THREAD: Building your own PC advice thread!
  1. 07-12-2015, 07:50 AM
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    [Disclaimer] This thread is designed to be a guide and not taken as 100% correct some of this information could be incorrect but the rationale is golden. Of course this thread could be wrong Smile

    When it comes to any bit of technology at first glance the subject can flood you with buzzwords. Often people end up over buying for what is their requirements. I’m willing to admit I have done that in the past when it comes to laptops and other devices.

    Any project requires research personal computers is no different and often confusing for new people.

    Pre built vs DIY efforts

    Spoiler:

    Pre built machines include a premium which does not go on parts and you can’t select the parts you want to use. Certain companies let you select certain parts but you don’t have freedom compared to building it on your own. Premium point still applies you can spend $300 just on the premium which could be spent on other parts or say a new keyboard/mouse and display.
    DIY efforts get far more bang for your buck performance wise compared to pre built.
    Often pre built machines use the cheapest parts with unknown brands or just rubbish quality but not always. Certain devices prebuilt can offer some great value but computers down at your local wallmart not the case.
    Rest of this post is based on the idea you want to do start on the road of DIY but you can still use the same points for pre built picking the right product.
    Must be noted that certain companies allow you to half DIY so you buy barebones you can fill in the gaps.
    Barebones can be quite good as you’re given a mobo/cpu and case for the price. Often find deals with hardware bundles so shop around.


    Here some things to keep in mind

    Spoiler:


    Step 1 - Roadmap and plan ahead.

    Certain parts can be reused cases, PSU, storage, RAM, GPU, Motherboards and CPU. Cases can often be used for 3 builds in a row or more, PSU's which are high quality can often avoid your parts being burnt out carry on for years in other builds. Storage can often be used for a couple of years along with RAM, certain CPUs can also avoid being upgraded along with motherboards. Motherboards which are careful picked can survive two CPU changes without issue if you pick the right CPU and motherboard combo. Depends on your plans for upgrades along with your usage overall. Of course it depends on the use of your machine if you want to play the latest games in 4k you may find your machine needs more upgrading more often.
    Worth taking into account for the mobo if you want to use two GPUs within months.
    Depends on your plan parts can last some time sadly future proofing is worthless thing to do instead you want a set of parts which are flexible and decent quality which are going to last on average 2-4 years.

    Step 2 Workload

    Certain parts are better at handling certain tasks so ask yourself what do you need your PC to do and what you’re going to be doing on said PC. For most people this step is the hardest requires some rational thinking. Need to be honest with yourself about what you need and not what you want.
    Playing games in 4K sounds nice but the performance against the costs is super high. Modern games are taxing higher the settings the more drain on performance and worse the frame rate. Are you going to be pushing your CPU that much you need hyper threading for twitch/video recording and playing a video game?
    Need to be real with your needs and what performance you want.
    Average gamer plays at 1080p/1440p system over 4K gets 60fps on most games using mid range GPUs.
    Your system may be able to play games in 4K but the end result may be low quality textures which is rather pointless on a 4K display.

    Step 3 Budget be real

    You don’t have to break the bank when building a PC you can get quite good performance for under $1,000 with most builds being around $750 ball park. Budget wise think ahead do you need that $500 GPU or can you get away with a $300 GPU and getting another if required later down the line. Exchange rates can often play havoc when it comes to budget certain states can get a better deal compared to others. Best advice is to compare other users builds from your own area.

    Step 4 Create a basic parts list

    Step 5 Review list


    Do you need that mobo with SLI support and a ton of other items which you’re unlikely to use. Could you not scale back your motherboard choice to another cheaper model and put the money someplace else?
    Which parts give you the best value for money and are you paying the right price for the performance.

    Step 6 Redo your list and repeat the review

    Step 7 Is my build insane?

    Step 8 Peer review your list against others


    Time to talk about parts and some general advice.


    PSU
    Spoiler:

    Power supply is a part you should not cheap out on.
    Stay away from budget power supplies from unknown brands.
    Faults within the power supply can burn out other parts and may even cause a house fire.
    When buying a power supply you can to buy a known brand even if it costs you more compared to walmart homebrand. You don’t want to have to rebuy all your parts again.

