" Secondly ask yourself, "What is the budget on this build?" Asking yourself these questions will help you get an idea of what you need for the foundation of your system. Intel and AMD both offer great processors, and I try not to lean toward either one more than the other. Both companies offer processors that can complete similar tasks, and compete with one another when set in a gaming p.c. environment. Intel generally performs these tasks more efficiently.

    Intel Processor and Motherboard:
    The majority of Intel processors used for gaming will use one of these four socket types: 775, 1150, 1155 & 2011. It does not matter which processor you pick. Just do your research on the processor and make sure it will perform the tasks and play the games you are designing your p.c. to perform, and then pick a motherboard that utilizes that socket type, and offers support for that particular processor. Also, motherboard manufactures offer a cpu suport list for each type motherboard manufactured, so make sure the processor you pick is on that list, and you note the bios version needed to support your processor.

    AMD Processor and Motherboard:
    The majority of AMD Processors used for gaming will use one of these four socket types: FM1, FM2, AM3, Am3+. Again, it does not matter which processor you pick. Just do your research on the processor and make sure it will perform the tasks and play the games you are designing your p.c. to perform, and then pick a motherboard that utilizes that socket type, and offers support and bios version for that particular processor.
    **Please Note** When you check the cpu support list for your motherboard that the motherboard may still not boot up after you install the cpu. If you get an early version of the motherboard, the manufacture may have later motherboard revisions with newer bios versions supporting your cpu, resulting in your motherboard needing a bios flash before you will be able to run that cpu on that motherboard. Just because the cpu fits in the socket does not mean it will work on that motherboard. BIOS versions are just as important as the socket type. Do your research, knowledge is king!!

    Graphics Cards:
    Just like cpu manufactures Intel and AMD, there are two main platforms graphics cards or G.P.U.'s. are built on, and ton's of subsidiary companies utilizing and tweaking these platforms to come up with their own creations. Amd and Nvidia are the two platforms most builder choose from. Both companies offer G.P.U.'s from low end to high end, and it is up to the builder to decide the quality of performance that will be needed for the games and applications they will be running. The G.P.U. you choose can also have an effect on the compatibility of the motherboard and chassis you end up choosing. Both platforms offer G.P.U.'s that can be mounted in mult-G.P.U. configurations. AMD's multi-G.P.U. technology is cross-fire and Nvidia's is SLI. If you decide you want to run a crossfire or SLI set up, make sure that the motherboard supports the format you decide to go with. Motherboards that support crossfire will not necessarily work with SLI. Although some motherboards do support both multi-G.P.U platforms, do your research before purchasisng. Also, take into consideration the size of the G.P.U. length. Some G.P.U.'s are to long to fit inside mid-tower chassis, even though the chassis supports a full atx motherboard. Look at the specs for both the chassis and the G.P.U. you select.

    C.P.U. Cooling:
    When it comes to C.P.U. cooling, a builder has lots of offerings to choose from. Air Cooling and Watercooling set-ups are littered with companies shelling out offerings and saying they perform the best. In the end, look at how you will be setting up your system. The first question to ask yourself is, "Will you be overclocking your processor?" If not, you will probably be okay with the stock heatsink and fan provided with some box processor purchases. Most of the time, aftermarket cooling options are not needed and can void the warranty of your processor, just like overclocking it will void the warranty. If you are going to overclock, you will almost always need an aftermarket cooling option, preferable water based cooling as it has a better heat transfer ratio than air. Please note that some "All-In-One" watercooling set-ups, like the Corsair H60 & 70, offer little to no advantage over the stock fan and heatsink.

    Choosing a chassis can be a daunting task. There are so many manufactures, price ranges and designs that it can be confusing to pick what you deem to be the correct choice. Start by narrowing down the chassis search with what you have left on your budget. I generally pick my chassis last, because I try to get as high quality components as possible because they determine mostly how the p.c. you build will perform. Next look at the size of your motherboard and G.P.U. picks and make sure that both are compatible with the chassis on your list. Some chassis only accept micro-atx motherboards, while others will not be big enough for some graphics cards. Also, look at air-flow and what accessories come with the chassis. Ask yourself, "Are fans included?" "What are the quality and CFM of the fans included?" Some chassis offer no fans while others offer low quality fans that will not keep adequate air-flow and pressure inside the case. A general rule of thumb is you want a fresh air intake fans placed on the front and/or side of the chassis, and exhaust fans on the top and or rear of the chassis.

As long as you do your research, make sure components are compatible and can perform and play the games you are designing the P.C. for, you will be able to build an awesome gaming P.C. and save money over contracting your build out to the other guy. Good Luck and Happy Gaming!!~~~Suferbus :) 
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