Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Parts Priority Question

Last response: in Systems
Share
February 23, 2012 3:00:24 AM

I'm thinking to build a computer in the future, but right now, I'm doing a lot of research. I'm currently trying to figure out the priority of different parts (but not specifics, since the build is going to be several months from now).

I'm looking to build a gaming computer aimed more at longevity than current performance -- I want to be able to buy new games when they come out, but I don't care if it's all max settings, etc.

I will probably also use the same computer for web browsing and some word processing, spreadsheets, etc. I'm toying with the idea of having two monitors, one to be a "TV", but until they come out with wireless monitors, this is unlikely, since I want the TV in a different room than the computer. If it causes sacrifices in the longevity of the computer, I would definitely have a separate TV.

Here are my current thoughts.

1. CPU/Motherboard: It seems these go hand in hand, and that you kind of have to decide on them together, or at least pick a CPU first. What's more important to me, though, is the motherboard. It is the most important because it is not easily replaceable (since EVERYTHING pretty much has to plug into it) and also determines what future replacements might be possible (I tried to upgrade my video card only to discover that my motherboard does not have any PCIe slots).

2. PSU: I think most of my current old-age-computer-quirkiness issues are due to the PSU (either that or heat/cooling problems). I've also had big power supply issues in the past. I have replaced a power supply before, so I know they're replaceable, but this seems like it really affects the whole computer, so I'd like stability right away.

After that, I'm not sure.

I know that for gaming, video cards are really important, but they're also easy to replace, as long as the motherboard can support the newer cards. I'm sure I could deal with having not-so-great graphics for awhile until I can get a better video card.

No one seems really to mention storage (HD/SSD), but that seems like it might be #3 because it would be hard to replace and seems like it would be good for longevity. On the other hand, I know that external hard drives aren't that difficult to get, and it doesn't seem like you'd need to replace a hard drive if you could add on easily. Also, if I buy before prices come down after the flooding, I might have to skimp here anyway. I'm definitely considering an SSD, but again, not sure where I'd put it in the priority ranking.

The case is hard to replace, but I don't care much about what it looks like, aside from not being gaudy. The cooling and cable management issues in a case ARE important, though, especially if I ever decide I want to do water cooling. So maybe the case is #3? And storage #4?

Cooling is important, but I'm not sure where it fits. I think I'd like to start with traditional fans (this is my first build ever), but water cooling might be something I'd consider in the future (but that seems to be a motherboard/case consideration). Still, again, I'm not sure what priority to put on this. Oh, and having quieter cooling would be nice: my current computer has really loud fans.

Memory/RAM: I'd put this near the end, not because I won't need it, but because it's cheap and easy to replace. I don't need it extensively when I first build the computer, because I can add more later if my motherboard allows it (again, highlighting the importance of the motherboard).

Monitors and Optical drive: This will depend on whether I decide to do the "TV" thing, but generally, I actually prefer smaller monitors. I'm still using a 15" monitor and I love it. My father's large monitor causes my eyes to hurt and I get headaches. The optical will also depend on what I decide to do with the TV option. I don't anticipate needing Blu-Ray on my computer if I have a separate TV.

I'll probably keep the internal sound of the motherboard.

***

TL;DR - I'm interested in knowing what you'd suggest as a priority list for computer parts for a build focused on gaming and, more importantly, longevity.

Oh, and:

Approximate Purchase Date: Unknown

Budget Range: High -- will decide when actually buying. Not really important for figuring out priority of parts to consider. The priority would likely be the same whether the budget went up or down.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, web browsing, word processing/spreadsheets.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Sites that have good, solid reviews (aside from PSU, since I understand the difficulties in reviewing those without special equipment), since I'm looking at research right now, not pricing/buying. When I post an actual build, I will hopefully have better preferences here.

Country: U.S.A., but there's no reason for me not to look at non-US sites for reviews. Not sure this is really relevant right now.

Parts Preferences: I'm way too new to have preferences.

Overclocking: Maybe, probably.

SLI or Crossfire: Probably -- this seems to be really important for longevity (instead of just switching out video cards, I could add one, and then, eventually, I could switch out one or the other, or even both, over time).

Monitor Resolution: No idea -- I'd probably pick the monitor based on the video card, rather than vice-versa. If I keep the same monitor, it's 1024 x 768.

Additional Comments: Not buying yet -- just getting advice on how to prioritize my research. I'm currently researching power supplies, and not really sure where to go after that.
February 23, 2012 3:03:31 AM

Buy everything at one time.... if this will be over 3 month.... Parts change so fast..
February 24, 2012 2:35:11 AM

Thanks for the response!

I do plan to buy all the parts at the same time.

