PC Components Buying tips/information for Indians

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This tutorial lists some basic PC Components buying tips/information for Indians. A lot of commonly asked questions are addressed in this tutorial. All external links used in this tutorial are meant for informative purposes and not promotional purposes. Also things that are time varying like the price of a PS4, may not be applicable at your time of reading. Since most Indians have low bandwidth internet connections, I say in advance that there are 19 separate images and 3 videos in this tutorial. So if you don't see some images wait for it to load or refresh the page. If the content of the images aren't clear right-click on the image and open in new tab to see the full-size version.

What is the difference between a CPU and a PC?
A CPU is the Central Processing Unit also known as the processor. A PC stands for Personal Computer that includes CPU, motherboard, RAM, GPU, HDD, PSU connected together inside a Case to form a PC.

A PC also includes the monitor, keyboard and mouse, speakers, etc. I deliberately did not include it for clarity because most Indians think that the CPU is the whole PC.

Online or local computer shops?
The problem with PC components is that there are many different models and then there are many different brands and each brand offers different versions of a particular model. So even if you live close to Lamington Road, Mumbai, searching all the shops in Lamington and getting exactly what you wanted at a reasonable price could be a tiring job. Also if you have no computer knowledge, you possess the risk of getting fooled by the shopkeeper. Other than that, not everyone lives close to computer shops and travelling to a city and buying components is going to be tiring with additional travelling expenses. So shopping online for PC components is the better option. Shopping Online gives you access to a large number of sellers which increases the chances of a particular model that you wanted to be available. Of course the brands and models that aren't available in India won't be available. You also get access to filters by which you can narrow down your search to the exact component that you wanted.

How much technical knowledge do Indian shopkeepers have about PC components?

List of online shopping sites in India?
theitdepot.com (Chennai)
primeabgb.com (Mumbai)
hardwire.in (Mumbai)
mdcomputers.in (Kolkata,Raipur)
theitwares.com (Mumbai)

Which is the best online shopping site for PC components in India?
flipkart pretty much has the largest customer base currently and has lots of models available except for PC cases/cabinets. It also offers Replacement guarantee, EMI options, Cash on Delivery,etc. It also has some useful working filters to narrow down your search.

So is flipkart.com that good?
No. Compared to US online shopping sites flipkart.com is garbage. Flipkart started as a book selling site, then went on to sell clothes and other stuff. Logically a 5th standard school dropout can sell books or clothes. The point to note is that the same set of skilled people is listing the information for PC components. So what happens is that a customer sees the product description and orders it because that is exactly what he/she wanted. But when he/she receives that product it is a completely different model. For example,

The main thing here is that the customer is satisfied and kept the product even after knowing it was not what he wanted. If this was USA, the customer would have returned the product and if flipkart didn't accept the return then the customer would have sued Flipkart. Flipkart puts this blame onto the Seller because it's the Seller that gives Flipkart the product information. According to me, it is Flipkart's responsibility to display accurate information about the product because in the end it is Flipkart who displays the product information. And for that to happen Flipkart needs to verify the product information that the Seller gives them. And for that Flipkart needs to hire expensive computer engineers that know technical details about PC components. Currently the only solution is to read customer reviews who actually bought the product and understand which model it is exactly. A word of caution, not all customers have computer knowledge and their reviews are useless. Also flipkart doesn't allow customers to write negative things about flipkart in their reviews. You can only praise flipkart otherwise your review is removed. Another alternative is to buy from sites like primeabgb.com or theitdepot.com which are actually computer shops. Their listings are pretty accurate compared to flipkart. But there might be shipping costs.

Who are Sellers?
Sellers are the ones who actually sells the product to you. They have the products. Flipkart is only a website.

Currently WS Retail is the recommended seller on Flipkart.com

Why doesn't a site like pcpartpicker.com exist for India?
It's impossible to make such a site because of the ambiguous information displayed on Indian online sites. Information is also not organized properly and it is not possible to read information from different sites like that.

I ordered a product online and I received a model that is different from the one I intended to buy? What should I do?
Return it. Don't be satisfied with what you get. Keep your standards high. Keeping it and being satisfied will only encourage the Seller to not bother about such things.

Should I wait for the prices to drop?
No. Generally the prices of PC components rise as time passes by. Of course the prices of older products drop but you aren't going to buy a very older generation product when a new one is available. Since almost all PC components are imported, the prices depend on the exchange rate.

