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Feeling overwhelmed but wanting to learn

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  • New Build
  • Computers
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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February 6, 2012 1:59:29 AM

First of all, I'm glad to have found this forum. I've read several posts already, and it's clear that most of you are very helpful and informative.

Context:
My current computer is pretty old, and I really want to upgrade. I was going to just go to HP again and pick out one of their high-end computers, until I saw that they started their "high end" computers at $700, and I had already decided that I actually would be able to spend more (up to around $2,500). So, I looked at "gaming computers" and got really confused. At that point, I posted a comment on another message board and was told that my best option might be to build one myself. I love learning new things, so I decided to take the plunge!

That said, this $2,500 is really theoretical. I am currently student teaching, and will be getting my certificate at the end of the school year (May). I am feeling optimistic about getting a job (I wouldn't be even considering this if I wasn't), but the computer will be a congratulations gift to myself AFTER I have the job, and that would be in August (well actually probably September) at the earliest.

Judging by responses to other new build questions, it's clear that I cannot ask about a specific build that I might buy. Even if I do get a job next year, too much is going to change before I get my first paycheck in September. At the same time, I'm already fairly confused about compatibility issues as well as just picking out parts in general. I don't reallly want to wait until I absolutely need a computer to start trying to learn.

My thoughts:

1) The first idea that came to mind, the one that appeals to me most, is to post "theoretical builds" over time and get feedback on them, even though I won't be buying them. If I post, say, one theoretical build per month up until the time I'm ready to actually buy, I'll have a lot better idea of what I'm doing, at least in the parts-selection process than if I wait.

2) I was browsing Newegg and saw that they have a number of combos, some of them with full systems, including everything I would potentially need. I imagine this would still exist around the time I'm considering buying, and the easiest option, then, would be to get a whole system's worth of parts already bundled. That way, I would be sure they were all compatible (I'm assuming Newegg wouldn't bundle things that were not compatible. Plus, it looks like there are fairly decent discounts at Newegg if you get them bundled.

The reason #1 is more appealing is simply that now that I've started the process of thinking about building my own, I really do want it to be mine.

Do you think that #1 will be a problem? I'd make it clear in the post itself that I wasn't planning to buy at this time and that I knew that I'll have to change everything once I'm ready to buy.

Thanks in advance! I'm still trying to figure out compatibility issues, but I'm making progress.

More about : feeling overwhelmed wanting learn

February 6, 2012 2:45:11 AM

I think your plan is perfectly fine.

I would shy away from the entire system bundles on newegg. Generally there are good parts, with a few meh parts thrown in. I try to do 2-3 item combos at the most on newegg.

Go head and post a build, I'd be happy to look it over and explain what I would do different and more importantly why.
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February 6, 2012 2:56:38 AM

I say it be fine plus by the time you go to do your build at least 2 new chipsets will be out (possibly more) So your build may change. I'd post what you will mainly use the pc for (gaming multimedia internet searching etc etc) And list them from most to least important. So many cpus are out there and each can do different jobs better. One awesome for gaming may suck at other things. So thiswill help others to pinpoint what would be best for you personally. I'd read this and post its template.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...
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February 6, 2012 3:43:11 AM

I agree with the others, Plan #1 would be fine. I would also suggest reading lots and lots of related articles about computer components specific to what you are going to use your computer for. Also Youtube is a great avenue to learn how to build and put together a new computer, there are tons a videos showing you everything from CPU installs to cable management to complete builds from scratch.
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February 6, 2012 4:29:09 AM

The First thing in my opinion is: What are you willing to do in "that theoretical PC"? or What do you want it to be capable of?... building a PC is not that difficult, but if you have questions , ask them. I will answer and help you like everyone else.
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February 6, 2012 4:46:58 AM

Personally I think the research is the best part of any new build. Reading articles, putting together different builds, trying to plan a particular goal that I want from any given system.

Anyone can haphazardly slap together parts or find someone else to give them a list of what's good. Unless you take the time to understand, you'll never really appreciate what it is you're doing, or ultimately using.

I've been researching my current build for about two months now. I've covered a ton of different topics from IPS vs 120hz to SSD RAID configurations. I've researched AMD FX, Intel 1155 and 2011. While I've built quite a few pcs, just in the few years since my last build so much has changed.