    Power supplies also come in 3 types fully modular, semi modular and not modular. Short run down can be found in this video below.
    Spoiler:



    Fully modular costs more, semi modular is the middle ground and non modular is cheaper compared to the other types.
    Another thing certain power supplies are bigger compared to others and won’t fit into certain cases. So do your homework for smaller cases this can be a big problem.
    Not every PC is going to be monsters when it comes to power so you want to buy a PSU which suits your needs.

    Now watt?
    Parts have got less hungry compared to in the past with the focus on more performance and less power use. Most people using single cards can get away with 300w to 650w without breaking the bank and have space upgrading to new GPU. Given how parts are becoming less power hungry that PSU can stay around for a couple builds and leave you room to upgrade. Only builds which need loads of watts are systems running loads of GPUs.
    If you want to use two GPUs need to make sure your PSU can handle the load watts is not the only game in town. Certain power supplies suffer due to being single rail with two GPUs requiring two power rails within the PSU. Quick google should explain that better and always read reviews.
    For budget builds 300-400w is the sweet spot but limits what GPU you can use and other parts
    Middle ground 400-500w and for high end 500-650w.


    RAM
    Spoiler:

    You want on average 8Gb to 16Gb with most systems running fine on 8Gb for now.
    What hz for the average user performance gained from higher ram speed is minor to nothing with 1,600hz being the sweet spot. Some CPUs which gain a performance boost but most CPUs don’t. APUs are one type of CPU which gains some performance.


    Cases
    Spoiler:

    Often overlooked you need to do your homework certain cases are easier to work with compared to others.
    Smaller cases can be nightmare for cable management find it hard to fit certain parts into the case.
    Cases may appear to be all about the looks but the reality often limit your choice of parts.
    Design of a case may be centred around cooling others making it easier for the builder to add new parts. Toolless HDD cases obvious example.
    Budget cases can be a good choice offer the same as premium cases without the price tag. So do your research see what other people have put into the case how messy it looks along with how much room is on offer.
    End of the day cases are a personal choice just remember it can impact your experience when building the system or wallet if you want a certain color.


    Graphics cards

    Quick overall of the cards and from what I understand the performance you get from them.

    Spoiler:

    1080p

    AMD

    260x/270x/280x

    Nvidia

    960/970


    260 gets around 30fps at high settings entry level GPU rule of thumb aim for the middle so 270/280 is the best choice. 960/970 going to get you the highest performance but costs way way more. These GPUs are on the low to middle range when it comes to pricing and performance with the 970 moving towards the high end.
    970 is rather great card for the performance to price ratio going to last 4-6 years without trouble.


    1440p
    Once gamers start to enter this resolution things become a strain for single GPU cards on some of the newest titles. Single GPUs can still hit the magic 60fps but you need to spend more to do so compared to 1080p.

    AMD

    280x/290x/295/x


    280x average is 30fps yep half the frames per second you would get on 1080p. 290x can do 60 or higher so can 295.

    Nvidia

    970/980


    For the price point the 970 is outstanding with the 980 being a monster but at a monster price point. 1440p is rather demanding but a single 970 can hold it own on many titles 60fps across the board. Depends on the settings but may find certain titles unable to hit 60fps with a single card. SLI 970 can give you some great perfomrance for quite a cheap price point but you need to double down on GPUs. Best advice is to google benchmarks of the games you want to play to see which GPU fits your build the most. If you want to play 2K CS:GO you can get away with a lower end GPU compared to a 970. Don’t always get twice the performance sometimes certain titles in SLI can be far worse performance wise.

    CPU
    i7 is not worth it for gaming simple as that unless you want to twitch the latest titles and record video at the same time. i5 or AMD CPUs are far better choices gaming machines i3 or dual core systems are great choices for entry level systems.
    Good middle of the road CPUs?
    AMD 6300/8350 are good choices, for entry level to middle range CPUs.
    Intel you want 4000 series, the 3000 series is also a good choice but showing it age.
    Intel wise 4460-4590 are good choices. If you have some money to spare move up or down your CPUs.
    K versions are designed to be overclocked far higher compared to non K but you pay a premium. That said every CPU can be overclocked as long as your mobo supports it. Certain models are easy to do and others you’re limited.
    One thing to note i3 and some dual core CPUs can give quad core CPUs a run for their money. G238 being the most obvious one cheap CPU when overlocked can rival i7 single thread performance.
    If you want to play older games which are less of strain look towards dual core CPUs.