Source : xe.com

Can I save some money if I order from USA?
If you have some relatives living in USA or other developed countries where prices are lower, you can ask them to buy components for you and give it to you when they come to India. Only thing is to make sure those components don't get crushed with the rest of the baggage. If you are thinking about ordering online like through amazon.com, that is generally not a good idea. You can save money if you ship it as a gift, else taxes still apply and the savings may not be significant. Other than that getting after sales service for a product imported from USA depends on luck and definitely won't get if that product isn't available in India. In those cases where the product is DOA, faulty or becomes faulty, you will have to ship it back to USA and you will end up paying more. Sometimes 'Peace of mind' is better than 'Saving some money'. So unless you aren't a fan of Gigabyte Windforce cards that aren't available in India, it is not a good idea to import PC Components.

Is there anything to worry about when buying CPUs?
No. CPUs cannot be tampered with. And the customer can see the actual chip from outside the box with the model number printed on it. So it is hard to fool a customer on CPUs (same is not the case with GPUs).

I found a product on 50% discount. Definitely a deal.
In India you do not get true discounts on PC components. The discounted price is the real price of the product.

I bought this graphics card for Rs. 5000 lesser than the one mentioned on flipkart from a local shop. Flipkart is ridiculously overpriced.
Hold it. The model that you bought and the one you are looking at flipkart.com might be completely different models even if it looks the same. For example, there are 9 different models of Nvidia Geforce GTX 760 by MSI.

Here numbers like N760 TF 2GD5/OC are called part numbers. Part numbers uniquely identify a PC component and that is what you need to look at first. So out of these N760-2GD5 and N760-2GD5/OC are cards based on the Nvidia reference design and will be priced lower. N760 TF 2GD5, N760 TF 4GD5, N760 TF 4GD5/OC, N760 TF 2GD5/OC have better cooling systems and factory overclocks than reference design and will be priced higher. The Hawk edition is the best version and it will have the highest pricing. So you might have bought a low quality version of the card and the one you are looking at flipkart might be the high quality version.

Important: Beware of rebranded GPUs
This is related to the point mentioned above. This 'rebranding' is not the same as Radeon HD 7000 series to R7,R9 200 series rebranding. This rebranding is related to serious rip-offs and fraud where a cheaper GPU is rebranded as a high-end GPU and sold at a higher price. It is done by overclocking and BIOS flashing. Nvidia had given an official statement on this. You might get one of these rebranded products from some cheap shady shops. So always buy from reputed shops that get their products from authorized distributors. After getting a graphics card always check its specifications like shaders, fillrate, memory type, bus width, bandwidth and clock speeds (or if you are an expert remove the cooler and take a look at the actual chip and the model number printed on it). This techPowerUp GPU-Z is a useful tool to check specifications.

AMD vs Intel/Nvidia?
This is a hotly debated topic pretty much everywhere on tech forums. As a TomsHardware member for quite a time, I can say that majority of TomsHardware's members are AMD fans. But majority of members are also non-Indians. Well this is a pointless argument really because both brands are competitive and if there was a clear winner one of them would have gone down. But I will state some facts that is specific to Indians that no one else will tell you. Because facts are facts and you cannot ignore facts.

Fact I: The average household room temperature in India is higher than that in USA or Europe or Australia even with an air conditioner.

Fact II: Intel shows a Case Temperature for all their processors on their official website.

Find me a temperature info for AMD FX 6300 on AMD's official website and not by going to the forums.

Fact III: In software AMD graphic cards show you the series that the card belongs to and not the actual card's model number. For example, if you own a HD 7770 card it will show you that you own a HD 7700 series card everywhere in software. If you own a R9 290 then you will see that you have a R9 200 series card in software. This is a big loophole, either intentional or non-intentional because this can happen. This is also a case of GPU rebranding but without BIOS flashing.

Is overclocking worth it?
No. It's easier to overclock in USA or Europe since room temperatures are much lower there. GPUs come with factory overclock and better cooling systems that support the overclock. Performance gains in overclocking the CPU is pretty much negligible especially in gaming with a maximum of 10FPS gains in the best case scenario. AMD CPUs are better at overclocking. But always remember:
[better processor + stock cooler + motherboard] is better than [processor + aftermarket CPU cooler + motherboard that supports overclocking + time spent in achieving stable overclock]

For consumer(non-professional) graphics cards, which is better? 2GB DDR3 VRAM(video RAM) or 1GB GDDR5 VRAM?
1GB GDDR5 is better.

What about 1GB DDR3 vs 2GB DDR3?
1GB DDR3 is better.

Then how about 1GB GDDR5 vs 2GB GDDR5?
2GB GDDR5 is better.

