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Looking for Custom pc building advice

Last response: in Systems
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August 31, 2012 6:08:29 PM

hello. I am looking together build myself a computer or buy a reasonably priced computer. Could any help me out? i was looking at buying either an hp or dell but other people have told me it is better to build my own?I am looking to play some games on it but basically looking for an upgradable computer with 3.0 usb ports good graphics and a system where i can add into it my 2 happpauge dual tuners any suggestions would be appreciated.

More about : custom building advice

August 31, 2012 6:16:51 PM

You'll find that almost everyone on this forum is in favour of building a computer instead of buying a branded one such a Dell or HP. Extra information would be needed to help you. Your price range, any components that you already have, things like that.
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August 31, 2012 6:25:01 PM

thank you for your reply. i am looking to spend somewhere in the area of 1300 but i have no clue how to build a machine or what parts go good together. I am basically looking for an upgradeable machine with good graphics in case i want to play some games with usb 3 capabilities that is i5-i7 and will last me a few years:)  I do have the following components which hopefully i could use a 240gb ssd agility 3 drive, 2 haupaupage dual tuners, many 3 tb seagate baracuda drive, windows operating system 7 ultimate.

thank you for your reply
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August 31, 2012 7:34:40 PM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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August 31, 2012 9:13:47 PM

Pc building is relatively easy - it's just connecting connectors into sockets. Just as long as you know the basics you'll be fine - but before considering to build your own pc, I would read a lot of internet guides to familiarise yourself with the concept.

Your budget is in US dollars right? You could build a nice pc with 1300 dollars but for that money you won't be able to get a 3tb hdd, 240gb ssd, i7 and a top of the range gpu. One of the cheaper i7 processors (i7- 2600 3.4ghz) is around $300. As this processor is socket LGA 1155, you will need to get a corresponding motherboard which will be expensive because of it's compatibility with an i7. You will also need to consider ram aswell - ram is quite cheap at the moment and I would definitely recommend Kingston Hyper-X blu. Then you will need a psu to power everything.

Parts you will need:
- Processor (intel is a definite choice as it's the best you can get)

- GPU (nVidia cards are generally better but more expensive)

- CPU cooler (essential if you want to get the most out of your processor and don't want it overheating)

- Power Supply (Do not skimp on this as cheap power supplies are a death wish - you should aim for a power supply which is over 600W and is 80+ certified; less of the Wattage is lost as heat)

- Case (Cases are important - you want something which is stylish, functional and has very good airflow to keep all your components cool)

- Solid state drive (SSD's are very expensive but very good - they have a higher read/write speed than conventional harddrives which makes them a more desirable drive for installing an operating system on as it reduces boot/shutdown time)

- Harddrive (Its important to consider what sort of array you want your harddrives to be in. Also the amount of space you will need - don't get masses of space as you won't fill it and it will take a massive chunk out of your budget. A good harddrive array for storing very important data on, in which you want a copy of without having to constantly back up every time you save a document, is raid 0 Mirrored (NOT striped) Raid 0 mirrored requires 2 harddrives - both harddrives will have identical data on them, although hdd formatting really isn't for beginners. Just to let you know that if you are thinking about having a raid setup in the future - you will need more than 1 harddrive)

- Optical drive

That's really all you need to build a pc - I would definitely check lots of online guides and do a little bit of internet shopping so you can see what you can realistically get for your money. Check reviews for anything you stumble across to see if it is actually decent. Good luck with the pc and I hope this has helped!
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August 31, 2012 9:22:51 PM

Lol i forgot the two most important part - this is late nights do to me xD


- Ram (Random access memory - just more data storage. Don't get sucked into the whole heatspreader charade. They might look really cooler but they aren't worth it! If you get them at a decent price, go for it, otherwise they aren't that important. Ram is cheap right now so you''ll get a good deal. Also if you want to do video editing or photoshop editing, you will need at least 16gb of ram for rendering).

- Motherboard (The mobo is a really important part of the pc; it needs to be compatible with your processor and if you ever want to do an sli or crossfire set up - two or more graphics cards - then you need a mobo with 2 or more pci express x16 slots).
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August 31, 2012 9:25:19 PM

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR VALUABLE INFORMATION.i AM IN CANADA BUT PRICES ARE PRETTY CLOSE TO THOSE IN THE US. sorry for the caps:0 anyway i have the following components which i can add to the system so it will be cheaper. I have a 3 tb hard drive already, 2 tv tuners, a 240gb solid state drive so that should save me some money. I just need a few suggestions what are the best components so i can try and build a decent computer.

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September 1, 2012 8:44:41 PM

Oh you already have those parts - well that'd good, you'll be able to build a very decent pc.