Right now, I'm doing research and making up imaginary builds. 1) It's helping me understand how to evaluate the different parts, and 2) the part about imaginary builds is allowing me to check out compatibility (on my own anyway). I fully expect these imaginary builds to change over time. When I am ready to actually buy, I'll create a real build and post it for critique, and it will be within a week or so of the actual purchase, if not sooner (depending on how much tweaking it needs).

The reason I'm asking about priority is that I realized I might be operating under some bad assumptions (like graphics card maybe not being as important because it's easily replaced - not sure if that's a good or bad assumption), and I don't want my first build post to be completely stupid. I'd like to do *some* of the learning before that. :) 
Related resources
February 24, 2012 3:14:17 AM

2523696,1,1114628 said:
I'm thinking to build a computer in the future, but right now, I'm doing a lot of research. I'm currently trying to figure out the priority of different parts (but not specifics, since the build is going to be several months from now).

Buy everything at once. You going to be pissed when you go buy a mobo and 3 months later theres a new one and you want that one. Better to buy at once and settle.

I'm looking to build a gaming computer aimed more at longevity than current performance -- I want to be able to buy new games when they come out, but I don't care if it's all max settings, etc.

The problem with that is nothing is really "long term". New computer parts are made so quickly that the stuff you buy now might be outdated in 6 months. The best you can do is buy newer parts to extend the time untill you need to upgrade. The problem with that is current performance will be a priority if your looking to make a computer last.

I will probably also use the same computer for web browsing and some word processing, spreadsheets, etc. I'm toying with the idea of having two monitors, one to be a "TV", but until they come out with wireless monitors, this is unlikely, since I want the TV in a different room than the computer. If it causes sacrifices in the longevity of the computer, I would definitely have a separate TV.

I dont think thats possible unless you want to wire a computer monitor into the other room. Plus how are you going to control it if the tower is across the house.

Here are my current thoughts.

1. CPU/Motherboard: It seems these go hand in hand, and that you kind of have to decide on them together, or at least pick a CPU first. What's more important to me, though, is the motherboard. It is the most important because it is not easily replaceable (since EVERYTHING pretty much has to plug into it) and also determines what future replacements might be possible (I tried to upgrade my video card only to discover that my motherboard does not have any PCIe slots).

if you want to future proof your mobo dont look anywhere less than the p68 series. Has PCI-3 and ivy bridge support. So you wont have a issue like that for a long time. Just make sure you buy a good brand like ASUS or Gigabyte. CPU depends on what your doing. I5 is great for gaming but wont suffice for 3d modeling. i7 is great for modeling but pointless really for gaming.

2. PSU: I think most of my current old-age-computer-quirkiness issues are due to the PSU (either that or heat/cooling problems). I've also had big power supply issues in the past. I have replaced a power supply before, so I know they're replaceable, but this seems like it really affects the whole computer, so I'd like stability right away.

If you want stability dont get anything but a corsair or seasonic psu. Its the only way to go. Just plan on how much power you will be using. 600w might be fine now, but if you throw another graphics card in there then it might not be enough. Always better to have more than less. Plus it keep your PSU from being under max load extending it life even longer.

After that, I'm not sure.

I know that for gaming, video cards are really important, but they're also easy to replace, as long as the motherboard can support the newer cards. I'm sure I could deal with having not-so-great graphics for awhile until I can get a better video card.

Graphic cards are completely up to you, how you want to go by doing it. Some people want a great single card like the gtx 580. While others want to save some money to get the same performance by SLI'ing 2 GTX 560's. The 2 560's perform a little better than the 580 for $100 less. But once your no longer happy with them your screwed. Now you only have an option to buy another for 3 way sli. If your mobo supports it or you PSU. But if you spend the extra $100 now on the 580 you will be set for a while. So whenever you decide you need more power now you have the option to grab another 580 for half the price. That just an example. It also shows how fast technology advances. I personally recommend you look into EVGA cards.

No one seems really to mention storage (HD/SSD), but that seems like it might be #3 because it would be hard to replace and seems like it would be good for longevity. On the other hand, I know that external hard drives aren't that difficult to get, and it doesn't seem like you'd need to replace a hard drive if you could add on easily. Also, if I buy before prices come down after the flooding, I might have to skimp here anyway. I'm definitely considering an SSD, but again, not sure where I'd put it in the priority ranking.

SSD are great for windows. It boots the computer amazing fast and is worth it for the quick speeds. But you pay the price for them. I would get anything more than 128gb, after that the price just isnt worth it. They have 64 gb but from personal experience they fill up real quick. HDD are coming down a little bit in price. I bought a 1TB HDD for $140 2 months ago. Just a week ago i looked and it dropped $20-30. Is it going to keep going down, who knows. But you can always add one later on. Western Digital and Seagate are reliable brands to look at for HDD. The crucial m4 are great SSD from reviews and customer feedback.