Experts recommend GPUs are that are meant for 1080p gaming. I have a 720p monitor, so can't I buy a cheaper GPU and still game on high settings.
Yes you can. Game performance does depend on resolutions and buying a cheaper but decent GPU will work good enough if you are playing at a lower resolution. But what I do not understand is this: Indians tend to upgrade their Television Sets(TVs) more frequently than their PCs - to watch 'saas-bahu' serials in FullHD and to see their extra makeup in high color quality and TVs need to have wide viewing angles since your mother/wife may want to watch their favorite show from the kitchen. PCs need to be upgraded more frequently than TVs. That includes the monitor also. If you are gaming at 720p you cannot be a member of the PC Master Race. Also don't forget, you can connect your PC to your FullHDTV.

My motherboard has a PCIe 2.0 slot. Can it support a PCIe 3.0 graphics card?
Yes. PCIe 3.0 graphics cards are backward compatible upto PCIe 1.1 slots. If you have a motherboard with a PCIe 1.0 slot then you are living in a different time dimension.

Is performance degraded when a PCIe 3.0 card is used on a PCIe 2.0 slot?
The performance difference is negligible.

More on PCI Express Scaling here

Suggest me a good graphics card for gaming under Rs. 4000
There is none.

Can I run Crysis 3 on Geforce 210?

About benchmarks.
Most people make wrong conclusions from reading a benchmark chart. The most important thing to understand is that all benchmarks show relative performance difference between products and not the actual performance that you will get if you own one of those products. Because the actual performance will depend on the rest of your components. For benchmarking purposes, reviewers always keep the rest of the system completely high-end to avoid bottlenecks. So the actual performance that you will be getting will always be lesser unless you also have a completely high-end system. Other thing is that read the whole article and not just look at the graph and derive conclusions from it. If you are looking at gaming benchmarks, the more important metric is the minimum FPS rather than average FPS. A better minimum FPS tells that that there will be less frame drops and the gameplay will be smoother. If you are looking at latency scores, then a lower value is going to be better. If you are looking at FPS scores, then higher value is going to be better.

CPU performance comparison.
For gaming, Tomshardware made a Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart.
This is an article that gets updated every month. So visit tomsHardware to get the latest version.
For general application performance, Passmark CPU Benchmarks

GPU performance comparison.
Again for gaming, TomsHardware made a Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart
This is an article that gets updated every month. So visit tomsHardware to get the latest version.
For general application performance, Passmark Videocard Benchmarks

RAM performance comparison.
Passmark RAM benchmarks
Not all RAM modules are benchmarked by Passmark probably because they didn't receive the module to benchmark. In cases where you cannot find the exact part number, try to find another RAM module having the most similar part number and make a guess on its performance numbers. Almost all Corsair RAM modules available in India are benchmarked by Passmark except a few.

Is getting an expensive RAM worth it?
No. If you are building an APU system RAM performance does matter. Better RAM does not offer significant performance gains in normal builds, almost negligible. So even if you chose a wrong RAM module, it's not a very serious mistake. Again for comparison you have Passmark as stated above.

What are dual,triple,quad channel memory architectures?
Everything you need to know about the dual triple and quad channel memory architectures
Dual channel offers a little performance increase but triple and quad are pretty much useless.

Source : legitreviews.com

Information about Power Supply Units(PSUs) also known as SMPS.
PSU is often the most neglected component of the PC. People complain about crashes, BSODs, freezing, random restarts,etc and put the blame on CPU, motherboard, RAM, GPU, etc when the actual cause of all the troubles is the PSU. 99% of the people in the world don't have any knowledge about electronics. PSU manufacturers know this fact very well and use a lot of tricks to fool customers. I'll try to list some of the tricks used by PSU manufacturers. These tricks are used worldwide.

Use cement: One way to identify a quality PSU for a non-techie was to check its weight. Heavier models are better, as they have more components and bigger heatsinks. PSU manufacturers started seeing this trend and some manufacturers started using cement or other heavy material for the PFC circuit so that it becomes heavier. Here is an example.

Use fake wattages: This is a very simple and widely used trick. Just use fake wattage labels to fool the customer. The well-known PSU manufacturer for using this trick is CoolerMaster. CoolerMaster's PSU reputation pretty much went down with this. For example, Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 600 W is actually a 450W PSU. As a general tip, the labeled wattage on a PSU is to be ignored completely. Then how do we determine the wattage of the PSU? For that you need to understand what a PSU actually does. The main function of the power supply is to convert alternating voltage (a.k.a. AC), which is supplied by the electrical power system into continuous voltage (a.k.a. DC). In other words, the power supply converts the conventional 110V or 220V alternating voltage into continuous voltage used by the PC electronic components, which are +3.3 V, +5 V, +12 V and -12 V. Nowadays, a typical PC pulls more power from the +12 V outputs. This occurs because the two most power-hungry components from the PC – the CPU and the video card – are connected to the + 12 V outputs. So what you need to look at is the current(Amperage) available on the +12V rails. And then multiply it by 12 to get the wattage. Because Power(W) = Current(A) x Voltage(V). This wattage that you get is a safe reading, that means the PSU can atleast deliver this wattage. For example, let's consider a PSU that is/was available in India. The PSU is an Odyssey 450W.