    Storage!
    SSD 120 to 500Gb sweet spot is 240gb looking at paying a heavy premium for a SDD due to the higher $ per Gb cost. Most people use the SSD for hosting your OS and any games you want to load quickly. SSD is nice but not a must have item.
    HDDs you want a decent performance for a good price off the top of my head WD black is one of the best choices around. HDDs may be cheap but you don’t want to cheap out on a HDD always check reviews.


    Some builds
    1080p builds

    Before you review my builds just like to point out the focus has been on budget and you could make some changes to get more performance if you wanted. Bare in mind these builds are designed to work with 1080p so the motherboard choice suits that.
    Here are the builds I have created….

    Spoiler:

    Entry Intel £350

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    Entry AMD £350

    You must login or register to view this content.

    Middle Intel £500

    You must login or register to view this content.

    Middle AMD £500

    You must login or register to view this content.

    High Intel £850

    You must login or register to view this content.

    High AMD £750

    You must login or register to view this content.


    But what about 1440p I have not created builds which are good for 1440p because most people won’t be playing in 1440p. Same idea goes for 4k right now 75% of people are on 1080p.

    Feedback is welcome on the quality of the post
    Going to update this post later today with 300 series GPUs
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  3. 07-12-2015, 05:02 PM
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    Originally Posted by ResistTheSun View Post
    [Disclaimer] This thread is designed to be a guide and not taken as 100% correct some of this information could be incorrect but the rationale is golden. Of course this thread could be wrong Smile

    When it comes to any bit of technology at first glance the subject can flood you with buzzwords. Often people end up over buying for what is their requirements. I’m willing to admit I have done that in the past when it comes to laptops and other devices.

    Any project requires research personal computers is no different and often confusing for new people.

    Pre built vs DIY efforts

    Spoiler:

    Pre built machines include a premium which does not go on parts and you can’t select the parts you want to use. Certain companies let you select certain parts but you don’t have freedom compared to building it on your own. Premium point still applies you can spend $300 just on the premium which could be spent on other parts or say a new keyboard/mouse and display.
    DIY efforts get far more bang for your buck performance wise compared to pre built.
    Often pre built machines use the cheapest parts with unknown brands or just rubbish quality but not always. Certain devices prebuilt can offer some great value but computers down at your local wallmart not the case.
    Rest of this post is based on the idea you want to do start on the road of DIY but you can still use the same points for pre built picking the right product.
    Must be noted that certain companies allow you to half DIY so you buy barebones you can fill in the gaps.
    Barebones can be quite good as you’re given a mobo/cpu and case for the price. Often find deals with hardware bundles so shop around.


    Here some things to keep in mind

    Spoiler:


    Step 1 - Roadmap and plan ahead.

    Certain parts can be reused cases, PSU, storage, RAM, GPU, Motherboards and CPU. Cases can often be used for 3 builds in a row or more, PSU's which are high quality can often avoid your parts being burnt out carry on for years in other builds. Storage can often be used for a couple of years along with RAM, certain CPUs can also avoid being upgraded along with motherboards. Motherboards which are careful picked can survive two CPU changes without issue if you pick the right CPU and motherboard combo. Depends on your plans for upgrades along with your usage overall. Of course it depends on the use of your machine if you want to play the latest games in 4k you may find your machine needs more upgrading more often.
    Worth taking into account for the mobo if you want to use two GPUs within months.
    Depends on your plan parts can last some time sadly future proofing is worthless thing to do instead you want a set of parts which are flexible and decent quality which are going to last on average 2-4 years.

    Step 2 Workload

    Certain parts are better at handling certain tasks so ask yourself what do you need your PC to do and what you’re going to be doing on said PC. For most people this step is the hardest requires some rational thinking. Need to be honest with yourself about what you need and not what you want.
    Playing games in 4K sounds nice but the performance against the costs is super high. Modern games are taxing higher the settings the more drain on performance and worse the frame rate. Are you going to be pushing your CPU that much you need hyper threading for twitch/video recording and playing a video game?
    Need to be real with your needs and what performance you want.
    Average gamer plays at 1080p/1440p system over 4K gets 60fps on most games using mid range GPUs.
    Your system may be able to play games in 4K but the end result may be low quality textures which is rather pointless on a 4K display.

