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Question

Where is a good place to learn how to build a PC?

by thomasterrible / December 15, 2012 2:46 AM PST

I am interested in building my first desktop PC. I have a processor in mind that is both pretty nice and not too expensive as well as a motherboard to use with it. But really I need to learn how to properly build a desktop so it will turn out correctly and give me all the features that I am after.

What is a good place to learn what what I will need to know to accomplish this so everything works together?
I don't want to make a career of this, just be able to properly assemble a system for my personal use.

I don't have any friends that are knowledgeable enough to help me with this and while I can do simple things with computers and have some electronics training I am completely new to the idea of building my own machine.

Thanks in advance.

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All Answers

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Answer
Trade mags might have what you want
by wpgwpg / December 15, 2012 2:58 AM PST

PC World magazine has an article at
http://www.pcworld.com/article/147691/tips_tweaks.html that might be a good start. Also there's an article at
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/toms-hardware-best-configs-pc-building,19359.html and I imagine a Google search would produce many more. It's not that hard, but there are a few gotchas to watch out for. I've built a few, but lately I've just been buying my computers off the shelf because you get more for your money that way, and it's certainly less hassle. Three gotchas I'll mention are (1) don't scrimp on the power supply because a cheap one can cause components to wear out before their time, and (2) if you install a discrete video card, be sure to disable the on board graphics to avoid conflicts, and (3) watch your temperatures with something like SpeedFan because even moderately high ones can slowly cook components causing early death.

Good luck.

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re
by slow235comp / December 15, 2012 9:36 AM PST

youtube 'build computer' find new eggs part 2 (part 1 is selecting parts and 3 is instaling software) the vids are like 40 mins, but minus a little rambling and stuff the actual build is quick and simple. It's for dummies , you shouldn't have any problems.
I asked for suggestions for compatability and within a budget at 3 forums
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/default.aspx is pretty good and so is Toms hardware. I think the best though is member glc at http://www.pcmech.com/forum/build-your-own-pc/

consider that some places for parts like Newegg or amazon might charge you state sales tax (google newegg/NCIX sales tax and you'll find the info), so you can save maybe $60 if you get the same parts elsewhere.

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re
by slow235comp / December 15, 2012 9:58 AM PST
In reply to: re

consider a small 128GB-ish SSD drive for OS + programs to make thngs quicker and more stable, if you need more storage, then add a HDD mechanical drive you might already have or use an external. If you uncompress HD video to edit/render (which isn't really nesesasry), then you will need tons of storage like a 1Tb mechanical to sort of buffer all that info temporarily. Consider an overclockable CPU such as the intels that end in 'K' or the XEONs ( basically 3rd gen i7 power for less money minus the built-in HD4000 GPU if you're going to get an add-on GPU anyway). For around $650 after tax and shipping, if you get a cheap case, you can get a nice intel i5-3570k system with an SSD and Windows 7/8 if you don't have that already. You don't need Windows premium ($30 more) if you don't need more than 16GB RAM, which is for really high-end programs. Gaming almost never needs more than 8GB. If you want gaming, they say the i5-3570k is better than AMD FX-8350, but if you google those two together, you'll find it matters more about GPU and some games are better with the AMD, so it depends which games you might want to play. The AMD FX-8350 is better than the i5-3570k for multithreaded programs like music production software if you want that and maybe better for HD video editing. Either way, around $650 you can build a nice system around either of those CPUs. Make sure you get a decent certefied PSU, but if you ask glc, he'll make sure to get you one.


games playable with with built-in Intel HD4000/25000 graphics:
http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/in...033387.htm

HD video play/editing depends on CPU more than GPU.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html
DAW music production software benchmarks:
http://www.adkproaudio.com/benchmarks.cfm

"Those are PassMark benchmark scores. PassMark is a benchmarking software which runs the CPU through many stress tests like read/write operations, math calculations, and graphics processing. People who run PassMark can submit the score they got with their processor so those charts are showing the average submitted scores for each processor. I wouldn't read into the overclocked processor charts much because they include mild overclocks as well as extreme overclocks, and there's no way to know how overclocked the processor was when it got the given score. If you really want to see specific scores, you can click a processor from the list and it will show the last 5 submitted scores along with information like RAM, measured speed, hard drive, graphics card, etc."

