Building New Gaming PC From Scratch

Discussion in 'Tech Chat' started by Geoff, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Geoff

    Geoff Sir "Let's Play" Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Okay, so the original idea was to simply upgrade my PC. The problem with that is my case is tiny as shit. My computer is verrrry light, very small. Hell, I remember watching my brother put both my wireless cards in this thing. It was funny because it was a pain to get in there.

    So, with my new job starting soon (and going off the assumption of me actually staying with it for a month or so), I want to build a new gaming PC. I'm aiming to save around $800-$900, but I am easily willing to save a bit longer if needed.

    This is where you guys come in. I'm not tech savvy in any way, shape or form. I'm watching through the Newegg videos of "How To build a Computer", hoping they can help a little bit.

    I'll probably do all my shopping on Newegg. That's where I got all the parts for my current PC. And good news! We don't have to bother with a monitor! Mine is still perfectly fine, although I may decide to aim for a dual monitor setup later in the future.


    The few things I know I'm looking for:

    2+TB hard drive. My current hard drive I am very anal about. It currently has 238 GB of free space and I never like seeing it go below 200. I want enough space that I won't have to worry about space again. ^_^ With that in mind, I am hoping I can easily move the hard drive in my current pc over to the new one. It already has all the games that I want, and it would save time with getting Windows 7 installed. Is this possible to do?

    Mouse and keyboard are not an issue, mine are currently working fine. If I do decide to upgrade those, I can just head to BestBuy or something. Simple shit.

    Now comes the HARD part. Every other part. This is where I am completely lost.

    I'm not really aiming to get the greatest PC ever built, just going for a PC that I no longer have to worry about when it comes to new games. That's my biggest gripe right now is checking every game coming out to see if I can even run it. I want no more worries.
     
  2. VintagePC

    VintagePC GodModePC (Lead Developer) Srcds Server Operator Forum Operator Minecraft Operator Global Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, it should be possible to just plop the drive in the new build. You might need to do a 'repair' install to fix up missing drivers for the new hardware (e.g. missing chipset drivers will prevent booting) but otherwise a reactivation should be all that's needed.

    Looks like you're just in the market for some memory, motherboard, video card, cpu, and case.

    Start with the CPU you want. Don't go top of the line for a budget build, but spec out the best one you can get for probably $100-250. That dictates which motherboards you can choose from (another $1-150ish), and those in turn somewhat dictate the memory you need to buy.
    Same goes for the case, really as some boards have different numbers/spacings of slots and you want a case that matches reasonably well, but not quite as critical.

    Video card is more or less separate, $200 or so should net you a decent last-gen model that will be able to handle pretty much anything for the next while.

    Memory-wise you can get as much as you have in your budget, 8 GB ought to be sufficient for most cases and depending on the motherboard, waiting 1-2 years for the memory type to drop a bit in price and then adding more if needed is a viable upgrade path, provided the rest of the machine is still good. Don't skimp there and get lower-speed stuff so you can have more of it, get the fastest the board will support if possible.

    Drives doesn't make much difference between brands, generally but don't go bottom of the line or refurb. And try to crack that "must have 200GB free space' habit - all you're doing is artificially limiting yourself and not using your hardware fully. It's like buying two monitors but leaving one of them in the box to gather dust. Drives are still kinda pricy since they skyrocketed a while ago and that's not going to help the budget.

    As to exactly what specific hardware you want... that's generally a personal preference based on brand and past experience. Personally I go with intel (cpu), asus (mobo), nvidia (gpu) and kingston for memory. Used to go with maxtor for drives until they had problems and got bought out by seagate. I've had good experiences with WD so far.

    I'd say at this point, go shopping, look for some kit you think would work well and meet your needs, post links, and folks here will comment on it and offer advice.
     
  3. Geoff

    Geoff Sir "Let's Play" Forum Moderator Staff Member

  4. VintagePC

    VintagePC GodModePC (Lead Developer) Srcds Server Operator Forum Operator Minecraft Operator Global Moderator Staff Member

    Looks like those would serve you well. Also don't forget to budget $150 or so for a power supply. Don't cheap out there either. Go with antec or another good brand. When it comes to them, weight is quality. You'll notice the cheapest garbage ones weigh almost nothing, and have no endurance whatsoever - the tiniest power blip and your computer resets... whereas with a good brand-name one I've had my PC stay on over quick blips and brownouts no problem.