For the gpu I would recommend getting a gtx 670 - it's pretty much the best gpu you can buy at the moment and it's cheaper than the likes of the 680 and 690, but still better. For reference visit: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html and http://www.hwcompare.com/12501/geforce-gtx-670-vs-gefor...
The actual statistics prove the 680 to be a better card, although they are only theoretical and from what I've heard, the 670 is the way to go. A very good gtx 670 card is the EVGA FTW 2gb gtx 670 or an ASUS Gtx670 2gb. Both of these cards are none reference - the board layout differs slightly from nvidia's board layout. nVidia gtx670's are reference. If you want to watercool your graphics card, you must get a reference card if you want to get a full waterblock rather than just a universal processor cooling water block. A full waterblock provides cooling for the processor and vrm (ram on the graphics card which get notoriously hot), whereas the universal block cools only the processor. With non reference cards, you tend to get better cooling as manufactures will put their own heatsink on the card to keep temperatures down - the stock heatsink which nVidia provides is really worth replacing if you want to get the most out of your graphics card.

Next is the processor - an i7 is really the best processor you will get, forget amd as they are nowhere near the technology that intel is producing. A very good intel i7 processor is the i7 2600 or i7 2600k (Sandybridge - socket 1155) These are low end sandybridge processors and optimised for gaming. Alternatively, there is the i7-3820 (sandybridge-E - socket LGA 2011) The sandybridge-E is more expensive but you do get a better processor. If you really aren't too bothered about the processor and want to budget the money elsewhere - the ivy bridge range is definitely worth looking at - the i5 2500k can easily be overclocked to the performance of an i7 2600. If you have no desire to overclock, than go with an i7.

The next step is to choose the motherboard. You need to settle on which processor you want before you can choose a motherboard as different processors have different sockets and will only fit into a motherboard with a corresponding socket. Lets just assume than you are going to choose a processor which is socket 1155 - this encompasses both the sandybridge i7 (i7 2600/k) and the ivy bridge i5 (i5 2500k). Again, it depends on what you want to do with the computer - if you want to benchmark, you want something like an ASUS Maximum IV Extreme-Z or Gigabyte Z68X-UD7. These are generally unnecessary for most people - they tend to go with an ASUS P8Z68-V GEN3 - this will give you a reasonable overclock and use the chip's full potential. I would only go for Maximum or gigabyte if you are going to do some serious overclocking. More about the ASUS P8Z68-V GEN3 - it uses the Z68 Chipset, which has lots of advantages over other popular boards such as the sabertooth. It has usb 3.0, supports both quad-gpu SLI (nVidia) and CrossfireX (AMD) and offers a modest 32gb of ram between 4 ram slots.

Which brings us nicely onto ram. There is a lot of dispute over whether ram with heatspreaders on is better than ram without heatspreaders. Personally I think heatspreaders are there just to look cool and have little functionality - they aren't going to improve ram performance so its not worth spending extra money on it. I would go with Kingston's hyperX blu - by far the superior ram to any corsair vengeance. Get 16gb and you are good to go - if you plan on doing any photo/video editing, you need a minimum of 16gb.

Cooling. Cooling is going to be essential to getting the most out of your components and ensuring they don't die before their time. There are two options available for cooling: watercooling and air cooling. Both have their advantages and disadvantages: aircooling is not as efficient as watercooling but far less risky - you'll also find that you will have more space in your case if you choose watercooling over aircooling. In air cooling, massive heatsinks are required to dissipate heat - in watercooling you need a coolant (distilled water).

Aircooling: Air cooling is just a copper heatsink, which is usually nickel plated, with a fan attached to the top. Depending on the design, some will cool better than others and some fans are more efficient at churning away the hot air. Aircooling is relatively cheap - all that is required is the heatsink and fan.

Watercooling: A lot can go wrong with watercooling, but it is far superior at cooling than anything else (except liquid nitrogen). Watercooling can be split into two sub catagories: All in one water-cooling loops and A custom water-cooling loop. I wouldn't recommend building a custom loop if you're an amateur - but if you have plans to do so in the future, be sure to buy a reference graphics card. I'm going to focus on the All in one loop (AIO), as it is more likely that you will consider this.

For a watercooling loop, you need the following: a radiator, a graphics card block/cpu block, a reservoir, a pump, tubing and fittings. An AIO watercooler has all of this condensed into a single pre-assembled, easy to install loop. This is desired watercooling for those who have absolutely no desire to build their own loop. Upshot is that AIO can possibly leak, but usually only if you cut the pipes or get them caught on heatsinks.
Go with a corsair h100 or h80 because of superior cooling.

As for the psu - go for modular, corsair and certified 80 plus. Probably 750W + would do it - if you are considering adding more gpu's (SLi or crossfire - go for more than 750W).

As for the case, that's something that's more personal preference then anything.
Hope this helps!
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September 1, 2012 8:55:53 PM

wow thank you very much for the valuable information:)  i never knew building a gaming computer would be so hard and technical:)  alot to know and so little time probably going to a computer parts store and talking to them would be best maybe have them even building the machine:)  basically i just want a decent machine i can add 2 dual tv tuners to to make it into a media centre and still may want to play some games:0 not a hard core gamer like alot of my friends. thank you again for the valuable information.


trollface said:
Oh you already have those parts - well that'd good, you'll be able to build a very decent pc.

