The NOOB Guide to Building a PC

First were gunna start out, by stating why you absolutely do not want to purchase pre built systems and will get insanely better results building you own setup.

* The main reason for this is "BANG FOR YOUR BUCK" .. you will be able to get much more for less, and or much better products for a better deal.

ex. You go into you local store and see a PC with 4gb of ram , an i7, onboard graphics,and 450 watt power supply.. There going to charge you probably around $800 to $1000 for this .. especially in a laptop.

Why you should steer clear of MAC Books and Laptops

* Building a PC you can put so much more into it, for a better price , granted if you need a laptop for the portability, get an iPad for cheaper.

What do you need to build a pc you ask ?

This is not as hard as you would think ....

* Processor
* Motherboard
* Aftermarket Heatsink
* Graphics Card or Graphics Cards
* Power Supply
* Case
* Harddrives
* Cables
* Keyboard and Mouse
* Disc Drives

* First, you need to get a budget together.
* Second, DO YOUR HOME WORK AND RESEARCH the products.
* Third, consider buying parts in stages (doing this will allow you to get higher end parts)
ex. buy a processor and ram now and then 2 weeks from now make another purchase.
* Fourth, know where to buy and for that is the absolute best.
* Know your company.. Call the tech support before buying there products to see how good there support is ..
* Things go on sale .... So when your looking around for parts... wait and they will drop in price

Thats a good set of guidelines, for building you new setup.

Processor :

There are two companies that make processors

* Intel ( my personal choice )

What are the benefits of one over the other.
There are alot

Amd is mainly for seriously budget builds, there parts are cheaper then parts made by intel.
Amd processors do not support trichannel ram or SLI, which will limit the amount of ram you can use and upgrade abilities.

When searching for a Processor you will see 775 socket or 1366 socket what does this mean?

* Well the motherboard you purchase has to have the same socket as the processor

Whats the difference between the 3 i7 types ?

Well there are 3 types of core i7 processors made by intel


*1366 is the top of the line .... it supports x58 motherboards which have 6 ram slots and support trichannel ram
*1156 is the i7 that supports only dual or single channel ram, which again limits the upgrade compatibility
*PGA988 is the mobile version of the i7 and the downside to these is that processor speed is much lower

ALL PROCESSOR ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL :) The reason i have not added information about AMD is well i dont use them and dont much about them.


Look at what your motherboard will support or buy a motherboard based off what you personally want to use.

there is DDR3 , DRR2 , and DDR and all that is, is the upgrades over the years.

You will want to make sure your getting DDR3 @ 1600MHz

You can get 1333MHz but it will not be as good .... the Higher the speed the better especially for over clocking

How much ram do i need ?

That all depends on what you are planning to use the computer for ....

Everyone will give you a different answer on this but by rule of thumb the more the merrier.

I would mainly say not to go below 8gb for gaming, everyday use, and everything else .

The price of RAM is cheap these days that getting 24gb of it isn't that far off... has 24gb for $320.00 which is really cheap

For video editing/After Effects use i would not go below 24gb or 16gb ...The reason for this is that After Effects is 64 Bit Program and you can manually set the amount of RAM you want to use for rendering... So if you only have 8gb the render times will be endless. Since I personally use 24gb of Ram i can set 16 or 18gb just for rendering and takes a normally 10 minute render time to 1 or 2 minutes


Well typically you would need to pick out which processor/ram you would like to get first and then make a purchase based off that.

Few things to look out for :

Maximum Supported Memory
Memory Speed
Hard Drive Speeds (Sata III and USB 3.0 is the new standard and you will want this in your system)
Number of PCI 16x slots if you are considering Crossfire or SLI

Graphics Card or Graphics Cards

2 Main companies to choose from ATI or Nvidia

Ati has Crossfire ( using more then one graphics card )
Nvidia has SLI ( using more then one graphics card )

Remember what I stated earlier ... AMD does not support SLI, so if your looking buy AMD go with an ATI card or cards.

If your just looking to use one card and do not plan on future upgrades the whatever best for you will work.

This one of those categories that changes alot and you will need to goto NVIDIA's website or ATI's website and see what the good cards are at the time of your purchase

Older graphics cards do not support direct x11 and thats newer technology and you want that

Make sure your card comes with an HDMI adapter ... This comes in handy when you want to use your computer on an HDTV

Power Supply

This is usually purchased based off how much power your graphics card requires and the type of plug you will need ... this will vary from setup to setup

go to the manufactures website or call and find out what they recommend


Whatever case you want to buy is fine ...

They have Full Tower ATX for more space , Mid Tower ATX , and then Micro ATX

You will want to look at fan sizes
Side air vents
Ability for watercooling
Usb ports


They have solid state drives, Sata III 6gb/s, Sata II, External Harddrives

Solid State drives are the best that is Available at the moment, but they are extremely expensive.

Sata III Hardrives will give you faster speeds then SATA II 3gb/s, but it is new technology and you would need to make sure your motherboard will support it.

Sata II are standard 3gb/s drives and are being replace with 6gbs Sata III drives

External Harddrives are typically used for storage and you cannot run an Operating system off this drive. USB 3.0 is the newest brake through, and they have eSATA as well ... Again make sure you purchase a mother board in mind with they components you wish to use

If your buying a new board... make sure it has Sata III 6gb/s and USB 3.0 as this is new technology and you will want it.


You may require additional cables after the purchase of your motherboard

You may need an HDMI cable for use with your graphics card so that you can use it with any HDTV that has HDMI

Keyboard and Mouse

This again is whatever you want ...