There is 14A on the +12V rail for the 450W version. Now 14A x 12V = 168W. That means this PSU can be safely considered to be a 168W PSU. Some PSUs have multiple +12V rails like +12V1,+12V2,etc. In that case the calculation becomes complicated. Some honest PSU manufacturers display the combined wattage on the +12V rails on the PSU label. If that isn't the case then this realhardtechx site gives you that information. Now how do you know how much wattage your PC actually needs? There are many wattage calculators available online. But I recommend this. Just enter the details and see the recommended wattage it suggests. Your PSUs +12V rail should be able to deliver atleast that wattage and you should be fine.

Use fake 80 Plus badges: To determine the quality of PSUs and make this information available to the average customer, an organization in USA called Ecos Consulting made a 80 Plus Certification program. There are different badges: 80+, 80+ Bronze, 80+ Silver, 80+ Gold, 80+ Platinum, 80+ Titanium with Titanium being the highest quality. Most junk PSUs never even manage to get 80+. Some PSU manufacturers use fake 80+ Badges. It is detailed here. As a general tip, get a PSU with atleast 80 Plus genuine certificate.

Good and bad PSUs in the same series: Most brands don't actually manufacture PSUs. They buy from a different company (called an OEM, Original Equipment Manufacturer). What happens is that a brand buys PSUs from different OEMs which have different quality standards and end up under the name of one brand and under the same series name. For example, Cooler Master GX 450W is a good PSU whereas Cooler Master GX 650W is a bad PSU.

Input voltage restriction: This is the trick that Indians need to worry about. Not all PSU reviews are done by experts. The number of trusted experts that do PSU reviews are very few and are mostly Americans. Since these few experts started reviewing PSUs more and more customers started becoming knowledgeable about quality and bad PSUs. PSU manufacturers now needed to find new ways to fool customers - something that can bypass these reviewers. And they have finally found a successful loophole. USA's electrical grid runs at 115V and India runs at 230V. By just restricting the input voltage to the 230V range, they have made it impossible for the Americans to review the PSU(Those PSUs aren't available in USA in the first place). Even the 80 Plus certification labs are all located in USA. So that's also out of the way.
Even if some expert from another country reviews the PSU, the PSU will be tested at 230V and at higher voltages you get higher efficiency readings.

Source: hardwaresecrets.com (PSU efficiency curve)

That means no negative reviews, no revelation and PSU manufacturers can easily sell low quality PSUs in India. The well known PSUs implementing this trick are Corsair VS series and CoolerMaster Thunder series.As a general tip, do not buy PSUs that doesn't accept the 115V input voltage range.

PSUs does affect performance. Of course if the PSU isn't capable of delivering enough power for the PC components, the PC won't start at all. But in those cases where the PSU is barely managing to provide enough power to your PC components(which is the majority of cases among Indians as seen with the Odyssey PSU example) performance is affected. CPUs and GPUs nowadays are smart enough to underclock themselves when the temperature goes too high or if there isn't enough power to prevent damage which in turn decreases performance.

So if I have a cheap low quality PSU what is the worst thing that can happen?
It can explode.

Wattage is one thing. But how do I determine quality of a PSU?
Read reviews from experts. hardwaresecrets.com and jonnyguru.com are recommended sites. The realhardtechx site gives you a database of PSUs with reviews if available. There is also this PSU Tier list.

Why do experts recommend Seasonic PSUs. Aren't they highly overpriced? I mean Corsair PSUs offer better (performance,quality)/price ratio than Seasonic?
No. Seasonic PSUs have better (performance,quality)/price ratio. To understand quality you need to have some knowledge about electronics. So I'll try to explain in a different perspective. Since most Indians know how to count money very well, I'll try explaining in terms of money itself. In USA, true discounts are available such as mail-in rebates on PSUs which Indians don't get. Corsair PSUs have more frequent discounts compared to Seasonic PSUs in USA. Currently you can get Corsair CX430 and Seasonic S12II Bronze 430 for these prices:

Corsair CX430
In USA: 24.99$ = Rs. 1504
In India: Rs. 2938
Price difference: Rs. 1434

Seasonic S12II Bronze 430
In USA: 58.98$ = Rs. 3549
In India: Rs. 3950
Price Difference: Rs. 401

Did you notice anything? Seasonic PSUs are actually cheaper than Corsair PSUs in India compared to USA. Now do the math on quality.