The case is hard to replace, but I don't care much about what it looks like, aside from not being gaudy. The cooling and cable management issues in a case ARE important, though, especially if I ever decide I want to do water cooling. So maybe the case is #3? And storage #4?

Cooling is important, but I'm not sure where it fits. I think I'd like to start with traditional fans (this is my first build ever), but water cooling might be something I'd consider in the future (but that seems to be a motherboard/case consideration). Still, again, I'm not sure what priority to put on this. Oh, and having quieter cooling would be nice: my current computer has really loud fans.

Water cooling is risky, you run the chance of destroying you whole system and you void all your warrenty's in the process. Fans are the way to go into your experienced, plus they do a great job at cooling. The main things to look for in a case is: Number of fans, can the case breath, is there good wire management, does it have enough slots/required slots for what im looking to do.


Memory/RAM: I'd put this near the end, not because I won't need it, but because it's cheap and easy to replace. I don't need it extensively when I first build the computer, because I can add more later if my motherboard allows it (again, highlighting the importance of the motherboard).

Get 8gb for gaming, more for 3d reduring. You can always add more and its cheap to replace. But that doesnt mean you should go out and find the cheapest ram on the market. Kingston, G Skill, and Corsair are all high quality memory. Just make sure you dont get massive heat sinks on the ram if you go the route of buying and unlocked CPU. They wont fit with aftermarket coolers.

Monitors and Optical drive: This will depend on whether I decide to do the "TV" thing, but generally, I actually prefer smaller monitors. I'm still using a 15" monitor and I love it. My father's large monitor causes my eyes to hurt and I get headaches. The optical will also depend on what I decide to do with the TV option. I don't anticipate needing Blu-Ray on my computer if I have a separate TV.

I'll probably keep the internal sound of the motherboard.

I dont know much about monitors, so i cant help you much there. I use my sony bravia 1080p tv and it works for me. Mobo's are great internal sound so theres no need for a sound card, unless your in the music industry or having money to spend.

Last but not least you seem to being trying to put them in order of priority. Every peice of your build should be taken with care, and thought out no matter what it is. Everything should be researched and reviewed so you know its what you want and expect. The PSU's reliability is just as important as what your mobo has to offer. I spent 3 hours comparing $12 fans on newegg when i built my computer. Was it unnecessary..maybe to some poeple, but i know i picked the best noise/air ratio fan i could find. The thing you want to do is overlook something because you dont think its important. I bought a HDD because it came with a free DVD burner. If i read it i would have realized it was a DCI and not sata. It was completely useless and i was pissed but its because i didnt think it was important enough. Well not im just ranting, and i think you get my point. Hopefully i helped.



February 24, 2012 3:36:59 AM

Neal, thank you! Yes, that definitely helped!

As I mentioned to sonexpc, I am planning on buying all the parts at once. Also, as you advised I do plan on researching all of them in great detail. I've been learning a lot, and I love it! The priority issue I'm talking about is money: while I hope to have a high budget, it's not an infinite one: which areas are the areas I can "skimp" on money-wise. Right now, it seems to me that the replaceable ones are the ones I can skimp on, because, well, I can replace them later when I'll have money again. But that might not be a good assumption. And I will take your experience to heart: even if it isn't on the "top" of the list, I'll still make sure that it is reliable and has what I need. Thanks for the warning; I might not have thought of that.

Now, on to your more specific advice:

I figured the monitor-TV thing wouldn't work out. Good to have confirmation on that. I'll just plan to buy a TV. That will make the computer building process easier, too, since I won't need to worry about TV issues or Blu-Ray players.

The distinction between i5 and i7 was really helpful. I'll have to see how Ivy Bridge plays into things, but for now, it seems like i5 and p68 are best for my "imaginary builds". And I was already thinking I'd go with an ASUS motherboard.

I also didn't realize the problems with SLI -- I assumed (wrongly - thanks for pointing that out!) that it could be any two graphic cards. Now, I'm thinking that for longevity going with just one would probably be better (and then updating that one if need be).

I'm glad to hear that HDs are coming down in price, and the information on SSDs was very helpful. The names or reliable brands was also useful. And I'll definitely avoid water cooling for now: I definitely don't want to destroy my whole system!

I also didn't know about the heatsink vs. RAM problem. That's really good to know, and I will keep it in mind. And you confirmed my thoughts about sound and monitors.

Thanks again! I will definitely research everything, since I have lots of time before I will have any money.
!