Monday, June 16, 2014

A Guide to Not F*cking Up your first PC build: The Parts

A Guide to Not F*cking Up your first PC build


Guide is perhaps a strong word here, think more a series of tips to help you through building your first PC with nothing going too wrong.

I will mostly be writing from the perspective that PC's with a budget of $1000 - $2000. Spending less in entirely possible, and is not a bad thing but it lies outside my area off expertise. Spending more is also possible but you start getting some pretty severe diminishing performance returns for each additional dollar spent.

Picking your Parts:

Core Components(things you cannot do without):

-A Motherboard
-A Power Supply
-Some kind of case
-Storage Device(HHD/SDD)

Optional Components(Things that not everyone will want/need):

-Fan Controllers
-Watercooling(This involves a number of parts, but for simplicities sake I am keeping it as a single item)
-Additional fans
-Custom Coolers
-Optical Drives
-External HDDs
-This list could go on forever.

Now work out your vision for this PC. Do you want something small and quiet to tuck into a lounge room, a performance powerhouse to run across 3 displays, something cheap but can play most games reasonably?

Core Component wise: $1000 gets you a PC that will run most things on there top settings today. Probably for a few years to come as well. 
$2000 gets you a PC that will likely still be running things on top settings when the next generation of consoles are released or something that will work well for running things at frame rates greater then 60(note you will need a monitor that supports this), 4k gaming or gaming across multiple displays

The GPU: As a gamer this should range from about 30(@$1000 core budget) to about %50(at $2000 budget) above a 2k budget this may drop.
Next lets take at look at the brands AMD and NVIDIA. On the most basic level NVIDIA is your prestige brand, and AMD is your cheaper brand. That is not to say that either one is bad, they just different. If budget is a concern for you go AMD, if you are willing to pay more for a for extra conveniences then go with NVIDIA(Will expand this later).

Things to note: Power Draw.
Dependencies: Power Supply, Case(Fit), Motherboard(Sli/Crossfire)

The CPU: As a gamer you don't need an i7 processor. Stick to i5's(LGA1150 sockets). If you are on a higher budget be sure to go with a CPU with an unlocked multiplier(Intel brands these like ix-xxxxk eg. i5-4670k) and over-clock. As for AMD processors, well I must admit I have no personal experience with them, but from the research I have done they seemed to be a bit sub-par with the exception of for very low budget builds.

Things to note: Socket type; Power draw.
Dependencies: Power Supply, Motherboard(Socket)

The Motherboard: There are 4 things to look for in a motherboard, the first and most important is that it is compatible with your CPU(socket), the order in which you place the next three will vary from person to person but they are: Features, Performance and Appearance.
The easiest of these is appearance you know what looks good to you, or if it doesn't matter to you.
Now performance this one isn't actually as important as you might think, the performance gains from motherboard to motherboard at not huge but worth examining reviews for.
Finally features there are a lot of them but some major things to consider are how many USB ports you need, how you are planning on networking your PC and if you planning on over-clocking. Do quite a bit of research on this one.
Things to note: Research and really consider your current and future needs.
Dependencies: Case(Form Factor); CPU(Socket)

The RAM: RAM is actually fairly complicated, and I won't go into in too much depth in this guide but some traps avoid, more is not always better, nor is faster clock speeds. 8GB is enough if you just plan on gaming, consider more planning on doing significant amounts of video or photo editing. Make sure you get a appropriate channel kit for your motherboard

Note this is currently unfinished will continue to work on it.