Enjoy this part of it, it really is the best part.
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February 6, 2012 5:02:06 AM

a4mula said:
Personally I think the research is the best part of any new build. Reading articles, putting together different builds, trying to plan a particular goal that I want from any given system.

Anyone can haphazardly slap together parts or find someone else to give them a list of what's good. Unless you take the time to understand, you'll never really appreciate what it is you're doing, or ultimately using.

I've been researching my current build for about two months now. I've covered a ton of different topics from IPS vs 120hz to SSD RAID configurations. I've researched AMD FX, Intel 1155 and 2011. While I've built quite a few pcs, just in the few years since my last build so much has changed.

Enjoy this part of it, it really is the best part.



I could not agree more my new build is months away from getting started and completed (my last one was 6 years ago) And relearning things (amd is doing terrible i'd never seen that coming 6 years ago >_<) is tough but also informative. I've got the builders itch so bad i can hardly wait to get the funds together to start building. But when i'm done i'll stew for a bit get the itch again and start all over. Its generally easy and fun at the same time. Its one of those things where the journey is alot more fun then the destination.
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February 6, 2012 6:41:28 AM

Why post a build at all? I would think as a teacher you would know the value of homework. Why have us run through your build before you are ready?

Seeing as a lot of new parts are due between now and then I say you should just keep studying. Read a lot of articles and post questions as to why things are. Do your best to understand whats what, and ask about anything you don't understand. This way when you are ready to build you'll have a better idea as to what you need and why you need it.
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February 6, 2012 11:12:13 AM

Thanks, everyone!

I'm going to start more research, then! I have a basic idea of where I'm going, and do not plan to just post random parts. I had planned to use the template for asking questions: it looks very useful.

4745454b, as a teacher, I know that homework is pretty worthless without feedback. If you have students just do stuff without it being evaluated, they learn to keep repeating the wrong thing because no one tells them it's wrong. Also, it's best to give them several minor formative assessments where they practice the skill and get feedback before expecting them to do a summative assessment (like a final exam) beforehand. They need to do the work and get feedback a few times before they have to "do it or die." That's what I'm missing in the "just read and study stuff." I want to see what kind of mistakes I typically make so that I can avoid those mistakes in my final build. I've already read a lot of articles, and plan to read more. But I do want to practice and get feedback, too, since there are a lot of different components, and despite all the articles, I don't feel confident that I know exactly how they will all affect each other. Be assured that I don't plan to just put up a jumble of parts without any study at all. I plan to do a lot of my own homework before asking for feedback.

I've seen a couple of youtube videos, too, and they're helpful. I will keep an eye out for more!
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February 6, 2012 11:55:38 AM

That's why I said come back and ask questions. Not meaning to be rude, but its rather pointless for us to eval a build that won't be built for months, and worse do it month after month. Far better to do the reading and then double check or ask about things you don't understand.

BTW, careful with the youtube vids. Any monkey with a screen grabbing tool can do one, but that doesn't mean he knows what he's talking about.
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February 6, 2012 11:58:08 AM

If you are a teacher, get a laptop that can go with you to school.
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February 7, 2012 2:54:34 AM

I do have a laptop to go with to school. It's also a Mac and my main writing computer (I write novels). I have an old and want a new PC desktop for gaming and other stuff.

My main worry isn't about things I can ask questions about. I'm not always the greatest at knowing what I don't know, and so might be practicing the computer-building equivalent of 2+2=3 and thinking I'm just brilliant (okay, I'm not that cocky, but you get the idea). Still, at the least, I can post the final build when I'm ready to buy.

That said:

Quote:
Not meaning to be rude, but its rather pointless for us to eval a build that won't be built for months, and worse do it month after month.


This is precisely the reason I asked the question before just posting a build. I figured that my idea might be asking too much of the community. Ideally, I'd take a class or find a mentor -- I don't have the time (or money) for that right now, which is when I'm interested, so I thought I'd look at other options. I'd really like closer training (i.e. actual practice with critique), but if that's going to put people off, I won't. To be honest, what I'm asking for really should cost me money. Thank you for your honesty. (Part of me wishes you had just said that originally instead of implying that I'm not willing to do homework -- for me, posting builds would be homework, as I'd spend considerable time on them).

