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just starting and in need of a teacher

by videoman23 / August 12, 2010 12:43 PM PDT

I've wanted to build my own PC for some time now, but I have no real knowledge. I would like some patient guidance on some of the general knowledge such as which is best to get, or compatibility and maybe some advanced tips. I want to build is a gaming PC that can run the current games smoothly without having to lower the graphic settings to blocky blurs. I would also like to be able to do this with out spending a fortune, but I realize the limitations of that aspiration.

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by davy08 / August 12, 2010 7:29 PM PDT

First off you need a large enough tower to support a Grafhics Card & lot's of ventilation & an extra chassis fan.
You don't need all that lighting outside the case unless you just want to have it for a great looking desktop.
Alot of gamers out there love having it fancy if it's in your budget.
Get a large PSU to support the Grafhics Card Memory & CPU.
Get a board that will supports Athlon Dual CPU or Pentium & lots of memory.
Some out there don't like Athlon from all the review's i've read but I have to pc's with it & have no complaints.
Memory,CPU,Grafhics Card & PSU ia the key word here.
Get a good Graphics Card as well.
You will need a good Grafhics Card to play good quality games.
Keep it updated often.
More will come in here & add more info if I missed some.
Happy building & play safe!

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Grass hopper
by Dango517 / August 13, 2010 11:38 AM PDT

have you not heard ......... when the student is ready the teacher will appear. LOL Meaning asking for one is not the process. Happy

"Have you done your home work" as my teacher would say. Where is Bob anyway? You might start with the search words "PC gamer groups".

Remember, if you get in trouble:


There is always a Mr Wizard ............. at ..... Cnet.com Happy

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Good gaming on a budget
by andrewbaggins / August 13, 2010 1:26 PM PDT

The graphics (or video card as some like to call it) does most of the heavy work in a gaming computer. That graphics capability is supported by a fast cpu/processor chip, plenty of RAM memory, a capable power supply, and good ventilation to keep things cool.

Adding a second graphics card as time goes by can improve things still further, especially when new games are released that require more graphics power to run them.

So the trick is to get the basics done right at the beginning in a way you can afford, then add to it as necessary.

Places like www.newegg.com and Fry's electronics stores run daily or weekly specials on most types of components which can save you money right away. You can purchase bargain price parts over a few weeks (or maybe days) and then assemble them.

Or, you can buy a bundle of compatible components where they give you a discount for buying all those parts at once. For example, at Newegg.com website main page there are two rows of yellow/orange tabs. Move your mouse pointer over "Computer Hardware" and a sub-menu will appear. Click on "DIY PC Combos" and you will see 7 pages of bundled components to choose from at all price points. Pages 5 through 7 have the more affordable systems. Most of these bundles do NOT include the graphics card so you must figure on spending a further $200 or more on a good graphics card.

When you look at these bundles in detail consider certain things. Does the case have at least front and rear 120mm size fans with room to add more? Intel and AMD processors come with a downward-firing fan/heatsink. This stock cooler is MUCH more effective if the case has a side-panel fan blowing directly towards the cpu cooler. It really does make a significant difference. The power supply should be at least 600watts with connections for two graphics cards. The motherboard should support two graphics cards also.

Although the graphics card does most of the heavy work in 3D games, you still need a fairly capable cpu and memory to support that. The cheapest cpu that will get it done is probably an AMD Athlon II X2 245 chip. This is a dual-core chip. Higher-numbered dual-core models and/or AMD's X3 440 Tri-core are a little better and cost more. Quad-core and Six-core are fairly expensive and not really necessary for gaming. Intel's E3300 chip is a rock-bottom contender but, with its small Level 2 memory cache, you'd need to overclock it for good gaming performance. That usually means a more expensive heatsink/fan cooler, more heat, and maybe more noise. An Intel chip that's very capable without overclocking is the Core i3 530 cpu.

You can have solid gaming performance with 2GB of RAM memory to start with, or go for 4GB if your budget permits. Don't get caught up in the low latency/fast timing memory modules as they can cost a lot more for only a small gaming improvement.