    Step 3 Budget be real

    You don’t have to break the bank when building a PC you can get quite good performance for under $1,000 with most builds being around $750 ball park. Budget wise think ahead do you need that $500 GPU or can you get away with a $300 GPU and getting another if required later down the line. Exchange rates can often play havoc when it comes to budget certain states can get a better deal compared to others. Best advice is to compare other users builds from your own area.

    Step 4 Create a basic parts list

    Step 5 Review list


    Do you need that mobo with SLI support and a ton of other items which you’re unlikely to use. Could you not scale back your motherboard choice to another cheaper model and put the money someplace else?
    Which parts give you the best value for money and are you paying the right price for the performance.

    Step 6 Redo your list and repeat the review

    Step 7 Is my build insane?

    Step 8 Peer review your list against others


    Time to talk about parts and some general advice.


    PSU
    Spoiler:

    Power supply is a part you should not cheap out on.
    Stay away from budget power supplies from unknown brands.
    Faults within the power supply can burn out other parts and may even cause a house fire.
    When buying a power supply you can to buy a known brand even if it costs you more compared to walmart homebrand. You don’t want to have to rebuy all your parts again.

    Power supplies also come in 3 types fully modular, semi modular and not modular. Short run down can be found in this video below.
    Spoiler:



    Fully modular costs more, semi modular is the middle ground and non modular is cheaper compared to the other types.
    Another thing certain power supplies are bigger compared to others and won’t fit into certain cases. So do your homework for smaller cases this can be a big problem.
    Not every PC is going to be monsters when it comes to power so you want to buy a PSU which suits your needs.

    Now watt?
    Parts have got less hungry compared to in the past with the focus on more performance and less power use. Most people using single cards can get away with 300w to 650w without breaking the bank and have space upgrading to new GPU. Given how parts are becoming less power hungry that PSU can stay around for a couple builds and leave you room to upgrade. Only builds which need loads of watts are systems running loads of GPUs.
    If you want to use two GPUs need to make sure your PSU can handle the load watts is not the only game in town. Certain power supplies suffer due to being single rail with two GPUs requiring two power rails within the PSU. Quick google should explain that better and always read reviews.
    For budget builds 300-400w is the sweet spot but limits what GPU you can use and other parts
    Middle ground 400-500w and for high end 500-650w.


    RAM
    Spoiler:

    You want on average 8Gb to 16Gb with most systems running fine on 8Gb for now.
    What hz for the average user performance gained from higher ram speed is minor to nothing with 1,600hz being the sweet spot. Some CPUs which gain a performance boost but most CPUs don’t. APUs are one type of CPU which gains some performance.


    Cases
    Spoiler:

    Often overlooked you need to do your homework certain cases are easier to work with compared to others.
    Smaller cases can be nightmare for cable management find it hard to fit certain parts into the case.
    Cases may appear to be all about the looks but the reality often limit your choice of parts.
    Design of a case may be centred around cooling others making it easier for the builder to add new parts. Toolless HDD cases obvious example.
    Budget cases can be a good choice offer the same as premium cases without the price tag. So do your research see what other people have put into the case how messy it looks along with how much room is on offer.
    End of the day cases are a personal choice just remember it can impact your experience when building the system or wallet if you want a certain color.


    Graphics cards

    Quick overall of the cards and from what I understand the performance you get from them.

    Spoiler:

    1080p

    AMD

    260x/270x/280x

    Nvidia

    960/970


    260 gets around 30fps at high settings entry level GPU rule of thumb aim for the middle so 270/280 is the best choice. 960/970 going to get you the highest performance but costs way way more. These GPUs are on the low to middle range when it comes to pricing and performance with the 970 moving towards the high end.
    970 is rather great card for the performance to price ratio going to last 4-6 years without trouble.


    1440p
    Once gamers start to enter this resolution things become a strain for single GPU cards on some of the newest titles. Single GPUs can still hit the magic 60fps but you need to spend more to do so compared to 1080p.

    AMD

    280x/290x/295/x


    280x average is 30fps yep half the frames per second you would get on 1080p. 290x can do 60 or higher so can 295.