Can I buy and run a GTX 760? I have a Zebronics Platinum 500W PSU.
No. It's like buying a Bugatti Veyron that is going to get stuck on a speedbreaker.

Since buying PC components have so many issues isn't buying an Apple Mac a better option?
No. Running away from the problem is not a solution to the problem.

If I want a PC equivalent of a console how much would it cost?
Currently the PlayStation 4(PS4) costs Rs. 39,990. A PC equivalent would cost around Rs. 80,000. The price includes a gaming keyboard and mouse and an operating system(OS) since it is supposed to be a console equivalent. The price might seem higher but you can do a lot other things on PC like Microsoft Office,Photoshop, video editing,etc and you can do the exact opposite of gaming that is make games. Can you make games on a console? So shouldn't you be paying a premium for that feature?

So if I am only interested in gaming and nothing else isn't console a better option?
No. If you are only interested in gaming that means that you are a regular gamer. And that means you are going to buy atleast 6 games per year. Watch Dogs cost Rs. 1799 on PC and Rs. 3499 on PS4. You saved Rs. 1700 on PC. Let's say that on average you save Rs. 1500 on PC per game. Six games per year that is Rs. 9000 per year. In six years PC will save you Rs. 54000. In addition to that, you need to pay monthly subscription fees on console to get access to multiplayer and other features which is free on PC.

But a PC needs to be upgraded to keep up with new games. I can own a fixed console and game on it for years.
Whenever you are comparing a PC and console always keep other factors constant. Like console games run on lower settings. You can get a console game experience on a six year old PC. If you want a PC game experience then you need to upgrade the PC.

But I can't see the difference in graphics on console and PC.
Try sitting 2 feet in front of the TV like you do with your PC's monitor. If you still can't see the difference then you are not a member of the PC Master Race also known as the Uchiha clan that possess a visual prowess called the Sharingan that allows you to distinguish every pixel on the screen and every frame of a game that renders at 60 frames per second.

Is there any way for PC Components to become cheaper in India?
That can only happen if India itself manufactures components. Almost all PC components are imported and a part of the taxes goes to the countries from where it was imported. Those countries keep progressing with our money and our country keeps remaining a developing country forever. To make fabrication plants in India stable electricity and lots of pure water is required which we don't have. Land acquisition for the fabrication plant is also a major hurdle. But the main challenge is to sell these products worldwide so that it's quality can be assessed. Otherwise we will be getting a useless cheap low quality product like the Aakash tablet.

How pathetic are Indians?
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not writing a negative statement about Indians. I am an Indian too. I'm just stating some facts. Because facts are facts and you cannot ignore facts. If the sorting by popularity functionality of Flipkart is assumed to be correct, then these are the top 5 most popular graphic cards in India:

ZOTAC NVIDIA Synergy Edition 210 TC1G DDR3 512 MB DDR3 Graphics Card
ZOTAC NVIDIA GeForce GT 610 Synergy Edition 2 GB DDR3 Graphics Card
Asus NVIDIA GeForce EN210 1 GB DDR3 Graphics Card
Sapphire AMD/ATI HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
Gainward NVIDIA 2GB DDR3 GT610 2 GB DDR3 Graphics Card

To make doubly sure, I read some customer reviews and found that these cards are still bought in 2014. Out of these cards only the HD 7770 can be given the honor of being called a graphics card - still entry level though. I can understand that the other cards can be useful in home theater systems, but according to reviews the customers are using it for hardcore 3D gaming. Who in the world buys a 4 generation old zero-level Geforce 210 for gaming?

Now these are the top 5 most popular PSUs in India

Corsair VS550 550 Watt PSU
Corsair VS450 450 Watt PSU
Corsair VS650 650 Watt PSU
Zebronic Zeb 450W 450 Watts PSU
Zebronic ZEB-450W-T SATA PLUS 450 Watts PSU

Corsair VS series is the worst series of Corsair PSUs(the 230V input voltage restriction trick is working). Zebronics PSUs aren't recommended for any system. The thing to note is that Geforce 210 and the Zebronics PSU are a perfect match - a well balanced system.

That's it for this tutorial. Hope you achieved Nirvana by reading this.