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Another Guy Just Starting Out looking for reassurnace

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September 28, 2010 7:43:21 AM

I'm sure you have all heard it before, but I'm interested in building my own PC and kinda getting in there and getting dirty. De-mistifying the process, and maybe even learning a wee bit in the process.

I have no background in hardware, and no in depth knowledge in either what to look for, or what to look out for.

My goals:

1) Take the PC into my living room and using it to connect with my TV to play movies and music. ( I don't have to get crazy about downloading TV as I generally don't watch much)

2) Play games - FPS Shooters ect.

3) Build computer applications, and use it for my home business. This means I have to protect the data, and have a recoverable system in the event of common hardware failures (data).

What I have to figure out:
- Should I just dial up Dell and order a 9100 series XPS?
- How hard is really to build a PC? I mean, do you just order the items listed in a few 'builds' connect some wires and everything works?
- If it all blows up, does this community help each other getting stuff to work?

I'm a 40 year old executive type who is out of work and planning on taking this on as a personal project to expand my mind a little.

So in short - What's my first step? And is this really just that simple?

Budget: $1,000 +/- 200
September 28, 2010 9:29:15 AM

Ordering the last few parts of my first build tomorrow.

So I'm a newbie at this, but I can tell you I learned a LOT on this site. Read read read. Go through the articles, look at many builds... Take each component and learn it's basics, at least. Read lots of professional reviews of components you're considering.

Finding the best parts at the best prices ensures your bang for buck and gives you a much better deal than anything you'd get from hp or Dell or whatever

You can teach yourself to do anything online using sites like this & google. Of course it helps if you have a friend thats done a build before. Again, there is a wealth of information on this site alone. It'll start to come together.
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September 28, 2010 10:12:17 AM

Basically, it is that simple. You have the first step - budget.

Next step is prioritize the purposes of the computer.

There are people here who are very good at system configuration.

Then, it is pretty simple to build:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/274745-13-step-step...
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September 28, 2010 10:19:48 AM

I would build your own. I have built a few PC's and it's not hard.

Everything screws and slots together, you shouldn't have any major problems. Stuff wont blow up :) 

For your budget I would recommend looking at socket 1156 motherboards, then you can use Intel i5 processors, and Intel i7 8## series processors, the latter of which are the more powerful. A Core i5 760 is a good quad core processor I would recommend.

Try and get a good brand motherboard, either an Asus or a Gigabyte. The specs of the motherboard will tell you which socket type it supports. It doesn't matter if you take m(icro)ATX or ATX form factor, either will fit in a standard case.

For a hard disk drive I wold get something like a 1TB Samsung Spinpoint SATA(2) hard drive. And you will want atleast 4GB of DDR3 RAM.

For a Power Supply Unit I would recommend a Corsair power supply, but Antec are also good, and the OCZ StealXtreme and ModXtreme series are good and represent good Value For Money.

As for a graphics card, you will want something like an NVidia GTX 460, or an ATI Radeon 5850. There are lots of brands for graphics cards, but most brands are fine.

A good case is necessary, it doesn't sound like you will want a massive case because you say you will likely move the PC around. Something like and Antec 300 or a Coolermaster Elite case would be suitable.

And I would recommend for an operating system Windows 7 Home Premium Retail. The "retail" is the key here, as other versions will not be happy if you do something drastic like change your motherboard later on. And the price difference is tiny between the Retail verison and the OEM version.

So if you select some hypothetical parts, then post on here which parts you are looking at, people can advise further from there :) 

Building the PC is not so hard:

1 - unpack your motherboard, take the foam sheet out of the box, put the motherboard on top of it.

2 - put the CPU in the socket on the motherboard. Attach your heat sink (retail Intel and AMD CPUs come with a heatsink, but you can choose a better one if you like)

3 - Slot your RAM into the correct RAM slots

4 - Put your motherboard into your case in the correct position - dont forget to put the stand-offs behind the motherboard (screws which hold the motherboard slightly away from the back of the case, so as not to short it out)

5 - insert your PSU, HDD and optical drive into the case (you may have to do these or some of these before putting the motherboard in, depending on the form of the case)

6 - Insert your graphics card in the PCIExpress slot.

7 - Plug your case's power switch, reset button, USB in/outs etc connectors to the motherboard.

8 - Plug your HDD and optical drive cables from the SATA port on your motherboard to the SATA port on the drives.

9 - Plug the PSU cables into each one of the devices you have installed (remember to get both the 20/24 pin motherboard power connector and the 4 pin one) including the graphics card and hard drive/optical drive.

Then it is usually just a case of booting from your optical drive, with your Win7 disc inside, intalling your OS, then you are done!
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September 28, 2010 12:20:49 PM

<quote>My goals:

1) Take the PC into my living room and using it to connect with my TV to play movies and music. ( I don't have to get crazy about downloading TV as I generally don't watch much)

2) Play games - FPS Shooters ect.

3) Build computer applications, and use it for my home business. This means I have to protect the data, and have a recoverable system in the event of common hardware failures (data). </quote>

As for the TV connecivity - well either one of the graphics cards I mentioned in my last post supports HDMI output. Also either one of those GPUs would be able to play any modern game, even at full 1080pHD resolution. I would say that Crysis and Metro 2033 you would have to use "high" settings, but on all other games you would be using "ultra" settings. TBH I play Crysis Warhead on enthusiast settings, but sometimes the framerate is around 25fps. Same for Metro. :p 

Also with regards to data protection - well you can put more than one HDD into any case, and if you get two identical hard drives, you can set them up in a "RAID" configuration. Almost all motherboards nowadays come with a RAID controller. This way, you can have it so that data is written onto both discs at the same time, and both discs are always copies of eachother. You will also experience increased read speeds from the discs because the computer reads fom both discs at the same time. So now if one disc becomes corrupted, you have all of your data on the other disc :) 
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September 29, 2010 11:53:25 AM

I've given it a couple of days and I still feel strongly about building my own, so I thank you for your comments to date.

I've thought about the primary function of this PC, and although I want to do all the 'normal' stuff like play games and work from home, the BIG thing I want from this PC that is different from any I've had in the past is that I want to use it in the living room and have it be quiet. Movies and Music (hopefully I'll find a way to get it voice activated) will be my goal.

I've begun reading more articles here and finding out what else I need to know.... So thank you for your feedback, the part about getting Windows 7 was a nice tip, but I'll need to know how to configure the raid part as well before I pull the trigger.
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