Oh, and I agree about youtube videos. The same can be said of any kind of medium, though: you need to turn on your brain, as there's a lot of misinformation. For example, the first person I talked with (on the other forum) recommended ibuypower -- I've learned on the contrary that they're not really a reputable company. I found that out from several different sources that were at different sites. This is another advantage of forums: you get a lot of different opinions right off the bat, and it's much easier to evaluate what is real and what is just wrong or misleading. What's nice about videos is that you can see what's going on, rather than just having words. But at this point in the game, that part probably isn't as necessary.

Anyway, I suppose I'll hold off on actually posting theoretical builds at this time, though I will make them and I'll try to come up with the questions I need to ask. It was never my intention to waste anyone's time.
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February 7, 2012 3:03:25 AM

http://apps.facebook.com/tomsbuilder/?ref=bookmarks&cou...

A fun little facebook app to check out different builds and costs. Reading about what others are building here (as well as recommended builds) is a good way to gauge different builds. (a 700.00 build is different from a 500.00 and both are different from a 1200.00 each is different) As what people plan to do with the build and the recommends for each type of build. This place is great to watch and learn.
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February 7, 2012 3:09:50 AM

well its good if you look around newegg or tigerdirect then then slap some part list together post it here give your opinion and on what you will use it for and monitor resolution, then we will give you our opinion which is good i believe then after some time go slap in new ones with some update or what not until the day you buy your pc
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February 7, 2012 4:37:20 AM

I'm a fairly new builder with two builds of experience. I spent a lot of time researching both builds here and elsewhere. There a couple things to think about - and this will be theoretical.

First, determine what you need presently, and what you might want to do in the future. Consider if your requirements will change over time, or if you just want your computer to keep up with the newest software for your current tasks and games. In my case, my goal was to move from gaming on one monitor to eventually gaming on three.

Once you determine your core operational needs, you can begin to look at products that meet your preferences. In my case, my preferences were with some limited consideration to heat and noise. Building a machine capable of playing 1920x1080 with the room to cost effectively scale up required me to consider the case, processor, power supply, motherborad, upgrade pathway of the motheroard socket, and multiple video card scaling performance in sli versus crossfire. This is the most fun part - looking at how different components connect, what are useful features to include in the build and what to leave out.

In my case, my build focused on prepping for 2-3 Radeon 6950s, because even though it's performance only compared with Nvidia's mid high range card (gtx 560 ti), when it was crossfired and trifired, the reviews found it scaled very well and could compare, and in many cases beat, the higher class GTX 570's in sli. Looking for opportunities that suit your need, reading through the data, and making sense of it to make a purchasing decision is the most fun.

I hadn't built a machine since building one with my father on an AMD K62 with 3DNow technology (10 years prior). I build the machine in a night, and with some minor hiccups, I got it working. Overall, I spent 97% on reading/determining what would be best for my needs, and 3% building the machine. It is a lot of fun to invest in a project like this - enjoy!
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February 7, 2012 7:26:53 AM

Also keep in mind Toms does the different builds and best for the $$$ articles. I'm not sure how often they do the builds, but the best for the $$$ articles come every month.

There are many on this forum who wouldn't mind doing a monthly build. I find it a waste but others will disagree. You won't get banned or anything like that if you do it. Just seems like a waste to me to think 7950 the whole time only to switch to GTX760 at the last minute.

That's how I see it anyways.
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February 7, 2012 11:07:57 AM

Yes, I've looked at several different builds at Toms, both in these forums (seeing how people evaluate other people's builds) and in the articles. I wasn't worried so much about being banned or anything -- more people just shaking their heads and groaning, "Not her again!"

The main reason I'd like to at least do builds myself on a regular basis (whether or not I get critiques) is actually for what you're worried about. I'm worried that if I just think about it now, and then come back when it's time to build, I will forget that things change and just look at the same build I was first considering. By forcing myself to review it regularly (maybe once a month is too often), I will remember that while I don't have to start from scratch, I do need to consider everything all over again to see if there are changes.

As for what stuwags and a4mula said: yes, I'm finding this a lot of fun!
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