For gaming they make specific keyboards and mouses with addition features

They have Wired and Wireless

Wireless is a better way to go but you have the battery issue

Disc Drives

This is personal preference...

They have bluray burning drives, dvd burning drives , cd/burning drives ...

Make sure you atleast get a dvd burning drive

then look at all various speeds and RPM rates

Aftermarket Heatsink

Optional but Recommended

Your cpu will come with a stock cooler most of the time but when it comes time to overclock you wont be able to...

Why would you want to overclock ?

Well mainly because if i purchased a stock i7 930 2.80GHz processor, I could then overclock the processor to run at 4.0GHz. This is a drastic improvement

They have water cooled which is expensive but worth the money, air cooled which is cheaper, and semi liquid cooled which is something like the Corsair Hydro 50 or 70

Research and find aftermarket heatsinks that will work well with you particular setup and find benchmarks. Coolermaster Hyper N-520 was good and i was able to go from 2.80 GHz to 3.5Ghz.

This is a basic guide for some of things you should look out for and look into when thinking about buy a new computer
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  1. Best answer
    I disagree on several points here. This sounds like an attempt to sum up building a gaming system, but realize that not everybody here is trying to build a gaming rig.

    First off, you generally SAVE money initially with a prebuilt system (Dell, HP, etc.) for ~ same specs. However, they tend to use worse components, and you'll get much better value by building your own PC. You just have to remember that tech support doesn't come with a homebuilt system.

    Also, some people do need laptops, and usually a 11.6-12" ultraportable will get the job done. Others don't stay in one place all of the time, and would like to carry around their gaming (i.e. Alienware laptops). I personally own an iPad an would never dream of using it for work-related things.

    CPUs: There are more than just the i7s made by Intel (i3s & i5s), and you also left out the newer generations (1155 socket). Depending on the use, the i5s or the i7s are better; the 1366 line isn't just the best in all cases. In case you're wondering, the socket # is the number of pins.

    Aftermarket CPU Cooler: This is really only necessary for high performance (i.e. gaming) machines or OCing, but some coolers are actually cheaper than buying a replacement stock cooler. The Cooler Master Hyper 212+ supports all of the recent sockets on AMD and Intel boards, and is $30 online.

    RAM: The amount of RAM is really dependent on your usage. 4GB is really the minimum recommended for gaming, since most games won't use all of it. 8GB is getting cheap enough that it is becoming the standard, but budget builders can save about $40 by sticking with a 4GB kit.

    Motherboard: You don't pick the motherboard based on the RAM; do it the other way around. You could hit some serious compatibility issues. Just be aware that SATA III isn't quite the new standard yet as not a whole lot of devices use it yet. Overclockers may also want specific boards because they have tools that make OCing much easier.
    Also, not only is the number of PCI-Express x16 slots important for multiple-GPU setups, but also the speed of the slots. Some run x16/x16, others x16/x8, and I've seen as low as x16/x4. At least x8/x8 is usually recommended.

    Power Supply: Using a power supply calculator would be your best bet to determine the amount of power you'll need. Manufacturers try to push specific lines of PSUs sometimes, but it's not necessarily the best or what's best for you.
    The most recommended PSU manufacturers are Corsair, Seasonic, Antec, XFX (Black Edition line), OCZ (certain models), and some others for lower power needs.

    Case: The big thing here is airflow. If the case doesn't have good airflow, the computer won't perform as well, or will restrict OCing ability. Very few people actually pursue watercooling, so WCing features aren't entirely important except for that small sector of builders (plus, they know what they want usually). Another consideration is the manufacturer. Cheaper cases are usually made with lower tolerances, so there is a fairly significant chance your motherboard mounts won't line up, expansion slots won't align, or the fans will die quickly.

    Hard Drives/Storage: SSDs aren't actually that expensive (~$100 for 64GB - enough for OS and a few programs), though you arguably get less usage from them. SATA III hard drives aren't as fast as you'd expect them to be, since the hard drive platters are the limiting factor now.

    Disk Drives: DVD-RW are now the standard and are very cheap (less than $20).
    There are also 3 kinds of Bluray drives: Readers, Writers, and Combo drives. Reader can ONLY READ discs (Blurays, DVD, CD). Writers can read and write any of these disks. Combo drives can READ Blurays, but WRITE DVDs/CDs.
    Bluray video playback is not natively supported by Windows, so you will need Bluray software to watch movies on it.
  2. a.k.a you added all the stuff i was too lazy to add lol i do agree with your follow up .... i7's arent the only thing out there, but they are the best money can buy hands down...anyone who disagrees is a fool lol :) but i kinda made this based off how i would do it i guess .... and the ram to buy the motherboard thing would just be like subtracting other boards and narrowing down the search for your board ..... and Sata III thing is that its gunna get big and your going to want to have tech when the come out with better drives and more stuff that supports it
  3. Best answer selected by rollaballinc.
  4. Is chopped liver? It sometimes has better prices than because the prices tend to change often. Don't mean to sound like a jerk but this guide is basic and kinda misleading.
  5. I agree - it's a bit difficult to encompass each individual aspect of a computer, hence the multiple forums around here.
  6. no i made this based off how i build PC's which are highend ... and ive always ordered with because of the return policy and rebates all that good stuff ... but every persons needs are different ... theres no doubting that ... mainly to show people who have never built a pc before, what they would need ... its supposed to be basic ... to people like you and me have built systems before this is a no brainer but for people who have not done this before and a curious how to ... thats what this guide is for ... a starting point more or less
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