    Next step is to select a board that matches the processor (LGA 1175) and go from there :)
     
  5. Geoff

    Geoff Sir "Let's Play" Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Hell, maybe I should go for an i7 instead. =D
     
  6. VintagePC

    VintagePC GodModePC (Lead Developer) Srcds Server Operator Forum Operator Minecraft Operator Global Moderator Staff Member

    Whatever is in your budget. i5 vs i7 probably isn't worth spending too much more. Usually there is a local minimum in terms of 'bang for buck' which is the ideal place to be at, and it usually hovers somewhere around higher-end last gen or lower-end current gen... and lower-end current gen stuff usually performs worse than better last-gen stuff, especially true with video cards.
     
  7. Reechard

    Reechard Server Admin Srcds Server Operator Minecraft Operator Source Server Admin Staff Member Minecraft Admin

    Geoff I have to take a step back and disagree with Vintage on his CPU preferences in the current market. There is absolutely no reason to go with Intel over AMD for gaming in today's market.... The i5 is a good CPU, but for $80 less you can pick up this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113327

    There's probably a 10% decrease in performance *per core*, but there are 2 more cores. AMD has been kept down the past few years somehow by Intel, their chips are better on a per-dollar scale. My current machine is almost 3 years old and runs an AMD 6 core that isn't as good as the one linked above, and will still play the heck out of anything I throw at it. Lava's computer has one as well.

    The $80 you'll save is your extra 2TB hard drive. If you had $2-3k to dump in a gaming machine and no reason to not save money, I'd tell you to get an i7 extreme edition over an AMD, but in this case, no way.

    Decent motherboard to go with that:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131873

    I also have to disagree with Kingston RAM for a budget build... Anymore, RAM is RAM. I don't generally go with the "unknown" names like newegg's lowest choice in RAM ("TEAM" brand, wtf is that?) but GSkill is a good company, as is corsair, and they're both $45-50 cheaper than Kingston in the 8GB market. This is actually the newer version of what's in my machine:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231519

    I have yet to run out of RAM at 8GB. I don't forsee that being the bottleneck for quite a while.

    For video cards, I'd tell you to get as much as you possibly can. In a budget build, I agree with Vintage. Go to the previous generation, and get one of the higher end ones from it. In this case Nvidia is on the 700 series, so I went to the high end 600 series cards and found this one:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121660

    While I like that you have your case picked out, sinking 1/5 of the total budget into it (without a power supply...) is a bit over the top. Both of our current machines are in Cooler Master cases. I absolutely LOVE these cases, there are no sharp edges (can't tell you how many times I've sliced myself open on a cheap stamped case...), they painted the inside of it so it's pretty even when I have the sides off tinkering with the thing, and they're extremely good quality for the price. I can't express enough satisfaction for how well built this company's products are built for the price they charge. Both Lava and I have storm scout cases (previous generation, however):
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119263
    but their HAF line is also pretty awesome, designed to give you lots of space to run wires so they don't interfere with airflow:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119197

    I like their power supplies as well:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171052

    Plop in a 2TB hard drive:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236603

    And my current newegg cart is at $797, and I'd bet it's a few years before you even need to turn down max settings on any game you're going to play, and you'll still be able to play them :-D
     
  8. lonesome killer

    lonesome killer Banhammered

    3 monitors or bust

    Not possible. People thought 20 years ago that having 1 MB storage was enough and they couldn't see using more. Now 3 TB is barely enough.
     
  9. Geoff

    Geoff Sir "Let's Play" Forum Moderator Staff Member

    I'll have fun looking at that post Reechard. =D

    Not possible. People thought 20 years ago that having 1 MB storage was enough and they couldn't see using more. Now 3 TB is barely enough.

    It is possible. I'll probably still be anal about how much space I have, but if I have 3TB of space, I won't even know what to do with all of it. Right now, I only have maybe 50gb of games. Probably less. 1TB alone is insane, but 3?! That's...too much for me to handle.