    Nvidia

    970/980


    For the price point the 970 is outstanding with the 980 being a monster but at a monster price point. 1440p is rather demanding but a single 970 can hold it own on many titles 60fps across the board. Depends on the settings but may find certain titles unable to hit 60fps with a single card. SLI 970 can give you some great perfomrance for quite a cheap price point but you need to double down on GPUs. Best advice is to google benchmarks of the games you want to play to see which GPU fits your build the most. If you want to play 2K CS:GO you can get away with a lower end GPU compared to a 970. Don’t always get twice the performance sometimes certain titles in SLI can be far worse performance wise.

    CPU
    i7 is not worth it for gaming simple as that unless you want to twitch the latest titles and record video at the same time. i5 or AMD CPUs are far better choices gaming machines i3 or dual core systems are great choices for entry level systems.
    Good middle of the road CPUs?
    AMD 6300/8350 are good choices, for entry level to middle range CPUs.
    Intel you want 4000 series, the 3000 series is also a good choice but showing it age.
    Intel wise 4460-4590 are good choices. If you have some money to spare move up or down your CPUs.
    K versions are designed to be overclocked far higher compared to non K but you pay a premium. That said every CPU can be overclocked as long as your mobo supports it. Certain models are easy to do and others you’re limited.
    One thing to note i3 and some dual core CPUs can give quad core CPUs a run for their money. G238 being the most obvious one cheap CPU when overlocked can rival i7 single thread performance.
    If you want to play older games which are less of strain look towards dual core CPUs.

    Storage!
    SSD 120 to 500Gb sweet spot is 240gb looking at paying a heavy premium for a SDD due to the higher $ per Gb cost. Most people use the SSD for hosting your OS and any games you want to load quickly. SSD is nice but not a must have item.
    HDDs you want a decent performance for a good price off the top of my head WD black is one of the best choices around. HDDs may be cheap but you don’t want to cheap out on a HDD always check reviews.


    Some builds
    1080p builds

    Before you review my builds just like to point out the focus has been on budget and you could make some changes to get more performance if you wanted. Bare in mind these builds are designed to work with 1080p so the motherboard choice suits that.
    Here are the builds I have created….

    Spoiler:

    Entry Intel £350

    You must login or register to view this content.

    Entry AMD £350

    You must login or register to view this content.

    Middle Intel £500

    You must login or register to view this content.

    Middle AMD £500

    You must login or register to view this content.

    High Intel £850

    You must login or register to view this content.

    High AMD £750

    You must login or register to view this content.


    But what about 1440p I have not created builds which are good for 1440p because most people won’t be playing in 1440p. Same idea goes for 4k right now 75% of people are on 1080p.

    Feedback is welcome on the quality of the post
    Going to update this post later today with 300 series GPUs


    you can tell the builds are generic pcpartpicker builds
  4. 07-28-2015, 08:38 PM
    Tom Fletcher's Avatar
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    Opinions and any way I can save money without losing power ? You must login or register to view this content.
  5. 07-29-2015, 02:49 PM
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    Its very expensive!
  6. 07-29-2015, 09:41 PM
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    Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    Opinions and any way I can save money without losing power ? You must login or register to view this content.


    Changed the CPU from the K version to another one you can downgrade save something like £40 or £20 performance is something like -5%
    GPU can be downgraded also if you wanted depends if you're playing at 1080p or not.
  7. 07-29-2015, 09:42 PM
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    Originally Posted by OPTvR View Post
    Its very expensive!


    Builds above are not that expensive :p
    I can build a PS4 type system which plays video games and has access to range of programs Sony system can only dream of.
  8. 07-30-2015, 04:30 PM
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    You're good! :yes:
  9. 08-03-2015, 12:53 PM
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    Very helpful thread RTS ResistTheSun
  10. 08-16-2015, 06:27 PM
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    Question - I've got all my parts apart from the graphics card would I be able to get my pc up and running and use it for programs like word etc, browse the Internet and buy the graphics card at a later date and install it? When I've got more money. So I can run games at good quality later.
    Specs are same as what i posted before.
  11. 08-16-2015, 08:32 PM
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    Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    Question - I've got all my parts apart from the graphics card would I be able to get my pc up and running and use it for programs like word etc, browse the Internet and buy the graphics card at a later date and install it? When I've got more money. So I can run games at good quality later.
    Specs are same as what i posted before.


    Yes you can. You'd have to use on-board graphics. You'll be fine to run word processors, and browsing the internet as those are not graphic intensive.
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