SSD hard drives are great for faster loading of games and programs but, again, they don't significantly improve the gaming performance once the game starts, and they cost a lot extra. Those extra dollars should go on the graphics card!

Speaking of graphics cards, the recent nVidia-based GTX 460 is arguably the best bang-for-the-buck model right now at around $200. Or. consider a Radeon 5850 for about a hundred dollars more. On a budget, I'd probably go for a GTX 460 now and maybe add a second GTX 460 later on to further boost performance.

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Best gaming PC ?
by Agamaras / August 13, 2010 7:11 PM PDT

Well first off, this is like asking people to name their favorite car and why. You are going to get a hundred answers, patient or not, and they will all be a little to a lot different. Let me go down a list for you.
1. Budget ? No way to give you any answers without a budget.
2. How much experience at handling delicate electronics do you have ? Do you have antic static straps ? Small tools ? A clean, well lit place to assemble it ?
3. My recommendation is to go to a place like www.cyberpowerpc.com or Alienware or Falcon Northwest to just look at some machines to start with, see what the pros are putting in machines from budget models up to extreme machines.
4.TOMSHARDWARE.com has some excellent articles and info on system builds from budget to extreme.
5. You got to have a budget first, and take that budget to a place like CyberPower and see what it will get you, then go from there. Read about the components and then go research them.
6. When you are ready, go to a site, have them build it for you and you can even get a warranty.
7. I build and repair systems, and although I have built my own systems from scratch for my wife and daughter and others I prefer to have someone else do the building for me after I pick the components because I get a warranty.
8. Just asking someone what the best video card is will practically start a war..LOL
Just type in your budget and gaming PC into Google and see what comes up.
Good Luck

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Tom's Hardware and Maximum PC
by Brechan / August 14, 2010 6:07 AM PDT
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by videoman23 / August 15, 2010 6:10 AM PDT

thanks for the help, and guidance, though I admit some of the specs on the parts confuse me, the numbers and such get all mixed in my head, I might be a lost cause... as for a budget, well I never thought about it, though I really should have, I guess with me being a part time cashier my budget is meager at best. I was hoping to buy each part individually as I can afford each one, but I guess if I have doubts on comparability that wouldn't be best. I have put together a PC before, though it was at school and only basic stuff really...

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Nope, nope, nope by all means no
by Dango517 / August 15, 2010 7:25 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks

"I might be a lost cause..."

Just keep plugging along.

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" hoping to buy each part individually as I can afford..."
by Brechan / August 16, 2010 6:33 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks

There's nothing wrong with building a computer in this manner; as for compatibility, AMD makes this choice easy, as all AM2+ and AM3 motherboards will fit a very wide variety of processors.

Intel on the other hand limits the processors you choose to the socket you decide to go with. For example; if you choose an LGA 775 motherboard you're limited to (at most) a Core 2 Extreme, if you choose the (newer) LGA 1156 motherboard you're limited to only P55 processors, and, if you choose to go with an LGA 1366 motherboard then you're limited to only running with an X58 processor.

When choosing a motherboard (if you're planning on any decent gaming or photo editing); choose a board without integrated graphics, and then purchase a good video card later ( I read somewhere that it is better to have one excellent video card, than going SLI or Crossfire with two or more lower-end video cards).
-A CNET forum discussion on Integrated vs. Dedicated Graphics

Spend a few extra $$ (doesn't have to break the bank) for an after-market CPU cooler, usually the stock coolers don't hold up very well under heavy loads (such as gaming).

When buying a new case to hold all your new components; this is pretty much up to you, but bear in mind that you don't want your 1st build to be a nightmare (because it's too tight a fit to get everything inside, and/ or that it just doesn't cool all your components well enough).

We all started out at the same level that you are now; I wish I had known about such forums (as the ones here), when I built my 1st (gaming) computer.

We're here to help as needed Happy

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