    Edit: As for the comment on "sinking 1/5 of budget" for the case, I'm completely okay with it. Did you see that case? =D

    In all honesty, if I get everything picked out within the next few days, or week, and I feel like I want to save more cash then I'll do that. This is all hoping on this job not sucking ass. A few weeks of saving will probably get me 1200+, minus whatever money is taken out for the new tires I got.
     
  10. lonesome killer

    lonesome killer Banhammered

    Well you said if your HDD goes less than 200 GB you freak out. I assumed you had a 1 TB HDD. You must be using a 256 GB.
     
  11. Reechard

    Reechard Server Admin Srcds Server Operator Minecraft Operator Source Server Admin Staff Member Minecraft Admin


    Not everyone is a dirty, filthy pirate like you, lonesome.
     
  12. Geoff

    Geoff Sir "Let's Play" Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Well, my brother split it into 2 (I forget the words he used for it). Local Disc C is basically where everything is installed (Operating System and what not). Local Disc D is where all my games are. I never touch Disc C. My hard drive is 500gb.
     
  13. VintagePC

    VintagePC GodModePC (Lead Developer) Srcds Server Operator Forum Operator Minecraft Operator Global Moderator Staff Member

    While I'm not going to get into an AMD vs intel debate here (and I _did_ say it was personal preference)... when was the last time you saw a game that touted proper multi-core support? In most cases one core with more oomph will serve you better than more cores with less oomph each.
     
  14. Reechard

    Reechard Server Admin Srcds Server Operator Minecraft Operator Source Server Admin Staff Member Minecraft Admin


    I'll answer that with a "meh"... It's nearly twice the money for what I consider to be a very minor performance increase.
     
  15. VintagePC

    VintagePC GodModePC (Lead Developer) Srcds Server Operator Forum Operator Minecraft Operator Global Moderator Staff Member

    I can agree with that in a sense. It all boils down to preference and what's in your budget.
     
  16. lonesome killer

    lonesome killer Banhammered

    It's called a partition.

    And you don't have to be a pirate to use 3 TB. If you have 20 or 30 games on Steam that could easily be 300 GB right there. And if you add custom mods like hi-res texture packs that's even more. And if you record your games with FRAPS or have back ups of your files you can easily start to fill it up.
     
  17. Geoff

    Geoff Sir "Let's Play" Forum Moderator Staff Member


    Ah, yes, a partition. Seemed completely useless to me. I mean, it's the same hard drive, but now there's a chunk that I don't touch. And are there really people who have 20-30 games on steam installed?! God, I have maybe 5-6 games max installed. Crazy bastards. And fraps recordings don't stay long for me. I usually render asap.
     
  18. VintagePC

    VintagePC GodModePC (Lead Developer) Srcds Server Operator Forum Operator Minecraft Operator Global Moderator Staff Member

    the real use comes in with proper management and setup of your partitions. For example, my /home/<username> directory on my desktop (linux equivalent of Documents & Settings) is its own partition. so if I ever need to reinstall, I can format / (the OS install area) without touching my settings and documents. Do the reinstall, mount the partition again and boom, back in business like I never left.

    In windows you can mount partitions as folders now too, so you could theoretically, if you run out of space or want to for other reasons, mount your Steam folder as its own partition. Then when you reinstall windows... re-mount it, steam is back with no hassle/waiting for copying to finish.

    TL;DR: Makes it easy to segregate your data into stuff you want to keep and not have to go hunting for/remember to locate every time you do a new install, vs stuff that can be wiped without giving a damn.
     
  19. Reechard

    Reechard Server Admin Srcds Server Operator Minecraft Operator Source Server Admin Staff Member Minecraft Admin


    Wat. I have 260+ games on steam and like, 80 of them installed at any given time..... "Crazy bastards" indeed. I think you're probably in the minority in this case.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Geoff

    Geoff Sir "Let's Play" Forum Moderator Staff Member

    80?!

    What in holy hell? I'll gladly be the minority here. I can't imagine having that many installed.
     
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