For the gpu I would recommend getting a gtx 670 - it's pretty much the best gpu you can buy at the moment and it's cheaper than the likes of the 680 and 690, but still better. For reference visit: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html and http://www.hwcompare.com/12501/geforce-gtx-670-vs-gefor...
The actual statistics prove the 680 to be a better card, although they are only theoretical and from what I've heard, the 670 is the way to go. A very good gtx 670 card is the EVGA FTW 2gb gtx 670 or an ASUS Gtx670 2gb. Both of these cards are none reference - the board layout differs slightly from nvidia's board layout. nVidia gtx670's are reference. If you want to watercool your graphics card, you must get a reference card if you want to get a full waterblock rather than just a universal processor cooling water block. A full waterblock provides cooling for the processor and vrm (ram on the graphics card which get notoriously hot), whereas the universal block cools only the processor. With non reference cards, you tend to get better cooling as manufactures will put their own heatsink on the card to keep temperatures down - the stock heatsink which nVidia provides is really worth replacing if you want to get the most out of your graphics card.

Next is the processor - an i7 is really the best processor you will get, forget amd as they are nowhere near the technology that intel is producing. A very good intel i7 processor is the i7 2600 or i7 2600k (Sandybridge - socket 1155) These are low end sandybridge processors and optimised for gaming. Alternatively, there is the i7-3820 (sandybridge-E - socket LGA 2011) The sandybridge-E is more expensive but you do get a better processor. If you really aren't too bothered about the processor and want to budget the money elsewhere - the ivy bridge range is definitely worth looking at - the i5 2500k can easily be overclocked to the performance of an i7 2600. If you have no desire to overclock, than go with an i7.

The next step is to choose the motherboard. You need to settle on which processor you want before you can choose a motherboard as different processors have different sockets and will only fit into a motherboard with a corresponding socket. Lets just assume than you are going to choose a processor which is socket 1155 - this encompasses both the sandybridge i7 (i7 2600/k) and the ivy bridge i5 (i5 2500k). Again, it depends on what you want to do with the computer - if you want to benchmark, you want something like an ASUS Maximum IV Extreme-Z or Gigabyte Z68X-UD7. These are generally unnecessary for most people - they tend to go with an ASUS P8Z68-V GEN3 - this will give you a reasonable overclock and use the chip's full potential. I would only go for Maximum or gigabyte if you are going to do some serious overclocking. More about the ASUS P8Z68-V GEN3 - it uses the Z68 Chipset, which has lots of advantages over other popular boards such as the sabertooth. It has usb 3.0, supports both quad-gpu SLI (nVidia) and CrossfireX (AMD) and offers a modest 32gb of ram between 4 ram slots.

Which brings us nicely onto ram. There is a lot of dispute over whether ram with heatspreaders on is better than ram without heatspreaders. Personally I think heatspreaders are there just to look cool and have little functionality - they aren't going to improve ram performance so its not worth spending extra money on it. I would go with Kingston's hyperX blu - by far the superior ram to any corsair vengeance. Get 16gb and you are good to go - if you plan on doing any photo/video editing, you need a minimum of 16gb.

Cooling. Cooling is going to be essential to getting the most out of your components and ensuring they don't die before their time. There are two options available for cooling: watercooling and air cooling. Both have their advantages and disadvantages: aircooling is not as efficient as watercooling but far less risky - you'll also find that you will have more space in your case if you choose watercooling over aircooling. In air cooling, massive heatsinks are required to dissipate heat - in watercooling you need a coolant (distilled water).

Aircooling: Air cooling is just a copper heatsink, which is usually nickel plated, with a fan attached to the top. Depending on the design, some will cool better than others and some fans are more efficient at churning away the hot air. Aircooling is relatively cheap - all that is required is the heatsink and fan.

Watercooling: A lot can go wrong with watercooling, but it is far superior at cooling than anything else (except liquid nitrogen). Watercooling can be split into two sub catagories: All in one water-cooling loops and A custom water-cooling loop. I wouldn't recommend building a custom loop if you're an amateur - but if you have plans to do so in the future, be sure to buy a reference graphics card. I'm going to focus on the All in one loop (AIO), as it is more likely that you will consider this.

For a watercooling loop, you need the following: a radiator, a graphics card block/cpu block, a reservoir, a pump, tubing and fittings. An AIO watercooler has all of this condensed into a single pre-assembled, easy to install loop. This is desired watercooling for those who have absolutely no desire to build their own loop. Upshot is that AIO can possibly leak, but usually only if you cut the pipes or get them caught on heatsinks.
Go with a corsair h100 or h80 because of superior cooling.

As for the psu - go for modular, corsair and certified 80 plus. Probably 750W + would do it - if you are considering adding more gpu's (SLi or crossfire - go for more than 750W).

As for the case, that's something that's more personal preference then anything.
Hope this helps!

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!