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re
by slow235comp / December 15, 2012 10:03 AM PST
In reply to: re

lastly, note that you shouldn't overclock much if at all if using the stock heatsink fan, but some after-market coolers are innexpensive.

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no edit function.
by slow235comp / December 15, 2012 10:07 AM PST
In reply to: re

be careful taking the CPU outa the plastic case. Google about static electricity build computer if not using an anti-static wristband, things like not building on carpet, take shoes and socks off, etc.

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no edit function
by slow235comp / December 15, 2012 10:09 AM PST
In reply to: no edit function.

consider static anytime touching parts inside the computer, not just building.

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wpgwpg,
by slow235comp / December 16, 2012 8:51 AM PST
In reply to: no edit function

why woudl you say you get more for your money buying prebuilt off the shelf? I think all/most builders would disagree with that.

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Thanks for the advice to everyone....
by thomasterrible / December 19, 2012 11:16 AM PST
In reply to: re

Thanks for all the advice from everyone. I will check out all the links before starting.
Those are just the sort of knowledge that I am in need of. Even the suggestions that I already know to do are welcome reminders. When it comes to most of the specific hardware and software selections when I get that far I will seek advice on anything I am not 100% sure of.

I had planned on using the AMD 8350 and an appropriate motherboard. Both of those items combined are under $400.00. That seems to be the best bang for the buck from what I have read.
<div>I read something dated 10-12 about no native support for USB 3.0 on the AMD processor. Any knowledge or explanation for what this means? I certainly plan on having USB 3.0 ports for downloading large video files etc.

I have also found a case and cooling fans, some with liquid, that seem like they would do a good job of it. It is usually used for gaming but seems like a good choice for my uses too.

About gaming, I really don't think that I will be using this computer for games. I am not in to gaming now and if I do decide to give some games a try it would be trying out an Xbox with my home theater.

I think it is a great idea to use a SSD. I have not used one yet so I will have to find out more about specific brands etc. and what are good buys. Overall I will need loads of storage as I record all my video in the highest resolution possible and then covert to standard DVD or what is appropriate for sharing. I will be wanting to burn my own blu ray discs however. I plan on 2-3 optical drives. Giving me easy and fast ways to burn or copy discs is one reason.
When considering large external hard drives any thoughts on using one very large one vs a few 1TB drives? I thought a 500gig hard on my last laptop would have been enough storage but that filled up really fast so I know I will be having a need for a lot of storage space. Backing up irreplaceable AVCHD files is one of my most critical issues, along with storing all of my music files of which I have thousands.

Aside from everyday sort of use such as heavy internet usage and office tasks I do plan to do editing of my AVCHD files from my camcorder. I also play guitar and will likley use some recording software too. Those are the main uses for sure as of now at least.
</div>

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SSD for the win
by lfrere / December 21, 2012 5:09 AM PST

I believe a SSD is a must. It was only when I bought one (Samsung) that I saw the speed improvement over my gf's computer (which doesn't have one). It's true that SSDs have a problem with reliability but so far mine has acted like a lady. It only annoys me that sometimes it seems to hibernate and sounds like it starts spinning again when I'm trying to access any action like a folder, program etc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_driveaparelho dentario

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USB 3.0
by lawli56 / December 22, 2012 8:17 AM PST
I read something dated 10-12 about no native support for USB 3.0 on the AMD processor. Any knowledge or explanation for what this means? I certainly plan on having USB 3.0 ports for downloading large video files etc.

It simply means that there is no support for USB 3.0 built into the chipset itself and it is usually provided via a third party controller on the motherboard so check the specifications carefully if you want to be able to use USB 3.0 devices.
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